Subwoofers are amazing components for your sound system, but I think we can all agree that they can cause a lot of nuisance to you and your neighbours.
A subwoofer’s bass is intense, It can travel through walls and objects with relative ease without losing much energy. What this will cause is a huge amount of vibrations which can be annoying.
Well, I can say that I’ve gone through my fair share of struggles with this issue, but there are many methods you can use that I’d love to share.
Reducing subwoofer vibrations is actually pretty easy, and there’s equipment you can use such as isolation pads, and bass traps which can drastically reduce reflections which in turn will reduce wall vibrations.
Why Do Subwoofers Vibrate Through Walls?
The main reason subwoofers vibrate through walls is because of how they work. Subwoofers are huge, and they use massive drivers that move a lot of air.
The reason why subwoofers utilize big drivers is because the larger the driver is, the lower the frequency produced, and bass is low in frequency.
Due to the subwoofer having such a large driver, they require more energy to move them, this in turn creates soundwaves that are highly energetic.
Low Frequencies Interact With The Environment
Many subwoofers out there can produce two different types of sound, and the first type of sound is sub-bass(20-60 Hz), and sub-bass is really intense. Then there’s bass which is (60-250 Hz), it’s easier on the walls compared to sub-bass.
Bass(60-250 Hz) is the least interactive with the environment compared to sub-bass, this is because the frequency is slightly higher. Bass won’t vibrate walls as much, but you can still feel it in your chest.
Sub-bass(20-60 Hz) is more intense, the frequency is much lower than bass, therefore it will interact with the environment more. Sub-bass can be quite obnoxious causing mechanical vibrations such as windows, glass, wallpapers, and of course, your walls.
So, the majority of your wall vibrations will come from sub bass, but sub-bass is still necessary for having an interactive and immersive listening experience for your home theater.
How Can I Reduce Subwoofer Vibrations Through Walls?
There are many ways you can decrease your subwoofer’s vibrations through walls, so you’re not completely hopeless. Not only will this be less annoying on you and your neighbours, but it will noticeably improve sound quality, and prevent damage to your walls.
It’s worth knowing exactly why your subwoofer causes vibrations through your walls, and it’s through a phenomenon called microphonics. and This is when your subwoofer will pick up mechanical vibrations, and interpret it as electrical signals.
Tip 1: Subwoofer Decoupling
Decoupling your subwoofer is the act of offsetting it from the ground by a few inches, this does a few things. It reduces mechanical vibrations which ultimately get transferred through the floor and through the walls.
Decoupling the subwoofer will not only help with wall vibrations, but it can actually improve the sound quality. And it will also prevent your subwoofer from damaging the walls which can cause a lot of money in the future.
Also, it will help reduce rattling caused by the subwoofer when placed on the floor. The best way to decouple the subwoofer is to use either metal spikes or rubber feet, both should be used in different scenarios.
Metal spikes are the best option for decoupling if your subwoofer is placed on carpet, and rubber feet are unequivocally the best option if you’re placing your subwoofer on hard flooring.
Tip 2: Isolation Pads
Isolation pads are also great options for reducing wall vibrations caused by your subwoofer, and they can actually work in conjunction with metal pegs, and rubber feet when decoupling the subwoofer.
Isolation pads work by absorbing vibrations, and it’s done by placing this piece of equipment directly under the subwoofer so it separates it from the floor.
Isolation pads will also help reduce any resonance caused by the subwoofer, this is a form of bad vibration. The isolation pads will also improve on acoustics which will help improve your listening experience.
The best type of isolation pads are made from spongy material with holes in between them, this is helpful as the holes help absorb all a lot of the vibrations.
Tip 3: Bass Traps
Bass traps are one of the most popular ways of reducing vibrations in the walls caused by the subwoofer, and this is for a good reason. Bass traps are acoustic foams that sit strategically along your walls or in the corners.
Bass traps work by absorbing low-frequency sounds by stopping them from bouncing all around your room. So this is a great option if you’re looking to reduce harmful reflections.
There are two types of bass traps, there are foam bass traps and acoustic panels. The foam bass traps are great at dissipating low frequency noises, and acoustic panels are good at absorbing and helping reduce reverberations.
The best thickness for bass traps generally depends on the size of your room, and the power of your subwoofer. But we recommend a thickness of around 4-6 inches, this should be enough to reduce reflections of low frequencies.
Tip 4: Adjust Subwoofer’s Bass Level
The idea behind this is that the lower the bass level is, it should reduce the amount of energy being sent to the walls which in turn should reduce the amount of vibrations created.
The bass level of a subwoofer should easily be controllable as most subwoofers have a knob which you can use to increase or decrease the bass level. Or if you’re using a passive subwoofer, you should be able to turn down the bass level on the amplifier.
Tip 5: Placing The Subwoofer Closer To You
Placing the subwoofer closer to you is an easy way to reduce the amount of vibrations in the walls, this is because it makes it easier for you to adjust the subwoofer’s volume and enjoy your listening experience at a lower volume.
Also, there is a direct sound path, this will eliminate reflections off the walls and other objects, so in general when it’s closer to you, the subwoofer will have a harder time reflecting sound off the walls.
In conclusion, you’re not hopeless when it comes to controlling the bass vibrations through the walls, there’s actually a lot you can do to create a worthwhile listening experience.
The best way to reduce the amount of bass going through the walls is to use a combination of the tips above. For example, decoupling the subwoofer whilst using bass traps is a good way to reduce reflections, and improve sound quality.