How accurate are iPhone db meter apps?
Old 18th September 2010
  #1
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How accurate are iPhone db meter apps?

Hi

i have the app called 'Decibel' for my iPhone 4. How accurate are these things?

Is it worth getting a real db meter for rough readings?

Cheers
Old 25th September 2010
  #2
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They're all useful tools but limited by the SPL handling of the mic. The built in mic starts to become compromised at only 100 dB so above that you'll want to use something more purpose built. I haven't used Decibel specifically but all of the Studio Six Digital stuff I've used has been, again within the built in mics limitations, stupid accurate.
Old 25th September 2010
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for me it's more to do with making sure i'm monitoring at 85db or so, so that i don't get fatigued or problems with my ears on long sessions!

and also perhaps going outside and seeing how much sound might be leaking etc.

if it's over 100db then i'm already in trouble ;-)

hopefully it's accurate enough... doesn't the mic have a HPF on it though?
Old 25th September 2010
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
for me it's more to do with making sure i'm monitoring at 85db or so, so that i don't get fatigued or problems with my ears on long sessions!

and also perhaps going outside and seeing how much sound might be leaking etc.

if it's over 100db then i'm already in trouble ;-)

hopefully it's accurate enough... doesn't the mic have a HPF on it though?
A thought occurred to me , I'd bet if you recorded something with your IPhone , you would hear problems and things amiss , those missing things might be a guide to it being unacceptable .
Got to say this is all cr@p from the top of my head , don't even own an IPhone .
Old 27th September 2010
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
hopefully it's accurate enough... doesn't the mic have a HPF on it though?
Here's an article showing tested response of the iOS devices' built in mics-

iPhone 4 Audio and Frequency Response Limitations « Faber Acoustical Blog

So as long as your room doesn't have any massive 5+ dB spikes below 150, I'd say you're fine using it as a quick and dirty mix level reference.
Old 29th September 2010
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Old 1st October 2010
  #7
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yeah, good call. but i'm always carrying my iphone, and sometimes it's useful to know when my ears are being tortured a bit when i'm out and about...!
Old 24th April 2014
  #8
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Old timer here, new account. Sorry to resurrect an old topic but I was looking for some sound apps for my work (entertainment/sporting events) and I found some relevant information that I think would be very helpful to the forum. There are several articles and studies out there, the most comprehensive is done by scientists at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Evaluation of smartphone sound measurement applicationsa)

They looked at hundreds of apps, both iOS and Android. Found out that iOS apps SoundMeter by Faber Acoustics and SPLnFFT by Fabien Lefebvre are the most accurate and within 2 decibels of their type 1 sound level meter. Other apps that did well, Noise Hunter by inter.net2day and NoiSee by Noise Lab. Android apps didn't do so well.

There are a couple of other studies where SoundMeter and SPLnFFT show up, one done by Safety Awakenings and one by grad students at a couple of different universities, though none of those studies are peer-reviewed and not as thorough.

Finally, if anyone interested in an app for audio or professional work, get an app that allow you to calibrate to a known source and invest a bit of money in an external mic, there are some really good ones out there.
Old 29th April 2014
  #9
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I know on a GS4, compared to real spl meter, the app is almost impossible to make it read over 90dB. Which makes it likely to do more harm than good!
Old 30th April 2014
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MajorJim View Post
There are several recent studies, by a govt lab (NIOSH) and universities (University of Florida/Western Ontario) that looked at the accuracy of such apps. Several of them have performed as well as a type 2 SLM. iOS apps outperformed Android apps in the study, search for smartphone sound measurement apps.
What apps? I've been using mine for mixing at appropriate volumes but I always assumed it wasn't terribly accurate.
Old 30th April 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SydBeretta View Post
What apps? I've been using mine for mixing at appropriate volumes but I always assumed it wasn't terribly accurate.
SPLnFFT from Fabien Lefebvre and SoundMeter from Faber Acoustical. Faber offers a whole slew of apps for the audio enthusiast, a bit pricey though.
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Old 6th May 2014
  #12
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I would say it probably would not be percise. since you are trying to make a consumer device do a funtion a percisely calibrated instrumentation device.
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