Noise restrictions are becoming common at wedding venues, for several different reasons. Some are to comply with health and safety legislation, and other are due to noise complaints from neighbours. This guide will hopefully help you understand a little bit more about how to deal with noise restrictions at your venue, as well as what to do if a sound limiter is fitted at your venue (sometimes known a noise limiter.)
The first step is finding out what noise restrictions your venue has. You should be able to find this out on your venue’s website, or by dropping your venue’s wedding coordinator an email. Sometimes the restrictions may be as simple as keeping the music at a ‘reasonable’ volume as judged by the venue. Other times it may be a little bit more complicated. Venues may have a specified limit measured by someone on site using a decibel meter, or a sound limiter. Either way, this is something to bear in mind as it may impact the live music for your big day, and we need to know as soon as possible!
What is a sound limiter?
A sound limiter is a digital device fitted with a microphone to measure the sound level of environmental noise, expressed by the decibel logarithmic unit (dB). If the environmental noise level as measured by the microphone exceeds a pre-set level for a certain amount of time (e.g. 5 seconds), the limiter will cut the power supply to the musical equipment and PA system for a brief amount of time.
The indicator on the limiter works most commonly on a “traffic light” system: green = no problem, amber = sound levels approaching the limit, red = limit breached. If the light stays red for more than a few seconds, then the limiter will take action and cut the power, silencing your music!
Quite often, the solutions are quite simple. We can turn our PA down system down to accommodate most limiters or noise restrictions. However, depending on the levels at which the devices are set, we may need to take more drastic action!
If the sound limiter or noise restrictions are quite strict, we can bring an electronic drum kit. Usually our volume is governed by how loud the acoustic drum kit is, and we can only be as quiet as the snare drum, otherwise nothing else can be heard! The electronic kit enables us to have more control over the volume as we can individually adjust the sounds each part of the drum kit makes. Jon uses a very high quality Roland TD-30 kit, which sounds and plays just like the real thing!
Make sure you find out about noise restrictions if you’re thinking about having live music for your wedding! We’re always happy to help with any questions you may have, and drop us a line if you’re unsure on anything!