sound check?

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by nodak, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    What is the safe and comfortable range in decibels?

    We recently switched from live music to running a dvd through the computer to provide the music. Same songs, so not talking the worship wars.

    Since we switched about 1/3 of the adults started coming in after the music or staying in the fellowship hall til after the music.

    Kids that were being nice in church are now acting up.

    The complaint is that it is TOOO LOUD. Sound man and pastor saying it isn't.

    Is there some objective standard for how loud is "too loud"?
     
    #1 nodak, Nov 25, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2009
  2. SaggyWoman

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    Generally the standard is age.
     
  3. Alive in Christ

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    I would say that if lots of people are saying its too loud, and if they are deliberatly waiting until the music is over before coming into the sanctuary, the music is probably...

    TOO LOUD! :wavey:
     
  4. rbell

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    Good question.

    I do think that the type of music has something to do with it. For example...Organ music in a cathedral is actually quite loud, decibel-wise. Yet, it seems less "bothersome" to many.

    I think that one cannot set a decibel level and say beyond it is "too loud." I think there are unique factors that come into play:
    • Musical style.
    • Acoustics unique to the facility.
    • Abilities of the musicians (less talented musicians tend to be more irritating than more talented musicians who play the same piece).
    • The EQ of the sound...for instance: Our sound guy, who can be a booger to work with, had our sound EQ'd way too much in the high treble realm...thus it sounded "hissy" and way too bright, to the point of piercing. When we tweaked the EQ (down in the treble, up in the low midrange), the compaints went away completely.
    • Of course, the raw volume.
    • Balance b/t the musicians and the vocalist(s).
     
  5. nodak

    nodak
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    Thanks! As I said, no change in songs but we did go from acoustical guitar and just our voices to "canned music" through a sound system.

    Our church was built almost 100 years ago. It has a very high arched ceiling of acoustical tile. The floor slopes upward from the front to back. Without any sound system, it is very hard to hear what pastor says on the front row but from the back row you could hear it if he dropped a pin.

    I'm thinking we have several things in play--I can show the sound man what rbell said about whatever EQ is. I think we may need to lower the decibels overall, given the complaints. I think maybe we need to relocate our speakers taking into account the way our building was apparently designed sound-wise. (Pastor stands up front and tells the sound man he can't hear anything, so ramp it up. Sound man does, and those on the back seats about get blown over!)

    Now, in a perfect world, we would just go back to live music and scrap the sound system (tee hee) but since that isn't going to happen maybe we can adjust stuff so people are comfortable.
     
  6. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    nodak -

    Are you just using the tracks until you find someone to come and lead? Or is this a decision the church has made? I can't remember what the dB level is for our church, but I think the agreed upon level at one of my former churches was 85 dBs.

    Age does have alot to do with it. Style does as well. Our choir can perform a song at the same decibel level as the band, and yet the band will often be perceived as too loud. Some are more likely to complain about the volume if they don't like it at any level.

    Just my two cents... it's change I can believe in.
     
  7. nodak

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    We are scarce on musicians and those of us who can play do not play all that well. Pastor decided to go with the canned dvd's so musicians get a break.

    As I said, no change in music style. No change in songs. Only change is the "how".

    I'll pass on the 85 decibels.

    I think we may play with where we point the speakers, also. Way they are mounted we can try different ways and see if it helps, since the old building functions much like an amphetheater.
     
  8. Paul3144

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    Nodak, first I'm going to state my very strong personal preference for live music, but if your situation does not allow it, I understand. My church keeps it down to 85db with the choir and orchestra, although it's a little louder if you're sitting near the brass section down front, for example. One good resource in the Church Soundcheck mailing list: http://www.churchsoundcheck.com/list.html

    Try asking there and some of the people may be able to help you.
     
  9. rbell

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    I can't stress how much a pro can help.

    Not sure what "brand" of Baptist you are...many SBC state missionaries are "plugged in" to folks who can assist you...sometimes even on a consultation basis that will cost you little or nothing.

    And even if you aren't SBC, they might be willing to "help a brotha out."

    A pro can help you professionally EQ the system, give you pointers about speaker placement, and much more. It's worth it!
     
  10. RustySword

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    If my wife says it's too loud, it's too loud. :)
     
  11. nodak

    nodak
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    We seem to be at an impasse. Pastor says no to live music, and no to working on getting our system checked by a pro.

    He's fighting with the board about it.

    I'm hiding out in the basement with the nursery, and taking our granddaughter with me since she complains about the music hurting her ears.

    As for our family, this may be a deal breaker.

    It isn't the worship wars (not about type of music as that hasn't changed.)

    It 's about walking out of church with a splitting headache, not hearing well for a few hours, and just generally dreading going in the sanctuary.

    Not conducive to worship at all.
     

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