Trying To Record Bass Sounds, Thumps, Thuds.

I’m attempting to record bass sound along with thumps, thuds etc from a video or e game. Low frequency noises. A nuisance neighbor plays their games at level where their speaker might as well be in my living room. Sounds coming from above in an a apartment building. Can feel the noises as well, vibration has rattled glass/dishes and footwork shaken lamp shades. Need proof for landlord.

Everytime I make adjustments here or take a phone and/or phone mike to area of sounds and vibration it sounds like electrical interference.

Not trying duplicate but record enough to tell it’s a game being played and maybe which one. If I can pick up a few thumps and thuds from game or footwork might help as well.

Using a usb condenser microphone that goes down to 20hz, labtop and audacity as recommended by a shop.

Should add I’m using windows 8 and I’m below the source of the noise.

If you want the landlord to hear, you’ll need headphones/loudspeakers which can reproduce bass.
(laptop speakers normally cannot do that).
Audacity’s spectrogram display* may be of use: it will show the frequency content of the recording, even if you do not have the headphones/loudspeakers capable of reproducing it.

[ * can zoom-in on bass frequencies, i.e. <200Hz ]

Yeah… It does take a big woofer/subwoofer to reproduce bass that can shake the walls. And, the original noise is the probably opposite… It starts as sound and then the floor/ceiling vibrates and he vibrations are re-converted to sound. Headphones might be “better” but low frequencies are “experienced differently” with headphones.

The recording is probably OK but if you are feeling vibrations the mic will only pick-up the sound.

It’s also hard to “prove” the original loudness because it will depend on how loud you play it back (and the size of your woofer & amplifier). Another issue is psychological… The sound probably wouldn’t measure loud enough on an SPL meter to constitute a “noise violation” but these kinds of sounds can be super-annoying, especially if they are intermittent and late at night!

…When I lived in an apartment and I had this problem I used an ocean-wave recording with the bass turned-up to (mostly) drown it out. I could get used to the wave sounds and sleep, even though that was rather loud too.

Need proof for landlord.

And a landlord willing to pay attention. Do any of the neighbors have this complaint?

Bass tones are really rough to manage. They don’t appear on Sound Pressure Level “hazardous sound” readings dB(a), and even if you do manage to get a recording, nobody can play it without a speaker system the size of a microwave oven.

a phone and/or phone mike

Anything that goes through a phone is also going through voice management, noise reduction, and echo suppression. They’re not just simple recorders. No chance.

There was another poster a while back with a similar problem and the message went to several weeks with no good resolution.


Thanks for the responses.

The head phones suggestion was mentioned by another expert as well. The bass/beat does show a bit on the recording. Testing on other similar noises. The sound also shows up graphically on numerous cell phone apps but same problem can’t reproduce the sound to even know what it is.

I think the landlord and others accept the vibration part from the game and music noises along with the foot work of players. But the noise level is another.

I noticed when trying to adjust or amplify tracks it has to be one change or increment at a time. I can’t find a real time control like a volume knob. Still learning the app.

Thanks again

I can’t find a real time control like a volume knob.

If you’re playing a track to an audience, you can use the volume slider to the left of the track.

Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 7.52.24 PM.png
The top slider is quiet on the left and loud on the right.

The next slider down manages Left and Right sound on a stereo show. Don’t touch that one. It’s magic.

Both sliders are a little magic. The volume control doesn’t seem to affect the blue waves, it only affects your speakers or headphones.

Until you export a sound file. Then the setting gets burned into the show “in the background.” That can be a messy surprise if you accidentally deliver a show adjusted like that. The show and your blue waves won’t match. Any time you have an important sound presentation, File > Export a perfect quality WAV sound file and move it as backup to a safe place (thumb drive??)


Everytime I make adjustments here or take a phone and/or phone mike to area of sounds and vibration it sounds like electrical interference.

I have a note here. The bad sound may be overloading the recorder. Low pitched sounds can be very powerful. See: approaching thunder storm which is making rumble sounds, but is moving that big window in the living room.

Also see church organs. The piccolo, reed, and string sounds are tiny inch or two pipes and resonators. Those 8 and 16 foot pipes behind the organist? Those are the diapason and “flute” sounds that move your shirt and fog your glasses.

That’s what you’re trying to record on your phone.

It’s not simple distortion, either. When a microphone system overloads it stops following the performance, but more important, it starts making up its own sounds. That’s when you get the harsh, crunchy, crinkly, popping sounds.


Good and bad news. Finally got a couple of tracks clearly showing the bass/low frequency sounds in the bar chart. I purchased a cheap 5w bluetooth wireless speaker and if I hold it a couple inches away from ear I can hear the bass and it even tickles my ear drum the way the real sound does. But other than that can’t hear much at all.

The microphone placement was an about an inch nearest the loudest side/wall placed at a 45 degree angle with mic side pointing up. I tried similar placement during another one of their ‘sessions’ I couldnt’ duplicate the results. Having issues trying to enhance sound-see effects post.

Update: Found a way to record the noise including bass and thumps. Rather than chase the sound I looked for a spot in the room from which to place and leave mic set up. If I need the space I just move it. Almost gave audacity up trying to record on devices with dolby but must chase the sound or place more precise/closer to source

Long story short placed mic about 6ft high used pressure zone mic technique tilted the mic about 15 to 30 degrees towards center of room near a wall. I figured if I can hear and feel the noise all over there should be a spot where I could record all over. Room is rectangle shape so placed along shorter wall which gives access to sounds from entire room. Also got a new/used computer with windows 10 and faster processor which make start up and adjustments much faster. Also experimented found more permanent settings to bring out the sound. Note found that changing/raising the pitch frequently not only makes it louder but more accurate although can lead to alot of background noise but the thumps, thuds, stomps etc quite distinguishable.

Biggest issue now is to make copies someone else can play and listen.

But thanks again to all for recording tips, links etc

(rhythmic) bassy thumps are easier to see on a spectrogram than to reproduce …

The spectrogram could be evidence that the thumping occurred at particular time,
but it’s not evidence of how loud the thumping was: playback could be louder than the original sound.

placed mic about 6ft high used pressure zone mic technique

Exactly right. There are all sorts of tricks and techniques for recording sound. If you’re intent on very low pitch sounds, your pressure zone base needs to be pretty big.


That will handle most voices, OK, and it has all the advantages of pressure zone (be sure to mount it on a towel), but it loses its moxie (technical term) as the pitch goes down. I can’t find the illustration, but a full fidelity base plate is 30 inches (760mm) on a side. I mounted one of these in the middle of a conference room table once (on a towel) and it worked very well.

Biggest issue now is to make copies someone else can play and listen.

…or is willing to listen. “There’s that guy with the headphones again…”

Did you talk to any of the other three to five neighbors? Getting a number of irate neighbors together and catch the landlord in the hallway can do a world of good…or get you arrested. Is the musician bigger than the landlord?


Oh, there’s another one, too. Room resonances are a problem. Bass notes tend to build up and cancel depending on where in the room you are. I had a broken speaker hum problem that I couldn’t solve. I discovered exactly one place in the room that didn’t pick up the hum. That’s where I put the microphone and cranked out many performances that way.

Then I waved the microphone around the room and found the hum got a lot louder next to this one speaker cabinet. Ding!


I was thinking that too. That’s why I want to play and show what’s going when they make excessive noise. I will go to LL office to them. I was reading some places one only needs to proove the presence of infra or low freq sound/noises. I downloaded an infrasound app and they wanted money to share my file. But most would need and want to hear the audio as well.

One of the tricks or techniques used I titled the mic to the side at 90 degrees/perpendicular then rotated to a 15 to 30 degree angle above/still on the board. That worked better than the mic in a vertical position with board behind it.

Also of note one of the their games has a pedal or foot device and what I hear/feel as a thud the mic picks it up as a tapping click even the faint thuds the mic is picking up.

I hope we’re in the end game with the tenant. Others had to call the police which the ll did not appreciate, I noted more incidents and the eviction moratoriums are over here.

Experimentation with different settings with the recording & playback and positioning of the mic were the biggest factors.

the mic picks it up as a tapping click

That’s old news, too. You have to pay attention to the sound level meters. If at any time the sound channel gets too loud, the digital system runs out of numbers, overloads, and starts making up its own sounds. You know that as ticking, cracking, and popping. That is to be avoided. That’s distortion and proves your recording didn’t follow the performance, game sound in your case.