System Sounds "Different" after a while - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I posted this in the official Audyssey FAQ thread but decided to make a separate thread to keep from going off topic in that thread. Basically, after listening to music for a little while, I can hear a difference after maybe a half hour to an hour of listening. While it's most likely my ears adjusting/getting "fatigued," I thought I'd ask anyway. I like to listen loud. Sometimes louder then others. I don't normally crank the hell out of it, but I'll listen to averages of 90 to 95db with 2 channel music listening. At first when I just start listening, everything sound nice and silky smooth, full and rich. After listening for about a half an hour or more, that starts to change. It starts to sound a tad bit more harsh, not very smooth or "silky." Sometimes a singer can sound what seems "muddled" on lower notes and a bit more "ear piercing" on higher notes then I notice when I first start listening. Because of this, I tried doing the Audyssey calibration after listening to music until it got to the point where I noticed the smoothness and richness was lessened. Still, made no difference. I'm sure this is my ears. My poor ears have been through quite a bit of abuse. When I was a kid, I'd always listening to everything REALLY LOUD all the time. Now that I've grown up, I realize how stupid that was and I fear I am paying the consequences and that more are to come as I age.

I basically copied and pasted what I posted in the Audyysey thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/795421/official-audyssey-thread-faq-in-post-1/59310

Starting at post 59321

My system consists of Seaton Catalyst 12Cs for LCR, 2 Submersive HP's and sparks for surrounds with an Integra DHC-80.3 processor.

This is more or less where the conversation ended with Kbarnes on the Audyssey FAQ forums with a few more users suggesting that distortion is creeping in somewhere and that perhaps something is wrong with a component in the system.
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

It is possible you have permanent hearing damage, but only an audiologist can tell you that for sure - maybe an appointment with one would be a good idea?

If it isn’t that, then the symptoms you describe - harshness, roughness etc - are typical of distortion in an amplifier, especially if the amp is running too loud for its designed capability. It is possible that it is running into clipping for example. 'Listening fatigue' when using high SPLs is common if you are overdriving the amps. In fact, one of the characteristics of a system with bags of headroom is that you can listen at incredibly high levels all day and the system continues to smooth and unstressed. When someone says a system sounds 'loud' they often mean it sounds 'distorted'. Systems with plenty of headroom rarely sound 'loud'. For example, in my own system, I often find that I think I am listening at a modest level until I try to speak to my wife and then find that not only can she not hear me, but I cannot even hear myself!

What amp or AVR do you have, what is the efficiency rating of your speakers and how close do you sit to them when you are listening at these 90/95 dB averages. I assume you have used a SPL meter to determine the average level?  If the average is truly 95dB then you are likely to be peaking at significantly higher SPLs than that. Depending on your answers the questions at the beginning of this paragraph, those sort of levels could indeed be a strain on your amps. 

You could try listening for an hour or so at averages of 85dB (which is still fairly loud) and report back if you continue (or not) to hear the harshness - that may give us a clue if you are running the amps into audible distortion.

Whatever is happening here, it doesn't sound like an Audyssey issue - so we are going OT, but with the forbearance of the other members, maybe they will cut us a little slack, as this topic is interesting and possibly relevant to some other members too. 
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Thanks for the response. My pre/pro is an Integra DHC-80.3 and my speakers are Seaton Catalyst 12Cs for LCR, 2 Submersive HP's and Seaton Sparks for surrounds. I KNOW I'm no where near the limits of these speakers. The clip lights remain dark as night at un-godly levels and I usually listen MUCH lower then that. If it is not my ears, the only thing I can think of is the amps can't perform to spec with the amount of current/power they are receiving. I have a dedicated room in the works with 3 dedicated 20 amp circuits just for the sound system. These speakers are currently in a bedroom on the 2nd floor, and the ENTIRE 2nd floor is run on 1(ONE) 15 amp circuit. I have never tripped a breaker with this system, but that's the only system related scenario I can think of.

Not sure of the sensitivities of the speakers since they are powered, but I would assume around 96db or more. I do have an SPL meter and about 90-95 db were the averages of the LOUDEST 2 channel listening I would do. However, I doubt these levels are straining the Seatons. I have had them MUCH louder (about 10db ABOVE reference) and the clip lights still have yet to light.

Anybody have any ideas? As I stated in that thread, MY guess is the system is running out of steam from the single 15amp breaker it's running off of. I'm feeling quite certain the problem isn't with the speakers or amps since they are being used WELL within their limits.
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 10:16 AM
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You might want to get a power monitor to find out exactly how much power your system is drawing.
An example is http://www.amazon.com/P3-International-P4400-Electricity-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_z
I'm sure others are readily available.

Personally, I doubt it's the power line voltage sagging significantly. I'd expect that to show up right away. A very crude check would be put your hand on the power strip's plug where it goes into the wall. If it's warm to the touch, you do have a problem!

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 10:18 AM
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I'd look for heat causing some kind of degradation in the signal path. If you have access to some chassis fans or a laptop cooler try drawing air through the receiver and see if the sound quality still degrades in the same way.

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post #4 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 11:30 AM
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As I recall, you currently have the system in a fairly small, reflective room. I suspect this plays another role (along with other factors) where after a while the brain gets fatigued from sorting through the noise, and/or you hearing compresses non-linearly which is fairly common. A few mins of high level listening (ie A-Weighted) can quickly cause our hearing mechanism to constrict.

If you turn off the system for 10-30 mins and come back after a break does your perception shift back to that of it being smoother? How long does it take to settle back to what you hear when coming in fresh?

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 11:37 AM
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If the change turns out to be due to personal hearing fatigue, then you really need to stop listening to such high sound levels. They will cause permanent damage. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_fatigue

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post #6 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Selden. That's not expensive either so it would definitely be possible to do that. I'm interested in the result

JD in NJ, I actually have a mini vertec fan that would work nicely. I'll give that a try.

Mark, I think you may have hit the nail on the head. Yes the room is small and is un treated. There is A LOT of clutter in the room as well. The shortest break I ever took between listening sessions was about an hour and yes, the sound returned to it's silky smooth glory after that.

On that note, I have an idea for an experiment that I mentioned in the Audyssey thread. I wanted to let the system play for an hour or so while I'm NOT in the room, then come back after an hour or so. If the sound is harsh and fatiguing, then I guess I can't blame my ears, right? If it sounds silky and smooth, then I know it's been my ears.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

If the change turns out to be due to personal hearing fatigue, then you really need to stop listening to such high sound levels. They will cause permanent damage. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_fatigue

Interesting read. It does sound like I am experiencing TTS. It's so strange though. The sound doesn't seem nearly loud enough for that and doesn't cause any discomfort what-so-ever at the beginning. I measured the sound levels with a Radio Shack SPL meter and am averaging about 88-89db with C weighting. With A weighting, it's about 84db average. Peaks seem to be over 90, some hitting 95. More dynamic parts of the music may be higher.

I just did my little experiment. I listened to a song, left the room for about 45 minutes letting the CD play out, came back in the room and listened to the same track on the same CD again and it sounded pretty much exactly the same as it did when I first powered up the system and listened to it the first time. Based on that test, I guess it is my ears. After about 20-30 minutes with me IN the room, there is an ever so slightly more noticeable sibilance and high frequency "crispness" for a lack of a better word.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post

Interesting read. It does sound like I am experiencing TTS. It's so strange though. The sound doesn't seem nearly loud enough for that and doesn't cause any discomfort what-so-ever at the beginning. I measured the sound levels with a Radio Shack SPL meter and am averaging about 88-89db with C weighting. With A weighting, it's about 84db average. Peaks seem to be over 90, some hitting 95. More dynamic parts of the music may be higher.

I just did my little experiment. I listened to a song, left the room for about 45 minutes letting the CD play out, came back in the room and listened to the same track on the same CD again and it sounded pretty much exactly the same as it did when I first powered up the system and listened to it the first time. Based on that test, I guess it is my ears. After about 20-30 minutes with me IN the room, there is an ever so slightly more noticeable sibilance and high frequency "crispness" for a lack of a better word.


Hey Black, you haven't mentioned yet what kinda music you are listening to. Metallica or Vivaldi? JK. smile.gif

Cheers, Feri


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post #9 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Black, you haven't mentioned yet what kinda music you are listening to. Metallica or Vivaldi? JK. smile.gif

I was watching a DIO blu ray this saturday, but that was probably averaging over 110db LMAO! Again, I don't do that, THAT often wink.gif

The 2 channel music I've been listening to is classic rock/rock and blues. Jethro Tull, Eagles, George Thorogood, B.B King etc. Those I've been listening to averages of 88-89db. Dynamic peaks on the Eagles were about 99db. About 10 db over the average
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post

I was watching a DIO blu ray this saturday, but that was probably averaging over 110db LMAO! Again, I don't do that, THAT often wink.gif

The 2 channel music I've been listening to is classic rock/rock and blues. Jethro Tull, Eagles, George Thorogood, B.B King etc. Those I've been listening to averages of 88-89db. Dynamic peaks on the Eagles were about 99db. About 10 db over the average

I see, ...umm, ...well,...how about taking is easy for the time being, ...letting your ears rest a bit. Our chosen hobby really needs and deserves relaxed hearing. ...Do your hear me? smile.gif

Cheers, Feri


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post #11 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

I see, ...umm, ...well,...how about taking is easy for the time being, ...letting your ears rest a bit. Our chosen hobby really needs and deserves relaxed hearing. ...Do your hear me? smile.gif

Lmao, yessir. I'll take it easy, nothing over 100db for a week or two.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 03:33 PM
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Lmao, yessir. I'll take it easy, nothing over 100db for a week or two.

Here' a joke for you:

Hubby goes to the doctor and asks for help coz he's sure his wife lost her hearing. Doctor says test her, go home, in the door ask what's for dinner, then go closer to the dining room ask again, and finally ask when you step into the kitchen.

Hubby does as advised. When he finally asks in the kitchen wife say: It's pizza tonight, but this is the third time I'm telling you. LOL

Cheers, Feri


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post #13 of 13 Old 01-22-2013, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Here' a joke for you:

Hubby goes to the doctor and asks for help coz he's sure his wife lost her hearing. Doctor says test her, go home, in the door ask what's for dinner, then go closer to the dining room ask again, and finally ask when you step into the kitchen.

Hubby does as advised. When he finally asks in the kitchen wife say: It's pizza tonight, but this is the third time I'm telling you. LOL

Lmao that's perfect
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