Its an absolute privilege for me to go to so many beautiful venues all year every year …but sometimes things happen that make me fear for the future of ‘the party’ and I just want to put this out there mainly to all brides and grooms planning their wedding …so please read on if your party and atmosphere is VERY IMPORTANT to you, however if you are looking to hire a jazz band or something of a more background nature then this won’t really have any impact on your evening.
I’m a passionate performer …a perfectionist and I put a million percent into what I do. I’m proud of what i’ve achieved, the wedding industry and my clients are god because they keep me in the music business. As a result of all of that I want to go out every night and give my clients the very best of me and what I have got to offer …this includes installing the very best sound and lighting equipment and showing it off to its maximum potential …its important for us to do that because we get a lot of client referrals and are recommended by venues throughout the south east, so nothing grates on a professional DJ more than 1. the sound limiter and 2. the ban on haze machines ….and I am no different.
Why though ? …after all, as one member of staff at a wedding venue said to me a couple of years ago, “what difference does it make” !
Firstly how many people out there are aware of any venue in the world that has been burnt down by steam ? Whilst a lot of people may think what the big deal is ….the haze machine is an important tool which creates a huge amount of atmosphere by showcasing all the lighting off to its maximum potential …and if you create the right atmosphere then it provides your crowd with an exciting and colourful place to be, bang in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by quality sound and engulfed by flashing lights and beams. Have you ever been to a party, concert or event and seen all those stunning lasers and beams of light that cut shapes through the air ? …its the haze in the air, without it you will not see those effects.
A lot of venues will tell you that they cannot have the use of any form of smoke for a variety of reasons usually because the detectors are a ‘sensitive’ …however recently I was at a venue where I set up the hazer to emit very low volumes of haze into the air for nearly three hours. There was just enough to set off the lighting but not enough to hardly even notice, certainly not affect a smoke detector …quality haze machines use oil based liquid which form small amounts of fine steam, in fact less than would come from your kettle. On this particular night a ray of light got spotted by an over zealous member of staff who then happily informed us that we are not able to use our machine as it as it will set off the detectors …we advised this person that we had been very successfully using the haze machine for nearly three hours with no issues and gave a brief overview about how they work and don’t interfere with the detectors …however ignorance prevailed and that was the end of the bride and grooms previously stunning light show just before 10pm, which of course disappointed them as they had booked us from a previous event at a top Central London venue. I remember last year …one particular venue quite bizarrely informed us that they allow dry ice machines but not haze machines…yet bafflingly a dry ice machine uses thick dense smoke that will eventually rise and set off a smoke detector without any trouble at all.
Its clearly an ambiguous situation …most venue staff don’t understand our industry and products, they are acting under instructions, so as a sub contractor in their venue we have to adhere to their final word. As you are reading this blog Its likely that the light show and visual effect of the disco are important to you, so it goes without saying that I would highly advise any bride and groom to talk to the co ordinator at the venue first and find out if this is something that could restrict your enjoyment on the night as not a lot of our clients are made aware of this before booking their perfect venue …if it proves to be a problem for you then there are many marquee options you could consider.
So …whats the solution to this ? Well after a mind-blowing brainstorming 5 second thought process we believe that by turning them off / isolating them off during an event should do the trick …after all, we will all be very aware at the party that there is a fire and we won’t need a smoke detector to tell us that …simply then turn it back on when the venue is empty so it can do the job it was installed to do.
Next ….the sound limiter !
I have written a blog before on this, click here to read more, but to clarify, these devices seriously dampen your party. If you want to hear R&B, Garage, Latest Music, Beyonce …you know what I mean (music with some guts) …then forget it if the venue is installed with a sound limiter because to put it simply you will not hear any bass and the chances are you will be able to stand on the dance floor and have a chat with your 80 year old grandmother …yes that is the reality and we have seen it happen many times. Some are so bad that we could have our bass dial turned down to 0% and it stills peaks the limiter because they are set to such a low level. When a limiter peaks it essentially trips a switch and turns the power off and thats the end of the flow of the party whilst potentially destroying our equipment in the process.
Some venues have them installed and don’t turn them on, some venues only use them after 11pm if there are local residents, but if a well balanced sound clarity is important to you and you don’t want the hassle of the DJ having to deal with the sound limiter rather than concentrate on delivering a great set of music then ask your venue about this during the booking process so you know the level of restrictions as its too late to do anything about on the night itself.
We have also had situations in the past when we have come across sound limiters that arnt maintained properly …we have been told before that they are set to 95db but we actually know they are 10db worse than that because we carry our own readers …they are supposed to limit the amount of bass that leaves the venue if there are local residents, but sometimes even guests singing can set them off which has nothing to do with bass at all. We have even come across them installed and being actively used at venues when the nearest house is 3 miles away, even the V Festival wouldn’t be heard at that distance …its another PC gone mad situation with venues running scared of local residents that may make a complaint.
My advice to you is that you choose one venue, you get one chance …ask the question, ‘Do you have a sound limiter’ …also its irrelevant what its set too, nine times out of ten its not set to that level anyway and any form of limiter is distracting and disruptive …It does what it says on the tin, it limits entertainment.
The bottom line is that this industry is all about being the best, its a competitive industry saturated with beautiful venues and talented suppliers …If your hosting entertainment in this industry and want to be the best at what you do then give your clients the very best entertainment experience …and please stop stop the party.
1. Steam has never burnt down a venue
2. 80 decibels is the equivalent comparable to a vacuum cleaner in your home