As with most things in my life I try not to fret about things beyond my control while doing my best to optimize the outcome. SPL limitations come in a wide variety of flavors. a weighted rules tend to protect people’s hearing while C weighted limits are more effective at monitoring the low frequency sounds neighbors complain about.

Today we have a 100db A weighted over 60 minutes as described in the letter below:


Name : …………………………………….

Declare that I have read the dB limit regulations at the           SPORTPALEIS ANTWERP

And, I declare, in my capacity as : 

(jobtitle) ………………………………………… 


that the artist and soundcrew I respresent, will comply to these rules :

dB Limits :

To prevent hearing damage, the maximum sound level is set to maximum:

Leq = 100 dB(A), measured over a period of 60 minutes at FOH.

This will be monitored closely, and logged.  All bands must stay within those limits.  

Please work with us on this one, because any violation of this rule can cost us a substantial fine, which we would bill you for,  and can cause us to lose our license to promote shows in this country.  

Earplugs are available in the Production office, and are distributed for free in the foyer.

Thank you very much for your cooperation !

Signature : …………………………………………


Seems pretty straight forward, and unfortunately I prefer to mix at 103A weighted. Let’s look a bit deeper into this. 

I believe this limit is a national rule for Belgium not just a local or venue induced restriction. The restriction is annoying but not as unreasonable as it could be, so let’s look at optimizing to deliver the most exciting show possible without violating the rules.

It mentions the the max spl and time frame but does not mention whether the 60 minutes has specific start and end times, resetting every hour or whether it is a rolling 60 minute window. I have encountered both types but unfortunately this is a rolling window.

If it was a resetting window, I would try and get control over the start time. Ideally starting the monitoring 15 mins before show to have some of the quiter set change averaged into the first window. Then the second window would have the encore break averaged in and end like 10 mins after the show is over.

Another option would be to move FOH farther away, which would allow an increase in overall venue level.

This will be a bit tight so and once I see the set list I will figured out a volume strategy. Start the show loud, find some songs to pull back on, some to boost and making sure I have enough headroom left to ramp up for the pre and post encore finale’s.

And beyond gig life a bit of a rainy few miles biking to the gig from the hotel and this truck cluster looked cool. This isn’t all of them as there are a few more near the buses.

Look where they put the follow spot ops.

Ok, so the show went well, I did feel a bit pinched on sound levels as I navigated and did my best to maximise.

Ok, we’ll this is as close as I could get to the 100db limit

So gonna hope a ride in the merch van again, off to Amsterdam day off.



Author: Dave Rat

Sound consultant, sound system designer, curious human