Guide to audible signals from E2S (2023)

Loudness decreases as the listener gets further from the source of the sound, mainly dueto “divergence”. The intensity decreases because the energy is spread over a larger area.It decreases inversely with the square of the distance from the source at a rate of 6dB for each doubling of the distance. So the sound output from an alarm rated at 106dBA) will travel twice as far as a sounder rated at 100dB(A). If a sounder is rated at 100dB(A) at1 metre, at two metres it will be 94dB(A), at 4 metres it will be 88dB(A) and so on.

Note: The effective distance of a sounder is when the calculated dB(A) reaches at least 5dB(A) above the known ambient background noise. For example the effective distance of a 100dB(A)@1 metre sounder in an ambient noise of 65dB(A) is the distance at which the sounder output level reduces to 70 dB(A) i.e. 100 dB – 30 dB = 70dB. From the above table (and using the inverse square rule) a reduction of 30 dB means the sounder has an effective 70dB distance of 32 metres.

A 120dB(A) @ 1 metre sounder has a 70dB distance of approximately 300 metres i.e. ten times the effective distance and, more importantly 100 times the coverage area.

Guide to audible signals from E2S (1)


  • In the open, soundwill spread in all directions. In an enclosed space some of the sound will be reflected and increase the sound level.
  • All-mounted sounder is positioned near a ceiling, more sound will be reflected. The same is true for a ceiling mounted sounder near a wall.
  • A sounder mounted on a wall is more effective than one mounted on a pillar.
  • Sounders should be sited to avoid immediate obstacles, ideally at a height of approx. 2 to 2.5 metres.
  • Synchronized sounders will give a more effective overall effect.
  • Personnel may be wearing ear protection.

Sound Output Attenuation: Frequency and Tone Pattern

Sound output is also affected by the frequency of the sound. Lower frequencies tend to travel further, penetrate structures better and are less likely to be attenuated by obstructions. A further adjustment to the range of a sounder may be made according to the frequency of the tone as shown below.

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Frequency of sounder
Up to 500Hz
500Hz to 1000Hz
1000Hz to 2000Hz



Perception of a tone is not entirely dependent on frequency and sound level. An output with differing frequencies and/or temporal pattern will have a more distinct sound. This can be useful in areas of background noise where hearing protection may be worn. Usually two-tone frequencies, intermittent, ramp-up frequencies or ramp-down frequencies are the most effective.

How many Sounders do I need?

When the area to be covered is large and / or noisy, designers often add more sounders. This could lead to an inadequate coverage, if the alarm sounders were positioned incorrectly or require the addition of more sounders to achieve the bare minimum alarm level.

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Question: A 30m by 20m room, with very little background noise (approx. 65dB(A)), is satisfactorily covered by a 100dB(A) sounder with a 70dB(A) range of approximately 30m. How many sounders would you need if heavy machinery meant the background noise was 85dB(A)?

Answer: One! If the background noise increases by 20dB, install a sounder 20dB louder i.e. a sounder rated at 120dB(A). This simple principle is often forgotten in the need to cover large and noisy areas.

The effective distance of a 100 dB(A) sounder in a very noisy environment is 1.8m, the distance for a 120 dB(A) sounder is approx 18m (10 times the distance).

Note: Alarm sounders that are too loud may be dangerous and cause panic, discomfort and make communication very difficult. As guidance, the overall alarm level should be a maximum of 10 to 15 dB(A) over the ambient background noise.

To achieve 90bB(A) in an area 50 × 30m

Guide to audible signals from E2S (2)

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Either fit eighty A100 (100dB(A) at 1m) units or fit just two A121 (121dB(A) at 1m) units

More Design Considerations

Sounders aren’t generally effective at an output lower than 65 to 70dB(A) or less than 5dB above the ambient, background noise. Additional sounders or louder sounders may be necessary after calculating the maximum distance and coverage required. Any adjustment according to the output frequency should also be factored in.

Internal fire doors attenuate sound by at least 30dB, and normal doors at least 20dB. It’s advisable that any sounder isn’t required to be heard through more than one partition.

Guide to audible signals from E2S (3)

In the above example;

The attenuation caused by distance d1, the door & partition and distance d2 must be calculated (with an adjustment for tone frequency). The final dB(A) level should be not less than 65 to 70dB(A) or not less than 5dB above the background level in area 2.

Care should be taken not to use a sounder with too higher output in area 1 simply to achieve an acceptable level in area 2 as this may make levels in area 1, particularly close to the sounder, unacceptably loud.

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Sound Output of Multiple Sounders

Two sounders together with an equal output increases the total output by 3dB. So two 100 dB(A) sounders together will provide 103dB(A) total.

Four 100dB(A) sounders will deliver 106dB(A) in total. It’s important to establish the most suitable sounder at the design stage as simply adding more of the same sounders may only increase an overall alarm level by a few dB.

Disaster warning / Wide area signaling

Large sounders with high outputs of typically 140dB(A) and above have additional considerations such as:

  • Attenuation caused by ground effects, barriers such as buildings
  • Vertical temperature gradients
  • Atmospheric refraction
  • Sound absorption in the atmosphere
  • People’s perception
  • Building construction

It is important to realise predicting coverage can only be an estimate. A combination of these factors attenuating sound in the atmosphere, is both complicated and unpredictable.

Strong winds will influence the effectiveness of the sound coverage. It will tend to make the sound travel further in the direction it is blowing, i.e. in the same direction as gas will be blown in the event of a leak.

In general, disaster warning sounders should be mounted horizontally 10 to 15 metres above the ground, preferably at the highest point on the site to be covered (although not so high that the sound travels over the top of the area). As a general guide, take the height of any obstruction within 50m and keep the sounder at least 2m higher than this for best sound coverage – ideally the source to target should be aimed or “line of sight”.

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What is the minimum audible level for a sounder for a fire alarm system? ›

The general requirement for the volume of audible alarm signals is that they should provide a Sound Pressure LeveI (SPL) of at least 65dB(A), but not more than 120dB(A) throughout all accessible areas of a building.

What is audible signals? ›

The audible signal is usually a buzzer, horn, or other distinctive sound. The visual signal is usually a flashing light and alarm data displayed on a screen such as a CCTV monitor or the screen of a desktop computer.

How far does 120 dB travel? ›

The effective distance of a 100 dB(A) sounder in a very noisy environment is 1.8m, the distance for a 120 dB(A) sounder is approx 18m (10 times the distance). Note: Alarm sounders that are too loud may be dangerous and cause panic, discomfort and make communication very difficult.

What are the uses of audible signals? ›

The areas of application of audible signal devices are highly versatile. Multi-tone alarm sounders, piezo buzzers and alarm horns are used in a variety of industries. Application examples can be found in mechanical engineering, automation, special vehicles and cranes.

What are the three audible frequency ranges? ›

Humans can detect sounds in a frequency range from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. (Human infants can actually hear frequencies slightly higher than 20 kHz, but lose some high-frequency sensitivity as they mature; the upper limit in average adults is often closer to 15–17 kHz.)

What is a safe sound level? ›

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend maintaining environmental noises below 70 dBA over 24-hours (75 dBA over 8-hours) to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

What are the four basic types of audio signals? ›

In fact, there are four different types of signals in the audio world that when mismatched can cause problems.
  • Microphone Level. Microphone level or mic level is the voltage signal produced by a microphone (surprise) and is the weakest of all the audio signals. ...
  • Line Level. ...
  • Instrument Level.
Aug 17, 2018

How many types of audio signals are there? ›

In fact, there are four different types of signals in audio that can cause problems when mismatched. Microphone level, according to a white paper from Azden, is the voltage signal produced by the weakest of all the audio signals. This is because of the nature of how microphones work.

Can you listen to Audible with no signal? ›

Yes, Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus members are able to download Plus Catalog titles on their Audible app. This allows you to listen to these titles without having an internet connection.

How loud is a gunshot in dB? ›

How loud is a gunshot? Decibel levels for firearms average between 140 and 165 dB.

What would 170 decibels do to a human? ›

Sounds above 150 dB have the potential of causing life-threatening issues. Sounds between 170-200 dB are so intense that they can cause lethal issues like pulmonary embolisms, pulmonary contusions, or even burst lungs.

How many decibels is a car horn? ›

Car horn: 110 decibels. Nightclub: 110 decibels. Ambulance siren: 112 decibels.

What are the 3 basic noise types in an audio signal? ›

Audio signal is often corrupted with different types of noise, among them are Gaussian noise, impulse noise, and others. Gaussian noise is the worst noise corrupts every sample in the audio signal.

What are the 2 types of audio signal? ›

Audio signals are the representation of sound, which is in the form of digital and analog signals. Their frequencies range between 20 to 20,000 Hz, and this is the lower and upper limit of our ears. Analog signals occur in electrical signals, while digital signals occur in binary representations.

Which is the example of audio signal? ›

Audio signals include speech but also music and all types of sounds. On a compact disc, the audio signal is limited to a maximum frequency of 20 kHz. It is sampled at 44.1 kHz and each sample is coded on 16 bits.

What Hz is best for bass? ›

While the fundamental range of the bass extends up to around 400Hz, most bass playing occurs with fundamentals below that between 40Hz and 200Hz.

What frequency is most audible to humans? ›

While 20 to 20,000Hz forms the absolute borders of the human hearing range, our hearing is most sensitive in the 2000 - 5000 Hz frequency range. As far as loudness is concerned, humans can typically hear starting at 0 dB.

What frequency should I be able to hear at my age? ›

People of All ages without a hearing impairment should be able to hear the 8000hz. People under 50 should be able to hear the 12,000hz and people under 40, the 15,000hz. Under 30s should hear the 16,000hz, and the 17,000hz is receivable for those under 24.

What sounds can damage your hearing? ›

8 Common Sounds That Can Damage Your Hearing
  • Target shooting/hunting. Target shooting or hunting with a gun emits sound between 140 to 175 decibels. ...
  • Live concerts. ...
  • Athletic events. ...
  • Home renovations. ...
  • Gas-powered lawn equipment. ...
  • Motorcycles and boats. ...
  • Music from earbuds or headphones. ...
  • Exercise classes.
Nov 23, 2021

What is the best noise level? ›

This is demonstrated by the use of 85 decibels as a safe sound level by hearing health professionals and their organizations, in media reports, and in publications, most often without time limits; by its use as a volume limit for children's headphones marketed to prevent hearing loss, again without exposure times; and ...

What is hearing loss from noise called? ›

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is caused by exposure to harmful, loud noise. This condition can affect people of all ages, and it may be temporary or permanent.

What are the five elements of audio? ›

They are the frequency, amplitude, wave form and duration, or in musical terms, pitch, dynamic, timbre (tone color), and duration. The frequency, or pitch, is the element of sound that we are best able to distinguish.

What are the basics of audio signals? ›

Audio signals have frequencies in the audio frequency range of roughly 20 to 20,000 Hz, which corresponds to the lower and upper limits of human hearing. Audio signals may be synthesized directly, or may originate at a transducer such as a microphone, musical instrument pickup, phonograph cartridge, or tape head.

What are different types of signals? ›

What are the Different Types of Signals?
  • Continuous-Time and Discrete-Time Signals.
  • Even and Odd signals.
  • Periodic and Aperiodic Signals.
  • Energy and Power signals.
  • Deterministic Signals and Random signals.
  • Causal and Non-causal Signals.
  • Analog and Digital Signals.
Aug 25, 2022

How do you classify an audio signal? ›

There are two different types of audio signals: Analog and Digital signals.

Can you still listen to Audible after pausing? ›

You may prefer pausing an Audible membership as it lets you keep your books. In fact, during a pause, you'll still be able to listen to your library. However, you won't be able to access borrowed titles from Audible Plus because the platform automatically claims them when your subscription is on hold.

Does Audible use data while listening? ›

The short answer is yes. Downloading audiobooks is the only thing the Audible app uses data for. When you have downloaded your audiobooks, you can listen to them offline on different players, sometimes with the help of audiobook tools, once you have them downloaded.

Can you listen to Audible in the car? ›

Car Mode is a feature within the Audible app (Android and iOS) that allows you to listen to your favorite audiobooks in the car through your car's stereo. You can access Car Mode by tapping on the Car Mode icon on the player screen. Learn more about Audible Car Mode here.

How loud is a 22 with a silencer? ›

For instance, a suppressed . 22 pistol could have around a 95 dB noise level, while the unsuppressed one could go up to 135 decibels. If you want a quieter round that won't bother your neighbors, a . 22 caliber subsonic round can be the way to go.

How loud is a human scream dB? ›

Loud appliances such as a vacuum cleaner or power tools could exceed 80 dB. Human screams can be quite loud, possibly exceeding 100 dB (as of March 2019, the world record is 129 dB!) —but you probably want to avoid that because screams that loud can hurt your ears!

What is the loudest noise ever made by man? ›

The loudest sound ever created by humans, not by natural causes, was said to be the atomic bomb blasts over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Those clocked in at around 250 decibels. NASA's highest recorded decibel reading was 204 and that was the first stage of the Saturn V rocket.

What's the loudest sound on earth? ›

The loudest sound in recorded history came from the volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island Krakatoa at 10.02 a.m. on August 27, 1883. The explosion caused two thirds of the island to collapse and formed tsunami waves as high as 46 m (151 ft) rocking ships as far away as South Africa.

What is the loudest thing in the universe? ›

The loudest sound in the universe definitely comes from black hole mergers. In this case the “sound” comes out in gravitational waves and not ordinary sound waves.

How loud is a lawn mower in decibels? ›

Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers Can Damage Hearing

That's right, they run at approximately 95 decibels and anything over 85 decibels can cause irreparable harm to your hearing with extended or repeated exposure. Electric lawn mowers and lawn equipment run at around 75 decibels.

How many decibels is a cruise ship horn? ›

The horn in the most optimal designs (those that include a snail shell like acoustic chamber) are capable of producing 115 decibels.

How many dB is a jet engine? ›

The outside of aircraft engines (around 140 dB at takeoff) and conditions on other aircraft may have higher or lower noise levels. Sound insulation also varies among aircraft.

What are the 7 types of noises? ›

Types of Noise Which Can Affect Communication
  • Physical Noise. Any disturbance or interference that is coming from an external source is considered a form of physical noise. ...
  • Physiological Noise. ...
  • Cultural Noise. ...
  • Psychological Noise. ...
  • Semantic Noise. ...
  • Technical Noise. ...
  • Organizational Noise.
Feb 7, 2022

What color noise is best for tinnitus? ›

White noise will definitely help mask out any annoying sounds. Pink noise includes all the sound frequencies that humans can hear, though the lower frequencies are more amplified and the higher frequencies are less intense.

What are the 4 types of noise in communication and examples? ›

Forms of communication noise include psychological noise, physical noise, physiological and semantic noise. All these forms of noise subtly, yet greatly influence our communication with others and are vitally important to anyone's skills as a competent communicator.

Which is the stronger audio signal? ›

Line level signals are the highest level signals before amplification. This is the type of signal that typically flows through your recording system after the preamplifier stage and before the amplifier that powers your speakers. The two types of line levels are consumer and professional.

What are audio frequency signals? ›

AF (audio frequency) (also abbreviated af or a.f.) refers to alternating current ( AC ) having a frequency such that, if applied to a transducer such as a loudspeaker or headset, will produce acoustic waves within the range of human hearing. The AF range is generally considered to be from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

What are the steps in audio signal processing? ›

Processing methods and application areas include storage, data compression, music information retrieval, speech processing, localization, acoustic detection, transmission, noise cancellation, acoustic fingerprinting, sound recognition, synthesis, and enhancement (e.g. equalization, filtering, level compression, echo ...

How do you know if a signal is a sound? ›

Therefore, to ascertain the signal to noise ratio, one must find the quantifiable difference between the desired signal strength and the unwanted noise by subtracting the noise value from the signal strength value.

How do you measure audio signal? ›

An audio analyzer can be used to measure various aspects of audio signals, such as frequency response, distortion, and noise level. This can help test audio equipment or troubleshoot audio problems. Multimeters: A multimeter can be used to measure voltage, current, and resistance.

What is difference between voice signal and audio signal? ›

Voice signals have a rate that ranges from about 4 Kbps when heavily compressed and low quality to 64 Kbps. Audio signals range in rate from 8 Kbps to about 1.3 Mbps for CD quality.

How loud should an alarm siren be? ›

A siren must be at least 85 decibels (dB) to meet Nationally Recognized Industry Standards.

What is the sound level of siren? ›

Many estimates peg the noise level of a typical ambulance siren in the neighborhood of 120–130 decibels (dB). Exposure at these levels without hearing protection, even for a brief period, can cause permanent hearing damage.

What is sounder in fire alarm system? ›

A fire alarm sounder and fire alarm beacon can be an essential part of an addressable fire alarm system on your work premises. Fire alarm sounders and beacons provide an audible and visual warning in the event of a fire, ensuring that everyone on the premises is alerted to the potential danger.

How loud should sirens be? ›

Most emergency vehicle sirens create 110-120 decibels when turned on. Police sirens can sound louder than ambulances or fire trucks because cop cars usually have their siren mounted low on the front bumper.

Which alarm sound is the loudest? ›

How loud is the World's Loudest Alarm clock? The Sonic Alert sbb500ss Sonic Bomb features a turbo charged extra loud alarm of up to 113 dB.

How far away can you hear 60 decibels? ›

60 decibels is as loud as a normal conversation between two people sitting at a distance of about one meter (3 ¼ feet).

What are the 3 types of sirens? ›

What Do the Sirens Mean?
  • Alert: A single tone signifying an emergency alert. ...
  • Attack: An up-and-down, rising and falling tone to signify there is a homeland security or attack emergency. ...
  • All Clear: Many communities do not use an All Clear signal.

What are the three sirens? ›

"The Seirenes (Sirens). They were the daughters of Akhelous (Achelous) and the Mousa (Muse) Melpomene, and their names were Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia."

What do the different siren tones mean? ›

Siren Tones

There are two different tones used by Outdoor Warning Sirens: Attack: The signal for enemy attack is a rising and falling tone heard for 3 minutes. Civil Emergency: The signal for a civil emergency (such as a tornado) is a steady wail heard for at least 3 minutes.

How do I read my sounder? ›

When a sonar wave is reflected off of a moving target, it is read as an arch. Stationary objects will be lines. Fish are generally going to be represented by these arches, with a much smaller margin of error than Fish-ID. The bigger the arch is, the bigger the fish is.

What is 3 chirp smoke detector? ›

3 Beeps and a Pause: EMERGENCY. This type of chirp means that smoke has been detected in your home. You and your family need to evacuate and call 9-1-1 once safely outside. Low Battery or End-of-Life: This type of chirp indicates it is time to replace your smoke alarm's batteries or the smoke alarm itself.

What is the difference between sounder and beacon? ›

Conventional sounders emit a high decibel output, whilst beacons are suitable for Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant installations.

How many miles can you hear a siren? ›

The sirens have an effective range of two miles in diameter. At 100 feet, the sirens are heard at 129 decibels (the equivalent sound level of a jet engine taking off). At one mile, they're heard at 70 decibels (the equivalent sound level of a normal conversation).

What is 86 decibel siren to attract attention? ›

86-decibel Siren.

If you get lost or injured and need to attract attention, hold the Action button to activate a Siren that can be heard up to 600 feet or 180 meters away. Up to 60 hours On low power settings for days full of adventure.

What speed do you out run a siren? ›

Studies have recognized that sirens are a limited warning device and effective only at very short ranges and low speeds. At speeds above 50 mph, an emergency vehicle may "outrun" the effective range of its audible warning device.


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