Music Preferences, Perceived Loudness, and Preferred Listening Levels : An investigation of sound level preferences for live sound reinforcement in Swedish free churches

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för ekonomi, teknik, konst och samhälle

Sammanfattning: Sound levels in live sound reinforcement have long been a topic for debate in live concerts, but the subject is also important elsewhere. Swedish Christian free churches have also struggled for many years to optimize how sound reinforcement can serve the community. There are many different factors affecting the sound level preferences in live sound reinforcement environments. Among them are perception of loudness, musical preferences, hearing impairments and tolerances. This bachelor thesis investigated if musical preference affected the perceived loudness and/or the preferred listening level through a set of listening tests and qualitative surveys. It was investigated in one Swedish free church congregation, from which 16 subjects participated. The listening test was conducted with three parts: loudness matching stimuli to a pink noise, setting the preferred listening level of the stimuli and rating the preference of the stimuli. Subsequently, a survey after a service was conducted to investigate different factors affecting the experience. No connection between music preference and loudness perception or preferred level wasfound. However, the study did produce multiple findings that reveal factors affecting the sound level preferences in the chosen congregation, such as hearing impairments, expectations on the role of sound in worship services, and the balance of instruments. These findings revealed differences in opinion regarding the mix philosophy used in services, and the impact of these approaches on members of the congregation. Altogether, the findings point to recommendations and considerations for live sound engineers working in worship environments.

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