Recommendation pls - accurate DB meter to prevent more hearing loss

The title says it all - looking to prevent any further loss while drumming, or in music monitoring levels in studio, Thanks

What is your budget? Extreme precision is expensive but may not be necessary for this application.

I have some familiarity with devices by REED Instruments. There are a variety of options available depending on the features required (such as logging datapoints to SD card). Maybe you only want to know the max value, in which case less sophisticated options would suffice.

For drumming in particular, it may be best to consistently wear good quality (up to and including custom) hearing protection if you aren’t already doing so.

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Thanks - yes, I do use appropriate hearing protection,. however on a jazz gig too much hearing protection means I can no longer hear subtleties on my drums and cymbals, necessary to the genre. I’m wanting to know when I’m at that sound level threshold where I don’t need earplugs (most of my jazz drumming is in a restaurant that’s super quiet, BUT…sometimes we dig in a bit.) When I’m in the studio recording rock, i use an almost shooting range type of tight fitting headphone that blocks out most of the actual drum sound significantly, and then feed the drums and whatever music I’m recording to back into the headphones at safe levels to monitor. I want to be safe and know I’m not going too far as well


For this application you could probably get by with your phone and an app like Sound Level Meter. I have a few old Radio Shack analog meters and I find the meter and strip chart in the app to be pretty good. There are also a LOT of classroom sound measuring devices, some that show you the actual dB and others that show you green/yellow/red/ lights set to your thresholds. I’m not sure how accurate they are dB-wise, but if they are repeatable then you can calibrate as you wish.

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Measuring transient sounds like drums accurately is very challenging. A SPL dB meter has several time response and frequency response settings. The meter is sensitive to positioning also. So there is no single correct measurement.
The old Radio Shack meters were great. The analog ones for experienced audio people and the digital ones for newbies.
I would think that a sell-phone app, would do the job.

Can you get a set of lower dB filtered musicians plugs for that?

My understanding is that even when played softly drums are too loud. But say you’re averaging 103 and can knock it back just 15dB with a well fit set of musicians plugs, that gives you longer to play without damage. And then… No snare rim shots.

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yes - i have 15db musicians plugs now. still messes with hearing the instrument details when I play. I think i average more like 70 ish.

You can get a lower filter to swap in. But if you really are playing at 70 then you don’t need hearing protection.