Rangers and SPL meters to monitor sound art theme camps

Rangers and SPL meters to monitor sound art theme camps

Postby dragonfly Jafe » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:49 pm

If Rangers had better access to SPL meters, would they be more likely to use them? Would this lead to better resolution/negotiation of uber-loud camps that refuse to negotiate?

How many SPL meters would be needed to be effective? How many Ranger teams are on duty at one time? Could they be checked out like radios are now (maybe paired with them)? How many spl meters do Rangers have now?

How would batteries be provided? Rechargeables, I would hope....but how many chargers would be needed?

How often are radios damaged/lost now?

What about the current Ranger spl guideline (90db measured 25' from the speaker). Is this a "proper" standard? Is there a better standard that should be adopted?

Can the Org be convinced to purchase (or lease) spl meters for the Rangers (assuming the Rangers would use them)?

I would donate an spl meter to the Rangers if it will be used, but one is a drop in the bucket. Who else would be willing to donate an spl meter? (good ones can be purchased for roughly $40 each, professional ones are roughly $300 each)
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Postby dj_john69 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:13 pm

No offense but it will NEVER WORK !!!!!!!!!

While the noise levels are a BM's "laws", there isnt anyone that is authorized to regulate and penalize legally thats a Ranger status.

The State of Nevada and BLM are totally different from BM. BM gets the permits to use the Playa which is run by the BLM in Nevada. We, the Burners, pay for our RIGHT to be on the Playa during the event via the BLM's fees. Unless there is a BLM sound unit, to go around with their cute lil SPL meters, it wont happen. LOL @ BLM sound unit !!

As for Rangers doing the dirty deed of trying to regulate sound and their complaints, i can see them being MORE useful dealing with REAL FUCKING ISSUSES such as lost kids, OD's and such. Enough people are starting to hate the Rangers...why drop more shit on the Rangers laps ?? Why make the Rangers work harder...for free ?? If a Rangers can up to me with a SPL meter, id laugh in their face.

Why stop there with giving Rangers those cute lil SPL meters...we can give them guns and handcuffs and pepper spray. Then, they too can feel important enough to carry 'em SPL meters.

Anyways, sorry to be an asshole but its late and im hungry.

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Postby diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:23 am

This coming from a deejay.

DFJ, perhaps this isn't the forum to ask the question. Have you approached the Rangers themselves?
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:25 am

diane o'thirst wrote:This coming from a deejay.

DFJ, perhaps this isn't the forum to ask the question. Have you approached the Rangers themselves?


I tried to get a contact off their website (why I went their in the first place, but then found the manual), but could not find one. If you have a contact, I would be happy to try to discuss things with them, but I would still be prone to post the results here (so others can benefit, or laugh, at my conclusions)...

And I think a public forum is better than a private discussion. No doubt these issues get hashed over ad-nauseum by the Org, and I am sure there have been some great discussions that would be enlightening to me (possibly others), but there is no access to them, because they were held in private, not published, and I was not there. I am not trying to keep a flame war going, or step on anyone's toes. I am very rarely bothered by sound camps (heck, I helped run one this year), more usually generators that are poorly placed. And in only a few cases did a few days of discussion fail to resolve the issue to my satisfaction. And no, other than placing a barrier a few times (within our camp's boundries) to help block exhaust from flooding a sleeping area, I have not personally messed with anyone's property (although I had to think long and hard about it a few times). I have witnessed it being done, however. And it is an ugly thing, really. But understandable given that the stated "rules" are not enforced. When governments fail to take action, individuals do.

I think that most would-be vigilantes would be happy if there was a process that could be appealed to in situations where they are repeatedly told to "fuck off, this is burningman". Without some sort of check valve, frustrations tend to boil over into actions. Maybe the Org has decided that any "official" enforcement of policy would be more problematic than just letting individuals go to war, or maybe they really do not care. It is impossible to know without a public discourse (or somehow joining the exalted ranks of the inner circle, which isn't feasible given where I live).

I'm not trying to add to the Ranger's already tough job, and having years of volunteer service doing similar things I understand their limits. But I have also spent hours talking with campmates to get them to not destroy a neighbors amp, or genny. I also understand the great frustration that developes when a sleep depraved person has asked for help from the Rangers, or the gone to center camp, only to be told there is nothing that can be done. I know it wouldn't be a job that would be fun (it isn't easy for me to muster up the courage to go talk to someone about an issue), but it is a function that is required at rare times. Once things have degenerated to the swearing (or worse) stage, who is best equipped to further deal with the situation? Someone who is trained (and respected) in the community, or a sleep deprived pissed off vigilante?

I have seen Rangers in action, have a great deal of respect for their skills and dedication. I have yet to meet one of the "mythical" Rangers on an ego trip. But I have met plenty of DJ's on ego trips (not a slight towards you). A common theme seems to be louder is always better. And I agree that having your ears blasted beyond medical sensibility is fun at times (having gone to my share of concerts in the front rows). But does every location in BRC need a loud sound camp? Why can't there be some quiet areas (besides walk in camping & hushville, which is not automatic to camp in) for those that want to partipipate in BM in ways other than the local nightly dance-fest? If the city had "Loud" and "Quiet" areas, this issue would be easier to resolve, maybe, but the Org no longer seems to think that is feasible or desireable. Why? Again, we cannot know for sure because nothing about their reasoning is published in an open forum.

Maybe I think too highly of the Rangers, but it seems so simple to arm the Rangers with a spl meter (preceded of course by a well published community standard on spl limits outside one's camp). It is hard to argue sensibly, in the face of neighbor's complaints (and after refusing to compromise), that one is violating a published spl level in the wrong part of the city. Why does the Org have the sound policy at all, if it is not going to be enforced by someone? Likely because they are required to by outside authorities, who threaten to withhold the next year's permit, or enforce the "standard" sound policy common in all cities, if it wasn't there. But I don't know, nothing is published about that.

I am starting to think that it would be better to approach the BLM, with a petition for action, as the Org & Rangers obviously for some unstated reason do not want to address this issue. I would hate to give the real authorities any more power within BRC, but it seems sometimes like any attempt to improve the situation is met by a brick wall of sound.

Why is it so hard for some to accept that their actions (while appealing to many), are so offensive to others (possibly driving them to illegal action)? I understand the desire to not be in the LSSC, but if people are complaining, is it reasonable to ignore them? Or is it unreasonable to expect to be able to get a few hours of sleep in one's own camp? We all exhaust ourselves doing various things at BRC. Everyone needs sleep to function correctly. Is it really just about the partying, to the exclusion of all else?

It is easy to ignore my rants here (or plonk me), but I really would like to have a sensible discussion about possible solutions with all involved parties. I believe that working to resolve this within the community is better than going to outside authority. Maybe that is why the Rangers (and Org) fear this issue so much - they do not want to become "outsiders" with a badge. But if not them, who?

As I see it, once attempts at negotiations fail, one can;

Move to a quieter place (which for a big camp in the middle of the week really is not that feasible)

Pull up and leave, never to return to BM

Escalate to vigilante action (preferably non-violent)

Grin and bear it, using sleeping pills and earplugs to get much needed rest (which, btw, is my preffered solution). But using sleeping pills carries it's own drawbacks, especially when taken at 3am (possible with a body already filled with other things), and earplugs alone are sometimes not effective.

Another option of last resort is needed, in my opinion. And this is a public forum.

FYI, I have decided to move to a (presumably) quieter local in 2007, taking my stuff with me (which is at least partially responsible for the breaking up of a sound camp). Maybe they will make it on their own (I hope so), maybe not. I just can't try to co-exist with the constant thump 50 feet from my head another year.
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Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:57 am

If the city had "Loud" and "Quiet" areas, this issue would be easier to resolve, maybe, but the Org no longer seems to think that is feasible or desireable. Why?


Frog is on here...not to put you on the spot but could you explain this? Surely there's enough flexibility in the city plan to consider this. Why was it turned down? Perhaps.....I may already know why.

As I sit here thinking about it again I see another potential slippery slope, ie: the gated community effect. We already have kid friendly zones and quiet theme camps. We supposedly have adult themed areas. While the need for quieter spaces is high where do we draw the line at supporting special interest groups? Will BRC eventually have it's own gay ghetto in years to come? Will the high end theme camps put up honest to dog gates to keep people out? Once we start this process where does it stop?

More questions: Who gets the crappy job of enforcement? Will adding layer on layer of complexity to the theme camp placement process burn out the placement volunteers that are the backbone of the event? Will it get to the point where someone has to write a special software app that analyzes all of the various criteria for a theme camp and assigns placements that way? Right now that's far fetched but with the way this event evolves....look down the line towards when the current permit expires and this could turn out to be real. Thoughts, comments, rude remarks? Fire away!
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:26 am

diane o'thirst wrote:This coming from a deejay.

DFJ, perhaps this isn't the forum to ask the question. Have you approached the Rangers themselves?


It occured to me that maybe you were suggesting the questions should be sent to the Rangers, instead of questioning my use of this forum to talk about sound issues. My apologies if this was the case.

I also located the ranger address on the website, and sent them this email;

-----------------------------------------------

Hello,

A recent discussion on Eplaya has motivated me to finally contact your organization with some questions that I have long wondered about. I did try to discuss these with Rangers on-playa this year when they patrolled past my camp, but they were brushed off as not feasible, and the Rangers involved couldn't stay to explain further (understandably, they have other things to do).

First off, I respect your group immensely, and have nothing but respect and admiration for what your organization does on-playa as volunteers. Having been a volunteer myself (12 years of SAR in Idaho), I understand some of the issues involved with not wanting to overburden a group with limited resources. I also understand and support the concept of individuals working things out between themselves whenever possible. Over the years I have encountered only a few camps that are totally unwilling to negotiate an acceptable compromise. In such situations, a natural next step is to try to find the patrolling Ranger team for assistance - however my experience has been that it is difficult to convince them that sincere negotiations have been attempted and failed.by the neighborhood. This understandably results in frustration and bad feelings.

Given that the Org has clear written policies regarding camps not located in the LSSC zone (300w limit), and that many camps are technically in violation of this policy, and further that this issue seems to cause great annoyance each year to so many people, I would think that an SPL policy should be adopted. Indeed I just discovered that the Rangers have a written spl policy in their handbook (90 db 25' from the speakers). But this policy seems to be rarely, if ever, followed. It also does not address generators, which I personally feel is a larger problem in many cases than sound systems.

I am not suggesting that Rangers check every camp, but I feel that if there was a more widespread understanding that a certain db limit should not be exceeded beyond camp boundaries, it would assist both in self-monitoring of our own camps (my situation this year), as well as negotiations with other camps. This year it took several days of negotiations within my own camp to arrive at an acceptable compromise between the groups involved - I found myself unable to really answer the question of "how loud could they play"? An spl limit would help resolve these situations, especially if it was widely appreciated that if complaints continued, the Rangers would be checking with a meter. However, when discussing this with Rangers this year, they responded that they did not have access to a meter, and suggested a few additional negotiation steps instead (which were moot, since a compromise had already been reached - I was really looking for an answer as to why spl meters were not in more widespread usage). I felt a strong implication that they really did not have the desire/authority to get involved.

My question to the Rangers is why isn't there a more widespread usage of spl meters to assist in difficult mediations with "problem" sound camps? Is it because you do not have enough spl meters? Would it help if more meters were donated? If so, how many spl meters would be required to make an impact?

A further question is, how was the 90db limit at 25' from the speakers arrived at? I will be testing this out this afternoon, to satisfy my own curiosity, but it seems like any sound policy should be relative to a camps boundaries, and not just be measured from the speakers. a limit of 90db measured 25' from the speakers sounds a little restrictive, especially if the speakers are inside an enclosure that is far from camp boundaries. Of course, if a camp is large and the speakers located far from the boundaries, it is unlikely that many complaints will be happening.

I am not suggested that Rangers become the "sound police" of first resort, but I do feel that if there was a stronger support, both by Rangers (who are the folks that most folks turn to when things go bad) and the Burningman Organization of a sound level limit after certain hours outside of the LSSC zones, it would be easier for individuals to reach their own compromises (as well as be more responsible when determining their own appropriate volume level).

One last question; Is it possible to attend a Ranger training session, without actually joining the Ranger group and committing to working a shift? I would welcome a chance to improve my negotiation skills, as well as interact with Rangers outside of the BRC environment.

Thank you for your time and efforts,

Sincerely

Dragonfly Jafe
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Postby Badger » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:57 am

I would donate an spl meter to the Rangers if it will be used, but one is a drop in the bucket.


Better yet if you have an idea that you'd personally like to see put in place why not consider volunteering.
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:57 am

Badger wrote:
I would donate an spl meter to the Rangers if it will be used, but one is a drop in the bucket.


Better yet if you have an idea that you'd personally like to see put in place why not consider volunteering.


/
OH come on, you of all people can come up with better than that. That is a standard org reply. Sides what the hell is BMorg going to do with 35000 rangers? I would not make a"cute" ranger. I'm more the type of: the meanest s o b in the valley
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:17 am

Badger wrote:
I would donate an spl meter to the Rangers if it will be used, but one is a drop in the bucket.


Better yet if you have an idea that you'd personally like to see put in place why not consider volunteering.


Believe me Badger, I have often considered applying for Ranger duty. But I really doubt I would last even one 8 hour shift walking about, given my arthritus of the hips (some days it is hard to even make it to the JOTS and back, I sometimes carry a cane). I missed both burns this year in fact because of excessive pain in myhips, shoulders, and back. I am asking about attending Ranger training next year, mainly for my own edification and to 1-on-1 w/ Rangers in an environment that is more conducive to talking about future possibilities (I understand why Rangers on patrol duty don't want to stay in one place for a long enough time to discuss such things at BRC). I do bring my spl meter each year, although I have never used it when negotiating because (up until yesterday) I was under the impression that no spl guidelines existed. Now I know about the 90db at 25' Ranger guideline, I may start being more scientific in my approach. It certainly will give me a starting point with my own camp's sound system (the best place to start such an effort). I would expect quite a bit of blank stares (or outright derision), however, unless the guideline was more widely published (say in JRS and in the Survival guide). I am going to setup my sound system and turn it up until I reach 90db at 25' to see what it sounds like to me - I will be sure to publish my conclusions here.

I have been considering doing field research for a few years now, using my audio recording and analysis gear, of the sound environment at BRC, and maybe writing a paper for submission to one of the industry journals (like Sound & Vibration). I think knowing what constitutes "loud" at BRC would be an essential first step to really making any real improvements. Some obvious issues with determining a method for deciding what is "loud" in the ear of the beholder, so-to-speak, and what is not.

That may just be my "art" project for 2007. I am wondering, however, if the Org would treat it as "press" (and first demand right of censorship over said article). If no actual audio was used, just audio levels, what do you think? As I recall, when I brought this up a few years ago, you responded that audio data had already been collected....was that you or am I dreaming again?
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Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:29 am

Hmmm...self-policing? Publish the SPL measurements and encourage the camps to buy the basic $40 meters and put the responsbility back on the camps. If a camp can spend thousands of dollars on getting all that stuff out there what's $40 in the grand scheme of things?

Plus it would be good for the camps to know if they are truly getting the max bang for the buck from all the equipment they haul out there...

Hmmm...is anyone interested in trying to get this published in the JRS then?
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:51 am

Unlike DFJake loud is not my main concern. (1) The placement of sound camps. Placement assigns them space. They take the space,set up and start blasting. Ranger then tell me: "It's to bad about you" PLacement has put them there and there is nothing I (ranger) can do about it. Placement(Frog) tells me He only places this type of camp in acoredace with there applaction. Further he must just trust that they will comply to soUnd standard of BM. There is no way joe camper knows what these standards are. He (joe camper) asks the sound camp to tone it down and is promptly told to "fuck off". After tryng to be reasonable with the camp joe go's to a ranger. The ranger can not or will not apply his manaul. At this point joecamper can see only one way out. That is to take matters i to his own hand. This go's right back to placement. If plaacement has no authoriy or policing, Why is there a placement dept??
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:59 pm

OH come on, you of all people can come up with better than that.


Believe it or not I'm really not here for your exclusive viewing pleasure. That attitude will start to change when I start receiving your money.

Having said that I'll just note that sometimes the most overheard and overused of parroted sayings still have a validity to them and more than a ring of truth. To wit if you don't like what's going on then do something to change it rather than burdening someone else's back to carry your load (i.e issue).
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:10 pm

Isotopia wrote:
OH come on, you of all people can come up with better than that.


Believe it or not I'm really not here for your exclusive viewing pleasure. That attitude will start to change when I start receiving your money.

Having said that I'll just note that sometimes the most overheard and overused of parroted sayings still have a validity to them and more than a ring of truth. To wit if you don't like what's going on then do something to change it rather than burdening someone else's back to carry your load (i.e issue).


/
Staying within the guid line of BMorg. I can only timidly ask some one to change there behaver. If you spend any time reading this thread you will see there is nothing beyond that. By joining the org would only put me into a dogmatic group of do nothing.
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Postby Isotopia » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:17 pm

By joining the org would only put me into a dogmatic group of do nothing.


And by not joining the only difference is that you lose the 'dogmatic' tag.
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:29 pm

Isotopia wrote:
By joining the org would only put me into a dogmatic group of do nothing.


And by not joining the only difference is that you lose the 'dogmatic' tag.


/
Check out the thread Bull Horn
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Postby diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:27 pm

I've bumped the "West-planade?" discussion which proposes a neighbourhood of quiet theme camps placed along the back street of the city in an alternative, ambient Esplanade.

viewtopic.php?p=277546#277546
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:04 pm

from the O23 thread....

Kinetic IV wrote:And perhaps the 300 watt limit is just not realistic.


I suspect that it was determined by experience, as an easy to follow guideline that would not create enough sound to piss off too many people in most situations. SPL meters and logrythmic scales do make many people get a glazed look in their eyes.

300 watts with a "commercial" speaker (say 98db/watt efficiency) is quite a bit louder than 300 watts with an audiophile speaker (say 90db/watt efficiency) at least at higher frequencies. I have been quite happy to stay within the 300 watt limit, but I don't DJ for dance parties. And that audiophile speaker will possibly pump out greater low bass (<30 hz) than the commercial one. And low bass travels further as a rule than mid or high frequencies.

another quote (from ibdave): "To most people on the Playa we tend to avoid conflict"

I hate conflict also, but confrontation doesn't require conflict. If we seek out the Rangers before making an attempt at mediation ourselves, maybe we should limit it at first to asking for advice on how to proceed more effectively ourselves. Only when we have tried, and struck out, should we attempt to get the Rangers more directly involved (after all, practice makes perfect)

Maybe some of us should hold a seminar on how to approach neighbor camps more effectively, without creating conflict. I would be willing to suggest to my new camp that we host it, but if they agree I think we would need some help with experienced instructors. Any out there willing to help with such an effort? Or is this already a reality at BRC? I'm thinking of maybe 25% lecture/demonstrations, 75% roleplaying by particpants. Maybe also have a round table discussion on possible future solutions towards the sound issue.

sorry for re-locating the thread, I just want to de-focus the attention from the O23 folks....
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:38 pm

Isotopia wrote:...To wit if you don't like what's going on then do something to change it rather than burdening someone else's back to carry your load (i.e issue).


this is one of the closest examples of people taking things upon themselves to act that i have seen on this board in some time. thats saying a lot considering i am tired of dealing with the same debates and heated discussions that dont go anywhere.

i woulnt discount it just yet, still too early.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:32 pm

At the risk of boring everyone with some facts (at least I think they are facts, I am not an acoustician, I just play one now and then for fun)...

Assuming 90 db at 9m (close to 25', the closest my tables have), the source would be ~120db. This is pretty loud, louder than your typical home stereo system is capable of producing. For a 300 watt system (each channel 150w) that means that your speakers would need an efficiency of around 99db/watt at 1 meter to make this happen (a commercial system is capable of achieving this, typical home speakers will be 8-10 db lower).

Assuming that you put 150w/channel into speakers with 99db/watt efficiency, and get the "limit" of 90db @ 25 feet, then the following sound levels will be achieved (assuming speakers are raised off ground. If on the ground, levels will be appx. 3db higher due to there being half as much space for the sound energy to go into)

25 feet = 90db
50 feet = 84db
100 feet = 78db
200 feet = 72db
400 feet = 66db
800 feet = 60db
1600 feet = 54db
3200 feet = 48db
6400 feet = 42db (over 1 mile)

typical government standards for max. noise are;

1 hour 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours
------- -------- --------- --------
Dwelling, night 34db 31db 28db 25db
Dwelling, day 39db 36db 33db 30db
Classroom 49db 46db 43db 40db
Other rooms 59db 56db 53db 50db

(note, I am not suggesting these standards be adopted, just listing them for comparison purposes)

typical foam earplugs can achieve 20db reduction at 80hz (bass) and 30db reduction at 1000hz ("middle" of hearing range)

Adding 3db (because we are burners, and can take more!) with earplugs, gets you; (assuming 80hz, or bass)

1 hour 2 hour 4 hour 8 hour
------- ------- ------- -------
Dwelling, night 57db 54db 51db 48db
Dwelling, day 62db 59db 56db 53db
Classroom 72db 69db 66db 63db
Other room 82db 79db 76db 73db

this would suggest that one would need to be 200 feet away, with earplugs, to be below the calculated "burner" guidelines (as made up by me) for an 8 hour exposure, or appx. 75 feet away, with earplugs, for a 1 hour exposure.

My point? The 90db @ 25 feet standard appears to be a pretty good one if you just worry about hearing damage (assuming that people will be wearing earplugs)
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Postby Badger » Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:49 am

i am tired of dealing with the same debates and heated discussions that dont go anywhere.


You know where the time clock is. If you're so tired of it then punch out baby. That's all you need to do.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:39 am

dragonfly Jafe wrote:My point? The 90db @ 25 feet standard appears to be a pretty good one if you just worry about hearing damage (assuming that people will be wearing earplugs)


I need to ammend my conclusion; replace "hearing damage" with "adverse physiological effects".

btw - the tables I used were derived from a study done in Denmark on the effects of infrasound and vibration, and published in 1997 in the "Environmental Review" by a gentleman named Miljostyrelsen.

Miljosttyrelsen (1997) Information no. 9/1997 from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. "Orientering om lavfrekvent stoj, infralyd og vibrationer i eksternt miljo" (in Danish)
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:09 am

a morning riddle; "what comes with a wagon, goes with a wagon, is of no use to the wagon, and yet the wagon cannot move without it?"

some comparisons on sound levels;

threshold of hearing 0db
whisper 10-20db
soft music 30db
average residence 30-40db
conversation 60-80db
heavy street traffic 70-80db
thunder 110db
rock concert 120db
threshold of pain 130db
jet engine 150-170db

the background noise must be at least 3db lower than the source noise if you want to be able to perceive it all. 6db is better....

























































....noise
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Postby BoxaRox » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:27 am

the background noise must be at least 3db lower than the source noise if you want to be able to perceive it all. 6db is better....


This, as written, is not clear to me. I'm therefore tempted to dispute its veracity
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Postby lomaxfrog » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:12 am

[quote="Kinetic IV"][quote]If the city had "Loud" and "Quiet" areas, this issue would be easier to resolve, maybe, but the Org no longer seems to think that is feasible or desireable. Why? [/quote]

Frog is on here...not to put you on the spot but could you explain this? Surely there's enough flexibility in the city plan to consider this. Why was it turned down? Perhaps.....I may already know why.

In the late 90s, there was the impression of the south part of the city
being quiet, and the northen part being loud. Those "zones" were
more spontaneously created than planned, because there was not
really any sound regulation, other than the general rule "don't interfere
with someone else experience". This "quiet" versus "loud" disappeared
because it basically did not work, receiving, at that time, probably as
many complaints as now. The 300 watt rule came at that time in an
attempt to make some sense, and with the creation of LSSA at 2:00
and 10:00, which worked well.

But this was different time, when bringing a large sound system was
much more expensive than now, and when the majority of participants
did not actually go to Burning Man mostly for partying and dancing.

Nowdays, bringing a 2,000 watt sound system is easy and almost
cheap. hundreds of camps bring sound systems that are way bigger
than what is needed. I mean, for many people, 2,000 watt sound system
is small. Many people have car stereos that are bigger than the 300
watts limit.

I had, this year, a camp asking to be in a quiet area, because they
had only a "home stereo". They were honest enough to say that
the system was 10,000 watts. They were placed in LSSA, show up...
and left their spot, and probably pissed off their neighbors wherever
they ended up being.

Many loud camps actually want to be in quiet area, and will do
anything to be there.

So, I don't see as a solution the creation of loud or quiet area. Because,
they actually don't work. The only solution is for people to become
responsible. The goal of Burning Man organization is not to regulate
or enforce, but to create a space, Black Rock City, where the
Burning Man commnity can spawn. We can provide necessary services,
guidance, mediation, but at the end of day, Black Rock City is what
the community creates, as a whole.

If the solution is to create many rules, have LEO enforce things
such as sound, well, why creating Black Rock City then ? Just stay
home.

Having said that, I experienced camps, in LSSA, with enormous
sound systems, that were so well tuned, that you would walk just
a few feet away, and the sound would be very reasonable (i.e,
yeah, everyone would sleep well), and actually very loud where it
was supposed to be.

So... if you intend to bring a sound system, just don't bring it amoung
with DJs.. bring a real sound technician. They can do miracle. Setting
up a sound system takes much more than simply hooking it up to
a generator and speakers.

Frog (frog@burningman.com)
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:19 am

BoxaRox wrote:
the background noise must be at least 3db lower than the source noise if you want to be able to perceive it all. 6db is better....


This, as written, is not clear to me. I'm therefore tempted to dispute its veracity


1db is the smallest amount of difference in sounds that can be perceived at all (say when you are doing a hearing test - if you have 2 tones of different frequency that are less than 1db difference in sound power, it will sound like 1 tone)

For practical purposes, however (say if you are trying to whisper at a concert), the 2 different sound sources need to be 3db apart to be able to distinguish between them. 3db is a doubling of sound power, but our ears work logarythmically not linearly. So if you are trying to whisper at say 30db, if the background noise is also at 30db (or greater), you will not be able to hear the whisper. The background noise would need to be 27db or less (pretty quiet) to not block out the whisper. This is why people often walk up to you and shout in your ear at a rock concert, as opposed to just shouting from 5 feet away. By being closer, and reducing the background noise (by cupping their hands around your ear) you can make the source noise 3db or less than the source noise, and you can hear it then.

6db (four times more sound power) is better because it allows for easier seperation of the 2 sources in our minds (or analysis equipment)

I don't know at what distance these "common values" were measured at, I would assume 1m (kind of a standard in acoustics). Every time you double the distance the sound intensity goes down by 6db, so loud converstation that is normally 80db, say, gets louder when it occurs at 1cm.

I am just regurgitating what I read in acoustic books, I don't have a lot of practical experience "measuring" sound (quite a bit measuring vibration, however, and a fair amount recording sound). If someone out there knows differently, post away!

I'll stop using techno-babble, and try to keep to easily understood generalities (at the risk of making technical errors) in the future, unless questioned about it.

Hopefully today or this weekend I will be able to actually test the 90db @ 25 feet guideline with my BM sound system (powered 15" JBL Eon15p-1 speakers that can ellegedly put out 127db at 1m, or around 109db at 25 feet). Hopefully my neighbors won't complain to the real police!
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Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:47 am

Yo frog, I do not thing the ansewer is in rules.. What is needd here is:. The sound stages work out an agreement with Placement.. So they can be placed in accordance with there stated agreement..

Notice should be annonced to the general campers.. So they can avoid the loud zones.

The outlaws and disagreements can be delt with by other means.

We do not have to complicate our guide lines.

My campmate got his ass kicked (sound wise) withou his heareing aids. With out them I have to screem at him to haer me. My hearing aids are different, They emit a tone so I don't hear the voices. I better put them in on the playa. Only 9 out of the ten say kill.
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Postby BoxaRox » Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:32 am

Yo frog, I do not thing the ansewer is in rules.. What is needd here is:. The sound stages work out an agreement with Placement.. So they can be placed in accordance with there stated agreement..


I beg to differ. The answer IS in rules. There will NEVER be agreement without some kind of widely published *objective* standard. (it will be difficult even then)

One of the unwritten rules of sound/volume I have discovered is that *nobody* ever complains about the volume of a song they LIKE. (Okay, absolute statements are never always true, but you get the point.) I'll wager that the vast majority of disputes about sound at Burning Man, if the real truth were known, have more to do with taste than volume.

Sound level meters are the ONLY way that conflicts can be equitably and impartially resolved. There are still dozens of ways to "cheat the meter" but at least a meter will say the same (or nearly the same) thing to two different people.
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Postby unjonharley » Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:07 pm

BoxaRox wrote:
Yo frog, I do not thing the ansewer is in rules.. What is needd here is:. The sound stages work out an agreement with Placement.. So they can be placed in accordance with there stated agreement..


I beg to differ. The answer IS in rules. There will NEVER be agreement without some kind of widely published *objective* standard. (it will be difficult even then)

One of the unwritten rules of sound/volume I have discovered is that *nobody* ever complains about the volume of a song they LIKE. (Okay, absolute statements are never always true, but you get the point.) I'll wager that the vast majority of disputes about sound at Burning Man, if the real truth were known, have more to do with taste than volume.

Sound level meters are the ONLY way that conflicts can be equitably and impartially resolved. There are still dozens of ways to "cheat the meter" but at least a meter will say the same (or nearly the same) thing to two different people.


/
There are standards and rule already in place.

There is already asigned/dedicated locations in the city for extra loud sound stages.

As for taste, I'm about 70 yrs old and will rock out with any crowd.

Have a little trouble with some of the words. If the artist has the mike so far into there mouth that it's crowning out there ass.

These past threads are not so much about the large stages. It is about the guy that sets up out in the burbs. Then blast the whole area. These guys are outlaw in my book.
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Postby diane o'thirst » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:36 pm

BoxaRox wrote:One of the unwritten rules of sound/volume I have discovered is that *nobody* ever complains about the volume of a song they LIKE.


I'm gonna have to grudgingly agree with this statement. If DisOrient had been blasting Dead Can Dance at 30,000 watts back in '02, instead of disco, I wouldn't have been tempted to put an arrow into their speakers.

So, [putting on my irony hat] what's to be done? Do we include a question on the camp registration form that reads "What types of music do you like?" and group neighbourhoods accordingly? Disco ghetto here, techno ghetto there, world music village the other place...

(For future reference, I'd prefer placement in the Classical Music Circle but I wouldn't complain if I found myself surrounded by didges and tablas) Image

Jokes aside...it doesn't begin and end with musical taste. I do experience a physiological reaction to *sudden*, *sharp* and punishingly loud sounds because I have neuropathy and a sensitive nervous system to begin with. I react the same whether it's my horse yelling to his friends, a toddler pitching a fit, a flame cannon going off, my neighbour slamming their door or a deejay spinning Hammer (or even Pink Floyd) at 100 dB, I'll still cringe and grind my teeth and wish for Yo Yo Ma.
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Postby BoxaRox » Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:59 pm

So, [putting on my irony hat] what's to be done? Do we include a question on the camp registration form that reads "What types of music do you like?" and group neighbourhoods accordingly? Disco ghetto here, techno ghetto there, world music village the other place...


I gently encourage you to read the whole thought. That thought was to develop an OBJECTIVE and specific standard for maximum volume (if you want to have quieter/louder zones, that would be fine with me) -- as far as I can tell, this has NEVER been done. PUBLICIZE the standard widely. (the existing 300 watt standard has been a fairly well-kept secret) And ENFORCE it. This includes telling people who complain about camp(s) which are NOT in violation to STFU.

That seems pretty darn simple to me.

There has been talk of a "90 dB at 25ft" standard, however, I read the Burning Man guidelines fairly carefully, and have never seen/heard this figure outside of this thread. It is, however, the standard that should be publicised. The 300 watt standard is less than useless.

As I think about it, Burning Man registers cameras. There are FAR more cameras than sound systems. There is nothing to keep BM from registering sound systems as well. To register, the operator must accept responsibility for the system, and acknowledge awareness and understanding of the guidelines.

A pain? Of COURSE it is a pain! But ain't all the bitchin about loud music a pain too? I would think that BOTH sides of this issue would be thankful for an unbiased standard that lets EVERYONE know exactly where they stand.
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