ASTM E1503 - 14

    Standard Test Method for Conducting Outdoor Sound Measurements Using a Digital Statistical Sound Analysis System

    Active Standard ASTM E1503 | Developed by Subcommittee: E33.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.06


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This test method deals with methods and techniques which are well defined and which are understood by a trained acoustical professional. This test method has been prepared to provide a standard methodology which, when followed, will produce results which are consistent with requirements of government and industry, and which can be validated using information gathered and documented in the course of the measurement program.

    4.2 There are numerous situations for which outdoor sound level data are required. These include, but are not limited to the following:

    4.2.1 Documentation of sound levels before the introduction of a new sound source as a reference for assessment of the noise impact caused by a proposed facility and associated activities,

    4.2.2 Comparison of sound levels with and without a specific source (for example, assessment of the impact of an existing source), and

    4.2.3 Comparison of sound levels with criteria or regulatory limits (for example, indication of exceedance of criteria or non-compliance with laws).

    4.3 This test method provides a means for operating a sound analysis system which incorporates digital circuits for processing and storing sound level data, documenting conditions under which the measurements were performed, and reporting the results.

    4.4 This test method provides the user with information to (1) perform and document statistical analysis of outdoor sound level over specific time periods at specified places, and (2) make and document the physical observations necessary to qualify the measurements.

    4.5 This test method can be used by individuals, regulatory agencies, or others as a measurement method to collect acoustical data for many common situations. The data are collected in a format determined by the capabilities of the equipment, equipment operational options selected, and by post-processing options available.

    4.6 The user is cautioned that there are many factors that can strongly influence the results obtained during measurement of outdoor sound levels and that this test method is not intended to supplant the experience and judgment of experts in the field of acoustics. This test method is intended to facilitate communication between sound measurement professionals and individuals who are responsible for administering regulations, or are otherwise involved in decisions involving sound measurements. Measurements shall be performed only under the direction of people who are experienced in the measurement and analysis of outdoor sound, and who are thoroughly familiar with the use of the equipment and techniques involved.

    4.7 This test method is only a measurement procedure and, as such, does not address the methods of comparison of the acquired data with specific criteria. No procedures are provided within this test method for estimating the influences of two or more simultaneously measured sounds. This test method can be used, with an appropriate plan, in establishing compliance when the measured data are below a specified limit, or conversely, establishing noncompliance when any of the data are above a specified limit.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the measurement of outdoor sound levels at specific locations using a digital statistical sound analysis system and a formal measurement plan.

    1.1.1 This test method provides basic requirements for obtaining either a single set of data or multiple sets of related data. However, because there are numerous circumstances and varied objectives requiring multiple sets of data, the test method does not address planning of the measurement program.

    1.2 The use of results of measurements performed using this test method include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1.2.1 To characterize the acoustical environment of a site,

    1.2.2 To characterize the sound emissions of a specific sound source which exhibits a temporal variation in sound output, and

    1.2.3 To monitor the effectiveness of a noise impact mitigation plan.

    1.3 This test method is intended to be used in conjunction with a measurement plan that references this test method. Changes or additions to the provisions of this test method shall be clearly stated in the plan.

    1.3.1 In the event it is necessary, for example, because of time constraints, to conduct measurements without first formalizing a plan, this test method can be used if an operator/observer whose qualifications are satisfactory to both the performing organization and the client is present at all times during the measurements and who complies, to the extent possible, with all the applicable requirements of this test method, including record keeping.

    1.4 The data obtained using this test method enable comparison of sound level data with appropriate criteria.

    1.4.1 The data obtained with this test method can be used in the derivation of loudness levels provided the necessary requirements regarding sample duration and signal bandwidth are observed in collecting the data. It is recommended that a specialist in the area of loudness evaluation be consulted in preparing a plan for measurements intended to produce data which will be used for this purpose.

    1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C634 Terminology Relating to Building and Environmental Acoustics

    E1014 Guide for Measurement of Outdoor A-Weighted Sound Levels

    E1780 Guide for Measuring Outdoor Sound Received from a Nearby Fixed Source

    ANSI Standards

    S1.43 Specifications of Integrating-Averaging Sound Level Meters

    IEC Standards

    61672–1 Electroacoustics - Sound Level Meters - Part 1: Specifications


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.140.01 (Acoustic measurements and noise abatement in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 52161520(Microphones)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1503-14

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