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How to record, for the court, noise nuisance by the Neighbour from Hell...

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
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4,631
As I've just ordered an Audio Technica AT2020USB+ mic I'm minded to do some recordings of my neighbour's 8 hours a day of booming bass beat music coming from the rear of his house.

This has been going on for four months. I've tried recording on my phone but it doesn't pick it up.

Can anyone suggest an App which has the best "ear" and would allow me to record continuously for up to 8hrs?
I'd use MacBook or iPad for the recording, probably the latter.

I'd like some recordings so as to be able to play them as evidence to Magistrates.

Many thanks for any help.

PS. To save questions - Council involved; Police involved; now going for private criminal prosecution under S.82 EPA 1990: Environmental Protection Act 1990
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
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4,491
A Zoom H2 connected to power and at the lowest rate would certainly do this well. In fact, with a big memory card, it'll record for 25+ hours easily. In WAV that would be a huge file, but in low def mp3 128khz, I'm sure it would work just fine and produce a file of 500MB or less.
Plus, they're great for recording gigs, yours or someone else's.
Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 14.13.15.png
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,871
You could also check what the SPL is with an app on your phone as that could be useful
 
OP
DavidUK

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
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4,631
I'm hoping to use what I have without the expense of more equipment.

Don't you know me by now? ;)
 
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DavidUK

DavidUK

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4,631
SPL?

Spectrum Patrol ..... no, it's not that... :confused2:

Scottish Premier .... nope

Sound P Level maybe? What's the P for?

Phone mic (Samsung S7) is rubbish!
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
Subscriber
Messages
4,491
SPL?

Spectrum Patrol ..... no, it's not that... :confused2:

Scottish Premier .... nope

Sound P Level maybe? What's the P for?

Phone mic (Samsung S7) is rubbish!
Try one:

 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,701
A good app is SPLnFTT to show you the decibel level and what the dangerous exposure time limit is.

That may not be completely relevant though for showing annoyance level for a legal case which I think is below the danger level and more focussed on how long and at what times it’s happening
 
Messages
188
Hi DavidUK you can practice trane changes and insane subsitutions over your neighbourg's bass beat!
I'm joking obviously!
Your mic is a good usb mic, but it is a condenser mic, therefore it captures everything in the air.
Compared to a dynamic mic the condenser has a higher gain, more detail, but it is way more sensitive. If you are in a studio or in a room with an acoustic treatment it you could prefer a condenser mic over a dynamic one.
But if you are in a noisy ambient the first thing to do is using a dynamic mic.
If you buy a good dynamic mic you can use it for live too.
Very good dynamic mics are the Electrovoice RE20 (my favourite) and the Sennheiser MD421 and 441.
They are expensive, though.
If you want an affordable option you can go with the Shure SM58 and SM57 (which honestly I don't like soundwise, but I admit that can solve any problem in difficult sitiuations like yours or like playing on a loud stage with 20 instruments is a small space).
I recorded a video live in studio with double bass and drums. We were very close to each other and after some experiments I preferred the Electrovoice RE20 over super expensive condenser Neumanns and Schoeps.
I was very close to the drummer, but in my mic the drums was barely audible.
With the condenser the drums volume was equal to the saxophone creating lots of problems...
So in your situation the Electrovoice would capture a very little noise compared to your saxophone sound.
If you want to give it a listen this is the video with that mic
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzByGsaGKGI
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,701
Can anyone suggest an App which has the best "ear" and would allow me to record continuously for up to 8hrs?
I don't believe the "ear" of the app will make any difference. Once the signal has gone through the mic, pre-amp, A/D converter that is the signal any app will use. Granted there are apps that could enhance or repair the sound, but I believe that's beyond the scope of this question. Once you've got any half decent mic that's either USB or with an external interface it's likely to be better than the phone mic.

Recording up to 8 hours is the point, to be able to demonstrate the annoyance and anti social factor. The actual loudness at any given time can by proven with SPLnFTT , which is what I would use.

I did in fact use it one to demonstrate at my gym that the sound of the pool aerobics class I recorded from the mens changing room was dangerous. It worked, they turned it down and forever I got filthy looks from the class instructor.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,277
Hi DavidUK you can practice trane changes and insane subsitutions over your neighbourg's bass beat!
I'm joking obviously!
Your mic is a good usb mic, but it is a condenser mic, therefore it captures everything in the air.
Compared to a dynamic mic the condenser has a higher gain, more detail, but it is way more sensitive. If you are in a studio or in a room with an acoustic treatment it you could prefer a condenser mic over a dynamic one.
But if you are in a noisy ambient the first thing to do is using a dynamic mic.
If you buy a good dynamic mic you can use it for live too.
Very good dynamic mics are the Electrovoice RE20 (my favourite) and the Sennheiser MD421 and 441.
They are expensive, though.
If you want an affordable option you can go with the Shure SM58 and SM57 (which honestly I don't like soundwise, but I admit that can solve any problem in difficult sitiuations like yours or like playing on a loud stage with 20 instruments is a small space).
I recorded a video live in studio with double bass and drums. We were very close to each other and after some experiments I preferred the Electrovoice RE20 over super expensive condenser Neumanns and Schoeps.
I was very close to the drummer, but in my mic the drums was barely audible.
With the condenser the drums volume was equal to the saxophone creating lots of problems...
So in your situation the Electrovoice would capture a very little noise compared to your saxophone sound.
If you want to give it a listen this is the video with that mic
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzByGsaGKGI
Fabrizio - lovely.
 
OP
DavidUK

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,631
Council's environmental health dept has used their sound equipment at length to measure the decibels which are now, since they seized equipment, under 50dB.

But noise nuisance isn't just loudness, it's type of noise and duration, and whether it's injurious to health. The lead EH officer couldn't understand how my wife's stress due to this, for which she's on medication, could cause a physical injury. My wife, a retired nurse, explained about high blood pressure causing stroke or heart attack or, if taking the meds with no stress and her BP falls dangerously she may fall and injure herself.

So, the council really don't want to do more. They served an abatement order, he breached it. They seized from a bedroom where the noise was emanating, he carries on playing from the rear of his house. They did more recording. "Not a statutory nuisance now" they say, due to lower volume. Council are meeting today to discuss our complaint. EH officer keeps saying it's not a statutory nuisance, ignoring the type of sound... bang, bang, bang, and duration through the day.

Our solicitor (of 30+ years) says there's a good prospect of a win in front of a magistrate where the burden of proof is lower. We're hoping to use our household insurance legal expenses cover to pay for this.

So, it's not loudness I need to test, it's just being able to play the judge the annoying bang, bang, bang, boom, boom, boom, if necessary, for all 8 hours.

Would SPLnFTT be necessary in this case or would Reaper be better?
 
OP
DavidUK

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,631
PS. I looked at the Shure 57 & 58 plus a Scarlett 2i2 when deciding whether to go condenser or dynamic (or ribbon).

That decision was purely based on sax recording (and ease of) and I hadn't thought about its secondary use here.
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,871
SPL?

Spectrum Patrol ..... no, it's not that... :confused2:

Scottish Premier .... nope

Sound P Level maybe? What's the P for?

Phone mic (Samsung S7) is rubbish!
Sound Pressure Level i.e. the db count...
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,871
Nuisance as you rightly say us more than volume, it's duration and nature of sound too. Good luck with this.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,701
Would SPLnFTT be necessary in this case or would Reaper be better?
Reaper????
It is a DAW.

All you need is something that proves it goes on for x hours (which of course any DAW might do, but so would any recording software). But showing the actual dB level would be useful in addition IMO. But ask your solicitor.

It should be viewed asa combination of sound level and duration.
 
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