Too Loud, Because Distortion

Sometimes turning the audio level down may be the correct response. But probably not most of the time.

“Too Loud” might really be “Too Distorted” – something wrong with a speaker or amplifier – or some other piece of equipment. If you turn down the level of everything, the distorted sound will still be there, but everything will be now be unbalanced.

Or it might be “Too Loud For Your Age” – the chronologically-enriched (the polite way to say ‘older people’) who may have certain frequencies that don’t sound as clear as they used to. A younger audience member might hear the same sounds and not think that there is anything but an exciting set of music and effects. This means that turning it down will make it easier for one person, but most people will not get the full dynamics that the director intended. …which is your job.

It isn’t your job to discover the specific problem, or to fix it. But it is your job to follow any leads that a customer might give. This way you can intelligently give the technician enough clues to follow so the repair takes the least amount of time. Or, when you learn that some people think that a certain section of the theater sounds softer, you can suggest that people sit there.

Sometimes the solution doesn’t come with the first clues. There are different kinds of distortion. We are all pretty familiar with the rattles that a low frequency beat can cause. The same rattle won’t happen during vocals or high tones. The best talent you can gain for your job is to learn to listen for clues.

You might have a time when people start to mention a humming sound that wasn’t there before. You might remember a recent time that someone installed a piece of equipment. Tell the tech. It is possible that the new equipment is

The thing to remember is that even if the audio is turned down, your audience may still hear the distortion and stay away no matter how low you turn down the level.

Good luck with this. There are a lot of variables. A short room with people sitting just in front of the speakers while they eat sushi might need a different “viewpoint” when it comes to comfortable listening. But if the sound is going to be turned down, then have a professional tune the room at that lower level so that everything is smooth.

Try this one tip: Does the level of the dialog, when people are talking at a comfortable level, sound comfortable. There is a general rule that everything is built around the dialog, so if the dialog sounds right, that is a place you can place your confidence.

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Part Three: Too Loud; Distance

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