Warranty

7-Year Warranty

We focus on customer care, providing great support, advice and assistance.

5 stars

Rated 5 Stars

Pulsar Instruments are highly recommended and trusted by our customers.

Fast Delivery

Fast Delivery

Worldwide delivery via UK & international couriers.

Secure Checkout

Secure Payment

Pay for your goods via our secure payment server, with a Credit or Debit card.

50 years in business

50+ Years in Business

We’re recognised and trusted noise measurement experts – Since 1969.

What is Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and how is it measured?

Sound control advice

What is Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and how is it measured?

By: Admin


What is sound pressure level (SPL)?

What is Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and how is it measured?

The sound level (on a basic level – how loud something is) can be perceived differently by different people so we need to have a means to get an objective measurement of sound level expressed in numerical terms. This is defined as Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and is quite a complex thing to get to grips with. To understand what SPL is we must first understand what ‘Sound Pressure’ is. Sound pressure (p) is the average variation in atmospheric pressure caused by the sound. The unit of pressure measurement is pascal (Pa) Note: The term ‘sound pressure’ may be proceeded by other noise measurement terms such as ‘instantaneous’, ‘maximum’, and ‘peak’ (e.g. peak sound pressure).

Sound pressure level (SPL) is the pressure level of a sound, measured in decibels (dB). It is equal to 20 x the Log10 of the ratio of the Route Mean Square (RMS) of sound pressure to the reference of sound pressure (the reference sound pressure in air is 2 x 10-5 N/m2, or 0,00002 Pa). Or, in other words is the ratio of the absolute sound pressure against a reference level of sound in the air. 

How is it measured?

What is Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and how is it measured?

The unit measure of SPL is decibels (dB). It is measured with a Sound Pressure Level Meter, such as the Pulsar Nova. Sound enters the meter through a microphone, and then the meter evaluates the sound values by converting them into electrical information and the measurement values in decibels are displayed. An SPL Meter is generally handheld, mobile and lightweight, and is manufactured in line with international standards such as IEC 61672. Pulsar Instruments manufactures a range of SPL meters of high quality in line with these standards. The meters will quickly take measurements of noise level and allow the user to identify sources or situations where noise might be an issue either for occupational (noise at work) reasons, for environmental pollution or for noisy neighbour disputes.

There are different Classes (Types) of meter – Class 1 (Type 1) is more precise with the measurements than Class 2 (Type 2) because of the microphones used – but both will meet international standards for noise measurement and be accurate. You can read more about these in our Blog post What is the difference between a Class 1 and a Class 2 Sound Level Meter

An SPL meter typically displays a range of sound pressure levels from 20 dB to 140 dB, although it is possible to measure lower and higher than this range. Many can also be set to measure over long periods of time or at set intervals – this is particularly useful when measuring environmental noise or traffic noise for example. Using a mobile SPL meter enables the user to take the meter to where the noise is present, store the measurements in an internal memory and then download the measurements later for analysis, reporting and to identify appropriate control measures to be put in place to reduce noise.

Have a look at a Class 1 SPL Meter – the Pulsar Nova Model 45 to find out just what these types of professional-grade instruments are capable of.

Find your perfect noise measurement equipment: 


You might also like

Please also refer to our Acoustic Glossary for explanation of noise measurement terms. 

Related news stories

Noise Assessment Kits for Safety Professionals
Noise Assessment Kits for Safety Professionals

21st Mar 2009

Pulsar Instruments are pleased to announce the introduction of their New Noise Assessment Kits for Safety Professionals that give the Health & Safety professional a custom-made solution for resolving their…

Read full story

No-nonsense solutions for noise at work measurements
No-nonsense solutions for noise at work measurements

25th Mar 2009

The Pulsar Assessor range This year Pulsar Instruments Plc celebrates 40 years in the noise instrumentation business. We continue to provide effective, common sense and easy to use solutions for…

Read full story

NEW Pulsar Acoustic Toolbox Software
NEW Pulsar Acoustic Toolbox Software

30th Mar 2009

Software supplied as standard with all Model 33 and Model 30 Real-Time Sound Level Meters Pulsar Instruments Plc have added to the already impressive capabilities of the Model 33 Real-Time…

Read full story