Is "reference level" LOUD to YOU? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Is properly reproduced (read: relatively low distortion, unstrained/unclipped programme) "reference
1. Perfect. This is the way movies should sound. 28 12.17%
2. A bit too loud for me/my guests, I'm usually between -10 and 0 on the volume dial 70 30.43%
3. Too loud, I'm usually between -10 and -15 on the volume dial 80 34.78%
4. Much too loud, I'm usually - 15 or more on the volume dial 47 20.43%
5. Ae you crazy, it's not loud enough, I spend most of my time in "0+ land" 5 2.17%
Voters: 230. You may not vote on this poll

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post #181 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 05:51 PM
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Not at all, it really is the probable cause of this confusion - your wording in the poll answers, and the unlikelihood that Audyssey is accurate to the decibel for the entire audience in a HT and that 0 on the volume dial directly correlates to that level for every movie that gets watched. That seems quite obvious now. Of course I don't expect you to agree, just putting an educated guess out there.

What your poll shows is that from a sample of about 100 people, about 12% choose to set their volume dial to exactly 'Zero'. Surely you don't deny that setting the volume to -1 is effectively the same thing, yet those folks have voted 2 instead on 1.
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Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

Another baseless and evidence-lacking assertion.
You're on a roll...can't wait for your next one.
Hide the children.
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post #182 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 06:10 PM
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Well, I decided to go ahead and just listen to my new "2112" Collectors set that I just got in the mail. I chose to listen to it in my living room and actually use a sound pressure meter without looking at the controls on the processor. I just turned it up to where I thought it was loud enough and what do you know, I looked at the SPL meter and it read about 98 - 105 dB at listening position during the peaks in the songs. I am about 10 feet from the center channel and 14 feet from each of the front channels and about 12 feet from each surround channel. The subs are in the front corners about 12 feet away. I moved closer to the corners and had readingsof about 108 to 118 about 4 feet from the subs. This system is in a room that is now devoid of carpet since my son has alergies and it will soon be tiled. Very little treatment because it is afterall our living room. I do not want it louder under any circumstances in here, but I do want more extension and overall bass response. I turned off the subs and it was still at levels where I felt it was loud enough and the dB readings are about the same. I am severely LFE limited in this room. My future improvements will be in the LFE channel and in the calibration of the system only. Now, I immediately went from there to my HT and it is a totally different experience altogether. I adjusted the volume until I felt it was where I wanted it and I was hitting 115 and more on the Meter at listening position about 17 feet away. I felt less strained and the sound just felt bigger with less effort. This was a small blind test that shows that my systems which each give me pleasure differ greatly in the way I perceive how loud they actually are when I find them to be loud enough.

Keep cranking,

Robert
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post #183 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertcharles View Post

Well, I decided to go ahead and just listen to my new "2112" Collectors set that I just got in the mail. I chose to listen to it in my living room and actually use a sound pressure meter without looking at the controls on the processor. I just turned it up to where I thought it was loud enough and what do you know, I looked at the SPL meter and it read about 98 - 105 dB at listening position during the peaks in the songs. I am about 10 feet from the center channel and 14 feet from each of the front channels and about 12 feet from each surround channel. The subs are in the front corners about 12 feet away. I moved closer to the corners and had readingsof about 108 to 118 about 4 feet from the subs. This system is in a room that is now devoid of carpet since my son has alergies and it will soon be tiled. Very little treatment because it is afterall our living room. I do not want it louder under any circumstances in here, but I do want more extension and overall bass response. I turned off the subs and it was still at levels where I felt it was loud enough and the dB readings are about the same. I am severely LFE limited in this room. My future improvements will be in the LFE channel and in the calibration of the system only. Now, I immediately went from there to my HT and it is a totally different experience altogether. I adjusted the volume until I felt it was where I wanted it and I was hitting 115 and more on the Meter. I felt less strained and the sound just felt bigger with less effort. This was a small blind test that shows that my systems which each give me pleasure differ greatly in the way I perceive how loud they actually are when I find them to be loud enough.
Keep cranking,
Robert

I hear ya Robert I love blasting the good stuff too.

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post #184 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

Lots of entertaining discussion here. I wanted to jump in and add that while speaker+amplifier distortion is a significant contributor to perceived loudness at higher playback levels, by far acoustics is the biggest offender. Consider the difference of clapping your hands a few times in a bare and empty gymnasium vs. outdoors. The time duration and loudness of the sound source is the same, but it sounds many times louder due to how long the sound "sticks around" due to the reflections.
I've mentioned it before, but will remind again. Our ears evaluate loudness in terms of sound power, not maximum intensity. In other words, it's intensity AND duration. Make either very small and it's not very loud. If you drive both up, it gets loud very quickly.
To be clear, I've listened to powerful systems outdoors which sounded wonderfully at ease at +5dB and louder, and I've calibrated systems in very live rooms that I'd never want to listen to a full movie over -10dB. Generally the more controlled the energy is in the room above ~250Hz, the higher the comfortable playback level can be in the room.

Have to agree with this... I have 2 RTA-12's amped in a 3000sq ft shop that is fairly open with bay doors and I run them just under distortion regularly and they don't hurt ears at all...(Could go higher...)

Now my speakers at home I don't think really can reach reference without distortion.(Polk M 70's off receiver)
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post #185 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 08:25 PM
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apparently I misread the question asked in this poll.
Quote:
"Is properly reproduced (read: relatively low distortion, unstrained/unclipped programme) "reference level" playback (concening properly mastered cinema media).... "

I thought I had to report what preferred playback level in my listening room is, not whether or not I enjoy ref.level under ideal circumstances. I strongly suspect that I am not the only one who made the mistake.

As was stated before, perception of loudness has more to do with various distortions than with the actual SPL ( though audibility of distortion increases with volume).
It is not surprising that most of us find playback level above -5dBFS unpleasant at home. yet there is a good chance that at one point or other we have experienced a much higher SPL and did not mind it at all.

To me, the interesting part is to figure out what exactly sets the "too loud" threshold in my set up and see what can be done to fix it.

Anyway, I have to recast my vote to #1.
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post #186 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

Mark,
When you say +5 dBs outside and -10 dBs in a live room are you keeping the volume at reference? Meaning in a live room reference might be -10MV and outside could be +5 dBs? That is what I am saying is that how many people just trust that MV 0 is reference to begin with? Mine is not on at least three porcessors and AVR's. It is supposed to be but I measure much louder than reference at 0 dBs.

The above probably inadvertently gets directly at the confusion. Calibrating a system to a reference is simply a gain structure setting, nothing more. "Reference level" simply means that a known recorded signal is intended to produce a known level at the listener. The focus on maximum capabilities comes into play as our recording media has maximum recorded levels, so once the gain structure is defined, a maximum is defined for a given volume setting.

That said, the subjective loudness of "reference level playback" will be different for every movie. There are general guidelines that recording engineers attempt to follow, but some movies and scenes will be recorded louder or quieter than others as the director and engineer feels is appropriate. Just because you set the volume to 0dB on the MV, that doesn't mean loud scenes in a movie are hitting the maximum possible levels.

When I state +5dB or -10dB, I simply mean where the main volume control is when listening after similar calibration method (test DVD). I have observed differences between test tones in various processors, sometimes it's the type of signal. There are also all sorts of odd things which happen with dialog normalization, and it's possible some processors don't always handle things similarly, opening more opportunity for internal test-tone calibrations to give differing results. Base-lining with a test DVD helps minimize such differences.



Yup, "reference level" is more or less the standard production signal alignment level for a system. That way everyone in the production chain has a good idea on the baseline levels used in the production chain. Calibrating the end consumer receiver master volume control level to that standard is the end of the alignment chain.

DD Dialnorm will change output levels on a Dolby track. For a specific example if you use War of the Worlds as a test DVD and use the DD track, the DD Dialnorm value is -23 which reduces volume by 8 dB. The DTS track does not use Dialnorm, so it plays back with no reduction in playback volume level. Which version (DD or DTS) plays back at "reference level" with the use of the identical calibrated master volume setting? Both playback at "reference level" when you come right down to it even though they do not playback at the same volume level with the DTS track being 8 dB louder than the DD track.

In addition, THX receivers assume that a typical DVD uses a DD Dialnorm value of -27 (AKA results in THX Reference Level), and a straight Dolby Digital receiver assumes that a DD Dialnorm value of -31 (AKA results in Dolby Reference Level) is used on a DD DVD. You get a 4 dB difference in volume level between playback calibration level of those two types of units (THX and DD).

To make matters worse, not all receivers use 0 dB on the master volume control as the calibrated "reference level" position. On my receiver -22 dB on the master volume is the calibrated "reference level" master volume position.

As you noted about having a base-line, I do check my receiver with the use of straight recorded PCM test signals, the internal receiver test signals, as well as the THX Optimizer test signals taken from the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD . In my specific standard DD receiver, all three calibration methods match up as far as master volume calibration is concerned.
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post #187 of 363 Old 12-19-2012, 11:15 PM
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I listen right around reference for all movies. But the number on my Lexicon has little relevance to volume. -14 might be enough for one movie and then another needs -6.

So I basically ignore the number and set the volume so that the volume of *regular* dialog sounds like reference level.

Getting to reference takes just what others have said-

-treated room; you can easily get to reference in an untreated room but it will sound horrible
-speakers and amps that can handle 105/115db at the seats; most ordinary single woofer/dome tweeter speakers aren't up to this, neither are single or even dual subwoofers with a tiny number of exceptions

When I saw the Dark Knight Rises in IMAX, it was ~3-5db over reference in my estimation. The peaks were loud to the point of slight pain on some transients and the bass was shaking the risers violently. It was by far the loudest I've ever experienced a movie and I've measured peaks of 120db+ in my back row for stuff like Pulse and Flight of the Phoenix.
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post #188 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

Personally, my overwhelming feeling from some of the responses in this thread is that you're never going to convince some that humans have varying tastes in/tolerance for volume levels. And although I feel like a cretin for even typing such a "well...duh" sentence, there's more than enough in these scant 5 pages for me feel pretty confident about it.
It's like someone saying "I don't like going 180 mph in a car"...I feel unsafe, it scares me, I get nauseous, etc.
And then having someone say: "yeah? Well that's because you haven't gone 180 mph in a Ferrari Enzo...it's so much smoother, confident, etc."
It's really a bit ridiculous of course, but then again, there are a number of people who insist others don't like the taste of venison because "they ain't had it cooked right". Not that they just simply cannot enjoy the taste of deer meat.
Go figure.
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You asked earlier what I listen to it at if reference isnt too loud. Normally I start at reference on a new BD and go up depending on the movie. Anywhere from +1 to +5 normally.

And just had to comment on your 180mph comment since it is totally off!!!! I could drive my GTR 180mph without feeling scared but would I do it in another car that just had a motor with a bunch of HP in it that made it capable, NO, NO, NO I would not! If I could afford a Veyron I would drive it 250mph+ on the right road/track, who wouldnt that would spend the money on the car that can truly handle the speeds. The gas will run out rather quickly but still.
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post #189 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 12:35 AM
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post #190 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post

You asked earlier what I listen to it at if reference isnt too loud. Normally I start at reference on a new BD and go up depending on the movie. Anywhere from +1 to +5 normally.
And just had to comment on your 180mph comment since it is totally off!!!! I could drive my GTR 180mph without feeling scared but would I do it in another car that just had a motor with a bunch of HP in it that made it capable, NO, NO, NO I would not! If I could afford a Veyron I would drive it 250mph+ on the right road/track, who wouldnt that would spend the money on the car that can truly handle the speeds. The gas will run out rather quickly but still.

OK, this is how I set reference. I have a Pioneer Elite that can handle 160 watts per channel at 6 ohms. It comes with a very good microphone built into the remote. I mount the remote on a tripod at the exact listening position. Then I follow onscreen instructions and from what the receiver "hears," it decides how far each speaker is (accurate to within an inch), how much delay is needed, how much each speaker needs to be adjusted in Hz (about 12 bands), and how much each speaker needs to be adjusted in decibels to meet THX Ultra 2 reference standards. There are about eight screens that follow showing you the exact settings. In THX, you cannot adjust the bass or treble. The reference is zero. You can only have 80Hz and lower in THX fed to the sub. In standard mode, you can adjust all of the things you can't in THX.

Once all this is done, I set the volume where I think it is awesome but not deafeningly loud which to me zero db can be. It all depends on the source material. A BR DTS MA disc may sound overwhelming at 0, while an old SAT movie may need to be cranked up quite a bit because of the way it was recorded.

As to your quote on cars that can truly handle the speeds, I scoff at your bravado. Try 194 mph on a Suzuki Hayabusa (it's a motorcycle). Your not in it all protected from wind and noise, you are on it. The bike can do the work, but can the rider handle the bike? The smallest mistake and someone will be scraping you off the road and assorted objects.

BTW: I have a speaker system that can coast at 140 db, so it's NOT distortion I don't like. When the spl makes my ears ring, the volume simply needs to be adjusted.

Floyd

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post #191 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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As it is currently worded, the poll can only apply to one single listener, who happens to have an AVR that uses Audyssey and is perfectly calibrated, sitting in the prime LP... and then that person has to always set the volume knob to Zero, cross their fingers and hope the movie plays back at exactly the right level. What a funny way to watch a movie! It's easy to mock, but it's a caricature that doesn't apply to anyone who actually voted 1 in the poll.

In practice, when folks are having a 'movie night' at home, in a competent dedicated HT, their levels will end up (roughly) consistent with the range that would be considered 'reference' barring mitigating factors like nasty neighbors or sleeping kids. On a calibrated system, turning the volume up on a 'quiet' movie and turning the volume down on a 'loud' movie achieves the same final effect, getting the overall volume closer to reference.

For the car analogies, it's worth acknowledging that people who don't like to drive fast avoid fast cars... some avoid cars altogether. People who don't like reference-level surround sound tend to skip buying a reference-capable system all together... so what you've got - for the purpose of this discussion - are audio enthusiasts (and hypothetical car enthusiasts). People who know better than to think '0' on the dial represents much of anything beyond a reference point (not level) in practice.

On another note, 180mph on the road is not safe, while 85db at the LP is safe. A better example of risk/reward (as it relates to volume vs. speed) is whether a driver feels confident passing someone - or making an emergency maneuver - on the highway. "Passing power' = headroom - and the point of a 'reference capable' system is it makes cruising at 75mph so darned comfortable, while the economy car makes a 75mph feel unsafe... and then it's time to pull an emergency maneuver and the sports car doesn't even blink while the econobox struggles to avoid the semi rig that almost knocked it off the highway. Listening to 120+ db demos? That's taking the car to the track for speed runs - where the sports car is so in it's element, going fast feels good... unlike the economy car which literally might kill you if you even try to go 180 on the track.

The OP keeps saying 'trust me'... but I see no reason to do so. In the end, my answer to the OPs question is an emphatic 'no'. Measured, calibrated reference level in my system is not too loud for me - nor is it too loud for my guests.

Mark

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post #192 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post

You asked earlier what I listen to it at if reference isnt too loud. Normally I start at reference on a new BD and go up depending on the movie. Anywhere from +1 to +5 normally.
And just had to comment on your 180mph comment since it is totally off!!!! I could drive my GTR 180mph without feeling scared but would I do it in another car that just had a motor with a bunch of HP in it that made it capable, NO, NO, NO I would not! If I could afford a Veyron I would drive it 250mph+ on the right road/track, who wouldnt that would spend the money on the car that can truly handle the speeds. The gas will run out rather quickly but still.


Ummmmm, it's not "totally off" in any regard whatsoever. That's zero.

You're equating YOUR experience to everyone else's...that's a big problem.

There are many who would NEVER enjoy traveling 180 mph in a car, reagardless of the model.

Again, just like their are many who would NEVER enjoy the taste of venison, regardless of how it was/who cooked it.

Surely this cannot be this difficult to grasp?

James

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post #193 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

As it is currently worded, the poll can only apply to one single listener, who happens to have an AVR that uses Audyssey and is perfectly calibrated, sitting in the prime LP... and then that person has to always set the volume knob to Zero, cross their fingers and hope the movie plays back at exactly the right level. What a funny way to watch a movie! It's easy to mock, but it's a caricature that doesn't apply to anyone who actually voted 1 in the poll.
In practice, when folks are having a 'movie night' at home, in a competent dedicated HT, their levels will end up (roughly) consistent with the range that would be considered 'reference' barring mitigating factors like nasty neighbors or sleeping kids. On a calibrated system, turning the volume up on a 'quiet' movie and turning the volume down on a 'loud' movie achieves the same final effect, getting the overall volume closer to reference.
For the car analogies, it's worth acknowledging that people who don't like to drive fast avoid fast cars... some avoid cars altogether. People who don't like reference-level surround sound tend to skip buying a reference-capable system all together... so what you've got - for the purpose of this discussion - are audio enthusiasts (and hypothetical car enthusiasts). People who know better than to think '0' on the dial represents much of anything beyond a reference point (not level) in practice.
On another note, 180mph on the road is not safe, while 85db at the LP is safe. A better example of risk/reward (as it relates to volume vs. speed) is whether a driver feels confident passing someone - or making an emergency maneuver - on the highway. "Passing power' = headroom - and the point of a 'reference capable' system is it makes cruising at 75mph so darned comfortable, while the economy car makes a 75mph feel unsafe... and then it's time to pull an emergency maneuver and the sports car doesn't even blink while the econobox struggles to avoid the semi rig that almost knocked it off the highway. Listening to 120+ db demos? That's taking the car to the track for speed runs - where the sports car is so in it's element, going fast feels good... unlike the economy car which literally might kill you if you even try to go 180 on the track.
The OP keeps saying 'trust me'... but I see no reason to do so. In the end, my answer to the OPs question is an emphatic 'no'. Measured, calibrated reference level in my system is not too loud for me - nor is it too loud for my guests.
Mark

Absolutely. Hopeless. Particularly...

"In practice, when folks are having a 'movie night' at home, in a competent dedicated HT, their levels will end up (roughly) consistent with the range that would be considered 'reference' barring mitigating factors like nasty neighbors or sleeping kids."

Says who?! You? Do realize how inane this assumption is? Your speculation house of cards collapsed a dozen posts ago with your "last word".

Isn't there 3hz dub step to be made?

James

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post #194 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydster View Post

OK, this is how I set reference. I have a Pioneer Elite that can handle 160 watts per channel at 6 ohms. It comes with a very good microphone built into the remote. I mount the remote on a tripod at the exact listening position. Then I follow onscreen instructions and from what the receiver "hears," it decides how far each speaker is (accurate to within an inch), how much delay is needed, how much each speaker needs to be adjusted in Hz (about 12 bands), and how much each speaker needs to be adjusted in decibels to meet THX Ultra 2 reference standards. There are about eight screens that follow showing you the exact settings. In THX, you cannot adjust the bass or treble. The reference is zero. You can only have 80Hz and lower in THX fed to the sub. In standard mode, you can adjust all of the things you can't in THX.
Once all this is done, I set the volume where I think it is awesome but not deafeningly loud which to me zero db can be. It all depends on the source material. A BR DTS MA disc may sound overwhelming at 0, while an old SAT movie may need to be cranked up quite a bit because of the way it was recorded.
As to your quote on cars that can truly handle the speeds, I scoff at your bravado. Try 194 mph on a Suzuki Hayabusa (it's a motorcycle). Your not in it all protected from wind and noise, you are on it. The bike can do the work, but can the rider handle the bike? The smallest mistake and someone will be scraping you off the road and assorted objects.
BTW: I have a speaker system that can coast at 140 db, so it's NOT distortion I don't like. When the spl makes my ears ring, the volume simply needs to be adjusted.
Floyd

You would be correct to think your elite at 0 is too loud because on most movies mine was too loud as well, much louder than my processor at 0. I watched movies from -10dB to -5 dBs on that elite which was reference for that particular movie. So my answer is, no reference is not too loud and I watch all my movies at reference. However, my MV is not 0 all the time for this to happen.

It is this simple guys, I think many feel reference is louder than it is because they just assume it is MV 0, I also know even when done right some like it and others don't. I experience that all the time, I don't invite people you don't like it for my Movie nights. One girl asked me why I don't invite her to movie nights and I said two reasons. One, I am married, two, you don't like loud movies. We can't assume reference sounds great for everyone but I bet many still think reference is 0 MV and really get over 105 dbs peaks. I would not like that too much either, my room won't matter.

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post #195 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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And I will stand by my assertion that most (not all) modern avrs with room correction put "0" pretty darn close to reference in my experience, which has been in measuring a couple dozen different units and brands over the years. Personally, my last (3) Denon AVRs, (2) Onkyos, and (2) Yamahas were all dead on or within +\- 1-2dbs.

This isn't a coincidence.

Poorly mastered media doesn't change anything in that regard, it's simply poorly mastered and consequently yields skewed results.


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post #196 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:30 AM
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Well, if it's not EXACT every time on every AVR then please just admit that '0' on the volume dial is not the definition of reference and therefor the results of your poll are inaccurate, because that much is incredibly obvious. +/- 2db is NOT the same as 'exactly zero on the dial'.
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And I will stand by my assertion that most (not all) modern avrs with room correction put "0" pretty darn close to reference in my experience, which has been in measuring a couple dozen different units and brands over the years. Personally, my last 3 Denon AVRs, (2) Onkyos, and 2 Yamahas were all dead on or within +\- 2dbs.
This isn't a coincidence.
Poorly mastered media doesn't change anything in that regard, it's simply poorly mastered and consequently yields skewed results.
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post #197 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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To be clear, I am not even talking to you because you are arguing and insulting people instead of debating. On a personal note, do you really need to keep typing Ummmm?

No, just you, really. Because you continue to purport your baseless opinions on the populace as fact...either to intentionally be difficult or because you cannot make the distinction between the two.

I have zero issues with folks explaining that they like volume levels at or beyond reference. The problem lies within those telling others that their own opinion is not valid because of presumptuous nonsense.

I am not the only one, the other guys were just smart enough to walk away...I'll give them that.

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post #198 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Well, if it's not EXACT every time on every AVR then please just admit that '0' on the volume dial is not THE definition of reference and therefor the results of your poll are inaccurate, because that much is incredibly obvious. +/- 2db is NOT the same as 'exactly zero on the dial'.

More humor. You do realize 1-2dbs is barely perceptible to most human beings. More semantics.


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post #199 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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You would be correct to think your elite at 0 is too loud because on most movies mine was too loud as well, much louder than my processor at 0. I watched movies from -10dB to -5 dBs on that elite which was reference for that particular movie. So my answer is, no reference is not too loud and I watch all my movies at reference. However, my MV is not 0 all the time for this to happen.
It is this simple guys, I think many feel reference is louder than it is because they just assume it is MV 0, I also know even when done right some like it and others don't. I experience that all the time, I don't invite people you don't like it for my Movie nights. One girl asked me why I don't invite her to movie nights and I said two reasons. One, I am married, two, you don't like loud movies. We can't assume reference sounds great for everyone but I bet many still think reference is 0 MV and really get over 105 dbs peaks. I would not like that too much either, my room won't matter.

I agree with this, largely. I will also take a minute to check my own 4311 in regard to "0" but is was dead nuts a few months ago. I've had similar results with other avrs but perhaps things have/are changing/changed.


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post #200 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

And I will stand by my assertion that most (not all) modern avrs with room correction put "0" pretty darn close to reference in my experience, which has been in measuring a couple dozen different units and brands over the years. Personally, my last 3 Denon AVRs, (2) Onkyos, and 2 Yamahas were all dead on or within +\- 2dbs.
This isn't a coincidence.
Poorly mastered media doesn't change anything in that regard, it's simply poorly mastered and consequently yields skewed results.
James

would you acknowledge that the same material you find too loud at -10dBF in your living room maybe played at much higher SPL in this system for example without offending your sensibilities ?

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post #201 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

And I will stand by my assertion that most (not all) modern avrs with room correction put "0" pretty darn close to reference in my experience, which has been in measuring a couple dozen different units and brands over the years. Personally, my last (3) Denon AVRs, (2) Onkyos, and (2) Yamahas were all dead on or within +\- 2dbs.
This isn't a coincidence.
Poorly mastered media doesn't change anything in that regard, it's simply poorly mastered and consequently yields skewed results.
James

Yes, 0 MV gets close enough but many recordings are different and can vary by over 5 dBs either direction. I like Scuba Steve's disc and Super leos but I thought they sound louder than my Blurays of the same movies, who knows. I did not like reference on some of those demos for sure but watched the blurays at reference and it is supposed to be a direct copy so I don't know. Either way Reference is loud, some movies sound awesome at reference and others have their vocals so loud they are screaming which gives reference a bad rep. I just turn down bad recordings(3-5 dBs). BTW, just went to see the Hobbit last night in my THX theater and it was below reference, I wanted to turn it up but I have to say at that level that theater sounds very good, no clipping or distortion. I liked the movie too but I am a fan of the book and LOTR trilogy.

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post #202 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:51 AM
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I know 3 dBs don't make much of a difference but to a certain level it becomes huge. Going from -20 to -17 dBs is not that big of deal for me but when I turn it up from -3 dBs to 0 dBs for some reason my system wakes up even more and has better dynamics. Most likely my gear and for different movies. It happens the same way going backwards meaning if the movies sounds bad at 0 MV sometimes turning it down 3 dBs makes all the difference, sometimes it is 5 dBs lower.

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post #203 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 08:58 AM
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It's because decibels work on a Logarithmic scale - just like the Richter scale. At higher amplitudes, the effect of each point increase becomes more pronounced. Near reference, individual decibels can be clearly distinguished. A 2 decibel adjustment in the balance of a system is very easily heard - if the surrounds run 2 db hot, my whole sound stage shifts towards the back of the room. .5db increments are my threshold for sensing the difference in volume.
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I know 3 dBs don't make much of a difference but to a certain level it becomes huge. Going from -20 to -17 dBs is not that big of deal for me but when I turn it up from -3 dBs to 0 dBs for some reason my system wakes up even more and has better dynamics. Most likely my gear and for different movies. It happens the same way going backwards meaning if the movies sounds bad at 0 MV sometimes turning it down 3 dBs makes all the difference, sometimes it is 5 dBs lower.

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post #204 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:01 AM
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+/- 2db = 4db difference. It's your example, not mine. rolleyes.gif
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More humor. You do realize 1-2dbs is barely perceptible to most human beings. More semantics.
James

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post #205 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:02 AM
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It sounds like many have their own connotative definitions of "reference". Having worked on the optimization of many systems, I know exact calibration is a bit fuzzy to easily +/-3dB depending on definitions and examples considered. When I set up a system I'm mostly interested in knowing that a reference point (most often 0dB, not always) where the same BluRay track (including format) played on two systems will deliver similar SPL at listener. Subjective loudness can differ due to acoustics and component linearity.

How are each of you defining "reference level playback?"

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post #206 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:10 AM
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I'm going with the THX definition of 85db at LP with 20db headroom... Presuming there is 'adequate' damping from fabrics, sound absorbing panels, carpet etc.

From the THX web site:

"Of course, there is a downside to watching all of your films at Reference Level—it is often too loud for your neighbors. But, when you lower the volume level, bass sounds, surround effects and other sound elements can be lost or perceived differently."
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It sounds like many have their own connotative definitions of "reference". Having worked on the optimization of many systems, I know exact calibration is a bit fuzzy to easily +/-3dB depending on definitions and examples considered. When I set up a system I'm mostly interested in knowing that a reference point (most often 0dB, not always) where the same BluRay track (including format) played on two systems will deliver similar SPL at listener. Subjective loudness can differ due to acoustics and component linearity.
How are each of you defining "reference level playback?"

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post #207 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

It sounds like many have their own connotative definitions of "reference". Having worked on the optimization of many systems, I know exact calibration is a bit fuzzy to easily +/-3dB depending on definitions and examples considered. When I set up a system I'm mostly interested in knowing that a reference point (most often 0dB, not always) where the same BluRay track (including format) played on two systems will deliver similar SPL at listener. Subjective loudness can differ due to acoustics and component linearity.
How are each of you defining "reference level playback?"

I define it as playing movies with MVC set to 0 on my Denon 4311ci.
the level has nothing to do with any particular movie ever hitting the 105/115dB marks
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post #208 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:20 AM
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I used to use my Processor's THX reference light all the time. I followed the manuals guidelines for calibrating and then when I turned the volume up once I hit a certain level the THX REF light will come on and it was supposed to mean I was at calibrated THX ref level. I loved that McIntosh processor just for that feature and guess what, I listened to every movie at that level! Now I watch all movies at -5 dBs MV which is it's calibrated reference level however some movies seem bad and -8 dBs sounds better. This does not happen often and I have not done this recently with my new EQ and arrays.

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post #209 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Well, if it's not EXACT every time on every AVR then please just admit that '0' on the volume dial is not the definition of reference and therefor the results of your poll are inaccurate, because that much is incredibly obvious. +/- 2db is NOT the same as 'exactly zero on the dial'.

You're just being rude. The intent of the OP was to find out if there are people who don't enjoy reference level playback. That would include me. I'll endure it, I've experienced it (yes, on several capable systems). But it's not for me. Your comments throughout this thread are quite condescending and rude.

Out of curiosity, what LCR are you running and at what listening distance? I ask because there is one thing we haven't brought up in this topic yet: linear distortion. I've seen THD and room ringing mentioned. But a lot of high sensitivity commercial speakers have what I consider to be poor frequency response. At or near reference I personally find that becomes obvious to me. When I have been able to somewhat enjoy reference levels, it has been with very flat frequency response. The theatres is where I notice this to be particularly bad, and it just drives me crazy. But if the volume is turned down, it's much more bearable.
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post #210 of 363 Old 12-20-2012, 09:36 AM
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My mains are DIY, the highs are coming from a 90x40 Constant Directivity Horn with a 2" exit Selenium HF driver. Bass is coming from 12" drivers with a dedicated amp, electronic crossover. Subs are also DIY, with their own amp. Plenty of power, plenty of fidelity. I use phantom center. I apologize for my rudeness, I should have kept my cool. My points are valid, the way I communicated them not so much. I certainly have no interest in pushing my personal taste on others, but the 'reference' we are talking about here has nothing to do with my opinion and everything to do with THX who surely studied the issue to the tune of many, many millions of dollars to create a reasonable standard that is sold as a premium feature. The question - why do so many people claim they do not enjoy that standard - cannot be so easily dismissed as 'well, the standard is too loud' because there are so many other variables involved.
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You're just being rude. The intent of the OP was to find out if there are people who don't enjoy reference level playback. That would include me. I'll endure it, I've experienced it (yes, on several capable systems). But it's not for me. Your comments throughout this thread are quite condescending and rude.
Out of curiosity, what LCR are you running and at what listening distance? I ask because there is one thing we haven't brought up in this topic yet: linear distortion. I've seen THD and room ringing mentioned. But a lot of high sensitivity commercial speakers have what I consider to be poor frequency response. At or near reference I personally find that becomes obvious to me. When I have been able to somewhat enjoy reference levels, it has been with very flat frequency response. The theatres is where I notice this to be particularly bad, and it just drives me crazy. But if the volume is turned down, it's much more bearable.

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