SPL meter - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 24 Old 02-15-15, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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SPL meter

Hi,

I don't have anything to measure my speaker level. I don't have REW but I do plan do REW measurement in the next few years once I can setup a proper HT setup. I just aquired a house so it's going to happen.

For now I would like to start with a SPL meter to set my speaker trim. It would have been usefull more than once and I realised that it's a pretty much must have tool to set your speaker trim.

The issue is that I live in Canada so the Radioshack SPL meter is not available here. I don't want to spend more than 100$ if possible. It would be great to have a general calibration file for it (like the radio shack) just to start doing basic measurement. Also I know there is a lot of bad stuff in the SPL world so that is why I asked help. I saw one available at the source.ca but after seing a few review I found out that it's cheap and too expensive.

There is also cheap stuff on Ebay but really their quality is questionnable. If one can tell me where these calibration file are available. I know you can get it calibrated but I don't want to get it calibrated this good as I won't use it for EQ. There is REW with cross spectrum mic for that.
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-15-15, 01:32 PM
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Re: SPL meter

If you want a dedicated hand held meter the Galaxy CM 140 is a really nice one.
Your other option is to use your smartphone as there are several decent apps that will get the job done. I use "audio tools" on my iPhone and it's very good.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #3 of 24 Old 02-15-15, 08:00 PM
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Re: SPL meter

Quote:
Steeve-O wrote: View Post
The issue is that I live in Canada so the Radioshack SPL meter is not available here. I don't want to spend more than 100$ if possible. It would be great to have a general calibration file for it (like the radio shack) just to start doing basic measurement.
The calibration file thing for the Radio Shack meter came about from people trying to use it in a manner for what it was not designed, namely measuring sine wave signals. Sound level meters, especially cheap ones like those from Radio Shack, are simply designed for measuring noise levels, which are seldom frequency-specific like sine waves are. If you’re primarily interested in setting speaker levels, which is typically done with limited-band pink noise signals, no calibration file is needed for it or any other meter, cheap or expensive.

The Galaxy CM 140 meter Tony recommended is certified by the manufacturer as a Type II device, meaning it’s accurate +/- 1.5 dB. Meters more accurate than that (e.g. Type I) start to get really expensive, so the CM 140 is not a bad deal for $130. I would expect that it tracks the C-weighting curve pretty accurately, so if you wanted to measure sine waves for your subwoofers, you could easily calculate SPL by comparing your readings below ~60 Hz to a C-weighted response graph. For instance, most C-weighted graphs show response to be down ~5 dB at 25 Hz, so you’d add 5 dB to your reading for a 25 Hz sine wave to get a reasonably accurate figure.

Galaxy makes a more economical model, the CM 130, which doesn’t meet the lowest IEC or ANSI standards and therefore is only certified to be accurate +/- 2 dB. However, if you’re only interested in setting speaker levels it should be sufficient. I expect that the other cheap meters you’re talking about would also be no better than +/- 2 dB, but could easily be even worse.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #4 of 24 Old 02-16-15, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Alright. So It is better to invest in a less expensive SPL meter and use it only for matching speaker level. I will look into the Galaxy model. I will save some money by looking in the CM 130.

I plan to buy the required hardware to do rew stuff but since I currently don't have my final room and I cannot plan much with speaker position, subwoofer, etc and have no space for room threatment. I figured that I prefer to beleive that my system sound good because I think it does. Because what has been seen can't be unseen right? So REW is at least a years away.
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-17-15, 02:03 AM
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Re: SPL meter

I have the CM-140. I use it to make REW measurements and I think it is enough for most purposes.
Buy it from Cross Spectrum with a calibration file, so you can start to do REW meas when you want and start to learn to use REW and interpret the graphs. Later you can use it in your new house with the background learned. Just check you have a line input in the computer (most mic in are dual mic/Line, but best check it).

Other way you can buy a CM-130 (it is fine for matching speaker level) and later buy a calibrated usb mic.

Both are good decisions.

Last edited by Felipe; 02-17-15 at 02:10 AM.
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-17-15, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't knew Cross Spectrum sell SPL meter. I will look at them too.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-17-15, 05:52 PM
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Re: SPL meter

I am not going to imply the SPL meter is the way to go for accurate measuring but I seem to recall there was something I read that compared the SPL with 3 or 4 mics? and it was found during the test at lower freq.'s the SPL was within 1db. I also read something about were it was lacking, I am not trying to be vague just cannot remember where I saw it. Regardless of that I wish I had the mic set-up would be so much easier and you would not have use correction tables for the meter. At least for me close will work for now.
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post #8 of 24 Old 02-17-15, 06:34 PM
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Re: SPL meter

If you plan to use REW, you can also buy the UMIK-1 from cross-spectrum, it connect to your PC via USB so it is easy to install
http://www.minidsp.com/products/acou...urement/umik-1
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post #9 of 24 Old 02-17-15, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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I guess that is the dilema... Having a portable SPL meter to setup my HT and my friend HT once in a while. Or grab the right mic and use REW and be done with it but I will most likely be stuck when I need somewhere else (don't have a laptop). I guess I will have to think about it.

Is the REW SPL meter accurate using an USB mic and the proper calibration file?
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-18-15, 08:21 AM
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Re: SPL meter

If you apply the calibration file, yes it should be accurate. As for a laptop, you can buy a used laptop (but check the price against the new one, as people are asking way too much for the new one.
I have one mic like that, I cannot comment on precision as this is the only one I have.

note: I see you are in Saguenay, I hope you enjoy the Québec winter
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