Forums Music Music Events & Venues Noise levels at live events

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #1054417
    barrettone
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking about this recently

    I am quite a big fan of some “loud” music, especially 90s era shoegaze where loudness is part of the image. But if you go to live events of these types, especially indoors it’s normally well advertised that you should wear earplugs and not doing so is at your own risk. Not least because in some ways, it sounds a lot better with earplugs, but also because several prominent musicians (like Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine) have unrelated hearing problems, and they warn fans not to be careless with their hearing.

    But it seems as if a lot of acts don’t really care about this anymore. A lot of venues seem to keep anything related to noise levels as legal small print in case anyone complains. But a lot of live music gets really really loud and can hurt your hearing.

    I’m sure it has something to do with the overall “Loudness war” in audio, but I don’t see why it’s okay. It puts a lot of people in danger for no reason. Obviously if you attend live music events you should expect more noise than normal but no one should be made deaf. If acts/venues want to be so loud they should advertise the need for earplugs better.

    #1262696
    Gylfi Gudbjornsson
    Participant

    This is a factor as to why I don’t go to gigs, parties or raves….I value my hearing. As well as being broke, that’s doesn’t help.

    #1262684
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    It is due to both the “loudness war” and a culture of dumbing down in sound engineering – many folk do not know what good quality sound should be like – even many of those who should.

    On the legal dance music scene there was a campaign to raise awareness in the mid 2000s when the film “its all gone pete tong” came out. I don’t know that much about how guitar bands are promoted but suspect that as they are endured by non participants just slightly more than dance events (being of shorter duration) but even then not everyone thinks the music industry is as valuable to a local or national economy there is a culture of trying to “bury bad news”, as any safety concerns can be used to lobby against venues being licensed.

    Also if punters boycott events with poor sound systems, then the market will force promoters to clue up or go out of business. There is no excuse for it as good quality sound equipment is more affordable than ever before.

    #1262692
    p0ly
    Participant

    Didn’t read your post but I had my head in the rig loads at boogie woogie on saturday/sunday. Who cares about your hearing when it feels good? ๐Ÿ˜€ who cares about your bladder when it feels good? who cares about your liver when it feels good.

    and gaz who cares about your colesteral and the innocent slaughter of pigs all over the world when it tastes good. i think your hearing is minor compared to that travesty.

    #1262693
    p0ly
    Participant

    @Guy Martin 507588 wrote:

    This is a factor as to why I don’t go to gigs, parties or raves….I value my hearing. As well as being broke, that’s doesn’t help.

    Ear plugs.

    #1262701
    Winston Smith
    Participant

    Gigs in my youth and free partys almost certainly gave me my tinnitus. God only knows what those people you see with their head in the stack all night will experience in later life.

    #1262698
    barrettone
    Participant

    @p0ly 507596 wrote:

    Ear plugs.

    Most gigs weren’t created with those kind of noise levels in mind. Unless you’re purposefully being loud (in which case you probably already advertise that ear plugs should be worn at your events) then why must people assume that your volume will be ear-splittingly loud? It’s unnecessary.

    #1262702
    Winston Smith
    Participant

    @barrettone 507622 wrote:

    Most gigs weren’t created with those kind of noise levels in mind. Unless you’re purposefully being loud (in which case you probably already advertise that ear plugs should be worn at your events) then why must people assume that your volume will be ear-splittingly loud? It’s unnecessary.

    because people naturally tend to think more is better and hearing damage is not very cool or very apparent until its too late

    #1262685
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    There are a lot of people around now in their mid-late 20s with hearing damage and the high frequencies all gone (which normally only happens from age 50-60 onwards). Which actually makes things worse as they are becoming conditioned to a lower sound quality as they can’t hear anything better.

    #1262694
    p0ly
    Participant

    If you are scared about ear damage either wear either plugs which is pretty minor, or miss out on pretty much the best experiences of festivals, gigs and parties.

    Also wearing earphones at high levels or even semi high levels fucks your hearing so don’t think you’re safe if you don’t go to a rave you’re still fucking your hearing.

    Personally I’m gonna go to festivals and parties and gigs til I cannot attend anymore just like my Dad who’s hearing is FINE and still does loads of gigs and festivals every year multiple times. Just don’t be a fucking muppet about it and you don’t miss out on in my opinion the best times in life.. I’m a music lover and these professional put on events have the nicest happiest vibes with the best music, environments etc…

    Have fun in the pub with a bunch of pissed up wankers listening to shit music on shit sound systems with fake DJs and no community spirit..

    Festivals and raves are the best times I have in life and every time I leave a good party my faith is restored in humanity that people can be so fucking nice and friendly. If I fuck up my hearing in the process then at least I’m happy, a fair trade in my personal opinion.

    #1262686
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    All pairs of can’s for DJs and musicians (as well as the in-ear headphones) now have a warning in about 4 different languages about sound levels. when mixing I keep the headphone and loudspeaker levels as low as possible but to get good sound, partly out of consideration for my neighbours but also to preserve my own hearing.

    IMO the EDM scene actually has much better awareness of this problem than guitar based scenes – I suspect this is more because people involved with it and promoters are constantly being judged and scrutinised because of drugs scares so they pay slightly more attention to health and safety as thats another way the feds and councils can get events shut down or people brought before the Court. Also on the trance scene a lot of producers have classical music training or appreciation from high school age and because of parental influences and those of the national public broadcasters.

    The small pub/mobile disco setups are some of the worst. But if I go to a pub I do so to drink good ale, not listen to crap music.

    You should always be able to get to a place in the venue where the sound pressure levels are not hurting your ears. Otherwise the event is simply unsafe and no better than if a sketchy bar staff is letting beer line cleaner into the lager (mind you that might even improve it) or there are crackhead muggers roaming around the place stabbing people or it is over capacity for fire safety.

    Recently on the radio broadcasts I’ve noticed the young presenters of this indie stuff are the most likely to bring in grossly distorted CD’s or MP3 (I thought they had redlined the console but when I logged in remotely the meters were at a good level so the source material was shite), Yet ageing rockers what could be my Dad are brining in good quality content, as are all the dance music presenters who are from their late 20s to my age mostly. whether or not the young peoples ears’ are kaputt (I do not know, I am a broadcast engineer, not a doctor or audiologist) they are getting used to putting up with poor quality sound and that isn’t a good thing.

    #1262697
    Gylfi Gudbjornsson
    Participant

    I don’t see why people have there ear/headphones soo loud to the point where you can hear them across the room, personally the only time I play my music loud through my headphones is when I’m Skateboarding. Even then, I find it gets a bit too loud sometimes. As someone who at young age suffered from chronic migraines, to the point where my ear would bleed, I take my hearing seriously, and don’t want to have a repeat of those days. Obviously I understand when djing, loud rig and that, you’d need a bit of volume in your ears to hear what your doing, but at the end of the night I’d assume you’d be shouting what with the tenitus and possible loss of hearing at certain frequencys, as GL said.
    Bleh

    #1262687
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    in decent venues DJ’s are provided with a booth output separate to that of the main rig, and control of the monitor speakers. trying to beat match using the main rig won’t work well if there is delay due to the speakers being some distance away, or other soundprocessing being in use. The booth itself may be (as its name suggests) acoustically isolated from the front of house sound system anyway.

    Radio stations have a similar arrangement whereby the presenter can adjust the volume of his or her cans and the monitor loudspeakers independently, although these consoles mute the speakers when microphones are active to prevent feedback. Some places like the BBC have limiters in headphone circuits to avoid being sued by staff (or this facility is built into the mixer).

    #1262700
    Chrispydelic
    Participant

    Sounds like you are going to some pretty badly engineered events to be honest. If everything is set up properly on high quality equipment then there should be no need at all to wear ear protection.

    Also, there are so many health and safety rules that have to be adhered to (the do can get closed down if you are found to be in breach of these regs) and if the venue is very loud then the rig should be split up as much as possible to disperse the sound evenly around the venue. I have had to re-stack rigs many times when I used to work on sound systems.

    #1262688
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    TBH it doesn’t surprise me as I would expect authorities in London have taken their eye off the ball a bit at short duration guitar based gigs with a mostly middle class / white crowd in comparison to urban events with a multicultural crowd. Hope that doesn’t sound racist or anything but thats just how things are nowadays. I now work closely with a lot of people of all ages into all kinds of music (albeit 70 miles out of London) and the Councils are very careful/calculating about what sort of events they permit.

    in the smaller venues which play urban music the bar managers tend to encourage the volume to be kept lower anyway as it distracts from the selling of alcohol which is the core business of these places, not music. The music based pubs are laid out a bit better as they tend to attract both musicians and real ale fans.

    #1262695
    p0ly
    Participant

    Basically the moral of this story is don’t be a pussy and go to good raves and gigs. Round your mates house with their shitty speakers putting the volume up full is gonna fuck your ears also except your at a shitty house gathering with poor quality music and environment, what a shit time to fuck your ears up lol… do it with dignity.

    #1262689
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    TBH these days I doubt that house parties in normal suburban areas would be that risky – they don’t go on for that long and anyone blasting a residential neighbourhood with that amount of noise will get made to turn it down.

    The real menace to folks’ ears are personal media devices and incorrect use of headphones, interlinked with highly compressed digital audio files pushed into clipping, especially low bitrate MP3s there are numerous threads about why this practice is bad.

    I’ve both heard and seen what barrettone was mentioning on the radio today (as I put on the remote metering) with two guitar music based shows, but the older presenter (a few years my senior) has managed to get more dynamic range and more loudness units by using good quality source material (uncompressed CD’s etc). There are good reasons why slightly older people are fussy about sound ๐Ÿ˜‰

    #1262691
    sinner69
    Participant

    Legal DB limit on live events here in DK is 102db measured over the last 15 mins at the mixing deck, this can be diviated due to local restrictions….but registration system do not goes sub deep so bass driven music have happy days…just ask Killahertz…I invited him to an event here in DK where the limits in sub region were put to the test… lol

    #1262683
    Anonymous

    Party is incomplete without loud music…its looks so boring.

    children entertainers*

    #1262703
    arlene_5
    Participant

    I agree with your views on noise level in any event but every celebration is incomplete without music. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #1262699
    know_hope
    Participant

    @arlene_5 558100 wrote:

    I agree with your views on noise level in any event but every celebration is incomplete without music. ๐Ÿ™‚

    silent party ftw

    #1262690
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @!sinner69! 507787 wrote:

    Legal DB limit on live events here in DK is 102db measured over the last 15 mins at the mixing deck, this can be diviated due to local restrictions….but registration system do not goes sub deep so bass driven music have happy days…just ask Killahertz…I invited him to an event here in DK where the limits in sub region were put to the test… lol

    They must then be using type A meter which has a response curve biased towards treble frequencies.

    There are cheap sound level meters available from CPC in UK (and probably Conrad across the North Sea) but you have to choose A or C weighting, or buy both (which still would work out cheaper than a single unit with the capability to do both kinds!), although a proper noise level measurement seems to use both weightings (it depends also on the duration of exposure).

    After doing some research I bought the type C one with the flat response as I want to reduce potential noise nuisance to my neighbours when working late, and guard my own hearing too, as so many of my older friends have some hearing problems due to age and exposure to loud sounds (mostly at work or when doing their national service, many f). With that I found that in the studio, 88 dBC was good and loud and that was at relatively low power to my amp and loudspeakers, though I can easily get 100 + dBC from this system. The danger then is that when mixing I turn up my cans to a similar level, and directly blast this to my ears!

    I just did a check by putting the sound meter microphone directly to the headphones and sending a test tone at various frequencies (my desk will generate 50Hz, 100Hz, 1KHz and 10KHz.

    Even on a set of DJ headphones (which are usually made bass heavy) it was very easy to get over 100dBC at the higher frequencies (I expect an A-weighted meter would show this even higher) – and this isn’t the most expensive or powerful set of cans either. I suspect that it is at the headphones the greatest risk to peoples hearing now comes from as these are now far more sensitive than many loudspeaker units.

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Forums Music Music Events & Venues Noise levels at live events