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Sound Pressure, Power, and Intensity Chapter 6

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Sound Pressure/Power/Intensity All three terms describe physical sensations. All three are perceived on a linear scale when sensation is multiplied. Psychophysics

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Decibels Decibel scales compare two quantities. Dimensionless unit. Abbreviated dB

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Sound Power Level Defines the decibel difference between two sound power levels. Usually the comparison is between a power level and a fixed reference (W 0 = 10 –12 W)

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Important Power Relationships log 2 = 0.3 so 10 log 2 = 3 dB Doubling the power equals a 3 dB gain log 1/2 = 0 – 0.3 so 10 log 1/2 = –3 dB Halving the power equals a –3 dB reduction –3 dB represents the half-power point Power is proportional to A 2 (0.707 2 = 0.5)

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More Fun with Logarithms If 10 log 2 = 3, then 10 log 4 = 6. 10 log 10 = 10 10 log 5 = 7 (5 = 10/2)

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Intensity Level and Pressure Level Sound Power Level refers to the power at the output source. It is not meaningful to speak of the sound power level at some point in the room. At any given point you can measure the Sound Intensity Level and/or Sound Pressure Level

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Equation for Intensity Level is the reference intensity level. Sound Intensity Level in decibels:

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Equation for Pressure Level is the reference pressure level, the threshold of audibility. Sound Pressure Level in decibels:

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Intensity/Pressure Relationship Intensity is related to pressure squared. At ordinary temperatures and air pressure, Sound Intensity Level and Sound Pressure Level are almost equal. We can assume that they are equal.

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Inverse log To get from decibels (SPL, SIL, PWL) requires an inverse log operation Calculator note: In x; INV then log; 10 x

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Relation of Intensity to Power Sound Power Level refers to power at the output source Power radiates out from a center, becoming Intensity. (flow of energy across a unit area)

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Intensity at Source Power radiating from a surface area. Intensity and Sound Intensity Level

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Free Field In a Free Field, sound radiates equally in all directions. Intensity varies as 1/r 2 (pressure 1/r ). Power distributed over the surface of an expanding sphere with area 4πr 2. I = W/ 4πr 2 Sound Intensity Level drops 11 dB the first meter, and 6 dB every time the distance is doubled.

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Hemispherical Field Sound is rarely radiated equally in all directions. Usually, the sound source is on a hard, reflective surface. Power is distributed over a hemispherical field, with a surface of 2πr 2. Sound Intensity Level drops 8 dB for first meter, and 6 dB for each doubling of distance. Remember, SPL roughly equals SIL.

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PWL to SIL and SPL A change in PWL will result in the same change in either SIL or SPL.

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Multiple Sources Two sources combining (with same dB) Power standpoint: doubled, therefore +3dB Leads to a +3dB change in SPL at any given point. Pressure and Intensity Intensity proportional to p 2 Add intensities (observed intensity) Add square of each pressure, divided by square of reference pressure

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Loudness Level Sensitivity of the ear varies with frequency and quality of sound. Fletcher-Munson Curves (Equal Loudness) p. 107. (phons ) Relative insensitivity to low frequency sounds leads to weighting networks in sound- measuring devices. C: mostly flat A: low-frequency rolloff in gain (compensates for insensitivity of ear)

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