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I have noisy neighbors, but they're not of the ghettoblaster kind nor are they drunk or always screwing. No, they're just a family of four upstairs in a 2-bedroom apartment with wooden floors. The noise they generate emanates mainly from my bedroom's ceiling since its the kid's room up there. It is not surprising to hear 3 or 4 kids running around, jumping, throwing heavy things on the ground in this room, probably being watched by one of the parents, who both wear heavy shoes. There is always someone making a continuous rattle in this room, unless it is between 9 PM and 7 AM. So, forget about any sunday afternoon nap and just bite into your pillow when you have a headache. I've talked to them, but they don't seem to give a shit, and here where I live, I do not have any recourse (the best I could hope would be to get my lease terminated). Recently one of the pictures on my wall fell off. It's that bad.

So, I'm thinking about building my own Audio Retaliation System. Since any noise I make generally pisses off the guys downstairs, the design of the ARS should include ceiling-mounted brackets to hold at least one loudspeaker, upturned of course. It would be plugged into a second-hand amplifier; I think I could get both of these for under 50$. I would then connect the output of my computer's soundcard on this amplifier so that I'm not limited to music as for retaliation. I'm thinking of building a user interface that could let me choose between audio files or that could generate specific audio attacks such as white noise, rapid pulses, booms, modulated carriers, etc. This would be far more efficient than me hitting the ceiling with my bare hands, since this is much less noisier than what they habitually do themselves.

Hopefully if they hear these disturbing noises each time I'm fed up with them, they will learn something; yes, I really hope to train them back to civility. I'm not sure about it yet, but training could be far more efficient if the ARS would be active even without me being present. So a microphone could be hooked up to the soundcard and the ARS activated whenever the ambient noise is above an adjustable threshold. Of course, it is essential that the ARS be switched between a "listen" and a "retaliate" mode as to prevent positive feedback. Hey, and why not using the microphone to automatically repeat the noises they make!

I'm thinking about Matlab to build the software since working with audio is really easy and building a GUI is not a problem anymore.


You know this is really only a fantasy. I'm moving out in a few months. Sigh.

For normal audio retaliation systems, nothing beats monster wattage with a pair of slot-loaded dual 18-inch EV bass speakers playing Gravity Kills.

In the situation detailed in the node above, however, one has to be more creative. Get a small speaker, something about an inch in diameter. You're looking for mid- to high-range sound, so don't worry about the bass response. Drill a small hole in the ceiling and poke the speaker into the portal, pushing aside any insulation (ha ha ha!) that you may find.

When they folks are annoying, just crank up some grating nails-on-chalkboard loops. You can also hook a microphone and act like a poltergeist, letting the little rugrats know that they're bothering the crazy headless ghost and he is about to start going berserk with a chain saw just like he did with the last people who lived there. That'll shut them up.

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