This buyers’ guide focuses on professional sound level meters that are digital, meaning they use an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converter to display noise levels in decibels on a screen. Additionally, all the options presented here are integrated sound level meters, which calculate the average sound pressure level over a defined period and are compliant with IEC 61672 standards, ensuring traceable calibration.
When consulting this guide, consider factors such as the class of the meter, which should align with both international and national standards relevant to your application. Also, take into account the measurement range and frequency analysis capabilities, as these will vary depending on whether you’re measuring environmental noise, industrial noise, or other specialized sound levels. Each meter will offer different features tailored to specific applications, so understanding your own needs is crucial for making an informed selection.
Top-of-the-line sound level meter
The SVAN 979 stands as the top-of-the-line option for those seeking a Class 1 integrating sound level meter. Known for its exceptional accuracy and comprehensive feature set, this meter is a premium choice for a wide range of applications, from reverberation time measurements and occupational safety to applied acoustics. It has the unique capability to measure noise levels as low as 12 dBA, making it particularly effective for extremely quiet environments. Additional functionalities include a built-in program for sound insulation measurements, complete with a signal generator for both pink and white noise. The meter also has the versatility to measure vibrations when a vibration sensor is connected in place of the microphone.
Compliance with IEC 61672-1 ensures that the SVAN 979 is traceable and meets international standards for accuracy. Its applications are diverse, covering acoustic measurements, building acoustics, environmental noise, sound engineering, audio measurements, and voice measurements. This meter’s well-established and stable software further adds to its reliability, making it a robust choice for professionals in various fields.
The best price / performance
For those seeking a balance between cost and performance, the SV 977 serves as an excellent alternative to the more premium SVAN 979. While it may not offer all the features of its higher-end counterpart, such as the noise generator, it compensates by offering other features as optional add-ons. This makes it a cost-effective yet versatile choice, capable of reliable performance across various applications.
The SV 977 is configurable with a range of features including FFT, 1/1 and 1/3 octave analysis, audio recording, RT60, STIPA, and ultrasound measurements. It boasts a measurement range that starts from 16 dBA and a frequency range from 3 Hz to 20 kHz. Like the SVAN 979, it is suitable for a wide array of applications including acoustic measurements, building acoustics, environmental noise, sound engineering, audio measurements, voice measurements, and occupational noise.
The best class 1 sound level meter
For those specifically looking for a Class 1 sound level meter, the SV 971A stands out as the best choice due to its widespread popularity and global usage. Designed for users who primarily focus on noise measurements without the need for vibration analysis, this meter offers a compact form factor. While the small size limits the display, users can easily view all noise data on a smartphone or tablet through a dedicated meter app. Not only is the SV 971A the most budget-friendly among professional noise level meters, but it also offers configurable options like 1/1 or 1/3 octave analysis and audio recording.
The meter is traceable and compliant with IEC 61672, ensuring its reliability and accuracy. It is well-suited for a variety of applications, including occupational noise, noise in schools, building acoustics, environmental noise, and voice measurements.
Class 2 sound level meter
The SV 973 serves as a reliable Class 2 sound level meter, tailored for noise monitoring in occupational settings and educational environments. While its optimal operating temperature starts at 0°C and its frequency range is capped at 10 kHz, it maintains its status as a professional-grade instrument. The meter offers a variety of configurable options similar to Class 1 meters, including 1/1 or 1/3 octave analysis, reverberation time measurements (RT60), Speech Transmission Index for Public Address systems (STIPA), and audio recording capabilities.
Compliant with IEC 61672 Class 2 standards, the SV 973 is a versatile choice for applications where a Class 2 meter suffices, such as occupational noise monitoring, noise assessments in schools, general noise surveys, and environmental noise measurements.
The SV 104 serves as a specialized noise dosimeter, designed to monitor individual noise exposure in high-risk industries such as nuclear power, healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. Worn near the ear, these dosimeters help ensure that workers are not exposed to harmful noise levels, thereby aiding in risk assessment and the implementation of protective measures. They are also employed in research settings to gauge physical agent levels in specialized environments, such as zero-gravity airspace.
Compliant with IEC 61672 Class 2 standards, the SV 104 offers additional features like octave band analysis, audio recording, and Bluetooth connectivity. These features make it a versatile tool for a range of applications, from occupational safety to experimental research.
Noise Monitoring Station
The SV 307A serves as a comprehensive noise monitoring station, designed for continuous environmental noise measurement in all weather conditions. Utilizing patented MEMS microphone technology with a lifetime warranty, this station is equipped with smart features for internal temperature control and hardware failure detection. Its robust housing protects a Class 1 sound level meter, complete with 4G and GPS modems. The SV 307A captures a wide range of data, including noise levels, statistics, spectra, and audio files, which can be triggered based on level or time. Advanced triggering even allows for noise prediction, alerting the user before certain noise thresholds are reached.
For remote monitoring, the SV 307A connects to the SvanNET Service, providing all measurement data through a web interface. This service also enables users to listen to live noise directly from the station’s microphone. The SV 307A is compliant with IEC 61672 Class 1 standards, making it a reliable and versatile choice for long-term environmental noise monitoring.
Sound Level Meter Apps and Software
Sound level meter apps and software are necessary for calculations of final noise results and reporting. Here are the options for Svantek apps and software:
- SvanPC++ Software: This is an advanced PC software that supports SVANTEK meters for post-processing of data collected during measurements.
- SUPERVISOR Software: A free PC software package dedicated to the Svantek instrument family for health and safety data post-processing and reporting.
- Assistant PRO App: This mobile app is designed for sound and vibration meters and extends the user interface of the SLM.
- SvanNET App: This application configures Svantek monitoring stations for the connection to the SvanNET Cloud Service.
- Building Acoustics Assistant App: This app supports Svantek building acoustic meters equipped with a Bluetooth® interface to guide through building acoustics measurements.
These apps and software can be helpful for various applications, such as work environments, outdoor monitoring, and building acoustics.
What type of noise level meter for occupational noise?
For occupational noise measurements, Class 2 sound level meters are commonly used and generally accepted, unless specific standards indicate otherwise. These meters provide sufficient accuracy for assessing workplace noise levels and are less expensive than Class 1 meters.
What is the difference between a sound level meter and a noise dosimeter?
A sound level meter measures noise levels in an environment, while a noise dosimeter is worn by an individual to measure personal noise exposure over time. Noise dosimeters are generally small devices that clip onto a person’s clothing and follow IEC 61252 specifications for Class 2 sound level meters. In contrast, a sound meter is often a handheld or stand-mounted device used to measure noise levels in a specific location rather than personal exposure. Sound level meters are versatile tools used for various applications such as environmental noise monitoring, industrial settings, and building acoustics, while noise dosimeters are primarily used to assess the noise exposure levels of individuals in occupational settings.
How accurate is a sound meter app?
Sound meter apps on mobile devices offer approximate sound pressure level measurements but generally lack the accuracy and reliability required for professional use. They often do not meet the calibration standards set by international bodies like IEC 61672, making them unsuitable for formal assessments. However, they can be useful for preliminary noise surveys or for personal monitoring.
In contrast, professional sound level meters may interface with mobile apps but have dedicated hardware and software designed to comply with rigorous international standards for accurate and reliable measurements.
How accurate are dB Meters?
Decibel meters that meet IEC 61672 standards offer reliable accuracy and precision over time. Meters not adhering to these standards may produce unreliable results, which can be significant given that even a 3 dB error can double the perceived sound energy and a 6 dB error can double the sound pressure level. Thus, for accurate and dependable measurements, it’s important to use a decibel meter that meets recognized international standards.