How Loud Is Too Loud?

1493 1 db volume meter

I was recently reading this article on ChurchLeaders.com and it reminded me of a big ordeal that my church went through this past year. We are a multi-site church in the Four States Region and currently have 3 campuses. Our North Joplin Campus was taken to court and some of our staff (including myself) had to go to court a few times to defend ourselves and prove that we were within the city’s noise ordinance sound limits.

Our North Campus is fairly close to some homes. My campus (the Carthage Campus) is across the street from some homes, but thankfully our building holds sound well and no one can hear it across the street. Our new campus (which we move into real soon) will be in the middle of the city, away from any homes.

This brings up the question: How loud is too loud? A few years back (when I was a Tech Pastor), I did a poll with other tech directors and sound engineers to see what they try to keep their DB level at in the room. Most of us landed around 95 DB. Of course every room is different and in some venues, 95 DB can sound deafening. It all depends on your room, your sound system and how it is tuned and EQed.

Do you take precautions to help with loudness? For example, we use in ear monitors instead of having floor wedges that add to the overall sound in the room. We have a shield around our drumset to cut down noise. We don’t usually have any guitar amps live on stage. What do you do at your church to fight the on-going sound battle?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “How Loud Is Too Loud?

  1. I think many churches have this base issue, I play bass in my church's band and it is something that definitely has to be managed.

    In ears took some getting used to but everyone in our band uses them now so it cuts way down on the noise, same with a drum shield.

    We are meeting in a school auditorium that is only 2 years old and state of the art, so even the louder music sounds really good (very little rattle or rolling in the room). Back in Louisiana at my previous church where I played bass as well we had troubles because the room was more square and had a tendency to have the sound roll around.

    Curious what others might say, hope it works out for you Greg!