Do I have a right to be annoyed by neighbor's bass?

anna29January 6, 2007

My husband and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a highrise building. Our bedroom shares a wall with a studio apartment. A new tenant recently moved in, and since then anytime he is home he plays music that is very bass-heavy. He also seems to have his television set up to play through his stereo speakers, so we can hear the loud vibrations from that, too. In the evenings I don't really mind moving to the living room or elsewhere in the apartment for a couple of hours. And, to his credit, he does not play his music or television very loud or very late. His other typical living noises don't really bother me at all, but the bass is surprisingly strong.

This became more of a problem when he and his girlfriend came home a little after 2 a.m. this morning. This is the first weekend he's been in the apartment, and I was first woken up by some banging and loud laughter. Although I was annoyed, I probably would have just been able to go back to sleep after this, but then he turned on some music. Even though our bed is placed against the wall opposite the shared wall, when my head was on my pillow the bass was even stronger. I suspect he has his speakers and/or a subwoofer on the floor.

Normally, I would just make a point to run into him in the hallway and after some friendly small talk (how does he like the building, etc.), I would casually mention the strong bass and suggest keeping his speakers off the floor, getting carpet (our building does require 80% of the wood floors to be covered), and such.

But I find myself in a dilemma because I am pregnant and will be having the baby in about five weeks, and babies can be real noise makers! The baby's bedroom does not share any walls with other apartments (except floor and ceiling), and we've made an effort to place as much noise-absorbing materials in both the baby's and our bedrooms. But the fact is, the baby is going to cry and even though we will do our best to keep from disturbing our neighbors, I'm sure there will be times when there isn't much we can do.

So am I being a hypocrite by being bothered by my new neighbor's bass? Would it be wrong of me to ask him to attempt to muffle the bass more? I really appreciate hearing anyone's opinions and/or suggestions...

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I don't know, you would really have to wait a while and see what kind of pattern there is. Daytime bass sounds that don't even hit your living room are not really that bad!

On the other hand ... if 2am banging and loud laughter and stereos are going to be a regular weekend event, you might have a problem. Frankly I would not approach him by yourself; if you have to take things to a higher level (noise complaints to the city, or taking it to the landlord) then he'll know it's you and you might be in for some audio terrorism or worse. Better, if you go talk to some of the people he shares walls/floors with, and see if anyone else is bothered. Subwoofers at 2am annoy the crap out of most people.

Then, you both go to his door and introduce yourselves, friendly, and ask nicely. Two people can get way more results than one because, if he's unreasonable and intends to persist, he'll try to portray you as hypersensitive, vindictive, irrational, etc. He can't really do that when 2 separate units are complaining, and the same applies if you have to make noise complaints to the city or the landlord. Also, he won't know who complained!

Baby noises annoy people alot too. I live above 3 toddlers who scream and cry all night long and it drives me bonkers. But, those noises are unavoidable and necessary to the future of the species. It isn't at all comparable to the avoidable and unnecessary sound of loud music late at night. In fact, having a baby is grounds to be even *less* tolerant of late night loud music + drunken crashing, not more tolerant. Babies need their sleep even more than we do!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 9:57PM
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His other typical living noises don't really bother me at all, but the bass is surprisingly strong.

It might be a surprise to him as well.

And ANY stereo at 2am is out of line. It's not comparable to the baby crying. And believe me, you won't want his stereo keeping you from whatever sleep you can carve out.

You have some tolerance for SOME of his noise--you clearly don't expect utter silence from over there. Be sure he knows that--that you're understanding of SOME noise, but you would like him to do what you've done--take some very reasonable steps to diminish the worst of it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:20PM
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Yes, you have more than a right. In some areas, that person is breaking the law. Check your noise ordinance.
Ah, the barbarism to which we have sunk.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 7:46AM
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the bass issue is legitimate and what irritates me is that everywhere i've moved where i've been subjected to that,each person has had the same attitude and gave me the same reply which is basically "hey,not everybody works days man!"
i've found that most people that play loud music at night,are well aware of how loud it is and expect neighbors to get up,get dressed and go knocking on the door and politely ask them to turn it down.that's called an unreasonable expectation at 1 or 2am--and yes,they'll be fine with that request..til they realise that you mean every night!! then they'll get a bit rude/.hopefully,you're not confronting that type of person.but i've found (in my experiences)that most all residents that are up all night with the bass cranked up fall into that catagory. " EVERY NIGHT??? I DON'T THINK SO,DUDE!!!!" hope i'm wrong in this case.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 4:28AM
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If he is at all agreeable to do something you could have him try getting a Sub Dude for his Subwoofer, But it will likely help more with anyone below him rather than next too him, He also no doubt needs some bass trapping in the corners of his room which would also improve his sound as well, but I doubt he has a clue about that.
Anyway if there is management to talk to about it I would go that route.

If he wants the tactile experience without the booming sound he could try some butt kickers in his couch as well.
and if it is bothering you I can be it is bothering other tenants in the building as well.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 8:13PM
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It is very possible neighbor has no idea you can hear/feel his bass. Sometimes just readjusting the bass speaker's location is enough to prevent the low frequency sound waves from going through a wall. Bass isn't like a regular speaker and location of the bass speaker is rather flexible without affecting sound for the system. Just ask the neighbor if maybe he could try readjusting it. Also, most bass speakers can be individually adjusted for "volume" or power and nudging it down a tad may be all that is necessary. I had this problem and my neighbor was so apologetic--he had no idea I could hear it.

And re: the coming baby (congratulations!), just be honest. Tell him you feel awkward even asking because of the potential for the baby's cries to travel, and that you hope he'll say something if it becomes a problem, but still, the bass...blah, blah. Honestly and a smile usually work very well. And if his reaction is positive, a bottle of wine left at his door with a "welcome to the building" note is a nice gesture of good will in case you have to make further requests for additional "adjustments." Don't get too worked up--again, he probably has no idea the bass is traveling so far.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 10:32PM
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I think you have a right to be annoyed, but depending on the level of noise and time of the noise, you may not have a right to complain about it. My husband and I lived in a house when we bought our surround sound system with a great subwoofer bass. It really rumbles and sometimes even blows air it's so powerful. However, when we recently moved into an apartment building we unplugged the subwoofer. I know I would be annoyed, why wouldn't my neighbors be? If I were you, I would just try to talk to your neighbors. They may not even be aware you are annoyed with them. If they are nice or halfway decent they will turn it down.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 5:38PM
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