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Unreasonable SPL limits
Old 23rd October 2002
  #1
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Unreasonable SPL limits

Maybe I'm just a little ticked right now... I don't know. I do some live sound in addition to the studio thing. Mostly just walk-ins, If I need to bring anything beyond mics and stands it's too much and I pass it on to a friend that has a few rigs.

This one place I do a lot of work at is a well-known roadhouse that has seen lots of blues, funk, some jazz and lots of jam bands in the 30 or 40 years it's been there, the PA is almost that old too. Anyway the other night the band liason/bartender tells me the club has an SPL limit of 94dB C-weighted which she measures with a Rat Shack meter about 35 feet from the stacks. Well, I'm all for not making people deaf but 94dB is a pretty damn limiting and I've run into problems the last two times I worked there.

The first time I was setting up mics when the drummer started to warm up. I asked the bartender (lets call her Rita) to measure the SPL before I turned a mic on and we were hitting 100-102 without the PA, bass or guitars. Needless to say it was vocals and acoustic guitar only for the night and the mix was weird. Very thin because the room is bright but add some low end from the bass to fill it out and it's fine and actually sounds quite good. The second time was a blues band and the bass player had an 8x10 with a Music Man head, the guitar player had a 4x10 Bassman re-issue and there was a keyboard player with a Hammond/Leslie 122 and a Clav through some kind of tube 2x10" I think another Music Man. They were hitting about 105-108dBSPL before I unmuted the vocal mics which is 11 to 14dB over the club (not township) imposed limit so my hands were tied again.

Now, I like working at this place because the moneys good, the music is good, they feed me and it's 20 minutes from my house. But, I can't deal with that SPL limit. If I could work within it I'd be happy but there's no room for anything besides vocals. AGH!!! I'm about to give up on this place.
Old 23rd October 2002
  #2
Gear Addict
 
cymatics's Avatar
 

My heart goes out to you.

I worked a few years at a club with a 110 C weighted slow limit. This was the result of an unruly show that had apparently caused an enormous mirror in the adjoining residence to vibrate off the wall, on to the floor, and into lots of little pieces.

I got sick of trying to get bands to manage their stage volume just to be able to eek a little bit of vocal into the PA. Lotsa times, the drums alone (not going through the PA mid you) were already peaking out at 105 dB. Try getting a band like Eyehategod to turn down!? It's like asking them to please play a set of Hootie and the Suck... I mean BLOWfish covers.

Unless you're hurtin for the cash, I'd say **** it. I did and I'm happier for it. Too much hassle, not enough compen$ation.

- jon
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