Recently someone asked how they could reduce the amount of noise that would exit a home during an upcoming party where a live band would be performing. Unfortunately there is not a good solution for sound proofing residential or even commercial buildings for temporary performances. This is one reason zoning laws along with construction permitting will restrict commercial buildings that mix with residential buildings for noise ordinances.
Sound proofing that can be used for commercial settings is a split wall construction. Normally walls are made with a Stud in the center, Drywall on the inside of the home and a sheathing like siding or brick or stone on the outside. All of these surfaces are fastened tightly together to provide both an air tight and warm home but stable walls that won’t fall down. Unfortunately like the head skin on the top of a drum the whole wall acts like a drum when vibrations hit it. The wall becomes an amplifier of the noise.
When professional sound proofing is installed the interior side of the room is sandwiched with special material. often foams and rubbers along with compressed fiberboards and fiberglass materials that separate the inside of the room from the outside structure of the wall.
In sound proofing the inside of the room and outside walls never touch … or if they do there is a buffer material that eats up all the vibrations and sounds.
For temporary installs sound absorbent blankets can be applied to the wall surfaces however the amount of improvement will be very low. Don’t expect to turn an OZZY concert into a Library setting.
Also carpets and furniture will absorb sounds to some degree and you have probably noticed the difference of walking into a church or marble tiled hallway and your voice and shoe movement sounds much louder… well do not expect carpeting and furniture to soundproof your stereo set on 10 but it will reduce softer noises such as normal conversation.
So, what is the solution for having a loud party?
Unfortunately the best and probably only recommendation is to make sure that the performance is in compliance with local zoning laws.
Most zoning laws will specifically state a few typical disturbances that Police are likely to respond to. A dog barking in most residential areas is restricted to 30 minutes or less and if the owner leaves the dog unattended and can not calm the dog they can be fined.
You will also see time of day laws about noise restrictions that increase penalties if the disturbance is during normal sleeping hours of 9pm to 7am. Construction crews that work in residential areas are well aware of these laws and do not start work before 7am even in summer months when the sun is up before this time because of zoning laws.
There is also a distance law. Many areas will state that any noise from within the home should not be able to be heard outside of the property line of the home. This means if you are playing loud music then you should walk down to the curb in front of your home and around your side yard to test how loud you can play your music and then do not go above that.
Base sounds will travel much farther then higher tweeter sounds this is because of the shape of the soundwave when the noise comes out of the speaker. It is very important that you do not confuse your inability to hear Base notes loudly with the ability to hear Base Notes at a long distance….
What happens is a low sound thumping can disturb your neighbor even though they may not be able to make out the exact song or lyrics being sung.
So basically if your parents are away kids or if you are having a birthday party the best way to make sure you won’t get busted for disturbing the peace is to Keep the windows and doors closed but also realize that Base Note sounds the boom boom boom can be heard and felt much farther then you realize.