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Determining volume of headphones (db)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering if there's some sort of relatively definitive way to determine how loud my music is playing without the use of an SPL meter (which I don't have). Is there perhaps some sort of formula where I can plug in a headphone's impedance, sensitivity, and the strength of my clip's internal amp to get an approximate value? Is there another method?
post #2 of 7
This is very difficult to do because of the dynamic nature of music. I find it difficult to judge sound level, though I own four sound level meters.

Below is a way you might do it with a Radio Shack SPL meter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
The reason is that with speakers you get cues about volume from parts of your body other than your ears. This is fact, not urban legend, but if you have an SPL meter, you can show yourself. Play some music through speakers at 80db A weighted average (as measured where your head would be when listening). Then use the SPL meter in the fashion pictured below to get 80dbA Average, and listen via headphones. The speakers will seem much louder.

Radio Shack meters are decent, for the price. If you use one, you will find how dynamic sounds are.

Are you trying to determine if you are listening at a safe level?


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post #3 of 7
The simple answer is no. In addition to the impedance and sensitivity you would need to know the voltage level out of your amp, and that is generally dependent upon the setting of the volume control, and, as noted by JohnFerrier, it also changes dynamically as the music varies. The equipment required to measure it costs more than a sound level meter!
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post

The equipment required to measure it costs more than a sound level meter!


To do it properly.  But the sound level meter placed through a baffle that the cans can seal against WILL give a pretty good approximation.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens View Post



But the sound level meter placed through a baffle that the cans can seal against WILL give a pretty good approximation.

 

Yes, that was my point... a cheap sound level meter is an affordable alternative to complex test equipment in this instance.

 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

That would work for full size headphones. What about IEMs?

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JxK View Post

That would work for full size headphones. What about IEMs?


I don't think there's an objective quick and dirty way.  I'd get use to what a certain sound level is like and then just listen to the IEM for a match. 

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