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Bullshit Music

No, the government is not forcing rock venues and clubs to install sound limiters

This online petition is doing the rounds of music forums:

It has been brought to attention that the government wish to consider it a legal requirement in the new tax year to introduce laws insisting anyone applying or re-applying for an entertainment license must have a noise control device fitted to the venue. This will be the final NAIL for ALL entertainment in the UK as the level at which these devices CUT you off is dreadfully low and damaging.

PLEASE DO NOT INTRODUCE THIS LAW, WE LOVE LIVE MUSIC!

It’s a load of balls. The regulations are the Control of Noise At Work Regulations 2005, which were expanded to the entertainment industry last Spring. Here’s what the HSE says, and here’s the official advice for venues. Quick summary: places where employees are subjected to very loud music need to carry out risk assessments, and if there’s a risk of damage to employees’ hearing then they need to do something about it. That certainly could include fitting noise limiters, but they’re not compulsory or, in most cases, necessary.

4 replies on “No, the government is not forcing rock venues and clubs to install sound limiters”

As one who worked as a sound tech for many years, I find that those regulations are an excellent approach to sound exposure. Most acts are already limited, those acts which are painfully loud need to be be controlled in some fashion. 90-100 dB levels for 1 to 2 hours (actual performance time) with occasional peaks should be plenty loud to be enjoyable. There are alternatives (distributed systems) to the big arrays but they need to be engineered into the venue and are expensive and require complete integration into the architecture of the performance space. Constant exposure of background music at high levels and lack of ambient sound control is more of a threat IMHO.

Oh, I agree. I do wonder how many pubs and shops with blaring music are unwittingly endangering their employees’ health.

Modern decor’s a problem too. Soft furnishings absorb a lot of sound; the current love of making all surfaces hard makes for some ridiculously loud areas. In stylish pubs, just the sound of everyone talking can get insane.

What we need is more tapestries.

Yeah, that’s true. There’s one pub in glasgow just off george square (sorry, forget the name) that doesn’t play music loudly, but the acoustics are so bad that other people’s chat gives you an instant headache. Counting House, maybe? Across from Cafe Andaluz on St Vincent St…

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