Sound Limiters - A Warning
Before you book your party in with a venue, we encourage you to ask the following question:
Do you have a sound limiter installed?
If they say "Yes", we urge you to consider another venue. Here is why:
Sound limiters are designed to monitor the amount of noise within a room, once the amount of noise reaches a set threshold (typically around 95db, or roughly the noise level of a food processor), it cuts the power. So you can imagine that can very easily happen during a disco or live music.
Sometimes however, we have known sound limiter thresholds to by much lower, and there are venues have limiters as low as 75db, which is roughly the same level of noise most vaccum cleaners make.
Normally they are installed because the venue is relatively close to residential houses, and in the past, residents have complained about the noise coming from the venue, and the local council have forced the venue to have a limiter fitted.
While we fully appreciate the reasoning behind sound limiters and why venues have to have them fitted, they do have the potential to completely ruin your party. When they are set-up correctly and have a reasonable threshold set, they are fine to work with, unfortunately, we find that most are incorrectly or unreasonably set-up and are impossible to work with.
In our experience, sound limiters are typically set-up with a low threshold and more often than not, is tripped by the noise of guests clapping, singing and cheering. A recent example of a limiter interrupting proceedings was during a first dance, just when the bride and groom were coming towards the end of their dance, all the guests started clapping and cheering, that noise tripped the limiter, cut the power and stopped the music. It then took a couple of minutes while venue staff reset the limiter, by which time most guests had sat back down and the atmosphere was destroyed.
We are also aware that when anything stops the music during a disco, normally guests assume that we have a problem or have done something wrong and we are looked upon negatively when it’s often out of our control.
Finally, there is the possibility of damage caused to our equipment. Our sound system requires a clean, uninterrupted power supply, which needs to be switched on and off in a specific way. When power is simply cut, and then re-applied, the resulting surge could damage the amplifier and blow the speakers.
Sound limiters are for any DJ a nightmare. Normally, we do our best to try and get your guest's up, singing and dancing the night away. When a sound limiter is present, we spend most of the night watching it and constantly trying to keep noise below the limit, which means making sure your guests DON'T clap, sing or cheer, for fear of the noise tripping the limiter.
We urge all our clients to avoid venues with sound limiters fitted where at all possible. We have flagged several venues in our area which have sound limiters on our Venues Page.