Acoustiblok Soundproofing Blog Articles

'Treble' in Paradise: Piano Teacher’s Permit Revoked After Neighbor Complains About Noise

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Nov 29, 2013 7:34:00 PM

Next door, Jay Chester cringes from the sound. For him, it’s a constant barrage of noise — an intrusion on what he considers an otherwise peaceful refuge.

Both residents work from home: Marcus as a piano instructor and Chester as an Internet developer. They also have another thing in common: a shared dining room wall that connects their condominiums.

Coincidentally they both moved into their homes within months of each other in 2008.

The feud between neighbors has been escalating for years. It’s gone from friendly exchanges over the backyard fence to hostile encounters in the street and terse letters written to city officials.

Ultimately the fight led to the city’s revocation of the permit Marcus needs to teach piano lessons from her home.

a1a1a1a1 Blog picBut she’s not ready to give up. She appealed the decision to the City Council, which will decide later this month who will win the battle.

There is only one other permit issued for residential piano lessons in the city, and it has been held since 1999, said Brian Leveille, associate planner.

This is the first home occupation permit issued for home businesses to be revoked in the past five years, said Leveille, who called the situation “quite unusual.”

Both Marcus and Chester pleaded their cases before the city’s Planning Commission in December, which led to a 5-1 vote in support of revoking Marcus’ permit to give piano lessons from her home.

Chester argues that the “continuous cacophony of noise being produced by the grand piano on the other side of the common wall Mrs. Marcus and I share has been a constant nuisance.”

He’s made multiple short video clips — which he titled “piano pollution” — from his home to prove his point.

He also alleges that the continual coming and going of cars as students arrive and are picked up has proved to be a problem in their shared driveway and the nearby, narrow street.

Marcus says she has done everything she can to accommodate those concerns — including asking her clients to park in a specific location directly in front of her garage.

She claims that the cost of soundproofing her home, such as building an acoustical wall, is not feasible.

“On my side of the wall, there is a very large tapestry hanging,” Chester said. “I didn’t put it on my wall because I like tapestries. I went online to look for soundproofing options, and it said they help.”

But it still hasn’t muted the sound Chester is trying to be rid of.

Marcus is now offering to discontinue her use of the grand piano and use an upright piano on which to teach her students.

“It is a personal sacrifice for me as a musician to give up the use of this lovely instrument that I have owned for 45 years, but it is worth it to me in order to resolve the issue,” Marcus wrote in her appeal to the City Council.

Chester said that offer is not enough.

“This is just not the right environment for the business she is trying to run here,” Chester said. “The noise is constant and chronic. This is my home, my refuge, my sanctuary, and I should be able to enjoy it without piano music in the background.”

Piano Noise Blog Calif Text Box bylineAbout The Tribune

Founded in 1869 by District Attorney Walter Murray in what is now Mission Plaza, The Tribune is the oldest continuously operating business in the city of San Luis Obispo and one of the oldest enterprises in San Luis Obispo County.

Tags: neighborhood sounds, sounproofing, music noise, piano noise, neighborhood noise, home noise, Acoustiblok, residential noise

Add Soundproofing Material to Your Home Theater Construction Tool Box

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Mar 11, 2013 4:25:00 PM


HomeTheater Plans basementRolls of Acoustiblok with tool bag in front 1

Adding soundproofing materials to walls, ceilings and/or flooring of your home theater or entertainment room will give your family and neighbors a better quality of life void of stress and anxiety caused by loud noise from movies, video games and television shows. Sound from home theater audio system speakers can exceed 100 decibels and higher. Without adequate soundproofing materials to absorb and mitigate it, the noise will travel through your wall, ceiling and floor joints and into the rest of the home.

Acoustiblok soundproofing material used in home theatersCommercial cinemas give you a great acoustical experience that makes you feel like you are part of the movie. Commercial cinema-like sound is a key ingredient to any home theater or home entertainment room. It helps create a more memorable and pleasurable entertainment experience while watching high-speed car chases, fiery high-decibel explosions, and sweat-soaked vixens with machine guns.

Soundproofing In Your Home Provides a Higher Quality of Life

Sound travels in low-frequency waves. These waves radiate from the source of the sound in all directions. If the waves are met with resistance, they will redirect and dissipate. Because sound travels through walls, ceilings, floors and other surfaces as well as air, you will hear sound in virtually any environment.

Soundproofing is a difficult process. The only way to stop sound is to either reduce it or absorb it. Noise reduction works by blocking the passage of sound waves through either the use of distance or the placing or intervening objects in the sound path. On the other hand, noise absorption operates by transforming the sound wave itself. The wave changes when it comes into contact with certain materials.

For your home theater, you need to be aware of the amount of sound leaking from the room. Even though your home theater is smaller than a commercial movie theater, it should provide a good acoustical experience. Outside noises coming into the theater room need to be minimized and noise generated by your sound system needs to be kept inside your home theater walls so it does not disturb others inside and outside your walls.

If you are considering building a new home theater or home entertainment room, you may want to make sure soundproofing materials, like Acoustiblok, are in your construction tool box. Here’s why.

Soundproofing materials:

• Not only add essential mass to walls, ceilings or floors, but they also enhance the flexibility and stiffness while changing the natural resonance of the structure
• Drastically reduce sound transmission through your walls, ceilings and floors
• Keep high decibel noise in the theater room
• Allow people in your home to enjoy the home theater room or entertainment room any time of the day or night without disturbing others.

home theater with added soundproofing material as in acoustiblokVarious other building materials are available to help keep noise from escaping your home theater room and provide better quality acoustics such as sound panels, sound drapes, acoustic insulation, foam, carpeting or acoustic sound-deadening drywall.

Theater Room Acoustics and Intelligibility

Go to any movie theater and you will notice acoustic treatment covering a large percentage of the walls. Chairs are soft and well padded. The whole room has been carefully crafted to work as a single system.

In commercial movie theaters, acoustics plays a critical role in making sure that everyone can clearly hear the movie dialogue, no matter where they are seated. By eliminating near-wall reflections, those seated at the perimeter of the theater are not fighting to detect the sound from the speakers versus the sound reflecting off the walls. The padded seats are carefully designed to not only be comfortable, but also help control bass when not in use.

When a theater is properly treated acoustically, it improves our ability to comprehend what is being said and what noises are being heard. This is known as ‘intelligibility.’ The speech intelligibility in a room depends on the reverberation time and the background noise. If a room has a long reverberation time, spoken words will not die out before the next words reach the listener. This results in poor speech intelligibility. It will be difficult for the listener to understand what is said. However, if the sound is absorbed by acoustical soundproofing materials, it results in a short reverberation time. This provides a good acoustic environment and a high level of speech intelligibility.

Standard drywall construction has what acousticians call a sound transmission class (STC) rating of 40 decibels; the higher the number, the better the material is at blocking sound. Home theater construction of front areaWhen you crank up your audio system to experience Johnny playing Guitar Hero at concert volumes, it’s easy to hit a very loud peak sound-pressure level of 110 decibels. A sound transmission class (STC) of 40 means a person on the other side of the wall will definitely hear Johnny jamming, and if you were to measure the volume with a sound meter, it would register about 70 decibels, which is loud enough to be bothersome.

Psychological Impacts of Noise on Our Family and Neighbors

stress meterOne of the biggest culprits of home noise originates from home theaters that have poor acoustical features. According to Psychology Today website, noise is a stimulus, and when we have little control over the source, we often experience more stress and anxiety. Your anxiety may have several causes. First, you may have a “control” reaction, in which you are keenly aware of not being able to stop or alter a sound. Second, you may experience sound more sensitively than the average person. For those who notice sounds and get absorbed by it, the intrusion can become an interruption and a distraction from a productive task, including relaxation and sleep.

If you are a highly sensitive person in general, noise can be a powerful trigger to getting upset. Controlling our environment is a task humans are very good at, but in a modern world where noises are a part of the landscape, our control is limited. You can help control noise from your home theater or home entertainment room by using proper soundproofing materials.

Tags: home theaters, home entertainment rooms, home entertainment room noise, A/V room noise, home noise, soundproofing, Acoustiblok, home theater noise