Does your venue have a noise restriction and sound limiter?

Does your venue have a noise restriction and sound limiter?

With wedding venues so often close to residential areas, they are bound to receive complaints about the level of noise, especially with disco's and wedding bands playing until midnight or later. When a council receives numerous complaints from residents, they will often impose a sound restriction on the venue and so a venue will need to install a sound limiter to stop bands and DJ's playing music above the accepted noise level.

What is a sound limiter?

A sound limiter is a device that detects the level of noise in decibels, if music is played above this level for around 5 seconds, the power supply will temporarily switch off and all music will cut out – very annoying for any band or disco as this can cause damage to equipment and interrupt the entertainment.

With sound limiters becoming more and more common, most experienced bands will have worked with them on numerous occasions and so are used to performing at a lower level. A DJ can literally just turn his PA system down but a band must alter their performance slightly.

Tips when playing with a sound limiter

  • The live drum kit is the main thing that will set the limiter off and so the drummer will need to play quieter and possibly use softer drum sticks or Soft Stix. With the drums lower, the other band members can then also turn down their amps and vocals.
  • My number one tip in working with a sound limiter is to use V-drums or electronic drums. With v-drums you can literally turn down the drums without compromising on sound quality.
  • Keep the bass lower in the mix. The bass guitar is another cause of setting off the sound limiter but turning it down slightly will rarely be noticed by your audience.
  • Turn down your monitors. All musicians like to have nice loud monitors but this only adds to the decibel level. If you are using v-drums you'll be amazed at how low you can have the on-stage level – the added bonus being that you still have your hearing by the end of the night!

So, although bands sound better at a higher volume, there are workarounds and it shouldn't mean that you can't have a band playing at your wedding.

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