Sound meter for studio use, A vs C weighting

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Meeotch, Jan 2, 2018.


  1. Meeotch

    Meeotch Member

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    I'm starting a simple home studio and would like to buy a sound meter, primarily to keep volumes in my studio below damaging levels, but also for consistency when mixing. I've read up on the differences of A vs C weighting, but still am not sure which I should be using for which situation.

    One source recommended C weight for levels above 85db, A weight for below. Maybe that works for playing guitar, but what about mixing? Can anyone clarify? I just want to save my ears when playing guitar, and mix at a consistent level. Thanks!
     
  2. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    A weighting rolls off a lot of bass, C weighting is more realistic to music with low end content.

    Be sure to get an SPL meter that has both A and C weightings (I use a Galaxy Audio CM-140). Some less expensive ones like Rolls only have A weighting.

    Play some mastered CD's with good bass (I use Donald Fagen "Morph the Cat) and switch between A and C weightings. See which one seems to be a more comfortable listening level at 83-85 dB SPL.

    When you mix, remember your mix has not been mastered yet to be "louder". You should only hit peaks a few dB below 0 dB FS to leave some room for mastering processing. Mastering processors will tighten things up and get the peak level material to be "louder" and your mix should sound as loud as other well mastered CD's when both hit very close to 0 dB FS. Leaving peak level on the CD a few tenths of a dB below 0 (peak at -0.2 dB FS) insures that cheap D/A processor will not distort. If you compare your mastered mix to known reference CD's listening to both at 83-85 dB SPL and yours sounds as loud, you are in the ballpark.

    Remember, you do not need/want to work for long periods of time at reference level. Just be sure to check spectral balance there to take the Fletcher-Munson Equal Loudness Contour Curves in to account.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  3. Meeotch

    Meeotch Member

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    Thanks for that! Do you think I could get by with just A weighting? The sound meters with just A are quite a bit cheaper.
     

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