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Re: 3032 capsules on PIP

Subject: Re: 3032 capsules on PIP
From: "Gregory O'Drobinak" gmo_dunes=
Date: Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:10 pm ((PDT))


What a lovely memory to have, being there in the mountains of India!
i wish we could not only hear the recording of that soundscape as you perce=
ived it, but also to see a good picture of what the space was like.
Perhaps in the future, we can look forward to such things [Mike Rooke, you =
have much work to do. ++].

Please take a look at the Gras microphone that i posted and its data sheet.
It claims that the lowest measurable SPL level is limited by the thermal no=
ise of the microphone, which is spec'd at -2 dB SPL.
This implies that one can break the 0 dB SPL barrier as Miike has proposed.
But it will certainly take quite a lot of creative thinking and work to mak=
e this happen.
Gras claims to have it already, but we need an affordable solution that is =
compact and adaptable to a large variety of recording arrays.

I'm not sure that I understand the idea of random thermal noise causing a 3=
dB hit on the self noise of a mic.
Eric B., can you please help us out here?

Also, I need to have a firm grasp on the concept of the thermal noise of ai=
r and how it affects microphones.
Somehow there must be a way to convert thermal noise power into dB SPL at t=
he microphone diaphragm.
I suspect that this involves some integration of the noise power over some =
distance as a function of the area and compliance of the microphone diaphra=
Can anyone with a solid background in acoustics help us out here?

BTW, sorry to burden all of the nature recordists out there with all of thi=
s crazy tech.
But, ultimately this will benefit all of us, assuming that there will still=
 be some pristine natural habitats left to record.

Thanks & BR,
Greg O.

From: " [naturerecordists]" <=>
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 6:15 PM
Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: 3032 capsules on PIP

> Recall that 'dB' is a relative logarithmic measure that is useless withou=
t some reference level to refer to. Again, dB is always relative!
> So when you say 'dBA' or 'dB-anything it is always relative to some absol=
ute reference value.


This is just laziness when what is meant is dB(SPL) which is usually taken=

to mean as referred to 20 =C2=B5Pa (rms) as you said.

> Oh, let's now address the thermal noise of the air.
> I suspect that in absolute measurement terms, the thermal noise of the ai=
r is very much lower than the absolute value of 20 uPA. Like, way lower.
> Can someone please help out and provide the equations to calculate the 't=
hermal noise of the air' in absolute terms, i.e., in uPa?
> Please give a good description as to what all of this means, too.

The general thermal noise equation is:
P =3D kB T Delta f

P  =3D power
kB =3D Boltzmann's constant
T  =3D absolute temperature
Delta f =3D frequency bandwidth

My physics is 50 years old and I'm struggling to turn this into dB(SPL) but=

note that any thermal noise is proportional to frequency at the rate of 3dB=

per octave. This means that a weighting curve must be specified to turn thi=
into as audible noise threshold. Unfortunately no suitable curve is
recognised at 0 dB(SPL). In particular the phon is defined with the
40dB(SPL) weighting curve which is nothing like the threshold curve. See:
Note in particular, the threshold curve which goes down to -6dB(SPL) so kee=
ears should hear thermal noise.

I claim to have heard the thermal noise in air in my youth when I could hea=
very high frequencies. At some frequency the rising thermal noise met my
falling frequency response and I heard a hiss. It was in an exceedingly
quitet grassland in the mountains of South India and I could hear my heart=

thumping away noisily, the blood coursing through my ears, and faitly in th=
background, a high pitched hiss.

David Brinicombe

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