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I just bought:

Before buying the decibel meter, the setup was clear to me:

Mixer --> Power Amplifier --> Speakers

Then I bought the decibel meter, and I'm confused on how to connect all this stuff together. Should I split the output line of the mixer, so that the same output goes to both the amplifier and the decibel meter, like:

Mixer |--> Power Amplifier --> Speakers
      |--> Decibel Meter

Or should I connect the decibel meter before the amplifier (because the decibel meter has two L/R outputs), like:

Mixer --> Decibel Meter --> Power Amplifier --> Speakers

But what about the sound quality (because the sound goes to the decibel meter first)?

Or should I connect the decibel meter after the amplifier, like:

Mixer --> Power Amplifier --> Decibel Meter --> Speakers

But I'm worried that the decibel meter can fry.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to the Amazon link you provided for the Decibel Meter, the inputs are line level. This means that you will need to hook up the meter directly to the Mixer as in your first and second diagrams. If you hook up the meter between the amp and the speakers bad things are likely to happen.

Since the mixer only has unbalanced output, hooking the decibel meter up between the mixer and the amp will probably be the way you want to go.

Mixer --> Decibel Meter --> Power Amplifier --> Speakers

You will want to hook up the equipment, then turn the volume up as high as you are likely to go and adjust the Decibel meter accordingly.

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Thanks. Two questions: Don't I lose quality by making the signal go to the decibel meter first and then to the amp? Shouldn't the decibel meter measure the amplified signal outputted by the amp, which is the signal that then effectively powers the speakers? –  Mark Jan 20 '13 at 2:04
    
1. You will add a tiny bit more noise by connecting it like this, but if the meter is not directly in line between the mixer and the amp you will not get a true picture of what is being sent to the amp. –  Friend Of George Jan 21 '13 at 14:46
    
2. Unless the amp is changing the sound significantly (with compression, etc.), the levels will look the same on a meter before or after the amp. Since this meter is line level, you have no choice but to put it before the amp. –  Friend Of George Jan 21 '13 at 14:47
    
Thanks. One last question: What does it mean when you say to "adjust" the decibel meter? Shouldn't the decibel meter automatically detect the outputted power and show it? –  Mark Jan 23 '13 at 11:15
    
According to the description it has a sensitivity adjustment. This means that you can adjust the meter so that it peaks at the proper levels. For your situation, you will set the volume the highest you can go without distortion and change the level of the meter to peak near the top end of the red section. Then when you look at the meter you will be able to see how close you are to distortion. –  Friend Of George Jan 23 '13 at 14:21
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I haven't got any experience with decibel readers. However, after doing some research on the internet I found this:

http://mackiedjequipment.danielcadams.com/how-to-connect-a-sound-level-meter-to-a-mixer/

It almost walks you through the connections. I think you need to try what it suggests just to move forward from where you are if you can.

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The linked page does not give clear directions as to how to set up the decibel meter. –  Friend Of George Jan 17 '13 at 14:23
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