It's no secret that putting together a world-class recording or live reinforcement setup depends on having the right gear in the right places to deliver fantastic results. For the most part, that relates to functional hardware that directly manipulates an audio signal. But a secondary role that you should never overlook is monitoring. Keeping an eye on everything that's going on with your system will help you make adjustments and optimizations, allowing everything to work better. Sound Pressure Level Meters are a simple means to that end, and the applications don't stop there. If you run a venue, for instance, you can use a meter to find out where background noise is coming from to improve the room's acoustic performance.
With all that in mind, the first step to choosing a sound pressure level meter is to know your needs and understand what you'll be using it to measure. For example, if you're setting volume levels and microphone attenuation in a recording booth, you should start by identifying your mic's sound pressure tolerances so you know what to aim for, and of course, choose a sound pressure level meter that's designed to work well with the specific instruments you'll be recording. If you're working on the acoustics of a room or venue, it's also worth looking up reference materials to help you interpret the readings from the meter so you'll know how best to take advantage of it.
However you're planning to put sound pressure level meters to work for you, remember that they're tools - and like any other tool, having the right one for the job is important, not to mention using it properly! Choosing here can help you out with the first of those things, and be sure to take your time with the second. Armed with the help of a sound pressure level meter, you'll be ready to deliver a better listening experience to a live audience or to protect your delicate microphones in the studio.