Sound limiters: What are they and how will they affect my Wedding?

In recent years there’s been a growing trend in our industry, and that is the somewhat undesired arrival of sound limiters.

Your choice of music for your Big Day can make or break the party, but just when you thought the only issue in choosing a band or DJ was if they could rock the dancefloor, technology now steps in to potentially put a stop to your rhythm..

If you’re a newly engaged couple just starting out on your quest for the perfect live function band you may have already come across them, but for those who haven’t, here’s a brief explanation of what they are and what you can do to ensure they don’t scupper your wedding party.

What is a Sound limiter?

Noise complaints from nearby neighbours are certainly nothing new, but in recent times sound limiters have become the must have requirement for wedding venues looking to renew their license.

In short, a sound limiter is a device that monitors the noise level of a venue in decibels, and if a certain level is reached, all power supply for the band or DJ is lost.

Not only does this have the potential to cause damage to expensive sound equipment, but it also puts a damper on the evening as guests wait around 5-10 seconds for the power to come back to life.

How can I avoid problems with sound limiters?

The number one piece of advise is to avoid any surprises on the night.

Speak to your venue before signing on the dotted line, and find out what sound restrictions they have in place.

Pass these on to your band or music agency before making a booking and ensure that they are happy to adhere to the venue’s guidelines. In many cases the band will be required to sign a venue agreement accepting the terms before the day.
If your venue does have a sound limiter installed, then it’s up to you to decide whether or not this is going to affect your venue choice.

If a venue is unable to accommodate a large band, then you have the option of either hiring a smaller band or looking for a new venue.

A sound limiter can be set at a number of different levels, usually between 85db and 110db, but with so many factors coming in to play, such as the position of the limiter’s microphone, it’s never an exact science for the band and will ultimately require some trial and error during the sound check.

Luckily, wedding bands these days have lots of experience with limiters and have learnt how best to deal with them and keep disruption to a minimum.

When it comes to setting off the limiter, the drums and bass are often the main culprits, and whilst there’s no way to turn the level of an acoustic drum kit down, drummers are able to use softer drum sticks or come equipped with an electric drum kit.

Booking Your Entertainment

Now that you’re in the know, it’s time to take a look at your options.

If your venue does have a sound limiter installed, then you may have to say goodbye to that beloved 8-piece band with brass and opt for something a little smaller in scale.

For sound limiters set in the 80db region, an acoustic band followed by a DJ could prove to be the most stress free option, or perhaps a function band that uses electric drums.


To avoid the stress be super clear on the policy of any venue you visit and clearly communicate with any entertainment/band you approach.

By speaking to a knowledgable agency such as Bands For Hire, you’ll be able to find a range of options that suits both you and your venue.


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UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow

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