Mitigating Any Noise Issue Is About Understanding Three Things:
What Is The Cause?
Can It Be Controlled At Source?
Can It Be Attenuated?
People at wedding events make noise – it wouldn’t be much of a party if no-one was allowed to sing along to the “Summer of 69”.
Can it be reduced or controlled at source?
You can certainly ask people to leave quietly and it’s a good idea to display signage along these lines. Making sure that guests leave according to designated routes, taking them away from sensitive properties is also good practice.
Can it be attenuated?
The human voice on mass contains a considerable punch, even without a speaker system a dance floor in full swing would be expected to hit 90dB. That said a human voice does not have the low-frequency impact of a PA system and depending on the structure you are in, attenuating barriers can be very effective.
People also like to move at weddings, in some instances foot stomping on the dancefloor might be of concern. If your structure is adjoining and if there is structure-borne transmission then you would be best taking professional advice. If the dancefloor itself is creating substantial sound, perhaps you can dampen that sound – fill any cavities under the dancefloor or add a damping membrane to the dancefloor itself.
Most weddings provide music of some sort – whether that is DJ, Live band or even just background music – depending on your structure and proximity to the nearest neighbour. The fact music gets going later on means it is often the primary cause of complain
Anything amplified can be turned all the way up and all the way down. Leaving it easy to control as long as you have the controls!
Acoustic instruments e.g. drum kits, brass etc will have their own properties – sometimes these can be digitalised an electric drumkit or a DI from a bass guitar’s amp are examples (we’ve written a blog post just about this topic) – doing this will mean you have the same level of control as turning up and down the main PA.
What you have to consider is that the party itself has a threshold – we at Direct Acoustics think that is around 95dB. That is the magic number for any wedding event – a little less than that and you’ll be ok – below 90dB and the dancefloor starts to suffer. Much above 100dB and some of your guests will be complaining it’s too loud.
In order to reach our dancefloor level, we have to consider the following: what is the directionality of the source? What material is there between the source and the receptor/what acoustic properties does the material have? And finally what distance does the sound travel from source to the receptor? With that information, we can model a dancefloor sound level. Going back to that magic number 95dB – if you are close then maybe just turning it down a little will do the trick, if not then additional measures will need to be considered.
One of these would be using a highly directional speaker system – our Zone Array has been designed exactly for this task.
Can it be attenuated?
The nature of music means that there is almost always a significant low-frequency presence, and low frequency is notoriously difficult to contain.
If you are in a building then works can be undertaken to improve the building envelope. In our experience these should not be taken lightly – just patching up gaps or applying an extra layer of plasterboard will not be effective. Soundproofing is about introducing mass and isolation – if you need to treat something and the main source is music, consider approaching professional help.
Much of our work takes place in marquees or other temporary structures. Introducing mass into a lightweight marquee goes against the very nature of its design – i.e. put up, take down over and over.
Our range of Acoustic Linings has been designed to maximize acoustic performance and compatibility with a variety of structures. We can install it in conjunction with a tight schedule and have the flexibility to meet most demands.
We have also recently worked in conjunction with Roder HTS to design a HWM Acoustic Barrier system. This was installed into a permanent wedding marquee in Ireland – the structure’s acoustic attention has been improved by 31dB.
Hopefully the above gives you a few pointers in controlling noise at wedding events or any other event for that matter. At Direct Acoustics, we specialise in providing solutions to venues looking to minimize their sound footprint. Sometimes this is achieved using a pre-designed product, sometimes we can come up with something completely new.
If you want any further info on anything we can do – drop us a line we’d love to chat.