Anyone able to point me to an acoustics expert?

As part of this ickle problem with the flat. Thinking about getting someone in to properly advise. The initial stage of which is to try and have a conversation about what the problem is, likely solutions etc.

So, anyone actually know someone who knows about acoustics and domestic spaces?

I can imagine varied potential solutions. Cavity walls maybe, are there types of double glazing with vacuum in them? Would that even help? How about trying to just deflect sound with a bit of perspex? There will be people out there who do this for a living. So, given the incredible knowledge space of you readers, anyone know anyone who does?

The basic problem, music source at 120 dB (possibly 130) at 20 metres distance. How do we get that down to just mild background internally? Without killing the DJ that is.

37 comments on “Anyone able to point me to an acoustics expert?

  1. How about renting a different flat?

    Or writing a piece about negative externalities and asymmetric information 🙂

  2. A friend of mine in a semi had problems with a stone deaf neighbour running her TV at full volume. Got in an expert, paid a fortune for a second sound insulating wall(*) and sound reducing double glazing, only to find that in summer when he needed the windows open the sound just came round the corner. Bear that in mind when looking at solutions.

    Otherwise moving or a hit man are your options.

    (*) Basically lots of mass layered with sound absorbent foam and non-rigid coupling to the existing walls.

  3. Both could be done. But we came in knowing of the problem, even if not quite the extent. It’s also a fabulous flat. If it costs a few 10 k to get it properly sorted then fine.

  4. You need sound cancelling speakers – not sound insulation. Really. They work. Used quite a lot in noisy industrial settings.

    Basically they have a microphone that measures the air compressions and rarefactions caused by the noise and pump out the equal and opposite rarefactions and compressions from a speaker – the theory and practice being that these sum to zero.

  5. I would burn the offending venue down – bring careful obviously not to hurt anyone as that’s a whole other order of criminality. But that’s just me.

  6. Hi frequency sound should be easy to kill with double glazing and some decent (sound) insulation or acoustic wall tiles.
    What is a lot harder to deal with are the lower frequencies.

    Essentially you have to build a room within a room with everything isolated including things like pipework etc.

    https://www.christiegrey.com/construction-products/

  7. You’ve probably got a lot of bass frequencies in it, which love to conduct through the fabric of the building, if it’s a DJ type noise. Mostly, fighting that kind of sound involves floating rooms i.e. building a room within a room with an airgap on all six sides (e.g. walls, floor and ceiling) and all floating on shock absorbers. The longer the wavelength the more it goes through insulation type solutions, you see.

    I strongly recommend hanging the DJ.

  8. Can advise on some points – did a noise module at university. This is sort of 101 stuff, but two important principles to bear in mind:

    1) Noise really transmits through gaps. So seal up anything you can with insulating material, especially facing or side-on to the noise (it also diffracts around corners).

    2) Different noises transmit better/worse through different materials. So multiple layers of different materials is often more effective. Especially when you have multiple layers of gas/liquids/solids.

    3) Noise gets reflected, in part, by boundaries (like a crap mirror). The distance between boundaries and the different materials on each side of the boundary matter. So multiple layers also helps for this reason.

    There are lots of noise insulation products around, from plasterboard for cladding that is just optimised for sound insulation through to the foam eggbox interior-shaped covering that is used in laboratory silence rooms. There is also special glazing which can help; typically triple-glazed with differing gaps and gases across the two voids. My brother has these and it’s works very well for traffic noise.

    However this is all really for airborne noise. Low frequency rumblings that transmit through the ground, along beams etc. are harder to deal with, and whilst the principles above do hold some relevance, in practice it’s quite different.

  9. Ian B?

    Can it be so?

    The seat of my reason tilts upon its axis. Next up, SMFS turns up in a frock and NiV wears brown shorts astride a tank.

  10. I don’t have it with me (cos I’m in Normandy) but the editor (Robert Harley) just wrote up how he built a listening room for reproduced sound in his new house. It’s the inverse problem to yours.

    But the relevance is he mentioned a company who’s good at this shit.

    Perhaps a starting point (albeit merkin)

  11. “Without killing the DJ that is.”

    Well, that leaves out my first solution.

    You could burn down the bar?

  12. Grr.
    Blame the Calva.
    Robert Harley is editor of The Absolute Sound, a fine mag for those interested in high quality sound reproduction. Should be online now or soonish

  13. Torture isn’t murder & would probably work… but you’d need some sound insulation so;
    Noticed Bricomart were selling sound insulation tiles pretty cheap, when I was in there. The visible surface comes in a variety of textures.
    To insulate sound you need to put some significant absorbent mass between you & the emitter. There are no lightweight solutions. And your problem will be what you’re hearing won’t be mostly airborne sound. It’s transmitted through the fabric of the building (just goes to shop how crap building is, south of the Pyrenees. UK’s had sound insulation/isolation regs for MOB’s for decades) So forget about sound cancellation devices. You’ll just be wasting your money.
    Best way to think of it is; how would you stop your noise getting out? It’s the same solution. I’m guessing poured concrete floors? Heavy fitted carpets would make a deal of difference. Skinning the party walls with acoustic plasterboard fixed on battens fixed through insulator pads isn’t too expensive & deals with horizontal. Could do the same with ceilings but the reduction in ceiling height can be problematic. Double glazing should be sufficient. But Portugal & I expect you’d like windows open rather than run aircon 24/7.
    What you really need is couple beefy guys scare the crap outa the cvnt. Lot cheaper & more effective. Do you really not have some Russian connections still live? That’s who I use.

  14. I think you probably want an insulation/ventilation expert as well as an acoustics expert, as half of this will be about a comfortable environment in Portugal when you have to have the windows shut.

    yes it a possible at reasonable expense.

  15. Probably cheaper to hire the DJ yourself. Then give him a blank play list. Keep him supplied with beer. He’ll either go somewhere else so he can play sounds or he’ll die an early death from alcohol.

  16. A fireman’s axe applied to the sound system cabling is very effective and the sight of the axe inhibits interference.

  17. Unfortunately proper solutions cost a lot of money. There was a studio sound-proofing guy who was well-known in music circles in the UK who just packed it all in recently because the contrast between what people thought could be done for a small amount of money and what needed to be done and spent in reality was so great.

    The room within a room solution is presumably not open to you, and costs a fortune anyway, plus it makes your internal space smaller. You can get ‘acoustic glass’ double or triple glazing from specialists, or at least high-performance double-glazing, which I would go for, but as someone said, the problem is that when the heat hits and you have to open the windows all the noise comes back in, so you need to have proper air-conditioning for that to work in summer.

    As others have said, sound also comes in through the structure of the building (as well as gaps), and that’s very difficult to stop.

    “deflect sound with a bit of perspex”. Not going to happen, not with bass frequencies anyway. Only mass or rockwool-type insulation attenuates bass frequencies.

  18. In Wikipedia there is a very full item about loss of hearing titled Sensorineural Hearing Loss which you might take time to look at. On Friday 9 July 2010 I posted on “The Return Of The Mad Tankies”, and Wednesday 16 March 2011 on “Cox And Box” and Monday 13 May 2013 “The Rest Is Noise”.

  19. You could try retrofitting acrylic (better than glass) secondary glazing to your windows leaving an air gap of at three to six inches between the primary and secondary panes… the more the more the better.

    This would be least expensive option and easy to do depending on your window frames.

    I lived in a flat in a London suburb – about 200 to 300yds across a field from a busy dual carriageway – with air gap double glazing (all glass). The inner glazing panels slid on runners so the outer could be opened for fresh air.

    It was very effective and surprising what difference it made if the inner panel was slid back.

  20. I should refer back to your previous post on subsonic sniper rifles and take it from there.

    From 20m shouldn’t miss even with an airgun!

  21. “You could try retrofitting acrylic (better than glass) ”
    Sound attenuation depends on mass. The air vibrating on one side of the barrier has to get the barrier vibrating to transmit the sound to air on the other side. This takes energy. The greater the mass, the more energy. Acrylics are light & therefore it takes little energy to vibrate acrylic & thus it attenuates less.
    This, of course, applies to solid attenuators. Fibrous or granular attenuators can be considered as collections of solid attenuators. It’s the inefficiency of passing vibration from one strand/particle to next makes them good acoustic insulators. But it’s still related to mass. The greater the mass, the greater the attenuation.

  22. Of course a couple of big geezers with attitude can attenuate acoustic disturbance completely. Again it’s the mass that counts. Although you may detect some brief initial squawking..

  23. I’ve returned to the post after a day to see that no-one has answered the question asked.

    Call Will Wyeth of Advanced Soundproofing.

    As someone who holds a nice certificate that has words like “PhD” and “acoustics”; I’m kind of embarrassed that I know longer know anyone in London doing this sort of work, but I feel this qualifies me to look over and evaluate the websites of those advertising this sort of service. Will – as far as I can see – has no qualifications or certifications whatsoever, yet his brag-sheet shows him choosing the same solutions I would, and he has odd unsolicited endorsements on musicians forums etc.

    This is not an area where you want to DIY unless you enjoy studying to be an expert at something, and it is not an area where you can buy some product that will fix the problem.

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