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Sound Level Measurement, Monitoring and Management in Small Music Venues: Leq Averaging Time Interval

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This paper considers different Leq averaging time intervals and their effect on the dynamic range of live music as presented to an audience. Data was collected in four small and mid-sized music venues in Perth, Australia in 2019, and combined with an earlier data set recorded in similar venues in Melbourne in 2016. Sound Pressure Level (SPL) data was collected at the Front of House (FOH) sound mixing desk location. In the first phase (control) data was recorded without giving the sound engineer access to sound level information. In the second, phase (experimental), the sound engineer did have visual access to the real time data. This study was designed as a follow-up to earlier work that took place in six music venues in Melbourne [1]. That study concluded that the availability of real time measurement data to sound engineers at the mixing desk can help to keep sound levels below a set maximum. That study also pointed out that if a reduction of the sound exposure of audience and staff is sought, rather than adhering to a prescribed maximum level, more specific choices in terms of level and Leq time interval should be made. Two research questions are considered in this paper, one focused on the impact of the Leq averaging time interval on dynamic range and a second question considering whether set maxima can inadvertently increase the sound levels of performances that would ordinarily be lower than a set maximum level.

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