People want to tell me that New York is too noisy. They send an email to my AskRealEstate column complaining about the noise that afflicts them during the day and afflicts them at night. There are regular suspects — Barking dog, Crying baby, outdoor diner, rock drill, siren. But even seemingly pleasing sounds — wind chimes, children playing, Opera song — Given the right circumstances, it can provoke anger.
So when I stepped into PinDrop, which is called “one of the quietest rooms in the world,” I thought of the unfortunate New Yorkers in an unconventional Midtown office building, and the acoustic nirvana. I thought I might have entered.
Or it may not be. The room was so quiet that it hurt.
I felt like my ears were popping. Dan Abatemarco, AKRFThe environmental engineering and consulting firm that designed this room told me that my reaction was general. People who live in cities are not very accustomed to silence, so they often associate sensations with clogging of the ears. It also makes people uncomfortable. This explains why “A Quiet Place” is such a creepy movie, and why so many New Yorkers stuff white noise machines while traveling. It is doubtful that it is too quiet.
“What’s wrong is almost an instinctive instinct,” Abate Marco said when he sat down and manipulated audio equipment last afternoon.
About the same size as a typical conference room, PinDrop has no windows and two huge flat-screen TVs on one wall, creating a serious situation room atmosphere. And it is literally suspended in space. The floor floats and is placed on top of the isolation block. The ceiling of Sheetrock is hung from a spring. The wall has two rows of studs on the separation pad, along with multiple layers of seat lock and insulation. Since there are no parallel walls, it is difficult for sound waves to bounce off. The sound absorbing panels hang from the walls and ceiling. And it’s all closed by soundproof doors. The result is a very quiet space where a low noise microphone can only pick up 13 decibels. (Whispers are registered for about 30 decibels.)
Homeowners, developers, designers and architects are helping to hire AKRF to understand how to make brownstone, condos and newly refurbished buildings look like this room. Soundproofing is the blocking of unwanted noise, and acoustics is the improvement of the quality of the surrounding sound by controlling the way echoes and reverberations occur in space. AKRF consultants visit construction sites and real estate, make measurements and provide suggestions on how to address both issues.
Earlier this month, the company opened a room as a space to increase the volume of acoustic advice. This allows the client to actually hear what the advice sounds like.
How big will it be if you raise the ceiling in the living room? Do acoustic windows reduce street noise for the cost? How quiet will the nursery be with another insulation layer? For example, when playing a recording of a subway bark, the engineer can try again with a double-glazed window and an acoustic window. The noise from the HVAC system makes it a little closer to what the bedroom sounds like under such conditions.
“If they can hear it, they will know what the right choice is,” said Benjamin Sachwald, AKRF’s acoustic consultant, about his client.
Sachwald, who plays the drums, says he likes to listen to music in the room with huge speakers and subwoofers. (He often uses the phrase “Sonic Bliss.”) “Music, listening in a room like this moves you to another world.”
I visited PinDrop and sampled all the noise that cursed the New Yorker, looking for a breakpoint where the noise would change from just annoying to something worthy of a call to 311.Read carefully NYC OpenDataIt turns out that more than half of the 5.2 million noise complaints recorded between 2010 and 311 are related to residential noise. This is further evidence that hell is really another person.
Of all the noise New Yorkers hate, the AKRF crew was particularly engrossed in the sound of elevated trains running through parts of Queens and Brooklyn. So I tried it. The volume was set to the volume you would hear when you opened the window when you saw the railroad tracks from your apartment. “I don’t know why you open the window,” Abate Marco said, raising the dial.
At 94 decibels, my chin rattled. Then, mercifully, he created the effect of a single closed window, and the hustle and bustle fell to 75 dB — not too daunting, but definitely miserable. Double glazing protected my ears a little more. However, with the set of acoustic noise reduction windows, the volume plummeted to about 46 decibels. It’s about the same size as a public library.
I had a similar experience when sampling the jarring sound of stakeouts, which can be quaint when compared to rock drills. With enough insulation on the walls and throwing some high-performance windows, the pure miserable sound felt like a dull beating in the background.
It was actually much easier to drown out the noise between the walls of the apartment. With proper insulation, the sounds of crying babies and parties in the next house have become quiet enough for life to roll peacefully.
But here’s the friction of this exercise: the odds are that you don’t live in a new construction. And it’s quite possible that your building rose before 1968, when the New York Building Code added acoustic requirements. This means that anyone who built your building probably wasn’t worried if you could hear the kids upstairs jumping out of the bunk bed. So how can you make your life more bearable when windows and walls are already installed?
AKRF consultants have made some suggestions to us who are incapable of stripping windows and insulation by calling budgets and experts.If you can hear the sound from the outside, you can add it Acoustic curtain Or noise reduction Window insert.. Due to the well-ventilated windows — if air can pass through, noise can also pass through. The same is true for light. If you see light coming in through the door frame, it may be time to clean or replace the door seal.
After experiencing almost every unpleasant sound I could imagine in perhaps the quietest room in the city, I went out and returned to Park Avenue South, just as the fierce spring storm had begun.