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Buddha's picture
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
A Day At The Races


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

Elk's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: A Day At The Races

Great report. Loud doesn't even begin to describe it - visceral punishment through sound is beginning to capture what it's like.

I, too, have noted that with ear plugs or a headset that certain sounds become easier to discern.

Drag racers are indeed their own species. I've gone to a drag strip a coupe of times - I know a couple of racers that like embarrassing road racing types such as myself. They always succeed; I am a lousy drag racer.

However, they are terrible when they need to do things like brake, and turn left and right.

Jeff Wong
Jeff Wong's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Re: A Day At The Races


Buddha - Great report and food for thought. There's so much going on with our audio systems and how they interact with our hearing systems, it will take a long time to figure out. Things like Sam Tellig's $1.20 tweak seem to be about tuning or enhancing certain frequencies via sympathetic resonance. Your earplugs and headphones filtered specific frequencies; it's conceivable things along this line of thought could be applied to filter or tune out sounds in our rigs. Maybe we need to start making a tinfoil lined audiophile helmet that is fully tunable so that we can live in harmony with the DUPs of the world.

bertdw's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: A Day At The Races

I've read that 30 dB or so is the maximum protection that earplugs can provide due to "bone conduction." That's your SKULL transmitting the sound to your ears! So, at 160 dB your ears are still exposed to 130 dB. I'd stay away from the track.

cyclebrain's picture
Last seen: 3 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
Re: A Day At The Races

In my work I am required to work around military jets during final stages of a project. I have found that both earplugs and earmuffs work well reducing turbine engine noise. But at one test using a large disiel generator I compared foam earplugs to an active noise cancellation headphone system (from our friends at Bose). While both need a good job of reducing high and mid frequency levels, I was amazed at the active systems reduction of the dominant low frequency noise level compared to foam earplugs.

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