What is a sound limiter?
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 the noise exceeds a set decibel level.
Some venues also use sound compression systems that the DJ plugs into that automatically control the volume.
Although sound limiters have been around for a long time they are being used more aggressively as a condition of a venues entertainment license particularly those in close proximity of residential properties.
Always ask your venue upfront whether they have a sound limiter installed
It is common for venues not to mention until very late in the planning process (if at all) that a sound limiter is installed.
Picture the scene. Its the day of your dream wedding. As you are about to have your first dance, the DJ announces: “Please welcome to the floor the new Mr & Mrs …” As your guests cheer and applaud the music stops and the venue plunges into darkness. Leaving your magical moment ruined, and no music has been played yet, so just imagine how the rest of your evening will pan out!
Why do venues have sound limiters?
Limiters are usually installed for a variety of reasons
Venues that are in residential areas have a duty to keep any noise to a reasonable level. This can form part of their licensing requirements.
Health & Safety
To help venues comply with the noise at work regulations, designed to ensure workers hearing is protected from excessive noise.
Venues such as hotels may want to keep the noise down for other residential guests. Or not impact other functions.
To protect the structural integrity of old and historically important venues from damage caused by excessively loud music, particularly from powerful bass note vibrations.
What level is a sound limiter set to?
These vary from venue to venue. Generally we find they commonly range 80 – 90 decibels. On occasions higher, and sometimes lower.
How loud is 80 - 90 decibels
A normal party usually registers around 100 – 120 db. So your event may sound and feel a little different in a venue with a sound limiter. Check out graphic below to get an idea of the different sound levels.
One important thing to bear in mind is that as soon as guests start singing or shouting, this adds to the noise level in the room. So in reality your music needs to be kept well under this level to minimise the potential for any disruptions.
Here are some volume comparisons to help you
We know decibels can be meaningless. Below are some comparisons to common objects to help you understand the limits.
Impact of a sound limiter
Just because your venue has a sound limiter, doesn’t mean we cannot provide for your event. But we ask clients to be aware of the potential repercussions.