Excessive noise? To discuss

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niall
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Excessive noise? To discuss

Postby niall » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:48 pm

Hi folks

There was an incident on Sunday evening that I thought I should raise for discussion. I was in the cafe with a few friends, one of whom is recovering from a severe ear infection. A band, the name of which I don't know, were tuning up, and then, albeit briefly, performing.

Now, I was of the view that the music was excessively amplified for the size of the venue. I found it painful. My friend (it's now Tuesday) remains in a great deal of pain that was made much worse at the time - when she was trying to eat her dinner in the cafe in peace and quiet. We ordered just at the time the band was tuning up. I doubt she'll be back in.

I don't want to get in the way of music in the Forest (Gods forbid), or even of loud music in the Forest, but when matters of health intervene, and when members and potential members of the community are that alienated, I think it's time we had a discussion on the subject.

Obviously, it's difficult to quantify when users are going to become alienated, and equally difficult to quantify when a band (also users, let's remember) is going to become alienated because they are told they have to turn the amp down!

It is possible to quantify noise. I would estimate that the noise produced by this band was in the region of 115-120 deciBels (see . There was also one, admittedly accidental, very loud bang (rifle shot level) which had me in some discomfort and my friend in clear agony (ie, in tears). By comparison, 85 dB is the lower workplace limit where hearing protectors must be worn in cases of repeated/constant exposure.

Legally, at 112 dB you have a limit of one minute of exposure before workers (that's kitchen staff!) require hearing protectors (see ). I wasn't measuring it, but I am under the impression that this may well have been exceeded on Sunday.

Incidentally, initially there was no room for me and three friends in the outer room, so it was abandon dinner, or put up with it.

Now, perhaps as a result of an oversight, there was nothing on the blackboard about a band playing at around 6:30pm. In fact, there was nothing about what was going to be on during the course of Sunday at all. Again, probably an oversight. Perhaps when I was in on Sunday I should have checked the events book and updated the blackboard. One of these things where it's everyone's responsibility so nobody does it! Mea culpa, at least partially.

I recognise that some people like this kind of loud music, and the Forest exists largely as an outlet for this kind of artistic expression, even if it's not to my taste.

I propose the following, more as a starting point for discussion than anything I expect to be final:
* Loud music should be limited to certain times of the day, certainly after mealtimes. As a starting point, I suggest 9pm.
* The band should make it clear in the events book that we are talking about loud music, and this should be made clear on the events blackboard by whoever writes it up, so that those wanting to protect their hearing can avoid having to move when it suddenly becomes clear that your eardrums are in danger!
* Perhaps there should also be an announcement before such a band starts tuning up?

OK, what do others think?

cheers

Niall

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Postby swithun » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:47 pm

I asked around and got some conflicting suggestions, some of which are fit to be repeated.

One the one hand, the cafe is primarily a place for artists to express themselves, as you mentioned. If the odd customer has a problem with an artist's expression, then tough. Also, bands need to sound check, and this happens prior to the performance's stated time. So you may think you can escape a band by coming in early, but not always. And putting up signs saying 'warning: loud music at 9pm' is a bit like having someone walk in front of a car waving a red flag, or saying that the coffee may be hot.

But, on the other hand, the cafe's PA is tricky to use, and sound checks could be made shorter and less traumatic if we offered training to bands and sound engineers. The band in question might have demands higher than their skills with our equipment. Also, we do have to be considerate to our neighbours (if not the customers), so even we have our limits, regarding sound levels. And you are right that the information and publicity does have the occasional omission. But we are dependent on what artists write in the events book, and what people feel like putting on the events board. The more information artists give us, the better for everyone. I didn't know in advance who was going to be playing, but if I had and had been asked by a customer, I would have said that it was going to be loud.

I don't think anyone wanted your friend to be hurt by the music. But I imagine the epileptics know better than go to night clubs and people with food allergies have to be careful what they eat. It is a shame that some people can't enjoy their peanuts under a strobe and some megawatted industrial music, but that's life. I think the Forest is where you can only expect the unexpected, and prepare accordingly.

Warning: the opinions expressed above are contradictory and should be taken with not more than 6g of salt. This post contains traces of the alphabet.

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Postby Shannon » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:24 pm

I think it is unreasonable to expect loud music only after 9pm. On the other hand, it isn't unreasonable to give a warning before soundcheck begins.

We do our best to post stuff up on the board. If it isn't posted, please ask before you place your order and we will be happy to tell you as much as we know.

We probably have to discuss our maximum sound levels further. Soundproofing is better these days, but kitchen workers are a good point.

We will be in touch with the band before their next gig to see if we can arrange a shorter/quieter/more efficient soundcheck.

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Postby chris » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:47 pm

zap

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Postby mark » Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:24 pm

dear friend,

in my research it is clear that the noise of ants walking is the region of 18.7dB, and the loudest sound ever recorded by humans is 107.3dB (incidently the loudest sound ever recorded by human beings was the sound of chaffinches mating in leeds.. now there has been some consideration that were animals to measure sound they may take a different approach and the number could go up or down, but lets leave that for now, we can come back to it later, if the argument merits it, which i EXTREMELY doubt.).

my band 'silent electrical death by acute involuntary asphixiation (sic)' will be playing at random times around cafes in edinburgh, glasgow and new york... a kind of guerrila gigging but in cafes.. be assured that we will be louder then anything ever. also we are aiming to were extrremely bright colours (if colours were sound then we are talking 999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999
999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999
999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999
99999999999999dB)
so as well as defeaning you we may also blind you... better wear dark glaseses...

yup, oh yup.

what of course this means is that picking a cafe in any of these cities has become russian roulette with you ears and eyes... thus ruling the forest back in! and making you tread more edgily in the cafe etc.s/kilimanjaros/ands the glorious starbuckese out there...

MARK
Last edited by mark on Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby niall » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:05 am

Hi folks

I'm pleased to see intelligent discussion taking place on this. Thanks, folks. I'm sorry that some suggestions are not fit to be repeated. My intention was not to create bad feeling!

As regards Mark's comments, I'm taking my sound measurement levels from here: http://www.hsmc.co.uk/noise_levels.html I assume they know what they're talking about (because I don't - that's why I went looking for experts!).

My own responses are purely subjective - when it becomes uncomfortable, it's too discordant or too loud. Since I can say this about some Prokoviev (5th Symphony, if I remember right - the satire on Soviet industrialisation?), this isn't a problem limited to the Forest!

On the other hand, even I have a Deep Purple collection....

The last thing I want to do is interfere with someone's self-expression. There does come a point where others can be hurt, and at that point a civilised compromise has to be talked about. That's what community, to me, is all about.

Swithun's idea of training for people using the sound system is a good one, and I can see why there would be issues about saying that certain things could only happen after certain times. I dunno though. I've seen young children and dogs in the Forest during the day. I would not inflict that kind of volume on either of them. It reminds me of some of the arguments that smokers use, roughly paraphrased as "I have a right to pollute the space, so if you don't like it, get out!"

On the other hand, smoking has less to do with self-expression.

I'm not claiming it's simple. I'm just asking that we guidelines/groundrules. The Forest does have groundrules - not many, quite properly, but there are good reasons for things like putting your accommodation request in the flat book and not on the noticeboard. I suppose what I'm saying is that we should ask people to be polite and consider the needs of others.

When it comes to expecting the unexpected, I wasn't expecting CIRCA/GlasgowKiss in the cafe later in the evening, but it was fun!! On the other hand, my Indian friends had left by that time. The Gods alone know what they'd have made of the Clowns!! :? :lol:

hth

Niall

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Postby mark » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:51 am

you shuold be barred. in my other cafe you are.

incidently i dont think much to the site you mentioned: http://www.hsmc.co.uk/noise_levels.html

its rubbish. seems like they got some stuff extremely wrong.. they say:

10dB = Falling leaf
140dB = Jet taking off

so fourteen leaves falling at once is as loud as a jetplane? those are fuking big leaves! i mean like giant massive leaves. once i was living in guatamala, in a small house, a wooden house actually, on the edge of the forest, there was another time, when i was helping angelina move her water pots, it was a long time, and these large leaves surrounded us, it seemed that they were an emerald green coluor, like her eyes, except without the fire of passion. i spoke to them. of course they didnt speak back, i spoke to them again, but the reply was silent.. "fukk you leaves i said." these leaves didnt take any goading and they just stayed there fukking silent. so i burnt the leaves..

i suggest you do the same.

if that fails i often find this site is good for spending some time:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... p?t=120247

they have a very good comparison on all manner of things.

much love my friend.

MARK
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Postby Martin » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:56 am


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Postby mark » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:17 pm

the pen is mightier than the word

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Postby niall » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:29 pm


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Postby chris » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:40 pm


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Postby niall » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:56 pm


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Postby mark » Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:47 pm

the pen is mightier than the word

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Postby chombee » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:48 pm

I've had it with you. If I had an image of a laser gun I would absolutely position it right here in my hand...
Ha! I have a real laser absolutely positioned in my hand!

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Postby Gandhi » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:40 pm

After playing at the Forest on numerous occasions, it's quite difficult for the musicians to grasp just how loud they may be playing, simply due to the fact that they are often performing behind the speakers/PA system and amps and as the sound is projecting away from them it simply doesn't seem as loud.
This isn't an excuse as I too get irratated when things are so loud that everyhting becomes a mess of sound. I think that the sound level should be kept more in proportion with the size of venue. Playing as the same volume as a larger venue is not only ridiculous but its also technically poor.
Obviously its a balance between artistic freedom and audience comfort and the nature of the Forest makes it difficult for people to know exactly what the bands going to be like (which is the beauty of the place) but i do think they should be able to come to the Forest knowing that whoever is playing, be it a folk acoustic guitarist to a metal band, they are not going to want to leave simply down to the noise level.
I personally think there should be an upper limit, and how this is set is obviously not up to me, and don't get me wrong I love big loud gigs but thats simply because the upper audio level is kept in proportion to the venue.
another quick point that may be worth noting is that if any Health and Safety officials came on a night where the audio was too loud they may kick up a fuss/stop the gig!!!

Im not around the Forest as much as I like, but will try and help out on the mixing desk next time I'm there. I will also bring in a great book called Audio in Media by Stanley Alten which talks about sounds levels and audio techiciany stuff in a pretty simple way which would be a usefull guide to any volunteers who wanted to learn about setting up the sound etc. I'll organise for it to be left below the mixing desk or something.
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Postby Martin » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:40 pm

We could get a for the cafe for £49 and agree a real volume limit, rather than bickering about who thought what was too loud.

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Postby Martin » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:49 pm

Or £20 for a .

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Postby Gandhi » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:25 pm

i think an audio level meter is a great idea.
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Postby Dandolo » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:34 pm

gadgetry is the refuge of the imminently deaf dumb and blind

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Postby chris » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:42 pm

we already have these fancy sound meters, they are a lot of fun.

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Postby Jimmy Bastard » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:48 pm

i have always wanted a Clap-O-Metre
did the technology ever go digital
if not
that's an exploitable niche
if yes
then
i want
Pep Up The Turmoil

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Postby iamjohnmarra » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:24 pm

mixed leaves are still leaves, so the pile of mixed leaves, become just one pile of leaves.

it aint hard...

instead of a clap o meter, why not just use pigeons?
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Postby swithun » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:38 pm

Instead of a clapometer, why not just go to the doctor?

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solution

Postby lucky » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:53 pm

[someone else] bought a decibel meter....it is by the til. its plugged in....it automatically detects the ambient sound of the cafe before and after any given noise, contrasts it and the dial indicates the "noise level"....its pretty good and cheap.....it has a built in mic....please don't change the settings on it it took ages for [them] to calibrate unless you have read the manual which [they] have so know you haven't.

peace out peoples

x

[i forgot to log out, someone mistakedly posted on my name. I haven't a clue about technical stuff so please never, ever ask me to fix it. Thanks, Alex*]
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Re: solution

Postby niall » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:04 pm


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Postby Shannon » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:13 pm


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Postby bill » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:33 pm


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Postby bill » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:34 pm


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Postby mark » Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:10 pm

the pen is mightier than the word

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Postby dan » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:57 am

yeah leaves huh? I reallly like them. especially in the autumn(or Fall for our North-Atlantic cousins, w can be culturally sensitive too...) . and ESPECIALLY in the autumn (or Fall) when they have little cats and puppies playing in them. I don't know how much that affects the sound, but I suppose it would quite extensively, like if you had 4 million cats and 25 puppies in the leaves, how many leaves would you need to make to sound of the sun exploding?
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Postby Gandhi » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:16 pm

also if 14 trillion leaves fell off of the infamous Northern Japanese Silent Leaf Tree you wouldn't hear a thing!!!!

4 million cats to just 25 puppies...the puppies would have a hard time trying to control their urges to chase the cats...but if they did then surely they would be overpowered by the cats. thats a ratio of 160000 cats:1 puppy...crikey!!!

and what would be the volume of 4 million cats purring...and how many fleas would there be? I'm just terrified that this situation could occur. I'm moving to the Isle of Dogs in London where there are no cats just to make sure.
it was nice meeting you all...and I'll pray for you. God Speed.
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