Moving into an apartment with wood joist floors - worried about neighbors hearing

Hey all,

So during the pandemic I bought a pair of very Manhattan-unfriendly Egglestonworks Kivas. They sound amazing! 

However I recently decided to move and found an amazing old loft. While signing the lease I saw a bunch of language about noise and playing music loud - and now I’m starting to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake.

I’ve lived in places with concrete floors the last 15 years, so i didn’t even think about it when taking the place, but this old building has wood joist floors. 

While I don’t listen loud - I’ve always been a low- to medium-volume listener - I’m worried that even then the Kiva’s will have too much bass energy.

The opposite pressure is that the room is huge with high ceilings. So in a vacuum, the Kiva’s would be the perfect speaker for the space.

The way I see it I have two options:

1) Try to move in with the Kiva’s and do everything I can to contain their energy (bass traps / panels / thick rugs / Isoacoustics Gaia pucks - some of which I already have). If there are complaints, then get different speakers or use equalization to lower the bass on my digital sources (not an option for vinyl though)


2) Get different speakers proactively. If I do this, I could consider a pair of bookshelf speakers with limited LF (SF Amati’s or those WIlson bookshelves?)

Anyone have any experience with this? If I go route #2, what about planar ribbon speakers like Maggie 3.7? Seems like the dispersion on them might solve a lot of the problem here, but not sure if they’ll still resonate the floor.


Got a buddy who lives in a nearly 100 year old building with wood floors.  He is very careful about sound because it is so easy to disturb the unit below. He uses bookshelf speakers.

If it were me I would set up first and contact the people in the lower unit and run a test. See what they can hear. 

I got a good deal on a Velodyne sub from a person who moved into and apartment where it could no longer be tolerated. 

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Try springs under the sub. Much better then other forms of pucks, etc. You can find decent ones on eBay (Preffair is the brand I have), although you can also find "High Quality" ones for 10 times more money. 

I used them under my Velodyne and now under a JL Audio sub and it not only improved the sound, but the springs don't vibrate my wood floor as much. A cheap and a quick fix, and not much is lost if they don't work for you.

The whole floor will act as a sounding board so it is necessary to damp the floor throughout much of the room, not just directly under the speaker.  Ideally you would get wall to wall carpeting with a very thick and dense pad.  If you can only manage area rugs, again, the thickest and densest rug covering as much as you can of the floor would help.  

The speakers should the be placed on vibration damping devices—specislty feet or s platform.  

It will become more a question of at what days and what time(s) of the day you do your listening.  Your choice of music will also figure into this.    

If you are listening at 2PM on a Wednesday, it is not going to matter all that much.  It gets much dicier in the evenings, late at night, and weekends, especially weekend mornings.

I was a coop board president for 14 years in Queens.  72 units; 6 floors.  It is a wooden floor affair.  You would swear that folks can hear mice whizzing on wool.  It's not just stereos that bother other tenants, it's all sorts of noise...  older refrigerators, large screen TVs, conversations, and (in neighborhoods with budding Asian child prodigies) pianos.  

Tenants are very very aware of everyone else's noise, but not their own.  Tenants can be unreasonable, uncaring jerks.  

Be reasonable, obey the building's ground rules, and you will be ok.  People LOVE to complain about EVERYTHING.  Just don't be a jerk and you will be ok.  

I would always inspect the noise complaints on my own and on my own time to determine the validity of the claim.  Most of the complaints were not justified.

As for myself, two systems ... one with floor standers, one with monitors.  The monitors are on top of bookcases, more for the cats than noise travel.  Carpets on the floor, drapes on the windows, equipment placement on the not shared walls ... that helps.  I don't play music very loud at all; above background levels, but below dancing levels.




Nearfield listening for evenings, active XO and/or headphones, small maggies + sub


It would suck to have to get rid of speakers that you really like. One thing I would do is to introduce yourself to your neighbors and explain your passion for audio and your intention of not offending them with the sound. This might go a long way in trying to be a good neighbor!

Heavy wool rug and townshend platforms will help a lot.  You need to totally decouple from the floor and springs are decouplers.  spikes are couplers.  Feet are in between.

A good system sounds great at low volume. Sometimes people are just used to listening at higher volumes and dont realize their system sounds good low.


All good suggestions about isolation etc. I really like the idea of meeting the neighbors and see if you can do a sound test. That way you will know how loud you can go and not constantly be wondering if you are pissing them off 😃. 

I already have the Isoacoustics Gaia I feet - I assume those should work the same as Townshend to mechanically decouple the speakers from the floor? The speakers have outriggers so I’d need a huge platform and I’d be worried about the added height.

Was then thinking of mass loaded vinyl like Acoustimac under both the speakers and whatever large wool rug I end up with.

I also already have plugs that Eggelstonworks provided for the ports that I use.

Great idea on doing a sound test with the neighbors - will at least give them my contact info and maybe doing a test where i find the volume setting on my stereo that becomes the new “max”. I’m a pretty low-volume listener - my system is designed around that principle from when I was married and my then-wife was sleeping on the other side of the wall behind the speakers.

For area rugs look into sound absorbing rug pads/underlay.

Wool, jute and cotton are all good rug materials (I use cotton as we have cats).



we have worked in

NY metro for 25years it really depends on the building some loft spaces do have a concrete slab between floors so we would recommend setting up the system and seeing how it goes


with the deep bass of your kivas you will likely get complaints as bass will penetrate most materials

a mini monitor sub package will work well

our shop is 10 mins away from Manhattan we can assist


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect NJ

@audiotroy the landlord told me the floors are wood joist. It’s an old warehouse so I suspect it’s sturdier than most but it’s still wood. Agreed though with your advice that I should just try it and only change speakers if it’s a problem.

Magnepan has a great reputation for bass that is less likely to go through floors and walls...there are some older threads explaining this more technically then I can...

Build a room within the room and pay special attention to the floor isolation.  There are commercially available prefabs, but they will be pricey for the size you need.  If you have basic carpentry skill it's a DIY less than a week long project.

I think the suggestion of headphones is your best bet. If nothing more than as an alternative when you want to either crank it, or listen at an inconvenient time for your neighbors. It’s nice to have another option. And when the dust settles, you may find that headphones might be your only option.



Yep, show up on front door of lower unit with a bottle of good wine.  Explain how you love this building/unit , want to be a good neighbor but you suffer from Audiophilia....😎

Bring cookies to the downstairs neighbors and introduce yourself. Exchange contact info but don’t say anything about the speakers - then see how it goes. If you don’t hear anything from them then no worries. They may hear some things but it may not bother them!

As an aside, you may not even like your speakers in your new room. Anyway, good luck and let us know how it goes!

(im a landlord in a 3-family townhouse in Brooklyn)




What volume do you listen at? The answer in db will help us assess what volumes you are talking about.


No way I would sell a great set of speakers I like because of a move. Set up first, then see if there is a problem. Then you will know what kind of problem you have. 


I’m using pieces of granite on the carpeted floor under the speakers and I’m using Isoacoustics Gaia one isolation feet on my speakers. The change in the sound is amazing and unless I really crank it up, you can’t hear anything downstairs. Look at my system pictures.

All the best.

@ghdprentice I’d say I usually listen around 60dB or less (if measured at the listening position anyway - it’s 70dB if I put the SPL right next to the speaker).

New apartment is on a busy street so I assume there’s going to be a relatively high noise floor for the neighbors.

@curiousjim That’s a great idea. I could get a thick rug big enough that both the speakers and couch are on it, and then put granite under the Gaia’s, on top of the carpet. 

Great, even the high 60’s is not loud. Perhaps only putting some absorbent pads under the feet may do it. Maybe listen in the 70” only when newborns gone. 

I am listening now and have it “turned up” in my mind and it is low 70’s.

Horn-based systems and dome other high efficiency systems tend to sound more lively when played at low volume.  Some also do a better job st focusing the sound energy at the listening position so that, they don’t have to played as loud.  Many of these systems don’t deliver very deep bass, and that is a plus in your setup.  An example of a good manufacturer of horn-based systems is Volti Audio.  High efficiency systems with great sounding speakers include the likes of Charney Audio and Songer Audio speakers.  Dipole speakers are also quite good in apartments because the front and back waves are out of phase and cancel at the sides; this becomes more pronounced as frequency drops so deep bass is attenuated the most.  The difference in sound that bleeds into other rooms between dipoles and othe types of speakers is substantial.  The dipole speakers I particularly like are the open baffle speakers made by Pure Audio Project.  They sound pretty at lower volume.

Loudness drops off quite a bit with increasing distance from the speaker; if you sit fairly close to the speaker it will sound louder.  Nearfield listening also reduces the impact of room acoustics on the sound.

OP, plenty of good advice previously given and, given the $'s one has to expend to live on the island, apply as much as you think you can apply....

(Just finished reading a note on some poor mortal paying 1,400$/mon. for 55 sq./ft.;
Now, Yes, NYC is an exciting city to be in, But....That's starting to rival those Tokyo 'hotels' that consist of a 'bunk-bed' module you crawl into....Por moi', NoF'nWay)

Throw a 'loft-warming party', and invite anyone above, below, and around you.

Don't know your new 'hood, but invest in some security features, as 15.5K$ speakers will make you an entrancing target, if not for the immediate neighbors, but one never can be totally clueless in Madhatterland....;)

Good luck, and enjoy the new digs....👍🤞🎉

As others have said, carpet the floor definitely.  Also 100% agree the Townshend platforms or Gaia feet, the latter on a granite slab. I definitely recommend near-field listening. A friend has a pair of huge high-end floor standers, on the end of a very high-end system, which by choice he sites literally 4 feet from his listening position.  It sounds absolutely incredible at low volumes.  

Slightly different take: cool your jets for a few weeks after move-in. Get the lay of the land, meet the neighbors without any insinuations of audio - get to know any who are willing to know you, as people instead of as assumed hobby obstacles to be convinced / woo’ed - for most people the former will go more naturally which is to say, less awkwardly. Use headphones during this time. I would not ask a neighbor I do not know well to do loudness / listening tests with me. That injects bias for concern in people and requires assuming they’re of similar personality / affability as you. It’s a risk, surely.

If your speakers energize the room for your boundary composition(s) / thickness / etc., no amount of wool or slab or otherwise will help unless you rebuild said boundaries - some room modes may be well away from your listening area and might not be on your side of the floor/wall, again depending on boundary composition / spacing. If it’s all wood and/or drywall, it’ll potentially be a real problem if you have a pair of intolerant ears opposite said boundary(ies).

During that initial “down time”, see what other sonic perturbations come from the building, the area, what times of day, etc. Educate yourself on relevant dB ordinance / statutes for your city / district.

I agree 60’s dB listening is not loud, so it will probably depend on how your bass peaks behave in-(and beyond)-room. I certainly wouldn’t sell a pair of speakers I really like for living a while in that type of place, at least not right away before I had lived in said environment and knew it as a resident vs. a brief visitor.

I'd invest in a Sound Pressure Level meter for your own use and to use in your downstairs' neighbor's place if things get ugly. I was a co-op board president in NYC a while, that's a great tool for handling complaints.


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A few things to consider while trying to acoustically isolate your speakers. Since this is an old warehouse conversion into lofts, certain requirements come into play to comply with the building code. There is most likely, sound batt insulation within the floor cavity and the gypsum ceiling is probably on  7/8" furring channels vs. being directly attached to the floor joists. So you may have some inherent isolation built in. You could probably find out when the last renovations were done. City Hall / Building Permit Dept may have records of the building plans you could look at to see what you're dealing with and adjust accordingly.

But, considering the language about loud music implies the developer/building owner may have cheaped out on sound attenuation between units or you have neighbors that don't like to hear anyone else and complain a lot. 

The only real way to know is set up your speakers, get the room tuned in and play some music at your normal listening levels you like, and see if you get any complaints. 

Your priorities in life are off. First, put a downpayment on a house where no one can bother you for spl levels dude. All the Eggleston Kiva, Diva, etc crap could wait.

 1,400$/mon. for 55 sq./ft

that's the size of a king size bed. The door would need to open to the hallway, otherwise you couldn't get in. 

you don't need to change speakers all you have to do is get the Townshend podiums, they will stop all bass energy from going into the floor and coming back into your speakers and smearing the sound they're not cheap and they isolate down to three Hertz biggest upgrade I've ever done to my system, it sounded as if I went to much more expensive electronics and it also gets rid of pretty much all room problems, check them out

for the price of Townshend podiums, you can get decent subs and speakers with isolation feet, like the Arendals. 

There are two different problems:  1) mechanical vibrations of the speakers being transferred to the floor, and 2) sound waves from the speakers hitting the floor, causing it to vibrate and produce sound.  The first problem can be pretty much solved with mechanical isolation, as described in this video:

The second problem can be greatly mitigated by placing material under the speaker that absorbs low frequencies.  The guy at Acoustic Fields seems to know what he's talking about and claims carbon is the best (practical) material for absorbing low frequencies.  He sells various carbon based absorbers, including platforms.  The drawbacks are expense and an increase in speaker height.  He has some DIY guides too.

Several things come to mind here:

Very good tips on sound isolation/absorption.  Keep in mind that powerful low frequency sound waves are very long and can penetrate feet (yes, FEET) of sound absorption.  But,every bit helps.

If you love your Kivas, rolling off the bass via tone controls/EQ will accomplish the same goals as a bookshelf speaker in bass reduction without changing speakers.  Yes, you will not get the performance you paid for, but you'll get 90+ percent of it.

Using a meter to measure sound in your neighbor's space may get you technically, and legally(?) there, but sound pollution is a 'thing" and it's not cool.  Your neighbors have made an investment in their spaces and desire a living environment that is theirs -- not yours. A rule of thumb: if your neighbors can hear your system, it's too loud.  Sorry to be heavy-handed here, but I have first-hand experience with this on the "receiving" end.  Simple reading, polite conversation, and enjoying one's own personal music is compromised. 

This a bit of a tangent, on neighbor relations, and sappy but I’ma tell it anyway. When I bought my current place 25 years ago my neighbor marched right over , 1st day, extended his hand and introduced himself. He was retired and proly in his 70’s. My house was a bit of a fixer upper and the grass was hammered due to derelict sprinkler system. Neighbor’s lawn was well kept. After he saw me working on the sprinkler and the rest of the house, he came over and offered to help. Both front and back control valve manifolds were trashed. While I was at work he went to a pipe fitter and had copper manifold sweated up and installed them, never ask for dime. That forged the foundation of a friendship with a family that lasted until his passing. Since then I have repaired heads, lines and valves over the years but I have never had to touch that copper manifold and we get zub zero here in the Rockies. So every late fall when I winterize the system and I look at that manifold all incrusted with grime and dirt , I think of him.

I like the idea of using an equalizer, when necessary, to roll off bass.  You can use it during listening sessions during the evening, particularly at late hours, and use less or no equalization at other time, on weekends, etc.  It is a nice adaptive solution that will allow you to go wild on Saturday afternoons yet reduce noise transmission at other times.  In any case, rug and pad covering of the largest amount of floor possible will help a lot, as will any coverage of the walls with damping.  

The ultimate solution, one that will generally involve ownership of the space, involves companies that do isolation professionally--they can use springs and dampers to float a floor above the original floor, they can add additional noise damping sheetrock to existing walls (isolated from the existing wall by damping material such as "Green Glue" adhesive), and even treat the ceiling.

There is some solid advise given, and some a bit drastic or too much too soon.
I had a loft studio space in an old textile building in MA years ago, so I have some experience. Keep your speakers, do all the normal furnishings you are thinking: rugs, plants, things to break up the directed sound waves, and a couple ACTUAL bass traps to start.  Like other mentioned, go introduce yourself to your neighbors, take some cookies or something from a great local place.  DO NOT MENTION YOUR SPEAKERS AT FIRST VISIT.  I had issues with one neighbor that I realized all started because I began my introductions with them by saying "let me know if you can hear my system": within a week, I was getting constant calls and door bangs for just the TV being on LOW volume in the background.  SO -say hi, maybe see how they have their spaces set up, maybe one of them has a great sound system too!  You can likely tell their personalities and possible issues from that first visit.

In my current home (1920 old dimensional wood floors, very close neighbors) I actually measured and found the best spot for my sub-woofer (now using great larger bookshelf speakers, not floor standers): I used a web site that will calculate what each speakers pressure is and best placement spots, as well as dead or excited points in your space.  The bookshelfs are on awesome custom narrow box tube stands with slate slabs on top of the stand, under the speaker, and they are placed on top of the floor joists (spikes). Then I put the subwoofer on a slate stone hunk as well with cut in half racket balls under the slab, also carefully placed on top of floor joist but a bit further from a wall barrier than usual.  The outcome was compromising some on extension/depth output, but things are much more articulate and accurate, and the sound doesn't extend into the basement or beyond the walls like when I first moved in.  

Townsend platforms I bet would be the best bang for your buck, then the traps and all.  I really hope you can keep the speakers.  Would love to see how your space turns out!   

Thanks all for the very thoughtful feedback. Based on all of your feedback, here’s my plan:

  • Get a huge thick area rug to go under the stereo and LP. Thick rug pad under (maybe mass-loaded vinyl?).
  • Decouple the speakers with Isoacoustic Gaia’s (which I already have). I’ll set these on granite slabs that I’ll have cut. The Townshend stuff looks great but by some reports performs about the same as the Gaia’s. (I will also inquire about Acoustic Field’s carbon platforms which look cool if heavy and pricey).
  • I’ll use equalization to roll off the low end on the digital sources, especially TV and movies. I can do this in Roon for my music and will get something like a Dirac or one of those Behringer’s mastering EQs for the TV. Analog will not have this but hopefully that’ll be ok. 
  • I'll continue to use the port plugs that Egglestonworks provided me.
  • Will introduce myself to the neighbors and give them my contact info (but won’t mention the speakers) and just establish myself as responsive, reasonable and approachable.
  • I’ll set it up as a pretty tight setup - not near field per se but 6-8’ triangle in the room
  • Will use high-temp silicon caulk to seal up any holes around the radiator.
  • I already have two large and two small bass traps, as well as 6 or 8 acoustic panels. Not sure where I’ll place these but they’ll be in the room someplace. Theoretically I could add a couple more large traps preventatively, the high ceilings mean I could stack them 3-high in the corner nearest to the speakers.
  • I’ll continue to listen at 60-65dB or less

Will try with the Kivas to start. Should the speakers end up being a problem, I will then consider Magnepans or a large pair of bookshelves with limited LF.

That looks like a very sensible, well thought out plan.  Bravo.  Now I can ask you:  how did you come up with your moniker?  I hope it is not because you really liked the Bruce Willis movie by that name.

You could build a floating floor like recording studios do. Various YouTube articles show how.

Now I can ask you:  how did you come up with your moniker?  I hope it is not because you really liked the Bruce Willis movie by that name.

@larryi It absolutely is. That movie is a misunderstood classic that's aged like fine wine.

For those suggesting the OP put down carpet. Would you be willing to afford such an expense for a dwelling you don't own?




I faced your situation before.  There are extremely dense rubber mats (about an inch thick) called "stall mats", each about 3' x 4' that are used in horse trailers -- cost a total of $34 at Tractor Supply (yes, I get that's not going to be in Manhattan, which is yet another reason I don't live in a big city.  Awesome store.) that work extremely well for soundproofing.  They cut easily.  Very dense, same rubber as a car tire.

I've seen them in use in CrossFit places in Manhattan, so I presume someone ships them, even to Manhattan.  Extremely heavy, so be warned.

You lay one layer on the floor, then a layer of plywood, and then another layer of the mats on top.  This is extremely effective at stopping sound transfer.

Put an area rug on top so you don't look like a CrossFit gym

You could do a big room for $200.

As a bonus, you also now have a place to do dead lifts and drop your weights.

Your house will also smell like a tire store for a week.

There is some solid advise given, and some a bit drastic or too much too soon.
I had a loft studio space in an old textile building in MA years ago, so I have some experience. Keep your speakers, do all the normal furnishings you are thinking: rugs, plants, things to break up the directed sound waves, and a couple ACTUAL bass traps to start. Like other mentioned, go introduce yourself to your neighbors, take some cookies or something from a great local place. DO NOT MENTION YOUR SPEAKERS AT FIRST VISIT. I had issues with one neighbor that I realized all started because I began my introductions with them by saying "let me know if you can hear my system": within a week, I was getting constant calls and door bangs for just the TV being on LOW volume in the background. SO -say hi, maybe see how they have their spaces set up, maybe one of them has a great sound system too! You can likely tell their personalities and possible issues from that first visit.

The amount of cash that the avg audiophile spent on equipment... i am pretty sure he could have afforded the downpayment on a standalone house, end his subservience to the landlord and neighbors.

Two houses ago, i had a stand alone house and a rig in the basement. It never was a problem with one neighbor, buy, my other neighbor kept complaining whenever my music played. I would stand outside my house pause/play the music and see no difference on my meter. The sheer noise floor outside, i.e., dogs barking, the wind howling etc would easily drown the slightest hint of any music playing. But, somehow, it went through my basement, got through his walls and was heard above the noise floor of his fridge, ac, etc. Some neighbors are just full of sht....His lousy dogs barked all day long like cracked mofos and that never bothered him (it wasn’t loud at all for him!) was the faintest hint of music that got to that psychotic individual somehow. I can only imagine how it is for guys living in apartments.

Fast forward 15 years and i have a 8 acre lot. I had to endure additional wallet abuse and buy the land around my primary residence just to keep the psychotic pests and their noise complaints away. If my music bothered you 8 acres away, i ’ll just keep calling the nut house on ya! 😁

Though I am a Townshend fan, I think putting speakers on springs defeats the way they work. Instead, using a solid granite plinth would be my recommendation.

It will give the speaker a solid foundation to output sound. The lower notes will be directed toward you not downward.

You can find machine plates on Amazon for a reasonable price. I use them.


@deep_333 I hear you on dogs barking. Their owners don’t care about how their pesky dogs disrupt the neighborhood. Frankly, I don't understand the right to make noise. It should be the right to quiet.

His lousy dogs barked all day long like cracked mofos and that never bothered him (it wasn’t loud at all for him!) was the faintest hint of music that got to that psychotic individual somehow