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It appears sound isolation is just not friendly to apartment dwellers. I can't tear down the walls, I have four huge windows in my room, and I don't have $$$ to spend on an exterior door (assuimg landlord would allow me to replace the door).


Any advice? Or should I just do some acoustical treatments (like Auralex) to help improve the sound in the room and tell the neighbors that if they don't want to hear sounds from my apartment, then THEY can soundproof their homes (why is the burden placed on us home theater buffs anyway?).
 

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Isolating your speakers from the floor, particularly the subwoofer, can drastically reduce the amount of sound getting into other apartments (assuming they're in the same building). Done properly, speaker isolation will also improve the sound inside your apartment.


-Tweak
 

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Tweak -


What do you mean by "isolating"?


Do you mean separating the speaker from the floor, or putting some sort of absorbant material b/t the two?


Thanks.
 

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Yes.
 

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what kind of ways or materials are good for isolating a subwoofer?
 

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There are several ways to achieve different degrees of isolation, keeping in mind that thorough (perfect) isolation is not possible (damn you, Gravity!). I'll talk about subwoofers in this post, but the concepts apply to anything (speakers or components) that you wish to isolate.


Absorbent, or compliant materials will provide some isolation. Simply putting your sub atop some racketballs that have been cut in half will achieve some isolation. The downside of such a quick and dirty approach, however, is that the resonant frequency of the balls is within the operating range of the subwoofer (or higher), and therefore can muddy up the sound a bit. Depending on a million and one factors, such a quick and dirty approach can also make things worse at some frequencies.


Another fairly easy appraoch is to build a sandbox for the sub. Not only is sand non-resonant, but it is also very effective at converting vibrational energy into heat. There aren't many downsides to using a sandbox.


Constrained layer platforms (such as the Symposium platforms) are very effective at providing isolation. The bonded layers of different materials causes vibrations to be reflected around within the platform, so that more of the vibration converts to heat than if the same thickness of a single material were used. The compliant, low density (porous) material in the center of such a platform also helps to convert some vibes to heat before allowing the balance to pass. There are many different ways to make DIY constrained layer platforms.


Another very effective isolation device is a roller ball. By allowing full horizontal freedom, and having a very low resonant frequency, roller balls block a significant portion of any horizontal vibes while acting as effective rigid couplers in the vertical (they act like cones in the vertical).


In my system, I have all my gear (all components including mains and sub) on DIY roller balls, and the rollers sit atop constrained layer platforms which are spiked thru the carpet to the suspended wood floor below. Not only does this prevent a significant portion of the speakers' energy from entering the floor, but it serves well to break up the feedback loop between my speakers and components. Breaking this feedback loop can bring about drastic sonic improvements.


-Tweak
 

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Tweak-


Wow, I had no idea such devices were in existence. I'm interested in doing this for my subwoofer, but I'm not good at DIY.


Is there anything that I can buy on the market? What do you mean by "roller balls"? And, how difficult would it be to DIY.


Thanks.
 
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