I've been watching/listening to a lot of content lately with my father in law. He is a little older than me and his listening volume preference is a little higher than mine. I would say my average level is somewhere around 60-65db avg while his is 70-75 db avg.
Anyway, I have started to notice brief moments when listening to concerts and the lotr: two towers with him that my AVR was sounding a little strained.
My room is pretty much treated now and I've lived with it long enough to be pretty keen on subtle changes. It is not hard to hear when channel levels are out of whack even a couple db now and it is pretty easy to hear differences in balance when the sub levels are adjusted by a single db in the AVR setup menu.
As a bit of a test I hooked up my 2ch power amp. I'm still waiting to get it properly integrated into my system. Stupid proptrietary gear!
I reset the trim levels for the preouts to match the spl of the other channels (75dba) and sat for a listen to some Daft Punk -RAM.
AMPS DO SOUND DIFFERENT. Or do they?
It sounded like a step backwards. I preferred the sound of my AVR I had just bypassed...... What?! I tried to think why as I clicked through tracks and it dawned on me. The towers were now producing bass at levels that were enough of a change to throw out the sub/speaker balance. I turned the sub trim down by 1db. Yes, 1db, and everything fell right back into place.
1db. Wtf. Audio is a strange game.
The amplifier is capable of much more current vs the AVR at any listening level and the entire power balance had shifted towards slightly more bass. Not a ton, but enough I could notice the fingering on guitars in "get lucky" was being masked by what I perceived as bass a little proud of the balance I had.
After the slight adjustment, the balance now sounds right again, and it is indistinguishable from the old setup to my ears.
I can now listen at any volume and the pitch of the track doesnt shift with loudness, as it did with the AVR. There is no more "brassyness" or hardness at loudish listening levels. I have a few tracks I crank and listen to to relax. I really like Enya's Caribbean Blue loud. So euphoric. I always thought the track had been mixed so the first couple loud tones in the song had a pronounced peakiness or attack to them. They aren't supposed to. My AVR was adding distortion once I poured the volume on. Not at agressive levels either.... Like 80db or so.
Food for thought if nothing else.