FP2 @ music festivals - decibel limit? (Looking for good Android sound measurement applications)

Hi everyone,

I use my phone at festivals to check the music’s decibel output (I’ve got bad hearing so need to protect my ears). The readings never go over 88 decibels though, even with very very loud techno music, so it can’t be right. Also, when I film the audio is always distorted, which doesn’t happen with my friend’s iPhone.

Questions: Why is this happening? Is there a limit to the mic’s input?

Any solutions and tips on measuring decibels would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

Additional info:

  • Using FP2, fully updated
  • I’m using the ‘Sound Meter’ app (recommended by a Hearing Specialist)

Not very helpful, I know but …

Make sure you use SoundMeter made by the right company (faberacoustical) and not some knock off from the Android store. Often Andorid apps just steal the name from successful Apple apps …

If you want to be sure, it’s best to use an iPhone, its hardware is “well” known (MEMS microphones) so the software will work pretty close to commercial meters. There are some papers published about it, comparing apps and Android vs Apple.

If FP will publish what kind of mic and D/A hardware software is used, app devs could look into it. Right now it’s not possible to test/calibrate for normal non-mems mics without owning one because no data/specs are published for all the different Android phones. Also a presentation mentions that “iOS 6 allows developers to bypass speech filters and
input gain control” not sure how this works on Android, to be honest. I’m sure there must be some apps, at least for the Nexus line that could be fitted to work with the FP2.

But even your lawnmower should go easily over 88 dB.

I can try to search for the papers in the meantime.

Other possible solutions: An external mic (MicW i436?) or and a cheap 2nd device … or wear ear protection all the time during a concert/rave, they scale (noise/frequency). PPE works pretty well these days and looks okayish.

http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2014/04/09/sound-apps/ (2014, old)

Quotes regarding Android (Source: Evaluation of Smartphone Sound
Measurement Apps)

  • Open ecosystem, many manufacturers, many suppliers
  • No statistical significance can be established (Same app not consistent across different devices (different manufacturers)
  • Different apps not consistent on same device (developers access to different devices)
  • ƒ Android users’ expectations for free or low priced apps
  • ƒ Android developers’ expectations for lower revenues
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