Understanding Sound Ordinance

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by fnordlyone, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. http://lafayette-la.elaws.us/code/coor_ptii_ch34_artiv_sec34-366
    Hello all, friendly neighborhood fnord, here. So, I'm trying to get my head around the Lafayette, LA noise ordinance. See the law above. What do the cops measure the DB with? I understand they have some sort of wand device. Could anyone clue me in on how they calibrate it versus ambient noise? I'd like to be able to measure for myself if I'm in compliance at any particular bar--- and go as loud as legal.
    hope this thread belongs here,
    Ellery likes this.
  2. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    Read paragraph (e).
    Looks like there won't be much music in Lafayette.
  3. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Many laws in general are written in such a way that you're breaking it if the cops say you are. This is one of those - it seems to say if the music is louder that 65 dBA at or past the property line at any point you're in violation. That's a touch over a normal conversation level. It doesn't say anything about how loud you can be in the bar - that depends on how well isolated you are from those property lines - often a quick measurement when a door is opened for someone to enter or leave is enough to violate you. There is a separate section dealing with bass/kick noise measured inside of a nearby home - that one is pretty strict at 3 dBC "fast" over ambient, good luck with that LOL.
  4. Actually, down here it is festival season year 'round.
    Festival International – Festival International
    Festivals Acadiens et Créoles | Louisiana Music Festival | Lafayette, LA

    Of course, the Boudin, Crawfish, PoBoy, Rice, etc, etc, fests are not under any such noise restrictions.
    I was at one of those mandatory classes all afternoon today to get what is called down here a "Bar Card." The right to serve alcohol. Lafayette has it under Office of Alcohol and Noise Control, and so I was asking about the rules. As I understood the law, my bass sounds would have to be measured on the site of complaint (however far away) after deducting ambiance noise.... but yeah, paragraph e crushes the aforementioned... luckily there seems a reticence to enforce the statutes:
    Councilman wants noise ordinance review
    how you like that Road Ranger? the cop just doesn't show up to court to punish the noise maker!
    Let the aggravating pulsing bass beats drive all people insane,
    rmotoman likes this.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I played a show in Nantucket last month where there was a meter in front of the stage that we were told we had to keep below 100 (I'm going to guess it was DBs?). To be honest, if made the gig more fun :). We were generally around the 97 mark, but it would frequently pass 100. Was a discipline challenge and I think we did pretty well, though the soundman, who's eyes were nervously glued to the meter, might disagree.

    Regarding laws that arent enforced, in NY you're not allowed in a playground unless accompanied by a child. I just found that out last year. I get it, but it's weird. I used to end one of runs in a park near me, and stretch. Was doing that one day near the sign that stated I was doing that unlawfully.... yep. I guess it makes it a lot easier to remove questionable people who might be hanging out there.
  6. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    Pure BS!
    Your neighbor can run a lawnmower, table saw, leaf blower, etc. But music is wrong.
    jchrisk1, DavC and Ellery like this.
  7. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    It's like Footloose up in here! :rage:
  8. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    About 8 yrs ago, was doing a gig on an outdoor patio at a BBQ restaurant that hosted bands Fir/Sat nights.
    Played there numerous times before, gigs from 7:30 - 11pm.
    End of 3rd set (around 10 pm) a cop shows up in front of the stage, with a meter.. stands for a min, then moves away.
    Apparently the neighbors got tired of the "loud" music (it wasn't) being carried by still air [or wind] and managed to get the city to institute a noise ordinance, calling the cops out every Fri and Sat night..
    Cop said we were WELL UNDER the limit (didn't say what that was) and that were fine to continue playing, but that they HAD previously shutdown bands who were over the limit. <shrug>
  9. That is a pretty awful noise ordinance - but at least it is mostly objective, if largely impossible to avoid violating.

    This is the quality, ultra subjective, noise ordinance where I live.

    "It shall be unlawful for any person to create, assist in creating, permit, continue, or permit the continuance of any unreasonably loud, disturbing, unusual or unnecessary noise that either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the township. "
  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Wow.. lots of wiggle room there.. and no db limit..
    I wonder how a lawyer would define "unreasonably loud", "disturbing", "unusual" or "unnecessary"... the interpretations are limitless!! :banghead:
  11. Yep... as RoadRanger said above "written in such a way that you're breaking it if the cops say you are"
  12. fly agaric

    fly agaric

    Jan 18, 2016
    The company I work for co-owns a venue that hosted a pretty big bass music festival. I mean, subsonic dance music stuff that kids are into.

    Even though that music isn't really my bag, I thought it was pretty cool, all those low-end frequencies. I'd love to do more styles that incorporate this, personally.

    Apparently people were complaining about the noise several miles away across the city lines.

    I don't think there were any fines or anything like that. And this isn't really related at all. But it is a fun anecdote.
  13. Ellery


    Mar 25, 2015
    Yeah looks like whether or not you are in violation depends on your attitude.
  14. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    but loud trains , bikes , trucks , planes , helicopters , etc ... can wake us whenever ..!

    i have an old Radio Shack db meter ... works fine ...

    use it when someone might think something is toooo loud ... i live in a gated community , a guard stopped by saying my music was to loud ... got the db meter out , showed him he, or whomever, was full of poo ... and he can leave with or without my help .
  15. This.

    One suspects that music played in a church will be just fine, but music played in a bar will get more scrutiny. Laws like this are all about "cleaning up the neighborhood".
  16. Can't be a proper law... way too little verbiage.
    And prejudicial towards bass players.
  17. Probably best to largely ignore it in this case, but be wary of possible repercussion's. But if it were to affect the way I do business (assuming I'm not being grossly negligent), I would become the biggest nuisance to this nuisance law, by showing up, measuring, documenting and officially complaining on record to the local authorities about any and all instances where this law was being ignored elsewhere in a non-musical and discriminatory fashion.
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ouch. I measured our band practice a few years ago. This was when the bass amp was basically off, so I contributed next to nothing. We peaked at 120dB+ for every song. Even the quiet songs we went to 120dB during the guitar solos :atoz:
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    We were actually playing fairly loud. Maybe because if was outdoors it was different?
  20. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Normally you want to set the "meter" for "slow" and "A weighted" response. If it was set to that and you still managed to hit 120db I'm impressed :wideyed:.
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