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Decibel

From Chace Audio

A decibel (dB), named by Bell labs for it's founder, Alexander Graham Bell, is a logarithmic, relative scale for measuring power or amplitude, and it is used in a wide variety of disciplines. With respect to audio, it is a measurement of loudness.

Human hearing has a dynamic range of about 120dB from the quietest sound we can hear to a loudness that will cause physical damage to the ear. It takes an increase of 6dB for us to perceive a sound as twice as loud.

85dB is widely used for zero VU reference in a theatrical playback environment. dB terminology is also used as a reference point above and below 0vu. For example, -20dB to -5dB (below 0vu) is a typical level for theatrical dialogue. +6dB to +12dB (above 0vu) represent very loud events in a soundtrack.

In most professional sound studios in North America, 0dBvu (analog scale) = -20dBFS (digital scale).

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SOUND THEORY