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Nick Miller & The Art of Soundproofing



Since the year started I feel like I've watched on average...maybe one episode of New Girl a day. I can't stop quoting it and I'm really obsessed with it and while maybe I should use that time for sleep instead: New Girl is really my outlet.

So last night I was Netflix-ing some of Season 3 and I came across and episode entitled, "The Captain." The basis of this blog will be the fact that within the episode, lazy - but lovable - protagonist Nick Miller unsuccessfully soundproofs his trash room with dozens of egg cartons.

The scene may be glazed over, but after he explains that he soundproofed his room, Jess screams to test the quality of his work. Immediately following, their other roommates rush in saying they heard yelling to exhibit Nick's failure: unassailable reason for a good laugh.

While it may've just been a moment of comic relief, I would like to quickly delve into the reality behind why Nick Miller's homemade soundproofing system was wildly unsuccessful:

Noise reduction is achieved in creating an 'anti-sound' or using an instrument to create the same sound, but 'out-of-phase.' This causes what is called 'sound cancellation,' which is exactly what it sounds like. However, unless you were to account for every frequency, only certain pitches will even be cancelled out. In other words, it is near impossible to do this and cover such a large range of frequencies that would be found in a loft of five roommates. Sound too laborious? Not the Nick Miller way.

Sound absorption was the method more his speed. It is done by using non-rigid materials to take in vibrations from the air and instead of transmitting them, emit heat energy instead. Similar to shock absorbers, where friction is created to reduce force, heat is created to reduce sound. As sound is absorbed, the material gets warmer. Naturally, Nick Miller didn't look explicitly into this, causing him to drastically fail. And I suppose it was for the best. First of all, egg cartons cannot do the same for soundproofing that shock absorbers can for shock-proofing. Second, it's lucky his method didn't work out, because he obviously did not plan on anything; let alone the possible negative results. Things could've gotten...well...heated! :camp:

All in all, the one take away would be that when it comes to containment of vibrations/waves consider the acoustical properties (i.e. frequency, amplitude and quality) knowing that to reduce sound is to mainly reduce the amplitude because that's where a sound's loudness is derived.

That's all I've got - special thanks to Chi Meson's post in Physics Forums for aiding me in this research! Remember Fzx C students: stay in school.


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Great post!  And to add some trivia, Zooey Deschanel also sings two songs, including the title track, in the recently released Winnie The Pooh movie!



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