140 dB

If you were enthralled with physics and sound you’d know exactly what I was talking about when I title a blog post 140 dB. For the rest of us, it refers to what sound engineers, (Or other freaks, I mean people) call the threshold of pain.

This is a slight overexaggeration on behalf of a tedious 2hr lecture on sound. I had already dubbed the lecture room ‘that which has strange noises’, this time they were at least entirely intentional.

An email from Penelope (the SIT that is Principles of Interactive Media, lecturer) informed us of the benefits of coming to hear this ‘pro’. Two hours of watching him explain something he didn’t explain well enough for complete naive to sound everything – except the use of ears, was quite enough. The explanation might have been fractionally interesting except that it was accompanied by multiple demonstrations of unbearable tone, frequency, pitch, purity, noise, harmony and brightness. Which shovelled simply more noise upon an already impending headache.

There was some truth in part of what was shared. The start of a sound event (whatever the heck that happens to be) is called an attack, the end of a sound event is called the decay.

This describes what it was like perfectly.

One Comment

  1. said:

    So exactly why is the threshold of pain four times higher now than 7 years ago (man I’m OLD!) in year 11 physics when we were taught it was 120dB?

    March 21, 2006

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