What do you need to do?

Reduce monitor speaker levels

  • Loudspeakers can produce extremely loud noise
  • Louder is not necessarily better

In the performance area

Here are some things you can do to reduce unwanted sound in the performance area:

  • Reduce sound levels from the loudest instruments - this reduces the need for high foldback levels.
  • Replace floor wedges with smaller stand-mounted speakers at ear level
  • Use headphones or in-ear monitors rather than foldback speakers. All headphones and in-ear monitors should be fitted with noise limiters
  • Use single earpiece headphones and swap ears between takes to reduce overall exposure
  • Use headphone click tracks in place of audio from monitors

In the control room

Reduce monitor levels in the control rooms to the lowest feasible listening levels when recording, overdubbing and mixing. There are often other workers present, for example producers, performers and engineers, who need to be present, and who may be there for many hours.

Sound engineers often need to raise the volume of quiet pieces of music for analytical purposes. Control room speaker levels need to be frequently adjusted, but there should be some safeguard to avoid inadvertently leaving speaker volumes at high levels.

Sound engineers do not favour electronic limiting in loudspeaker feeds. An alternative approach is to lock off the monitoring system to achieve a maximum level but then provide a method of fleeting gain increase . This could be achieved with a simple push button on the mixing desk that provides extra gain while pressed. A more sophisticated electronic version might calculate the duration of the full-volume mode, so that a cap could be applied to its use.

You'll find more detailed information in:

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