Is It Too Loud

I had to chuckle when I came across this article. It reads in part:

One area in which there may be no room for compromise is loudness. Irving Plaza, for example, has a 115dB SPL limit at the mix position, a result of recent noise ordinances in New York City that call for $1,000 fines if noise levels exceed a certain figure on the street. “Everyone knows beforehand,” says Burns. “We stamp the contract that there is a dB limit, and we don’t have any problems. We have a lot of professional engineers come in, and they go according to the rules. Plus, most of the time they realize that it sounds better at a lower SPL. In my opinion, once you get past 115 it doesn’t sound good sonically. It’s just a lot of noise.”

Wells quotes a 110dB SPL limit at the House of Blues (“If you’re peaking at 110 at the booth, it is really loud,” he says), but most clubs leave it to the house engineer’s discretion. “I try to keep the levels at about 102 and 103,” says Willemain. “At the Wildhorse, the system will only do probably 105 to 106, and I’ll let peaks go through at about 108 to 110, but I don’t like to get it too loud. This is a family entertainment venue, and people will bring their kids.”

Let’s see. 110 – 115dB SPL limit at the mix position? That is ridiculously loud.

There are accepted standards for recommended permissible exposure time for continuous time weighted average noise, according to NIOSH and CDC. For 110dB it is about 3 minutes. And for 115dB it is less than 1 minute. After that, hearing damage sets in.

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