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Thread: What's Your Background Noise And Listening Level?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 33,991
    I'm Martin.

    Default What's Your Background Noise And Listening Level?

    Just a bit of fun.

    I downloaded one of those free SPL apps on my telephone. I don't think they are that accurate but give a general idea.

    With nothing playing I got a pretty constant 20dB.

    With some 'Goldfrapp' playing (which is pretty chilled-out stuff) at a minimum level I was happy with for 'serious' listening it is showing 55dB at listening position, peaking at 70dB.

    20dB is very low for background (a quiet room is around 30dB) so maybe that is down to the meter and it is registering 10db too low. It is pretty quiet most of the time round these parts though.

    If you don't have it already the app is free and takes 10 seconds to select and download, please share your results.
    Current Lash Up:

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  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 89,072
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Just a bit of fun.

    I downloaded one of those free SPL apps on my telephone. I don't think they are that accurate but give a general idea.

    With nothing playing I got a pretty constant 20dB.

    With some 'Goldfrapp' playing (which is pretty chilled-out stuff) at a minimum level I was happy with for 'serious' listening it is showing 55dB at listening position, peaking at 70dB.

    20dB is very low for background (a quiet room is around 30dB) so maybe that is down to the meter and it is registering 10db too low. It is pretty quiet most of the time round these parts though.

    If you don't have it already the app is free and takes 10 seconds to select and download, please share your results.
    ive tried that too a good while ago. dont know if i still have one on phone now. the background i got was nearer 35/40, and listening at about 60/70. dont think figures are linear tho.

    from memory tho lol
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 33,991
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    It's a logarithmic scale, yes.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Soncoz SGD-1 * Nelson Pass DCB1 * Krell KSA50s * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 5,304
    I'm James.

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    I have the NIOSH app which works very well and free to download.

    I listen at 75-80db peak max. Room is 28db but even lower in at night. 30db is a whisper.
    Main system : VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T / 2M Black / Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Heco Celan GT 702

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  5. #5
    Join Date: Jun 2010

    Location: Essex, United Kingdom

    Posts: 838
    I'm givingyouaprettygoodclue.

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    I did this a few months ago to check what my hearing is comfortable with and what I'm hitting it with these days (I damaged it a few years back at a gig and have had sensitivity issues since).

    Background was 20db here too, and the exponential increase in the scale is obvious because I remember it shooting up fourfold if I coughed lightly.

    I found that with digital sources I started to get uncomfortable above 65db, whereas with vinyl I was OK at up to 75db. I don't feel a need for my sternum to shake with the rhythm these days, these levels are enough for me and the rest of the household.

    Pete

  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

    Posts: 11,052
    I'm Adrian.

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    Background SPL in my house is around 35db, which is pretty quiet. Background SPL will vary greatly dependent on where you live and how well insulated your home is, double glazing, wall construction, wall/roof insulation. If you live in a very rural area with not much around then on a windless day 30-35db can be expected however if you live in the middle of say London with poor insulation background SPL could be as high as 60dB(very intrusive).

    I tend to listen with peaks at around 75dB, which gets the speakers going.

    If I lived in a noisy and a poorly insulated home then the tendency might be to have a higher volume to drown out any intrusive background noise, which is not a great idea if you value your hearing long term. The alternative is a listening room insulated as much as possible from external noise, but this is not cheap to achieve.
    Listening is the act of aural discrimination and dissemination of sound, and accepting you get it wrong sometimes.

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  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2015

    Location: Durham

    Posts: 425
    I'm Andy.

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    I’m surprised by the listening levels, which are much lower than I expected. I tried one of these apps a while back and average listening level was about 90db at the listening position. I didn’t check the background level.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 27,556
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    https://decibelpro.app/blog/decibel-...sound-sources/

    I have played around with a Maplin sound level meter. They are not that accurate and have a limited frequency bandwidth.

    The only meter I would take seriously would be a calibrated Bruel & Kjaer sound level meter.

    My typical listening level (measured at ear level at my listening position with the Maplin device) was ~ 70dBA, with 90dBA starting to shake the flooring.
    Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date: Dec 2012

    Location: Reading

    Posts: 9
    I'm Alan.

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    For consistency you need to check which weighting you're using. "A" weighting apparently approximates to human hearing sensitivity, whereas "C" weighting is a flatter response and tends to give readings several dB higher.

    I'd be a bit wary of some of the low figures - "A" weighted the lowest I've seen in our very quiet house is 26 dB and a person talking quietly in the same room registers around 50dB, "C" weighted gives around 31 and 55 dB in the same conditions and even background music levels are well into the 60s.

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