Maximum Averaged and Peak Levels of Vocal Sound Pressure

This work describes research on the maximum sound pressure level achievable by the spoken and sung human voice. Trained actors and singers were measured for peak and averaged SPLs at an on-axis distance of 1 m at three different subjective dynamic levels and also for two different vocal techniques (“back” and “mask” voices). The “back” sung voice was found to achieve a consistently lower SPL than the “mask” voice at a corresponding dynamic level. Some singers were able to achieve high averaged levels with both spoken and sung voice, while others produced much higher levels singing than speaking. A few of the vocalists were able to produce averaged levels above 90 dBA<, the highest found in the existing literature.

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