If you need a class compliant sound pressure level (SPL) monitoring and logging system or just want a great way to keep track of SPL at gigs—keep reading. SG Audio of Denmark has developed an SPL measurement system called 10EaZy, and the folks at their exclusive U.S. distributor, Rational Acoustics, were “Smaart” enough (see what I did there) to send me a system for review.
SG Audio offers measurement systems designed to meet the needs of those who require IEC/ANSI Class 1 or Class 2 compliance, as well as a basic system for those that do not require compliance but still want a full-featured logging SPL rig.
This is a particularly timely series of new products because, increasingly, venues and municipalities are establishing SPL limits for concerts, events, and businesses (think manufacturing). Handheld portable meters, laptops with measurement software, and certain smart phone apps can do basic SPL measurements, but they may not be entirely accurate.
Also, most of these options don’t offer a means to log the data over time or offer the user an easy way to archive any data. To get reliable results, especially if you need to be compliant with local codes or laws, higher quality equipment is required, and further, the entire measurement chain should be properly calibrated.
10EaZy offers a turnkey solution by providing tamperproof hardware and a measurement microphone that are calibrated as IEC/ANSI compliant, combined with easy-to-use software that offers a host of features. Systems are available in four versions: Class 1 compliant, Class 2 compliant, RT (Class 2 compliant with a reduced feature set), and SW (a software- and dongle-only system that requires users to provide their own quality measurement microphone, I-O, and calibrator).
The differences are as follows. Class 1 and Class 2 systems offer all the same software features but are tailored to the different classification of measurement specifications. RT and SW, the reduced feature-set versions, do not offer a running order, an event log, or a minute-by-minute resolution logfile for post processing of measurement results. However, they do provide a file, listing a compilation of key measurement results. And given the variability of the hardware that can be used with the SW dongle, measurements made using the SW version cannot be guaranteed IEC/ANSI compliant by the manufacturer.
Specifically, Rational Acoustics supplied me with a 10EaZy Class 2 system. It consists of a small (approximately 4.2 x .5 inches) measurement mic that comes with a nice, compact aluminum storage case, a 15-foot BNC-to-BNC mic cable, a tamper-proof plastic interface box (compact at approximately 5 x 3 x 1 inches), a 6-foot USB cable, and the software.
I noticed that the measurement mic wouldn’t fit any mic stand I owned, but I took another look in the box and discovered an Audix McMicro clip with a 3/8 – 5/8 threaded adaptor. Rational Acoustics also offers an upgrade kit for the Class 2 & RT systems which includes a sturdier mic clip with a 3/8 – 5/8 thread adaptor, a special 1/2-inch bushing to securely hold the 10EaZy mic, and a windscreen.
The next thing that caught my eye was that the mic sported a BNC connector instead of XLR connectors that I usually deal with. The cable that ships with the unit is 75 ohms, high-resolution/low-loss, and of very high quality. At 15 feet long it may be a little short for some uses but in my shop and at the gigs where I used 10EaZy, I was within feet of my laptop, so it wasn’t an issue. Per the manufacturer, a cable length up to about 250 feet can be used without a problem, if properly isolated.