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Thread: Decibel Meters?

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Decibel Meters?

    Anyone have any experience with DB meters, to regulate a bands volume?
    Some are quite cheap on Amazon.
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=decibel+m...f=nb_sb_noss_2
    This might work for picky clubs?
    I wonder what a reasonable db level would be, say at the first table in front of the 4 piece band.
    Drum kit, 5 string bass, 2 loud electric guitars, Micd PA with a pair of 15s on stands?
    Thanks,
    T

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Just the old Radio Shack cheapie special. All I remember, it had A and C weighting (A for Annoying ) and a sort of averaging function. Bands I worked for often exceeded 110 dB. Even with the PA off! Rooms generally were so small, there was not much point in trying to position beyond the "critical distance." Audience was in the room, with the band, and might as well have been on stage because the echo in the room kept the volume up even if you tried to move away.

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    No experience here, but I do know that sound level meter apps are available for as little as free.
    Assuming you use a smart phone, that would be one less thing to carry around.
    NIOSH has a freebie meter app, but only for iOS.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=deci...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    -rb

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I want a DB Meter, that says ?

    1. Damn that;s Loud!
    2. 747 territory!
    3. Turn that SOB Down!
    4. Get a howitzer, it's quieter!
    T

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I want a DB Meter, that says ?

    1. Damn that;s Loud!
    2. 747 territory!
    3. Turn that SOB Down!
    4. Get a howitzer, it's quieter!
    T
    Doesn't your XYL do that for you?

    nosaj

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I'm sure you guys have more adjectives for a Night Club band, that is too damn loud?
    If you sit next to someone, and they can't hear you, when you yell?
    It might be too damn loud?
    T

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I'm sure you guys have more adjectives for a band that is too damn loud?
    If you sit next to someone, and they can't hear you, when you yell?
    It might be too damn loud?
    T
    What was that saying that used to be popular
    If it's too loud your too old
    nosaj

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    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    No experience here, but I do know that sound level meter apps are available for as little as free.
    Assuming you use a smart phone, that would be one less thing to carry around.
    NIOSH has a freebie meter app, but only for iOS.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=deci...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    -rb
    I'll second that one. There are some decent dB meter apps- certainly not as accurate as a real properly calibrated/dedicated dB meter, but close enough for your purpose. You're not doing lab experiments.

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    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    They make mics you plug in the headphone jack on andriod phones. Also parts express sells db meter for $22- $40.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I don't own a smart phone.

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    "You can't promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people!" Diplomat George Kent
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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Don't take this wrong T, but that surprises me. Far be it for me to talk to someone about not owning a smart phone. I fought having a cell phone of any kind with every fiber of my being, until I started traveling more and had to get one. The surprise is that a Linux guru such as yourself hasn't yet made the leap.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    I was in a 'Vintage Rock/ Blues band for about 10 years.
    As a band we had total control of the band volume.
    Can you say "Dynamics".
    At the drop of the lead guitarists arm we could take the mix down into the basement.

    I don't go out to see bar bands anymore because they have no control whatsoever.
    I don't need to be assaulted by music.
    It's a shame because we have some good guitar players around here.

    "If you sit next to someone, and they can't hear you, when you yell?
    It might be too damn loud?"
    We had a saying that if you looked out at the crowd and two people where screaming to each other to converse, then the mix is way too loud.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    A 42 year comm tech. I did all the pagers, cell phones, laptops, tool boxes, etc.
    I'm retired for past 9 years, live in the middle of the woods, and don't need one.
    I do carry a flip phone, in case of emergencies.
    I don't do facebook either.
    I do like my laptops, and linux.
    T

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    "You can't promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people!" Diplomat George Kent
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    I thought I was the last person on the planet to get a smart phone. They are good for travel - I use it more as a GPS than as a phone.

    -rb

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    I use a DB app all of the time. Also a signal generator, tuner, compass, etc. A lot of clubs have a City Ordinance threshold of 85db at the door.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    My experience has been that as soon as you give someone a measuring tool all of a sudden what it measures becomes the most important thing on earth.

    As soon as the club owner finds out you have a sound level meter, he will be watching it like it was his cash register.

    In my day you didn't go to a bar to have polite conversations over the band. You went to drink beer, dance, and suggest to women they accompany you to somewhere else.

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    Supporting Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    Class 1 Precision Integrating SLM

    I too use a Sound Level Meter all the time. I've been addicted to Class 1 Precision Integrated SLM's, which tend to be expensive if you buy them new. The last one I found, a Rion NA-61, was similar to my Rion NL-11, shown below. The Analog Meter has a 30dB linear scale, it driven by a fast RMS Log DC converter, while the Rion NA-61 has a 25dB range, also linear dB scale. I paid $59 for this, plus shipping on ebay. Just one of those rare days I happened to go looking, spotted it, poked the Buy-It-Now.....mostly for the Mic Preamp, it being of the same generation as my NL-11. 1/2" Free Field Condenser Mic is standard with these. When everything worked (after cleaning the battery terminals), I just shook my head and laughed. Another excellent find.

    The NA-61 doesn't have the Integrating feature, nor the Peak Hold mode, but does have Impulse Hold (35mS response time), along with RMS Fast and RMS Slow meter responses. A, C & Linear weighting curves. It covers from VERY Quiet rooms (25dBA) thru WAY TOO LOUD rooms (145dBA).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I thought I had a picture of the NA-61 here, but will have to wait till I get back to the shop for that. I know I've shown it in some previous posts. It does come in handy around the rehearsal studio complex, as well as having it monitoring some gear that shows up with the claim that the level keeps changing. Easy to monitor that from the desk with the meter, amp given a steady transient repeatable signal.

    Speaking of the Radio Shack SLM's......their Analog model was somewhat patterned after this General Radio 1565B, which works a whole lot better. I bought this one in the carrying case together with the 1562 5-Freq Acoustic Calibrator on ebay for $75 years ago. Very nice, small & solid SLM, though after living with 30dB and 50dB linear dB meter scales on the others, I find the pure analog meter with its' 15dB meter range a little limited. It's low end level range is 45dB SPL.

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    Last edited by nevetslab; 09-11-2019 at 12:21 AM.
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    Supporting Member loudthud's Avatar
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    I was doing sound for a jazz band with a 3 piece horn section. A bar tender at one particular bar complained that the band was too loud. I went out and purchased a SLM from Radio Shack, the very first one they offered. I'd walk around the bar taking readings not having a clue what I was doing. The bar tender never complained again even though I didn't change a thing.

    Found a fancy one cheap at a pawn shop. Switchable filters and goes to higher levels than the RS ones.

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Typically, Horn Sections are hard to get under control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    My experience has been that as soon as you give someone a measuring tool all of a sudden what it measures becomes the most important thing on earth.
    Can't remember how old I was, but the same thing happened to me.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    Typically, Horn Sections are hard to get under control.
    I played trombone in a band for a few years. You're right, we were wild!

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    If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
    If the thing works, stop fixing it. - Enzo
    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    Typically, Horn Sections are hard to get under control.
    Concur with eschertron - I played bass in a horn band first 2 years of college. Trumpets - like to play the game "how loud and how high can you play" plus no shortage of ego. The shorter guys had a bit of Napoleon complex, always had to prove what a squeeky racket they could make.

    High school marching band - zounds! Neighbors could hear us a mile away, no problem. put fingers-in-ears-smiley-thing-here.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    Typically, Horn Sections are hard to get under control.
    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    I played trombone in a band for a few years. You're right, we were wild!
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    like to play the game "how loud and how high can you play"
    Oh! You meant volume! I was referring to sneaking off stage between horn stabs to get a beer or pinch the girls

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    If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
    If the thing works, stop fixing it. - Enzo
    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
    MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey


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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    On the other hand, a friend of mine played trombone for the Temptations, played on the stage at Madison Square Garden behind them. They had NO amplification, their horn blowing was expected to be heard on its own.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's done this, but here ya go. I used to leave the last channel unused on the console, when possible. If the club owner would say it's too loud, I'd grab that fader and slowly turn it down. The club owner would tell me that's much better and walk away. Of course, the fader did nothing because it wasn't used.

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    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

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    A sound guy once said to me that the only talent a bass player has is the ability to turn an amp up whilst making it look like its being turned down.

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