Solved! Cheap way to reduce bass going through college dorm walls

Dec 6, 2018
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Hey all. So I live in a college dorm which is the oldest dorm on the campus, and it was made a long time ago (pre-war) so the walls are terrible. My dorm neighbours are pretty loud, but even when talking at rather normal volumes their voices still go through the walls. I started sleeping with earbuds but sometimes they fall out and I end up waking up in the middle of the night to them talking or playing something on their speakers. Of course I confronted them about it, and they say they'll fix it, but they don't.
My question is, what is a cheap way to "sound proof" the lower frequencies without damaging anything since it is a college dorm. My idea was to put these 2 hollow but heavy drawers on top of the opposing desk (I do not have a roommate but it's a doubles room), and put the drawers up to the wall. Is this the right thing to do? Or should I put things up to the wall but without actually touching the wall. I'm basically trying to do a "bookshelf" kind of method but with less resources. Please help with this, I have trouble sleeping and finals are coming up, these guys are definitely not compliant.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Issue with bass is that the frequency tends to burrow though material and vibrate more than high frequencies. You would need to basically coat that wall on both sides with sound damping material https://www.soundproofcow.com/product-category/soundproofing-materials/ or actually re-build the wall in between.
 

al92

Prominent
Oct 29, 2017
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Hmmm, difficult in one sense because the noise is coming from their side and it's way more effective if you can sound proof the same side as the source of the noise. However, if I was sound damping a room, the cheapest way would be to use quilts/blankets/curtains/soft furnishings.

Alternatively, I don't know where you're from but in the UK, eggs are sold in cardboard boxes like this: https://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenhouses/Jumbo-Grey-2-600.jpg

Empty card egg boxes are a cheap and effective way to dampen sound.

However, like I said, the difficulty comes from the fact that this would all work best if you could sound proof on their side, because then the sound is absorbed before it travels through the wall.

Have you considered contacting the college administrators/management to talk to them about how thin the walls are?
 

Wolfshadw

Splendid
Moderator
I'd consider getting a fan to act as a white noise generator. Should help with drowning out the voices, but it probably won't help with the bass.

-Wolf sends

Full disclosure: Once you get used to having it, it's difficult to sleep without it.
 
Dec 6, 2018
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Thanks all for the solutions. My main question still is: should I push objects up to the wall, like the bed frame, the desk, in order to "stop the wall from vibrating as much" or should I move everything slightly away from the wall? Thanks.
 
I doubt putting anything against or near the wall will do anything for bass. Short of building a new decoupled wall (and even then the floor will transmit some bass) there isn't much you can do. A fan won't create enough level to mask sound but you could play white or pink noise over a speaker as close to you as possible.
If you can hear them talking in a normal level that might be difficult to get action on.
If they are playing music later than dorm rules allow they are probably annoying others too. Get a group to complain and you may get results.
 
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