It's a commonly asked question these days. Council noise restrictions mean that many wedding venues are having to fit sound limiters to avoid losing their licenses. While this is great for residents living nearby, it's not so good for that party atmosphere you're trying to create at your wedding reception. Most weddings will have a band, or at least a DJ, and naturally, their function is to make noise.
So what is a sound limiter? In simple terms, the venue will normally have fitted a microphone which measures how loud the sound is in a given room. There will usually be a visual display (like the one pictured below) which lets you know how loud the sound in the room currently is. The sound limiter is often set to kill the power to the room if things get too loud. If the display unit consistently hits the red, off goes the electricity. Everything goes quiet (and sometimes dark), and your reception is put on hold until the limiter is reset. Obviously, this can really kill the party, especially if it happens more than once.
The simple solution would be to pick a venue that doesn't have a sound limiter, but that could mean your dream wedding venue is off the table, and nobody wants that. It's important to note that not all sound limiters are the same. They can be set to different decibel levels which can make a massive difference, and the position of the limiter's microphone relative to the band or DJ is also a huge factor. Reflective surfaces such as stone walls can also have an effect on the volume in a room. What is deemed 'too loud' at one venue might be absolutely fine at another, even when the limiters are set at a similar restriction level. Have a conversation with your chosen venue about it, and see if you can ascertain whether there might be a problem. Better still, ask your band or DJ whether they've played at the venue before, and if they've encountered any issues. We've played at venues where we've never even touched the red indicator, but have also seen limiters triggered by loud applause!
Clients and venues will often ask why a band can't simply turn down the volume. This is easy enough for a DJ, but the issue for a band comes with the drum kit. A normal drum kit can't be turned down, and playing it softly just doesn't sound right. The other instrument levels need to be balanced to the drum kit (so you can hear everything), and as a result, most bands have a minimum volume they can play at. If this is above the threshold set by the limiter, then clearly, there's going to be a problem. Your band aren't deliberately trying to be awkward by being loud - it's probably just out of their control.
So, what happens if you absolutely have your heart set on a venue with a sound limiter and you definitely want a band at your reception? Well, we might just have the answer. Groovy Revolution use an electronic drum kit at every gig, meaning we have full control over its volume. All our instruments plug directly into the PA so there are no amps on stage, and we also use in-ear monitors, ensuring that the stage is completely silent. This means that all the sound produced by the band comes from the PA speakers, and consequently can be instantly adjusted to whatever level is suitable for the venue, without losing the balance between the instruments.
In conclusion then, while the sound limiter is traditionally the arch enemy of most bands, Groovy Revolution have come up with a way of getting round it and still providing you with quality-sounding entertainment. Send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jack on 07830196118 if you have any further questions.