The curse of the Sound Limiter or ‘Traffic Light System: Beware!

So the Sun has finally decided to put in an appearance for longer than a few hours. Let’s hope he sticks around for longer than a politician’s promise!

It’s June and the wedding season is well and truly underway. LOADED are busy taking enquiries for the rest of the year and also for 2014. Some people are just so well organised. There’s a lot to think about when planning a wedding so it’s a good idea to be on the case well ahead of the day itself.

We were at a great venue last weekend called Lain’s Barn in Wantage, Oxfordshire. Lovely place tucked away in the countryside just off the A34. Great location and friendly staff and a totally lovely Bride and Groom. Highly recommended. I mentioned to the other guys that it was the first gig of the year where it was warm enough for the guests just to relax outside in the evening. “Bring me sunshine…”

The actual gig itself was fantastic and the crowd were well up for it. We cranked up the volume no further than eleven which is always a joy. Loud enough but not too loud. I can’t stress enough that if you are looking for a venue for your reception, then choose one where there is NO SOUND LIMITER. These are the bane of any working band’s life believe me. Just to explain further, these sound limiters are frequently set way too low so that the power trips if the band are allegedly ‘playing too loud.’ Obviously that doesn’t look good from the band’s perspective and it can also kill the vibe in the audience temporarily. These so-called  ‘Traffic Light Systems’ operate in such a way that can also damage the band’s equipment. They respond to volume. Red, amber and green: if it stays in the red for longer than ten seconds then the power supply is cut off and then sometimes restored automatically by the system a few seconds later. If we haven’t managed to turn off all our switches, then the power surge causes a surge or ‘spike’ which can damage delicate electronic equipment. The PA amp blew at one venue because of one of these traffic light sound limiters. There was one venue near Croydon, which shall remain nameless, where literally just the general hubbub of the crowd chatting tripped the system. Totally unplayable.

Seriously folks, I’m not moaning but just pointing out a very often overlooked aspect of planning the reception.

Good luck with planning your weddings and hope to hear from you soon.

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Be lucky…