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Sound Limiters for Live Bands

Go Commando Kick Drum

Picture this, you’ve just found the wedding venue of your dreams. Everything is perfect from the location to the budget. You’re having the greatest night of your life partying the night away to the best band you could have wished for, and then the sound dies/stops/cuts out!

 

As a professional wedding band we have performed in many venues with sound limiters, from our hometown of Brighton right up the country and beyond! In this blog we will provide you with everything you need to know about sound limitations and the steps you can take to avoid catastrophe on the night!

 

What is a sound limiter?

A sound limiter is a device fitted within a venue that measures the sound pressure level of environmental noise expressed in DECIBLES, often set at a level between 90 – 100dB

 

A visual indicator on the limiter works most commonly on a traffic light system:

 

green = no problem

amber = sound levels approaching the threshold

red = threshold breached.

 

If the light stays red for more than a few seconds, then the limiter will take action and cut the power.

 

Although there is no legal requirement to have one installed, it helps helps venues comply with a couple of laws including the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 by preventing excessive noise which could be deemed a STATUTORY NUISANCE.

 

In some rare cases they may be installed to protect the structural integrity of especially old and historically important buildings from DAMAGE CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE LOUD MUSIC (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/sep/13/rock)

 

 

Knowing your decibels

Ok, so we’ve talked about decibels, but where does your evening entertainment fall on the scale?

85db – Acoustic Acts

95db – 105db – A Typical Covers Band

115db – Loud Rock Concert

140db – Jet Engine.

 

Steps you can take to avoid a catastrophe!

Check with your chosen venue whether they have a sound limiter in place and if they do, you should notify your chosen entertainment.  Most professionals would have dealt with a limiter before and will know exactly what precautions they may need to take. Simple steps by a band, such as ourselves, will include:

 

Using an electric drum kit or cajon

Softer drum sticks / brushes

Acoustic set-up

Limiting the PA output

 

Don’t panic if you haven’t checked with your venue before as most entertainment professionals will have liaised independently with the venue before your big day.