There have been some good posts around here lately about high SPL. I'd have to agree that our tolerances for loud listening levels can probably vary quite a bit from person to person.
I wish I could listen comfortably at really loud levels like some of you guys seem to be able to do. I can do reference MV's occasionally, but I usually fall in the category of somewhere between -15mv to -8mv. That's pretty loud for me, and probably partially do to me being in an untreated living room and probably have a fair amount of reflection going on. Also my ears seem to be pretty sensitive to high's and definitely are sensitive to boomy sounding bass. Add these two together especially at really loud levels and it can feel like it's wrecking havoc on my ears. I guess one good thing about it though, is that it forces me to try keep my bass as clean as possible sounding.
I watch quite a few movies on my system, but I think I may enjoy it the most for demoing (for myself). One of my favorite things to do is watch movie demo clips almost daily for at least 30 minutes or so if I can fit it in. I've got a ton blu ray lossless mkv's on disc that are fast and easily accessible to help keep it fresh.
Since I do this quite often, I think it would really start taking is toll on my ears if I did it at reference MV's all the time, and probably really start pissing off the neighbors.
That's the main reason I added the NF's right behind me as close as possible, along with the TT/MA's in addition like derrickdj1 was saying. At these moderate MV levels and my big room on concrete, that's the only way I can get the kind of Slam (with direct PR
) and TR that I crave without killing my ears. Although I do run my subs pretty hot, but doesn't seem to get as boomy sounding with elevated levels as fast with NF's in the mix, as it does with FF's only. I'm running a pretty flat FR (crossover at 90hz), but then raise that whole thing up from ~ 90hz on down - a lot of times up around 15db over speakers, sometimes even more up around 20db depending on the clip (No DEQ).
Even though I have no where near the insane SPL capably as some of you guys here, it's still pretty decent and I definitely enjoy cranking it up higher on occasion. Because the louder you can listen, the harder the bass hits you!!
It is addicting for sure, I hope I can continue to thoroughly enjoy it for many years to come without loosing my hearing and battling a severe case of tinnitus!!