# Electrical Engineering/Sound level meter.

Question
QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_level_meter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_instrument

Can we use Sound level meter to measure sound frequencies (Hertz - Hz) and sound volume (decibels - db) for the sound generated by different musical instruments viz Guitar, Piano, Violin, Saxophone, Trumpet, Flute, Drums etc ?.

Can we create a table having two columns namely Musical Instrument name and the Sound Frequency Range for each musical instrument measured by the Sound level meter (if applicable) ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Sound level meters are not frequency detectors in the strict sense.  They have filter bands built in to the measuring process in order to compare bass, mid or high frequency bands but the bands are broad, in octave over laps.

Looking at the frequency spectrum of the various instruments you mentioned it would be difficult for one to detect which instrument is playing by just observing the output of the SLM.

There are tables that show the range of frequencies that you can download from the Internet upon some basic searching methods.

Here is a tutorial that will explain in more details;

http://www.zytrax.com/tech/audio/audio.html

Go here to see chart of frequency coverage for various instruments:

http://www.audio-issues.com/music-mixing/all-the-eq-information-youll-ever-need/

Happy New Year!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof cleggsan

Thanks.

Can I use Sound level meter instrument to measure sound produced by different musical instruments in decibel?.

In Case not which instrument I can use to measure Sound generated by musical instruments?.

Thanks & regards
Prashant s akerkar ^m m

That is what a sound level meter is for!

However, it is not capable of distinguishing one instrument from another. This is because the frequency bands that are measured are not that precise.  The human ear is capable of these distinguishing individual instruments but it is very difficult to do by electronic measurement.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Electrical Engineering

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#### cleggsan

##### Expertise

All technical areas of Electronics Engineering.

##### Experience

BSEE, MBA, Design, R&D, University Research.
Senior Life Member of IEEE. Life Fellow of AES.

Organizations
IEEE, Consumer Electronics Society, Audio Engineering Society.
Broad teaching experience; work experience mostly in consumer electronics and conversion from analog to digital technologies. Pioneer in digital audio at all levels.

Education/Credentials
BSEE (Equiv) BYU BSEE University of North Dakota MSBA (MBA) Illinois State University Graduate Studies in Computer Science - Bradley University Graduate Studies - Ohio University Graduate Studies - University of Missouri Kansas City DeVry Tech - Electronics