An update regarding the iPad microphone with iOS 9.3+

The Faber app updates released this week address the issue with the built-in iPad microphone input gain. In short, with the release of iOS 9.3.1, Apple chose to change the input gain range for the built-in microphone on iPad, which meant that apps such as SoundMeter needed to either adjust input gain or input sensitivity in order to continue to allow for reasonably accurate sound level measurements. Unfortunately, iOS versions 9.3.1 through 9.3.4 contain a bug that causes the previous input gain range to be applied after a microphone is connected to the headset jack and then removed.

The following Faber apps have been updated with a built-in workaround to properly apply the appropriate input gain on each version of iOS:

Each app has also been updated to support iOS 10 when it is released later this year.

SoundMeter 8.3 offers more powerful data logging

SoundMeter 8.3 and SoundMeter Pro 4.3 can now log sound levels at user-defined intervals for an arbitrarily long period of time. Each includes a new option to automatically export logged measurement data when the measurement duration is reached. If Auto Stop is disabled, SoundMeter will continue to save the current logged data to a new data file each time the duration is reached. This new Auto Save option has been added to both the Meter and Octave tools.

Data logs can be automatically saved to CSV, TXT, or MAT files.

MeterLogOptions Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.08.26 AM

Also new in SoundMeter:

  • When logging, Leq, Lp_max, and peak sound levels can be reset each time they are logged. With this option, it is possible to log a short Leq of 0.1 seconds for up to 8 hours. With the new Auto Save feature, the logging can be extended indefinitely.
  • When logging Lx values in the Meter tool, the user-defined percentile value will be fixed at the time logging starts. It is still possible to view different user-defined percentile values in the live meter display while the fixed percentile values are being logged.
  • A bug has been fixed which could cause errors in the Octave data when logging was enabled.
  • The formatting of the HTTP file server pages has been improved.
  • Audio input management has been improved to avoid the potential for transient noise from the hardware when a new measurement is started.
  • SoundMeter Pro uses much less memory when exporting data logs to CSV and TXT files.
  • The Octave log surface plot uses much less memory when viewing large data sets.
  • Other cosmetic enhancements and stability improvements.

In SoundMeter, the new features will require the purchase of one or more upgrades, which are available via in-app purchase. They are included in SoundMeter Pro.

SoundMeter 8.3 and SoundMeter Pro 4.3 are now available for download on the App Store.

SoundMeter updated for iPhone 6S and iOS 9

SoundMeterProIcon76@2xSoundMeter 8.2 and SoundMeter Pro 4.2 are now available for download on the App Store. Each new version includes proper handling of the built-in microphone on iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices and minor changes in iOS 9.

Unfortunately, the new iPhones do not support analog input gain selection for the built-in microphones as previous iPhone models did. The fixed input gain of the iPhone 6S/Plus matches the “Mid” input gain setting in the iPhone 5C, 5S, and 6 models. This means that the peak sound level that can be measured using the built-in microphone of the new iPhones is nominally 116.5 dB. Previous iPhones, on their lowest input gain setting, could measure nominal peak levels of 136 dB.Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 2.56.19 PM

The SoundMeter apps now allow mixing audio with other apps. This means that it is possible to play music from the Music app while performing measurements with SoundMeter or SoundMeter Pro. It is also possible to mix the output of the signal generator with the audio output from another app.

Also new in each app, when using an iPhone or iPad that has multiple built-in microphones, the unique name of the selected microphone is displayed (e.g. “Bottom Microphone” or “Right Microphone”).

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SoundMeter now offers Octave data logging on iPhone and iPad

For some time, SoundMeter has offered an optional in-app upgrade that would allow users to log sound level and noise dose measurements for up to two weeks. Version 8.1 adds an upgrade to allow whole and 1/3 octave sound levels to be logged for similar durations. The Octave Data Logging Upgrade will be made available within SoundMeter to users who have already purchased the Octave Analyzer Upgrade.

OctaveSurf

When Octave data logging is enabled, logged levels are displayed in a 2D color surface plot below the standard Octave spectrum graph. The color scale is defined by the vertical scale of the spectrum graph. A data cursor may be placed within the log plot to identify specific levels associated with date,  time, and frequency band.

Octave data can be logged as often as every 0.1 seconds for up to 1 hour, every second for up to 10 hours, or every 10 seconds for up to two weeks. Larger intervals can also be specified in each case.

When data logging is enabled, logged levels will also be included when saving data to a CSV, TXT, or MAT
file. (Saving data in SoundMeter requires the Data Acquisition Upgrade, sold separately.)

SoundMeter Pro includes all the functionality of SoundMeter plus that of SoundMeter’s in-app upgrades. Current SoundMeter Pro users get the additional Octave data logging functionality for free.

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OctaveLog

SoundMeter 8 includes companion app for Apple Watch

SoundMeter 8.0 and SoundMeter Pro 4.0, which are both now available for download on the App Store, each include a companion app for Apple Watch. With the Watch app, you can monitor the current sound level, spectrum, and/or noise dose from your wrist (requires iOS 8.2 and iPhone 5 or later). These new versions of SoundMeter add other significant features, as well, including background sound level measurements and notifications of exceeded levels. The original sound level meter app for iPhone has now become the original sound level meter app for Apple Watch.

SoundMeter’s companion app for Apple Watch includes a separate screen for each of SoundMeter’s available tools running on the iPhone (new tools added to SoundMeter via in-app purchase are also supported in the companion app). Each tool can be started or stopped from the watch and current measurement values are updated on the watch display each second. The new notifications feature in SoundMeter allows the user to be notified on the Apple Watch when certain events occur. Notifications can be triggered when measurements stop (using the Auto-Stop feature) or when certain user-defined levels are exceeded. These notifications are supported in each of the Meter, Octave, and Dosimeter tools.

SoundMeter’s new ability to run in the background allows it to continue to run long-term measurements while other (non-audio) apps are in use. A complimentary new feature also allows the individual tools in SoundMeter to run independently. This means that users can run measurements in the Meter, Octave, and Dosimeter tools simultaneously. Users no longer need to worry about resetting the current measurement by switching to another tool (whether intentionally or accidentally). This makes SoundMeter more robust in terms of its ability to preserve acquired data until it can be saved more permanently in an image or data file.

Watch App Screenshots

SoundMeter Pro Screen Shot - Apple Watch  SoundMeter Pro Screen Shot - Apple Watch

SoundMeter Pro Screen Shot - Apple Watch  SoundMeter Pro Screen Shot - Apple Watch

The new versions of SoundMeter also include the following improvements:

  • Lx (percentile-exceeded sound level) measurements now use the same time and frequency weighting as the Lp measurement, instead of automatically switching to Fast and A weighting.
  • Frequency weighting may now be set to Flat, A, or C in the Dosimeter options menu (previously, the Dosimeter only allowed A weighting).
  • Meter, Octave, and Dosimeter tools now use local notifications to alert you when a measurement has finished or when selected levels have exceeded user-defined thresholds.
  • This release corrects a bug that could cause the device sensitivity for the built-in mic or the headset input to get corrupted when changing input gain selection with device units set to “FS.”

Notes:

  1. Octave and Dosimeter tools, Lx measurement and data file export capability are sold separately within SoundMeter via in-app purchase. These capabilities are all included with SoundMeter Pro.
  2. This SoundMeter update will require you to restore your in-app purchases (you will not be charged again for upgrades you have already purchased).
  3. Apple Watch compatibility requires iOS 8.2 and iPhone 5 or later.

 

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SoundMeter Pro adds NC, RNC, NR reference curves and Octave data overlays

SoundMeter Pro 3 now offers the option to overlay noise criteria (NC), room noise criteria (RNC), or noise rating (NR) references curves over the live Octave analyzer bar graph. When NC or NR references curves are visible, SoundMeter Pro also calculates the NC or NR value, respectively. Speech interference level (SIL) is also calculated.

As in the recent update to SignalScope Pro, SoundMeter Pro’s Octave analyzer tool now offers the option to load whole or 1/3-octave spectrum data from exported Octave data files. Up to six sound spectrum curves can be overlaid on the live bar graph. It is possible to select the individual channels from which to load data when multiple channels of data exist within a single file. Also of note is the ability to overlay 1/3-octave data on a whole-octave bar graph and vice versa.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 7.16.14 PM

SoundMeter Pro 3 also features the following improvements:

  • The Octave tool now calculates Lp, Leq, and Lx values, regardless of which is currently being displayed.
  • The Octave tool calculates the noise criterion (NC) and speech interference level (SIL) as defined in ANSI S12.2-2008, as well as the noise rating (NR) level.
  • SoundMeter Pro 3 employs a new plotting framework for real-time data graphs and high resolution image export.
  • GPS coordinates, altitude, and accuracy may now optionally be saved with Octave analyzer data. Retrieving location information now works on iOS 8 for the Meter and Dosimeter tools, which can also export more detailed location information.
  • When viewing details for data files saved within the app, the Open In button now works properly on both iOS 7 and iOS 8. Depending on the file type and the apps installed and/or configured on your iOS device, options may be presented for emailing, previewing, printing or copying the file, in addition to opening the file in another app.

SoundMeter 7 offers the same enhancements as SoundMeter Pro 3, although some of the new features require upgrades which are available in SoundMeter via in-app purchase. These upgrades include the Octave Analyzer RTA Tool, Percentile-Exceeded Sound Levels, and Data Acquisition Support.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 11.36.39 AM copy

SoundMeter was the first sound level meter app ever available for iPhone and has been recognized as one of the most accurate and most reliable.

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SoundMeter adds support for iTestMic and iAudioInterface2

SoundMeter 6.3 and SoundMeter Pro 2.3 now officially support the iTestMic and iAudioInterface2 from Studio Six Digital.

With iTestMic, microphone sensitivity will be automatically loaded from calibration information stored in the iTestMic’s internal memory. This calibration information may have been set at the factory, or it may have been set from within an app, such as SoundMeter. In SoundMeter, it is possible to perform a sensitivity calibration without overwriting the calibration values stored in the iTestMic. SoundMeter can also store that information in the iTestMic for calibrated measurements in other apps that support the iTestMic. SoundMeter also supports selecting iTestMic’s high and low input ranges.

IMG_2555.PNG

Note: There is currently a bug that sometimes invalidates the calibration information stored within the iTestMic for the High mic input range. This bug affects use of the iTestMic with Studio Six Digital’s own apps, as well.

With iAudioInterface2, SoundMeter can select between mic and line input types, mic and line input gain ranges, and manual volume control options. The volume control knob of the iAudioInterface2 can be assigned to the input gain or the output gain, or it can be disabled entirely to avoid accidentally invalidating the current sensitivity calibration. Also from within the app, Phantom power and digital audio output may each be enabled or disabled. SoundMeter remembers each of these settings for the next time you connect iAudioInterface2 or relaunch the app.

IMG_2554.PNG

The new SoundMeter apps also support the Dayton UMM-6 USB measurement microphone. When the UMM-6 is detected, the user will be prompted to enter its serial number, which is typically printed on a label on the UMM-6. If a valid serial number is entered, SoundMeter will automatically download a calibration file from Dayton’s website and set the microphone sensitivity based on the information in the file.

Note: The Dayton UMM-6 must be connected to your iOS device via Apple’s USB camera adapter (either for Lightning or 30-pin dock connector, depending on your device). Sometimes the UMM-6 shows up in iOS as USB PnP Sound Device. If that happens, unplugging the UMM-6 and plugging it back in will generally solve the problem (it may take 2 or 3 tries). When properly connected, “UMM-6” will appear as the input device name in SoundMeter’s toolbar (at the top of the screen).

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Looking for the best sound level meter app

Last year, researchers at NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) began looking at mobile sound level meter apps, hoping to find that such apps could be suitable for occupational noise measurements. After defining specific criteria to qualify sound level meter apps as suitable for their tests, they set out to find matching apps for  iOS, Android, and Windows-based mobile devices. Ten iOS apps, out of over 130 available, were examined as part of their research. Of 62 Android apps downloaded for examination, only 4 apps partially met their criteria. No Windows-based apps qualified.

The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA). According to the published article, “The evidence suggests that for A-weighted data, SoundMeter is the app best suited for occupational and general purpose noise measurements. In addition to having the smallest mean difference for the A-weighted data, SoundMeter had the narrowest distribution of differences…”

SoundMeter Screenshot iPhone 5

The article concludes, “This study showed that certain sound measurement apps for Apple smartphones and tablets may be considered accurate and reliable to be used to assess occupational noise exposures. Android and Windows developers do not offer apps that meet the functionality needed for occupational noise assessments.”

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Noted at the end of the article: “The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.”

JASA Article

NIOSH Blog Article (with images and video)

 

Faber Acoustical announces SoundMeter Pro for iOS

Building on the success of SoundMeter, which debuted on the iPhone App Store in August of 2008, Faber Acoustical has announced the release of SoundMeter Pro. SoundMeter Pro turns your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a handheld data-logging sound level meter (SLM), data-logging noise dosimeter, and real-time analyzer (RTA).

SoundMeter Pro works with built-in or external measurement microphones to deliver reliable sound level measurements, including time-weighted and equivalent sound levels in addition to percentile-exceeded sound levels and noise dose. Measured levels can be logged at intervals as small as 0.1 seconds for durations of up to two weeks (longer measurement durations may require larger logging intervals). The built-in Octave tool performs sound level measurements in whole or 1/3-octave frequency bands.

In a recent article published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, NIOSH researchers found that, out of over 130 sound measurement apps for iOS, “SoundMeter is the app best suited for occupational and general purpose noise measurements.” SoundMeter Pro builds on everything SoundMeter has to offer.

With the built-in or headset microphone, SoundMeter Pro can measure peak sound levels of up to approximately 130 dB. Results may vary between iOS devices and headset microphones. External microphones may enable the measurement of much higher sound levels.

SoundMeter Pro also includes various features that users have come to expect from Faber apps, including the ability to save measurement data to CSV, TXT, or MAT files, save measurement displays to high resolution PDF files, switch between three different color schemes, and calibrate microphone input sensitivity. Exported data files may be retrieved from the iOS device via iTunes File Sharing or by enabling the app’s built-in file server and downloading the files to another device or computer via a standard web browser. The built-in signal generator tool further extends SoundMeter Pro’s utility by producing any of various test signals, including white noise, pink noise, frequency sweeps, and periodic waveforms.

Faber Acoustical has simultaneously announced the availability of SoundMeter 5.0. The new version of SoundMeter adds support for a new Data Logging Upgrade, which is available via in-app purchase. SoundMeter Pro includes all the functionality of SoundMeter 5 with all its available in-app purchase upgrades. Although both apps run on iOS 6, each also features a user interface tailored for iOS 7.

NOTE: Although it has been designed to do so, SoundMeter Pro is not guaranteed to meet ANSI or IEC standards for sound level meters. These standards require conformance of the entire measurement system, including software, hardware and microphones.

The built-in and headset microphones are suitable for certain, basic sound level measurements, but high precision external microphones may also be used with appropriate audio accessory hardware. Even though default sensitivity values are included for the built-in and headset microphones, for best results, SoundMeter Pro should be calibrated before use. Sound levels may be off by a few dB when using the default microphone sensitivity.

   SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 1 SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 2

   SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 3 SoundMeter Pro Screenshot iPhone 4

 

Minimum Requirements:
* iOS 6.0 or later
* iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
* 4.12 MB

Pricing and Availability:
SoundMeter Pro is now available for download on the App Store for $99.99 (USD). External hardware may be required for analog input capability. More information on SoundMeter Pro can be found at Faber Acoustical online. More information regarding suitable input devices for specific iOS devices can be found on the Faber Acoustical blog.

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SoundMeter 4.1 offers percentile-exceeded sound levels

SoundMeter 4.1, which is now available for download on the App Store, offers percentile-exceeded sound levels (Lx) via in-app purchase.

With the new upgrade, SoundMeter can display L10, L50, L90, or any percentile between 1 and 99. Percentile exceeded sound levels are also available in the Octave Analyzer tool (sold separately).

Also new in SoundMeter is the ability to set the meter to automatically stop after an arbitrary amount of elapsed time from 1 second to two weeks.

The Dosimeter and Octave Analyzer tools (sold separately) can also be set to automatically stop after a user-defined period of time.

Lx IAP Upgrade screenshot

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