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hag01 Offline OP
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My piano produce 85 decibels at max, when I play Fortissimo.
In a regular playing sessions, my piano mostly produce about 70-80 decibels, if I remember correctly.
In an apartment building, I understand that a piano transmit sound to the apartment downstairs not only in a form of airborne sound, but also in a form of structure borne sound, since the piano transmit vibrations directly to the floor.

But my question is, what portion of the decibels that a piano produce, transmitted as vibrations to the floor.
For example, if my piano produce 80 decibels, are all those 80 decibels as a whole, transmitted to the floor in a form of vibrations, or only part of it? And if so, what part?
The question refers to a standard concrete floor in an apartment building.

Of course there is also a matter of capacity of the floor to transmit sound.

For example, I'm going to move apartment soon, I brought an acoustician to the new apartment to do acoustic measurements, my floor capable to transmit up to 62 decibels of structure borne sound(like in most of the buildings in the country I'm living in, these are the building standards here).
That means, that if my piano transmit sound in a form of vibrations to the floor in a level of 62 decibels or more, 62 decibels will be transmitted to the apartment downstairs in a form of structure borne sound.

The acoustician offered me to install on the floor two layers of acoustic rubber and parquets on them, then he said, only 41 decibels could be passed as structure borne sound to the floor.
That means, that if my piano transmit to the floor 41 decibels of vibrations or less, rubbers on the floor will do nothing, but if my piano transmits for example, 60 decibels of structure borne sound\vibrations to the floor, then the rubbers on the floor are going to relief the neighbor downstairs significantly.

So as you can see, I really need the physical data right now.

Thanks in advance.

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Unless I'm missing something here, isn't your question something that's situation-dependent and therefore stuff that your acoustician would be in a position to measure, determine and address?

You should call this guy back again and say, "This is what I want to accomplish and this is what I have. What do I need to do now?"


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It sounds to me that the two layers of acoustic rubber (+ the parquet perhaps) will reduce transmission through the floor by an additional 20 decibels, i.e a further sound reduction factor of 100 over and above the attenuation in the concrete floor. Would the weight of the piano compress the rubber and make it less efficient ?

Last edited by keff; 11/19/21 05:48 PM. Reason: additional point
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Frank is right but, as a mattet of interest, what price did the acoustician quote for the floor covering?

Google says normal speech is 60db and whispers are 40db. Can people on the floors above and below hear what you say in your new apartment? If they can just hear it as a whisper, then maybe you need that covering or maybe a carpet.

That's for the airborne sound. As fot the impact noise transmitted via the casters, some acoustic isolation may do the trick.

Would you and a friend be able to do some tests in the apartment block with some piano recordings played through a loudspeaker?


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hag01 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Withindale
Google says normal speech is 60db and whispers are 40db. Can people on the floors above and below hear what you say in your new apartment? ?

What I said about 60dB transmission, was meant to structure borne sound transmission capacity of the floor, not air borne sound.
I don't know what exactly does the neighbor downstairs hear right now.

I also already sealed all holes with concrete and installed acoustic insulation window and door, that should help with airborne sound, but now it is damn hot in this room.

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dB is a ratio. Against what reference are you measuring the 85 dB ratio?

A sound meter usually measures sound pressure level and does so using a weighted curve. The dB A curve simulates our hearing. The transmission of sound through a concrete floor may well be better measured using the dB C curve, which is somewhat more flat and better indicates low frequency vibration.

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Well I suggest you do what the acoustician advises. Your neigbours will tell you how successful it is !!!

I think you would do well to isolate the piano itself from the floor. Is it an upright or a grand?

Last edited by Withindale; 11/19/21 06:56 PM.

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Originally Posted by hag01
For example, I'm going to move apartment soon, I brought an acoustician to the new apartment to do acoustic measurements, my floor capable to transmit up to 62 decibels of structure borne sound(like in most of the buildings in the country I'm living in, these are the building standards here).
That means, that if my piano transmit sound in a form of vibrations to the floor in a level of 62 decibels or more, 62 decibels will be transmitted to the apartment downstairs in a form of structure borne sound.

The acoustician offered me to install on the floor two layers of acoustic rubber and parquets on them, then he said, only 41 decibels could be passed as structure borne sound to the floor.
That means, that if my piano transmit to the floor 41 decibels of vibrations or less, rubbers on the floor will do nothing, but if my piano transmits for example, 60 decibels of structure borne sound\vibrations to the floor, then the rubbers on the floor are going to relief the neighbor downstairs

Is it not more likely that the concrete floor will attenuate the sound by 62db ? If it does it is a substantial floor because info available online would suggest an attenuation factor of more like 52db.Let us assume the 62db is correct which would mean that if you play piano at the 85db level, 23db would get through to the neighbour below which could still be annoying. If the two layers of rubber increases attenuation by a further 20db then only 3db get through to the neighbour. One website I have seen says that the background sound in a soundproof room amounts to 10db.

Last edited by keff; 11/20/21 05:34 AM. Reason: correction
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Soundproofing a concrete floor
How to soundproof a concrete floor to ensure sound does not transfer between this type of flooring. Most buildings with a concrete sub-floor have sufficient mass and density to block the transfer of airborne sound. Conversation and TV noise would not normally pass between the floors of buildings that use concrete as the sub-floor. The main noise issue that you would expect for concrete flooring is impact sound. This type of sound would include footfall and movement of objects across the floor.

The best way of soundproofing concrete floors to reduce impact sound is to use a resilient layer over the concrete flooring. The soundproof layer is installed over the concrete and below the floor finish. The type of soundproofing you use to block impact sound through the concrete is made from materials that absorb impact sound before it transmits into the concrete. There are several products available for soundproofing concrete floors. Which you chose is often determined by factors including restrictions on floor height and what the desired floor finish will be.

See How to soundproof concrete floors.

This advice seems to come from a reliable source.

It seems the purpose of a wall to wall floor covering would be minimise noise in the apartment below from footsteps and moving chairs.

As Keff says the weight of the piano is likely to compress the rubber and make it less efficient. In any case the treatment may not be effective for lower frequencies. It would be much more cost effective to acoustically isolate the piano to prevent its casters transmitting vibrations into the floor.


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Originally Posted by keff
Originally Posted by hag01
For example, I'm going to move apartment soon, I brought an acoustician to the new apartment to do acoustic measurements, my floor capable to transmit up to 62 decibels of structure borne sound(like in most of the buildings in the country I'm living in, these are the building standards here).
That means, that if my piano transmit sound in a form of vibrations to the floor in a level of 62 decibels or more, 62 decibels will be transmitted to the apartment downstairs in a form of structure borne sound.

The acoustician offered me to install on the floor two layers of acoustic rubber and parquets on them, then he said, only 41 decibels could be passed as structure borne sound to the floor.
That means, that if my piano transmit to the floor 41 decibels of vibrations or less, rubbers on the floor will do nothing, but if my piano transmits for example, 60 decibels of structure borne sound\vibrations to the floor, then the rubbers on the floor are going to relief the neighbor downstairs

Is it not more likely that the concrete floor will attenuate the sound by 62db ? If it does it is a substantial floor because info available online would suggest an attenuation factor of more like 52db.Let us assume the 62db is correct which would mean that if you play piano at the 85db level, 23db would get through to the neighbour below which could still be annoying. If the two layers of rubber increases attenuation by a further 20db then only 3db get through to the neighbour. One website I have seen says that the background sound in a soundproof room amounts to 10db.


OK here is my explanation:
When airborne sound is the subject, the terms are about how many decibels the floor blocks.
When the subject is structure borne sound, the terms are about how many decibels the floor is capable to transmit.

About my floor, the assumption is that it blocks 48 decibels of airborne sound, and capable to transmit up to 62 decibels of structure borne sound.

I'm not a pro acousticians, but that's what I understand.

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Floor attenuation of 48db is plausible but I don't understand what a transmission capability of 62db means. Of the 85db that your piano is capable of generating only a very small proportion will get transferred directly into the structure of the building but I can't guess what that value would be.

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There was a typo in this link: How to soundproof concrete floors. [/quote]

Incidentally the same site also has a standard decibel scale for various levels of sound, including conversation (50-60db), loud radio (80-90db), etc.

As your piano produces up to 85db of airborne sound you will need to attenuate it by 23-37db according to Keff's and your assumptions. Rather than working on assumptions I think a test with a loud radio or audio player and smartphone db meter app would indicate the extent of the problem.


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Originally Posted by keff
I don't understand what a transmission capability of 62db means. Of the 85db that your piano is capable of generating only a very small proportion will get transferred directly into the structure of the building but I can't guess what that value would be.

It would be interesting to know if anyone has measured the energy transmitted through the casters of a piano into a concrete floor. The effects of acoustic isolation suggest it may be significant. Peak sound levels of 62 db in the room below would be intrusive.


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A floor, and any other structure or device except an amplifier, cannot transmit 62dB or any other amount of sound. What the floor, in this case, can do, is attenuate the air pressure sound impinging upon it BY 62dB. This is a significant reduction and necessary for the 'quiet' enjoyment of one's premises, and thus, is a normal building code requirement.

The floor cannot attenuate impact sounds nearly as well. My wife can easily hear my thumping of my digital keyboard being played through the ceiling, yet she cannot hear the thumping sound of my 7 foot grand piano being played through the ceiling. It doesn't thump because it weighs 1020lbs.

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Originally Posted by prout
My wife ... cannot hear the thumping sound of my 7 foot grand piano being played through the ceiling. It doesn't thump because it weighs 1020lbs.

Can your wife hear anything of what you are playing on your grand piano through the ceiling?


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Yes, we live in an open concept three floor house. It is easy to hear music/pitches of any of our instruments on another floor, but only the light-weight slab keyboard and the digital piano transmit the noise of the keys hitting the keybed, the lower frequencies of which are transmitted through the floor to the air in the room below.

Our situation is not particularly germane to the conversation, but the concept of sound attenuation by the concrete floor (most often these floors are filled with hollow tubular like structures to reduce the weight of the concrete slabs and to provide ducts for various services) is important.

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Our piano is on the ground floor and I have no practical experience of one on a floor above.

The main question here seems to be how much attenuation, if any, needs to be added to the concrete floor.


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Without a logical and consistent reference, it would be difficult to estimate the required, if any, attenuation. The problem starts with measuring the sound pressure level. Did the OP measure 85 dB SPL at his ear, or at the floor level below the piano? To compare apples to apples, or one SPL to another, it is assumed that the measurement is made at, for example one metre from the point source. A sound metre placed one metre from the crook of the piano with the lid fully up on a horizontal plane level with the top of the rim and played using a mechanical device of known velocity could be used to measure one piano's 'loudness' to another, assuming all this took place in open space.

My son lives in a new apartment building with concrete floors and has a 3000 Watt digital-servo subwoofer that is flat to 15 Hz along with a substantial Kef-based sound system and a digital piano. No neighbour has ever complained about his movie-watching or playing the piano. One sample does not a proof make, but is useful as a caution about spending money, perhaps needlessly.


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