Background:

33 year old ‘hobbyist’ DJ just getting back into it after a 10 year lay-off. Used to DJ House back in the late 80’s and early 90’s in Northern England and gave up when I ‘grew out of it’ and the scene got ****ty where I lived. I’ve been living in Boston, MA for a few years now and I got back into listening to Deep/Tech/Funky House and decided to get back into mixing it on a ‘hobbyist’ basis, for no other reason that to make myself smile (and it’s worked thus far). I call it my midlife crisis but I can’t afford a Porsche. My partner is also a real star and she actually encouraged me to do it, although seeing me disappear for a couple of hours each night to make a noise must have her wondering why, I’m sure.

I have no desire to get into any type of music production other than mixing someone else’s records and making CD’s. The reason I’m spinning is because I just love the music I’m buying and I want to listen to it in as good of an environment as I can, given some limiting factors.

I changed the ‘guest room’ to accommodate my new hobby and have thus far got the following set up:

~10’x10’ Square(ish) Room (with some other furniture in, i.e. Futon, Book Shelves, PC Desk, etc., the wall bordering neighboring apartment is exposed Brick and looks nice)
1200’s (obviously)
Vestax PCV-275 Mixer
KRK Rokit 5 Monitors
M-Audio Audiophile 2496 for recording mixes

I’m really, really happy with the quality of the recordings and find I don’t need to do any corrections in CE Pro to give me what I want to listen to in the lounge, in the Car or on the iPod but I’m not totally satisfied with my listening environment.

I have a couple of different problems I’d like to address as follows:
1) I live in an ‘old’ apartment (Typical Boston ‘Brownstone’), which is rented, and the sound ‘proofing’ (for want of a better term) isn’t the best between apartments. If I can hear the neighbors humping then I’m sure my new/old hobby must be starting to piss them off, even if I don’t play after 9:30. I would like to pump it up a little louder too but I don’t want to piss off my neighbors too much, they can easily get me back when I need to sleep for an early flight or complain to my landlord. As well as the Poor sound abortion through the ceiling, the floors are hardwood so plenty of seepage there too, also there are gaps at the join of the exposed brick wall and the ceiling/floor. This allows sound seepage from talking, not just TV/Music, although I did seal all the floors already with Caulk as the downstairs people clearly have a chain smoking problem and the smell was pissing me off. I’d like to try and protect my neighbors from my music as well as allowing me to turn the volume up a little. I don’t need a ‘soundproof’ room, just something that takes away a fair amount of pain for them. The three surfaces out of the 6 that border an actual neighbor are the exposed brick wall, ceiling and floor.
2) I love the sound of the KRK Rokit 5’s, they were, for my ears, the best sounding sub $300 powered pair I listened to, when I picked them. I went for powered studio monitors as I believed they offered the best overall value for the space I had. When I’m sat in my room listening to music they sound excellent for the most part, across a wide range of genres (although I love spinning house I’m also a huge music fan generally and listen to everything from Mozart to Motley Crew). I do find however that when mixing (DJing) they can be a little tiring on the ears and a little too critical on some of the mids and highs (when in the mix). There seems to be what I could best describe as a ‘resonating clash’ that takes a little getting used to, even with the highs tuned down to -2db. They have to be positioned within 10” of a wall purely because of space limitations. I’d like to make the room less of a ‘tiring’ listening environment, for want of a better word.

I’m very much a laymen when it comes to this sound stuff. I spent 1,000’s of hours mixing records in my late teens and early twenties and I know what type of music I like to listen to but techy sound stuff…….. just not my forte.

I guess I’m looking for some advise on ‘cost’ effective solutions to improve the two situations above. The reason for the long winded introduction was to give some background and try and avoid the ‘build a room in a room’ studio solutions that are the ideal world.

I would like to spend no more than $300 making these improvements but don’t want to spend $300 if it’s going to make eff all difference.

Some immediate Ideas I had were;
1) seal the gap in the ceiling the same as I did the floors
2) put a thick(ish) w/w carpet down with some kind of dense underlay (don’t want to go to the expense of a proper sound barrier)
3) Make some kind of el cheapo frame below the ceiling to create a 1-2” gap (they’re low already so a big gap can’t be afforded) then pin a ‘sound blanket’ to it before attaching some ‘budget’ acoustical foam with Velcro or something
4) Hang some kind of blanket over the exposed brick wall which is easily taken down when I’m not spinning or listening with volume
5) Make/Buy stands for my monitors (currently on shelves), put some MoPAD’s under them and put some acoustical foam in the corners behind them
6) Put some kind of EQ between my mixer and my Monitors to try and taper some of the high frequency input and give me more options to ‘color’ the sound (a little strange possible to be trying to color a studio monitor I know), maybe even a BBE Sonic Maximizer or something cheesy like that

Something else I was looking at was Bass traps for the corners, but this really puts the cost up above what I’m prepared to pay. Do Bass traps add acoustics or soundproofing, or a little bit of both. The Bass doesn’t sound at all bad considering the tiny 5” drivers on the speakers because of the small room, I guess.

Anyway, if anyone got to the bottom of this war and peace issue I’d really appreciate any and all advise somebody might give.

Sorry to those who fell asleep and dove nose first into the keyboard halfway down.

Cheers

Richie