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Decibel (Sound) meters

The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
edited 4:50PM in Off Topic
I want to get a db meter to measure the ambient noise level in a lab where I work. I know nothing about this stuff, so do we have any audio engineers/sound engineers who could guide me in buying a meter?

The Naked Whiz


  • Gator Bait Gator Bait Posts: 5,244
    Hi TNW

    RadioShack has two. One for $49.99, the other for $44.99. Either one should do what you want. They both have similar features.

    Good idea to check the different environments you are exposed to. I'm considered severely deaf. In the mail today I received a Jury Summons. I think it is hilarious that they are asking a deaf person to sit on a jury. LOL, blind justice you might be able to make work but I don't think the courts are ready for deaf justice. :laugh:


  • bishopbishop Posts: 24
    If it's for an experiment where tolerances are important, find an acoustical engineer.

    If it's just for own use, you will need is an SPL meter (Rat Shack or Amazon). For it's use, try going to or The hometheaterhifi site is run by Dr Johnson, an acoustical engineer. Go to their forum section and someone there should be able to give you an answer. At avsforum click on "Audio Area" followed by "Audio Theory". Avsforum is the largest site of it's kind on the net. Someone there will be able to answer the question. I'd reccomend going to the websites before buying the meter.

    Option B will be to go to or call a car audio shop in your area (NOT Best Buy or somewhere like that) and explain what you need and they should be able to help you out.

    Best of luck,


    PS: I love your website!!!!
  • Boilermaker BenBoilermaker Ben Posts: 1,956
    How big is your lab/company? If you've got a safety department, check with them. The might already have one.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Ah, but I don't trust them, lol!
    The Naked Whiz
  • Boilermaker BenBoilermaker Ben Posts: 1,956
    Well that sucks.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Thanks! What I want to do is measure sound levels in a lab when those hardware *ssh*l*s are cutting metal or other rude things. :-) I just want to be sure that I'm doing something valid and not measuring something other than what I intend. Maybe I'm being too cautious, but for example suppose you wanted to measure the temperature of the air and you used an IR thermometer and of course was measuring the temperature of the wall you pointed it at. I don't know squat about measuring sound levels, so I wanted to be sure that what I end up doing is valid. thanks!
    The Naked Whiz
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Besides, the won't come at the drop of a hat when someone in the lab is doing something noisy. They will probably schedule someone to come at 7pm when nobody is in the lab doing anything. :)
    The Naked Whiz
  • Boilermaker BenBoilermaker Ben Posts: 1,956
    Ah. It's the "if we pick quiet times, we won't have to set up an audiometric testing program" strategy. Lazy. Criminal, actually, if it's true.

    OSHA says [1910.95(d)(1)] that an employer needs to develop and implement a monitoring program when information indicates that an employee's exposure may reach an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels.

    Also, hearing protection must be employed if noise levels exceed certain levels over certain periods of time (e.g. 90 decibels for 8 hours, 95 dba for 4 hours, 115 dba for 15 mins).

    So if you think your exposures are such that the company needs to act, you'd need to come up with "information" that would indicate your exposure. You could try calling the manufacturers of some of the noisier equipment in the lab, and see if they have any noise data on their equipment. You could rent a noise level meter and get a few spot readings, or you could rent a noise dosimeter, which measures noise exposure over a period of time, and will provide a time-weighted average. Sound level meters and dosimeters aren't cheap. You might check the yellow pages for someplace to rent one.
  • ibandaibanda Posts: 547
    I used to spend hours and hours on Home Theater forums and they always recommended the analog Radio Shack meter to properly calibrate higher end systems. I have one and it seems to work well enough.
    "Bacon tastes gooood, pork chops taste gooood." - Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction
    Small and Large BGE in Oklahoma City.
  • bishopbishop Posts: 24
    An SPL meter acts almost exactly like an IR thermometer. So you'll get ambient levels as well. Perhaps as a baseline take a reading when everyone's gone home for the day? Or try deadening the noise somehow?
    Sorry, just throwing out random ideas.

  • ranger rayranger ray Posts: 812
    ear plugs?
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