Bite-Sized Ear Protection: dBLogic SPL Meter
Volume-limiting earbud outfit dBLogic introduced an interesting little product this past year: a miniature SPL meter ($49.95, dblogic.com), suitable for hanging on a keychain. Now, audio measurement equipment isn't generally the kind gear you find in downright cute packages, but dBLogic's take on the device has a lot of charm (and could easily find its way into the pockets of folks who'd never otherwise think about testing gear).
It's a natural product extension for dBLogic; the company's headphone line is based around a limiter (the SPL2, sold integrated into headphones or as an inline adapter), that reins in listening levels to a safe 85 dB. The SPL meter (which integrates a tube coupler into its business end) offeres settings for measuring in-ears, earbuds, and ambient sound.
While this isn't the sort of device we'd use around S+V for critical product evaluation, results obtained in ambient mode seemed in line with those obtained by popular SPL-measurement apps, and the nozzle made it possible to get good readings from IEMs - pretty difficult with a mobile-phone handset.
So if you're curious about whether you're damaging your hearing - or you're looking for a gift for somebody whose headphones you tend to overhear - you could do worse than pick up one of these.