What To Do?
The solution could be as simple as choosing a different seat.
In an auditorium with a big slope, or ‘stadium seating’, the sound is often actually louder in the 2nd half of the room!
Technically, someone who has studied physics will tell you that sound levels decrease as you increase distance. Don’t argue with those people – they and their graphs are absolutely right. Out in an open field, you can measure with great detail how much less the sound decreases with distance. Don’t even mention to them that the theater is not an open field. Just nod.
They might be surprised to find that closer to the screen is less loud and more clear because the speakers are above you and aimed toward the middle and top. It is possible that there are fewer confusing reflections from the rear and the sides of the theater when seated closer to the front.
People used to hate sitting close to the front because films would be too bouncy – technically called weave and jitter. But the new digital projectors deliver such a stable picture, sitting closer isn’t as uncomfortable as it was when we had to watch with the jumpiness of film. And because the speakers are mounted near the top of the screen, and aimed to the back and top of the seating, it may be more quiet in front~! Weird, eh?
Or…this might sound ridiculous…maybe that client has to sit further back. Why? Some combination of the distortion in their ears might be affected by the way a particular speaker works. (If this were a technical article, you would read words like resonance and crossover frequency and harmonics of the horn…but this isn’t a technical article.)
The last reason to try another position is because it takes time. Very often, the pre-show is louder than the movie – if the complaint comes during the pre-show, getting the client to re-evaluate the level during the movie might be the exact and correct thing for them.
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Part Four: Too Loud; What’d They Say?