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Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 09:38AM
So I got a very nice note from my neighbor politely asking me to turn down my music, especially at night. I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes play it a little bit loud, so I don't think she is being unreasonable about it, I just didn't realize it was noticeable. I think the real issue must be this little subwoofer I have as part of my computer speaker setup. The whole system isn't really that powerful, but the sub is next to the wall between our townhouses so it probably carries through.

I'm just looking for some advice on how to word my response so that I don't come across sounding arrogant or sarcastic... or that I don't really care. But at the same time I don't want to claim that I won't play music at reasonable levels, which may include some bass.

Here's what I was going to write:

Dear Neighbor,
You have my apologies... I hope this hasn't caused you too much trouble. In the future I promise to keep the volume down, especially at night. In case it is ever a problem again please feel free to call me and I will take care of it right away (my cell number). It is difficult to judge how much sound will carry through the walls.


Is it a bad idea to give my cell number? I mean she does live right next to us, but I would think if it happened again they would prefer to call instead of having to get out of the house and knock on our door.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 07, 2008 09:43AM
How late are we talking here? Anything before 10pm is fair game for whatever you want. If it is after 10pm then yes. I wouldn't give her my cell, unless that is your only phone. I wouldn't promise anything either, especially in writing. I would just take out that whole sentence.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 09:48AM
She said specifically "especially around 10pm" which is usually when I get on the computer and goof around for a bit, then I sign off by 10:50pm and all is quiet. I have no problem keeping it down for that hour, maybe headphones even...

OK so no written promise, sounds good. My cell is the only phone.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: February 07, 2008 09:49AM
She is behaving civilly to you and you should behave civilly with her. Your note sounds fine, and you should give her your cell number. She seems very reasonable.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: volcs0
Date: February 07, 2008 09:49AM
Your email sounds fine.

I never shared walls until this year, and it has been an eye-opening experience for me. We have 4 kids, and I am always so worried about the noise (at least we're at ground level). But the "old couple" who lives upstairs makes more noise than I could ever imagine - their shoes and clomping around wakes us up at 5AM. My point is that I think, in general, people have no idea if what they are doing is causing a problem. I feel like we all need to get together and say, "Hey - I can hear it when your kids run up and down the hall," etc. Otherwise, we have no idea...

So, short answer, I think your letter is worded well. Keep things friendly between everyone.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: February 07, 2008 09:51AM
When I moved into our townhouse, the neighbors was still under construction. So i took my RF remote next door and cranked the stereo until I could hear it through the walls. Went back over to my place, made a note of the level and never exceeded it.




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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 07, 2008 09:53AM
old people getting up at 5AM - talk about annoying!!

yes, your letter does sound apologetic and reasonable. I would also vote to omit your cell #. you don't want that floating around, unless you plan on being friends with the neighbor.



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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Pam
Date: February 07, 2008 09:54AM
I think your note is great. It can also help you judge what level is too much and what can't really be heard. And if the subwoofer is really to blame. No reason why this can't continue to be worked in a good, neighborly way.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: h linamen
Date: February 07, 2008 09:56AM
I agree with gutenberg......
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 07, 2008 10:00AM
I would give them the cell phone number. Knowing your neighbor, their names, the phone number is useful IMHO. Imagine there is a flood in your building and the neigbors calls you at work (on your cell phone) to let you know. Wouldn't you appreciate that?
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: beerman
Date: February 07, 2008 10:02AM
I'd go with the headphones. Then you can crank it as loud as you want and the neighbor won't be annoyed. It sounds like a good solution.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 10:05AM
She seems really nice and since we moved in last year is one of the few to actually say hi to us. No reason to not want to keep her happy.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Kramerica
Date: February 07, 2008 10:08AM
Yes, it is likely the sub that is the biggest problem.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: February 07, 2008 10:19AM
Email is good. Move the sub too. There's a good chance it'll carry through the walls. Or, work with her to figure out what too loud is for her.

Do you guys have a common wall agreement or any sort of association?




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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: February 07, 2008 10:25AM
Quote
Kramerica
Yes, it is likely the sub that is the biggest problem.
I have to agree with that - a couple of years ago my neighbor acquired a new sound system - the only thing that really carried through the walls was the thumping from the bass. I politely asked him to turn down the bass a bit - he agreed to, and no problems since. I can still hear some of the music on occasion, but without the wall-pounding bass, it's not an issue for me.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 07, 2008 10:29AM
Always make friends with your neighbors. Drop by when you know she's home with a smile and a humble apology. Then talk music, Macs, whatever. Being neighborly with your neighbors is one of the best parts of a community.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 07, 2008 10:30AM
E-mail: Good. Very civil -- props to you. I think giving her the cell number will be fine.

Subwoofer: Very likely the problem. I had the same issue with some neighbors a few years ago -- the subwoofer of my computer speaker set was the problem. Those subs are louder than you think. I solved the problem with some nice headphones.

I'd gladly have you as a neighbor.



It is what it is.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Wailer
Date: February 07, 2008 10:31AM
Quote
mikebw
Is it a bad idea to give my cell number? I mean she does live right next to us, but I would think if it happened again they would prefer to call instead of having to get out of the house and knock on our door.

I don't know. Is she cute?
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 10:36AM
Quote
Wailer
Quote
mikebw
Is it a bad idea to give my cell number? I mean she does live right next to us, but I would think if it happened again they would prefer to call instead of having to get out of the house and knock on our door.

I don't know. Is she cute?

I'll ask my wife.... ;)



BTW- I just wrote out the note on paper and put it in an envelope, set inside her door.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: ADent
Date: February 07, 2008 10:40AM
I have a sub and even at low to reasonable levels the kids complain in my house. Just turn off the sub after 10pm.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 10:47AM
I'm just glad she didn't think it necessary to go straight to the police with a noise complaint. That has happened to me at another residence, but the cause of that disturbance was a 15" subwoofer that could crank out 30HZ tones at 114dB. We even got letters from the county about that.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Wailer
Date: February 07, 2008 10:47AM
Heh. Usually it is the subwoofer that causes problems.

When I lived in a townhome that had very good walls, I couldn't hear any talking or noise from the adjacent units. I had a screaming baby and a 2-year-old running around, so I would continually ask the neighbors if they heard anything. They always said no.

The one things that I could hear was my neighbor's subwoofer. I didn't bother complaining even though it was late at night because i only affected our living room, but it was definitely noticeable when I was trying to watch a movie.

Test the effects of the subwoofer by going into a different room. I'm betting that is the culprit.

Your note looks good with or without the number.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 07, 2008 10:48AM
Ya know, this polite note is such a good thing. It's a lot better than the classic banging on the ceiling with a broom that my neighbors used to do back when I lived in apartments. Or calling the cops. However, there IS always this alternative:


I know, it's been posted before. But the fact that this is technologically possible makes me chortle knowingly whenever I hear one of those cars on the road.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: February 07, 2008 11:19AM
What gutenberg said.

Had a similar situation with a neighbor years ago; same basic situation. I gave her my beeper number (this was well before cells were a reasonable option for a college kid) and told her that I'd keep it down but not to hesitate to beep me if it got out of hand.

I hated, hated, hated apartment living.



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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: modelamac
Date: February 07, 2008 11:21AM
As far as I'm concerned, 9 am to 9 pm is the acceptable period for louder music and phone calls. Beyond those hours I will not cut grass, throw snow, nor phone anyone except in emergency. That is how I want to be treated as well.



Mr. Curmudgeon, on Mavericks.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: kap
Date: February 07, 2008 11:22AM
cbelt3,
Is is legal? Because we'd love to use that device on our street on weekend night on those damned inconsiderate drive-by fools!



West San Gabriel Valley, California ... for the time being :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2008 11:22AM by kap.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 07, 2008 11:31AM
Quote
modelamac
As far as I'm concerned, 9 am to 9 pm is the acceptable period for louder music and phone calls. Beyond those hours I will not cut grass, throw snow, nor phone anyone except in emergency. That is how I want to be treated as well.

Yes, I agree. Meant to also address this in my response; turn it down after 9 PM.



It is what it is.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: February 07, 2008 11:36AM
Quote
mrbigstuff
old people getting up at 5AM - talk about annoying!!

young people staying up past 10pm - talk about annoying!!
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 07, 2008 11:50AM
9pm? The sun is barely down in the summer at 9pm.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: dk62
Date: February 07, 2008 11:58AM
Quote
C(-)ris
9pm? The sun is barely down in the summer at 9pm.

But a lot of small kids are.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 07, 2008 12:02PM
i was really, really surprised how long it took for someone to ask "is she cute?"

heck, im married too but that was the first thing i thought of anyway =)

headphones all the way -- spend about $60 on some nice comfy senns



----

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs [www.fakesteve.net]


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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Grumpyguy
Date: February 07, 2008 12:26PM
Keep it down you darned hippies!!! Your blabbering is spilling over into other threads!!!!!!



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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 07, 2008 12:34PM
Hey Mike,

You’d be amazed at how easily sound carries in connected townhouses (and apartments like mine)! One of my brothers owned my apartment prior to my purchase of it. One of the next door neighbors was loud to a degree that I cann’t describe adequately. It was so bad, my brother installed two layers of sheet rock and a layer of sound-proofing on the wall he and that neighbor shared. It still was inadequate.

But, if your neighbor is complaining about music and such, you definitely need to take it seriously. And, you’ree definitely off to a good start. I would word the letter a little differently. Instead of yoru version, I’d use the following:

“Dear (neighbor’s name),

Please accept my apologies. I did not realize my music was too loud and I hope this hasn’tt caused you too much trouble. It is difficult to judge how much sound will carry through the walls. In the future I promise to keep the volume down, especially at night. It is ever a problem again, please feel free to call me and I will take care of it right away (my cell number).”

If you don’t want to go with a note, then drop by her place and apologize in person and give her something with your phone number on it. I already know you’ll be cordial and handle yourself appropriately. No need to reaffirm that idea.

I'd feel differently if your neighbor was a rotten SOB. In that case, I wouldn't put anything in writing. I would just stop by and say you'll try to keep the noise down late at night and leave it at that. When it comes to rotten neighbors, putting something like that in writing could bite you in the butt. you don't need that kind of agita. Fortunately, it sounds like you have a good neighbor.

On a different note, if you own the townhouse, you may want to find out how much it would cost to install some sound-proofing, new sheet-rock and paint on the wall you share with the neighbor.

Robert

Robert
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: prof
Date: February 07, 2008 12:50PM
As someone who goes out of their way to not be nuisance to neighbors,
I always hated sharing walls with anyone because inevitably they will
treat me with less courtesy than I do them. You know where the problem
lies and the courteous thing to do would be to disconnect the sub.
If your neighbor doesn't disturb you with loud noises (regardless of the
time of day), why wouldn't you want to return the favor?? We already
have far too many people who feel entitled to do whatever they please
regardless of how it impacts others.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Andrew
Date: February 07, 2008 12:52PM
Agree with the others that you should stop by and apologize (lightly, no reason to lay it on) and get to know your neighbor. People just want to feel respected. Tell her sorry you didn't know the sound carried that far and give her permission to knock on your door if your music gets too loud. If you do, I guarantee your music won't bother her as much.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Spiff
Date: February 07, 2008 12:58PM
I'll have to agree with the subwoofer theory. Yes, it carries, because it's low frequency, non directional sound waves (goes through most anything) as opposed to screaming babies (high frequency, gets stopped by plasterboard,etc).

A suggestion or two... Lift the subwoofer off the floor. Contact with hard surfaces (floor, wall) will transmitt those soundwaves a helluva lot easier (think of whales in the ocean - hearing calls hundreds of miles away) as opposed to thin air. And then I agree, move it away from the wall.

Having a civil talk with the lady will also help. I always like face to face, so that you can get the feel of who you are talking and dealing with. My 2 cents.
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Your approach is admirable and a good start.
Posted by: Joey Cupcakes
Date: February 07, 2008 01:09PM
I haven't read the other responses, but I find your note admirable and it's perfectly fine for you to give your number to your neighbor. Keeping the lines of communication open will save a lot of stress on both sides.

That being sai, a lot of folks with subwoofers on their systems have no idea how to set them up. Often the bass produced is way out of proportion to natural sound balance. I suggest you begin by keeping an eye on that.

Also:

Try isolating your sub from the floor by using spacers of some kind. The less coupling with the floor, the less transmission (and also the most natural sound).

If your neighbor is downstairs and your sub fires towards the floor, turn the sub so the woofer faces straight out.

Good luck!
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: decocritter
Date: February 07, 2008 02:09PM
Subs are annoying second hand.

Your note is nice, and I would give the number. I would also speak to her the next time you see her, and let her know you enjoy your music, but do not wish to annoy anyone.


We had a flood in our condo building...no one had anyone's phone number...so they knocked on my door at midnight...I would have preferred a call.

My neighbors play music every now and then quite loudly. I don't mind if they shut it down by 10:00.


9:00 a.m is much too early for wall shattering music. 10:00 p.m. is the usual county ordinance, but I would keep it down if you know she is at home by 9:30
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 07, 2008 02:55PM
Anything before 10pm is fair game for whatever you want.

Not true, especially if you have any respect for your neighbors.

Some people work graveyard/mids, others get up at 0dark30, and are entitled to a decent cycle's sleep.

And while many communities have local ordinances, usually the state law can be applied. For instance, though 1000-2200hrs is the *unwritten* standard, and one many noise makers cling to, 415PC (in CA) makes no mention of a time standard, and booming bass can be addressed by the local constabulary at any time.

So some places may allow all the noise you can make within a certain time frame, but that's *not* universal.

A nice note mike, though I'd change "promise" to "will" or "will try", etc. Promises are almost always broken. A nice neighbor is a good thing.

I use IR headphones a lot but can't wait until somebody makes a really decent set of BT cans.



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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 07, 2008 03:19PM
this is why zero lot line homes and townhomes/duplexes are a royal PITA. If I am paying as much as I do for my mortgage, I am going to be as loud as I want whenever I want. WE just keep our double pane windows closed, and the noise is almost un noticeable.

I don't mind the neighbor's pheasants, and he doesn't mind my Buicks.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: yeoman
Date: February 07, 2008 06:09PM
Have you thought of doing a test where you go to her home and listen to various levels?
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 07, 2008 06:36PM
Again, thanks for all the advice.

I in fact work the night shift so I need to sleep during the day. On the weekends our other neighbor plays their music a little loud during the day but it has not become a problem per se.

I realized there is another factor here- our office (where the computer and sub are located) is probably right next to her bedroom. The floor plans on the townhouses are flipped such that the bedrooms and 2nd bedroom/office on the top floor are not next to each other from house to house. So, the sub is basically right next to her bed I figure.

I'll see if I have some foam to get it off the floor with, in addition to keeping it down at night.

I wouldn't say I regret buying this house, but I can tell you now that our next purchase will not be a townhouse or a condo...
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: February 07, 2008 09:07PM
One thing oddly missing from most of the responses here-- one should be allowed to enjoy music without constant anxiety of potentially disturbing someone and headphone listening is not for everyone. And bass is a crucial component of many genres of music.
I would shift the focus of the note from an apology to a suggestion of working together to find a compromise.
There are also people out there who hear their neighbors making noise (kids/music/etc.) and think "how nice that they have a little enjoyment in their lives".
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 07, 2008 09:38PM
what Spiff said and take it one step further.
Buy yourself a open cell neoprene matt of 1/4" or so to isolate the sub from the walls and floors. Won't cure it but it will help.
[www.auralexelite.com]

You can cop some ideas from this if you don't want to buy the product.

[www.canalrubber.com]



!#$@@$#!

are we there yet?


[garyrichard.net]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2008 09:45PM by Fritz.
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Re: Neighbor complaining my music is too loud...
Posted by: prof
Date: February 08, 2008 08:19AM
Quote
Black Landlord
One thing oddly missing from most of the responses here-- one should be allowed to enjoy music without constant anxiety of potentially disturbing someone and headphone listening is not for everyone. And bass is a crucial component of many genres of music.
I would shift the focus of the note from an apology to a suggestion of working together to find a compromise.
There are also people out there who hear their neighbors making noise (kids/music/etc.) and think "how nice that they have a little enjoyment in their lives".

This is just nonsense. No one has the right to enjoy any activity at someone else's expense. If whatever your doing is not disturbing someone else that's all well and good but if they inform you that it's bothering them then the civil thing to do is alter what you're doing so as not to disturb them or anyone else. It's really pretty simple. If that's inconvenient to you, that's better that than incoveniencing others. In this particular case the sub's vibration through the walls and floors are what's causing the disturbance and no amount of turning it on it's side or putting spacer's under it is going to eliminate this. As a bass player I can say that with absolute certainty. The only real and courteous solution is to move the sub to another room as far away from a shared wall as possible (which even then may not be enough to eliminate the vibrations travelling thru walls and floors), just don't use the sub at all or wear headphones. People's sense of entitlement to making noise in any kind of shared wall living arrangement is ridiculous and the lack of consideration we have these days, for how our actions affect those around us, is just plain sad.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2008 08:48AM by prof.
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