low frequency recording help?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by McHoonigal, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. McHoonigal

    McHoonigal Guest

    I'm wondering if there's any way of recording low frequency noise, bass specifically, with a just the capabilities of a phone.

    To give y'all a better idea, I've got a neighbor that sucks in all the stereotypical ways, constantly playing loud music, raucous late night gatherings, etc. What is most annoying, is the music, or more specifically, the constant thumping bass that manages to travel through the walls. Its loud enough to hear with the naked ear, but not loud enough to pick up on a mic and then play back in a recording.

    I know its a strange request, but i need legal proof that they are ignoring the formal complaints that have already been presented to them. Basically, i'm inquiring about the most affordable course of action.

    Since I'm sure some one will ask, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S3.

    Side question: it occurs to me as i'm typing this, that there is the possibility of my phone not having the initial ability of even being able to pick up the noise. If that's the case, is there a way to boost its power and/or affordable alternatives.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    There are relatively straightforward ways of recording this sort of noise as an acoustic memento, but these recordings would have no value in court, if that's the direction you are heading. If you are going to make a legal case against the perpetrators, you need professional, calibrated gear, probably with a professional operator attached. It doesn't have to be hugely expensive, but it can't be done for pocket money.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Or you call the police for disturbence, if the level is loud enough they will open a case and issue a warning. After a few warning, a ticket or more...
    BUT, it may make him mad and kill any relationship you had (if any). Neighbor wars are not fun, I would think twice before starting one...
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    I dunno Marco, it sounds to me like the toothpaste is already out of the tube on this one...

    If it were me, I'd keep calling, and I'd file another report - and another, and another....or at least as many as necessary to get someone's attention.
    You won't get any better legal proof - or cheaper either, for that matter - than to have the cops show up and actually hear for themselves what's going on.

    You haven't given any details as to where you live (in a neighborhood, housing development, apartment building, duplex, etc.) or what else is in your area (stores, light business, gas stations, etc.)

    Most cities - and apartment complexes - have a noise ordinance law of some kind; where you can't create any loud noise after a certain time of evening ( which can only be adjusted if you file for a permit for a one-time special occasion or something).

    Although, noise ordinances can also vary greatly on how your area is zoned. If you are zoned Residential, (R) then I would be very surprised if you didn't have a local noise ordinance that kicks in after 9 pm or so. However, if you are living in an area that is residential but is also zoned for Commercial use, (RC), your recourse could be limited. If you are residing in an area which has an Industrial zoning code ( "I", or sometimes "L-I"), then you won't be able to do a thing.

    I would contact my local councilman, alderman, mayor, city supervisor - or whomever it is that represents your particular area's district - and talk to them about it as well.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    To Boswell's point, a recording without an accurate relatable decibel level will be useless. As soon as you introduce any 'booster', you're going to discredit the accuracy / volume issue. (for example I could use a parabolic mic, and boost the level to make it seem like someone whispering from 50 yards away was shouting outside my window = bad science)

    There are Android apps that allow you to use your Galaxy as a dB meter, I don't know of any Android version rated very high in accuracy. There is at least one on IOS that gets high marks from the OSHA types, called "SPLnFFT"

    If I were in your shoes, a reasonably accurate decibel meter would be much more of a priority to me. Even if you had a reasonably accurate recording, it would be hard to file a complaint without a sense of how loud the noise was, and a log of what time of the night or day it occurred.

    Best of luck.
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