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Sound Limiters at Wedding Venues - What this means for you

Sound Limiters at Wedding Venues - What this means for you

A sound limiter is a device that monitors the volume of a band or DJ among other things. The device is set to switch off the electricity supply to the stage or performance area if a band exceeds a set decibel level for a continuous period of time, usually measured in mere seconds and almost always under a minute.

Keep the noise down, there's a sound limiter.

Why do some venues have sound limiters?

There are a number of reasons; noise complaints by neighbours near the venue or residents in the venue itself.  Some local authorities impose noise level restrictions for reasons known only to them!  As It can be very expensive to fully insulate a function room or hall (or perhaps the construction of the venue may not allow for the efficient application of sound limiting materials) sound limiters are seen as a viable alternative.

Will this effect the performance of my band or DJ?

Although most bands are used to the challenges of performing in a venue with a sound limiter, there's no doubt that it will have an impact on the dynamics of a live band performance. Drums by their nature have no volume control other than the drummer.  Many drummers use hot rods (a type of light drumstick) or even brushes, to control the volume.

The thing to bear in mind is that if you heard the band performing live in a venue without a sound limiter before you booked them they almost certainly won't sound the same when performing for you.

The Band Experience

There's usually a visual aid seen by the band from the stage often in the form of "traffic lights". When the volume increases beyond a set level an amber light will come on.  The band has a short time to reduce volume otherwise the light will go red and if the sound level remains the same for a few seconds longer, the limiter will kick in and cut off power to the stage. 

This often means that rather than concentrating on their performance and the enjoyment of you and your guests, much of the band's attention is focused on those pesky traffic lights.

What Should I Do?

Don't panic - the vast majority of bands on our web site will cope well with sound limiters so you won't be left without live music. The secret is to make sure your band (or DJ) is aware of the sound limiter at the start of the booking process. This allows them to make some changes to their set up in advance and ensures they'll bring the appropriate equipment on the night.

So find out if your venue does have a sound limiter and ask at what level it's set. Pass this information on to your band and everything should be fine.  Sadly not every venue informs their clients that a sound limiter is in place so make sure to ask.

How Loud is Too Loud?

Have a look at this info-graphic that we put together to illustrate the relative volume of every day objects. We hope you find it useful and informative. If you have concerns or questions call us free on 0800 612 3320 even from your mobile and we'll be happy to have a chat.

Infographic showing different sound levels