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#127183 - 02/07/06 01:25 PM Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Driven by both curiosity and the quest to see how much I was damaging my ears, I whipped out my SPL meter to see what kind of levels I was listening to my music at. I noticed that the -40 db level on my receiver was my, "Studying or quiet music level," -35 db level was my "roomate is here and I want to have loud but not so loud music", -30 db level was my "roomate might be here but I want to listen to music loud", the -25 db level was my "absolute perfect level to listen to music, anything louder seems too loud to my ears, anything lower lacks the punch I like."

So, on my SPL meter the -25 db level was checking in at about 87-92db, mostly around 90. The -30 db was almost exactly 5 db less, so on and so forth.

For movies I have discovered that -15 db is the sweet spot, but movies are quieter than music.

However, I am about 1-2 feet (essentially computer speakers) from my M22's, so that effects greatly how they would sound if I was sitting further away, but I noticed I can adjust the receiver level to about -22 or so, get the same loudness and imaging, but then everyone else can hear my music a ton louder. It's nice because I think my music is really loud, but when I stand up and get out of the "sweet spot" of my M22's pointing at my ears, the level goes down quite a bit, so I'd be curious how loud you guys listen.

Anyways, I am quite satisfied that at 90 db I can listen to music safely for 8 hours without "losing" any hearing. That is why I think it is boardering on pointless to get a ridiculously good car stereo because of road noise and the ridiculously loud (~120 db) levels that you have to play it at to get the same experience in a quiet environment. After about 10 minutes at that level hearing loss starts to occur. And honestly, if I'm going to be in hi-fi audio all of my life, I'd like to keep my hearing.

Here's an image of my setup to give you an idea what my setup is:




How about you guys? How loud do you like it?
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M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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#127184 - 02/07/06 01:47 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6026
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I don't remember offhand but there was a thread on this several months ago where a number of us posted our typical values for quiet listening, "serious" music, "kick ass loud music", "typical" movies and "show off the system" movies.

With a few exceptions, they were all under 100 dB. I think I only went over 100 dB for "kick ass loud music" and "show off the system movies". A few people consistently run at 100-115 dB but you can guess that from their systems
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#127185 - 02/07/06 02:28 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
LightninJoe Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
My impression of pretty freakin' loud is around 92-95. I've sustained around 105 or so but that was "a drink or 5 watching Stop Making Sense" loud, which I haven't done since. Perfect movie level is about -12 on my 2805, music usually is about -20. Really loud music is -5, and super bangin' movies run about unity.
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"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

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#127186 - 02/07/06 10:01 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6026
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#127187 - 02/07/06 10:43 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
GregM Offline
veteran

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 173
Loc: Monroe, WA
http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=tech&Number=124932&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=0&fpart=

What a trip! I posted the above about two weeks ago. My SPL meter is pegged right at about 90db at what I call good and loud. The needle sweeps from about 85 to 93 or so so it sounds like we are right no. I would only ever listen at this level for 30 minutes or so. My HK receiver is at about -20db depending on which song as recording levels vary.

I agree that movies need a higher receiver setting with the exception of Fellowship of the Ring. That one seems pretty loud at -25db. Also, most of what we hear in movies is dialog. When music and SFX kick in, I don't think the difference is as great. Also, you have to listen to a movie for 90 minutes so the level can't be as loud as a 3 minute rock song.

I also linked to a website that echoes your comments about being able to listen for many hours at 90db without fear of hearing damage. Here is what I don't get. When people listen at 105db for extended periods of time and get hearing loss, how can they take those levels for that long? Must just be dumb kids I guess.

Greg

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#127188 - 02/07/06 11:15 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10621
Dan, what I usually refer to as "comfortably loud" is an average listening level of about 80-85dB, which is in fact loud. Some of the classical items which I listen to are very dynamic and might have split-second peaks 20-25dB above that, but as best that I can tell 110dB(or using 100 watts)has never been hit.

Most pop music has a rather low dynamic range(note the +/- 5dB figure Axiom mentioned for the range of the pop items that were used in their distortion tests), but if that -15 figure on your receiver does roughly correspond to 100dB at your listening position(except that you did say that the movie level was lower at the same settings), be careful.
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#127189 - 02/07/06 11:52 PM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
chesseroo Offline
axiomite

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5171
Loc: western canada
In reply to:

The record seems to be 117-119 dB



This was likely measured right at the speaker itself and possibly exaggerated somewhat.
I've had the M60s hooked up to a 350W amp, Class A into the first 20W and they started to hit their excursion limits around 110dB peaks at 6 feet.

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#127190 - 02/08/06 12:18 AM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6026
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Dennis was running 5 M80s, 2 EP600s, 2 QS8s and a big stack of Parasound Halo amps. I haven't had a chance to hear it myself but several people from the forum saw the system in action...
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#127191 - 02/08/06 01:28 AM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
AdamP88 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 639
Loc: Omaha, NE
I was one of those people. I don't remember if we checked it out on the SPL meter, but it was very, very LOUD. As in "I would never listen to my system this loud" loud.

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#127192 - 02/08/06 01:32 AM Re: Listening levels: How loud do you listen?
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
I was there in 2005 the day Dennis blew our ears out.
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I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

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