My decibel meter registered peaks of 103 decibels on both songs, and averages in the mid-to-high 90s. Looking around me, many worshipers were in their 50s and 60s and may have found the music a bit loud as well. Sound professionals recommend church sound levels not exceed 80 db at peak, and 65-70 db during the service.
(I was curious who these sound professionals are. For comparison, here’s a chart of how loud things are on the dB scale, for example, “Living room music (76 dB).” I would expect music in church to be louder, not quieter, than in my living room. But maybe that’s just me. In any event, one church I admire addresses this problem by simply handing out earplugs.)
My visit to ABT was better than most. The huge side monitors seem to be unnecessary, making Prevo three or four times larger than life, in an auditorium where all had excellent views. People were friendly; the music was good, but loud. This evangelical type of church, as noted in a previous column, is one of the few growing in the U.S. It’s easy to see why.