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Thread: Hifi in a flat

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Cheshire

    Posts: 7
    I'm Peter.

    Default Hifi in a flat

    Hi all,

    Later this month I'm moving in to a flat and having never lived in one before I'm more than a little concened about annoying the people below me (only 4 flats across 2 floors). I don't play my music very loud but would like to do some work up front to minimize issues as much as possible. Can the gurus of AoS please help?

    The building itself seems well built and when I viewed it twice I heard nothing from the other flats either time. Underfoot it feels very solid with no noise from footfall but the lounge where my hifi will be has laminate flooring, which is not ideal. I only have small speakers (Elac BS203) but they can put out a reasonable amount of bass.

    I was wondering about using heavy tiles or slabs on Sorbathane feet and then stands on the slabs to try to decouple them from the floor and stop bass transmitting that way. After that I plan on getting a large and deep pile rug to cover as much floor as possible. Then I'm starting to struggle for ideas. I've been reading about bass traps and acoustic panels but would prefer to keep it looking more like a lounge than a recording studio.

    Any suggestions? Please, no horror stories about flats. I'm nervous enough about my first property purchase as it is! Detached with no neighbours for half a mile is not an option.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 429
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    One thing you can try to do is orient the speakers so that they project the sound, (which is transmitted in longitudinal waves), so that it is not directed at a common boundary, ie a neighbour, rather, to the outside front or back walls.

    I have done this with considerable success, but the neighbour with a cheap and less powerful small system has hers directed in a 'sideways' direction, that is, towards me, and it makes a terrible mid range noise, though not very audible.

    I believe that bass is usually an airborne problem rather than transmitted through the substrate, but I am open to correction on this.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Sheffield - UK

    Posts: 5,793
    I'm Mark.

    Default Hifi in a flat

    No, bass is commonly transmitted through the structure of the building I'm afraid. Mid and higher frequencies are more of an airborne problem - though it's surprising how much energy exists in the mid and even this can cause structural vibration

    100% Analogue

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: cheltenham

    Posts: 326
    I'm matt.

    Default

    I'd be looking for hifi that sounds good at low volume (assuming what you've got doesn't). For example smaller ATC speakers are known for sounding a bit flat and uninvolving at low volumes. Where as the bigger Tannoy dc speakers are the opposite.

    When I used to own Tannoy system 10 monitors, one of the first things that surprised me was how I could enjoy them at whisper quiet volumes, where my much smaller Linn kan mk2 would sound dull at the same volume.

    I've heard people say that some amps sound better than others at low volumes too.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,793
    I'm Shaun.

    Default

    I have always found in previous properties that the bass from my speakers radiates backwards and through the walls immediately behind. I have therefore had problems locating the speakers so that they are not rearward against the neighbours wall. Bloody nuisance really.
    Among the many: Ozric Tentacles early years - Genesis early years - Pink Floyd - Brand X - Camel - Shpongle - Younger Brother - The Peaking Goddess Collective - Deadmau5 - Trentemoller - Kiasmos - Acoustic Alchemy - John Coltraine - Hank Mobley - Lee Morgan - And Oasis...!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 18,312
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    How modern is the building? Is it steel frame and concrete? What is the floor made of? Are you on the ground or 1st floor?

    If it is an old building that has been converted you are likely to have more problems. However with small speakers like your ELACs I can't see any neighbours making a fuss about the bass end. Frequencies below 40 hz are what travel through the structure, so you should be fine there as the ELACS will not have any serious output that low.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Sony X505ES CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / NVA A30 Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Southampton, United Kingdom

    Posts: 385
    I'm Paul.

    Default

    Yeah, I was gonna ask about the floor too. My place is 1960s and the floor is concrete with heating pipes inside it too. I still use marble/stone slabs under the speakers and that definitely helps. I've not had any complaints and I've been living here for over twenty years

    Actually, tell a lie - I did have a letter from the council once but that was back in the days when I had DJ gear set up, including the PA !
    Linn Sondek LP12, Ittok, A&R P77 > Musical Fidelity XLPS v3 Phono Stage
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    Tisbury Mk.1 pre-amp > 2 x Meridian 205 monoblock power amps > Rega Jura Mk.2 speakers
    Grado SR80 headphones

    www.paulridgeblog.com

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Cheshire

    Posts: 7
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    Wow. Thank you for all the responses!

    The building was built as flats in '78. I think the floor is concrete. I'm on the first (top) floor. It certainly feels very solid.

    Kit wise, I have a Sonneteer Alabaster which (I think) is class A up to a certain point and sounds lovely without pushing the volume too high. Speaker wise, I've been thinking of a few panels behind as the room isn't really big enough to have them a huge distance from the wall. If that doesn't work I know of a pair of Royd Minstrels I can buy which really sing even at lower volumes and are handily side ported, though they are a very different animal to the Elacs.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 429
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    You are very probably right Mark, but my guess is that the bass transmission is the most variable aspect, and depends on the individual situation and building structure.

    Regarding floors, my ADAMs have spikes which I was thinking of removing and just trying some rubber floor door stops instead, but the spike seem to work and I cannot detect any transmission of bass through the floor.

    How spike 'work' is beyond me though, even though I have read numerous analyses of them.

    It is my neighbours low mid/upper bass which penetrates the two layer breeze walls.

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Birmingham, U.K

    Posts: 300
    I'm Taz.

    Default

    I'm living in a flat that sounds like yours, 2 flats on the ground floor and 2 above.
    I'm on the bottom left if you look from outside and my upstairs neighbour is a total grass if my system disturbs him.
    I found having you speakers off the floor, away from the wall and toed in helps.
    What amp are you using?
    At night I'll reduce the bass from the amp and can get away with a level I find suitable without annoying him.

    What I would recommend is having some carpet under your speakers to try reduce any vibrations that'll go through the floor, and yes bass does travel through walls and floors.
    These are what I'm using (thanks to Geoff, walpurgis) and they work a treat http://theartofsound.net/forum/showt...hlight=Dollies

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