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How Many Use SPL Meter to Check Listening Volumes


Jsmith

Do You Use SPL Meter to Check Listening Levels?  

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I have an SPL meter in my listening room and an Apps on my iOS devices. Periodically when listening I check the SPL to see how loud it really is.

 

I am curious to see if anyone else does this as well, or maybe I am just neurotic.

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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Don't have one yet, am planning on getting one

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Similar to ted_b, I purchased a Radioshack SPL meter for setting up my surround sound environment as well as for adjusting the PEQ options on my subwoofer. It is amazing how much variation there can be <200Hz based on where you position that subwoofer in the room!

 

Using an SPL meter with a product like Room EQ Wizard (REW) can really be eye-opening...for some people I know the setup process for REW can be frustrating, so there are other (more expensive) products available like the Dayton OmniMic system that can be used to measure SPL, frequency response, decay rates, etc...here's a link

Office: iPod classic/iPad -> Shure SE425 IEM Home: Oppo BDP-83/Synology DS211j -> Integra DTR-7.8 -> Revel speakers

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I use mine to calibrate surround music environment.

 

Do you ever pull it out and check when listening to music to see if it is possibly too loud, or if can safely crank it up a notch?

 

I am curious to know if people not only use them for setup, but an ongoing to tool to check for safe listening volumes?

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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Do you ever pull it out and check when listening to music to see if it is possibly too loud, or if can safely crank it up a notch?

 

Not inside at home, but out in the street whenever they have a concert or parade with amplified music on the canal.

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I voted yes, though I don't really own one. I have a calibrated measurement microphone for measuring SPL at home. On the go I use my highly inaccurate iPhone apps ... better than nothing ;)

 

Cheers,

Peter

Home: Apple Macbook Pro 17" --Mini-Toslink--> Cambridge Audio DacMagic --XLR--> 2x Genelec 8020B

Work: Apple Macbook Pro 15" --USB--> Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 --1/4\"--> Superlux HD668B / 2x Genelec 6010A

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This thread got me to pick up and use the SPL App on my iPhone. As someone else posted above my use is in consideration of close neighbors. Anyways this is the first couple of times I have used it since a major change to my system a month ago. It is just curious that I seem to be playing at lower levels as indicated by the SPL but to my ears the levels being read seem louder.

 

My last system made approximately .5 db increment changes and it may be more chance than anything but the readout on the unit and the SPL meter were always near the same. This unit makes approximately 1 db changes but the reading on the SPL is always 2-3 'db' less thn on the units display yet as I said sounds louder to me. I know there can be and probably are other factors in play.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I guess that is somewhat hilarious given your user name. Then again, you are not serious are you? :)

 

Yes sir, I have tinnitus :(

 

Industrial damage. A few too many years as a live music soundie.

Some people are susceptible to tinnitus. I have mates who've been in rock n roll for 30+ years and they don't have tinnitus. However their hearing is starting to suffer!!

 

The ringing isn't out of control or all that bad (like, it doesn't affect me getting to sleep for example) but I do need to be careful about exposure to noisy environments.

Naim 282/250/hi-cap/cd5xs/dac/stageline, mac book pro/fidelia/amarra hifi/halide bridge, rega p3/24, focal utopia scala

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Yes sir, I have tinnitus :(

 

Industrial damage. A few too many years as a live music soundie.

Some people are susceptible to tinnitus. I have mates who've been in rock n roll for 30+ years and they don't have tinnitus. However their hearing is starting to suffer!!

 

 

The ringing isn't out of control or all that bad (like, it doesn't affect me getting to sleep for example) but I do need to be careful about exposure to noisy environments.

 

I thought your were serious about your tinnitus I was wondering given that if you were serious about playing music at 90db.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I bought an SPL meter from the Shack when our first child was born over 30 years ago to see if his crying was as loud as it seemed to us (it wasn't). #2 son seemed so much quieter that I "clocked" him to see if he was inordinately weak - and he was louder than #1. What I've learned with my meter is that each child is easier to ignore than the one before.....

 

In the good old days of parametric equalizers, I built a signal generator and used my SPL meter to try to achieve uniform frequency response in my listening rooms. This worked OK, but it didn't increase my listening pleasure at all. Since then, I've used it out of curiosity to see how loud my music might be, for no reason other than amusement.

 

Here's the toy du jour that went with the SPL meter (yet another of the many pieces of audio equipment I've bought for absolutely no good reason):

 

sae180.jpg

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I keep a list of the listening volumes in my audio journal (no jokes about the journal please) to check. I think it is listed as:

 

OSHA

8 hours - 90 db

2 hours - 100 db

.5 hours - 110 db

 

WHO

24 hours - 70 db

8 hours - 76 db

4 hours - 79 db

 

If I remember correctly the difference between the two is the following. The WHO takes into account your ears are being used all day and assumes some level of noise throughout. OSHA is rated just for those times and does not take into account other noise generated through the day, and therefore can be much higher.

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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I thought your were serious about your tinnitus I was wondering given that if you were serious about playing music at 90db.

 

90db is plenty loud enough and for an hour or so exposure there is no real risk of hearing damage, unless it's every day then there can be cumulative damage.

Naim 282/250/hi-cap/cd5xs/dac/stageline, mac book pro/fidelia/amarra hifi/halide bridge, rega p3/24, focal utopia scala

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90db is plenty loud enough and for an hour or so exposure there is no real risk of hearing damage, unless it's every day then there can be cumulative damage.

 

Yes, 90 dB is pretty loud. I wrote a blog post about SPL exposure levels, SPL meter recommendations, plus our ears hear the "flattest" around 80 to 90 dB SPL due to equal loudness contour.

 

A Rock n Roller’s Guide to Designing an Audiophile Sound System - Blogs - Computer Audiophile

 

 

Some mixing and mastering engineers use Bob Katz's K-System which is designed to counteract the loudness war. He proposes a standard monitoring level of 83 dB SPL. Makes a lot of sense and a good read if interested: How to Make Better Recordings Part 2

 

As a side note, there are some meters like the Rad Shack one (I have two) and the iPhone apps, etc., that are not calibrated or accurate. If you really want to know how loud your listening, get one that is calibrated so that you see accurate SPL's.

 

Cheers, Mitch

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Yes, 90 dB is pretty loud. I wrote a blog post about SPL exposure levels, SPL meter recommendations, plus our ears hear the "flattest" around 80 to 90 dB SPL due to equal loudness contour.

 

A Rock n Roller’s Guide to Designing an Audiophile Sound System - Blogs - Computer Audiophile

 

 

Some mixing and mastering engineers use Bob Katz's K-System which is designed to counteract the loudness war. He proposes a standard monitoring level of 83 dB SPL. Makes a lot of sense and a good read if interested: How to Make Better Recordings Part 2

 

As a side note, there are some meters like the Rad Shack one (I have two) and the iPhone apps, etc., that are not calibrated or accurate. If you really want to know how loud your listening, get one that is calibrated so that you see accurate SPL's.

 

Cheers, Mitch

 

What meters can you buy that are calibrated and where can you get them? What kind of price range are you talking about?

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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Thanks Mitchco, looks like some good reading there.

 

I simply use the i-phone meter but had it calibrated with a UEi meter, so it's close enough for domestic use.

Naim 282/250/hi-cap/cd5xs/dac/stageline, mac book pro/fidelia/amarra hifi/halide bridge, rega p3/24, focal utopia scala

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I keep a Radio Shack SPL meter near my listening chair so I can check the volume levels to make sure it is not too loud (I live in an apartment). I try to keep it under 75db. I have been living there for about 2 years and never had a complaint.

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