Brüel & Kjær Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S


Neighbour complaints about loud music and barking dogs cost Local Authorities thousands of pounds, but vital savings are being made using the latest generation of digital noise monitoring systems from sound and vibration solutions manufacturer Bruel & Kjaer UK.

With domestic noise complaints at their highest ever levels, the pressure on personnel and budgets is enormous but Bruel & Kjaer reports that Local Authorities and Housing Associations using its MATRON-3 Neighbour Noise Monitoring System are achieving valuable time and cost savings.

“Investigations can be a lengthy and costly job, often involving many out-of-hours visits,” said Martin Williams, Senior Applications Engineer for Bruel and Kjaer UK. “However, since we launched MATRON-3 a year ago, customers have reported significant reductions in workload and expenditure by eliminating much of the time consuming activity.”

The system is ideal for investigating intermittent, neighbour noise complaints such as loud music, barking dogs, DIY, verbal abuse, harassment, and other anti-social behaviour.

Hours spent rewinding and listening to Digital Audio Tape (DAT) recordings have been dramatically reduced by DAT-less, digital audio techniques that provide high storage capacity, fast data transfer and great flexibility. Operators can quickly access and analyse data - typically in around 30 minutes - by downloading and playing back recordings through a computer.

“By examining the digital record, you can immediately identify peak noise and go straight to that point. Cross referencing with the complainant’s log eliminates time wasted listening to extraneous recordings,” explained Martin.

MATRON-3 combines sound recording and continuous noise monitoring, which on DAT systems are separate functions and therefore more time consuming. These older tape based systems also contain many mechanical components, which with time can result in reliability issues.

MATRON-3 provides solid state reliability and records to an industry standard Secure Digital (SD) or Compact Flash (CF) memory card. The system’s innovative Type 2250 noise analyser provides fully calibrated, traceable noise results to help avoid the legal ramifications of incorrect analysis, so if there’s any dispute over values, you have traceability and accredited calibration.

Operators also benefit from simplicity and speed of set up and ease of use, with very little training. In just a couple of minutes, the microphone and remote control can be connected to the sound analyser secured in the inner case, ready for operation. The case is then locked to prevent interference with the calibrated instrumentation.

The system is transported in a standard briefcase, so that operators arrive and leave properties with the same case, allowing discrete installation without arousing observers’ suspicions. An extension cable allows remote positioning of the tripod-mounted microphone and a simple hand-switch enables complainants to start and stop the recording process. A clear indicator on the hand-switch lights to confirm that recording is in progress. Meanwhile, a Class 1 sound level meter continuously measures and stores noise results for comparison before, during and after, so that investigating officers can hear what led to a complainant initiating sound recording and detect any deliberate provocations. The operator can choose to set the pre-trigger sound recording time (up to one minute 40 seconds), timed sound recordings and post-trigger sound recordings (up to five minutes).

MATRON-3 will monitor noise for days on end, providing valuable evidence to help determine appropriate actions.

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