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Old 22nd March 2011, 12:03 AM   #11
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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I had an upstairs neighbor who was playing hotel california over and over again very loudly one day. I waited until they stopped, moved my speaks into the corners and played Hotel California on my party speakers with my ear muffs on - I measured 118dB and rattled a few things off my counters - you know that feeling where you can't breathe? Never heard a peep from them again.

But on the whole, I agree with aardvarkash10. I could have been evicted, then who would have the last laugh?
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Old 22nd March 2011, 12:40 AM   #12
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In the past I have had exactly similar thoughts to you!

It seems to me that what you want to do is attach a microphone to the ceiling to pick up their signal, and feed it into a PC. Apply an FFT in real time (like a graphic equalizer) and band pass filter a few bands of frequencies whose average level you measure. Anything above your personal tolerance threshold is used to modulate the gain of a huge amplifier feeding some other signal that's likely to upset them (a sine wave? classical music? their own signal shifted in pitch or tempo?) with the same frequencies notched out. In this way you avoid any feedback loop with your own signals (except, perhaps if the building shakes so much it rattles!). It could all be done with a PC and some hacked-together software.

To them, the result will be silence until they start playing their music whereupon they notice something wrong with their system. They turn down the volume only to find the problem goes away; turn it up again and the problem re-appears. They are forced to run their system quieter with no obvious trail back to you. Ta dah!
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Old 22nd March 2011, 12:50 AM   #13
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Oops, just read your post again, and the problem isn't loud music after all, just general 'noisiness'. The same principle applies, however: feed back the microphone signal with frequency notches so that you don't get feedback from your own speakers.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 01:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
Brilliant! whenever that young couple upstairs tries to talk to each other, their lips will be moving, but nothing come out. They'll need subtitles!
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Old 22nd March 2011, 01:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TR
...and carry a big stick.
The beauty of an electric guitar is that you can make a louder, more unpleasant noise for a longer time with greater ease than by virtually any other means.

This makes it easier to arrive at a sensible compromise.

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Old 27th March 2011, 05:08 PM   #16
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Ohh,The days of stereo wars.
How I miss them so! jer
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Old 27th March 2011, 07:20 PM   #17
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There are several issues here.

First is the source of the noise has been increased by the use of a solid floor. When it was carpet less noise was made in the first place. So the use of a membrane underneath the final floor will provide some reduction but not a lot. That is why in Europe after WWII carpet became really popular for the inexpensively produced replacement housing units.

The second issue is how the noise is transmitted into your space. There are three common constructions. One is concrete precast slaps, a second is concrete over a corrugated steel under floor and the final is wood beam construction.

Concrete precast is concrete on both top and bottom. It has very low noise transmission. So if you have concrete then the noise most likely is coming through holes such as light fixture boxes, HVAC penetrations or other unsealed utility pass throughs.

In the second case the steel deck has two or three inches of concrete on top of it. You can treat this the same as precast for noise treatment. The difference is that there will also be a ceiling above your head with a plenum or dead space between them.

The third case is more classic wood subfloor supported by floor joists and a drywall ceiling for you. This has the worst isolation. A penetration in either the floor above or your ceiling almost halves the isolation. My bet is there are penetrations that can be sealed with cans of foam. Your eyes and ears will help you find them.

If you really want to solve the problem with a wood floor, the a method I have used both beneath a Disco floor and in a recording studio next to light rail tracks is to fill the floor cavity with perlited gypsum (A.K.A. kitty litter). Home depot will rent you a blower, but you have to go to a real supplier to get the filler.

Another method of attack is real electronic noise cancellation. In this case you use three speakers surrounding a microphone. The signal from the microphone is set to a gain of -1. You can make as many of these modules as you like. They are placed against the ceiling and will actively provide cancellation. Normally a DSP unit is used to equalized the system to allow gain to get as close to -1 as possible.

The final method is to engage the services of an exterminator to fumigate your place next time you go on vacation! You can also get do it yourself bug bombs. I have actually seen this done! The fire department was called and they figured out the source and opened the lower apartment windows.
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