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Testing Headphones Decibel level

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Sorry if this is in the wrong Sub forum, If it is please move it to the proper one :-)

 

Anyways, I use a db-spl meter for my studio, but what about headphones? if i hold a db-spl meter up to my hd800's earphone and measure the level is that an accurate reading of the db-spl while im listening? or is there a better way to do it with headphones?

-thanks in advance guys

post #2 of 14

Maybe not the IDEAL solution, but as a quick/easy/free option, you can download a number of apps for your iPhone/mobile device and stick the microphone end of your phone in between the two headphone speakers. My Q701's are large enough for the 2" iPhone to fit entirely inside one cup.

post #3 of 14

That is a pretty accurate way of measuring the SPLs you are getting with the headphones. Holding the SPL meter near to the earphone, what the SPL meter is getting is what the ears are getting. Just make sure the peak SPLs are not more than 120dB as prolonged listening sessions at these levels may cause permanent irreversible hearing damage.

post #4 of 14

I did some Internet research on the matter about a week, and the consensus that I saw is that you really shouldn't expose your ear to >85 dB for prolonged periods of time...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryder78 View Post

That is a pretty accurate way of measuring the SPLs you are getting with the headphones. Holding the SPL meter near to the earphone, what the SPL meter is getting is what the ears are getting. Just make sure the peak SPLs are not more than 120dB as prolonged listening sessions at these levels may cause permanent irreversible hearing damage.

 

 

post #5 of 14

Yes, OSHA(or other safety standards) have guidelines, though they are mostly applicable for those who work in noisy environments.

 

85dB for 8 hours if I'm not mistaken. If SPLs are higher, recommended exposure will be shorter.

post #6 of 14

I did exactly what you did a while back as well, OP.  

 

To simulate the dB level the ears would get...

I ended up measuring the dB level by cupping my hand around the db-spl meter and even tried a cut out with index cards/cardboard to see if the readings would change.  They did go up by a few dB (3-5 dB) when I cupped it so keep this in mind if you are measuring without closing the space around the db meter.

 

There's a fancy chart and report out there somewhere on the net and I looked at it back then.  All I remember is that the consensus was to stay under 85 dB at all times.  It also mentioned that hearing loss is accumulative and gradually sets in for many people when they're older.  Listening to music for hours at 85 dB is still very risky since there isn't definite proof that even 85 dB is okay.  It's an arbitrary line that was set for the workplace.

post #7 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by feedme07 View Post

Sorry if this is in the wrong Sub forum, If it is please move it to the proper one :-)

 

Anyways, I use a db-spl meter for my studio, but what about headphones? if i hold a db-spl meter up to my hd800's earphone and measure the level is that an accurate reading of the db-spl while im listening? or is there a better way to do it with headphones?

-thanks in advance guys

 

I use this to measure spl-dB:

 

http://www.amazon.com/USB-Digital-Sound-Level-Meter/dp/B005JX2EZ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335681031&sr=8-1

 

Take the black foam sphere off, there's a ~1.5" metal rod underneath.  I slide that between one of my ears and an earpiece while I'm listening to music.  The rod is thin enough not to affect the acoustic seal much, if any at all.  There's MAX function on this meter that will retain the highest measurement and keeps displaying it, until you turn off MAX.  Too bad there's no average measurement for over a period of time.

 

Another method that I once used was placing my headphone between something thick, like a big book or several.  Started the music.  Then placed a CD or DVD against an earpiece to create a seal and measured at the inner hole of that CD/DVD.

post #8 of 14

Thanks, i was about to go on Ebay and buy a Meter, but the one for smartphones works great and it's Free.

 

The 85/80 Sweet spot is quieter than I expected, but yet again i needed to know the maxium volume i could play for prolong periods.

post #9 of 14

I don't know if those cellphone ones are at all accurate, but according to the microphone on my Galaxy S2, my normal listening level is around 60-70 decibels.  I tried to get it up to and past 85 decibels and that was like HOLY **** THIS IS PAIN volume level so I'm not sure if my ears are just sensitive or what.  

post #10 of 14

you need to press the earcups close with your palm as much as you can. if you do close most of the earcup with your palm the reading should go up by about 10 or so db

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetdragon View Post

you need to press the earcups close with your palm as much as you can. if you do close most of the earcup with your palm the reading should go up by about 10 or so db

Even after turning the volume up and cupping to make sure that there was some isolation with the microphone, the highest I got up to was 75.  Could be a defective mic though.  

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaBass18 View Post

Even after turning the volume up and cupping to make sure that there was some isolation with the microphone, the highest I got up to was 75.  Could be a defective mic though.  

well probably the mic has reached its limit, no idea how reliable the inbuilt headphone mics are, also are the mics gain calibrated? maybe the default reading of the mics are too low, some compensation may be required


Edited by streetdragon - 2/5/13 at 10:18am
post #13 of 14

You can calculate the volume that the headphones put out if you know the power or volts of the amplifier. It isn't that hard

post #14 of 14

The Mic in the devices I tested all seem to max out around 85-90db. So totally unrealistic measurements. Dangerous sort of limitation which lends a false sense of security.  You could be spend $50 on a calibrated meter that is guaranteed to reach 135SPL. Radio Shack/The Source have one that prices better than what you find on amazon.

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