Tag: SPL Meter

How Many Decibels? Ways To Measure SPL

Why Measure SPL?

Scosche SPL1000F

Scosche SPL1000F SPL Meter

One of the best ways to brag about your car audio system is by knowing exactly how loud it can get.  Typically, a car sound system is anywhere between 90 to 130 dB.  To put that into perspective, 90 dB is equivalent to heavy street traffic 5 feet away whereas  130 dB is considered the threshold for pain.   A few other things to note is that an increase of +3dB is barely perceived by the human ear but +10dB nearly doubles the loudness to the human ear. At about 190 dB your ear drums will rupture and the pure sound vibration will be agonizing.  So if someone says their system is pushing 200+ dB, then you should declare shenanigans and tell them to go rethink their entire life.


Term-LAB used in Sonic install bay

SPL, which stands for sound pressure level, is measured in decibels by an SPL meter.  There are a couple different variations of an SPL meter depending on how accurate you need the reading to be. The first and most convenient way is via a handheld SPL meter.  These are relatively inexpensive and are very simple to operate.  They use calibrated microphones and amplification to measure the SPL level and display it on a digital display.  You might not want to use this method for competitions or sound-offs seeing as it only goes up to 130 dB.

Smartphones offer applications that can measure SPL as well.  If you have an Android phone check the app called “Noise Meter” and if you own an iPhone check out “UE SPL”. These applications use the phones built-in vocal microphone to measure the sound pressure level around you. Most cell phone microphones cut off at 90db however, so these apps are best used for measuring ambient sound levels. Most of these apps offer calibration so you can increase their accuracy if you have a more trusted device to compare it to.

Another variant that is far less practical and expensive but very accurate is Term-Lab.  This is a precision system that utilizes hardware and software in order to measure the SPL level in the vehicle.  It requires a computer or laptop and features precision SPL Sensors that attach to the inside of the windshield.  It is used by numerous SPL organizations and even NASA uses it!  If NASA says it’s good enough then there’s no way we can argue right? We decided to get one for our Sonic installation bay so I took a picture of it that can be seen on the right.  We plan on using this for videos and events in the near future so stay tuned!

If you think you truly think you have the loudest system, then claim your bragging rights and comment below with your SPL level and equipment being used!




How Loud is Too Loud: Learning More About Hearing

Sonic Electronix is dedicated to keeping their customers safe. In a world of car audio fanatics and loud music, protecting our ears is often an overlooked idea. However, ear protection is among the most important things that we can do for our bodies. In the Infographic below, Sonic Electronix aims to teach their valued customers about dangerous sound levels.

How loud is Too Loud: Learning More about Hearing

How is Sound Measured?

Sound is measured with decibels, also written as “dB”. The decibel scale ranges from 0 dB to 300 dB. Zero represents absolute silence, whereas three hundred represents the loudest sound in the world. Special tools are used to measure the decibel rating of sound, such as the Scosche SPL1000 SPL Meter. There are also a number of other meters and phone applications that will measure the dB rating.

The Loudest Sounds in the World

The longer a person’s ears are exposed to loud sounds, the more hearing loss will occur. In fact, hearing loss can begin at prolonged exposure above 85 dB. Just about any sound over that dB rating will attribute to hearing loss. This is a reason why it is important to know what these levels sound like and how to properly protect your ears when exposed to loud sounds. Some of the loudest sounds in the world include gunfire (155 dB), NHRA Dragsters (160 dB), a 1-ton TNT bomb (210 dB), and a 5.0 Earthquake (235 dB). The loudest sound ever recorded was the Tunguska Meteor at 315 dB.

Signs of Hearing Loss

There are many signs that humans show when their hearing begins to deteriorate. These signs included ear pain, ear itching, muffled hearing, pus leaking from the ear, tinnitus, as well as having a difficult time hearing what people say.

Don’t become a victim of hearing loss. Wear the proper ear protection when you know that you will be exposed to loud sounds.