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Equipment for recording neighbour noise

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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:59 am

I can't recommend the Zoom for this I'm afraid. It just won't record the low-frequency banging in a way which represents how loud it is in reality.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:26 am

As this thread and others before it have shown, it is very difficult for the layman to record nuisance noise in a way that is presentable as evidence but I will suggest a fairly inexpensive way to at least record the thumping.

The Citronics CCU3 capacitor USB microphone makes recording very simple. If you have nothing else Audacity is a good choice but don't forget to 'Export as .wav' because no other software will play Audacity's own file regime.

You still need a reference level and spoken word would probably do. You could record a log of the events in a steady, conversational sound level at a measured distance. Record at 16bits 44.1kHz and don't worry if the levels are very low in Audacity. Minus 30, even -40dBfs is still valid. The noise might be a blessed nuisance but you could be surprised at how low the actual level is. A sound level meter can be useful as well but you want one with a "C" weighting. "A" cuts off a lot of LF. You could use a phone app' I calibrated mine against a cheap C SPL meter by waiting until my room was subjectively 'silent' and that gave 28-35dBC on my meter.



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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:08 pm

BangBang wrote:Hi all,

I am looking to see what piece of kit to use to record a neighbour who bangs on our wall in the middle of the night and wakes us up. I am in Ireland and have spoken with the police, they have said my only option is to bring a civil case. I have a written record of every incident over a 2 year period and the police are aware of everything. They even asked her to enter into mediation with us but she wouldn't.

This is the most useful piece of evidence you could have. As has been demonstrated recordings rarely live up to expectations because noise that is a nuisance always sounds much louder to those on the receiving end than it actually is. The recorder can only record what is there not the effect it is having on the occupants.

In the UK the people to approach would be the local environmental health department, I don't know how it is in Ireland but would be surprised if your local authority don't have something similar and if so it is much more their province than the Police.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:48 pm

Has anyone tried mounting a boundary zone mic (PZM) securely on the affected wall (or ceiling)?

The omni capsule should have a good low-frequency response, plus the physical contact might help to capture the transients, whilst also picking the in-room sound to give a sense of the relative levels of in-room speech and external noise.

I've never tried it, and don't know if it would work, but it seems an obvious thing to try and I've not seen any mention of this approach.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:31 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Has anyone tried mounting a boundary zone mic (PZM) securely on the affected wall (or ceiling)?

The omni capsule should have a good low-frequency response, plus the physical contact might help to capture the transients, whilst also picking the in-room sound to give a sense of the relative levels of in-room speech and external noise.

I've never tried it, and don't know if it would work, but it seems an obvious thing to try and I've not seen any mention of this approach.


Good idea Hugh but I don't know if the chap with the "banging" even has an audio interface?

I suggested the Citronics because I have tried two samples now and both have been very low of noise and decent of sensitivity and of course, a USB mic is plug and play (well, record!)

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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby James Perrett » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:23 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Has anyone tried mounting a boundary zone mic (PZM) securely on the affected wall (or ceiling)?

I guess you could also go the whole hog and use a contact mic but wouldn't that be considered cheating?
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:13 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Has anyone tried mounting a boundary zone mic (PZM) securely on the affected wall (or ceiling)?

I guess you could also go the whole hog and use a contact mic but wouldn't that be considered cheating?

If you have a problem with sound emanating from the walls, which can be very disturbing but not necessarily very loud in the room, that's probably a good way to capture it. As long as you explain what you've done and don't try to pretend that the recording was made by a mic in the middle of the room, then I don't think it's cheating.

I have this problem. With my own TV in my living room, the sound only travels into the wall it's against, which separates my living room from my bedroom and I can easily understand the dialogue if I put my ear against the bedroom side of the wall but when my neighbour (impossible to say which one as I live in a block of flats) has their TV/radio on, it radiates from all four walls in my bedroom, lounge and bathroom.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:15 pm

ef37a wrote:The Citronics CCU3 capacitor USB microphone makes recording very simple. If you have nothing else Audacity is a good choice but don't forget to 'Export as .wav' because no other software will play Audacity's own file regime..

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to try one of these to see how it compares to my UMIK-1 USB mic.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:09 pm

Doveman wrote:
ef37a wrote:The Citronics CCU3 capacitor USB microphone makes recording very simple. If you have nothing else Audacity is a good choice but don't forget to 'Export as .wav' because no other software will play Audacity's own file regime..

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to try one of these to see how it compares to my UMIK-1 USB mic.

Oh dear. Did not know you had that. I doubt the Citronics is as good in terms of LF response and noise floor. You really do want an omni for flat, extended LF and the CCU3 is a cardioid. It is also less than half the price of the UMIK-1 and only 16 bit to boot.

I only suggested it because it is a very decent mic for the money and simple to use. Sounds fine to us for my son's classical guitar. Still, try one and take advantage of the return regulations if it does not suit?

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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby BangBang » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:46 pm

Thanks all for the replies, good to gain a bit of further insight into what I can. That contact mic sounds like a good idea for what I am experiencing as the other she banged (or should I say slammed) on the wall at around 11:30pm and it shook the whole house, the contact mic would definitely pick that up very well.

I think I may get the Citronics CCU3 capacitor USB microphone anyway, but is there a decent and cheap contact mic you could recommend?

Btw agree with the previous poster on having a record of everything, I just want this as further proof and backup. I have a couple of other angles as well and add them all up and it is fairly conclusive hopefully.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:52 pm

ef37a wrote:Oh dear. Did not know you had that. I doubt the Citronics is as good in terms of LF response and noise floor. You really do want an omni for flat, extended LF and the CCU3 is a cardioid. It is also less than half the price of the UMIK-1 and only 16 bit to boot.

I only suggested it because it is a very decent mic for the money and simple to use. Sounds fine to us for my son's classical guitar. Still, try one and take advantage of the return regulations if it does not suit?

No worries. You weren't suggesting it for me specifically, I'm just curious to compare it to my UMIK-1 as it has quite a high noise floor (the UMIK-2 is supposed to be a lot better but that's about 3x more expensive) and as you say, I can easily return it if it's no better, although I might just gift it to my Dad as he's been getting back into playing his guitar recently.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:03 pm

Doveman wrote:
ef37a wrote:Oh dear. Did not know you had that. I doubt the Citronics is as good in terms of LF response and noise floor. You really do want an omni for flat, extended LF and the CCU3 is a cardioid. It is also less than half the price of the UMIK-1 and only 16 bit to boot.

I only suggested it because it is a very decent mic for the money and simple to use. Sounds fine to us for my son's classical guitar. Still, try one and take advantage of the return regulations if it does not suit?

No worries. You weren't suggesting it for me specifically, I'm just curious to compare it to my UMIK-1 as it has quite a high noise floor (the UMIK-2 is supposed to be a lot better but that's about 3x more expensive) and as you say, I can easily return it if it's no better, although I might just gift it to my Dad as he's been getting back into playing his guitar recently.

Ok well it is well suited to acoustic guitar in son's and my opinion. The Mackie EM-91 is also a good budget standard LDC. Come with a mic cable as well!

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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Csimon20 » Sat May 15, 2021 10:17 am

I’m dealing with similar issues. Any luck on recording the annoying sounds? Please let me know ASAP.
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Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Sat May 15, 2021 1:54 pm

I've got the Citronics CCU3 USB mic and the MiniDSP UMIK-1 USB mic both connected to my laptop and I've used Voicemeeter to combine them into a single device, with the CCU3 panned left and the UMIK-1 panned right, so I can use Audacity to record them at the same time for comparison.

I've uploaded three WAV files and a MP3 file which you can download here:
https://mega.nz/folder/18QCGBxQ#zgC6KEUS1VKanzh8_u0Tqw

The CCU3 records quite a bit quieter than the UMIK-1. With the "radio and water pump" recording, I've boosted the left channel (the CCU3) by 9db, to bring the audio up to about the same level. With the other two WAV recordings, I haven't done that.

If you open them in Audacity (or any other program that lets you see the waveforms) you'll notice that the UMIK-1 shows peaks where there's nothing actually audible (on headphones at least), so I suspect it was picking up some low-frequency rumble, maybe from a car parking nearby. The CCU3 is more useful in that respect, as where it shows a peak there's normally something audible.

Both mics are quite noisy but the CCU3's noise is higher frequency and that's better for this, as it doesn't mask the noises I'm trying to record as much. So I'd recommended getting that rather than the UMIK-1 for recording this sort of thing.

The "washing machine" recording was made using both mics, before I converted it into a mono MP3. It doesn't really capture how intrusive the noise is, as it vibrates the whole structure of the building which the mic can't record. That applies to the other recordings too, as the impact noises and the water pump noise all have elements to them that can't be captured by these sort of mics. I haven't tried a boundary mic yet, so that might be worth a try.
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