DEAR HARRIETTE: Just some months ago, I moved into my apartment building on the fourth floor. Recently settling in, I have installed my surround sound speakers for my living room. I've watched movies and played music at different levels to test what is appropriate. My next-door neighbors haven't complained, but the couple below my apartment has complained about the lowest volume level. It has become harassing. I have repeatedly adjusted the volume and subwoofer level because I wouldn't want anyone to be uncomfortable in his or her own home. Some possibly important factors: My roommate and I are African-American, the people living below are a homosexual Caucasian couple and they're about 20 years older than us. They have banged on my door with a rude tone while I have had company over, and it's embarrassing. I'm thinking I should call the cops for harassment the next time they come to my door. What do you think? -- Too Loud, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR TOO LOUD: As conscientious as you are trying to be, know that sound travels fast, particularly bass sounds. One way to muffle sound is by putting rugs on your floor. They will help to absorb the sound. This is a wise choice for someone who enjoys playing music in an apartment building.
Regarding the potential racism or ageism to which you have alluded, I recommend that you not allow yourself to be overcome by those thoughts. You and your roommate should stay focused on being calm and clear.
If they continue to bang on your door and behave rudely, speak to the super first and ask for help to dispel the drama. If it continues, call the police in the moment that it's happening. They will need proof of the offense in order for it to make a difference.
What some people do when they are having parties is to alert their neighbors in advance so that they are aware that there may be a number of people and extra noise. You could try that as well. Also, as a rule, turn the music down or off on weeknights after 11 p.m.