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Acceptable DB levels

davidf556

Member
Messages
19
We have a 5-piece Classic rock band and the sound guy got a DB meter. So my question is regarding average gig DB levels. Have you measured your DB levels and is there any consensus as to where you should be or at least an acceptable range? We are measuring FOH levels at the sound board.
 

davidf556

Member
Messages
19
one of the guys in the band thinks we should average around 90! That's the youngest band member. I'm not sure that's at all realistic.
 

Pat Healy

Senior Member
Messages
10,952
one of the guys in the band thinks we should average around 90! That's the youngest band member. I'm not sure that's at all realistic.
90 is pretty quiet, and I'm not sure how you'd get down to that level with acoustic drums, unless your drummer plays very quietly. 110 is pretty typical for live music in clubs. 120 is typical for a loud concert.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,492
We shoot for 95. As pointed out in the articles, it is as much about how long as how loud you are exposed. 120 for any length of time is an invitation to hearing loss imo. Hence I ALWAYS bring Hearos to gigs and shows.
 

aeolian

Member
Messages
6,347
It depends on how far back (SPL drops off logrithmically, but so does the dB scale) and the weighting/time response. Typical is A weighting which mimics the human ear's response and a slow response which averages out some peaks. It's often referenced to the mix position or FOH. Typical corprate gig or club where people want to be able to talk; 90 dBA slow. Dancing with an adult crowd; 95-98 dBA slow. Younger crowd/rock; 98-105 dBA slow. Pounding rock/metal; 105-110 dBA slow. Anything over 110 with peaks to 115 is kind of excessive and will get complaints from all but the most diehard rocker fans. In some places, such as outdoor festivals in Europe there are very specific limits from a health and safety standpoint as well as the surrounding communities. Usually something less than 105.

Anyone that tells you they're sustaining things in the 110-125 range is full of it, or doesn't know how to measure.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,296
I spent some time beside the mixing desk at a 500 seat theatre and the db meter was peaking a bit over 100, (light/medium rock band) at that location. Calibration unknown, but the sound was acceptably loud or acceptably quiet, depending on your POV.
Peaks and dips at some locations, however, must vary widely in many clubs.
 

Somniferous

Member
Messages
1,207
90 is really low for a live band considering that i hit that lvl all the time when listening to music. Even when mixing I get around 85-90.
 

SGNick

Member
Messages
3,578
90 is about the noise of a busy street, or easier to put into an example, a blender on high.

110 is about the lever of a chainsaw, and that seems ideal for loud without being obnoxious.
 

Thepilot

Member
Messages
376
eh, i usually shoot for 100 dBa on the band (i try to ignore vocals for dB measurements).

90 is too soft. for me 100 is about where i like it. kick drum hits you in the chest, nice and full, but your ears won't ring. 110 will have me reaching for ear pro, and 120 i'll leave, because i won't hear any definition and it just hurts.

above all else protect your audience.
 




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