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**• Damping of sound level with distance •
**

How does the sound decrease with increasing distance? How can you calculate the distance drop of the sound? Changing (decrease) of sound pressure level Δ L or sound pressure with distance r in a free field (direct field), like in anechoic chambers

Conversion: Distance values → Level changing With sound level we usually mean a logarithmic ratio of sound pressure

These calculations are meant only for engineers and the distance from a musician or a loudspeaker to a microphone in a direct field - No air damping and frequency dependence of e.g. the thunder in a distance.

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**Sound pressure level depending on the distance
**

Enter the three gray boxes and you get the amount of attenuation, you can expect with a change in sound source distance, in a free field. Reference distance r1 Sound level L1 at The 1/r law. There from source reference distance really is no square and m or ft dBSPL no power! New distance r2 Sound level L2 at Sound level difference

A statement of the distance law for field quantities (source quantities): or level at far Sound level difference: distance . Notice: Intensity is not pressure of sound. How is the sound level dependent from the distance to the sound source? The sound pressure level shows in the free field situation a reduction of 6 dB per doubling of distance. Sometimes it is said. Sound energy quantity cannot be sound field quantity. that it goes with 1/r².drop . That is really wrong. Unfortunately this error (unknown distance) is quite often. possibly one ear of a subject. that means the sound pressure value is a half and not a quarter. Sound pressure level decreases by (−)6 dB per doubling of distance from the source to 1/2 (50 %) of the sound pressure initial value. The sound pressure level Lp in dB without the given distance r to the sound source is really useless.from source m or ft new distance r2: dBSPL Δ L = L1 − L2 dB Given sound levels and calculation of the distance: The sound level depends on the distance between the sound source and the place of measurement.fall) with 1/r over distance. The sound pressure p changes (decrease .

but is inverse-proportional: p ~ 1 / r. Calculating sound pressure with the inverse distance law Relationship of sound intensity I. The sound pressure p decreases really with 1/r from the sound source! In acoustics. sound pressure p and the distance law: (r is the distance from the sound source) From this follows .Δ L = L1 − L2. the sound pressure of a spherical wave front radiating from a point source decreases by a factor of 1/2 as the distance is doubled. The law is not inverse-square.

Intensity (sound energy quantity) is not equivalent to pressure (sound field quantity). See: Absorption of sound by the atmosphere . while "pressure" is a measure of force per unit area. Damping of sound level in decibels with distance Distance ratio Conversion of sound units (levels) For this level damping of sound with distance we have to consider the damping of air (air damping) at larger distances. Use "magnitude". "amplitude". "strength".Where: p1 = sound pressure 1 at r1 p2 = sound pressure 2 at r2 distance 1 from r1 = source distance 2 from r2 = source Note: The often used term "intensity of sound pressure" is not correct. "Sound intensity" is sound power (acoustic power) per unit area. or "level" instead.

2000 1/6 = 6 0.0000 1/2 = 2 0.1667 1/7 = 7 0.2500 1/5 = 5 0. Sound pressure level Lp: dB-SPL ↔ Sound pressure p: Pa = N/m2 Standard reference sound pressure p0 = 20 μPa = 2 × 10−5 Pa ≡ 0 dB Inverse distance law 1/r for sound pressure Law for Sound Field Quantities Sound Distance pressure p ratio ∝ 1/r 1/1 = 1 1.5000 1/3 = 3 0. The calculator works in both directions of the ↔ sign.1250 1/9 = 9 0.Sound pressure level and Sound pressure Enter a value in the left or right box.1429 1/8 = 8 0.1111 .3333 1/4 = 4 0.

wrong of the sound pressure initial value. wrong of the sound intensity initial value. Correct version Sound pressure falls inversely proportional to the distance 1/r from the sound source. wrong That is the 1/r law or distance law. Sound pressure level decreases by (−)6 dB per Sound pressure level decreases as the doubling of distance from distance increases per doubling of distance the source to 1/2 (50 %) from the source by (−)3 dB.1000 Conversions and Calculations .Sound Quantities and their Levels Frequently used false statements in the context of sound values and the distance of the sound source Wrong expression Sound pressure falls inversely proportional to the square of the distance 1/r2 from the sound source. Sound pressure p and the inverse distance law 1/r How does an acoustic sound level depend on distance from the source? . Sound intensity (energy) Sound intensity (energy) falls inversely falls inversely proportional to the square of the distance proportional to the distance 1/r from the sound 2 source. The sound power level or the sound power is firmly committed to the sound source and is really independent from the distance. wrong 1/r from the sound source.10 1/10 = 0. Sound intensity level decreases by (−)6 dB per Sound intensity level decreases inversely as the doubling of distance from square of the distance increases per doubling of the source to 1/4 (25 %) sound source with (−)3 dB per doubling.

we reduce the sound level by 6 dB. half) or three times as loud? The beginners question is quite simple: How does the sound decrease with distance? More specifically asked: How does the volume (loudness) decrease with distance? . we decrease the level by 20 dB. So. If we increase r by a factor of 10. In other words. The sound source outputs a total power P. centred on the source. continuously. so the sound intensity passing through each square meter of surface is. so we could equally write: p2 / p 1 = r1 / r2 or p2 = p1 (r1 / r2) The sound pressure p changes with 1 / r of the distance. because I = p2. The sound intensity I is the same everywhere on this surface of a thought sphere. How many decibels (dB) level change is twice (double. The sound intensity level and the sound pressure levels in dB have the same value. The intensity I is defined as the power P per unit area A. by definition. if we double the distance. The surface area of the sphere is A = 4 π r². we reduce the sound pressure by a factor of 2 and the sound intensity by a factor of 4.Consider a source of sound and imagine a sphere with radius r. by definition: I = P / 4 π r². but the quantity of sound pressure and the quantity of acoustic intensity is different. We see that sound intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance away I2 / I1 = r1² / r2² or I2 = I1 (r1² / r2²) But sound intensity is proportional to the square of the sound pressure.

It falls on the 1/2 fold (50%) of the initial value of the sound pressure.707 fold (70. It falls on the 0. The sound pressure decreases with the ratio 1/√r to the distance. doubling our distance from it. It falls on the 1/2 fold (50%) of the initial value of the sound intensity. For a cylindrical wave we get: The sound pressure level (SPL) decreases with doubling of distance only by (−)3 dB. useful rule: every time we move away from a sound source. The sound intensity decreases with a ratio 1/r to the distance. The sound intensity level decreases with doubling of distance also by (−)6 dB.02 = 94 dBSPL. the sound pressure level decreases by 6 dBSPL.This rule is called the inverse distance law. It falls on the 1/4 fold (25%) of the initial value of the sound intensity. The sound pressure decreases with the ratio 1/r to the distance. The sound intensity level decreases with doubling of distance also by (−)3 dB. halving our distance from it. Vice versa if we move closer to the sound source. From this simple example we obtain an easy.7%) of the initial value of the sound pressure. we perceive an increase in sound pressure of approximately 6 dBSPL. Inverse distance law p2 / p1 = (d1 / d2) Let us take a look at a practical application of this formula: if d1 = 1 m and at this distance from the sound source we measure Lp1 = 100 dB at a distance of d2 = 2 m we will have a sound pressure equal to: Lp2 = Lp1 – 20 ∙ lg (d2 / d1) Application of the inverse distance formula Lp2 = 100 − 20 ∙ lg (2 / 1) = 100 − 6. . The sound intensity decreases with the ratio 1/r2 to the distance.How does the sound pressure decrease with distance? How does the sound intensity (not the sound power) decrease with distance? The decrease of sound with distance For a spherical wave we get: The sound pressure level (SPL) decreases with doubling of distance by (−)6 dB.

back Search Engine home .Question: What is the standard distance to measure sound pressure level away from equipment? There is no standard distance. It depends on the size of the sound source and the sound pressure level.

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