The smart Sound Meter iOS and Android app lets you measure decibel values in different environments and displays the output using cool sound gauges and graphs. This leading sound meter is not only convenient, but it’s also quite accurate and brilliantly designed.
The minimalistic but efficient design that both the Google Play app for Sound Meter and its iOS variant employs rates at a 4/5. The 2D graphics are reminiscent of an actual sound dashboard. The sound gauges for different decibel levels are quite clear, straightforward and tidy, and the calibration page also has a simple design. You’ll also see a sound graph showing the pitch of the sound.
Sound Meter is quite simple and convenient rating at a 4/5. The different gauges show you the various decibel levels, and you’ll also get a harmonic noise graph. The indicators display the maximum, minimum and average values for a particular sound you are measuring.
You can calibrate the app, though this comes with a caveat. Since phone microphones are themselves calibrated using the human voice, there is a limit to the sound meter’s accuracy. If you need the ultimate calibration for the device, you need to go to a quiet place and preferably set a correction value between 10-20dB.
The latest version provides an update which has removed the button sound, which previously interfered with the dB reading. With the Data Logging extension, you can save the last 30 seconds of your recording into CSV and export that to other applications.
The app is get-free for all iOS and Google Android devices, but there are in-app purchases such as the ‘Data Logging Upgrade’ and ‘Data Acquisition Support’ for $20 each. You’ll probably need these purchases.
- Accurate readings in most cases;
- Pleasant interface;
- Great for on-the-spot or emergency measurements.
- The sound decibel readings are sometimes grossly inaccurate;
- Picks up a maximum of about 85dB;
- Doesn’t record averages of sounds like professional meters.
Both the Android and the iOS variant are easy to install. Calibrated readings in a quiet room read at 35dB which is the noise minimum threshold of the device microphone, and this is to be expected in a quiet room. Sometimes the app works well, and sometimes it doesn’t. For example, I never understood how my quiet room could be louder than my room with a loudspeaker on.
Still, I got to test the calibration accuracy with an actual sound meter, and the results for my grinder were accurate within about 3dB. The app maxes out at 90dB too, which is a let-down. I rate the ease of use at a 3/5.
This is a great tool for any iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device, and especially for those folks who may not be able to spend a few hundred dollars on an actual sound meter. The readings are fairly accurate in most cases, although some are just absurd. The DevOps should consider different sound standards such as IEC and ANSI and incorporate them into the app. The graphs are easy to read and should be understandable to anyone, even a new user. Though it isn’t quite as effective as the real thing, it’s still handy. I’d recommend this app for all Android devices and iDevices.