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hellboy
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Jan 16, 2008

What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

At ST's suggestion, I'm posting here to reveal a struggle we have been having at a particular Venue. To put it simply, there is:

1. A db Meter set to measure sound.
2. A 99 db limit.
3. When limit is reached for more than 3-5 seconds power is cut.

In essence, this db meter is a rather primitive "Stop Light" affair, where Green is fine, Orange is caution, and 3-5 seconds of solid Red light is : "Power Cut Time!" There is no digital readout to let you know (accurately) just how far you have to go before the cutoff.

To compound the problem the db meter seems to be set too sensitively, and thanks to some db meter readings of my own, and our own sense of how loud something is thanks to years of being professional musicians, we're damn sure we're not (quite) reaching 99db - which is not hugely loud anyway in a big room - and the reaction from our (regular) audiences coming to see us at this venue is usually: "We've never heard you so soft!"

To be clear about how bad this situation is, let me add that when the power is cut 2 things occur:

a) I have to go round to the back of stage area where there is a Reset Button to restore power.

b) All PA & Instruments stop working (obviously) and my Keyboard has to be rebooted, with all of my samples and OS, taking approx 2 minutes! - a LONG time to be on stage with no Music....Frown

It's been suggested that we use an UPS, but I've quickly realised (thanks to at-Bose advisors) that I would need nothing short of a Petrol Generator to power our show.

On top of this, we are actually forced to use the Venue's PA, a noticeably inferior installed system compared to the L1 in our opinion - we use the l1 as foldback at side of stage.



Anyway, I see no way round this problem do any of you?

P.S. It's been suggested that we use a smaller UPS just to power my keyboard, so we at LEAST don't have to wait 2 minutes or more to get started again. Not a bad idea, but I would still have to leave stage and reset the power. A nasty disruption to ANY show....
19 REPLIES 19
roy_2
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Jul 26, 2007

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

Hey - Not trying to be funny or anything like that, but why do this gig? Sounds like it is just one huge headache. What is the upside for all of this? Roy
hellboy
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Jan 16, 2008

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

Fair question.

We gig for a living (no day jobs) and when we signed on, the place was in the process of changing their sound policies, and, long story short, we didn't think things would get this bad.

Also, it's a good gig for our Trio (we are primarily a duo) and this Venue gives us both Trio AND Duo work on a Thursday or a Fri/Sat and even on a Sunday, and they pay very well. Also, the Agent who books for the venue is a great guy, and has been trying to get them to be reasonable.

One more thing. It's actually the Local Council who have forced the Venue's hand with threats of Fines and closure if they don't toe the line Sound-wise.....
ST - Pro
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May 11, 2020

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

Hi hellboy,

I found this documenting your gear.

quote:
Originally posted by hellboy:

...

L1 Model 2 (with and without Packlie + 2subs) + T1
Korg Pa1x Arranger Keyboard.
Roland GT-8 Guitar FX rack.
Yamaha 8 Channel desk to run 2 Phantom Powered condenser mikes.



I'm not in solution mode, just gathering info.

What happens if you succeed in circumventing the power cutting sound control system? Is this being used to comply with some government regulations? If so, does defeating the limting system leave you open to some penalty?



EDIT - it looks like we were typing at the same time.

quote:
Originally posted by hellboy:
One more thing. It's actually the Local Council who have forced the Venue's hand with threats of Fines and closure if they don't toe the line Sound-wise.....


So is defeating the system going to lead to other problems?
Le5
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Aug 22, 2006

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

Hi hellboy,

First some questions:

Have other bands experienced shutdowns at this venue?

If other bands have experienced shutdowns, are they using an L1 as foldback?

Is the venue willing to work with you (or someone) to improve the situation while respecting the norms imposed on them, assuming there maybe improvements to be found?

Where is the db monitoring device's microphone located:
  • with regards to the room?
  • with regards to the stage?
  • with regards to the PA?


What is the db monitoring system weighting?


Now for some thoughts:

The db monitoring microphone may be improperly positioned; it may be too close to a speaker, pointed directly at a hot spot, located in a reverberant area...

The PA EQ may not be adjusted properly. The use of an analyzer may show that some frequencies may be exaggerated and falsely triggering the shutdown.

The db monitoring system may not be calibrated properly.

Your L1 may be focusing energy directly at the db monitoring microphone. As a line array the energy does not drop off as rapidly as a traditional system and could be providing enough level to trigger the shutdown; tilting may help or repositioning it away from that microphone.


That's it for now...
Dan_Cornett
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Jun 6, 2005

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

I'm thinking along the same lines as Mark (Le5):

You need to find out where the monitoring system is measuring its level ... even if you don't know anything about the technical side of what "weighting" it monitors.

If you have a chance to try it, try just the house PA and then try just the L1 (before or after a gig) and see which tends to "trigger" the monitoring system first. Maybe even with just an MP3 player, to provide a consistent "reference" level of music.

If you play that "reference" music through the T1 (inputs 4 & 5), you could also play a bit with the EQ on T1 when you get the "warning" flashes to see if just reducing the one of the EQ bands (Hi, Med, Low) backs it off that "warning" level.


Just some speculation:

-- if the monitoring point is at the back of the room and weighted toward the upper frequencies, then the L1 will definitely make things "worse" in that more "high end" sound will be hitting the back of the room. You might have to take some severe EQ cuts and only use the L1's as relatively low-level stage monitors if this is what is happening (not as backline, but as side-wash).

-- if the monitoring point is nearer the front, then you ought to be able to reduce the house sound quite a bit and let the L1's "carry the weight" to the back of the room.

I'm suspecting, though, that in any case you may have to compromise the "clear Hi-Fi" sound because I'd guess the high-frequency energy levels are triggering the monitoring system.
roy_2
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Jul 26, 2007

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

quote:
One more thing. It's actually the Local Council who have forced the Venue's hand with threats of Fines and closure if they don't toe the line Sound-wise.....

Hey - I also play full time and have had the same issues come up. Not as extreme as yours. We have problems on the island with outdoor venues and volume. The problem has come from bands that are just way to loud and now everyone is suffering. They went as far last year to try and pass a law that no outside amplified music was allowed except DJ’s. As if a DJ can’t get loud. No easy solutions when it is the law. The only thing in your favor is it applies to everyone. Maybe just run a huge limiter on everything. Good Luck Hellboy – Roy. Still love the Yardbirds.
dberch
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May 4, 2019

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

I don't understand the problem. They are paying to play withing their sound limits. Turn it down.

If it's really too low, the management will hear complaints.

David
roy_2
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Jul 26, 2007

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

You can complain all day to the management but it sounds like it is out off they're hands. It's a city problem. As an acoustic act you can turn and sound reasonably fine. It's a little harder for a band to meet those requirements and still produce some energy and not sound like Muzak. Anybody ever see anybody get up and boogie to Muzak? Confused
StuartD
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Nov 23, 2005

Re: What do you do when You're too loud and your Power is Cut?

Under the circumstances, where the law of the land is in play here, the next most sensible move might be for the venue to have its decibel meter properly calibrated so, if the sound shuts off, at least you'll know it was for a legitimate reason.

As another poster hinted, I wouldn't perform at such a venue if said venue ended up causing more grief than enjoyment, which might be the case here.

Good luck!

Stu