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Thread: Checking dB Levels When Recording, Mixing, Mastering

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    Checking dB Levels When Recording, Mixing, Mastering

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    Thought I'd share some general interest info with the group - I recently tried a number of dB Sound Pressure Level (SPL) apps for Android and after some false starts, I found Sound Meter - available free on the Google Play Store. It is one of four with good accuracy ratings from an updated NIOSH study last year. [Study is available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659422/ and NIOSH has their own app for iPhone - called NIOSH SLM app]. While the accuracy may depend somewhat on the quality of the microphone in your Android phone, I've found the app useful in checking general levels in my studio headphones and monitors. I became interested as a result of reading Bobby Owsinski's "The Mixing Engineer's Handbook" where he talks about how loud (or soft) should one listen while mixing with headphones or monitors. Apart from the obvious desire not to damage your hearing through exposure to high volume levels for long periods, Bobby notes that "... many mixers also find that they get better balances that translate well to the real listening world by monitoring at conversation level (79 dB SPL) or lower. Using the Sound Meter app, I've been able to assess the levels in my studio and as a result - I've turned things down a bit. Obviously not all mixing should be done at the same levels, but balances made at quieter levels seem to work fine when played louder (the opposite - not so much). Bottom line is I try to do most of my mixing at around 80 dB, and then turn things up for short periods when I'm checking the low end frequencies).

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    Good info and advice, thanks for the share!
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