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Old 25th August 2008, 10:41 PM   #1
pmt is offline pmt  United States
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Default Analog Multimeter With Good dB Scale?

I've been in DIY speaker building for many years. I never moved on to computer assisted design or investing in high quality measurement equipment, but I still occasionally design a few basic passive crossovers using calculations, trial and error, and by measuring voltage at the drivers with my old Heathkit analog VOM to track if the crossover is doing what I want.
But my old Heath did not survive a short drop today and is finished. It had a large, easy to read dB scale that ran from -20 to + 2 dB. That was about the only good thing about it, but when I have looked for a better replacement in the past, and now again today, I can't find anything suitable.
Everything I look at has little scrunched together dB scales that read like -20 to +56 dB. Completely worthless for my purpose.
Can anyone suggest an analog VOM with the type of dB scale that my old Heath had?
Thanks in advance.
pmt
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Old 26th August 2008, 12:49 AM   #2
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For dB work, I like the old HP meters like the 400E averaging meter and the 3400A true RMS meter. The dB range isn't wide however. There are also various Fluke and Keithley bench DVMs with a good dB scale like the Fluke 8050A. Some have a "relative" button so you can zero on anything you want. Any of these should show up on eBay or from one of the many test equipment vendors for a not-too-terrible amount of change. You might even consider an HP 3581A Wave Analyzer. I'm pretty sure it has a dB scale as well. They've gotten pretty cheap over the years.
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Old 27th August 2008, 02:24 PM   #3
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Another thought occurs to me. On various occasions I've replaced or modified meter scales by scanning the old one, or even drawn up a completely new one using a CAD program. You can add a dB scale to any analog meter that way. Usually the 0 dB point is set to the voltage equivalent of 1 mW into 600 ohms, but you can calculate the marks for any zero you'd like to use. Either print up a small curved scale to stick on, or reprint the entire meter scale. They usually slip in and out and are held with two screws. Watch out for the pointer!
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Old 28th August 2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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Have a look at the Avo 8 series. I'm not where mine is at the moment , but it has a very comprehensive spec and from memory the DB scale is wide. These were serious technicians instruments in there day and are still widely used.
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