Analog or Digital SPL-meter ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mats Kellberg, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. Mats Kellberg

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    I would like some advice on this matter.
    A friend of mine is going to the US in a couple of weeks, and I've asked him to get me a SPL-meter from RadioShack (as this seems to be what most people are using, and they're fairly cheap too), all I have to figure out is which kind I want him to buy.
    It seems to me that on an analog I can follow the changes in amplitude more precisely than with a digital one, but as I'm only going to use it for calibrating my HT setup I should do equally well with the digital SPL-meter - after all I'm only interested in static readings, right ? or wrong ?
    I'd much appreciate any helpful comments.
    Live a wonderful life
    /Mats Kellberg
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    Mats Kellberg
    Subsonic - can't beat the feeling!
     
  2. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    I used the Analog one for calibrating my setup. It's super easy to use and from what I've read is the choice among most HT/Audio enthusiasts.
    --Steve
     
  3. Dennis Kindig

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    The analog meter has a lower margin of error. You can easily obtain +- 1/4 dB accuracy by estimation of the distance from the hash marks on the dial.
    The readings are anything but static, but they do stay fairly constant with test tones. If you're doing sweeps to view the signal level at the transition from your mains to your sub, it is much easier to see dips and peaks with the analog meter.
    Dennis
     
  4. AVspec

    AVspec Supporting Actor

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    I have read many of threads on this and came to the conclusion that it is more a matter of preference then anything else. I was originally going to buy the analog model but when I got to Rat Shack they had the digital one mis-priced for only a few dollars more so I grabbed it up (well that and my web site is Digital Vortex, Not Analog Vortex [​IMG])
    The digital version, I feel is easier to read. I mean it either says 75dB or it does not and I find it very easy to get an even 75dB reading all the way around (with weighting of “C” and “Slow” response). I have tried the analog and just did not like the “bouncing needle” but like I said, it is a matter of preference. I am not concerned as much with whether or not it is a true 75dB (just so long as it is close) as I do not listen to my system at reference volume anyway, so as long as my levels are even all the way around I am happy. Again, I like the digital for easy of use and nothing more. They both get the job done.
    YMMV [​IMG]
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    -Mark
    **** Digital Vortex ****
    The Digital Electronic Site
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    [Edited last by Mark Knight on August 02, 2001 at 08:11 AM]
     
  5. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    i think Mark has hit the nail on the head, it is simply a matter of preference. i have used both analog and digital meters for calibrating all kinds of equipment, and both certainly work for most applications. i have found that for setting something at a peak, the analog meter is easier to use as you can easily see where the needle stops moving up and starts moving back down. for setting something at a specific level, it's kind of a wash. either meter will show you an exact level in a way that is easy to comprehend, either a non-moving needle or an unchanging number.
    both do the job well, but when asked, i suggest the analog meter, since it is what i prefer.
     
  6. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    When doing some readings there may be some variations over a small range and I find it easier to estimate the average with the analog meter. Digital 'sounds' more precise, but the true accuracy of the meter is internal. The accuracy is sufficient, whether using a digital or analog display, to allow you to perform a successful calibration.
     
  7. John H

    John H Second Unit

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    I use both models to calibrate my system.
    I prefer using the Analog version for the 5 channels although both will work.
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have used both.
    I think the digital one is easier to adjust to whole number decibels.
    But I prefer the analog version because if you're careful, you can get down to 0.25 dB resolution or better.
    Plus, the analog one is $20 cheaper.
    (But I recently read somewhere, that they aren't making the analog version anymore!)
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  9. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    how much does one of those analogs run? where's the cheapest place to buy? local RS?
    i'm still wondering if i could just 'earball' it. (gotta love the new term! [​IMG]) this is for a college dorm setup, so does it really matter?
     
  10. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    For what it's worth, I have both and much prefer to use the analog. For me it's easier to visualize what's happening with the analog, especially when using sweeps or fixed tones to check a subs room response.
    Deane
     
  11. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    Thomas_Berg,
    if i remember correctly, the analog meter is about $30 at RS. it is cat# 33-2050.
     
  12. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    It's pretty much the same difference as with analog and digital watches: If you want to know the precise time, a digital watch can be read faster; if you want to see how close you are getting to a meeting, analog works better.
    When balancing speakers, you trying to get all speakers to the same point; analog is easier for most of us. In our never ending quest for accuracy, remember, you can't hear a difference of 1 dB; therefore, a 3dB pocket is actually considered acceptible*.
    Marty
    * No, I wouldn't accept a difference that big, myself. But, then again, I'm just as crazy as all the other inmates of this HTF institute. [​IMG]
     
  13. Mats Kellberg

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    Thanx a lot, guys.
    I think I'll go for the analog one if it's still available - though I have to admit that (after having watched a lot of commercials) a digital one would probably impress most people a helluvalot more [​IMG]
    /Mats Kellberg
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    Mats Kellberg
    Subsonic - can't beat the feeling!
     
  14. Christopher Chung

    Christopher Chung Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry for the newbie question, but what exactly is an SPL meter? I know it has to do with callibrating your HT, but can't it just be done with the "Video Essentials" DVD? Since my room is only 11x15 would I really need the meter?
    Thanks!!!
     
  15. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    Christopher,
    It is a sound pressure level meter. It is used in conjunction with the Video Essentials or Avia DVD to calibrate the audio levels of your speakers at your listening position. You definitely need an SPL meter to properly calibrate with the DVDs. The DVDs have the test tones and such, but the meter is utilized to precisely adjust the individual channel gain and to properly match speakers and specific reference levels in decibels.
    Your ears don't cut it for levels, especially low frequency [​IMG]
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    [Edited last by Scott H on August 03, 2001 at 12:54 AM]
     

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