Metro Installing SPLnet Sound Monitoring for Ascend Amphitheater – with Technical Difficulties

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Over six months ago, Metro Parks and Live Nation agreed to limit the noise level at Ascend Amphitheater, after some complaints from East Nashville neighbors. The solution is still not 100% implemented, and it appears Metro is having technical difficulties setting up the remote monitoring.

Worth noting – the agreement, which was signed on 12/01/15, is only for talent & performance contracts signed after that date. So any artist/event that had a performance contract signed more than 6 months ago (which many are planned a year or more in advance) may not have the noise limit written into the contract, as “Live Nation will begin placing the restrictions in the contract with upcoming artists”. So just because a certain concert is happening since the agreement, the noise level restriction may have not been in place when the contract was signed.


Jim Hester, of Metro Parks & Recreation, send the following email out yesterday (05/09) regarding recent complaints of the Disturbed/Rob Zombie show at Ascend – noting that the system they are putting in place is not yet fully functional for remote monitoring of sound levels.

email jim hester

The text of the email:

I received your email concerning the Saturday night concert at Ascend.   I am still gathering information on the dB level monitoring, but I understand that the bass seemed to be an issue. We are installing a professional grade monitoring system developed by SPLnet which will provide very specific information as to levels throughout the evening. 
We ran into a couple of technical problems making sure this system was able to work on the Metro IT network and I was not able to monitor this show in real time as planned.  When we get it working correctly it will send us a notice when levels are exceeded and we can then immediately contact the production crew. 
I wanted you to know that I did get your email and I will get back to you soon with more information.
Jim Hester
Metro Nashville Parks & Recreation

The solution chosen for this monitoring task? SPLnet Sound Monitoring hardware/software.

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What exact restrictions will be monitored?

  • Sound checks should not start before 3 p.m.
  • Concerts should not begin before 9 a.m. or go past 11 p.m. (certain delays may be permitted but cannot play past midnight)
  • Decibel levels should not exceed 102 at the sound mixer and 98 at the furthest property line of the park.
  • Live Nation will put a system at the sound board to constantly monitor the decibel levels.

Metro adopted a downtown noise ordinance in 2009 that limits prerecorded music in Nashville’s downtown to 85 decibels, a limitation that is greater than similar ordinances in Las Vegas and New York and in line with one in Austin, Texas. But in a gesture to preserve Nashville’s Music City brand, live music was expressly exempt from that restriction  — so were outdoor entertainment facilities owned by Metro.

At the time the ordinance was enacted, an analysis from the council’s attorney found Nashville’s ordinance to be the only one in the nation that explicitly exempts live music. Under Live Nation’s contract with Metro Parks, Ascend Amphitheater can hold up to 30 events each year.


How long will it take before the system is totally up and running? It seems East Nashville neighbors are deeply divided on this issue – either they love the free live music from their lawns and rooftops, or they despise the sound all together. Sound off in the comments.

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