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Hello!
I've just started to learn sax. I practice on alto sax in a small room with no furniture at the moment. It's almost empty. When I just started couple of weeks ago I noticed how loud the saxophone was. At first I even felt a little nervous that my neighbours would object my practice. Apparently it doesn't disturb them.
Yesterday my wife came into my practice room and said to me: "Are you crazy?!!". She couldn't stay in the room because it was so loud!
She expressed to me what I noticed in the very beginningh of my practice with this instrument.
My question is: 'Can saxophone make any permanent damage to human hearing in the conditions I described?'. I read some articles on the Internet that discussed maximum allowable sound levels above which permanent hearing damage would be quite possible.
I suppose many people practice in small rooms with more or less furniture. Have you ever thought of exceeding your safe hearing limits with playing the sax?
 

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if your practice room is small, loud and lacking in absorbing materils you will over time have hearing loss / ringing n your ears.

Bill Evans who played sax with Miles Davis I've been told has such a big but controlled sound because he used to practice really quietly in an apartment. It's hard to do so it develops ears and breath/embouchure control.

If you want to let it rip! ....

- just hang stuff on walls to absorb. A variety of materials is a good idea beacause it'll allow for eveness of frquencies in your room. too much soft fabric and you'll lose brightness.

Same for the floors, carpet will work but some wood or a nice mixture will usually sound more even.

Deluxe studio are lways built with non-parallel walls to prevent certain frequencies from being overly present.

Hopefully you can add somematerial to the room and make it drier without making it uninspiring and lifeless.

Anyway when you go to a nice hall or church your ears will be rewarded.

Ocasionally I wear earphones (walkman or studio) to cut the volume . it makes it less painfull but does warp what you hear. I always end up blowing a harsher slightly uglier , less sweet sound to compensate. sort of like playing with aloud electric band or busking on a busy street.
It can make you use power but ovelook sweetness
 

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Oh,
about neighbours....
it's usually the low frequencies that carry through walls. It's 'cause the sound waves are stretch further! so they are probably not hearing what you or your wife hear.

Some folks are easier going than others too.

sound like you and them have good vibes which is always a great thing.

enjoy
 

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Bill Evans, sax player :?
 

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Bill Evans Sax

Bill Evans Sax, yes.
He's the Albums, Man With The Horn, We want Miles (live).
He's up there with great modern Miles alumni, Steve Grossman, Liebman
Not the Piano Great
 

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excellent acoustic advice!

so many people are uninformed when it comes to room acoustics. not you guys!! i'm impressed :D

the acoustics of the horn are such that it sounds far louder to someone in front of you than to your ears. you're experiencing the reflections, so dampening the surfaces of the room will definitely help. it's probably the only decent option, as earplugs will deaden your sound. when playing in close quarters, my alto playing used to bother my wife. so i got rid of her :)

on a side note, playing into a reflective surface is a great way to hear your tone. this is the concept behind these "sound mirror" devices that clip to the bell of your horn. do any of you use one of these?

if you want to keep playing without worry of your neighbors (late at night, etc), you can look into a getting a wind synth. the mood struck me to play along with some Johnny Hodges at 11 last night. i switched on my WX7, changed the pitch to Eb, loaded up a bari preset on my synth and played with the volume at a reasonable level. good times ;)
 

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ernie tollar said:
Bill Evans Sax, yes.
He's the Albums, Man With The Horn, We want Miles (live).
He's up there with great modern Miles alumni, Steve Grossman, Liebman
Not the Piano Great
OK. I knew one of us was confused.
 

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WinnSie said:
Hello!
.....I suppose many people practice in small rooms with more or less furniture. Have you ever thought of exceeding your safe hearing limits with playing the sax?
Through a rug down and hang some curtains and play softly, without sacrificing tone quality.
 

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I have hyperacusis, so I have to put a stuffed animal in the bell of my tenor.
Works well. Sounds dark and mellow. You might want to try that.
Candy
 

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Higher frequencies do wear out your hearing overtime. All of us can expect a certain amount of hearing loss with age.

Playing live is often much more damaging than praticing at home.

If you have a large closet with plenty of space it will absorb the sound of your horn. You can line the walls with thick carpet, or you can go all out and buy acoustical foam that will absorb the sound.

I personally think it's best to practice in a very acoustically dry room. Jan Garbarek has said that he used to practice in a rubber room and that is one of the reasons for his huge sound.
 

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You could even tack egg cartons to the walls, might be kinda retro hip.
That and some throw rugs and curtains, and a bed would dampen the sound quite a bit.
 

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If you want to sound proof a room with wedge foam....my personal suggestion you can use this site.
http://www.foambymail.com/Products.html

They're about half the cost of what you get from most retailers. The wedge foam works better because it has more mass. The pyramid stuff looks cool, but it's not as effective and it cost 50% more.
 

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egg cartons do nothing they don't have enough mass. I prefer rigid fiberglass panels, covered in muslin (tye dyed in my case) and hung on the walls.
 

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sound db levels

Because I am doing some research on exactly this, I have been measuring db levels while I practice. I have found that when I am really blowing and close to my stand etc and have a rug down etc, I still can reach a db level immediately in front of me of about 105 max. I will tell you that I do not get those levels in my ears however. I think it has to do with proximity and direction. (Like I said Im doing some research...) However, as long as you dont exceed the reccomended exposure times to this level of sound, you should not experience any problems long terms from practicing. Playing live, depending on the type of band etc, can have louder peaks and more exposure, however...more to come with more data....:idea1: :idea1:
 

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sjonesjrmd said:
Because I am doing some research on exactly this, I have been measuring db levels while I practice. I have found that when I am really blowing and close to my stand etc and have a rug down etc, I still can reach a db level immediately in front of me of about 105 max. I will tell you that I do not get those levels in my ears however. I think it has to do with proximity and direction. (Like I said Im doing some research...) However, as long as you dont exceed the reccomended exposure times to this level of sound, you should not experience any problems long terms from practicing. Playing live, depending on the type of band etc, can have louder peaks and more exposure, however...more to come with more data....:idea1: :idea1:
Proximity, time, and frequency content.

Peaks of 105 are not too bad. What SPL meter are you using? Aweight or Cweight? Fast response or slow?
 

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What about mass loaded vinyl?

Has anyone tried this stuff. It looks like it would work very well. It's kind of expensive and you can't get it shipped because it weights about 1 pound per square foot, unless you want to triple the cost for S/H. Could be a great way to sound proof a little practice room.
 

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I've got the perfect solution. You know those ear protectors, ear phones like gun enthusiasts [and aircraft carrier workers] use on the shooting range to protect their hearing? Huh!? Eh?! :sunny:
 

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Checking back to see what people ended up doing.

One idea I just had was to use some heavy duty gun-range earwear. Then run some high quality in-ear sound monitors up them.

Or just monitor with some closed back headphones, assuming they have the same passive noise-cancelling abilities.

Would hanging up towels do much?
 
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