One of the most important elements of any great music production is the sound system. The design of the speaker system determines a lot about the ultimate result of sound production.
Understanding how to properly set up a speaker system will require properly understanding of sound. Once the basic knowledge of sound production is understood, the planning of the speaker system become easier.
This implies that the speaker layout for any space needs to be planned. In planning the speaker system, some factors has to be put into consideration if you intend to get the desired result. This planning should be done according to the size, shape, and its intended use in order to supply a sufficient “sound pressure level” consistently throughout the listening area.
We started out with a bit of basic theory that is necessary in order to understand the term “sound pressure level (dBSPL).”
BASICS OF SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL FOR SPEAKER SYSTEM
We will explain a basic understanding of Sound Pressure Level or SPL to help you when considering the design of your speaker system. Let’s take a look at one of the most commonly used units in audio: the decibel (dB).
What is “dB”?
-A unit of measurement for loudness-
Sounds are perceived as being loud or soft according to the amplitude of their waveform. Higher amplitude corresponds to louder sound. The harder you beat a drum for example, the greater the amplitude of its physical vibration, and thus the greater the amplitude of the waveform transmitted through the air.
Our sensitivity to loudness is not linear. We are very sensitive to differences in the loudness of soft sounds, but as the sound gets louder it becomes more difficult to differentiate between small changes in loudness. If the smallest sound that can be heard by the human ear is given an arbitrary value of 1, then the loudest sound is approximately 1,000,000 (one million) times bigger. Can you image how big that is?That’s too many digits to deal with for practical calculations, and so the more appropriate “decibel” (dB) unit is used to make it easier to calculate by reducing those digits to a more manageable way to read a loudness level.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL LOUDNESS
Sound Pressure Level (dBSPL) Loudness measurements that take the characteristic above into account are expressed as “sound pressure level,” or simply “SPL,” and the unit used to measure SPL is the decibel, abbreviated as “dB.” Sometimes you’ll see acoustic measurements of this sort written as “dBSPL,” but in many cases it is simply expressed as “dB.
“The softest sound detectable by the human ear is defined as 0 dBSPL, but of course there are individual differences. Many people can’t hear sounds that soft. At the other end of the scale, the loudest sound that the human ear can handle for short periods without discomfort and possibly damage is around 120 dBSPL.
The following table shows the sound pressure levels produced by some everyday sources.