The Sound Level Sensor allows you to easily measure sound level in decibels (dB) in a variety of school settings. Simply connect and collect— no background knowledge of sound-level weighting, response times, or the decibel scale is needed to use this sensor.
The Sound Level Sensor is A-weighted, meaning it responds to sound loudness the same way the human ear does. It measures sound level to within 3 dB along a single range from 55 to 110 dB, with no need to switch between ranges during an experiment. You can monitor classroom sound levels, measure reverberation time, and investigate sound insulation.
For in-depth sound studies, the Sound Level Meter is a better tool for high school or college physics. If you are interested in collecting sound waves data, use the Vernier Microphone.
Experiments and Lab Ideas
One goal of acoustic engineers is to “tune” a room for a specific purpose. A room tuned for lecture will be tuned differently than a library. One of the indicators of good room acoustics is the reverberation time, the length of time sound stays in the room. Officially, the reverberation time is the time required for the sound level to drop 60 dB. For example, an empty gymnasium would have a longer reverberation time from a library. Use the Sound Level Sensor and an interface to try this experiment:
- Set up the equipment to collect data for 5 seconds at 10 samples/s.
- Tune a radio to an unused AM radio station so you only hear loud static. Start data collection and quickly turn off the radio.
- Examine the graph to determine how long it takes the sound level to fall by 60 dB. Often the sound level could not fall that far because of background sounds. In those situations, determine the slope of the falling sound level (in dB/s) from the graph. The reverberation time can be found by dividing 60 dB by the slope.
- Repeat the experiment in a different room and compare.
Acoustical engineers work with architectural engineers to select materials that attenuate sound. For example, a wall constructed with gypsum board on a wooden frame will attenuate sound differently than a cinder block wall with the same area.
Try the following experiment. Place a radio in a room that has an outside wall and a window. Tune the radio to an unused AM frequency so that you hear only static. Turn the volume up so that you can just hear the sound through the wall. Measure the sound level at the wall. Next measure the sound level at the window, and then measure the sound level within the room. How much did the sound level change?
The Sound Level Sensor may require a compatible interface and software. Choose a platform below to see compatible interface and software options.
The Sound Level Sensor is fully supported with LabQuest 2 (version 2.8), a standalone data logger with built-in graphing and analysis software.
Learn more about LabQuest 2 »
You can also use the Sound Level Sensor with these platforms:
All prices are for U.S. educators.
Educational use only: Vernier products are designed for educational use. They are not appropriate for industrial, medical, or commercial applications. Product usage disclaimer »