We had a thing in town this past weekend at "The Las Vegas Strip," which is a drag strip. The National Hot Rod Association has drag races there from time to time, and I enjoyed my first trip to one of these events.
Talk about an entire subculture that I did not know existed!
It was like my first trip to CES back in the day and being taken to the Sahara Exhibits!
Anyway, those drag race cars can be PFL. I looked it up, and being right next to one of those top fuelers can expose someone to as much as 160-168 dB. In the stands above the starting line, SPL can reach about 130 dB.
That's not good for an audiophile's delicate auditory sensibilities, so (like any good man should do in life) I took along some "protection."
It was really ear opening!
1) I have some Westone musician attenuators that are supposed to maintain full frequency response, but just keep things 15 dB below ambient.
They were great for the Pro-stock and motorcycle races, but the Funny Cars and Top Fuelers required more.
An interesting thing about the Westones was that I could hear much more detail with them when just listening to the ambient sounds of the track. The announcer's voice was clearer, and I could actually listen to conversation in the stands much more readily than I could without them.
I wonder if there is a noise curve that begins to obstruct detail above a certain threshold - and whether or not that noise "masking" accelerates with increases in total volume. Maybe sounds above a certain loudness level create their own