Frequently Asked Questions

Noise Problems
Specific Noise Problems
Bars, Restaurants, Clubs & Commercial Noise
General Questions

Soundproofing Consultation

Are you contractors, or do you sell soundproofing materials? Where can I buy soundproofing materials?

No. We are consultants. We tell you what materials and techniques to use and can recommend contractors after we do our tests. We have no incentive to recommend any specific material. There are all kinds of "soundproofing materials" sold over the 'net that simply don't work. One internet sales company actually has the nerve to warn you of their competitors, saying "Are their 'Technical Experts' commission salesmen?"

We recommend the least amount of work that will do the job; a contractor has no reason to do this. Soundproofing requires testing which even "acoustical" contractors almost never do. The majority of our work comes from people who have already had contractors guess wrong and now have to do the work over again. • Back to Top

But what materials do you usually recommend?

It isn't the materials, it's the way they are installed. In most cases we recommend ordinary building materials that cost far less than "do it yourself" Web specials. We specify the right treatment for your specific job because every building is different. • • Back to Top

I just need to know where to get blown-in insulation, acoustic panels, sound board, mass loaded vinyl, etc.

Most of the things that the average person thinks are "common sense" cures for noise problems don't work, or only work in conjunction with other measures. Our job is to determine the right course of action. Be careful - Many of the products you find on the Web do not work and are expensive as well. • Back to Top

What does it usually cost to soundproof a bedroom/home studio/bar etc.?

The range is so wide as to be meaningless. Until we see what frequencies are traveling through which paths the proper treatment is not known. While we always are looking for the least expensive solution, other factors come into play, such as time, aesthetics, dimensions and legal requirements. That being said, bedrooms, for instance, usually range from thousands of dollars on up. We can explain the benefits of various treatments to you. • Back to Top

Do you do small jobs?

Yes. No job is too small. • Back to Top

Do you work on apartments?

Yes, but noise control and soundproofing usually involves construction. So if you own your apartment or have a long-term lease and the landlord will allow construction, we can help you. If not, it can be harder to implement the necessary measures. However, if the noise in your residence is such that it violates city codes, the landlord or the people causing the noise can be compelled to correct the situation. We can document the noise problem to be used as evidence to bolster your case. More detailed information for Rental Tenants is available on our Renters page • Back to Top

Can you recommend a contractor?

Yes. Once we have been to your site and come up with the proper plan of action, we can recommend a contractor that is experienced in this kind of work. For certain types of jobs we recommend specialty contractors. Other times general contractors can do the work or you can do it yourself, following our written instructions and diagrams. • Back to Top

When is the best time to call you in?

As early as possible. For a business that will be making noise, that is before you rent the space. We can test potential sites for you and let you know the soundproofing requirements before you waste your money. We can also evaluate your lease before you sign a soundproofing requirement that might eventually force you out. • Back to Top

I already did soundproofing but it didn't work. What can you do for me?

Our consulting services are useful even if previous attempts have failed. Often, we find the reason that the treatment was unsuccessful. We can provide ideas that are unconventional but can solve the problem.
Or, you might have a claim against a contractor who failed to do a proper job. We can document the mistakes and provide Expert Witness Testimony, if it becomes necessary. Sometimes a contractor, when faced with evidence of a mistake, will take our advice and correct the situation for free. • Back to Top

There was already a consultant involved. What can you do?

We can often help by reviewing their methods, readings and recommendations. We will try to correct previous mistakes or oversights. See Acoustic Troubleshooting. • Back to Top

Noise Problems

We're buying an apartment (or private home). How can we find out if there are noise problems before we buy?

We can do long-term noise recordings for later analysis. See "Before You Buy a Home" • Back to Top

What about intermittent noise?

Cooperation with the party making the noise is the best course. We can then get access to perform our tests. If not, we can often arrange to test at a time when access or cooperation is not required. This can be done secretly if necessary.
We also have special equipment for logging longer-term or intermittent noise. This includes a custom-built tamper-proof test rig that can be left in a client's space to make calibrated recordings of noise for future analysis or court playback. • Back to Top

How quickly can you come over if the noise I hear is sporadic?

We can often come to you within minutes to catch the noise when it's happening. We also do late night and early morning appointments. We can also do long term recordings (for days or weeks) at your location. • Back to Top

Can you record the noise I'm hearing?

Yes. We can make calibrated recordings with our tamper-proof test rig for future analysis. Such recordings can be accurately played back in court and provide powerful evidence to bolster our client's case. See Expert Witness Testimony • Back to Top

The DEP didn't find a violation. What can I do?

The DEP often uses meters that cannot test for all the violation conditions that the Noise Code specifies. Ours can. Click here to read more... • Back to Top

Bar, Restaurant , Club and Commercial Noise

I have a restaurant that’s too noisy inside. What can be done?

We will test your space and recommend ways to soundproof the kitchen, absorb the patrons' voices and allow the music system to be heard clearly. • Back to Top

I got a noise violation already. Is there anything I can do to fight it?

Yes. Sometimes the city's inspectors take measurements in an improper way. We can review the evidence and help your attorney ask the right questions at the hearing. Here's a good example: DEP vs. Tao Restaurant • Back to Top

I'm bothered by noise from a neighboring nightclub. Can you do something for me even if DEP won't come, or did come and says there's no violation?

DEP sometimes can't make appointments. Late night appointments are available from Acoustilog. Also, the city inspectors do not always measure bass, which may be a major part of the problem. We do all the necessary measurements and include them in our report.
If you can't stop a noisemaker by getting city violations, we can recommend a lawyer experienced with noise cases. We can work with the attorney, providing a written report and expert witness testimony. • Back to Top

Can you install sound system limiters to prevent the DJ or club from playing music louder than a specified level?

Yes, and we can often suggest other changes to the sound system that will allow the club's patrons to hear the music better and prevent disturbance to the club's neighbors. See Bars, Restaurants and Clubs • Back to Top

Can you look at my prospective business location/apartment before I rent? Before I buy?

Yes, and it's an excellent idea especially if your business makes a lot of noise or if you need a very quiet place. We also do long term noise surveys for prospective homebuyers. You are very unlikely to discover even a serious noise problem during brief pre-sale visits to an apartment. A noise survey over several days and nights can prevent you from making a costly mistake. See our "Before You Sign a Lease" and "Before You Buy a Home" pages. • Back to Top

Can you tell me if I'm violating local noise codes?

Yes, and we will let you know which codes are relevant. • Back to Top

Can you help design my place to avoid problems?

Yes, and that's the best and most cost-effective time to hire us, before you start construction. • Back to Top

Can you testify for me in court?

Yes. See our Expert Witness Testimony page • Back to Top

Other Specific Noise Problems

Can you handle mechanical equipment noise? Elevator noise? Air conditioning units, chillers, cooling towers? Pumps and blowers?

Yes. A large part of our work has to do with these sources of noise. You may have a noisy machine in your building or in a neighboring one. We can recommend HVAC treatments, HVAC contractors and mechanical engineers. • Back to Top

What’s the best way to reduce noise from a fan or air conditioner from the courtyard or boiler room that comes in my window or in through the building walls?

Let us evaluate the problem with an eye toward having the owner of the equipment pay for the work. There are laws that require equipment to be soundproofed, and our written report will cite the specific codes if they have been violated. We will also provide soundproofing recommendations so the contractor doesn't repeat the mistake. • Back to Top

What about traffic noise? Trucks making deliveries at 6 am? Garbage trucks?

We can do late night or early morning tests. • Back to Top

What about everything else?

We've seen just about every kind of noise. Firing ranges, recycling plants, dog kennels, kick-boxing studios, you name it. The short answer is: Call us, no matter what the problem is. Or, click here for a partial list of job types • Back to Top

General Questions & Other

What areas do you serve?

We serve New York City, the Tri-State Area, and beyond. • Back to Top

I'm in Oregon. Can you help me via phone/fax/email?

While it's always better to visit the site, it's not practical for small jobs that are far away. Give us a call and we'll tell you if we can help you. • Back to Top

Do you give free estimates?

We are not contractors. We have fixed fees for consulting which we would be happy to quote you. • Back to Top

Studio Design

Can you help design my Recording/Broadcast/Project/Home Studio?

Yes. Including soundproofing and interior acoustics. We can also tune monitors with equalizers and with room treatment. As some locations are simply not practical for professional studios, you might want to have us inspect a potential site before you sign a lease. • Back to Top