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26th March, 2020

What is a Sound Limiter?

When it comes to booking a venue, you might have a whole host of questions for the venue organiser. From what time you are able to access the space to the numbers allowed to be in attendance, it’s fair to expect that you will have a lot of questions. As entertainment providers we feel we should share one excellent question which many people don’t ask until it’s too late – what is a sound limiter, do you have one and if so, what is it set to?

Explained as simply as possible, a sound limiter is a monitor in place to ensure that noise levels are never excessive. They may be in place so as not to annoy the neighbours or in order to protect the venue itself; the noise emanating from a party can create vibrations that could cause irreparable damage to the building structure… And you wouldn’t want that!

There are two types of limiter available – one that cuts sound immediately and one that doesn’t. If working with the former, a decibel level will be in place for the venue and should the noise exceed what is allowed, a circuit breaker will kick in and the music (it’s normally a band or DJ!) will go quiet. The only noise that anybody will be hearing are the disgruntled moans of your partygoers! Once the noise is below the decibel limit for a set period of time, the party can go but hopefully at lower volumes. It’s best to check with your venue what the decibel limit is if this is the sound limiter they have installed.

Far more common is a sound limiter in the form of a decibel monitor. The people in charge of the venue will be able to read a decibel meter on the display and should the noise ever go above their restrictions, then they will step in and either talk to the event planner or entertainment acts themselves to turn it down a bit! This is a lot more popular because it doesn’t stop the party and won’t lead to frustration from those looking to have a good time.

So how high should you want a sound limiter to be set? In truth, it’s hard to say because every venue is different. If the building was practically crumbling then one would expect a lower level. If it’s a modern build, then hopefully they have the sound proofing available to ensure that you could go as loud as possible (within reason…) To give you a rough guide, a function band is probably able to reach sound levels of 110 decibels if required (which is 10db louder than a train!) That being said, most venues will set their limiter between 85 and 95 decibels and ordinarily bands are able to work within those parameters. Obviously sound levels depend on a range of things including instrumentation, the size of the band and also noise from the crowd which contributes to decibel levels, so your mileage may vary!

It’s good to know about any sound limiter in advance so we can then let your chosen acts perform to the best of their ability. If you have any other questions to do with a sound limiter or anything else at all that may impact the entertainment, please feel free to get in touch and we will be sure to help!

Image by Becca Clark from Pixabay