WHAT DOES MAXIMUM SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (MAX. SPL) MEAN?

There is some confusion as to what “max SPL” means. Some people believe this is the maximum sound pressure level the respective microphone can withstand without breaking. That’s a misconception! It’s merely the maximum sound pressure level this mic can take without distorting.

PEAK SOUND PRESSURE

The Peak is not the same as the Maximum Sound Level. The Peak, referred to as the Lpeak or sometimes Lpk, is the maximum value reached by the sound pressure. There is no time-constant applied and the signal has not passed through an RMS circuit or calculator. This is the true Peak of the sound pressure wave.

WHAT IS Leq (EQUIVALENT CONTINUOUS SOUND LEVEL)?

Put simply, the Leq is the average sound pressure level during a period of time. Leq is often described as the average noise level during a noise measurement, which although not technically correct, is often the easiest way to think of Leq.

The impact of noise adds up over a lifetime. If you are exposed to loud sounds on a regular basis, your risk for permanent damage increases over time. Even a single but long-lasting loud event can cause damage. Sounds at or below 70 dBA are usually considered safe, even if they last a long time. Noises are more likely to damage your hearing if they are:

  • 85 dBA and last a few hours.
  • 100 dBA and last at least 14 minutes.
  • 110 dBA and last at least 2 minutes.

This is important to know when operating PA equipment and will prevent damage or loss of hearing.

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SPL / Peak / Continuous?