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Author Topic: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement  (Read 14543 times)

soapfoot

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2014, 11:05:46 am »

"Of course when he talks to his sound guy buddies, he will blame the band."

Now, now, that's just a mean-spirited assumption.

Yeah, I know. You're right.

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Some would even assert the players are there to serve the composition...


sometimes yes, sometimes no! For example, in the case of free improvised music, there is no "composition" as such.

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Advancing the gig is the best method to avoid conflicts, a current, REALISTIC tech rider and stage plot is key.

Do all artists provide such?

Bus guy:
"Oh, where'd you get that rider, that was last year's tour"

Me:
"I downloaded it from your website last week"

Bus Guy:
"Well, it's all different now and the lead singer picked up a fiddle player at the airport so we need another vocal with a fiddle mic and DI, he'll need his own wedge"

This has happened to me, and sometimes I'm all outta channel minutes much less monitor mixes...

You're absolutely right, this does happen, and it is not ideal. But I'd contend that it's part of the gig. Not ideal, but those who are prepared to deal with curveballs get called back!

Artists don't get "called back." Their success or failure is based upon their ability to deliver performances so compelling that ever-larger audiences dish out hard-earned cash to see them play, or buy their recordings or merchandise. It's a different standard with a different set of requirements.

A good sideman or sidewoman has to have a bit of both-- they have to deliver the compelling performances and also be professional and flexible enough to keep their gig and get called back.
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Jim Williams

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2014, 11:37:46 am »

... but with plenty of hearing loss!

The N.O. ordinance decibel limits seem to refer to measurements not at the venue's interior, where hearing loss occurs, but at the street level. Not very helpful, especially if the building is sound proofed.

That's probably done to prevent the old paint from flecking off the exterior of the building. Paint seems in short supply in NO as it is in Cuba.
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klaus

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2014, 01:49:48 pm »

Jim, I assume you know better.
There are few if any internal (building) noise regs in the U.S. because of business lobbying (i.e. corrupting legislators). Businesses fear the bottom line will suffer if their places of noise worship is not packed with boozed and drugged teenagers who can no longer discern what permanent damage 120 Decibels for two hours will do to their hearing.
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Klaus Heyne
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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #33 on: December 25, 2014, 05:46:24 pm »

I am not afraid to admit that I have serious damage to my right ear probably caused by over 20 years being exposed to long hours of 120+ dB SPL in studios recording music.

Funny thing was the discussion of the hearing test with the lady phycisian at the hospital.
I described quite accurately how much loss at what frequency was registered during the tests.
She asked if I had seen the results before.
No I had not but I am a professional audio engineer, it is my business to register deviations in sound.

No I do not use a hearing aid, yes I stopped working in an environment of high monitor levels.
I still get praise for the recordings I do. Comments from mastering engineers are strict minimum.

Many years ago my employer gave all engineers a dosi meter. A clever little gadget we were to wear during our work recording and mixing music.
This audio dosimeter by Bruell and Kjaer is similar to the instrument used by people working with radiation.

Surprise surprise! The bloody thing did not give the sort of impressive results we expected.
Only very moderate values of exposure were registered.
To get ''better'' results we placed the instruments a couple of inches from the monitor speakers.
I must admit this happened looooong time ago. 
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klaus

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #34 on: December 25, 2014, 07:08:54 pm »

Explain the dosimeter a bit more: what is it supposed to indicate? SPLs? And how did its reading differ from your subjective impression of sound levels?
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Klaus Heyne
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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #35 on: December 25, 2014, 07:34:52 pm »

I am not talking about subjective SPL. The actual SPL reached at the spot of the engineer was measured with a calibrated Bruell&Kjaer instrument.
Average value 110-120 dBa with peaks of 125 dBa.

The idea was to design an instrument that recorded the amount of noise that people are exposed to in a professional environment.
Meaning spl as units during a period of time.

Probably the design went wrong because it was meant and or callibrated for continuous noise like near a sawing machine that produces the typical whining noise.

The problem is hearing can be damaged by prolonged exposure to high spl but it can also be damaged permamently by short exposure to extreme high sound levels.
That happened to a maintenance engineer standing behind a military aircraft without ear protection when the engine was started by mistake.

We had a guy over from the HR department who wanted to get an idea what kind of physical effect working in a studio has on engineers.
It took him about a week with ever longer periods of time to stand the spl in the monitoring room.
Most non professional users are glad to leave after 15-20 minutes.
The threshold of hearing after a 6-8 hour session goes up 30-40dB

BTW never heard of the dosimeter again.
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Piedpiper

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2014, 01:34:25 am »

I'm having a hard time understanding why the SPLs were so high in your studio. Around here and every other studio I've worked in, prolonged hours, yes; high SPL, no, 80-85 dB being typical.
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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2014, 05:28:06 am »

Simply look at what is used for monitoring and you get an idea what sound levels are possible and also used.
One rather famous studio in the record company I worked for used twin JBL 15'' bass units with midrange horns and treble compression units.
These high effeciency speakers were driven by 4x 300 Watt JBL amps.

80-85 dB SPL monitoring does not bring world acts like The Rolling Stones,Status Quo to a studio.
Status Quo managed to destroy the described monitor set up within a couple of days.
Maybe this gives you an idea what kind of SPLs engineers and producers are exposed to during their work.

Artists and producers are used to high SPLs.
They expect that a studio monitoring system is able to give what they are used to.
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Jim Williams

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2014, 11:20:01 am »

Excess SPL's were a fad back in the 1980's, every commercial room had to install a large set of monitors to "impress the clients". Once sessions were underway, mostly NS-10's were used with a quick gut check on the mains. Mixing for dance venues required that check to see if the tracks would translate on larger systems.

I would usually step out of the CR for those checks. One room I did maintanence on had the JBL 4430's, with dual 15" drivers, they did rap and would blow all 4 15" drivers every week. I had 8 sets of spares in the equipement room for fast replacements. The JBL power amps sounded horrible. Those were replaced with Bryston and Adcom power amps.

With the use of a dbx 120X subsonic generator, I was having sets of 15" drivers re-coned every week, Phil at LA Speaker Service put his kid though college on those speaker re-cones. Sometimes the cones would pop 2" out of the gap and they wouldn't go back. One kick hit with the 120X would do that.

With most mixing done for earbuds, I don't see those huge speaker systems used much anymore, unless it's to impress someone's girlfriend. The world has changed the hardware they use to listen to music. Gone are most home stereo systems with 12" 3 way speakers.
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Piedpiper

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2014, 03:58:41 am »

All I can say is better you than me... delighted to not have had the pressure, I mean pleasure...
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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2014, 07:18:43 am »

You do not have much choice working with rockbands.
From time to time i recorded film scores, monitoring levels were reduced by 20 dB.
My carreer moved towards classical music with more modest spl
Keep in mind monitoring and replay spl somehow must be comparable to the music being recorded.
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Piedpiper

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2014, 02:22:50 pm »

I hear ya... I don't mean to come off as argumentative. I just value my hearing, and also find that it serves me better to mix mostly at lower than natural volumes. I find that at higher volumes everything comes across in high relief and it's harder to judge what will recede into the mix in less than optimal conditions or background music volumes. What I've read seems to indicate that the volumes I am used to here and in the other studios I've worked in are more the norm, at least when you're not trying to impress head banger clients. Most of the rockers I work with are more in the folk rock direction than serious SPL hounds, and I'm happy to keep it that way.
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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2014, 06:05:55 pm »

Better stay far from symphonic orchestra's.
Those guys have a reputation to beat the 100 dBa spl with ease.
Imagine what happens to the players sitting in front of the brass section
they must be stonedeaf.

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boz6906

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #43 on: December 27, 2014, 09:45:53 pm »

I find it interesting that OSHA hasn't shut down many stages for SPLs that exceed industrial exposure regulations:

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9735



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polypals

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Re: Critic at Large, Vol. VIII: Hearing Loss and Musical Judgement
« Reply #44 on: December 28, 2014, 02:51:56 pm »

That is the privilege of music being regarded as culture.
Keep in mind the SPL limits Kai says are accepted and followed in Germany would mean a direct stop to symphonic music.
Interesting to hear why these limits are not enforced on symphony orchestra's.
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