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Keep Complaining About Noise Levels

September 22, 1993

In response to Sharon Noble's letter concerning excessive sound levels at concerts ("Letters in View," Sept. 13): I am a professional audio engineer. I've mixed live sound hundreds of times and I have been trying to get the live-sound industry to address this problem for some time.

Every industry is affected by cronyism, incompetence and people who will gladly compromise professional and ethical standards to get or keep a job. I won't bore you with the details of how so many concerts are ruined by shrieking, distorted, deafening sound levels except to say that one of the above factors is almost always in play, along with the old standby, "It's rock 'n' roll, man!"

Here's what to do: Complain. Don't accept the venue's line that they can't control sound levels; they can if they care enough about their customers. Complain to the person at the mixing console. Write to the band members in care of their record company and let them know that you are extremely unhappy with having your ears abused at the show.

Pay attention to the health of your hearing. If you wake up from a show the next morning and your ears are still ringing, see your doctor and get tested by an audiologist immediately; you may have permanent hearing loss. If you do, call your lawyer. You may have a civil case against the venue, the band and the mix engineer. I really hate saying that, but I am convinced that almost no one in the live-sound industry gives a rat's behind about your hearing, so you have to. After a few lawsuits and maybe some new legislation, this problem will start to turn around.

DON CICCHETTI

Riverside

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