# decibel

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## decibel

**decibel**(dĕsˈəbĕlˌ, –bəl), abbr. dB, unit used to measure the loudness of sound. It is one tenth of a bel (named for A. G. Bell), but the larger unit is rarely used. The decibel is a measure of sound intensity as a function of power ratio, with the difference in decibels between two sounds being given by dB=10 log

_{10}(P

_{1}/P

_{2}), where P

_{1}and P

_{2}are the power levels of the two sounds. The faintest audible sound, corresponding to a sound pressure of about 0.0002 dyne per sq cm, is arbitrarily assigned a value of 0 dB. The loudest sounds that can be tolerated by the human ear are about 120 dB. The level of normal conversation is about 50 to 60 dB. The decibel is also used to measure certain other quantities, such as power loss in telephone lines.

## Decibel

A logarithmic unit used to express the magnitude of a change in level of power, voltage, current, or sound intensity. A decibel (dB) is 1/10 bel.

In acoustics a step of 1 bel is too large for most uses. It is therefore the practice to express sound intensity in decibels. The level of a sound of intensity *I* in decibels relative to a reference intensity *I _{R}* is given by notation (1).

*P*, the level in decibels is given by Eq. (2).

^{2}or 0.0002 microbar. (The pressure of the Earth's atmosphere at sea level is approximately 1 bar.)

*See*Sound pressure

The neper is similar to the decibel but is based upon natural (napierian) logarithms. One neper is equal to 8.686 dB.

*The Great Soviet Encyclopedia*(1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

## Decibel

a fractional unit of the bel (a unit of relative logarithmic value—the common logarithm of the ratio of two synonymous physical quantities, such as energy, power, or sound pressure). The decibel is equal to 0.1 bel. Symbols: Russian, db; international, dB. In practice the decibel is more often used than the bel, the basic unit.

## decibel

[′des·ə‚bel]^{-4}dyne per square centimeter; equal to one-tenth bel; if

*P*

_{1}and

*P*

_{2}are two amounts of power, the first is said to be

*n*decibels greater, where

*n*= 10 log

_{10}(

*P*

_{1}/

*P*

_{2}). Abbreviated dB.

## decibel

## decibel

**1.**a unit for comparing two currents, voltages, or power levels, equal to one tenth of a bel

**2.**a similar unit for measuring the intensity of a sound. It is equal to ten times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of the intensity of the sound to be measured to the intensity of some reference sound, usually the lowest audible note of the same frequency

## deciBel

A unit of measurement of the loudness or strength of a signal. One deciBel is considered the smallest difference in sound level that the human ear can discern. Created in the early days of telephony as a way to measure cable and equipment performance and named after Alexander Graham Bell, deciBels (dBs) are a relative measurement derived from two signal levels: a reference input level and an observed output level. A deciBel is the logarithm of the ratio of the two levels. One Bel is when the output signal is 10x that of the input, and one deciBel is 1/10th of a Bel.**Sound Levels**

A whisper is about 20 dB. A normal conversation is typically from 60 to 70 dB, and a noisy factory from 90 to 100 dB. Loud thunder is approximately 110 dB, and 120 dB borders on the threshold of pain. In 1883, the volcano on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa erupted. A hundred miles away, the sound level reached more than 170 dB, deafening everyone who survived. See dBm.

INCREASE IN POWER LEVELS (WATTS)Formula is dB=10*log(P1/P2)DeciBels Output Signal Strength3dB 2x 6dB 4x 10dB (1 Bel) 10x 20dB 100x 30dB 1,000x 40db 10,000xATTENUATION OF AMPLITUDE (VOLTS or AMPS)Formula is dB=20*log(A1/A2)DeciBels Output Signal Strength-3dB 0.707x -6dB 0.5x -10dB 0.316x -20dB 0.1x -30dB 0.032x -40db 0.010x

Bels and Bells |
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Quite a lot was named after Alexander Graham Bell. Throughout the 20th century, the Bell name was ubiquitous. It will live on with the deciBel. |

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