# Logarithmic Scales in Acoustic Spectra: Decibels and Octaves

Logarithmic Scales in Acoustic Spectra: Decibels and Octaves

In acoustics, huge changes in measurable physical parameters (pressure, power, frequency) correspond to relatively small changes in perceived properties (loudness, pitch). Simply using a linear scale is impractical, since the variation gives an inadequate guide to the perceived sound. Instead it is more practical to convert to logarithmic scales. Octaves are the logarithmic units for frequency, and decibels are the logarithmic units for pressure and power. Use this Demonstration to see the relationship between linear and logarithmic units in the spectra of different acoustic waveforms.