If you’ve lived in Japan for any period of time, you’ll know that Japanese people are very sensitive to noise. Public places like trains, stations, and parks, are remarkably quiet, and festivals have even toned down their music in recent years to keep from disturbing the local residents. It’s such an important part of Japanese society that Japanese netizens were shocked to hear that people in other countries enjoy listening to their neighbors play musical instruments.
That makes it difficult to practice at home if you’re a musician or learning an instrument, especially now that many music classes are conducted online. That’s why online music school Coolish Music has released a sound-reducing booth that you can place in your home called Otodasu.
Otodasu, which means “make noise” in Japanese, is 1.24 x 1.24 x 1.912 meters, giving you enough space to fit a small chair and a sheet stand, and enough height for most people to stand (although very tall musicians will have some trouble). The width within the booth gives you plenty of room to practice, even if you are a very spirited musician.
Otodasu comes in a “light” version and a “regular” version, and is capable of decreasing the noise of your instrument by an average of 20 decibels. For reference, a violin plays at about 80-90 decibels, whereas a normal conversation is about 60 decibels. A 20 decibel reduction would bring it down to about the levels of your regular daily life.
Of course, the farther away from the booth, the lower the sound, so your neighbors will likely hear even less than your family or roommates. What they’ll hear might be similar to the sounds of your television.
Here’s a video comparing the sound of professional violinist Eriko Shimizu playing in Otodasu with the door open, in Otoadasu Light with the door closed, and in Otodasu regular with the door closed. Though it still sounds a bit loud, the higher notes are definitely subdued with the doors of either Otodasu closed.
Even if you aren’t a musician, you might find Otodasu useful for other purposes. It would work great for a voiceover artist who needs a quiet place to record, or if you’re working from home and need some privacy or quiet while on a Zoom call, the Otodasu would make a great space for that, too. It even has a slot for cables, so you don’t have to worry about running out of power.
No invasive installation is required for the Otodasu; you simply have to put it together and place it where you want it. That makes it easy if you’re a renter, since you won’t have to damage the walls to install it.
The cost of the Otodasu Light is 99,900 yen, and the regular Otodasu is 144,000 yen. They can be ordered from the Otodasu Online Shop and will take about two weeks to arrive. If you live in an apartment and need to practice your music, this might be a great option. It won’t completely eliminate the sound, but for this price point, it might help pacify your neighbors so you can keep doing what you love.
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