Where can I get a free dB meter?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Shake 'n' Bake, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #1
    I'm just looking for something that will tell me how loud the sound is coming through a USB mic. I've searched everywhere, but couldn't find one. This really needs to be free. I'm also open to suggestions that use Windows.
     
  2. Halvdan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #2
    Select the mic as input source in GarageBand or any other DAW package. The channel meter will give you a good indication. This will, however, not be an accurate tool for measuring actual decibel levels, as this requires a specialized measurement microphone etc...

    If you want a more accurate display of the information, you could download and install a specialized AU (apples audio plugin format) metering plug-in.

    Again, please note that these readings will not correlate to actual, analogue decibel readings, but could be used in comparison to readings done on the same system (same mic gain settings required).

    Hope this is helpful. :)
     
  3. Shake 'n' Bake thread starter macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #3
    I'm no audiophile, but it sounds like you're saying that this will measure the sound in bars rather than a number. Is that right?
     
  4. Halvdan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #4
    No, you'll get numbers. The bars are just a way of representing the values. What I'm saying is that the values you'll get are in no way a representation on the actual sound levels where the microphone is placed. There are simply too many variables (microphone capsule type, pre-amp stage etc).

    Bottom line is: if you want to properly measure decibel levels, there is no other way than a purpousebuilt device. If all you need is to compare the loudness of one point/soundsource/ambience to another, this might do the trick.

    :)
     
  5. Shake 'n' Bake thread starter macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

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    #5
    Thanks. I think I'll just look for a purpose-built dB meter then.
     
  6. wgerling macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    #6
    Airplane noise decibel measurement

    We are in the flight path of our local airport. The airport has us listed in an area where the sound is not supposed to be above a certain level. However, we have many flights that land or take-off during the night. I would like to measure the sound level, either with my Macbook, or with a separate recording meter and download to my Mac. Is there a way that is not to expensive?
    I see some meters in the $250 to $500 range. Is there something that would work, but less expensive? Doe the software for these meters work on Mac OS?
     
  7. Shake 'n' Bake thread starter macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
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    Albany
    #7
    dB meters aren't too expensive. Maybe $50 for a really nice one.

    Here's what I'd do:

    Get a dB meter. Put it outside in the backyard on a table. Put a camcorder on a tripod viewing the dB meter. Buy a bunch of tape and record overnight.
     
  8. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #8
    You can pick up a decent little house brand meter at Radio Shack for ~$50. If you don't see one on the sales floor, ask. When I bought mine, they had to get one from the back, since apparently they don't bother setting them out. The Galaxy CM-130 is not a bad meter either, also about $50. It gives a little more detail and has a wider response range (40-130, as opposed to 50-126), but it detects a narrower amount of frequencies, so they Radio Shack one is probably better if you want to calibrate your stereo/home theater with it too.
     
  9. Shake 'n' Bake thread starter macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
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    #9
    Good advice. I'll see what they have next time I get near a Radio Shack.

    It isn't for calibrating my home theatre (how would you do that with a dB meter?), more to see how loud my 20-year-old speakers can go.
     
  10. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #10
    The balance knob is easier to set with pink noise and a meter than just playing music and trying to get it centered. It's also more accurate.

    And when you have 5 speakers and a subwoofer, ALL of which need to be level matched with each other, then you pretty much need to measure it.
     
  11. Shake 'n' Bake thread starter macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
    #11
    I see.

    I've only got 2 channels right now, but they're really nice with subs, mid-ranges, and tweeters.

    If I can ever get $850 together (that's hard with my spending habits and not having a job) for my ideal 7.1 setup, I'll definitely use a dB meter to help me get everything right.
     

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