Correct way to use SPL meter and where to point?


Prominent Member
Mar 22, 2003
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Evening all,

There are plenty of FAQ's out there as to how to use the Radio Shack SPL meter to measure subwoofer performance but there seems to be very different ways of using the thing. Specifically, once you have the meter at ear level in your listening position, should you:

1. Point the meter at the sub
2. Point the meter towards the front sound stage
3. Point the meter upwards at the ceiling upwards

Or does it not matter? I've come across all three suggestions including one that said not to hold the meter with your hand as even this would affect the reading :eek:


Most of the sites I've read say point at the ceiling.
Ideally you should have a tripod to mount it for consistency :rolleyes:
I really don't think it's that critical, myself.
I set up with an SPL then tweak to suit my ears.
I point it directly towards the ceiling, and at ear level, at the position of seating. When the tone plays if you move it around the listening area you can tell how sensitive it is to placement. Invariably with low bass tones not that much.
At the ceiling, although it's not a problem when you're only worrying about low frequencies.

The capsule is more sensitive at the top so if you pointed it towards the front of your room you'd get comparable readings from your front speakers but the rear speakers would measure lower than they're actually set to as the meter isn't getting their sound as well. :)
Many thanks, ceiling it is :smashin:


I put my SPL meter facing sideways when sub testing. That way I can see the meter from some distance away at my computer. Facing it upwards with the meter towards the computer would be equally useful if I was using my tripod. Though I usually place a long cardboard box on my listening chair with a cushion on top on which to rest the SPL meter exactly at ear level. If I use the tripod I have to move my chair somewhere else and life is just too short for that. SWMBO rules apply indoors and less hassle means I live longer. :D

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