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Old 04-13-15, 10:53 PM   #1
t2d2
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Default stock horn decibels?

Does anyone know the decibel rating of the stock horns? I haven't been able to find any info on it.

I had a guy in a big truck pull out in front of me in a 40 mph zone today -- in the rain -- thinking he had a turn lane... I hit the brakes and horn equally hard, as he had no choice at that point but to merge right into my path. Fortunately, good tires, big brakes, and solid ABS all combined to make it a non-hairy situation. He realized his mistake and waved apologetically.

Anyway, I was surprised that I could barely make out the sound of my horn over road noise and the stereo at moderate volume. Which is funny, because one of the few things I found in searching was a SupraForums MKIV discussion of using SC horns to upgrade theirs!

I'm thinking it might be worth installing a set of Hellas, either 118 dB Supertones or 114 dB Sharptones (Panthers), with a slight preference to the latter for their smoother sound. What I can't find is how that output level compares to stock. I've seen 100 and 110 db listed as typical factory levels, but if the SC already has supposedly good ones, who knows where it falls along that scale.
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Old 04-14-15, 05:51 AM   #2
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Im gunna say that 100-110 sound about right. There are some factors that might play into what you are hearing.
Acoustical dampening of your car- Higher frequencies terminate easier than lower road noise ones.
distance- that horn is about a mile out in front of you and recessed into the core so there may be some defection where as you might not hear it like it is out front. If I get a chance I will run a dB meter on it to see. otherwise there are some phone apps that will get you close.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:12 AM   #3
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Thanks, but my understanding is you can't determine much with a decibel meter, unless you have both horn systems side by side to test for comparative levels. The specs are supposedly tough to match, even if you get the original measurement distances right.

I think yesterday was the first time I've used the SC horn in an emergency situation. Possibly the first time while driving, period. The horn (and alarm) seems fairly loud in the driveway, but it was, er, alarming how much it got drowned out by road noise. Perhaps it was much louder outside the car -- these beasts are pretty well insulated -- but it would be nice to have audible feedback that the horn is working.
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Old 04-14-15, 12:56 PM   #4
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Stand by the side of the road and have a friend drive past in your car with the horn blowing...
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Old 04-14-15, 03:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photon440 View Post
Stand by the side of the road and have a friend drive past in your car with the horn blowing...
That still wouldn't tell me relative volume levels, unless repeating the test after swapping out horns.
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Old 04-14-15, 04:22 PM   #6
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SC 98dB A weighted 3ft from vehicle front center average. (450Hz) 97 dB A 15ft from center front average. So then I tested our civic. with the same test. 94 dB and 95db (560Hz) somehow that horn got louder averages with a 15ft distance. So there is your baseline for a 93 SC300. Sure depending on Speed of the car you will have doppler wave compression so the variation of speed can come in to play. But THROW all that out of the window. It isnt the point. The point is.. Doing this test my neighbor came out of his house and asked what I was doing. He is hard of hearing. so if he heard that!! its loud enough.

Now honk your horn in front of your house and if anyone comes out. Its good enough.
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Old 04-14-15, 05:02 PM   #7
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Even if the horn was 110dB, a 4 dB increase using the Sharptones one is a pretty big increase in output. But the easiest way to guarantee a louder horn is to buy another stock horn and wire it in parallel with your stock horn. It'll probably only be a 3dB increase or so but there's only a 5dB difference between your average garbage disposal and a snow blower so that's quite the volume difference.

I honestly think the horns you listed would be a big increase as well though.
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Old 04-14-15, 06:19 PM   #8
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there's an app for that, just look for sound meter or something. they're pretty accurate
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Old 04-14-15, 07:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for the numbers, ems! It occurred to me, a side by side comparison isn't really necessary as long as your readings are fairly accurate. I went a' searching for actual dB numbers on the Hellas and found this article:

http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/technical/2014_04Horns.pdf

Quote:
Amazingly, in almost every case, the sound pressure levels we measured exceeded - sometimes by a large margin - the manufacturers’ claims.

Hella Supertone Dual Horn Kit
Claimed sound level/frequencies: 118 dB/300 and 500Hz
Actual sound level: 131.9 dB
And this, referencing it:

http://www.spyderlovers.com/forums/s...and-more-Horns

Quote:
What I really like about this mag is they do not accept ads so no pressure from advertisers to give a good review.
Yeah, I kept searching because I was skeptical of numbers that high.

I'm actually a bit surprised your measurement was only 98 dB for the SC, because it does seem plenty loud in the driveway. That would actually put it on the weak side of average, though, so an upgrade has definite merit. They didn't test the Sharptones, but I would expect an actual reading of 125-127 dB.

gage117, the stock setup is dual (high/low) horns, same as the Hella kits. I know some people wire additional horns in parallel, but that could require a relay and is just extra stuff to hook up. It might fill out the sound, depending on what horns are chosen, but supposedly makes a very minimal difference in overall volume.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:42 PM   #10
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120 is the threshold of pain for the human ear. I usually mix shows at 85-95 dB C at FOH and thats pretty loud, especially for the guy who stands in front of the subs. Those 120-130 horns will rock some socks off but they will know your there for sure!!!! And I like that tandem horn Idea, wiring one up to the stock like a dual tone.
heres a comparison chart.


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-14-15, 09:49 PM   #11
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Ah, I forgot you do sound mixing. In that case, I have 100% faith in your dB readings.
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Old 04-14-15, 10:08 PM   #12
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Go EMS,
I REALLY enjoyed that!

I have the dual Hella Supertones and they are wired in with the stock horn. The combination is awesome, I have no readings........ I know it's damn loud. I went from "did they hear that?" to "take that!".
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Old 04-14-15, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiogeek View Post
I have the dual Hella Supertones and they are wired in with the stock horn. The combination is awesome, I have no readings........ I know it's damn loud. I went from "did they hear that?" to "take that!".
Sold! Did you add a relay or upgrade the fuse/wiring? I don't know how close we are to max capacity on that circuit, or what all is shared with the horns, for that matter. Horns tend to be on a shared circuit with brake lights, and you'd hate to have one fail because the other blew the fuse, since both are likely to be needed at the same time.
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Old 04-14-15, 10:34 PM   #14
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One thing I do miss about my old Cadillac was the horn. It used 4 separate "horns" at different notes to produce the sound, sounded like a tugboat, which was perfectly logical considering what a boat that car was. I've never heard a factory horn that was so f'ing loud. Nice thing was if you tapped it, it gave a polite but loud "whoomp", lay on it and it was "GET THE **** OUT OF THE WAY YOU DUMBASS" lol.

I ended up swiping the horns off an old 1980's Brougham and wiring them into my Toyota pickup, it was a pita to wire up but definetly worth it.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:34 AM   #15
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I've seen on various forums that old Cadillac horns are a popular swap, but a new set of Hellas aren't that much more expensive and I don't have to: a) hunt for them, and b) wonder how much life they have left in them.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:34 AM
 
 
 
 
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