Date of Award

Fall 1984

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Speech, being a complex waveform with time-varying frequencies and amplitudes, is a difficult signal for which to determine the amplitude. It is not easily measured as is a d.c. or periodic signal. A number of analog devices have been used to measure speech level including the VU meter and the true RMS voltmeter. These devices rely on reading the peak deflection of a needle and are subject to interobserver variability. In addition, it is unclear how these peak readings relate in any way to the absolute speech level. A literature survey performed on this topic indicates a need for standardization in the measurement of speech level. The purpose of the research presented in this thesis was to develop a standard method of speech level measurement for the case of isolated words. In this research, a computer was used to determine the actual RMS level of these words. The results are then compared with the results of several measurement methods to determine the relationship between the actual RMS level and those predicted by the other measurement methods. Past and future speech level measurement results obtained using these measurement methods can now be converted to the actual RMS level using the equations derived from this research. Hopefully this will allow speech researchers to determine speech level in an accurate and consistent manner.



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