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Soundproofing with wool blankets?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ric1312, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Had the police come over due to neighbor complaints. We play in a two car garage with insulation and drywall. The real problem seems to be too much noise is escaping though the garage door and the guy across the street can hear it. I walked around outside the garage while the other members of the band practiced and it wasn't bad on outside the finished walls.

    I've checked on the web and know all about the making a room within a room thing. That would just be too expensive and a huge hassle. I've also found something I would really like to try at acousticsolutions.com some acoustic blankets that can be put over a frame to make a room or just a wall of blankets over a garage door. But again it's just too much moola right now.

    I was thinking of trying to get some wool blankets from an army surplus store or something and make a curtain of several layers in front of the garage door. I know it won't completely stop the sound but I'm hoping it attenuates it enough so that the the neighbor doesn't complain. (hes the only one as he is in direct line with our garage door.)

    We don't play too loud, we use those bose systems, but the things throw like all hell.

    Does anyone have any experience trying wool blankets, and if so what was the end result??
  2. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    hmm what really helps me that is cheap is that like...yellow egg carton kinda foam. you can get it at like jo ann fabric and stuff. its pretty cheap too! just toss it all over the walls!
  3. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Are you practicing with a whole band? I've read a couple of articles that said it didn't really do much. But, if it does a little it might be worth putting over the inside of the garage door.

    Just re read your message. I'm guessing you didn't mean actual egg carton foam? But the foam panels that are called egg carton foam?
  4. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007

    thats what im talking about
  5. I suggest taking an RTA/dB meter and measure the frequencies that are escaping. It most likely the lower frequencies your neighbor is hearing.

    Here is one link for Owens Corning absorbing material. (http://www.readyacoustics.com/index.php?go=products.proddetails&prod=RT426)

    The Owens Corning 703 and 705 really works, and one of the best materials out there. Depending on actual practice volumes, you may need more or less.
    Bassbeater likes this.
  6. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    if its your bass amp than you can always get something to lift it off the ground...and i still suggest putting that foam all over, and coating the garage door with it
  7. You gotta be a little bit careful with that stuff. You can "soundproof" a room, but it might be more than you want.

    My band practices in a bedroom behind the garage. I have thick studio foam in a pattern across the walls, and "egg carton foam" on the ceiling. I made makeshift shutters for the windows, with foam over and around those. It souhds good without killing all and any sound.

    My brother has a friend that has gone the "room within a room" route. It's fine for soundproofing, but it kills all sound. I don't mean tone, I MEAN SOUND. You need to shout as loud as you can to hold a normal conversation in there...with no instruments playing.

    For your particular situation, putting foam on the inside of the garage is probably the way to go.

    But seriously, what time are you guys playing at? Midnight? If it's a reasonable hour (say before 9), I don't see why you couldn't talk to the neighbor about it and come to a comprimise.
  8. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Last time the police were over, the guy was cool with us. He said it was barely audible from the street. this is after we turned down to try be more considerate. We were cool with the officer and told him the latest we ever play is 10 and usually we only play for two hours.

    I guess the guy who complained came out of his house shouting at the officer, "I don't care if they know I called!" and generally being a jerk to the officer helping him. The guy made up a couple of bs stories about how we play every single night (only twice a week), and how he has to go to be at 8:30 to be at work.

    Well I'm looking out the window 9 the next morning the next day and there is his van and he's in his yard taking care of some yard stuff. So, I think basically he's just doesn't want to hear anything.

    So, here is what I will do I guess. By a gramma pad and lift the bass modules off the cement floor and see if has any bearing. Put up some foam and make a curtain out of wool blankets too.

    I think if I can keep the garage door from leaking so much sound then we'll be ok. No one on the other three sides complains as far as I know. The one in back is too far, and the two on either side know us better and would just knock on the door and say something.

    I don't like to annoy my neighbor, but on the other hand It's my house and I spent a lot of money already making the garage into a practice space. No way in hell I'm going back to renting out rehearsal spots for $300+ a month and having to drive at least 45 minutes both ways to practice.

    I don't really want to talk to the guy he's a hardcase and would probably just say something rude out of spite. And I don't want to chance getting in an argument with him or getting hauled off to jail for smacking him around.

    That and I don't want to give the guy the impression that we will automatically stop playing if he want's us too. One night the police came twice. The second time we were very low in volume. Unless he was really trying to hear it he shouldn't have. Outside it sounded like a boombox.

    Though we told the officer we would simply start earlier and stop by 8:30, since the guys complaint was based on that he has to be in bed early. So, we look like we are at least making an effort to be reasonable.

    If anyone else has some other ideas keep them coming.
  9. Cactusgrant


    Jul 27, 2006
    Sounds like you're being pretty reasonable and accomadating, if he keeps complaining the guy is just being a meanie (was going to type a word like "duck" but I already got into trouble for my "vocabulary" before ) ;)
  10. I think you guys are being reasonable as well. Sorry man, I didn't know that you were dealing with "that neighbor". I think some foam and blankets should make it quieter outside. Put the majority of it around the edges. Have you thought about positioning the amps and such facing away from the garage door?
  11. MazeMouse


    Jan 27, 2005
    If you can stop the major leakage of sound you should check outside with a dB meter. As far as I know the legal limit in Holland for sound-violation is somewhere around 4-8 dB within a few meters from the outside wall.

    And I've actually had people complain about "the band" while the rusling of the leaves of the tree next to their house actually made more noise than the band in question.
    So my guess he just doesn't like you playing, period. No ands buts or ifs. You're playing "rock" in a "band" so you must be stopped even if he physically can't hear a damn thing.

    So find out what legal limit of sound you have and stay within that and next time the cops show up let them see your soundproofing, show them with a dB meter if you're within legal limits and flip off your neighbour when they leave :)
  12. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    I'm not an expert, but a couple of pointers - those egg box (and some other stuff) things are for sound TREATMENT. Their job is to improve the sound INSIDE the room. They do nothing to stop it getting out - in fact the may let MORE get out, as they're designed to stop the sound bouncing round inside the room. Stopping sound getting OUT is a totally different problem.

    Secondly you're definatly on the right track with the garage door. Due to the maths of the way sound adds, and leaks the most problematic part will contribute to 99% of the problem even if it's tiny: Imaging a wall with a small open window - it doesn't matter how you treat the wall as the sound getting through the window is SO MUCH louder it doesn't matter. Even tiny gaps will let huge amounts of sound out, compared to a half decent wall, so tackle those. I suspect your garage door has some gaps around it - cover the gaps with blanket/old carpet and you'll probably get most of the benefit.

    Basically work out where the worst of it is and tackle that very specifically, and you'll probably be alble to improve things dramatically without massive work.

  13. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    +1 on Ian's suggestions. A room within a room maybe too much, but you might consider a wall or door behind the garage door. But first: fill the actual gaps and see what effect it has. A curtain of woool blankets might be a second step, as long as they're really heavy and comlpetely shut of the garage door, they might have an effect.
  14. exiledarchangel


    Sep 23, 2005
    Hey man, you could also make some sound-absorbing panels (that contain glass-fiber or something like that on the inside and have that kinda foam on the outside), put em on the garage door when the noise - ooops! :) - begins), and when you end your playing you just remove em. You could build two or three smaller to carry em around easier. You can build em for little money. Just my 2c! ;)
  15. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It's pretty easy to control treble from leaking out, but it takes significant mass, money, and space to stop low frequencies.

    Blankets, mattresses, and foam will help keep high frequencies from bouncing around in a room. And stopping *all* the significant air leaks will reduce the amount of high frequency energy being transmitted to the outside of the garage.

    However, that high frequency energy will dissipate pretty quickly over distance, so unless you play ungodly loud and the street separating you from your neighbor is the narrowest in the world, his complaint isn't likely caused by high frequencies.

    Few have the resources to re-engineer a garage to prevent low frequency energy from radiating to the neighborhood. Better to take the money you'd spend fruitlessly trying to tame the low end leaks and change the way you rehearse.
    • Trim away any unnecessary low end at your amps or mixing board. (If you can't tweak every channel, send everything except bass and kick to a submix w/ a high pass filter set to 200-250 Hz.)
    • To avoid volume wars (and the need for excessive volume) elevate instrument amps so that they aim toward the player's ears.
    • Go with a more mid-heavy rehearsal tone for bass. Pull most of the real lows (below 90 Hz or so) from the bass signal.
    • Decoupling bass amp and kick from the typical concrete garage floor won't get you much. A small iso room for drums and bass amp *would* help, but is again usually beyond the budget of folks in this situation.
    • If things get desperate, you can sidestep the problem entirely by using mesh heads and midi triggers on the drums for rehearsals. That way, you can trigger a sound module and play at any volume you want. While you lose some touch on the drums, you can get awfully good sounds these days, either from a module or using the drums triggers + trigger-to-MIDI converters to trigger samples from a computer.
  16. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    All great suggestions. Thanks to everyone. Thing is we play with e drums through a Bose L1 system. The e drums are actually worse than playing with the old acoustic drum kit, because the drummers sound really carries now.

    We don't play really loud, with the L1 I can be three feet in front of my tower and my ears won't ring the after practice, but it's a nice level for practice in the garage. Its just that it throws so dang far.

    I think you may have hit one of the problems of cutting some bass signal. The last officer came after are last two songs which are drop D. On those songs I turned up the bass on my bass, that may have been travelling too far for my grumpies bedtime. The song the officer said was barely audible from the street was after we switched back to standard and played with less bass.

    I'm so screwed, not only am I a loud singer with mic that cuts through everything, but I'm the bass player. I'm getting the, "it's all your fault look," from the guitarist.
  17. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I don't think it was mentioned above, but I think my tack would be to arm myself with copies of the noise bylaw. I don't know about your area, but where I come from, the "excessive noise" bylaw is quite specific. No excessive noise between 11pm and 8am weekdays and 1am and 9am on weekends. Excessive noise is defined as loudness of 90dB within 5m of the source for longer than six consecutive hours. Its meant to account for heavy machinery working, leaf blowers, et cetera, but I can tell you I've never jammed for longer than six hours at a time...
  18. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    I don't know that, that would help us much. The police said they have to respond to any noise complaint. I'm sure if I really wanted to argue the case and I was within compliance it would help.

    The police were cool about it, so if I can at least get the garage door from letting so much noise escape, they'd probably be on our side if it was made to be barely audible from the street between out houses.

    I would also just rather fix the problem so we can jam a little longer if we like and not have to worry about annoying the neighbors.

    It's funny the police always say something like, "you guys sound great, but we have a complaint, can you turn down the amps."

    Also, we only drink a little if we are drinking and there aren't any pungent smells floation around the room. So, they don't see us as the problem band causing problems for the neighborhood.

    Funny the first call it was a female officer and two beefy male officers. I think they were expecting trouble of some kind.
  19. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Since you've already got the drummer on an electronic kit, you might consider running the mix to a headphone amp. Pesky neighbor problems solved.
    mrcbass likes this.
  20. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    Ya we've thought of that. We will if it becomes a regular problem.

    But, that would present another problem we would not be rehearsing with our stage sound and get used to the headphone mix.

    That and I just spent gobs of money on my bose systems, I want to play with my toys.

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