Thank you for the thorough exposition on the state of my sanity.
No, seriously, what you say is right on. Yes, I have the advantage of generally low ambient noise in my house & neighborhood, but this doesn't mean SPCR work can happen without paying close attention to whatever is going on outside. It often takes much longer than you would think to take some SPL measurements or record a couple of minutes of fan noise. There's lawn mowers in the summer, wind or rain or hail, scraping of snow shovels on the sidewalk, increased noise as more cars take shortcuts through residential lanes to avoid the mains traffic, increasing construction work over the years as Vancouver keeps expanding and growing, and -- most of all -- more jet planes overhead than ever before.
This last is probably the most intrusive change to impact SPCR operations, and it started 2-3 years ago when the airport (located in Richmond some 5-6 miles away as the crow flies) added a couple runways in response to much increased traffic. Before, we rarely had any planes fly overhead or close enough overhead to actually change noise levels in the neighborhood. It's been well documented that planes have to be flying pretty much directly overhead to cause serious noise issues. Well, the new runways have expanded the flight paths for both takeoff and landing, and now we're subject to near-overhead flights randomly all through the day -- and some evenings.
As dhanson865 conjectured, this often means waiting around for opportune times to make recordings or take SPL measurements. It's a pain in the A.
The anechoic chamber project I described will dramatically change all this. I suspect it could make us pretty much impervious to all but the closest lawn mowers. The 15 dBA target I mention is conservative. With a truly isolated and well constructed room-in-a-room, we might even get down to something like 10-12 dBA. Most importantly, a dog barking 4 houses away or a plane flying a mile or two overhead might not even be audible. That's the goal.
The other reality is that our B&K SLM was old when I got it, and it's not getting any younger. It needs to be replaced before it dies. The mics I'm examining have self-noise levels of 10-12 dBA, and the PC-based RTA package is capable of just about anything a $20,000 stand-alone SLM can do -- perhaps more.
All in all, these initiatives will lead to...
- better reviews
- more reviews
And I'm not sitting on my rear end waiting for the SPCR community of readers and forum members. I'm actively seeking sponsorships and support from all the companies that benefit from SPCR's existence, including the makers of the gear we seek. This was a move suggested by one of SPCR's advisers, who felt that because the service SPCR provides is so unique, readers who benefit will be willing to contribute towards the improvement of what's essentially their/our community. I am hoping she will be proven correct.