Sound pressure level (SPL) is the standard metric for regulations regarding environmental noise exposure. Because performances are often regulated by their A-weighted sound level, it is tempting to think that A-weighted level should be the primary design consideration for sound system headroom. Because A-weighting disregards significant low-frequency energy, it is possible to create a wide variety of spectra with the same A-weighted level, but each having a different spectral shape and C-weighted level. While regulators correlate excessive A-weighted levels with hearing damage, A-weighted levels are less well correlated with community annoyance. The Netherlands has recognized this and created a permitting system incorporating the difference between C- and A-weighted sound levels (C-A) as a measure of low-frequency content. This Brief gives supporting evidence for the correlation between C-A levels and different musical genres and offers complementary design guidance corresponding to sound system headroom with emphasis on in-band levels.
van Veen, Merlijn, Schwenke, Roger; McCarthy, Bob
Affiliation: Meyer Sound Laboratories, Berkeley, CA, USA
AES Convention: 152 (May 2022) eBrief:670
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Subject: Loudspeakers and headphones
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