Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Canceling out low frequencies noises (subwoolfers)

  1. Feb 5, 2008 #1
    Here's an interesting problem that might be best solved by physics:

    Lets say your neighbors insist on using a loud subwoolfer late at night, it travels through your appartment walls and keeps you up all night. What would be a good way to cancel out the noise, other than earphones?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    The police?

    You could try soundproofing foam, I don't see what else you could do if it's going through your walls.
  4. Feb 6, 2008 #3
    If you're thinking of cancellation, it is quite impractical. You would have to do it at the source (he'd notice) or at your ears (if you're willing to wear headphones, that already solves the problems. Most localities (and leases) have noise rules. Check that out.
  5. Feb 6, 2008 #4
    Or it could be done with an array of speakers along the wall.
  6. Feb 6, 2008 #5
    No, that won't work. All this was tried in the metal slitting industries decades ago. It really is impractical.
  7. Feb 6, 2008 #6
    haha i knew someone would bring up the police

    so there doesn't really sound like much that can be done besides soundproofing my walls.

    are there any type of smaller headphones that do noise cancellation?
  8. Feb 6, 2008 #7
    I would say your best bet is more revenge, an elliptical reflector dish. Take note of the xkcd comic that follows (http://www.xkcd.com/316/) Use the dish and the focal point to both redirect their sound and also after they fall asleep use your own sub too bass them back away. If your landlord, or neighbors complain, well then you may need another solution.
  9. Feb 6, 2008 #8
    If the speakers cover every wall and ceiling then should in theory they be able to absorb the sound energy. I didn´t say it was practical.
  10. Feb 7, 2008 #9

    That sounds by the far the most practical way to solve this delema. haha thanks.
  11. Feb 8, 2008 #10
    link to some information?
  12. Feb 8, 2008 #11
    I'll have to do some digging. The guy I knew who worked on that is long dead.
  13. Feb 8, 2008 #12
    You could always just go talk to the guy and tell him it's bothering you. That's better than calling the police over it.

    Other than that, you could decrease the air pressure in the room you are in :D
  14. Feb 8, 2008 #13


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    When I was a quality-control inspector for commercial construction, a common way to reduce sound transmission was to use 2x6 plates and headers, and stagger the 2x4 studs so that the 2x4s holding the sheet-rock in one room were not coupled to the 2x4s holding the sheet rock in the adjoining room. Simply thread fiberglass insulation horizontally back and forth between the staggered studs to help reduce noise. Decoupling the sheet-rock walls was key, especially with lower frequencies. The walls were still coupled somewhat at the floor and ceiling, but excursion of the sheet-rock was very limited, so that low-frequency sounds were heavily attenuated. I learned this technique from the owner of a motel who had rooms adjoining a very popular dance-hall with live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook