A : Sound and Vibration Definitions, Terms, Units, Measurements ...
% Noise Dose
1/n-Octave analysis made on a fractional part of an octave where n is the variable. Commonly used values are 1/1, 1/3, 1/12 and 1/24-octave.
A/D Converter, converts a analogue signal to a digital signal.
Absorption, in acoustics is the transfer of sound energy from a sound wave into other matter as the wave passes through it.
conversion of electromagnetic or acoustic wave energy into another form of energy, for instance heat, by interaction with matter
Absorption Loss Definition IEC 801-23-40 that part of the transmission loss due to the dissipation or conversion of sound energy, either within the medium or attendant upon a reflection.
See also sound absorption
AC Coupling, the connection of a signal from one circuit to another in a manner that rejects DC components, see also DC coupling.
Accelerance, complex ratio of acceleration to applied force.
Acceleration is the rate of change of
velocity and is a
The SI units are m/s2 or if using Imperial units then 'g' = 9.80665 m/s2 = 386.089 in/s2
angular frequency ω = 2·π·f, are related as follows
Velocity = a/ω and Displacement = v/ω so at 159 Hz an acceleration of 10 m/s2 = 0.01 m/s and = 10 μm.
This works for all frequencies, we chose 159 Hz to keep the numbers simple. We also have a
vibration nomogram for downloading.
If 1 N = 1 Kg·m/s2 it follows that m/s2 acceleration also equals N/kg Newtons per kilogram.
Amax is the Maximum RMS Acceleration.
Amp is the Maximum Peak Acceleration.
aw is time-averaged, frequency-weighted, single-axis vibration acceleration.
angular acceleration •
particle acceleration, used in acoustic wave theory.
vector quantity a = dv/dt, where v is velocity and t is time
● Note 1 : the acceleration is related to a point described by its position vector. The point may localize a particle, or be attached to any other object such as a body or a wave.
● Note 2 : the acceleration depends on the chosen reference frame.
● Note 3 : the coherent SI unit of acceleration is metre per second squared, m/s².
The human response to vibration covers a wide range from a few μm/s2 to tens of metres per second squared. The dB scale is a useful way to represent the immense range using a manageable set of numbers, see the Acceleration Level units below.
Acceleration Level dB : La = 20 lg (a/ao) dB re 1 µm/s2 - also known as Vibration Acceleration Level
Acceleration Reference Level : ao = 1 μm/s2 ≡ 0 dB (also defined in ISO 1683) *
An increase or decrease in acceleration of 20 dB = a factor of 10
An increase or decrease in acceleration of 40 dB = a factor of 100
An increase or decrease in acceleration of 60 dB = a factor of 1000 etc.
Acceleration Level Definition IEC 801-22-09 logarithm of the ratio of a given (vibratory) acceleration to the reference acceleration. Acceleration level in decibels is 20 times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio
● Note 1 : unless otherwise specified, the reference acceleration is 1 μm/s2 *
● Note 2 : unless otherwise specified, the accelerations are understood to be expressed in RMS values.
* ISO 1683 also states : 'in connection with structure-borne sound, a vibratory acceleration reference value of 10 μm/s2 is also in use'
See other Reference Levels
and the IEC Definition of Level
Acceleration Equivalent Level (Aeq), a single number to represent the equivalent acceleration energy as it varies over a working day, measured in m/s2. For example Aeq8 = 2.5 m/s2 indicates a equivalent level of 2.5 m/s2 measured over an 8 hour shift.
To calculate the equivalent value for other periods use the formulae Aeq8 = a √T/8 where T = hours
Aeq4 and Aeq16 are also used in some vibration exposure applications.
hand arm vibration •
vibration at work regulations •
vibration dose value •
whole body vibration
Accelerometer, a vibration sensor whose electrical output is directly proportional to the acceleration component of the vibration. The two most common accelerometer types are the traditional charge type and the IEPE, integrated electronic piezoelectric type with a built-in line-drive amplifier to enable the output signal to be transmitted over 'longer cable runs'.
ACGIH : American Conference of Industrial Hygienists
Acoustic Admittance Definition IEC 801-25-46 reciprocal of acoustic impedance
Acoustic Calibrator, an instrument providing a reference noise source used to calibrate and check the performance of sound level meters.
Acoustic Coupler, cavity of predetermined shape and volume used, for example, for the calibration of earphones or microphones in conjunction with a calibrated microphone adapted to measure the sound pressure developed within the cavity.
Acoustic Emission, the energy that is generated when materials are under stress or break.
Acoustic Impedance is the opposition to the flow of sound through a medium.
Acoustic Impedance (Za), at a surface is the complex ratio of the effective sound pressure averaged over the surface to the effective volume velocity through it.
Za = p/Q the SI Units are Pa·s/m5 (MKS units: acoustic ohms)
Acoustic Impedance Definition IEC 801-25-40 at a specified surface, quotient of sound pressure by volume velocity through the surface
See also •
acoustic admittance •
acoustic ohm •
acoustic resistance •
characteristic acoustic impedance •
characteristic impedance of a medium •
complex acoustic impedance •
conjugate impedances •
driving point impedance •
specific acoustic impedance •
specific wall impedance •
Acoustic Louvre a louvre designed with sound-attenuating baffles for reduction of airborne sound.
at a frequency for which inertia is dominant, quotient of sound pressure by the resulting in-phase volume acceleration during sinusoidal motion. Also known as Inertance
● Note : acoustic mass has dimensions of mass divided by the square of area
Acoustic Ohm is a unit of measurement of sound resistance, and is the ratio of the sound pressure to volume flow, m3/s = Pa s/m3
See also acoustic impedance above.
Acoustic Oscillation Definition IEC 801-21-01 movement of particles in an elastic medium about an equilibrium position
See also audible sound • oscillation
Acoustic Phase Coefficient Definition IEC 801-23-37 imaginary part of the linear exponent of sound propagation
● Note : the unit is the radian per metre
Acoustic Power also known as sound power is the sound energy measured over a stated period of time.
Acoustic Radiation Pressure Definition IEC 801-21-42 unidirectional steady pressure exerted on a surface by an acoustic wave.
Acoustic Reactance Definition IEC 801-25-42 the imaginary part of acoustic impedance
Acoustic Resistance Definition IEC 801-25-41 the real part of acoustic impedance
Acoustic Reference Levels
Acoustic Streaming Definition IEC 801-23-43 unidirectional current in a fluid due to the presence of acoustic waves
Acoustic Trauma damage to the hearing mechanism caused by a sudden burst of intense noise, or by a blast. The term usually implies a single traumatic event.
Acoustic Velocity Level under Particle Velocity Level
Acoustic Vibration Definition IEC 801-21-01 movement of particles in an elastic medium about an equilibrium position
Active Noise Control reducing unwanted sound electronically. When a sound wave of equal amplitude but opposite sign (180 degree out of phase) is added to the original sound the result is sound cancellation.
Active Sound Field
Active Sound Intensity
reciprocal of impedance of stated kind
See also acoustic admittance
ADPCM : Adaptive Pulse Code Modulation
Aeq : Acceleration Equivalent Value
Aeq4 : Aeq8 : Aeq16
Age Related Threshold Shift : ARTS
AI : Articulation Index
Airborne Sound sound that reaches the point of interest by propagation through air.
Airborne Sound Insulation Index, Ia'' former name for - weighted apparent sound reduction index, R'w
Air Condenser Microphones are widely used in noise measurements because they offer the best linearity, frequency range and high stability. Because of their importance we have prepared more details under Measurement Microphones
Algorithm a specific procedure for solving mathematical problems. An FFT, fast fourier transform is an algorithm.
Aliasing digital sampling requires the analogue signal to be sampled at twice the frequency of interest otherwise aliasing occurs. If the signal is not filtered to eliminate the high frequencies, they appear as 'false' lower frequency signals. Once 'introduced' these aliased signals cannot be distinguished from valid sampled data.
Amax is the maximum RMS acceleration.
encompassing sound, at a given place, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources near and far.
Other noise descriptors :
ambient noise •
background noise •
broadband noise •
narrowband noise •
pink noise •
pseudo random noise •
random noise •
specific noise •
white noise •
Ambient Pressure is the pressure of the surrounding medium. The SI unit is the Pascal, Pa which is very small relative to the atmospheric pressure.
Amin is the minimum RMS acceleration
Amp is the maximum peak acceleration.
Ampere : A the basic SI unit of electric current; the constant current that, when maintained in two parallel conductors of infinite length and negligible cross section placed 1 metre apart in free space, produces a force of 2 x 10-7 Newton per metre between them.
1 ampere is equivalent to 1 Coulomb per second.
Amplification Factor : Q the mechanical gain of a structure when excited at a resonant frequency. The amplification factor is a function of the system damping. For a damping ratio = 0 (no damping) the amplification factor is infinite, for = 1 (critically damped) there is no amplification.
Amplitude the magnitude of an oscillating quantity, for example
sound pressure or vibration level. In the case of a vibrating object, the amplitude is measured and expressed in three ways: displacement, velocity and acceleration. Amplitude is also the y-axis of the vibration time waveform and spectrum; it helps define the severity of the vibration.
Amplitude Distribution a representation of time-varying noise indicating the percentage of time that the noise level is present in a series of amplitude intervals.
Amplitude Probability used to investigate the amplitude distribution of signals.
Also known as Probability Amplitude.
Analogue continuously variable physical quantity, such as a sound or vibration wave.
Analogue to Digital Converter converts an analogue signal to a digital one. US spelling is analog.
Anechoic without echo, refers to the absence of sound reflections. It is not possible to create a truly anechoic environment, as the perfect sound absorber does not exist, an expensive Anechoic Chamber is as close as it gets. However measurements in a 'field' well away from any reflective surfaces and any other sound sources can approximate to semi-anechoic conditions.
Anechoic Chamber echo free room, within specified limits. The walls are lined with sound absorbent wedges to minimize reflections and create free-field conditions, so direct sound measurements of test objects may be made. Low frequency measurements are restricted by the room dimensions and the sound absorbing materials 'wedges' used.
Anechoic Chamber Definition IEC 723-03-31 room with no appreciable reverberation, used for acoustic measurements
room whose boundaries absorb substantially all the sound incident thereon, thereby affording free-field conditions. Also known as an Free Field Room
Angle of Incidence
Angle of Reflection
Angles angles are usually expressed in degrees or radians. Less often as Grads or Gradians (except on some electronic calculators)
| Degrees || 0° || 30° || 45° || 60°|| 90° || 180° || 270° || 360° |
| Radians || 0 || π/6 || π4 || π/3|| π/2 || π || 3 π/2 || 2π |
| Grads || 0g || 100g/3 || 50g || 200g/3 || 100g || 200g || 300g || 400g |
Angular physical properties or quantities measured with reference to an angle, especially those associated with rotation
: α is the rate of change of angular velocity with time. Units radians per second squared, rads/s2
Angular Deviation Loss Definition IEC 801-25-69 sensitivity level of the transducer on the principal axis minus the sensitivity level of the transducer for a specified direction
Angular Displacement : θ is measured in radians rather than
degrees. This is because it provides a very simple relationship between distance travelled around the circle and the distance r from the centre.
θ = s/r = length of arc divided by the radius in radians
Angular Frequency : ω the frequency expressed in radians per second (rad/s). To convert a frequency in hertz to an angular frequency multiply by 2·π . For an oscillation with period T, the angular frequency ω = 2·π / T
Angular Momentum : L the quantity of rotation of a body, which is the product of the moment of Inertia and it's angular velocity : units newton metre seconds (N·m·s)
Angular Velocity : v the rate of change of angular position of a rotating body : units radians per second, rads/s
ANSI : American National Standards Institution:
Anti-aliasing Filter analogue low pass filters used before analogue to digital conversion to filter out the frequencies greater than half the sampling frequency and prevent aliasing .
See also nyquist frequency.
phenomenon of a system in forced oscillation such that any change in the frequency of excitation, however small, results in an increase in a response of the system
● Note : the quantity that is the measure of response must be indicated; for example, velocity anti-resonance.
See also resonance
Apodization Function also called a Tapering or Window Function. It provides a smooth amplitude weighting of a signal to zero at the beginning and the end of the record to be sampled. This suppresses leakage which would otherwise be produced upon performing a discrete fourier transform.
Apparent Sound Insulation Index : R'
Weighted Apparent Sound Reduction Index : R'w
Area : A a quantity expressing the two-dimensional size of a defined part of a surface.
Surface Area refers to the total area of the exposed surface of a 3-dimensional solid.
The derived SI unit is the square metre, symbol m2
, 1 m2
= 1 m by 1 m or 2 m by 0.5 m, etc., 25 mm by 25 mm = 0.025 m by 0.025 m = 0.000625 m2
see also cross section area
Articulation Index and Intelligibility
Artificial Ear device for the calibration of earphones, incorporating a calibrated microphone for the measurement of sound pressure and an acoustic coupler such that the overall acoustic impedance is similar to that of the normal human ear in a given frequency band
Also know as an Ear Simulator
Artificial Mastoid device which simulates the mechanical impedance of the average human mastoid where a bone vibrator may be applied to permit calibration of the vibrator.
Artificial Mouth device consisting of a loudspeaker unit mounted in a baffle or an enclosure so shaped as to have a radiation pattern similar to that of the average human mouth.
Artificial Reverberation reverberation generated by electrical or acoustical means to simulate that of concert halls, etc., Added to a signal to make it sound more lifelike.
Artificial Voice a complex sound, usually emitted by an Artificial Mouth whose spectrum corresponds to that of the average human voice.
ARTS : Age Related Threshold Shift
ASHRAE : American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
Asymmetric a waveform not identical on both sides of the mean or zero line, lacks symmetry.
Atmospheric Absorption up to a few hundred metres atmospheric absorption can be ignored. At greater differences it can be significant particularly at frequencies above 1 kHz, see also sound absorption
Atmospheric Pressure : atm is the force per unit area exerted on a surface by the weight of air above that surface.
Standard Atmospheric Pressure at sea level, is equal to 101.325 kPa the preferred SI units or 8760 mmHg and 1013.25 millibars.
Attenuation Coefficient Definition IEC 801-23-35 real part of the linear exponent of sound propagation.
● Note : the unit is the Neper per metre.
Audible Range the human ear can respond to minute
pressure variations in the air if they are in the
frequency range, roughly 20 Hz - 20 kHz and wavelength 17 m to 0.017 mm.
a) acoustic oscillation of such character as to be capable of exciting a sensation of hearing
b) sensation of hearing excited by an acoustic oscillation or vibration
Audiogram graph showing hearing loss as a function of frequency, measured with an audiometer.
Audiometer an instrument for testing hearing, standard equipment in ENT, Audiometry and Audiology Centres.
Auditory Masking occurs when the perception of one sound is affected by the presence of another sound
See also critical bands •
threshold of hearing.
Autocorrelation the correlation between values of a signal at different times. A signal processing tool for finding repeating patterns, such as the presence of a periodic signal(s) 'buried in noise'. It is frequently used for analysing time domain functions. It is the cross-correlation of a signal with itself.
Auto Scale the axes of the graph used to display time signal, spectra, post-processed functions, etc., are automatically set by the software to fit the full display into the available viewing area.
Autospectrum for FFT measurements, the fourier transform of a time signal is complex as it has magnitude and phase. The autospectrum is the average of the squared magnitude. For 1/n-octave constant percentage bandwidth measurements, it is the mean square of the filter output.
Average in acoustics where dB levels are extensively used, average may not mean adding up the values and then dividing by the number of samples. See our discussion calculations using the decibel
ensemble averaging •
exponential averaging •
linear averaging •
power spectrum averaging •
rms averaging •
spatial averaging •
spectrum averaging •
time domain averaging •
Average Sound Level
Average Sound Pressure Level
Average Speech Power
aw is the time-averaged frequency-weighted, single-axis vibration acceleration.
Axial Mode the room resonances associated with each pair of parallel walls in a rectangular room.
Glossary Search •
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