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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    How loud do you listen?

    I recently downloaded an spl meter for my iPad to find out how loud my normal listening volume is. Apparently I listen in the high 70 db's range. A loud peak for me is up to 85db.

    This really has me wondering about how much power I really need for a stereo. Most speakers I like have about a 90 db efficiency, so just 1 watt would be able to play louder than I would ever want to listen.

    Anyone else tried measuring your regular volumes? If so, how loud do you listen?

  2. #2
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    I recently downloaded an spl meter for my iPad to find out how loud my normal listening volume is. Apparently I listen in the high 70 db's range. A loud peak for me is up to 85db.

    This really has me wondering about how much power I really need for a stereo. Most speakers I like have about a 90 db efficiency, so just 1 watt would be able to play louder than I would ever want to listen.

    Anyone else tried measuring your regular volumes? If so, how loud do you listen?
    Pretty much the same for me but there are times when I like to crank it........ good to have 330w/ch (plus 200watts on each of the 2 subs) for those times.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    I recently downloaded an spl meter for my iPad to find out how loud my normal listening volume is. Apparently I listen in the high 70 db's range. A loud peak for me is up to 85db.

    This really has me wondering about how much power I really need for a stereo. Most speakers I like have about a 90 db efficiency, so just 1 watt would be able to play louder than I would ever want to listen.

    Anyone else tried measuring your regular volumes? If so, how loud do you listen?
    I'm a little quieter than you, even for serious listening. I'd say average about 70 dB, peaks higher of course.

  4. #4
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    I see a trend developing..

    I'm in the 65 to 75 range as well. But of course it depends on the age of the album (ie how it was recrorded) as modern albums are quite loud. Some genre's are louded than others.. The dynamic ranges of classical are much wider than pop, soul, rock etc.. And my mood. Sometimes I want to crash and bash, other times I just let Miles soothe me.

    Worf

  5. #5
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    Apparently I listen in the high 70 db's range. A loud peak for me is up to 85db.
    That's about the same for me. Last weekend at the symphony I was recording similar levels using an iPhone based app. There were perhaps four seconds scattered throughout the entire program that peaked in the high 90s with one at 101 db.

    What I've found over the years is that the treasure is found at the low end of the dynamic scale. As systems get better and quieter, one can hear more detail at lower output levels.

  6. #6
    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    I was testing out my free RTA app for my iphone and found that I listen around 65-75, depending on the type of music. This is for my 5.1. The dyns probably don't play much louder than 60 most of the time. I know, a mortal sin.
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    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post

    What I've found over the years is that the treasure is found at the low end of the dynamic scale. As systems get better and quieter, one can hear more detail at lower output levels.

    I agree completely.

    My loudest listening sessions are usually at 3 AM most weekends. Just my way of letting the young women who live below know that I am not pleased with their continued partying. One weekend I cranked the Krell to 90 and my curtains were fluttering from the air out of the ports. One song and they quiet down. I hope I give them stereo envy.
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  8. #8
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    I range from about 65 when there are people in the room and talking.

    If I crank it up its between 75 and 80 depending on the recording. Lousier the recording the more chance it has to get turned down.

    I just tested this first with Marcus Miller's M2 which is well recorded and I was comfortable upwards of 85.
    Then I put on Metalica's S&M and right away had to lower it somewhere between 70 and 75.

    I also put my pre in passive once in a while and as said above, it doesn't have to be real loud to sound real good.

  9. #9
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Although there have been times when the level has been above 106dB that's the exception. Most of my listening is between 75 to 85dB. It's also program dependent. Some stuff just needs to be played louder. Other stuff needs much lower levels.
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    I just measured a comfortably loud range of 66 to 80dbs on Dire Straits' "So Far Away" SACD sitting at the apex of a nine foot triagle from my OB speakers in a 15X15 room. My Foreplay attenuators were at step 3 of 11 stepped positions. That's using less than one watt to reach a strong listening level. While I only have a 3.5 watt SET amp it's more than I could ever use with 94 db speakers.

    When I add the OB bass H-frames driven by 150 watt mono-blocks at their half volume position I gain an additional 4 dbs ( 84db peak ). I don't listen to jazz this loud but Dire Straits ain't jazz.

    JoeE, isn't 100 dbs the threshold for pain and damage?

    I remember constantly turning the volume up on solid state amps to hear more whereas now I turn my SET amps down to hear more.

  11. #11
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    Its been awhile since I used my sound meter, but I'm sure I don't get above 60-65. As I have aged I just don't feel the need to pump up the volume. Its more about clarity and detail.
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  12. #12
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    This a good topic for noobs who frequently question/boast about wattage and volume. I had the Rat Shack meter out this weekend while installing some new subs in my car.

    My car system will do 120dbs with the windows up with no breakup. I've found average listening can actually quite loud, around 90 to 95db.

    My home system will similarly do 120db at listening position without breaking a sweat. But there I too am doing 70db average with 85db peaks. The watt meter on the amp (for what its worth) never gets above 3 to 9 watts and is usually coasting at a fraction of a watt. Plus, 90% of my home listening is vinyl and I'm always wary about ultra low sub frequencies and rumble when turning it up too loud. While my turntable is well isolated, one errant bump and things can get ugly real quick above 90db.
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  13. #13
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    I just measured a comfortably loud range of 66 to 80dbs on Dire Straits' "So Far Away" SACD sitting at the apex of a nine foot triagle from my OB speakers in a 15X15 room. My Foreplay attenuators were at step 3 of 11 stepped positions. That's using less than one watt to reach a strong listening level. While I only have a 3.5 watt SET amp it's more than I could ever use with 94 db speakers.

    When I add the OB bass H-frames driven by 150 watt mono-blocks at their half volume position I gain an additional 4 dbs ( 84db peak ). I don't listen to jazz this loud but Dire Straits ain't jazz.

    JoeE, isn't 100 dbs the threshold for pain and damage?

    I remember constantly turning the volume up on solid state amps to hear more whereas now I turn my SET amps down to hear more.
    Yes, that is very loud. I've only done it a few times. Most always when another audiophile tells me esl's can't play loud or have limited dynamics. Of course feeding them only 85Hz up makes a difference in maximum level. Levels around 80dB +/- 5dB are where I usually listen. It depends on the music, the company and above all my mood.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    I recently downloaded an spl meter for my iPad to find out how loud my normal listening volume is. Apparently I listen in the high 70 db's range. A loud peak for me is up to 85db.
    Same hear ;-)

  15. #15
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    loud at times

    I have found over the years loud on a good/great system does not really sound that loud. If you can hold a brief conversation it is not too loud. However when it is played really loud you cannot hear a word to anyone even right next to you but the sound quality is still there.

    This is when I have played DSOTM and WYWH Pink Floyd and Dire Straits SACD. I know it is very loud but do not have any way to measure it.

  16. #16
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    70db peak for music on the stereo and 85 db peak on the surround system for movies. The only reason I listen to movies that loud is because of how they mix it. I adjust the loudness for the dialog which is more like 60-65 db but when the action scenes cut in, the volume climbs to 80-85 db.

    I'd like to mention one thing and complain a little in the process. For some movies, especially movies with a lot of action, the people who mix these tend to try and bury the dialog in a flurry of beating drums,crashing objects, and what not... Many times, when the dialog is at a decent volume, the action scene starts and people in the room start yelling, "Turn it Down, it's loo loud!". I turn it down, but when the action stops, I have to grab the remote and turn the dialog back up. This goes on during the entire movie. There are also a number of movies that almost un-watchable because the background sounds drown out the dialog during the entire movie.

    The point is that I'd like to watch movies at a lower volume, but if I am to hear the dialog, I can't.

    I'm done complaining...

  17. #17
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101 View Post
    I'm in the 65 to 75 range as well. But of course it depends on the age of the album (ie how it was recrorded) as modern albums are quite loud. Some genre's are louded than others.. The dynamic ranges of classical are much wider than pop, soul, rock etc.. And my mood. Sometimes I want to crash and bash, other times I just let Miles soothe me.

    Worf
    Worf....I noticed you said "albums".

    Do you spin records? I ask because I cant recall you mentioning it before.


    I listen in the 60-65 range....sometimes 70db's
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    I have always listened to music at "live" levels. That can be quite loud in the case of pop, house, trance, and even some jazz. Even classical music can reach peaks over 100 db. Background music bores me.

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    A few years ago I attended a live performance of the 1812 Overture by the Cleveland Symphony and even the cannon shots didn't approach 100dbs.

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    Years ago we went to a Boston Pops outdoor 1812 ..... the Nat'l Guard howitzers were realistic......

    85 dB for 8 hr is OSHA standard...... usta be 90 dB. Cut exposure time by 1/2 for each additional 5 dB.....

    So....
    85 dB 8 hr
    90 dB 4 hr
    95 dB 2 hr
    100 dB 1 hr

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    A few years ago I attended a live performance of the 1812 Overture by the Cleveland Symphony and even the cannon shots didn't approach 100dbs.
    It depends on how close to the symphony your seat is. I prefer front row center.

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    I've played in a symphony orchestra and never experienced 100dbs levels. Maybe if I stuck my head in a tuba's bell. The last time I had meaningful flings with 100dbs and above was during my days in NG Artillery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    I've played in a symphony orchestra and never experienced 100dbs levels. Maybe if I stuck my head in a tuba's bell. The last time I had meaningful flings with 100dbs and above was during my days in NG Artillery.
    COMPLETELY WRONG: Symphonic music peaks reach between 120 and 137 db. 1/3 of the total power of a 75 piece orchestra comes from the bass drum. You need a more accurate meter!

  24. #24
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    100dbs is the threshold of pain.

  25. #25
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan View Post
    COMPLETELY WRONG: Symphonic music peaks reach between 120 and 137 db.
    Fortunately, none of the symphonies I've ever heard played at rock concert levels.

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