2017-09-21

The ultimate sound check

Remote audio measuring and reporting

The music scene in the Finnish capital is very lively – and sometimes very loud. A varied mix of concerts and music festivals are being arranged in various parts of the city, throughout the year. There are also a large number of sports events, some of them attracting up to 40,000 people.

Normally the noise levels at, for example, a rock concert may be more extreme than most sports events. But, make no mistake,  thousands of Finns enjoying a great game of ice hockey can certainly be heard from afar as well. And many of the arenas are located very close to residential and other sensitive areas.

To keep sound volumes at an acceptable level, the local authorities have issued strict regulations regarding the impact of all these events on the surrounding areas.

Benoît Couatarbès is senior consultant and partner at Akukon Ltd., an independent consultancy company accredited to measure the noise levels in conjunction with the various events:

We have carried out this kind of sound measurement during the past 15 years or so, but a few months ago, in the summer of 2015, we upgraded our system to allow live monitoring. The greatest improvement is that it enables remote monitoring of sound levels in real time directly by the event’s organizer (e.g. sound engineer at the mixing desk), which can significantly simplify the work and reduce the labor costs, especially during late evenings and weekends.

Instant alerts

A number of sensor units, usually two or three, are placed in strategic locations and connected to a remote controller using wireless technology. They can normally be set up and calibrated within an hour or so. To keep the temporarily installed monitoring equipment out of sight and reach from the general public, they are often placed on the roofs of surrounding buildings.

Time plots of noise are exported directly from the monitoring system

Then they are left to run automatically, often unmanned for the duration of the event. Some festivals last from early afternoon till after midnight, and if the bands or artists exceed the allowed decibel limits, a warning is relayed directly to the sound engineers in charge. Normally the level is checked every five seconds, so they can turn down the volume controls immediately.

Undisputable records

After completion of each monitoring assignment, time plots of noise are exported directly from the monitoring system. This provides undisputable records of the actual sound levels at any given time, facilitating internal analysis and helping local authorities to deal with any complaints.

Akukon provides a wide range of noise and vibration measuring services as well as audiovisual design around Finland and the Baltic states.

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