By Gary Zandstra • October 3, 2016 This article is provided by Gary Zandstra.com. Sitting in the tech booth during a service on a recent Sunday, I had an “a-ha” moment. Not a big one, but still a good lesson. We had traded worship bands for the day with our sister church. Our band was playing at their place, and vice versa. One of our front of house people, Justin, traveled with the band to do the mixing. Just as our service began, I received a text from Justin that simply said, “Running a service at 85 dBA. A new record!” I glanced over at the Smaart app running on my iPad, and our levels were hovering around 88 dBA. This was during a mellow song; moments later we were doing 90 to 95 dBA. Just then, Justin texted me again: “Update. I was able to get it to 80 dBA. It seems to have pleased the masses.” This “conversation” (via text) got me thinking about the “how loud is too loud” conversation that’s a constant among church tech folks, and I found myself watching our Smaart app meter a little more than usual. In fact, I rarely look at it in terms of overall SPL, but rather for monitoring overall frequency response. Watching the SPL readings, I noticed a couple of things: 1) Since we’ve installed a new loudspeaker system and acoustical treatment, we’ve been running a bit louder yet haven’t received a single complaint (or for that matter, even a “suggestion” to turn it down). 2) Dynamics really play into perceived level. We all know that if the sound is pleasing, we tolerate more level. Think of your morning alarm clock at 90 dBA versus your favorite song on the car radio at 90 dBA—it’s a BIG difference in how you react to those sounds. Watching as our meter hit 97 dBA, I thought “wow, it just doesn’t seem that loud.” Clearly, it was a combination of a good mix, excellent system, and the acoustical tightness of the room. (Lends credence to getting the the best system you can and mixing it loud!) Read the rest of this post 1 2 About Gary Gary Zandstra Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade. http://garyzandstra.com Comments Have something to say about this PSW content? Leave a comment! Cancel reply Scroll past the ”Post Comment” button below to view any existing comments. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Tagged with: Audio Basics Consoles Engineer Gary Zandstra Measurement Mixing Processors · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound.