db setting


I have a question.
If i listen to a song with the volume of the player at half and can hear that song from across the room, then, if i set the dB setting of the song to, let’s say, -36, so the song becomes inaudible from across the room having the same volume level of the player, my question would be : does the audio wave still reaches my audio cortex (brain), has the audio wave the same power ? (in this manner one song would act like a subliminal audio)
Thank you very much!

does the audio wave still reaches my audio cortex (brain)

The quiet soundwaves still hit your ears, but IMO if you can’t hear it you can’t hear it and it never gets into your brain. Same if the sound is drowned-out… If somebody is talking to you but there is a lot of noise so you can’t hear, the soundwaves of the talking still exist and still hit your ears.

Something similar happens if you’re simply not paying attention… Maybe you have the radio or TV on and you’re “not listening”. If you are not paying attention to the sports score (or whatever) you’re never going to “remember” it.

People who believe in subliminal messaging will disagree. :wink:

has the audio wave the same power ?’

Of course not. 3dB is a power factor* of 2, 10dB is a factor of 10, and 20dB is a power factor of 100. If your amplifier is putting-out 100 Watts and you reduce it by 20dB, you’re down to 1W.

BTW: -36dB has to be relative to something. For example, if your volume is adjusted so 0dBFS (digital) puts-out 100dB SPL (“rock concert” loudness) then your loudness is 64dB SPL which is still audible (unless background noise drowns it out).


  • Power and amplitude (or voltage) dB ratios are different. If you cut the height of the Audacity waveform from 1.0 to 0.5 that’s a -6dB drop which gives you half the voltage out of your soundcard and half the voltage out of your amplifier but it’s 1/4th of the power (wattage).

Thank you for your elaborate answer !

I don’t have a technical knowledge so i kinda used a generic use of words…

My interest is that my example is valid as described :slight_smile:

On another note, quite a few scientific researches prove that the treshold of not seeing or hearing a stimuli is not an obstacle for an effect to manifest.
Just today i read a rather large document regarding experiments since the second world war until contemporary days, involving soldiers, sportsmen, “normal” civilians , laboratory experiments, etc. . So, the exploring of the subject is open :slight_smile:

Thank you once again !

https ://www.snopes.com/fact-check/subliminal-advertising/

Working on supposition, it seems as though your playing music in Audacity and have hooked-up your device to some external amplification, and turned the volume slider down in Audacity to -36db.

At that low volume, audio would be inaudible from several feet away.

If its reaching your brain or not - sorry cant help

Yes, something like this. I used Audacity for modifying the volume of the audio track, while maintaining the device/player’s volume at the same level (that is an audible level for the audio track’s “normal volume” ).

Thank you for your answer !

Thanks for the input but that is only an article while much more professional studies and researches don’t get that much attention.

There’s a 2006 study by Johan Karremans, Jasper Claus and Wolfgang Stroebe.
Their findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.