decibel data logging

I have not downloaded or used Audacity
This is a general question aimed at determining if the latest version of Audacity for Windows 7 has a feature that will help me address a problem.
I need a decibel data recorder. I may not have the terminology correct so I will also describe the function I am searching for. I need to be able to record sound/noise/decibel levels over a period of time probably 8 hours and then be able to display it graphically. What I would like to show is how loud the environment is across a period of time. For example, if this data could be displayed as a line graph it would show time across the bottom and decibel level up the left side. The resulting line graph would allow me to point to a particular moment in the day and note the decibel level at that time. At the same time I want to absolutely avoid recording voice or conversation. Does Audacity have this capability?

I have been thinking about downloading Audacity and learning how to use it for another project but the feature described above is the pressing need at the moment.

Thanks :question:

No, for two reasons:

— We’re not going to help you get your neighbor arrested for excessive dog barking.

— Audacity doesn’t do anything in real time. No voice filters (which don’t exist) or any other effects. It will record anything the microphone presents, voices, dogs and all.


To measure “sound pressure level” ( you need a calibrated measuring device (such as a “sound pressure level meter”). A recording on an uncalibrated system can only show you how loud one sound is compared to another, it cannot tell you how “loud” the sound is (it can’t show you the “sound pressure level”).

Steve Thanks for the explanation.

Mr Kozikowski I am not so inclined to thank you for making a rude, and I might add inaccurate assumption, concerning something you know nothing about. Here’s a clue. 8 hrs is about the length of a work day. Next time it would be far more helpful if you simply stuck to explaining Audacity’s capabilities.

It’s also the length of time most people are trying to sleep.

Radio Shack had a series of actual calibrated sound meters that didn’t cost a million dollars, but in the recent reorganization dropped the product. They made noises (so to speak) about bringing the product out again during the fire sale, but I see it’s not on the product listings. We’re not on the edge of our seats.

Most health and safety laws in the US are written for “A” Weighing" measurements, not music quality. In any event, the instrument wouldn’t record.

You may be paying someone to do this to avoid buying what could be a very expensive meter with sporadic use.


This can be done and you can buy equipment to do it. [u]here[/u] is something Google turned-up.

You could try recording with Audacity (or another application*) and calibrating your computer/microphone with an SPL meter,** but you would be recording audio, and although Audacity can be used to find the peak & RMS values (of the whole file or selected portion) and it can show you a graph of the waveform amplitude, it isn’t going to help you with graphing the results in the format you want. And, it won’t be weighted.

You could use MATLAB (or a MATLAB clone) to analyze audio files, and I’m sure MATLAB can also apply the weighting but you’d need an actual audio recording.


  • For an 8-hour recording, I’d suggest using software than can record directly to MP3. That will help avoid issues (and the extra step) with exporting after recording, and MP3 will avoid the issue of exceeding the WAV file size limit.

** For example, if a 90dB SPL on the sound level meter sound level gives you a digital file level of -10dBFS, a 96dB SPL level will give you a file at -4dBFS. Of course, you can’t move the microphone or change the recording level on the computer after calibrating.

And all that is only for your own personal satisfaction and happiness. The first time you try to use that information for something official, someone is going to ask you the model number and certification of the SPL meter you used and you’re stuck.

you simply stuck to explaining Audacity’s capabilities.

As a forum elf, we’re sensitive to getting Audacity involved in disputes.

8 hrs is about the length of a work day.

The last time someone walked around the workplace with an SPL meter, someone had brought action concerning excessive and hazardous noise levels. Your question falls exactly into that category, particularly as we still don’t know what the job is.