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

Salmon of Capistrano

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
77
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.

This is the right thing to do. Though in principle I feel like she needs to come talk to me since banging on a wall is not a civilized way to express yourself. I’m happy to work out a compromise if she likes but if I’m not breaking any laws then I’m going to enjoy the short time I have during the day to play my geetar. I can keep it below 80 dB which is reasonable.
 

Salmon of Capistrano

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
77
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.

I do have headphone amps. But I use a lot of pedals and am constantly tweaking my board to keep it interesting (I don’t like 20 pedals on a board—I use 10 and change them out when needed).

I don’t want to be messing with my pedals and eating up our band practice time (we only get to play like 1-2x a week). So I like to get all the levels situated at home, and that’s why I like to use my amp since they’ll sound different through that vs a headphone amp.
 

Alpione

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,236
I don’t want to be messing with my pedals and eating up our band practice time (we only get to play like 1-2x a week). So I like to get all the levels situated at home, and that’s why I like to use my amp since they’ll sound different through that vs a headphone amp.

I understand wanting to set it up with your amp, but your amp at 70db is probably going to sound a lot different than your amp at band levels anyway, so you may not be getting the full advantage. You could probably save yourself some stress of worrying about the neighbor by going for a good headphone solution.
 

juxtapolice

Member
Messages
1,544
Dang reading through these I feel bad for some of ya’ll. I suppose throughout the years I have lucked out with neighbors too. Currently living above a jazz saxophonist. I was actually walking the other day and got a call from an old neighbor for a summer series she was booking, so i even got gigs from it lol. Still, you have to play to your situation and hope the neighbors, at the very least, like music
 

rickt

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,073
This is the right thing to do. Though in principle I feel like she needs to come talk to me since banging on a wall is not a civilized way to express yourself. I’m happy to work out a compromise if she likes but if I’m not breaking any laws then I’m going to enjoy the short time I have during the day to play my geetar. I can keep it below 80 dB which is reasonable.

One can be right but that doesn’t mean one should discount courtesy and mutual respect. A meet and greet with the neighbor would be a good step in understanding her issues or even if she is a rational human being.
 

cram

Member
Messages
14,233
Folks pointing to frequency as a contributor are spot on. dB over all eq is not the test.

Dirty/Quick test -
Put a cab on the bed, couch, chair etc to buffer at your current level - capture a loop and you'll perceive a diff at listening positions outside of the room.

Full mitigation there would be the amp pads and even something more to distribute/diffuse the energy. In construction and any floating floor/wall affixed would have neoprene pads/collars. I've used this in construction to huge benefits - hat channels and stud support for room within a room.

With spare rockwool around and a quick need for recording I once stacked rigid 703 fiber board under a pallet for an amp, which helped but it was still loud.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
4,896
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.
I do have quite sensitive hearing...it's been getting more acute as I get older...I haven't had it checked...but I record and mix audio for the films my company makes. My ipad mini is a similar gen to your XS.

For me, SPLnFFT measuring 75-85 dB is quite comfortable...90 dB is too loud; that is measured at about 4meters from the cabs
 

GasBubble

Member
Messages
487
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.
Your amp may sound better off the floor?
Mine certainly does.
I have it sat on a chair about 1to 1.5 metres away pointing right at my ear holes!
First time I noticed was when I sat it on the back of my pedal board, it really makes a difference!
(Maybe not if you’ve a 4x12 stack/double!)


It is bastard loud on axis.
Move away a bit and it very quickly rolls off.

Buy your amp a nice seat and get yourself a rockin comfy cushion.

Cross legged mosh pit crew!
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
6,422
I've found 110dB is about the appropriate apartment level. That's around the spot where it totally drowns out the neighbor's knocking and yelling.

Pro tip: Crank it up loud for about four or five minutes. Then turn it off and wait for the cops to show up. When they do tell them you don't know what they were talking about and you just woke up from a nap or something. Repeat this several times. Eventually, the cops will get tired of this and either stop responding to this call or talk to your neighbor about calling the cops for no reason. Then your neighbor can call the cops all they want, and you can play as loud as you want, and everyone's happy!
 

batsbrew

Member
Messages
6,465
I use an attenuator for my tube amp when I play at home (in an apartment). One of my new-ish neighbors keeps pounding on the walls when I’m playing.
it's not so much DB's,
it's FREQUENCIES.

could be she only really hears the low end...
i guess if you played your TV like you normally watch it,
then match the volume of your guitar rig,
you'd be close.
 
Messages
93
I've come to learn that playing through amps is the equivalent of playing an acoustic drum kit. No matter how soft you play it just doesn't work. My neighbour would pound on the wall when I run some scale exercises on the violin so yeah maybe some people have bat-like super hearing. Or they just hate music in general.

Consider getting a load box and a good pair of monitors. In-ears would also work.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
4,896
I do have quite sensitive hearing...it's been getting more acute as I get older...I haven't had it checked...but I record and mix audio for the films my company makes. My ipad mini is a similar gen to your XS.

For me, SPLnFFT measuring 75-85 dB is quite comfortable...90 dB is too loud; that is measured at about 4meters from the cabs
quoting myself :facepalm

ugh, anyway...90dB is threshold of pain for me is what I mean...not that it's too loud
 

maxbrothman

Member
Messages
928
You have found yourself a new drummer. Congrats. She just wants to join your band.

Attenuators mean you can play at any level but you will need to EQ everything again blind. What sounds good at that level with EQ is whatever works, works.

80db can be like a lawnmower. 70 db is more like a washing machine. 70 db is safer for you than 80 db.

Face the cab the other way. Cabs are directional. FRFR is your best bet and a good amp sim with the attenuator. You can even play at 1am if you want or 7am.
 

ledzep618

Member
Messages
5,015
I’d add a couple of extension cabinets, and use some Auralex Grammas under them to decouple them from the floor. Theyre a bit expensive for what they are but they really do make a significant difference in how much low end travels through the walls and floor.

Having multiple cabs will make you sound bigger in the room at a lower volume relative to cranking a single speaker.

I use a ToneKing Ironman II out to two cabs, it works great, im perfectly happy with my tone, it beats the hell out of headphones, and I’ve never had a complaint from neighbors.

This thread made me curious so on the iPhone app my standard playing volume clean was 73 dB, with a bit of crunch was 77 dB, if I kick in all the drives it got up to 82. I think sustained playing at 82 would be inconsiderate for an apartment. So if OP is constant at 85 and gets up to 95 I think he needs to work on sound dampening or buy an attenuator.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
11,200
I do have quite sensitive hearing...it's been getting more acute as I get older...I haven't had it checked...but I record and mix audio for the films my company makes. My ipad mini is a similar gen to your XS.

For me, SPLnFFT measuring 75-85 dB is quite comfortable...90 dB is too loud; that is measured at about 4meters from the cabs
4 meters away 90 dB is going to be pretty loud. Distance matters when measuring and people should state it. I recommend just using the somewhat standard 1m distance so it’s easy to compare.
 

mtb

Member
Messages
341
Alternatively, you could have really nasty arguments and scream and shout a bit with other people within your apartment, so that neighbors start being worried that if they dare protest you might turn into a madman…
Just joking, but I do think you need to educate the neighbors a little; show respect by avoiding peaks that are too loud, by not practicing with the amp for too long a time and by sticking to times when people are assumed to be awake anyway (and in pre-COVID days, also at work someplace else…), but don’t allow them to intimidate you into not playing or being constantly worried about volume.
Sooner or later they will be moving furniture, having an argument, watching loud tv, dropping a vase on the floor, having a child scream his/her lungs out, etc., so whilst we need to be respectful, everyone needs to be tolerant as well.
I've found 110dB is about the appropriate apartment level. That's around the spot where it totally drowns out the neighbor's knocking and yelling.

Pro tip: Crank it up loud for about four or five minutes. Then turn it off and wait for the cops to show up. When they do tell them you don't know what they were talking about and you just woke up from a nap or something. Repeat this several times. Eventually, the cops will get tired of this and either stop responding to this call or talk to your neighbor about calling the cops for no reason. Then your neighbor can call the cops all they want, and you can play as loud as you want, and everyone's happy!
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
4,896
4 meters away 90 dB is going to be pretty loud. Distance matters when measuring and people should state it. I recommend just using the somewhat standard 1m distance so it’s easy to compare.
I'm measuring at my listening position, hence somewhere between 3 and 4 meters...
literally nothing is at 1 meter...just air
I have 4 cabs blaring in a triangle, essentially.

I have no loudness restrictions

I can, however, measure at 1 meter for comparison purposes;

I won't move my cabs, tho, so 1 meter doesn't really work as the cabs are around 4 meters apart.
I think the only location which makes sense to measure loudness is at the listening position.
 




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