Top critical review
90 people found this helpful
I wasn't as happy as I should have been.
on February 24, 2013
I'm a long time sound meter user, for the purpose of setting up a Home Theater listening system of fifteen plus years.
Before "upgrading" to this unit, I was using a Radio Shack, digital sound meter, the standard on many Home Theater forums. I wanted better because like most, better is, well, just better; security in knowing you're using better.
Buyer beware: this is not a spec'd sound level meter. There are four types of sound meters; lab grade type 0, field/lab grade Type 1, professional general field use Type 2 and the unspecified Type 3 with the lowest calibration standards for general survey work to see if one needs a better quality sound meter. This unit qualifies as a Type 3 as there's no mention in the provided data sheet of this unit being of any type. This is very important if one is going buy and use this unit for required spec'd measurements such as OSHA, lab, legal or law enforcement.
Overall, my first impressions were, how light it was. Yes, I'm human and I like my gear to have some heft to it. Along with this sound meter, I purchased a sound meter calibrator. Beware, the first thing I did when calibrating this unit, I pushed the side mounted calibration wheel into the casing and had to take the case apart to "bend" the potentiometer, back into place. Not a good sign. The adjustment feature needs to be better secured as I'm a careful user of gear and from my experience, this shouldn't have happened. It's fixed, you've been warned, life is good.
Moving forward, the meter reading is what I would characterize as unstable (even on slow, the readings flicker too much) and with a noise threshold of >40dB, does not go low enough for in room measurements. The Radio Shack, digital sound meter is limited to >50dB and yes, at >40dB, this unit is an improvement but at <40dB, in room measurements are lower then the range of this unit. The specifications state that this sound meter has a range of 40dB to 130dB and if the measurement is <40dB, one gets a constant "LO" error message. A normal quiet room is in the 35dB to 39dB range.
Most Type 2 sound meters are spec'd down to 31.5Hz. This unit is spec'd 300Hz to 8kHz which leaves reliable subwoofer set up out of consideration. If one is doing general, outdoor, factory measurements, you'll be good but if setting up a Home Theater sound system, this is not the meter one should consider. For the price, the manufacture needs to improve on the sensitivity of this sound meter.
The unit has a small threaded insert in the back so it can be held by a tripod with an appropriate sized thread tripod mount screw. The unit can be used as a microphone but if recording or doing room measurements and one has a laptop, I would recommend purchasing a USB measuring microphone and use your sound meter for just that, measuring sound pressure levels and nothing more.
The meter lacks back lighting capability which makes it difficult to use in low light situations.
Overall, I will give that it has a nice feel to the hand. A bit light but still, a nice feel. But for the price, I expected better and was disappointed to the point that I parked it on a shelf and bought another sound meter. If one wishes, they can check my other reviews as I have filed a review on this third sound meter.
One can buy this unit and expect to get dependable use from it but in my opinion, it has too many user limitations to be considered anything more than an entry level sound meter. I will not be returning this sound meter because it works as advertised but overall, based on my above, I can't recommend buying this unit.
I've had the sound meter for a month. The power button is getting a bit wonky and at our expense, we're looking to have to send it to the manufacture for repair or replacement.