Differences in dB levels

It can be difficult to explain what a difference in sound levels can mean to a listener, so Bloc Consulting has created a very simple demonstration of the subjective change in sound levels, using a sample of ‘white noise’.
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PRECAUTION

Please take care when setting the volume on this tool, particularly when using headphones

Ideally, this tool would be used under the supervision of one of our Consultants.

If you use this demonstrator without supervision, please note that we cannot be held responsible for any damage.

This demonstration works best on a desktop or laptop computer. Please ensure that the volume on your device is correctly adjusted so that the 0 dB (loudest) sample will be at an acceptable level.

Once the volume on your device is set, please do not adjust it until you have finished using this demonstrator.

Instructions for use

  1. Click the initial 0 dB player to listen to the original, unchanged sound level.
  2. Then click another sample to listen to the various reduced sound levels. The reductions shown, e.g. -10 dB are always relative to the original 0 dB level. So -10 dB is 10 dB lower than 0 dB, -15 dB is 15 dB lower than 0 dB, etc.
  3. All samples loop, so will play continuously if not stopped.
  4. The samples will play exclusively, so if you click on another while one is playing, they will not play together, and you can hear the difference in the noise level from one sample to the other.
  5. Try playing the 0 dB level before each reduction to get the full effect, i.e.:
    • Play 0 dB first, then -3 dB;
    • Then play 0 dB, and then – 5dB;
    • Then 0 dB and the -10 dB, etc.
  6. The demonstrator also works in the opposite direction to compare increases in sound. Starting at -10 dB and then playing 0 dB will give the impression of an increase of 10 dB.

0 dB

-3 dB

-5 dB

-10 dB

-15 dB

-20 dB

0 dB

-3 dB

-5 dB

-10 dB

-15 dB

-20 dB

A quick summary of the generally accepted descriptions of the changes in sound level is that:
  • a change of 3 dB is ‘just perceptible’
  • a change of 10 dB is ‘a halving or a doubling of sound’.
We hope that you have found this tool useful. Should you have any questions on this demonstrator or anything else at all that we can help with, do not hesitate to contact us.

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© 2021 Bloc Consulting, a division of All Bloc Limited Company number 11008703

© 2021 Bloc Consulting, a division of All Bloc Limited
Company number 11008703

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