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Introducing the Sound Level Sensor

NEW Low-Cost Sound Level Sensor Makes Sound Experiments Easy

Vernier Sound Level Sensor

Sound level is an engaging topic in physics, physical science, and middle school classes, and it just got easier—and less expensive—to explore! Use the new Sound Level Sensor to quickly and accurately measure sound level readings in a variety of environments.

As a follow up to the sound study we described in the Spring 2015 Caliper, we took our new Sound Level Sensor around the Vernier office to measure reverberation times in various rooms, including our classroom. In each case, we turned on a radio that was tuned to produce white noise, started data collection, and then quickly turned off the radio. The reverberation time is the time required for the sound level to drop by 60 dB (a factor of a million). In most situations, the sound level does not drop that far because background sounds create a noise “floor.” However, by using Logger Pro to apply a linear fit to the falling sound level data, we were able to estimate the reverberation times for several rooms.

Table of Reverberation Times

Room Description Reverberation Time
Office Small, carpeted, enclosed 0.5 s
Cubicle Open, carpeted, high ceiling 0.75 s
Classroom Large, rubber floor, “sound clouds” installed to dampen reflections 0.9 s

With the release of this new sensor, we have expanded our options for collecting sound-based data to include both the Sound Level Sensor and the Sound Level Meter. The Sound Level Sensor is quick and easy to use and has a range of 60 to 110 dB, which covers the sound levels in a typical classroom. Its response is A-weighted, meaning it responds like the human ear to loudness, and it is accurate to ±3 dB. If you need a wider range (35–130 dB), greater accuracy (±1 dB), or a C-weighted response, the Sound Level Meter is the better choice.

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