I like the idea of getting a sound db app and measuring the volume at various places in
the hall. Also, talking directly to the organizers. Good sound is hard, but that's no
excuse for making dancers uncomfortable. I also suspect you should talk directly to other
dancers at the event (during a break).
Also, I bet raising those speakers would solve most of the problems.
On Dec 6, 2016, at 11:48 AM, karendunnam(a)gmail.com
[trad-dance-callers] <trad-dance-callers(a)yahoogroups.com> wrote:
Attended the local MUCC dance last week, and noticed that, for the second month in a row,
the PA volume was very loud.
At least one dancer was wearing foam earplugs. Trying to have a conversation, my
companion said he had to wait until the caller was finished with each phrase of
instructions. I thought about trying to talk with a sound guy, but then remembered that,
in October, he couldn't hear the content of our discussion (political) and how I'd
had to repeat everything I said, at a louder volume.
Since my hearing is going, I should be less affected by a loud PA.
In my view, this falls into the category of "providing a comfortable welcoming dance
experience" along with a smooth clean dance surface, cool drinking water that's
readily available, chairs to sit on when not dancing, and name tags.
So I posted an opener on FB, and received several interesting replies:
"Last contra dance I measured a few months ago was 82 db. Some concerts are louder
than that. Rock concerts are often 100 or 110 db. 80 db is a busy street or an alarm
clock. 90 db is noisy factory machinery at 3 feet. A motorcycle can get a ticket if it is
louder than 86 dbA."
[this is a folk music event, not a construction zone or a motorcycle run]
"I heard no complaints..." [of course not, the PA was too loud!]
"...remember if there is only one person who is having an issue that person needs to
be aware they are sensitive and bring earplugs"
"Everyone's hearing is different and some people are more sensitive to loud
sounds. If you are one of these I suggest that you position yourself away from a
loudspeaker and from directly in front of one."
[Problem is, there are typically two lines, and they always form up directly in front of
the speakers at the top of the hall, which are positioned at ear height.
One line gets blasted at from speakers at both the top and bottom of the hall. In the
other line, it's okay if you start as a 1 several couples from the top, and then bail
out of the dance in the same position when returning as a 2. Or dance with fingers in your
In the thread, three people agreed with the original premise, along with at least two
others by my observation.]
Talk to dance personnel:
"I hope everyone know if they have a problem with something that's happening at
our dances that they are encouraged to talk to somebody
The manager or sound guys could've done something if they were aware there was a
"if an individual reports a problem we do check it out for verification. If a
problem is confirmed we do what we can to fix it."
Sound tech comments (they were not present):
"As a sound tech I keep the level below 80 db, have an app on my phone to measure
"You can get a free sound meter app. for your ph. this will allow you to measure the
decibels. Over 80db (I think, it's either 80 or 90) is not good for your hearing. Show
the sound person and have them turn is down. There was an excellent thread on this subject
on one of the contra sites a while ago. Too many people think more volume equals hearing
the band / caller better. But it's really the EQ and volume. With the emphasis on the
I also suggested that "it seemed like dancers were leaving early," and
someone's pushed back on that.
Comments and suggestions welcome. I'd like to continue supporting this local dance,
particularly since they are asking for more volunteers.