Jump to content

Sound Limiters

parrothead pete

Recommended Posts

Hello there,


I am a new member.

I have read several threads on this site that deal with Sound Limiters.

Most of you seem to dislike them.


I run a pub, and old fashioned pub, and the pub has a function room.

The function room is hired out for parties, and sometimes that involves a disco/karaoke.

I am considering installing a Sound Limiter in that room to control the volume from discos/karaokes.


Last week we had a 21st birthday party (it was a family affair- not a rave up full of kids),

the party had booked a disco, who turned up on the night with all of his gear and started to play.


We have a strict rule that the music must stop at 23.30 (we have flats nearby).


The disco was that loud the the people who booked him had to ask me twice to ask him to turn down the volume,

they had asked him several times, and he had turned it down, but 5 minutes later his amp was back up to 11 !


While this was a 21st birthday, it was very much a "family do", and people were finding it difficult to talk or have a conversation

over the music.


Because of problems like this, I am considering installing the Sound Limiter.


I don't want to spoil anyones fun, but sometimes, it doesn't matter how many times you ask, the DJ just won't tone it down.


So, I have a few questions....


What kind of level do you think is reasonable ?

If I buy a sound meter, what is the difference between A weighting and C weighting ?


I do understand the points made in other threads about live bands disliking sound limiters, and even refusing to play at some venues,

but that is not relevent here. All I want is some way of controlling over enthusiastic DJ's.


After all, their job is to entertain our customers, not to spoil their experience.


Can anyone give me any advice, or would like to make a comment ?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 38
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Yes we hate limiters, and we hate the stupid ways that they are set up. I once went to play music at a venue that had a limiter set to 75dB which would have cut off due to the noise of a bridge game!


First get to know some DJs in your area (Profile please!) then suggest these to your room hirers. If you are a regular venue for your local DJs then they will listen to you to get the next jobs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a regular DJ that we would use, given the choice.


The problem arises when the people booking the room engage their own DJ,

usually someone that they don't know, probobly picked out of the yellow pages.


I don't want to have the music so low that you can't hear it, but I don't want it rattling the windows either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the reason why limiters get stick is because more often than not, an unmiked drum kit can exceed a set threshold. it takes no effort for a DJ to take his master fader down below the threshold. it's much more of a battle for a live band to keep under the same threshold.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Pete


We did a large install in a 2500 seater holiday venue (sort of like a night club but for families with live music) and we put a line array system in as it is so directional. The people working behind the bars have a legal right to have the music kept down to a limit and it should be 89dB if I recall. I can't remember if it was a or c weighted. To be fair I got a sound engineer to do that part! There is no real way of limiting the sound. The only thing I can suggest some kind of LED bar meter that you put on the wall, you you tell the DJ to keep below a point or you will cut the power! I saw the LED bar meter idea many years ago but it worked for them!


Funny enough I was at a wedding reception the other night and the music was so loud half the people went outside! The sound was distorting it was so loud no quality just a hell of a lot of noise. The next day I had a sore throat due to shouting and yes it was a family do and yes the DJ was told to turn it down.


I'd have a look into the LED bar meter that goes on to a wall.


I wish you all the best with the solution.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stuart and other posters- remember that the OP said this was for DJ's, not for live bands, which does rather change the issues. I'd like to applaud the OP for a well thought out and reasonable post, rather than just sticking up a limiter which p*sses everyone off, he's coming and asking for advice.


Perhaps a solution for the OP would be to install a VU meter, or large LED SPL display, tell the DJ's that there is a maximum limit of (insert max dB limit here) and that if they continue to exceed the limit, that the system will be shut off. the way I'd recommend to do this is to install a keyswitch or similar behind the bar, which controls the power sockets where the DJ plugs into. No automatic cutoff if the DJ accidentally hits over the limit, but if the DJ ignores instructions for the bar manager, they get cut.


Maybe a possiblity?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



a noise limiter (in reality a mains socket that gets turned off by exceeding a set noise level) is considered to be pretty horrible. This is partly because many are set quite low (either ignorance or the environmental constraints are tight) and partly because we don't like our gear being switched off and on again arbitrarily. Of course, these devices get bypassed, tampered with or just plain vandalised, so your £500 box may not do exactly what you want.


If you set one of these boxes to C weighting, it will be much more sensitive to bass frequencies, and will trigger at much quieter levels.


Here's a few suggestions...


Put a clause in the room booking form (if it's not already there) that states when music must stop (and what is teh reasonable limit).

Buy a cheap sound level meter (~£50) and use it to police the acceptable level.

Consider using the noise controlled mains switcher to turn on the room's fluorescent lights (instead of cutting power to the amps)

Use a noise controlled mains switcher as a visual warning to the DJ, so they know what is acceptable

Use a noise activated sign as a visual warning


In the example you gave, little short of turning off the mains would stop the DJ from turning up the audio level. It is perverse that he cannot follow the instructions given by the person who has hired him. It's possible that temporary or permanent hearing loss is a contributory factor, mixed in with the mistaken belief that he is the star of the evening!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

as others have said, I wouldnt install a "typical" sound limiter that cuts of the DJ's power over a certain level, because in my experience as soon as they see the little box on the roof, they automatically run power from elsewhere (dressing room or other)


I think the switch behind the bar is a great idea, one poilte warning to the dj, and if it goes unheard cut his power and if you want the person who cuts his power to remain anonymous (to save the argument) tell him its automatic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might find that a council will insist you fit a cut-off-type limiter if there are any complaints.


The type that controls all available sockets to a DJ and senses real sound via a small installed microphone is easy enough to install by an electrician and you can get types with remote warning panels that tell the DJ that if he plays any louder it will cut out soon. That way, he has been warned and therefore can avoid embarrasing switch-offs.


Such limiters can be tamperproofed and only overridden or reset by a key.


Congratulations on taking a sensible approach, it is your license and your neck on the line, not the DJ's.


There are online databases run by DJs who discuss specific venues and share info on how to either defeat the limiters or whether they are 'best avoided altogether'. Some DJ's strive ever increasing sound levels!!!!


Examples on the database include how and where to stick gaffa tape over the mics, how to rewire the sockets, the location of non-protected or 'hidden' sockets, where the limiter / limiter key is kept etc etc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

in this case, if iv understood it right, the people throwing the party hired the DJ not the venue? so they were the DJs client and he ignored them, and they wanted the venue to intervene even though it wasnt a venue problem(yet)?

in this case surely the hirer should make it quite clear to the DJ their playing his wage to play a family party, if he has delusions of ibiza super-clubs then he can do it on his own time and if he dosnt turn it down they don't pay him?

As I see it if theyve provided their own entertainment as long as it dosnt directly affect you or your regulars its between the DJ and the client.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Stuarts point is a good one- a wedding reception with all the guests outside to get away from the "noise" inside is not to be considered a successful event.


Simon, thanks for that- use A weighting rather than C weighting, this is the kind of information that I'm looking for.


Yes, I will probably install some kind of "traffic light" system, to warn the DJ's that they are getting to cut-off level,

if they behave like reasonable people, they should never be cut off- but like someone said, they seem to think that they are the star of the show.

and what they say goes.


A good DJ plays the music that his customers want, at the level that they want it.

But good DJ's seem to be in short supply. This is probably why we see more and more people turning up with their ipods and playing them through our PA system.

That way, they get the music they like, at a volume that they are comfortable with, and that they can control, so that their guests (family and friends) can still have a conversation if they want too. Don't forget birthdays, anniversaries, christenings etc are family get togethers, where some people will not have seen each other for a long time and like to "catch up".


Its not like going to a concert with a live band, where you go there to hear the music.

A disco can sometimes be required just for "background music".


So, any ideas as to what level should be used as a cut-off level ?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good DJ plays the music that his customers want, at the level that they want it.

But good DJ's seem to be in short supply..........


Yes, very true and very sad. I can think of an an example of this I came across the other week.....



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rather than an absolute, or 'textbook' dB limit, it might be the case you need to get some music playing in your venue, and get a couple of SPL meters, either measure or listen to the noise outside your venue, if it is offensive, or at the local authority limit, note the SPL *inside* the venue at this time, and this gives you the supposed max limit for inside your venue.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.