there was a similar article discussed in the Food section of the Los Angeles Times a few months back, about noise levels and restaurants that were installing noise reducing decor and furniture, and well there were varying differences of opinion on the LA CH boards. I'm going to put in my two cents. I don't mind loud restaurants as long as they have good food(especially ones that serve good ethnic food), but when I'm looking for a higher end restaurant I would rather be able to hear the people across from me than the ambient restaurant noise. In LA I find this problem of noise precisely more often on what locals call the "westside" as opposed to other regions in LA and I think that's largely due to the fact that most of the happening clubs and bars are in that area(I'm under 30, but as someone else mentioned above I do think that generally younger people prefer noise, except for people like me, while older people would rather have a quieter setting). Don't get me wrong there are great restaurants but even the higher end places sometimes are incredibly loud and detract from a certain atmosphere in that area of LA. I don't mind noise it's just a better restaurant owner can control and should control noise when laying out their plan and what tone they seek to set for their restaurant especially when considering what type of customers they are courting and the type of food they are serving, and remember loudness does not always mean cheery atmosphere, in fact I think it's something of an annoyance sometimes, it's not a frikkin concert after all.