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Concert Noise Case Study

PROJECT

Oxegen is Ireland’s largest outdoor music festival, held over 3 days, with 80,000 music fans gathering at Punches town Racecourse in Naas, Co. Kildare to watch performances from some of the world’s biggest acts such as Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Black Eyed Peas.

PROBLEMS

Sound levels in the audience areas may reach up to 100dB which can cause disturbance to neighbours off site.

The festival’s licencse follows the UK Noise Council Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts; noise levels at the nearest neighbours do not exccedd Laeq, 15min of 65dB.

If these limits are surpassed as a result of the music the festival promoter will be fined. Monitoring the noise levels at the noise sensitive locations is therefore critical and necessary. The licensing authority also need to monitor compliance with the licensed limit.

The sound engineers at the main stages inside the venue are responsible for controlling the music levels and must be aware of the resultant noise levels at the remote sites which can be several kilometres away.

Reporting the measured levels back to the stages has often proved problematic. 
It was traditionally carried out by taking attended measurement at single positions for short periods and relaying the results using radios or mobile phones.

This was a time consuming and manual process resulting in some over the limit levels being missed.

ENFONIC SOLUTION

Using advanced sound level meters coupled with modern mobile communications techniques, Enfonic developed an innovative solution to these problems.

 

  1. A Noise Monitoring terminal is based on a Bruel and Kjaer Type 2250 Sound Level Meter is installed at each noise sensitive location.
  2. The Type 2250 is connected to a network router that allows the meter to relay its display of noise levels to a central computer using either a wireless or mobile 3G network, allowing the complete system to be operated and monitored by a single person located in a control room. 
  3. The real – time noise levels are simultaneously relayed to screens at the mixer desk positions of the main stages so the sound engineers can also view them. 
  4. It is also possible to view the level on any device with internet access such as a mobile phone once you have the correct security credentials.


RESULT

The result is better management of the noise levels, reduced risk of breaches of the noise limits and operation costs are significantly reduced.

SYSTEM IN ACTION

At Oxegen a total of five sound level meters (SLMs) and four displays were installed including one in the campsite area. At night there are funfairs and other events at the campsite and a reduced limit at the noise sensitive locations is enforced. The campsite managers were also able to control the noise in the same way with real – time displays and email alerts.

Communication between the NSLs, the Mixer Desks and the Control room was provided by a mixture of a wireless and mobile 3G networks. Development of the 3G solution means that this is likely to be the preferred type of network used in the future

The NMT at each location has its name displayed on the screens meaning that they can easily be identified. Power at the NMTs is provided either from batteries or mains where available.

FURTHER APPLICATION BENEFITS

Using the Type 2250 SLM provides some additional and very useful features. For instance, should the noise limit be exceeded, an audio recording is made which can be listened to later and an alert email is sent to warn the appropriate authorities of the possibility of the limit being exceeded.

In this way, should the sound engineer miss the possibility of the limit being exceeded, the concert promoter and the local authority staff are warned automatically.

The audio recordings were used to prove the source of the limit breach at a later day. 

REMOTE CONTROL AND OPERATIONAL EXAMPLES

The SLMs could also be fully controlled from the central PC and noise data downloaded to it, all without the need to leave the control room. This means that the measurements cna be started and stopped, the instruments configured and data downloaded remotely.

Having full control of the SLMs proved an invaluable.

EXAMPLE 1 - TIME SAVER

During one occasion as it was discovered that the measurement at one location wasn’t started. Previously, this would have meant a time consuming journey to the measurement position and back through the festival traffic, just to press the start key. A click of the virtual button on the PC was all that was needed.

One important aspect of using these types of SLMs was that not only could the levels be monitored and the configuration changed remotely, but all of the noise data is also stored onto the memeory cards in each of the SLMs. This meant that should any problem arise with the network,no loss of data occurred.

EXAMPLE 2 - PROBLEM SAVER

Having the on- line display also proved useful on another occasion when the noise levels began to rise at one of the locations. It was noted that the LCeq was much higher than the LAeq, and so it could be seen that the low-frequency content was a potential cause for this. A quick glance across the displays of the meters at the stages quickly showed which stage was emitting high levels of low – frequency sound, and the level from that stage was adjusted accordingly.

EXAMPLE 3 - PROBLEM SOLVING IN REAL TIME

On another day, a very large increase in the level at one of the noise sensitive locations was seen. There were no bands playing at this time but by taking a quick Sound Recording on the SLM in question and downloading this to the central PC, it was discovered that the resident was cutting a hedge close by! This ability to remotely control the SLM and take a sound recording saved yet another visit to a remote site.

EASE OF REPORTING 

After each day’s events the data was downloaded to the control computer and reports of the levels were easily produced for presentation at operational meetings each morning. The audio recordings of any breaches were also available to prove the source if the limits were exceeded.

ENFONIC NOISE SURVEY SUCCESS

This approach to easy, safe and smart concert noise monitoring hasn’t been possible until the development of advanced instruments from Bruel and Kjaer and using modern communication technologies. This solution is available as part of Enfonic’s Noise Surveying service so reliable and cost effective noise moniotoring at all types of music and other events is now available.

 

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