Actual Volume vs Perceived Volume

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by SuprSpy79, May 23, 2009.

  1. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    Ok guys here is a good one for you lol. I play in our worship band at our church, and we have constant arguments between each half of the team, one says its too loud and the other says its not loud enough.

    Today they brought in a decibel meter and we measured at 109db. Now my amp is only on two and its not loud at all. I tried to explain to them that our actual volume is very low but its perceived to be higher because we have NO acoustic treatment what so ever, so all the sound is bouncing around and compounding over and over.

    Im not sure if anyone can point me to any reference material in which I can show them what im talking about and convince them to treat the room(unless im just completely wrong).

    I just know that when I built my studio and hit a snare in the room it made my ears bleed, it was unbearable. As soon as I treated the walls it didnt sound nearly as loug and was perfectly fine.

    Please let me know, thanks.
     
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Need for acoustical treatment aside, if the meter says it's 109dB, it's 109 dB in the room.



    What weighting was used? A, C, or flat

    Do you have any way to measure the reverb time?

    What other instruments in the band?

    Acoustic drums or electronics?

    How many monitors on stage?

    What are the dimensions of the sanctuary? LxWxH

    Surfaces? Wall, Floor, Ceiling

    Size of congregation?

    Age of congregation? I'm guessing youngish if they're tolerating 109dB

    Wooden pews? Padded pews?

    Style of worship? Traditional / Contemporary / Blended
     
  3. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    lol i will try my best, my point to them was this. At my brother in laws church they were also at 109 db but it sounded ALOT louder, mostly because they were able to turn their amps up and to run it through the sound system. Our room is SOO live i cant turn my amp past 2 without it being so loud.

    ok so here goes with the questions lol

    What weighting was used? A, C, or flat
    Honestly have no idea, that guy just had a little unit from radio shack.

    Do you have any way to measure the reverb time?
    Not easily

    What other instruments in the band?
    Drums, Bass, Acoustic, Electric, Keys, 4 voices

    Acoustic drums or electronics?
    Acoustic behind a plastic drum shield

    How many monitors on stage?
    2 floors on the left, 2 spot monitors on the left, 2 spot monitors on the right

    What are the dimensions of the sanctuary? LxWxH
    I dont have them off hand but if you are standing at the back it is longer than it is wide and the ceiling comes to a pt as if it was an upside down boat.

    Surfaces? Wall, Floor, Ceiling
    The surfaces are all plain brick except the ceiling which is wood

    Size of congregation?
    depends on the service, can range from 50-300

    Age of congregation? I'm guessing youngish if they're tolerating 109dB
    We are shooting for teens to 40s

    Wooden pews? Padded pews?
    Wooden pews with padded seats.

    Style of worship? Traditional / Contemporary / Blended
    Contemporary, pretty much just like hillsong united.
     
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I may be off in my logic, but where was the meter placed at the time of the reading? At the back of the church? In the corner? In front of a MONITOR?
     
  5. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    right in the center of the room where the majority of the congregation was. The recommended worship volume is about 93db, but everything sounds louder than it really is at the volume. In my practice room I have my amp on 5 and it sounds just as loud as when it is in the church on 2.
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It doesn't matter what volume YOU perceive. 109dB is 109dB. If your amps are on 2 and it's that loud then your room sucks or the knob is backwards.

    Get some in ear monitors if you need yourself louder.
     
  7. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    yeah thats my pt the room SUCKS, thats why I want them to treat it, hense the whole purpose of this thread.
     
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Holy CRAP!
    The meter read 109 in the middle of the hall!!! You're pushing WELL over 120 on stage. (If it's even as big as the smaller churches in our area!)

    109 dB is going to be painful or at the least intolerable to most parishoners after just a few minutes. To those on stage, it should be unacceptable.

    I wonder how much of this is a matter of folks on stage just not listening to eachother and instead, getting into a pissing contest to see who can be heard the best.

    In even a poorly treated church, you should be riding 2 orders of magnitude (20dB) LESS than that and still putting out a decent amount of sound. (Bearing in mind, I'm talking 89-90 dB at listening positions)

    Quality monitoring will help this situation, but listening to eachother will too. In my experience, this kind of on-stage loudness war is started and/or perpetuated by guitarists and drummers. If your amp is at 2 and it's over 109dB, then you need a different amp. Jesus heard the little drummer boy just fine, I'm guessing he doesn't need a Marshall full-stack to get the message either.

    Oh...one last thing - even the Radio Shack SPL meters have a switch for A and C weighting and response time. I have a half a dozen of them floating around here and no matter when I bought them or whether they're the analog or digital variety, they're all equipped.

    If it was A weighting and you have a strong/loud bassist, then the C curve is louder. Yikes...

    Cheers-
    J
     
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Your practice room must be nice and dead and must just gobble up the sound. I'm sure you're right the church sounds like a noise reflecting nightmare, but the meter don't lie. You gotta get the band and the room under control.

    See if you can fill out the rest of the questionaire, and get back to use with dimensions, surfaces, A-weighting, etc. What kind of brick. Is the floor brick too? Pictures would be helpful. If you want to treat the room, we'll have to have some idea what you're starting with.

    How clear is the pastor's voice when it's just one person speaking?

    And just for kicks, see what the dB meter in the middle of the room says when you're playing one-at-a-time at your normal stage-volume with the FOH off. No sandbagging, play it like you play it during the service! That information will tell alot about who is making all that joyous noise.

    Also - how much of that 109dB was FOH speakers, and how much of it was stage-wash? Do you have a good enough PA to compete with a high-volume band?

    As you probably know, the plexiglass fish-bowl doesn't in any way make the drums quieter in the room. It just creates a little zone in front of the plexi that the drums aren't as loud. The sound has to go somewhere - and in a room with zero treatment, it will just come up and bite you from a different angle. If you don't have something behind and above to absorb some of that sound, I'd personally rather play without it.

    Anyway, we'll all look forward to your next installment - while quietly thanking the Good Lord we're not running sound at your church tomorrow morning.
     
  10. SuprSpy79

    SuprSpy79 Active Member

    thanks dvd hawk, thats why im trying to tell them, they just want to throw up random banners around the room, I suggested we have someone come in with the proper tools to figure out the best treatment for it.

    cuz im a complete tard when it comes to a db meter, what is the difference between a and c metering?

    the carpet only runs up the center isle.
     
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    WEIGHTING switch.
    Should be set to either A or C (there's no B)

    Whatever it was at when you measured it, that's the one.


    This reminds me, I want to measure ours... I have a quietness war on the go... :twisted: I honestly think we're about 85, maybe lower.
    FWIW, I've never used a SPL meter so my ears are "uncalibrated" lol.
     
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    A is bandwidth limited (don't recall the limitations) while C is essentially full range. C accounts for lower frequency levels where A does not.
    Cheers-
    J
     
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have the same Radio Shaft decibel meter. I rarely rely upon it as my ears are calibrated. It's too loud? I know it. It's too soft. I know it. If somebody comes back with a suggestion regarding sound, I'll walk around the sanctuary before I change anything. Sound propagates itself differently in different locations so where we all may be equal in God's eyes we're not equal when it comes to sound. What you need is a Jew. He listened to people & tried to help. Guess they didn't like his audio engineering since they crucified him? Luckily I was let go from the church before they had a chance to crucified me. They just didn't want to spend money on an operator. They wanted somebody to do it for nothing. I can't do that, I'm a professional just like Pastor and he gets paid. Without me, they can't hear him. Well, now they can since they have a disinterested volunteer. That person is probably saying to themselves right now, "How the God did I get myself into this mess?"

    I pray that he has done a better job but I think my prayers went unanswered?

    I guess I'll hang around here a little longer if nobody crosses me?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Geez Remy! I haven't been a catholic for 20+ years now, but I feel like I need to go to a confessional after reading this post... :-O

    J.

    PS -
    I always make the joke "I gave up Catholicism for Lent one year and never picked it back up." It gets a roar from the Episcopals but the Baptists usually try to declare me the Anti-Christ at that point.
     
  15. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I have a 10 inch Hitichi compound mitre saw that when running unimpeded runs to the number, 109Db. It also puts out the same high pitched frequency that I hear in my head on a daily basis.

    It's the continued exposure levels over time that break down your hearing.

    Word to your Mother. And those in the front row!
     

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