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Play Too Loud And We'll Cut The Power!

Posted on January 6, 2020 by Cedric Hantz

It is a plain fact that older people just don't enjoy loud music. They should all be taken to soundproofed older people's homes where they could live out the rest of their lives complaining about one another, and let's get on with a few fun.

OK, exaggerating somewhat. The actual fact is that unless a live music venue is outside in the desert somewhere, it's very likely to annoy people if the music is too loud and goes on too long. That is one reason why entertainment venues in many jurisdictions need to be licensed. If a venue causes aggravation and increases complaints, then the license becomes withdrawn. Suddenly the proprietor does not have a company any more.

Hence the venue owner or manager wants a means to control the volume of sound made by musical acts, including both bands and DJs. Standing by the mixing console or amplifier rack is not seen as a fantastic alternative, and telling the actors to turn down it just works for about five minutes until they turn it up again.

So the only solution is to use the ultimate sanction - cut the electricity. This gets the job done.

The issue with this is that cutting the energy causes an immense quantity of ill feeling. Can you play in a place where the manager had cut the power on you?

So an intermediary is required; an automatic intermediary that will give the ring a warning, then cut the power if this warning is ignored. The actors will not enjoy it, but if they know that the system is installed and how it functions, then they understand the rules they need to abide by.

One such system is the Castle Electronic Orange. The'orange' is an orange world that illuminates when the noise is too loud. This is pointed out to the actors before the gig from the site manager. If it comes on during the operation, then that's a warning. If it remains on for over a predetermined time period, usually a few seconds,...

It cuts power to the point.

This may seem like a radical action, and it is. However, it certainly gets the job done. For the DJ it is not too bad as they is able to set the amount to the maximum the Digital Orange will let them get away with.

For a band it's more tricky. It's probable that the loudest areas of the operation are where the lead singer is singing with backing vocals. When nobody is singing, the amount will be far less.

So the light flickers off and on during the performance. The eyes of this ring become fixated on the dreaded light. Each time it comes on, they back off from the microphones until it moves off again. If the audio mixer is on the ball, he'll look after this with the master output fader. But his focus is on the light rather than on the band.

The end result is an uncomfortable evening for the group, and a lackluster performance. Maybe the Digital Orange gets the job done. But there's a price for both audience and band, and for the venue owner because his clients aren't as happy as they should have been.

Probably this is something we'll just have to put up with till silent music comes back into fashion.