Thomann's Cool Online Guides: PA Speakers

6. Decibels

Musicians talk freely about decibels, but very few of them really understand what the term means. Many of them know that an increase in volume of one decibel is actually a very significant gain, but they don’t really know why. It’s worth discussing briefly, not least because it might save your hearing if you know just how loud 118dB SPL might actually be!

Decibel is a term most often used as a measure of sound pressure, though its true meaning is far more subtle. It actually describes a ratio - that is, the relationship between two different quantities - so there is actually no such thing as a definite decibel; it depends on how it is being used.

Decibels are used in electronics and optics, but it is their use in acoustics and sound pressure in particular that concerns us here – dB SPL. When measuring sound pressure, a decibel shows the relationship between the sound pressure and the specified measure of zero. Usually, zero is taken to represent the point at which a sound is inaudible to a human ear, which means that strictly speaking, one person’s decibel may be another person’s zero, depending on the quality of your hearing.

In fact, the zero from which most decibel measures are taken is usually set at around 20uPa, the normal lower end of the human audible range. Decibels make it easier to measure sound pressure because they are a logarithmic measure. If a simple measure was used, the figures would run into trillions - the decibel measure allows a more manageable way of expressing changes in sound pressure.

So how loud is loud? As we have seen, 130dB SPL is generally reckoned to be the pain threshold. Note however, that much lower levels can still be damaging, especially if they are sustained. Research in the field known as psycho-physics has shown that an increase of 10dB appears to equate to a doubling of volume for most people. So be careful when working with decibels - they are not a simple measure, and they jump much higher and more quickly than you may think.

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Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

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PA Speakers overview

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0 C.Giant LP-6210C Black Vic Firth SIH2 Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod Steinberg UR-RT2 TritonAudio FetHead Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018 Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor
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Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb, effects pedal, 11 different reverb types: HALL, SPRING, PLATE, REVRS, ECHO, TREM, MOD, DYNA, AUTO-INF, SHIM and POLY, Tails switch: Select whether the reverb fades out naturally or stops immediately when the pedal is switched...

to the product
€149
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Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green

Electric Guitar Poplar body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard (Dalbergia latifolia), Slim Taper neck profile - .800"-. 875", 22 Frets, Pickups: 2 Gibson Pro-Bucker humbuckers, Volume and tone controls, 1 Toggle switch, Chrome hardware, Wraparound bridge, Mini Button machine heads,...

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€398
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Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0

Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0; converts analog audio line signals to feed any Dante-connected system; 96 kHz / 24 Bit; fully-functional Dante interface; adjustable signal levels: +24dBu / +4dBu / 0dBu/ 0dBV /-10dBV (through Dante Controller); frequency Response: 20Hz...

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€163
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C.Giant LP-6210C Black

Keyboard 61 Keys with touch dynamics, 162 Sounds, 200 Rhythms, 61 Percussion effects, 50 Demo songs, Fill-in, sync and rhythms variations, Split function, Chord, Recording, Pitch bend wheel, Microphone input, Line out sockets, Headphone output, Sustain pedal connection, USB...

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€66
(2)
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Vic Firth SIH2

Vic Firth SIH2 isolation headphones, (reduces overall noise levels by 25 dB). successor of the legendary Vic Firth SIH-1 headphones, features redesigned larger driver in the ear cups that deliver a more powerful low end, cleaner mids and clear highs...

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€79
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Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod

Audio MIDI Sequencer (DAW) (download) Upgrade from Presonus Studio One Professional 1-3 / Producer 2 to Studio One 4 Professional Sleek single-window philosophy, Consistent drag-and-drop functionality throughout, Project page allows integrated mastering with DDP export, Redbook...

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€145
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Steinberg UR-RT2

4x 2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface Up to 24-bit/192 kHz, 2 Class-A D-PRE microphone preamps with + 48 V phantom power, Rupert Neve Designs transformer switchable on each front input channel, 2 Analog XLR/jack combo inputs plus 2 line...

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€311
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TritonAudio FetHead

TritonAudio FetHead, in-line microphone preamplifier, XLR 3-pole female XLR 3-pole male, ultra low noise Class A JFet amplifier, 27dB amplification (@3 KOhm load), 4 matched JFets, 24-48V Phantom Power required, for Ribbon & Dynamic microphones, shields phantom power from...

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€66
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Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module

Trigger Module For acoustic drummers who want to extend the sound possibilities of their drums with electronic sounds, 500 one-shot sounds, 268 V-Drum sounds, 80 Drum kits, SDHC card slot for importing your own samples, 6x 6.3 mm stereo...

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€789
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Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black

Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black stereo headphones, on-ear design, closed back, foldable, Bluetooth® aptX Technology, up to 30 h running time, control knob on headphone, 40 mm moving coil dynamic speaker, newly constructed hinges and headband for a better fitting,...

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€135
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Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018

Electric Guitar J.Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) Artist Model, Body: Basswood, Neck: Maple, Fretboard: Indian Laurel, Neck profile: C, 21 Jumbo frets, Nut width: 42.5 mm, Scale: 648 mm, Pickups: 2 Jazzmaster single coils, Adjusto-Matic bridge with vintage style floating tremolo,...

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€477
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Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor

Effects pedal Analog bass compressor, Controllers for compression, release and output levels, True bypass, Power supply with 9 V battery or 9 V power supply (both not included, suitable battery available under Art. 132579 , suitable power supply under...

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€99
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