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Author Topic: Are earplugs even enough?  (Read 8206 times)

Josh Billings

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Are earplugs even enough?
« on: July 07, 2011, 12:29:57 am »

So I was watching this video of a dubstep DJ and if you know the genre you know there are LONG subwoofer basslines that will really work a sound system (I'm sure if a few of you have learned the lesson of not having enough rig for the gig by blowing a few breakers / drivers with this kind of music). ANYWAYS...

I'm seeing these CSC event staff guys standing looking at the crowd basically making sure nobody does anything silly...right in FRONT of stacks and stacks of subwoofers.

New subwoofers can put out tremendous amounts of SPL and I know ear plugs do like 30 db or so of gain reduction...but when you're standing in front of a stack of 8 subs that do peaks of 140 db (lets say 130 realistically) that's 148 db @ 130 db long term per cabinet...when you subtract 30 db that's STILL 118 db of sub bass energy they have to stand in front of for long periods of time.

Sooo are these people just destroying their hearing or what?

Josh Billings
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 02:14:59 am »

I'm seeing these CSC event staff guys standing looking at the crowd basically making sure nobody does anything silly...right in FRONT of stacks and stacks of subwoofers...
I can't vouch for security, but I carry shooter's muffs with me if I'm going to be exposed to levels like that for any length of time.  I use them along with my custom earplugs.

That being said, I'm sure it can't be too healthy when the sub cluster/array/whatever actually rattles your whole body, let alone your eardrums.  Time to move the barriers back, I think; physical distance from "on-axis" is the only answer when sheer amplitude is the issue.

(Maybe this is an application for the Matterhorn...just add barbed wire and you're set.)
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Bill Burford

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 03:27:39 am »

My answer is no.  I need to get firing range muffs in addition to see if it helps..
From what I can tell, with the orange foam plugs which claim -33dB on the package--
I've used the same plugs at the firing range and found that pretty much all the guns firing in there don't seem very loud at all--
however, when you are mixing.. whether dubstep or rock... those sound-waves bombard your entire body.  I've experimented with the plugs in so deep you need tweezers to get them out.. on top of that, I've tried using my hands to cup my ears as hard as I could with different approaches--- I find the bass waves are penetrating right through my body and rattling my eardrums anyways.  Even from 100 feet back with a small system, after 3 or 4 days straight-- my ears are sick of bass.. after 10 days in a row.. its like torture.   
Especially if you are mixing a lot day after day all year round.. I've ended up lowering the mix and trying to sculpt the channels and scoop out boomy distortion and go more for the most natural warm sound I can and not push anything..   another trick is to start the show louder and every few minutes lower the faders by half a dB until you reach a level where your ears aren't so tired with earplugs after an entire set of music...
It sure would be nice to be mixing line-arrays and deploying techniques to give yourself lots of headroom and warm sound in conjunction with array shading.. I bet I wouldn't have to stuff those plugs so deep.
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 11:25:46 am »

Sooo are these people just destroying their hearing or what?

Josh Billings

YES!  I do an occasional EDM concert here and there and I do bring out huge stacks of subs and you are in the proper SPL guesstimate range for bass.  My Rat Shack meter can not measure how loud my stacks are regardless of wieghting or response on the really loud shows.

I wear very nice and expensive shooting muffs that are suppose to be around 42 dB attenuation although at some frequencies it is close to about 30dB according to the product literature.  When talking with security at some of the events I have let them try my muff for a couple seconds and there is a huge difference they say compared to their foam ear plugs.  I have seen a couple security staff with custom molds that are probably way better than the foam ones and I think they get it.

The funny thing about these shows is that some performers sound way too loud and others seem to have a lot lower sound while retaining the energy of the really loud ones.  For example we did Marcus Schultz a couple weeks ago and he definately did not sound loud but did sound really good.  He even asked for less bass.  We did Skrillex a couple weeks back with Porter Robinson opening.  Skrillex had all the same energy but definately didn't sound as loud or hurt as much as Porter Robinson's set. 
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David Parker

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 10:59:41 pm »

I've worked in a refinery for 37 years. I know a little about hearing protection in the real world. We have places where I'm sure it's 140db 24-7. You can scream as loud as you can and the guy standing next to you can't hear anything. At the end of the day, you feel bad from the inside out, not your ears. Fortunately, I don't have to work in areas like that anymore. I believe that the high levels affect your body through more than your ears. Interestingly, the area of the refinery with the highest noise levels have operators with the highest divorce rate.
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 11:42:51 pm »

So I was watching this video of a dubstep DJ and if you know the genre you know there are LONG subwoofer basslines that will really work a sound system (I'm sure if a few of you have learned the lesson of not having enough rig for the gig by blowing a few breakers / drivers with this kind of music). ANYWAYS...

I'm seeing these CSC event staff guys standing looking at the crowd basically making sure nobody does anything silly...right in FRONT of stacks and stacks of subwoofers.

New subwoofers can put out tremendous amounts of SPL and I know ear plugs do like 30 db or so of gain reduction...but when you're standing in front of a stack of 8 subs that do peaks of 140 db (lets say 130 realistically) that's 148 db @ 130 db long term per cabinet...when you subtract 30 db that's STILL 118 db of sub bass energy they have to stand in front of for long periods of time.

Sooo are these people just destroying their hearing or what?

Josh Billings

    Hello,

   there's been plenty of studies of the long term/short term affects of high sound pressure levels, throughout the audio frequency spectrum. 

    Some frequencies seem to do more damage, even if these frequencies are of a lower pressure level. (kinda following the Fletcher-Munson curve)

    Sub frequencies do less damage even if they're at higher pressure levels....but, if your nose starts tingling, your heart starts racing, or your vision starts to get blurry with every beat, it's time to lower your levels....  even the sub frequencies ;)

  Wear hearing protection and use sense.

   Hammer
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 12:13:56 am »

if your nose starts tingling, your heart starts racing, or your vision starts to get blurry with every beat, it's time to lower your levels....  even the sub frequencies ;)
Hammer

Huh????

 I always thought that meant it was just starting to get close to the right volume!
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 12:47:02 am »

if your nose starts tingling, your heart starts racing, or your vision starts to get blurry with every beat, it's time to lower your levels....  even the sub frequencies ;)
Hammer

Huh????

 I always thought that meant it was just starting to get close to the right volume!

   Is this Evan posing as Ryan? ;D
  Hammer
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thomas jones

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 01:45:49 am »

The hearing loss is noticeable and wearing protection may help...I used to worry about sterilization...now I don't want any more kids
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Randy Pence

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 05:44:18 am »

Sooo are these people just destroying their hearing or what?

Josh Billings

it is my understanding that lf information is absorbed through the body's bones, instead of cilia in the ears.
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kristianjohnsen

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 08:10:40 am »

it is my understanding that lf information is absorbed through the body's bones, instead of cilia in the ears.

Tom Danly wrote a long post on the old LAB about WWII bomber crew that were exposed to ridiculous LF levels for like a day at a time.  Interesting reading, but I can't seem to find it.  At these levels and frequencies I don't think plugs or muffs matter all that much as the sound is transmitted to your hearing apparatus through the rest of your body anyway.
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 02:42:33 pm »

I've worked in a refinery for 37 years. I know a little about hearing protection in the real world. We have places where I'm sure it's 140db 24-7. You can scream as loud as you can and the guy standing next to you can't hear anything. At the end of the day, you feel bad from the inside out, not your ears. Fortunately, I don't have to work in areas like that anymore. I believe that the high levels affect your body through more than your ears. Interestingly, the area of the refinery with the highest noise levels have operators with the highest divorce rate.

+1 I spent some time doing gas well production testing, flowing back frac sand at 5000PSI, no amount of hearing protection helps when your whole body is rattling, it definately helps to take frequent breaks from the high sound levels. I don't know how the punters can stand to be infront of the stacks for an entire show  :o
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David Parker

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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 04:38:33 pm »

I've worked in a refinery for 37 years. I know a little about hearing protection in the real world. We have places where I'm sure it's 140db 24-7. You can scream as loud as you can and the guy standing next to you can't hear anything. At the end of the day, you feel bad from the inside out, not your ears. Fortunately, I don't have to work in areas like that anymore. I believe that the high levels affect your body through more than your ears. Interestingly, the area of the refinery with the highest noise levels have operators with the highest divorce rate.

+1 I spent some time doing gas well production testing, flowing back frac sand at 5000PSI, no amount of hearing protection helps when your whole body is rattling, it definately helps to take frequent breaks from the high sound levels. I don't know how the punters can stand to be infront of the stacks for an entire show  :o

the ear plugs  help your ears, but the sound pressure still negatively affects you.
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Re: Are earplugs even enough?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 04:38:33 pm »


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