I had been using a phone application called Decibel-O-Meter Free that was a quick and dirty way to check SPL levels. It was surprisingly accurate (I did a comparison against this meter), but most folks did not take it seriously. For some reason this dedicated tool impresses them.
For me absolute accuracy is not as important as setting relative sound levels for music. This meter is easy to use and is very responsive in changes to sound pressure levels from a stationary point (volume increases), as well as changes as you move closer to away from the sound source. Since I am using it for music volume the latter is important because many local ordinances have restrictions about sound levels that apply to the entrance of a venue. For example a common threshold is at the property line.
Note that one of the features - A-weighted - actually works against measuring SPL for live music because A-weighted instruments will filter out some of the lower frequencies. That means that some bass notes can carry beyond a property line at a higher SPL than this meter indicates.
One more thing to note is that while venue owners seem impressed enough with a dedicated instrument for measuring SPL, enforcement personnel typically are not. Unless you can prove proper calibration of this instrument they are going to win every time. In fact I have no idea how to calibrate it.
If you are new to these instruments or measuring SPL in general I am providing some supplemental information in a comment to this review to clarify things.
Bottom line: this is a great, cost-effective tool for musicians to 'prove' that they are playing at a certain volume level. It's also a perfect tool for venue owners to monitor entertainment to ensure that they are not exceeding local ordinances.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Mike Tarrani (mtarrani)
My day job is in the technology sector as an IT consultant specializing in ITIL, and specifically, configuration, change and release management. I've traveled the world as a consultant before moving … more
Mini digital sound level meter measures from 40 dB to 130 dB and is less than 6" in length! Great for measuring and monitoring noise and sound in any environment, including in the work place, auto sound environments, and home theater rooms. Features MIN/MAX measurement ability with hold and auto power-off function to ensure long battery life. Includes 9V battery and removable wind screen. Frequency range: 31.5 Hz to 8 kHz