What is sound meter?

The meter used to measure sound noise level is known as sound meter or sound level meter. This page covers basics and types of sound level meters. It mentions manufacturers of sound level meters.

Definition: As we know sound level measurement is very useful in the field of acoustics. The meter used for quantification of different types of noise is known as sound level meter. It is widely used in industrial, environmental and aircraft. Sound meter does not perceive human loudness level.

Just the level of sound is not enough in sound level meter but frequency is also equally important. Hence better response over wide fequency range is considered to be more accurate in sound meter.

Basics and Types of Sound Level Meters

Following are the different types of sound level meters (SLMs):
• Integrating meter and non-integrating meter
• Class-1 and class-2 based on IEC standard
• Type-0, Type-1 and Type-2

Integrating meter: It is used to measure sound level in Leq (Equivalent Continuous Sound Level). It is used in occupational and environmental noise level monitoring.
Non-integrating meter: It is used to display instantaneous noise level at one moment in time. It is suitable for spote checking and for steady sound level monitoring.

Both class-1 and class-2 SLMs are as per IEC standard. Both have same functions but they have different tolerance errors.
Class-1: wider frequency range and tight tolerance
Class-2: narrower frequency range and light tolerance

There are three types of SLMs as per ANSI standard.
Type-0: Used in laboratories
Type-1: Used in precision measurements in field, also used in the design of noise controls
Type-2: Used for general purpose measurements

Manufacturers of Sound Level Meters

sound level meter

In order to select right SLM, one need to decide based on the respective application of use. There are two main categories of SLMs viz. general purpose and special.
General purpose SLMs are used when it is desired to measure noise emitted from various sources such as water pump. Here Type-2 with frequency weighting-A option is choosen.
Special applications include occupational, industrial & environmental, community and research. For these type of applications SLMs of type-1 or type-2 with A/C frequency weighting along with Leq measurement are used. Figure-1 depicts sound meter from RION Co. Ltd.
Following are the manufacturers of sound level meters.

Manufacturer Model Features
HTC Instruments SL-1350 and SL-1352 IEC61672-1 class-2, ANSI S1.4 Type-2
Cirrus Optimus CR-17x Series IEC61672-1 class-1, ANSI S1.4 Type-2
AMPROBE SM-20A IEC651 Type-2, ANSI 1.4 Type-2
B&K Precision 735 IEC 651 Type-2
Lutron SL-4033SD IEC 61672 Class-1
TES TES-1150, TES11561 IEC 61672-1 class-2, ANSI S1.4 Type-2
RION Co. Ltd., Japan NA-28 series measurement and display of 1/1 and 1/3 octave, function as meter and analyzer both using switch button, simple PC interface

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