decibels Definition and Topics - 5 Discussions

The decibel (symbol: dB) is a relative unit of measurement equal to one tenth of a bel (B). It expresses the ratio of two values of a power or root-power quantity on a logarithmic scale. Two signals whose levels differ by one decibel have a power ratio of 101/10 (approximately 1.26) or root-power ratio of 101⁄20 (approximately 1.12).The unit expresses a change in value (e.g., +1 dB or −1 dB) or an absolute value. In the latter case, the numeric value expresses the ratio of a value to a fixed reference value; when used in this way, the unit symbol is often suffixed with letter codes that indicate the reference value. For example, for the reference value of 1 volt, a common suffix is "V" (e.g., "20 dBV").Two principal types of scaling of the decibel are in common use. When expressing a power ratio, it is defined as ten times the logarithm in base 10. That is, a change in power by a factor of 10 corresponds to a 10 dB change in level. When expressing root-power quantities, a change in amplitude by a factor of 10 corresponds to a 20 dB change in level. The decibel scales differ by a factor of two, so that the related power and root-power levels change by the same value in linear systems, where power is proportional to the square of amplitude.
The definition of the decibel originated in the measurement of transmission loss and power in telephony of the early 20th century in the Bell System in the United States. The bel was named in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, but the bel is seldom used. Instead, the decibel is used for a wide variety of measurements in science and engineering, most prominently in acoustics, electronics, and control theory. In electronics, the gains of amplifiers, attenuation of signals, and signal-to-noise ratios are often expressed in decibels.

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  1. B

    Decibel Intensity level question

    1. A jackhammer produces a sound of 111 dB IL. What is the sound level when 8 jackhammers are operating simultaneously? When 100 jackhammers are operating simultaneously? When 400 jackhammers are operating simultaneously? 2. 1 jackhammer = 111 dBIL, 2 jackhammers = 114 dbIL, 4 jackhammers =...
  2. Const@ntine

    Sound Intensity (Level) - Hearing Aid

    Homework Statement A man is wearing a hearing aid device that increases the frequency of the sounds the human ear can conceive, by 30 db. The device "catches" a sound of frequency f = 50 Hz, and intensity I = 3.00 * 10-11 W/m2. What's the intensity that the man's ear hears? Homework...
  3. S

    Problem on Doppler effect and sound level

    Homework Statement A source emits a spherical sound wave at frequency ##f=110Hz## with power ##P=1 W## in a solid angle of ##2 \pi sr##. An observer moves with velocity ##v_{oss}=108 km/h## towards the source. Determine the sound intensity level received by the moving observer. Homework...
  4. D

    Calculating Power at source from Intensity at distance R

    Homework Statement An enclosed chamber with sound absorbing walls has a 2.0 m × 1.0 m opening for an outside window. A loudspeaker is located outdoors, 46 m away and facing the window. The intensity level of the sound entering the window space from the loudspeaker is 42 dB. Assume the acoustic...
  5. S

    Understanding a sound spectrum analyzer output

    Hi, I am just trying to understand the output of a sound spectrum analyzer. There are three dimensions 1) Time 2) Frequency 3) Volume (db) I am confused about few things here: 1) How should I perceive the volume dimension here? 2) Why are the db values negative here and w.r.t what reference...