# How to obtain the magnitude with dB in DFT?

I want to do a DFT of a fragment of music,and then plot the magnitude with dB instead of amplitude. For example:

music = ExampleData[{"Sound", "Violin"}];
data = music[[1, 1, 1]];
data = data[[22050*2 ;; 22050*2 + 1024 - 1]];(*length of data:1024*)
maxofdata = data // Abs // Max;
data = data/maxofdata;(*normalize the data*)

ListLinePlot[data, AspectRatio -> 1/8, PlotStyle -> Thick] xdb = Fourier[data, FourierParameters -> {1, -1}][[;; 512]] // (20 Log10[Abs@#]) &;
xdbMax = Max@xdb;
xdbn = xdb - xdbMax;
xdbn // ListLinePlot[#, Filling -> Axis, FillingStyle -> Purple, DataRange -> {0, 22050/2}, AspectRatio -> 1/3] & But If I export the fragment of music into Audacity,and then get this plot. You can see the two plot are similar,but a little different on vertical axis. So how to correct my code to get the same result?

And when doing the DFT,I use the Rectangular window. However in order to make the spectrum more smooth,I want to use other window function,How to do it?

• It's hard to say, without knowing how Audacity defines the 0dB level. If you can find that out, then I have no doubt that you'll be able to reproduce the result in Mathematica. IMO, without that being specified, your result makes more sense than the one given by Audacity. – Oleksandr R. Jan 22 '16 at 13:12
• Every definition I find of the decibel talks about the ratio of the intensity to a reference intensity. Hyperphysics says they commonly use the 'threshold of hearing' as the reference value. But you take the reference to be the loudest part of the data. Therefore by default your data will max out at 0. – Jason B. Jan 22 '16 at 13:17
• Duplicate of 80655 ? – N.J.Evans Jan 22 '16 at 14:35
• @N.J.Evans your answer to the other question is a good one, but I'd say it's not really a duplicate. Unlike in the other question, this user clearly knows the definition of a decibel to start with and has managed to correctly plot in dB. The only question is what is the reference level, and to be honest I think this query can probably only be answered by the people who wrote Audacity. I'm tempted to vote to close as unanswerable in this forum. – Oleksandr R. Jan 26 '16 at 14:20
• Actually, according to this page about how Audacity works, "the ratio is of amplitude relative to zero dBFS" (FS means full scale). So the reference level is not the maximum of the data but the maximum possible sample value. – Oleksandr R. Jan 26 '16 at 14:24

Without knowing what the units for the sound intensity in Mathematica are, it's hard to input the standard threshold of hearing value of $10^{-16} watts/cm^2$. You can use Manipulate to adjust the reference value so that your plot matches the one you got from Audacity,

music = ExampleData[{"Sound", "Violin"}];
data = music[[1, 1, 1]];
data = data[[22050*2 ;; 22050*2 + 1024 - 1]];
maxofdata = data // Abs // Max;
ft = Abs@Fourier[data, FourierParameters -> {1, -1}][[;; 512]];
Manipulate[
xdb = ft // (20 Log10[Abs@#/ref]) &;

xdbMax = Max@xdb;
xdb // ListLinePlot[#, AxesOrigin -> {0, Min@xdb},
Filling -> Axis,
FillingStyle -> Purple,
DataRange -> {0, 22050/2},
AspectRatio -> 1/2,
GridLines -> Automatic,
ImageSize -> 800] &, {{ref, 100}, 50, 1000, 1}] You could use the follow code, where an arbitrary reference of 80 db is used.

xdb = Fourier[data,
FourierParameters -> {1, -1}][[;; 512]] // (20 Log10[Abs@#]) &;
xdbMax = Max@xdb;
xdbn = 20 Log[Norm /@ xdb] - 80;
xdbn // ListLinePlot[#, Filling -> -90, FillingStyle -> Purple,
DataRange -> {0, 22050/2}, AspectRatio -> 1/3,
PlotRange -> {All, {-90, 0}}, ImageSize -> Large,
AxesOrigin -> {0, -90}] &
` 