I see a lot of posts referring to reference level and I was wondering what exactly that means? I've seen it defined as 0 volume level on your AVR but wouldn't 0 volume be different on different receivers/amps?
I was home alone last night with a bottle of bourbon and decided to play around with the SPL meter while watching movies and listening to music to find out exactly what sound levels I was listening to. I have a Denon 3311 and I usually watch movies @ between -14 and -24 depending on the type of movie and my mood and I listen to music @ around -4 to -18 again depending on my mood but typically music is right around -10 in 2 channel stereo. What I found was that typically music @ -10 is in the 85-92 db range and that seems to be the sweet spot for my ears while listening to music. Much louder than that and it can start to be painful, I think that might be a result of too many loud concerts when I was a kid.
I started out watching Terminator Salvation @ -14 but that was too loud so I gradually dialed it down to -24 which seemed just about right. I will say that TS seemed to be considerably louder at any given setting than most movies so these readings will vary significantly from movie to movie I would assume. The readings I got for TS @ -24 in quiet, dialog only scenes were around 62-67 dbs; normal scenes with mild effects (background music, rain, etc.) were in the mid 70 db range; middle of the road action scenes (car chases, etc.) were in the mid to upper 80's and the loudest scenes (big explosions, etc.) were in the 90's with some spikes to 100-102 dbs.
BTW, all of these readings were taken from a cheap Radio Shack SPL meter and were taken from my main listening/watching position which is about 10' from the source.
Anybody else measured the levels of their listening environment or do I just have too much free time?