At what volume do you listen to your system? - diyAudio
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Old 9th February 2012, 03:28 AM   #1
seebert is offline seebert  United States
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Default At what volume do you listen to your system?

Or alternatively, how loud is loud enough to convey the illusion of listening to the original music. I know it appears to be a simple enough question but one that has me wondering. Even though my system is fairly well balanced (for a CD based system) there seems to be a very narrow band within which the music sounds not too loud and not too soft, a point where one notch below and it's lacking 'girth or fullness' and a notch too high and it's just ... well ... louder but not closer to conveying the original sound. Getting the volume right seems to be just like hitting the 'sweet listening spot' in positioning self / speakers / room. So, is that 'just right' volume for any particular recording subject to the same parameters - with the additional one of degree of deafness? I see some listeners say 'I want 120+ (or +++) decibels - or else it doesn't move me. I seem to be listening at peculiarly low levels in that case - and my hearing is anything but good
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Old 9th February 2012, 03:39 AM   #2
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All depends on what I am listening to. Yes, like you I always play with loudness that is as close as possible to what I would expect in reality, if well recorded it sounds the best.
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Old 9th February 2012, 04:00 AM   #3
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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I too listen to lower levels to for the most part. Some times I like to crank it, just to feel the kick-drum a bit.

Though I don't have loudness, I do have the bass turned up a bit to have a similar effect, sounding more balanced at low volume levels.

My hearing used to be bad, I had those "tubes" installed in my ears when I was younger.
I got through early elementary school years by reading lips. My speech was a little underdeveloped because of this, I would stutter quite a bit.

I used to play a lot of Metal in a few bands too, although I tried not to abuse my ears too much. I got used to playing with earplugs, it takes some getting used too.

Lucky for me though my hearing is better now then it ever was, I have more or less outgrown my hearing problems, speech is corrected. I now have the same or slightly better hearing then people my age, so that's pretty cool.

This may explain my interest in music, amps and just about anything that makes noise.
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Old 9th February 2012, 05:50 AM   #4
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My SPLs average about 80-85dBA where I'm seated.
The illusion often comes with a small or distant characteristic since it's rarely at a "right in front of me" volume level. These days it's not often that I really want to replicate Kenny Aronoff, Maynard Ferguson, or the Cleveland Orchestra in my listening room. I just wanna hear some tunes while I enjoy my home time. I think the "volume sweet spot" is valid but elusive to quantify because it is probably a combination of the recording, hardware, room, and state of mind.
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Old 9th February 2012, 08:20 PM   #5
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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There is a correct SPL volume necessary for realism, apart from that when your hi-fi system is "correct" or as close to , it will have the same balance of sound regardless where you set the volume, from low listening levels to high listening levels the sound should just increase in level with no alteration to it's tonality ( amp not clipping) if you have to add compensation at low levels your system has poor balance.....


Because of such when doing frequency sweeps, i usually do at 1 ,2,10, 25 watt and look for variation if any in response...

When listening to classical music, I usually listen avg din of 84 db, this is my reference based on many years of actually measuring from the 12 row when at the symphony. As such it is not unusual to see peaks in the 105-108db range (112db actual symphony) soft passages will sometimes drop as low as 68db.

With standard studio stuff, as you i just turn until it sounds right, there is no other reference.


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Old 9th February 2012, 11:34 PM   #6
GloBug is offline GloBug  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
if you have to add compensation at low levels your system has poor balance.....
I disagree with this. The way we hear is not linear, nor is the air being compressed.

Our ears are not as sensitive to bass as they are to mid/high ranges.

I believe a perfectly flat volume response would yield an amp that "sounds" weaker in bass at lower volume levels.
Remember we hear differently than a microphone.

Therefor if you still want to hear the low end sound you must increase power in the low end range.

Also consider a speaker cone would perform in a more inefficient manor at low volume levels.

It's easy to test, if your amp is "flat". Play a song, turning the volume down slowly, you will notice the bass will disappear before the mid/high frequencies. Now explain how this is in balance?

So to have the same perceived balance of a live band at lower levels, you will have to turn up the bass a bit.
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Old 10th February 2012, 12:21 AM   #7
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I just played a sampling of my collection and averaged ~78dbc.
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Old 10th February 2012, 12:35 AM   #8
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Usually average between mid-70s to mid-80s dBC...unless the boys are over and the Buffalo Trace has been flowing when the occasional segue up to 90 has occurred.
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Old 10th February 2012, 12:52 AM   #9
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Old 10th February 2012, 03:19 AM   #10
a.wayne is offline a.wayne  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GloBug View Post
I disagree with this. The way we hear is not linear, nor is the air being compressed.

Our ears are not as sensitive to bass as they are to mid/high ranges.

I believe a perfectly flat volume response would yield an amp that "sounds" weaker in bass at lower volume levels.
Remember we hear differently than a microphone.

Therefor if you still want to hear the low end sound you must increase power in the low end range.

Also consider a speaker cone would perform in a more inefficient manor at low volume levels.

It's easy to test, if your amp is "flat". Play a song, turning the volume down slowly, you will notice the bass will disappear before the mid/high frequencies. Now explain how this is in balance?

So to have the same perceived balance of a live band at lower levels, you will have to turn up the bass a bit.
Hello Globug,

OK to disagree, i still stand behind what i said , the music will have the same balance low to high when right ... I can turn any of mine down to a whisper and there is no change in the balance, it's just lower...

If your speaker has a thin sound when low, it should still have a thin sound when high , how else will it have good dynamics . Recordings will get as quite as your low settings , what then , you run and boost the bass, then when it goes up in level , you run and turn the compensation off ...

Your speaker system has poor balance if this is what you are doing ....
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