Home Forums Digital DJ Gear "It's too loud can you turn it down" vs "turn it up"

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #2145311
    William Couch

    just as the topic says. I am a wedding/event dj and it never fails at least once during the reception ill get both statements. i am opening the door for comments (other than send the old folks home and party) as to how you might handle this. i have thought about adding a mixer with a left and right out to better control the output side to side. input please!

    DJ Vintage

    Hi William,

    Being a mobile jock myself I have been there done that and gone through an entire wardrobe of t-shirts!

    My opinion on the matter:

    1) You are, partly, keeper of the health of your audience ears. If even shouting you can’t hear each other on the floor, too loud!
    2) You need some oomph to make people feel the music. I found that when I bring the single 18″ sub that I have and play at roughly the same sound level, it sounds more “danceable”, if that makes sense.
    3) I have found that if the venue allow, it’s easier/better to “seal off” the dance floor by adding a couple of back fill speakers. What do I mean? Imagine you are at one end of the room, the dance floor in front of you. Usual two speaker setup is speakers up front somewhere roughly next to the DJ booth and slightly in front (don’t want that mic to go whistle) and firing towards the center of the virtual or real dance floor. In order to have it loud enough at the rear edge of the dance floor, it has to be pretty loud up near the speakers. Sound levels drop by 6dB for double the distance, so from 2 meters from the speakers to 4 meters from the speakers is a 6dB drop. 6dB drop equals FOUR! times the amp power. You can see how that adds up over a 10 meter deep dance floor!
    The result of turning your speakers up high enough to get a good average sound level in the middle and still high enough at the back of the floor means two things:
    a) it’s usually so loud near the speakers that people will stay some distance away from the speakers, creating this uncomfortable gap (in my eyes) between you, the DJ, and the crowd. I personally like to have them dancing up close. Just me of course.
    b) beyond the dance floor the sound levels are still pretty high (even dropping 6db by double the distance) that you usually end up with no real “low sound” area. Meaning there is no real way to escape for the dancers and the non-dancers have no place to talk in relative quiet.

    Solution: Put your speakers on the 4 corners of the dance floor (virtual or real) and aim them toward the center of the dance floor. I suggest you get those incline speaker adapters, so you can put them slightly higher and have them firing downwards a bit. Now you can run your speakers a lot less loud, people will disperse better over the dance floor because the sound level differences will be far less. Also you will be containing the sound within the dance area much more, creating a more quiet area beyond the dance floor.

    As a result, the dancers get the higher sound levels needed to enjoy your dancing, without having their hearing damaged, especially near the speakers and everyone else can have a conversation outside the dance floor.

    It’s a normal phenomena that sound levels go up during the evening. Alcohol and/or ear fatigue are (mainly) to blame for that happening. Then again, the same things make sure that people don’t notice. What they consider loud early in the evening will sound like just fine later on.

    Hope that helps in some small way.


    Oh, I just love it when someone say “can you turn the music up?” Since I normally play the music around 100dBs (measured at the center far end of the dance floor) which I feel for most people it’s loud enough my first responds in totally non-verbal (I look at them with a smurk on my face. My first verbal response is “you may want to put in your ear plugs and hold on.” Then I increase the volume by 8 to 10 dBs or louder. Problem solved.

    Danny P

    I usually err on the side of keeping the volume lower, especially since it’s a wedding and not a rave. In the beginning I’ll leave the base down a bit to allow for conversation and put it back to 12 o’clock when the dancing is about to start. As the night goes on the older ones will leave and the volumes go up. I always have a lot of headroom though and I have been complimented on my volume levels.

    DJ Vintage

    Seriously, 100dB at the END of the dancefloor at a wedding? Here in Holland the agreement is that 103dB at 10 meters is the absolute maximum at a concert. And at least at a concert people know it’s gonna be loud and hopefully bring plugs.

    Not sure how far the far end of the dancefloor is, but let’s for arguments sake say it’s 8 meters (or 24feet whatever), which – as dancefloors go – isn’t such a crazy number, right?
    That means at 4 meter (yes, 12 ft 🙂 ) it’s 106dB, at 2 meters it’s 112dB and at 1 meter (SPL measuring distance) it’s 118dB.

    At 100dB the maximum safe exposure limit is 15 minutes (per 24 hours!), at 112dB it’s 56 seconds and at 118dB it’s a whopping 14 seconds. So at your average level it means that the people within 1-2 meters of the speakers have a serious risk of hearing damage. But even halfway down the floor it’s only 4 minutes or so. Needless to say that when you add 8-10 dB and end up with 126-128dB at the 1 meter mark we are in the 1-3 second range and precariously close to deliberately killing someone’s hearing (not just the idiot who wanted louder, but everyone unfortunate enough to be on the dancefloor when you get your “revenge”.

    As said, these figures are per 24-hour exposure. After exposure to the max, the rest of your day should be spent in 85dB or less, but preferably less than 70 dB.

    Clearly it’s impossible to keep a wedding at totally safe levels, but a little bit of compassion with your crowd seems like a good thing to me.

    They, most likely, have no clue what they are doing to their ears (neither did I 35+ years ago when I started DJ-ing), but the price (impaired hearing, tinnitus) is a very high price to pay.

    I’ll +1 Danny for keeping levels in check, increasing later in the evening as dancing commences and keeping lots of headroom.

    Personally I’d rather be accused of playing not loud enough than too loud.

    Just me of course.

    Bob Bradley

    I,m a mobile wedding/event dj, and I start with my music reasonably low at the start of the evening, I like to hear people talking especially at weddings where families are catching up with each other etc, I,ve noticed over the years that while people are talking they are drinking (which the bar owners like) and this quickly loosens them up and then when I see people tapping their feet and people dancing in their seats etc then I start turning up the volume in increments throught out the night. This seldom gets me complaints about “too loud” but now and again there is always one that has to have the last word just for the hell of it lol.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • The forum ‘Digital DJ Gear’ is closed to new topics and replies.