Adventures In Audio

SoundBite: An introduction to decibels

Transcript

I'd like to introduce you to decibels. If you've already been introduced then maybe this isn't the video for you but - who knows - it might be interesting. What I'm interested in here is changes in level and I'm going to illustrate changes from just 1 dB all the way to 20 dB which, as you will hear, is a significant change. As source material I'm going to use grey noise - not white, not pink, not brown or any fancy colour, just grey. It sounds nice and, hey, you can look it up if you need to. I'm going to alternate between full level and 1 dB lower every two seconds. Here we go...

One decibel is a very small difference and most people wouldn't notice it without a direct comparison. But three dB - Would you notice that?

3dB is about the difference that makes a difference. Anyone can hear it whether or not they have a direct comparison or whether they're listening out for it. Let's go large. Here's a 10 dB difference...

Yes this is a lot of difference. It's the kind of change you might make to an instrument or vocal when you're setting up your mix. But once you've really started to mix it would be rare to make a change as big as this. But do it if you need to, do it if you want to. We've gone large, now let's go mighty. 20 decibels. If I put this in terms of percentages, the level at 20 dB down is just one percent of the original.

So there you have it - decibels. Have a play for yourself in your DAW and see what these differences mean to your music. Thank you for listening.

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Tuesday October 11, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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