Audio Styles and Competitions


A sound level meter (also called sound pressure level meter or SPL) is used for acoustic measurements. The diaphragm of the microphone responds to changes in air pressure caused by sound waves. That is why the instrument is sometimes referred to as a sound pressure level meter (SPL). This movement of the diaphragm, i.e. the sound pressure (unit pascal, Pa), is converted into an electrical signal (unit volt, V).

In SPL Competition, the microphone from the meter is placed in various positions within the vehicle. Once the competition begins, the decibel level produced is recorded. Depending on the format, your average or peak score is the official score. To win, the vehicle must produce the highest decibel level in its corresponding class.

Formats can vary. SPL Metering at a car show is most often for bass/subwoofers. Audio Arena does offer Battling of mids and highs at certain events. Bass Wars also has demo SPL Classes versus traditional dash(windshield), headrest or kick(floorboard) metering.

Fun Fact: The world’s first hand-held and transistorized sound level meter, was released in 1960 and developed by the Danish company Brüel & Kjær.


Wind speed metering is perhaps the youngest of all audio competitions. Audio Arena is currently offering Wind speed metering and there are rumors of an official wind speed meter made for car audio competition is in the works.


Sound Quality Competition uses judges to determine a winner based on a points system in various categories. Categories often include things like overall loudness, overall balance of sound (mids vs high vs lows), lack of distortion and/or tuning and clarity of overall sound.

Professional SQ Competition is extremely competitive and has a lot of rules and restrictions. MECA SQL is a very popular global SQ competition. This type of competition is usually for professional and veteran audiophiles.

MECA Dueling Demos is a very unique style of SQ that judges 360 degrees of sound. The vehicle is judged all the way around the vehicle including front and compete outside of the vehicle. The vehicle must sound the same and be evenly balanced as the judge walks in a circle around the vehicle. Dead spots in the volume or balance of the music can result in a loss of points.

More amateur styles of SQ include demo battles and general show awards. Audio Arena offers SQ Grudge Battles with vehicles battling in pairs in a bracket style elimination until 1 winner is crowned in each class. This format does not require 360 degrees of sound, however the classing is structure such that vehicle that compete in 360 set style can still be competitive in their corresponding class. Some car shows have their own awards distributed by staff choosing their favorites in the crowd. There is usually no extra charge for winning this type of award.


Voceteo is a style of vehicle modification with the goal of creating a sound system that plays at extremely loud volumes. These vehicles can often include external enclosures that may or may not be directly attached to the vehicle itself. This style can be found globally but is most often recognized as a Puerto Rican tradition.

This style is usually a lot of horns/drivers and mid bass on custom doors and rear flat mid walls as know as stunt walls. Voceteo requires a lot of knowledge and understanding of audio electrical and equipment as most of the vehicles require at least 25 or more speakers. Audio Arena offers Voceteo battles that are a back to back battle in pairs. Each vehicle will play music that most be clear but more importantly loud enough to over power and over saturate their competitors sound system.

This article includes material from “Sound level meter.” Wikipedia. Licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-SA 3.0 US) Authors:

Shop Amazon: