Over the past couple of years, function suites and halls of all types have been installing electronic sound-monitoring devices in order to keep noise down to an acceptable level for the neighbours. In a large number of cases, these monitors work very well…..they simply cut the power to the DJ/band’s equipment when the max level is exceeded for more than, say, 3 seconds. Fair enough I hear you cry, but the problem lies not in the equipment itself, but in the level at which the local authority have set the cut-off point. Sometimes it’s simply too low for a party to take place…

Example 1 – I played a wedding three weeks ago in a fairly large and popular hotel venue. The nearest houses are at least 100 yards away and we were in a brick-built room (not a marquee). I checked my levels beforehand to ensure no embarrassing loss of sound during the evening, and then handed the mic to the Toastmaster to introduce the First Dance. After the song had ended, he raised his voice slightly to encourage the guests to applaud and Bang! All the power cut out and we waited three minutes for a staff member to reset it. The rest of the evening involved me constantly watching the meter whilst fielding complaints that it wasn’t loud enough. The end of the night saw it blow once more, and purely from the crowd’s cheering and clapping and nothing to do with my speakers!

Example 2 – A few years ago I arrived at a venue to discover I was sharing the stage with a live band. Everyone set up their stuff and I was looking forward to hearing some live music for a change. The band began their soundcheck, and within five seconds the power cut out and left the guitars, keyboards and singer without sound. It transpired that just a single ‘thwack’ on the snare drum had triggered the sound limiter. There was no way around it, so the band simply packed up and went home.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that venues have to pander to every resident who lives nearby and complains at the slightest noise. I sometimes question whether they can hear anything at all living 100 yards away and they are just being sheer bloody-minded!

So….if your party venue has one of these devices installed, prepare to be underwhelmed by the sound system!

1 Comment
  1. When I was djing these were a total nightmare, what a kill joy – especially considering they are often terribly placed and don’t take into account frequency’s very well. If they were truly representative the mics would be on the houses where the residents are and not in the venue.

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