Sabin (unit)

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A sabin is a unit of sound absorption.

Sabins may be calculated with either imperial or metric units. One square foot of 100% absorbing material has a value of one imperial sabin, and one square metre of 100% absorbing material has a value of one metric sabin.

The total absorption A in metric sabins for a room containing many types of surface is given by:

A = S1α1+S2α2+...+Snαn = ΣSiαi


S1, S2,..., Sn are the areas of the surfaces in the room (m2)


α1, α2,..., αn are the absorption coefficients of the surfaces.

Sabins are used in calculating the reverberation time of concert halls, lecture theatres, and recording studios. The unit is named after Wallace Clement Sabine, founder of the field of architectural acoustics, who successfully applied his scientific findings to the Symphony Hall, Boston.


  • Definition
  • Davis, D. and C. Davis. (1987) Sound System Engineering 2nd ed. Page 168.