At our "contemporary" service we have the typical band set-up and we get the typical complaints about volume. In the seats the sound is between 85-90 dB so it's not "loud." But it is a struggle to keep the volume low with live instruments. Obviously, there are things that can be done to help, like caging the drums, isolating amps, etc. But that wouldn't help us because guitars and drums are not the problem.
I inherited a horn section from the previous worship leader. I don't mind them being there because they are very good. They follow direction well and when I ask for special parts, they can write impressive accompaniment. But they are, without a doubt, the loudest thing on stage. We have a dB and have measured it. I can't put them up front because they blow people out the back door. I can't turn them to face in because everyone has to turn up their monitors to compensate, making us much louder than 95 dB.
Does anyone know what can be done with a baritone, tenor, and alto saxes, and a trumpet?
I'm looking for more technical help than, "Ask them to play softer."
I feel like I'm in a alternate universe. There I am with my electric guitar and amp, a bass player, and acoustic drums...and the horns over power us in the mix!
Thanks in advance for the answer to all of my woes!
If they can embrace what I said about dynamics them most of your problem will be solved. The next step is pull the mics. It's apparent that they don't need them. As to the pit idea, Trumpet volumes can be reduced if they play into their music stands. Saxes need something like one of those three foot tall partitions you would see in front of a choir loft. The sound won't go out when it hits the parition. The only place it can go is up or back to the musicians.
Ultimately, save yourself the hassle and tell them to tone it down. The husband will understand. I know he will ... I played in the Navy Band. If he was in the USA, we probablly went to the same school in Little Creek.
The keys you are playing in may be shooting the tessitura up for the hornz. The only way to hit high register, .
Take a section out of the wall, and place a sheet of glass in its place. You'll need to acoustically deaden a part of that area too.
You'll need PM's, and mikes.
Hm.. as not a horn player, but as an engineer maybe another approach is to ask what your stage layout and materials are. Does your stage and back area work as a reflective amplifier for the sound?
Maybe an option is more acoustically deadening materials, floors, walls and ceilings. Change some angles to induce destructive waves. Sound baffles can be purchase that a frequency specific too. If you can deaden the sound at the stage (and not just trap it with sound shields) you can effectively lower the volume the audience receives. It's all relative, if you can't add, subtract. I guess it's like noise canceling headphones. This is done at studios for recordings. Not everyone can have a studio that is the size of a barn. Who knows, noise absorption or deadening might help overall sound levels (for the audience). Do you have carpet on stage?
Some practical steps are more effective than others. Acoustic paint isn't the greatest, it's sound absorption factor is pretty small. Sound baffles are good. I've seen other items like textures hung also work. Ideally the best set-up is a professional wall treatment, much like at the back of nicer lecture halls and some movie theaters. Usually something like vertical strips of wood or other materials over a semi-porous lattice. Under that it has a soft material, capable of trapping the sound waves, reducing reflections to almost zero.
After you added some more deadening, you can turn up the guitar & bass amps, etc etc.
Not sure if that is practical, within budget or something that you guys already have addressed.