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Subwoofer in a townhouse - bad idea?

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    Subwoofer in a townhouse - bad idea?

    The wife and I live in a townhouse. We have good neighbours on other side of us. I never hear their TV/stereo and if they hear ours they never tell us. Whenever I see them outside I make a point of saying "and if you ever hear out TV/music please let us know". So far so good.

    I am getting the itch to upgrade my Sonos system with a sub. I think the sub will roundout the system nicely and give us the full surround sound option in the living room as we have a soundbar attached to the TV. But I am worried about the added bass with my neighbours and the common walls.

    I've done some google searching around and opinions are mixed. Some postings say do not introduce a soundbar in to shared wall living. Other posts say it is fine so long as you respect people and turn the sub down at 9 at night.

    What are people's thoughts here? Anyone have a sub in a mixed-wall living situation?

    Thank you.

    #2
    We not only had a subwoofer in the townhouse we lived in, we fairly often hosted karaoke parties that lasted into the wee hours--and we used a real PA system with a 200 watt amp and Kustom PA speakers. Neighbors never complained once.

    However, we did have some mitigating factors:

    1) The way the floor plans are laid out, gives extra sound proofing. For example, closets are mostly back to back between units, the walls are double drywalled, and there is eight inches of space between the walls.
    2) Neighbors on both sides are old. Their hearing probably isn't the greatest.
    3) They were kind of like row houses--all the doors and windows face out from only the fronts and backs. Our doors faced the garage in the back and the pool house in the front, so nobody to get bombarded with the sound escaping from the doors and windows.

    Why not give it a try?
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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      #3
      I was thinking about this last night as I was listening to some tunes. I think I am going to go for it. I will then leave a note on the doors of each of my neighbours letting them I just bought the sub and to come and to come and see me/call/text if they have any issues. At least that was my thinking last night. When it comes time to plunk down the cash my thoughts might change.

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        #4
        I'm a musician and I think about this a lot. I hear my neighbor practicing bass guitar in his basement next door, but only when I'm in my basement. He probably hears me playing the tuba XD.

        I'd recommend getting a downward-firing subwoofer rather than a forward-firing one. Downward-firing means that it's going to vibrate the floor a little, but it will dissipate throughout your listening environment, whereas forward firing will carry through the air towards where it's aimed. If that's a shared wall, people might hear it.

        Sonos speakers sound amazing. If you're looking at the Sonos sub, it looks like there are two drivers (speakers) facing each other. That's related to the effect you get with noise-cancelling circuitry--in this case the sound waves won't nullify each other, but you'll get a more diffuse sound. It should mollify the directional effect, and neighbors won't feel like the speaker is pointed right at them.

        If you have an Apple device, you might already know that you can use the Sonos app on iOS to tune the speakers--the microphone on your phone listens to the relative volume of all the speakers in the system and adjusts them for the best sound. You might be able to adjust the relative volume of the subwoofer if it doesn't produce a good balance by itself.

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          #5
          Thanks for the tip andrewg Yes, I have the sonos system. Damn the sub is expensive. The wife thinks it is overkill, but I don't know. The more I think about it and the more I research, I think the sub will be a good investment. Then again, I convinced myself that my speedy and Explorer II were good investments. I can pretty much convince myself of anything

          But I do listen to a lot of music. And the sub would help out when watching movies - which we don't do a lot of, but you know. From time to time. Mind you I won't be able to crank the music up to earth shattering levels because of the shared walls. So in that case, would a sub even be worth it? Would I be getting the most out of it if I had to tune the subs output way down?

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            #6
            I bought a $100 subwoofer made by Polk, a great company, and I'm happy with it, although mostly what we're watching now is Moana, The Incredibles, and Lego Ninjago. The Sonos one is also wireless, which is a cool feature.
            For music, it depends what you listen to. For rap and hip hop, definitely noticeable, because producers boost the lower frequencies in the recordings. For classical, jazz, or some other types of pop music, it might sound weird with the sub. Rock music, you'd notice it if you listen for it. Movies would be definitely something you feel, and the enjoyment factor is very high! And it doesn't take a very big/powerful/expensive sub to make a difference. 100W is plenty. I think the Sonos one is handsome, all the other ones look like black wooden boxes with cloth over them, but then again they all look like black wooden boxes with cloth over them. If you have a place to put it, you'll just end up looking past it.

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              #7
              Originally posted by andrewrg View Post
              I bought a $100 subwoofer made by Polk, a great company, and I'm happy with it, although mostly what we're watching now is Moana, The Incredibles, and Lego Ninjago. The Sonos one is also wireless, which is a cool feature.
              For music, it depends what you listen to. For rap and hip hop, definitely noticeable, because producers boost the lower frequencies in the recordings. For classical, jazz, or some other types of pop music, it might sound weird with the sub. Rock music, you'd notice it if you listen for it. Movies would be definitely something you feel, and the enjoyment factor is very high! And it doesn't take a very big/powerful/expensive sub to make a difference. 100W is plenty. I think the Sonos one is handsome, all the other ones look like black wooden boxes with cloth over them, but then again they all look like black wooden boxes with cloth over them. If you have a place to put it, you'll just end up looking past it.
              The speakers on my Hi-Fi are Polk...I got them when I was in college circa 1989 and they are still going strong. My Kenwood receiver (same vintage) also still works fine. My cassette tape deck crapped out decades ago and the CD player about 10 years ago but my wife had one that still works and we don't really need two now that we're together in the same household anyway. Polk makes really nice speakers and they last.
              “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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