What is a considerate dB level for playing in an apartment?

LaXu

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10,970
I would recommend as a first remedy trying to put your cab on a stand to reduce coupling with the floor.

Sometimes it's about bass traveling but sometimes it's simply "I don't like that someone plays a musical instrument". If you were blaring the TV at the same volume it would be fine.
 

Muzbomb

Member
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131
Could you move the amp downstairs? Is the amp positioned close to the adjoining wall - you could try a different position in the room. It's worth a conversation with your neighbour about how it sounds next door. Perhaps an iso-pad under the cab would reduce low frequency transmission through the floors.
 

MBT74

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2,971
I went through something similar, and it's going to be impossible to give you an answer without knowing anything about the construction of your place.

In my case, I asked my neighbor to download the dB app and do an experiment with me. I anchored right out of the gate by using the app to measure the two of us speaking. Avg. 61 dB. We then went back to our apartments and I asked her to text me three times: when I first became audible, when individual notes were too loud and when it was bothersome in her opinion.

Bottom line: I can play around 85 dB with no issues, and peak around 95 before it bothers her. Your place will probably be different, but maybe the approach will help. They biggest hurdle is getting someone over the idea that they are entitled to complete silence when they live in close proximity to others. Luckily, NYC has very clear guidelines about that.

Always start these experiments by asking if it’s too loud before you actually start playing anything. That way you can know if the neighbour is just going to complain about it being too loud regardless of the actual volume. If they answer saying that they can’t hear anything then at least you know the rest of the experiment is going to be honest. :)
 

ctreitzell

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4,734
what is everyone measuring dB with?

85dB measured with SPLnFFT app I find to be right near threshold of pain; 90dB is over threshold of pain for me.

I remember measuring dB in the mid 90s with a Realistic brand sound meter and 93dB music in the car was where we liked it. I'm guessing the ipad app is not telling the truth. I'm using the internal mic uncalibrated. Also, my ipads have always been in Griffin Survivor cases when measuring...maybe that's affecting the result...

I suppose I record into my DAW to get an accurate reading...

I used to live in apartments...terraced houses...Sound Transmission Coefficient between levels (up and down) was always lower than through walls (sideways/ horizontal)...meaning sound transmission traveling thru ceilings/floors is almost always louder than thru walls. Also, glass is an excellent sound insulator; it's the reflections that are the problem with glass.
 

LaXu

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10,970
what is everyone measuring dB with?

85dB measured with SPLnFFT app I find to be right near threshold of pain; 90dB is over threshold of pain for me.
You either have very sensitive ears, measure very close to the sound source or the app/phone is off by a good margin.

Compared to my actual dB meter (just a cheap one) my iPhone XS with SPLnFFT was off by about 2 dB, probably more when talking about very loud volumes.

Measured at 1m distance 90 dB is not painful at all to me.
 

AintNoEddie

Member
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956
As others have said already, the bass is typically the problem. I jam in our house in the basement, and using a small active monitor I can play really loud even when kids and wife are sleeping (upper floor). As soon as I play through a proper cab (1x12 or 2x12...), even low volume, it becomes a problem. Initially I would not believe but I had my looper playback some riffs and I checked it... and yup ... it's annoying :)
 

Doug59

Gold Supporting Member
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1,790
I’d say closer to 70-75dB in an apartment is fair. It should be maximum barely audible in a neighbouring flat, in my opinion.
I came to say this. I live in a townhouse and can play in the high 60's dB range all day and night without bothering anyone. I'll push it to mid 70's dB during the day without a problem. The 60's dB range is TV loud noise. You hit the mid 80's dB - this is too loud.
 

244300

Chief Distortion Officer
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4,579
Measured at 1m distance 90 dB is not painful at all to me.

Same.

I’d say closer to 70-75dB in an apartment is fair. It should be maximum barely audible in a neighbouring flat, in my opinion.

That’s way too low. Might as well skip a traditional amp and use a modeler like a Yamaha THR unit. It’s have a much smaller speaker that sounds like a guitar that’s been compressed in the mix. It’ll sound like it’s coming out of your TV.
 

Serious Poo

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I would talk with the management folks of your apartment and ask them. They’re going to be the final arbiters at the end of the day, anyway. Get them on your side if you can, then work with them to come up with a solution. Also, it helps to be very friendly & willing to work with your neighbors.

FWIW, I had a pair of Mesa Mark IIC+’s and full Marshall stack (100w head + two 4x12 cabs) in my small apartment in Newport Beach a long time ago, never once had an issue with my neighbors. Those amps could get stupid loud; however, I usually kept the volume between 75-80 dB through the use of a THD Hotplate Attenuator. Usually…. Sometimes I’d turn it up, but would ask my neighbors first. Again, never had an issue or complaint over a several year period.
 

244300

Chief Distortion Officer
Silver Supporting Member
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4,579
I would talk with the management folks of your apartment and ask them. They’re going to be the final arbiters at the end of the day, anyway. Get them on your side if you can, then work with them to come up with a solution. Also, it helps to be very friendly & willing to work with your neighbors.

FWIW, I had a pair of Mesa Mark IIC+’s and full Marshall stack (100w head + two 4x12 cabs) in my small apartment in Newport Beach a long time ago, never once had an issue with my neighbors. Those amps could get stupid loud; however, I usually kept the volume between 75-80 dB through the use of a THD Hotplate Attenuator. Usually…. Sometimes I’d turn it up, but would ask my neighbors first. Again, never had an issue or complaint over a several year period.

100%
 

Dead Parrot

Member
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188
First thing I would do is look up your local noise ordinance. Where I am, it’s a violation to exceed 60 dB by day and 50 dB at night on a neighbor’s property. That’s for single family housing. Apartments are slightly higher. Knowing what you are allowed to do is the starting point of the “courtesy” conversation.
 
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I mentioned this before, I lived in a second floor apartment with a Marshall JCM 900 half stack. It was my only amp, and I only turned it up as loud as I would turn up my stereo when listening to music.

I don't know why I bothered being so polite, because the lady living upstairs from me sounded like she was bouncing a bowling ball on the floor every time she walked around, people would party on the stairs outside of my balcony until 2:00 in the morning when I was trying to sleep (on weekdays), and some of them would puke on the stairs, throw trash on my balcony, etc. Looking back, I should have just cranked that MF-er up and banged out power chords all day.
 

HotBluePlates

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14,057
... I’ll probably just keep the volume low and gradually increase until the banging starts. Then I’ll back down a bit. ...

Stop being anti-social & just go talk to the neighbor. Ask her about the volume & times-of-day when you might be able to play. Be polite, be apologetic about the volume.

Unless you're a jerk, most people get almost embarrassed when you're asking them for a reasonable compromise that suits them.



And you're almost certainly being louder than you think, dB-meter-be-damned. I had no trouble with neighbors while playing an AC30 in an apartment at 2am (but I kept it quiet).
 

Toffo

Member
Messages
483
Might as well skip a traditional amp and use a modeler like a Yamaha THR unit. It’s have a much smaller speaker that sounds like a guitar that’s been compressed in the mix. It’ll sound like it’s coming out of your TV.
Yes I agree. A THR is much more appropriate for apartment playing than an amp. Or something like modelling or plugins, the sort of thing you can turn up with headphones to give you some illusion of volume (I know it’s not the same).
 
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