Who here uses a decible meter?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    223

    Default Who here uses a decible meter?

    (Couldn't find a thread on this)

    I noticed the topic of decible levels really doesn't get talked about very often, and when it does nobody seems to mention how they are to be maintained in a gig. I am talking specifically sound levels being played let's say at a small gig and club. Sure you can look at the -10 or +2 or whatever is being shown in traktor or a mixer, but from what I can tell that doesn't represent the actual sound level being played (ex. most clubs are roughly at 95-100 dB or so? over 90 is can be damaging etc., those numbers). Somebody please prove me wrong here if i am so.

    Anyway, I have never read a thread about DJs using decible meters and I don't see why DJs shouldn't. They would give an accurate representation of the sound level which would not only allow you to keep the sound level at a safe level or whatever exact level you want it at, but it will also make sure that the DJ isn't changing the overall levels much. I can see this being less useful in a club where there may be a sound guy helping out during a gig, but for let's say a house party or whatever I think something like this would be crucial.

    Anyway, does anybody here use a dB reader? I am looking for one and wondering what might be good (also wondering how much I will be investing here).

  2. #2
    Tech Guru josh@firestorm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    1,627

    Default

    i dont personally but some of the raves i used to promote for back in the day had some sort of decibel meters hooked in with the power/master volume... so if the volume got pushed too hard for more than about a minute in one room - it would cut the power to the P.A's in all the rooms.

    it wasn't to protect the dj's and patrons ears tho - it was for complying to the sound restrictions that were posed by the local councils and liquor licensing.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    San Fran Bay Area
    Posts
    2,206

    Default

    I have one. Radio Shack digital SPL meter. They also make an analog one that's great too. It's used at my place of work to calibrate mix stages. I use it for my home theater and occasionally bring it to campouts and undergrounds but unless I'm one of the guys setting up the soundsystem I usually don't bring it unless I'm asked.
    "Walking the fine line between Stupidity and Genious" My Soundcloud ---- My Mixcloud
    MBP Retina 2015--TSP 2.10--2xDNSC5000--2xDNSC2900--2xDNSC2000--NI F1--Denon DN-X1700--HDJ2000--Stanton STR8-80--QSC K12's--Crown Amplifier--Urei Monitors

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SirReal View Post
    I have one. Radio Shack digital SPL meter. They also make an analog one that's great too. It's used at my place of work to calibrate mix stages. I use it for my home theater and occasionally bring it to campouts and undergrounds but unless I'm one of the guys setting up the soundsystem I usually don't bring it unless I'm asked.
    Yeah I checked that one out actually, how accurate is that thing? Can you leave it on and it will go up and down naturally or do you always have to restart it to get a reading? I might end up getting one of those actually, fairly inexpensive.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Betwixt AU and JP
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Liquor licensing in many states in Australia also regulates the allowable SPL limits - if an inspector rocks up and whips out the meter and you are exceeding the level you are licensed for (internal 110db SPL-C for many venues) then you can be fined or lose your licence.

    In some venues that have installed audio systems, they have a system that monitors the level (with calibrated microphones) and winds back the amps if need be, and in some cases they have a "red light-green light" system where if the green light is lit, you are at the very threshold, if the red light starts to flicker you are too loud. If the red light stays continuously illuminated for 3 seconds then it cuts the power to the amps.

    When we do gigs where we bring in our own PA to a licensed venue, we either bring our own meter or the house manager often has one.

    I think the reasons for using them in our case is to keep the licensing folks happy, but i think that as the DJ you have a responsibility to not push it too hard anyways as a duty to the punters - if you kill their ears they can't come back to hear you again.
    "Tell me what I need to be a DJ so I can f*ck the prom queen"
    Biru on Soundcloud
    Biru on Facebook

  6. #6
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    San Fran Bay Area
    Posts
    2,206

    Default

    @rt24,
    It's very accurate. I work at Skywalker Sound and we use them to check the SPL of our mix stages. Yes it does constantly re read the SPL, no restarting necessary. In the film world, we play pink noise=0dbu@-20dbfs through each speaker and it should read 85 SPL. So our peak levels are 105 SPL. Peak being the loudest signal you can play though the system without distorting or clipping. Now if you've been in a movie theater that's properly calibrated you will know just how loud 105db SPL is.
    "Walking the fine line between Stupidity and Genious" My Soundcloud ---- My Mixcloud
    MBP Retina 2015--TSP 2.10--2xDNSC5000--2xDNSC2900--2xDNSC2000--NI F1--Denon DN-X1700--HDJ2000--Stanton STR8-80--QSC K12's--Crown Amplifier--Urei Monitors

  7. #7
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    San Fran Bay Area
    Posts
    2,206

    Default

    Keep in mind 105 SPL is per speaker, generally we mix in 5.1 surround, sometimes 7.1 so the combined SPL can and will be higher than 105 SPL.
    "Walking the fine line between Stupidity and Genious" My Soundcloud ---- My Mixcloud
    MBP Retina 2015--TSP 2.10--2xDNSC5000--2xDNSC2900--2xDNSC2000--NI F1--Denon DN-X1700--HDJ2000--Stanton STR8-80--QSC K12's--Crown Amplifier--Urei Monitors

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SirReal View Post
    @rt24,
    It's very accurate. I work at Skywalker Sound and we use them to check the SPL of our mix stages. Yes it does constantly re read the SPL, no restarting necessary. In the film world, we play pink noise=0dbu@-20dbfs through each speaker and it should read 85 SPL. So our peak levels are 105 SPL. Peak being the loudest signal you can play though the system without distorting or clipping. Now if you've been in a movie theater that's properly calibrated you will know just how loud 105db SPL is.
    Great, that confirms it then. Thanks so much.

  9. #9

    Default

    Remember also that even tho the vu meters on the mixer don't give actual output (its only one part in the gain chain), that you CAN still use them to hold levels at a particular point, even if you dont know what that point is.

    I don't have a db meter, but sound check before every gig by ear. I then know where on the mixer I can push it, and have a 'datum' from which I can set my levels.
    www.djmoonie.co.uk
    The Left for dead show
    (GMT+0) Tuesdays Midnight til 1.30am, on www.phonic.fm,
    or 106.8fm in the south west of england.
    For private bookings, please use www.djmoonie.com

  10. #10
    ctrld
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SirReal View Post
    I work at Skywalker Sound
    impressive... most impressive.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •