Ringing ears after a rock concert are nothing new, but does the music have to be so loud?
Some rock musicians will say that only sound at high volume can bring that overdriven tone of their Marshall amps. At low volume, it just isn’t there. Others will say that rock music is too loud because they like it. The truth is that some people will say it was too loud, others will say it wasn’t that loud. After all, it greatly depends on the musician only. Most musicians will just tell the engineer to turn the volume up.
There are also artists that will claim that rock has to be loud and it simply isn’t made for people who don’t like loud music. And if you go through the rock and roll history, you will notice that it has ‘LOUD” written everywhere.
Can you get deaf after a rock concert? Generally, if you are exposed to music over 110dBs for 30 minutes your hearing will get damaged. And just for your information, the volume in the first row at a rock concert is 120dBs and more. No wonders our ears are ringing after a rock concert. And one more thing. There are some Bluetooth speakers that can easily reach 120dBs. These pretty loud things can also cause hearing damage because you will use them for more than a regular rock concert lasts.
The number of decibels on the other hand is not the only thing we have to worry about. The type of music also dictates whether listening to music at this high volume will be too much or a comfortable rumble.
Loudness is closely connected to frequency. When it’s too loud, it gets distorted and this is what actually hurts our ears. What most rock musicians what to achieve is to play it really loud, but still enjoying it. If you don’t enjoy the music being so loud, then it just isn’t it.
There is a so called saturation point, where your ears just won’t listen anymore and everything sounds distorted. It is very difficult to keep the sound level under that point. For example, if you want to go to a classical music concert you will notice that it is being performed in a smaller hall with great acoustics. On the other hand when you go to a rock concert, it gets quite the opposite. The primary concern here is seating capacity, not sound quality.
Most often if the hall is just not good, it looks like a huge coliseum there will be too much echo and reverb if music isn’t played loud. Some musicians will then try to conquer the room. Today, thanks to the great equipment available such rooms are easy to deal with and concerts in such halls isn’t a nightmare anymore.
When it comes to the design of sound systems probably the greatest thing invented here was to make all the sound s reach our ears at the same time i.e. to make the system phase-coherent. However, such systems have to be louder.
A lot of musicians simply don’t like to pay attention to the sound quality. Instead they insist to have great lightning or pay attention to how their stage looks like. And the truth is that with good quality equipment the engineers can do wonders about sound quality.
Can the audience do something about too loud sound? Of course it can. At first place they can complain that it was too loud and ask for refunds. They can also request to be seated way back from the stage. Wearing earplugs is another option. If the artist continues to play too loud even after the complaints then just avoid going to its concerts. It is possible he will listen to the complaints when he notices less and less people are going to its concerts.
However, the truth is that we are surrounded with loud sounds all the time, not just on rock concerts. You will be surprised to know how loud the streets and traffic can be, plus a concert lasts for an hour and that’s it. The traffic lasts all day and night.
*As always, we so appreciate the support from our sponsors. Please know that the views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Ear to the Ground Music, or its editors.