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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Grandpaw's Avatar
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    What is your sound listening level

    I'm sure this has been ask in the past but after doing a search I didn't get my question answered.

    My Onkyo has a volume control that goes from a min. of one to a max. of seventy on the dial with 62 being reference. I set the volume to reference or 62 and adjusted all my speakers to 75db using my RS meter. When I listen to movies my volume is usually around 50 or 52 and is plenty loud. When it get to the 62 mark I just can't stand the volume.

    Now for my questions... Is reference level what I would be listening too if I was in an actual movie theater? What level do you listen to movies at? Is it reference level, below
    or above?


    In case it makes a difference this is the equipment I use.

    Infinity SWS212 sub has two twelve inch drivers with a 300 watt amp
    Front speakers are Infinity Kappa 7.1 series II floor standing speakers.
    Rears are Infinity Kappa 6.1 series II floor standing speakers
    Infinity IL36C center channel
    Onkyo TX-DS777 receiver
    Last edited by Grandpaw; 08-11-2006 at 06:13 AM.
    I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days. I just refuse to have bad ones!!!, Jeff

  2. #2
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    I don't know what the term reference level means either. For me it depends on the movie. If it's just dialogue then I set it at a level where the voices sound natural. If the movie has lots of action sound effects then I want it to sound as if I were there. This is usually quite loud, louder than what most people would be able to play at due to enviroment issues.
    For example War of the Worlds on my receiver I had it set at 30 which is my max listening level for music or movies.This would probably register around 95 to 100 DB in quiet segments and over 100 DB in action segments. Let me tell you when the alien ship came out from under the road pavement I nearly crapped myself. It was loud but sounded so real, I was worried however that my speakers might blow. But they didn't and I was grining from ear to ear and I was so impressed with my HT. Money well wasted!

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The "Reference Level" is an arbitrary point determined by Onkyo - I have no idea why they chose 62, but it doesn't matter. The actual output level depends on other factors including the input signal strength (voltage), recording level on the media, and the sensitivity/efficiency of your speakers. On my Yamaha receiver, I listen at roughly -20 to -12 dB, though it extends to + 15 or + 18 dB as I recall with "0" being reference for some reason.
    Those numbers usually only mean something to the engineers who selected them, wouldn't worry to much about this. Listen to whatever volume you're comfortable with.

  4. #4
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    I asked a similar question awhile back on this thread.

    What's the reference level?

    I use to be concerned about what volume I should be listening to, but as Kex mentioned, I stay with a volume I'm comfortable with. I blast every now and then though, when I have the house to myself.

    My wife and I have been doing a lot of movie watching in the evening when the kids are sleep and I have discovered that my system is still quite enjoyable at lower levels.

  5. #5
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    The "Reference Level" is an arbitrary point determined by Onkyo - I have no idea why they chose 62, but it doesn't matter. The actual output level depends on other factors including the input signal strength (voltage), recording level on the media, and the sensitivity/efficiency of your speakers. On my Yamaha receiver, I listen at roughly -20 to -12 dB, though it extends to + 15 or + 18 dB as I recall with "0" being reference for some reason.
    Those numbers usually only mean something to the engineers who selected them, wouldn't worry to much about this. Listen to whatever volume you're comfortable with.
    -20 to -12 is about where I listen also. "0" seems way too loud to me. I want my ears to last a few more weeks.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  6. #6
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    Here a list I made of decible levels 'C' weighted while watching Predator tonight in DTS. This for me is not overly loud and think would approx. a movie theatre.

    Dynamic Range- 77 to 110
    Human voices, dialogue- 85 to 90
    Action music, choppers,etc- 90 to 95
    Gunfire, Machine Guns, Explosions- 100 to 110

  7. #7
    Forum Regular KaiWinters's Avatar
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    Had mine at "0" while listening to a compilation cd I just made for an upcoming road trip.
    Listened to a bit of 5 or 6 tracks...AC/DC Back in Black, What do you do for money honey, and several other artists.
    My son, 19, and his girlfriend walked in and said they heard it several houses away and knew it was me hehehe.
    I listen to tv at -30 to -40, movies from -30 to -15 depending on the movie genre, music dvd's at -15 and the hell with the neighbors...let them get their own system or bring the beers and c'mon over.
    TV: LG 50PC3D plasma tv
    Receiver: Yamaha RX-V659
    DVD: Philips DVP5960
    Speakers: front/Paradigm Monitor 3 v.4, surround/Paradigm Atoms v.4, center/Paradigm CC290 v.5, sub/Paradigm PDR-12
    Remote: Harmony 659

  8. #8
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    The "Reference Level" is an arbitrary point determined by Onkyo - I have no idea why they chose 62, but it doesn't matter. The actual output level depends on other factors including the input signal strength (voltage), recording level on the media, and the sensitivity/efficiency of your speakers. On my Yamaha receiver, I listen at roughly -20 to -12 dB, though it extends to + 15 or + 18 dB as I recall with "0" being reference for some reason.
    Those numbers usually only mean something to the engineers who selected them, wouldn't worry to much about this. Listen to whatever volume you're comfortable with.
    I use a Pioneer and it's always played at -33 to -25 (thats very loud) for music and
    slightly more for flicks. There is no mention of a "reference level" in the manual. What
    the spl meter gave me is what I got. When I first set things up w/o the meter volumne
    readings were much different. Thank god AR came along and set me straight on speaker
    "balance" as mine were all jacked up at first. I use vintage speakers that adimttingly
    are not very efficient at low levels, so there used at high levels, which was my choice
    due to the type of music I like. Also I would guess amplifier output would play a role.
    The last line in kex's thread says it all. Good Luck, And Crank It, if you have to.

  9. #9
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    My -10 on the master volume could be someone eles's -40 or +15. Its not a useful scale to compare with.
    Look & Listen

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I put on Star Wars and read the dB's and for me I adjusted the volume so most of the sound was in the 70's and 80's. After adjusting my rec to 75db at ref level I just can't stand that much sound if I leave it set to ref. The db level when playing a movie was in the 90 to 100 range and was unbearable. The occasional jump with a bomb was OK but to keep it around that volume just ain't gonna get it.

    I was just wondering what the level others were listening at because I have heard the 90 to 115db range mentioned in other posts in the past. I like to feel the effects but not to the point I need to take pain killers, Jeff
    I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days. I just refuse to have bad ones!!!, Jeff

  11. #11
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Unless someone has the exact same gear, room and furnishings the level readings on the gear are not comparable. The only way to actually measure SPL's is with an external sound level meter. The one from Rat Shack is very popular and reasonably priced.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Joe, that's exactly what I am using to measure what I am listening too. Was just interested to see if others have taken sound levels while listening. Several posts that I have read in the past have mentioned high levels. I was curious to see how my listening habits compared to others. I just cannot imagine enjoying some of the high levels that have been mentioned. My room is 20 x 20ft and may be a lot smaller than the people posting the higher levels, Jeff
    I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days. I just refuse to have bad ones!!!, Jeff

  13. #13
    Bill L
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpaw
    Thanks for all the replies. I put on Star Wars and read the dB's and for me I adjusted the volume so most of the sound was in the 70's and 80's. After adjusting my rec to 75db at ref level I just can't stand that much sound if I leave it set to ref. The db level when playing a movie was in the 90 to 100 range and was unbearable. The occasional jump with a bomb was OK but to keep it around that volume just ain't gonna get it.

    I was just wondering what the level others were listening at because I have heard the 90 to 115db range mentioned in other posts in the past. I like to feel the effects but not to the point I need to take pain killers, Jeff

    OSHA requires hearing protection in the work place for continuous sound level above 85 db's and an average weighted noise level of 90 db's. If you listen continuously at 115 db's, you'll need a hearing aid in about two weeks. 105 continuous db's might get you a month or two.

    Put some tape over your volume read out and just set it where it feels comfortable. I have no idea what my Yamaha's AVR volume range of - 70 db to + 70 db means (certainly not decibles). All I know is I like listening to cd's in the -14 to -8 range, dvd's in the -20 range and turntable records at about -2.5. All these are comfortably loud but certainly bearable.

  14. #14
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandpaw
    Joe, that's exactly what I am using to measure what I am listening too. Was just interested to see if others have taken sound levels while listening. Several posts that I have read in the past have mentioned high levels. I was curious to see how my listening habits compared to others. I just cannot imagine enjoying some of the high levels that have been mentioned. My room is 20 x 20ft and may be a lot smaller than the people posting the higher levels, Jeff
    I posted that response because lots of posters are referring to the numbers on their receivers which have nothing to do with anything.

    I listen at different levels that depend on the music and my mood. Frequently I find that 75 to 80db is just fine. When I have it cranked the levels average around 90 to 95db. For movies and TV the levels usually range from around 60db to 75db depending on the program content. The measurements were taken using my trusty Rat Shack analog meter. My room is 26x14x9. Good proportions, no dimension is a multiple of another. My ESL's are about 4ft from the front wall 8 apart and I sit about 9ft from them. The levels were measured at my listening position. Levels much higher than 95db or so are just not comfortable to me for any long periods of time. When listening to Classical music I have no problem with 100db peaks, but that's just dynamic range. Of course the main body of classical music is never that high, it is usually in the 80db area.

    Anyone who is the slightest bit serious about this hobby (obsession) should have a SLM. The Rat Shack one is inexpensive and more than adaquate.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

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