Sound: What Is It … More Importantly, Weighted Scales of Frequencies

We’ve blogged about sound and what exactly it is before, see the link. Understanding that sound is vibration traveling through the air which it is utilizing as an elastic medium.  Well, rather than me continue to write this out, I found a great video to share that is written in song to better recap how sound is created.

Now that we have that recap and understand better what sound is let’s dig a little deeper to better understand why some sounds may appear louder to a person when they may not appear different on a sound scale that is shown by something like a Digital Sound Level Meter.

Loudness is how a person perceives sound and this is correlated to the sound pressure of the frequency of the sound in question.  The loudness is broken into three different weighing scales that are internationally standardized. Each of these scales, A, C, and Z apply a weight to different frequency levels.

  1. The most commonly observed scale here in the USA is the A scale. A is the OSHA selected scale for industrial environments and discriminates against low frequencies greatly.
  2. Z is the zero weighting scale to keep all frequencies equal, this scale was introduced in 2003 as the international standard.
  3. C scale does not attenuate these lower frequencies as they are carrying the ability to cause vibrations within structures or buildings and carry their own set of risks.

To further the explanation on the A-weighted scale, the range of frequencies correlates to the common human hearing spectrum which is 20 Hz to 20kHz. This is the range of frequencies that are most harmful to a person’s hearing and thus were adopted by OSHA. The OSHA standard, 29 CFR 191.95(a), that corresponds to noise level exposure permissible can be read about here on our blog as well.

When using a handy tool such as the Digital Sound Level Meter to measure sound levels you will select whether to use the dBA or dBC scale.  This is the decibel reading according to the scale selected. Again, for here in the USA you would want to focus your measurements on the dBA scale. It is suggested to use this tool at a 3′ distance or at the known distance an operator’s ears would be from the noise generation point.

Many of EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products have the ability to decrease sound levels in your plant. If you would like to discuss how to best reduce sound levels being produced within your facility, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


1 – Fun Science: Sound – @charlieissocoollike –


EXAIR’s Huge Variety of Air Nozzles is Like an Equalizer for your Application

MCS 3035 Final

Many of us are familiar with what an equalizer (EQ) looks like and what it does. Unfortunately, sometimes they get a bad rap from so-called audiophiles, which in my opinion are defined individuals who spent so much money on their equipment they can’t afford to buy any music to play!  Typically, they insist that tone controls must be set to flat because the sound recording engineers mastering the music have already equalized the recording to perfection and if you need to attenuate or cut certain frequencies it is an indicator of poor-quality equipment, and that is simply is not true!

Let’s consider some of the reasons why an equalizer makes sense and, in my opinion, an absolute necessity. The objects and materials in the room will change the sound reproduction characteristics of any speaker system.  If you have large floor standing speakers positioned in the corners of the room, sitting directly on wood floors the speakers are now “acoustically coupled” with the floor and the walls.   On the other hand, if you move the speakers away from the wall and/or place them on spikes or stands (isolating them for the floor) you would have “acoustically de-coupled” the speakers from the walls and floor, which will reduce the bass or low-frequency loudness. This all affects the perceived loudness and/or quality of the music we want to listen too.

This is where the graphic equalizer shines, no need to move the speakers around or use speaker stands or spikes.  An equalizer will allow you to increase or decrease the loudness of multiple frequencies.  You can completely customize your sound to suit your tastes, overcome issues with your listening room acoustics, the speakers you are listening with or even anomalies with the music recording.

Like adjusting an equalizer to suit your room acoustics, speaker size and/or speaker frequency response, EXAIR understands that the need for many different options gives you the necessary adjustments for a successful application.  A few sizes of Air Nozzle, Air Jet or High Force Air Nozzles will not solve every application with the highest efficiency or effectiveness.  EXAIR’s air nozzle variety allows you to produce maximum effectiveness based upon the air pressure and air volume you have available.  Whether you need a strong blast or a gentle breeze, if you have tricky mounting positions or remote applications, EXAIR has the largest selection to choose from and solve your production problem.

We clearly state compressed air volume requirements in SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) at a given operating pressure in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), force at 12” from the compressed air outlet and the sound loudness in dBA at 3′ from the nozzle. These details provide the starting point for selecting the best air nozzle.

When you are looking for expert advice on safe, quiet, efficient, and engineered point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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