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Why do we think that the crowd want it LOUD?


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#1 Award Entertainment

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 09:22 PM

Recently someone posted this comment and it got me thinking:
QUOTE
Quality music can be loud , bad quality is what they complain about, speakers that distort are what the average punter will call too loud. If you take a sound meter onto the dance floor with my rig you will find its loud but the public dont think its too loud. Run a crap system at a lower db and they complain its too loud.

I have been entertaining for 18 years and I spend a period working in a top-end HiFi retail shop selling brands like Linn, Mission, Denon, Nakamichi, Bose and Loewe. During that time I've developed a love of high-fidelity, detailed and textured sound. I also have an understanding of the short-term and long-term effects of hearing damage both to the DJ and to his crowd. My rule of thumb at an event is that if the seated guests have to raise their voices or tip their heads together to converse, then I'm too loud and I'll fix the problem. I seldom get asked to turn it up. My questions are these:

Have we conditioned our crowds (particularly the 15 to 30's) to expect us to deliver high volumes at our events?

What damage are we doing to our own hearing long term?

What damage are we inflicting on our audiences?

Why do we still play loud, even when we know that high volume exhausts people faster and subconsciously wears them down?

Your thoughts please....
Richard Mills- Professional Master of Ceremonies & DJ
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#2 Digital discos

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:03 PM

Good quality music won't sound loud, it's just a good quality loud system is when people feel the music, and get into it more, thus enjoying it more.

Maybe for older clientelle, I won't take 2 mackie subs, because older people are less receptive to high frequencies.

I always get good comemnts on my sound system...why change?

#3 Steve_Mitchell

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:15 PM

Perhaps because we are stood behind the rig we don`t realise how loud it actually is?

Ste
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#4 Danno13

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:20 PM

I think if people didn't want loud music they wouldn't go to a disco... of course it has to be pleasant to listen to but surely having loud music is part of the whole experience to the punter...

And also...

QUOTE
working in a top-end HiFi retail shop selling brands like Linn, Mission, Denon, Nakamichi, Bose and Loewe


I personally wouldn't regard these makes as "top-end HiFi" although of course i don't know how it is in NZ.


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#5 DJ Marky Marc

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:24 PM

people are always asking for the music to be turned up..

i keep things to what the majority feel is an exceptable level

but personaly i feel that most discos offer poor sound.



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#6 DJ SPARKO

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 12:11 AM

QUOTE
Perhaps because we are stood behind the rig we don`t realise how loud it actually is?


i agree to some extent as i usually check from time to time to sound coming from the speaker from the audience end and even on toilet/bar travels i observe the sound from where i am posistioned ( BEFORE AND DURING) the night at i.e. the door to the function or bar/opposie end and areas of the function room to determine the sound level.

QUOTE
people are always asking for the music to be turned up..

i keep things to what the majority feel is an exceptable level


i also agree as i also always get asked to crank it up, although as i feel i am hired to please as many of the guests and mainly the clients i will dertermine an acceptable level depending on the crowd and client etc smile.gif
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#7 Hugmaster

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 05:03 AM

Hi

I think the comment regarding people wouldn't go to a disco if they didn't want it loud is a little misleading...

With private functions, most of the people are there for their family and friends and not necessarily to dance. having music overly loud and/or at a poor quality will send them home with a headache and a reinforced perception of how DJ's are only there to satisfy their egos.

I agree that poor quality sound will also be misinterpreted as too loud and that if you have a good understanding of how to get a fantastic sound, you can up the volumes levels more when necessary.

If I'm in a hall, and I know we've all been there, that no matter how you twiddle and tweek your nobs, it just sounds bloody awful, I keep the volume as low as I can reasonbly get away with.

If you're behind your decks and the punter or you are having to scream at each other, you're too loud.

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#8 Award Entertainment

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:04 AM

QUOTE (Digital discos @ Jun 23 2005, 11:03 AM)
Good quality music won't sound loud, it's just a good quality loud system is when people feel the music, and get into it more, thus enjoying it more.

Good quality quieter music doesn't sound loud either, but I can assure you it has the same effect as louder music on the dance floor. For a wedding of (say) 120 guests, I'll use just a pair of Mackie SRM450s and I'll run them at 75% volume at the absolute most. Even that's too loud really, because I can get exactly the same degree of crowd enjoyment and involvement at a much lower level. i'm as guilty as the next DJ at playing a little too loud, but I think I'm learning that it's not necessary.

QUOTE (Danno13)
if people didn't want loud music they wouldn't go to a disco

So what about weddings? People don't just go to those for the DJ. We just facillitate the entertainment and party component of the celebration. You don't consider Linn or Nakamichi top-end HiFi? Really?

QUOTE (DJ Marky Marc)
people are always asking for the music to be turned up..

What age are these people? I bet I know. Again I ask "Have we conditioned our crowds (particularly the 15 to 30's) to expect us to deliver high volumes at our events?" By 'we' I mean all entertainers, bands and singers also.

QUOTE (DJ Marky Marc)
personaly i feel that most discos offer poor sound.

I agree 100% with this comment. I have heard very few PA speaker systems that sound anywhere near as nice as a decent middle-of-the-range home stereo and I assure you that I've heard and used a heck of a lot of systems since starting as a DJ in 1987!
Richard Mills- Professional Master of Ceremonies & DJ
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Call me for a chat, but please remember I'm 12 hours ahead!
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Don't aim to satisfy your clients - delight, inspire and enthuse them..... Exceed 'satisfied'.

#9 ChrisPointon

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:20 AM

QUOTE
With private functions, most of the people are there for their family and friends and not necessarily to dance. having music overly loud and/or at a poor quality will send them home with a headache and a reinforced perception of how DJ's are only there to satisfy their egos.


Well Said

Thats where the difference between people going to a disco at the local Student Union / Pub / Club differs from people being invited to so and so's birthday.

I've yet to see an invitation which says 'Mildred would like to invite you to Bingham Village Hall to Joe Bloggs' disco and partake in discussion about Joe's Lights and Sound, Oh, and it's her 50th Birthday as well'

If you were going to a local pub and paying 2.00 to dance until 2AM then you are going for a night out, people who don't like Discos or loud music wouldn't pay 2.00 to sit there miserable and hating every minute smile.gif . However they may feel obligated to go to Mildred's function because it's her 50th Birthday and they've been sent an invitation, at such events you'll get guests who can't stand discos and some who don't really like 'Mildred' - a great combination of attitude for you to entertain tongue.gif .

I agree that a sound system which sounds crap isn't going to win you much business, but then again blasting everybody into the car park isn't either. At any private function your music should be loud enough on the dancefloor to create a positive vibe but ambient at the back of the room so people can hear how much the bar are stinging them for drinks, and old friends can catch up on gossip without yelling at each other over the table. Oh, and bar optics are there to serve drink measures and not to rattle off their mountings! tongue.gif.

However, wherever you are in the room, the sound should be clear and not distorted, as should the mic.

For private functions, quality and not quantity is perhaps the key. Even if you have a powerful sound system, it doesn't mean that those 75 people in the room need the full 5kw. After all, if you drive a Fast Car it doesn't mean that you 'll be driving at 130mph everywhere because doing so is likely to get you noticed for the wrong reason. The Same can apply to Sound, it just means that there is power in reserve for the times that you need it.

QUOTE
have heard very few PA speaker systems that sound anywhere near as nice as a decent middle-of-the-range home stereo and I assure you that I've heard and used a heck of a lot of systems since starting as a DJ in 1987!


Sure, but in a home environment the acoustics are far different, as is the space you are filling. At a venue there are likely to be higher ceilings, fewer carpeted surfaces, more ambient noise and materials used in the construction of large venues (Metal Girders etc) which you wouldn't find at home either. These all play a part in how your sound is heard once it leaves those high quality speakers and goes bouncing around all of those acoustically reflective surfaces before hitting somebody's ear. Take your $10,000 hi-fi system to a gig to see my point. Oh and at home you don't usually have 500 punters chatting....unless you go to one of Andy's Houseparties at ADS' Mansions.

If you have a fairly good, reasonably powerful sound system and run it at 40% of it's rated power then it can sound very good, even in a fairly large venue. The problems begin where you have a 300W Sound System trying to fill a room with 500 people, or equally an inexperienced DJ behind a 10kw system who thinks that 'Peak' means 'On' whistling.gif

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#10 YourBigEvent

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:26 AM

I'd even have to go to Mildred's 50th and I don't like discos biggrin.gif
.....but what do I know ?



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#11 ChrisPointon

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:35 AM

QUOTE (ADS Entertainments @ Jun 23 2005, 08:25 AM)
I'd even have to go to Mildred's 50th and I don't like discos biggrin.gif

Well, Tough!. Because you aren't invited biggrin.gif

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#12 YourBigEvent

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:36 AM

Good, wasn't looking forward to having to be nice to you AGAIN tongue.gif
.....but what do I know ?



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#13 ChrisPointon

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:41 AM

QUOTE (ADS Entertainments @ Jun 23 2005, 08:36 AM)
Good, wasn't looking forward to having to be nice to you AGAIN tongue.gif

You wern't nice to me the first time 014.gif , and I had to wait 3 hours before you got the drinks in beer.gif

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#14 YourBigEvent

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:44 AM

And never returned the gesture ! whistling.gif
.....but what do I know ?



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#15 Award Entertainment

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:59 AM

I agree with what you're saying Chris. I really wonder how much we as entertainers have caused this perceived expectation (mainly from younger punters) to TURN IT UP, DUDE! I suspect we're completely at fault. My hearing is just too precious to risk and I'm pleased I learned that before it was too late.
Richard Mills- Professional Master of Ceremonies & DJ
Award Entertainment Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand
Member of the DJ Association of New Zealand & Wellington Audio Association

Call me for a chat, but please remember I'm 12 hours ahead!
Ph. mobile +6427 446 6064 or after hours on +644 589 9992
Skype: rendezvousdiscos MSN: richardmills@windowslive.com
Proud member Wedding DJ Association (WDJA), DJ Association of NZ (DJANZ), Wellington Audio Association (WAA)

Don't aim to satisfy your clients - delight, inspire and enthuse them..... Exceed 'satisfied'.




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