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Decibel Meter

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Guitarfreak, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Is there one that exists for a decent price? And why are there such big differences in price? It's a meter...It's a single function device, so why do some go for $30 and some for $150?
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Some of the $30 models I've seen spec out that they're accurate within ±3.5 dB. Most of the other cheaper models, don't even give that spec. Are they more accurate or hiding something?

    Theoretically you should be paying more for more accuracy.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Wow, so I guess a meter isn't always a good meter? Then again music is a fluid science not a mathematical one. I've heard of software that could do the same thing. Does anybody know how reliable these are and what is needed?

    I am just trying to get a feel for the SPL in my room when I record guitar. Whether or not I am endangering my hearing or not and etc.

    BTW: No I don't crank the amps up as a starting point for recording, but loud enough. (I've read the Slipperman article, so I use that as a foundation.)

    Any advice?
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    You should be able to find a fairly reliable one for $50 or thereabouts.

    I've had an old analog one from Radio Shack that I got back in the early 80's - It still works like a champ. I have a cute cheap little digital $30 - one of the ±3.5dB deals. And I have a Phonic PAA3 that I use a lot in my day to day work.

    If I could just have one, it would be the analog.

    http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=sound level meter&origkw=sound level meter&sr=1


    Lavry Black DA11


    The problem you'll have with any software meter is, what would you calibrate it to? You need a calibrated mic and specifically calibrated amp.

    Do your ears ring after you've been playing guitar for a while? If they do, it's a warning.
    Safe exposure is a combination of sound level and duration. It's cumulative, so the older you get the worse it will get.

    Here's a graph of OSHA's recommended maximum exposure:


    ALSO: If you play live, I'm a big fan of the Westone or Etymotic Research ER15 custom molded earplugs. They're not cheap, but I'd probably be deaf as a post if I hadn't started wearing them almost 20 years ago.
  5. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Read a bit about A-weighting.....

    Most cheap meters have A and C weighting.

    If the source does not have a lot of low end engery, like your guitar, A will work just fine.

    The better meter offer more weighting options with a tighter tolerences. You can spend more the 5k on a SPL meter if you want.

    Many Software pacakges are great, but you will need a flat mic,neutral preamp, and neutral ADC to ensure your signal going to the software is accurate.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Don't forget that the iPhone has a SPL meter function, too. And I compared it against one of my old RS analogs, and they were within a dB of each other! The iPhone is 'way cooler, though...
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    lol an iPhone? Sweet now I'll only have to pay a couple hundred for an SPL meter. lol
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    moonbaby, is that a free app or do you have to buy it?

    I kinda want a SPL meter and the guy who runs visuals at our Church has an iPhone...
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I assumed that it was part of the deal. The iPhone I was referring to is owned by the keyboardist at church. He thumbed through a couple of screens and this popped up...
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    My wife has a level in her iphone too...pretty cool little phone.... anyway a cheap sound meter will give a prefectly acceptable relative measurement...
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I appear to have found this app:

    Looks quite nice, can anyone post the price on it?
    I'm not installing iTunes just to get a price.
  12. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Hello Codemonkey,

    The price is $5.99 USD soon going up to $7.99

    Look nice. If you have an iPhone that is.
  13. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Excellent, thanks.
    That's quite reasonable when you think of it - even if it is a little off.

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