Subject: Re: Loud enough??
From: KEVIN AUSTIN (KAUSTIN@vax2.concordia.ca)
Date: Mon Mar 01 1999 - 05:35:56 EST
J-M P asked ...
>It would be so easy though to adjust the amps so that even with all the
>faders way up on the mixing console the level do not exceed unreasonable
>levels anywhere in the room. Why is this never done?
In my experience, this is not 'quite as simple' as it appears on the
surface. Just for example ... frequently DATs and CDs arrive with
different 'reference' levels. Some people work to -18 as '0 VU', others
work to -10, and some people compress everything and most of their levels
are in the 0 to -15 range. (You may have had the experience of having
turn up or turn down your home sound system depending upon the CD being
At the last concert series, we limited the fader travel (and amps) based
upon our test tape, and then got a piece that was at -18: everything was
much too quiet.
Speakers, placement, hall acoustics, seating, audience, hearing loss etc
etc, all play into this matter. And some people do have profound hearing
loss but don't know it. I know a couple of people who are under 35 who
have significantly raised hearing thresholds (read -- are partly deaf).
They have played their concerts are ear-bleeding levels for years.
A few years ago in Banff, one composer who was noted for playing nothing
below 105 dB was boo'ed for 5 minutes after playing a recent work. There
were mothers with children in the audience, and due to the seating (long
benches), they were unable to leave.
Having only two hands, they protected their childrens' ears rather then
their own. Most regretably, this composer's own hearing may soon be on the
edge of deafening silence.
I believe that education is a key. Ea courses need to include sections on
acoustics, physics, physiology and psychoacoustics to better help
students understand the medium and its nature.
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