How loud do you play your music? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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How loud do you play your music?

Just a question to the community. I've found myself listening to music louder as time goes on, and I've noticed that my ears often are ringing after long and loud listening sessions at home. Not good, I know. I'm now trying to enjoy listening w/o having to turn it up to concert-like levels. Thoughts?


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post #2 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake9 View Post
Just a question to the community. I've found myself listening to music louder as time goes on, and I've noticed that my ears often are ringing after long and loud listening sessions at home. Not good, I know. I'm now trying to enjoy listening w/o having to turn it up to concert-like levels. Thoughts?
It is impossible to understand what you really mean without a SPL measurement, which you could easily make if you had something like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30-130dB-USB...-/251425940110



Got one? They are very inexpensive and easy to use.

If not, get one! and post your highest listening level hear.
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post #3 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 11:06 AM
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I listen to headphones all day long at work, and I rarely have it above 1/3 to 1/2 volume. However, everyone thinks I listen to loud volumes, just because I ignore them.

At home, it depends on who else is home, Vife, kidz, etc...

If it is just me, I listen at a low or moderate volume, unless it is something that I really want to crank up.

That is why listening at moderate levels is a good idea, so when you do crank it up, they are doing little damage.

I value my hearing, but I also enjoy listening to music.

If your ears 'hurt' after listening, then you are listening too loud, and may be permanently damaging your hearing.

Ask yourself, "Do I like music? Do I like being able to hear? Do I want to be able to hear in the future?"

If the answer is YES, then turn down the volume, until you can listen comfortably for hours at a time.

There is no need to blare music at high volumes all the time...Sometimes, here and there, is acceptable.

But if you don't want to be wearing hearing aids at 40, then turn it down. It won't diminish the music, the same music is there at all volumes.

Last edited by underminded999; 08-01-2014 at 11:09 AM. Reason: stupid spacing error.
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post #4 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 11:21 AM
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Normal music listening level? ~75Db with occasional peaks to mid 80's.

Edit - I had my ears cleaned out a couple weeks back, first time in decades. My oh my, I recommend it to others.
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post #5 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I use a free iPhone app. With that I've gotten about 101 dB peak SPL. But I usually listen around 85-90 dB, which after a couple hours causes my ears to ring. I would like to get a dedicated SPL meter like the one posted above for more accurate measurements.

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post #6 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 11:49 AM
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OSHA Standards can be found here.

It's long, technical, and I didn't read all of it.

However, it looks like if an employee's work area measures 85db per 8hrs, seems acceptable.

'1910.95(d)(1)
When information indicates that any employee's exposure may equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels, the employer shall develop and implement a monitoring program.'

In other words, if it is louder than 85db for over 8hr, then an employer must make up some monitoring system for fear of hearing loss.

If you are listening louder than that, and for the record 101db is louder than 85db, then, yeah, you are doing damage to your hearing.

Let's hope that in the future, movies and music can be transported directly into your brain, 'cause you ain't going to be hearing it with your ears...
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post #7 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 01:46 PM
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I like to listen loud, like having a concert at home, but I also limit the time for this kind of listening.
Then I can have half an hour or so of great experience, and then go do something else, or turn it down.

I also find that listening at very low levels can be entertaining an pleasing, but it can never be the same.

Unfortunately it is not possible to achieve the same experience of physical tactile feel at reduced sound levels.
I believe the goal is to be able to have the lowest possible spl and still get the great experience, and there are some tricks that can improve things, but still, rather high spl is required.

Playing music with higher crest factor helps a lot, then the average spl exposure will be lower for the same experience.

I made a blog article about spl in music and movies once, her it is:
http://kvalsvoll.blogspot.no/2013/11...-pressure.html

(By loud I mean 0dB and more, for those who have a calibrated system.)
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post #8 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
Let's hope that in the future, movies and music can be transported directly into your brain, 'cause you ain't going to be hearing it with your ears...
LoL. Thanks for that, underminded. Yeah, I don't think I can sustain that so I'm trying to keep it at a reasonable volume now.

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post #9 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 03:05 PM
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72db max fast C weighted right this moment, 6pm using Arny's meter suggestion (above).

I'll be back later...


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post #10 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okv View Post
(By loud I mean 0dB and more, for those who have a calibrated system.)
"0db" means nothing with music, it's not mastered to any standardized level.
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post #11 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 04:42 PM
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Wrong.

In a level calibrated system 0dBFS digital equals a predefined (105dB for 0dBFS) spl, and all digital signal sources, including music, will now play at a predictable spl, does not matter if it is from a movie or music.

This means that when I say I set the volume to 0dB, all others with the same system calibration can now relate exactly to what this means in loudness, when playing the same source material, they do not need to come to my place to hear how loud it is.

While there may not be a definitive standard for music level calibration during production, there are examples of suggested calibrations, such as the K-System.

The actual loudness levels for playback, measured in-room, depends on the signal, and a complex signal like music will not necessarily equal the same level at 0dB as a sine wave, due to different phase shifts at different frequencies, which means the signal will sum differently, and occasionally you will get larger peaks.
This is the reason why a squashed dynamically compressed music signal usually measures far better in crest factor when measured acoustically in room, compared to the raw digital signal directly from the source.
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post #12 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okv View Post
Wrong.

In a level calibrated system 0dBFS digital equals a predefined (105dB for 0dBFS) spl, and all digital signal sources, including music, will now play at a predictable spl, does not matter if it is from a movie or music.

This means that when I say I set the volume to 0dB, all others with the same system calibration can now relate exactly to what this means in loudness, when playing the same source material, they do not need to come to my place to hear how loud it is.

While there may not be a definitive standard for music level calibration during production, there are examples of suggested calibrations, such as the K-System.

The actual loudness levels for playback, measured in-room, depends on the signal, and a complex signal like music will not necessarily equal the same level at 0dB as a sine wave, due to different phase shifts at different frequencies, which means the signal will sum differently, and occasionally you will get larger peaks.
This is the reason why a squashed dynamically compressed music signal usually measures far better in crest factor when measured acoustically in room, compared to the raw digital signal directly from the source.
I can get significantly different sound levels depending on the source of my music (built in or networked apps, external cd player for example) as well as the recording itself. While I haven't really tried to determine the difference, it can easily be 10dB. AIUI external devices are further affected by gain structure differences. Better to have the OP provide actual experienced spl levels by measuring; the phone app is an indicator in any case.

Personally I listen to loud music occasionally, and that can range from -20 to 0dB on my avr dial depending what it is and on the source/recording. Right now I'm listening to Pandora on my avr at -25 dB and its running mostly between 60-75dB with peaks of high 80s and I'd consider this just moderately loud, and I usually listen at lower levels but I like what's on at the moment (I Am Not by Eric Mongrain). Next song I may reduce it by 5 or more dB. Next song up is Shesmovedon by Porcupine Tree so I'm leaving it up for a bit .

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post #13 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 05:45 PM
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When I'm sitting down to enjoy the system alone; 95dBc or higher, I like to feel it.
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post #14 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okv View Post
In a level calibrated system 0dBFS digital equals a predefined (105dB for 0dBFS) spl, and all digital signal sources, including music, will now play at a predictable spl, does not matter if it is from a movie or music.
So wrong.

I have no idea where you got these ideas, but you obviously need to do some reading. Not to mention, even if your system is calibrated, it may not even be capable of 105db at 0 MV.
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post #15 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post
Normal music listening level? ~75Db with occasional peaks to mid 80's.

Edit - I had my ears cleaned out a couple weeks back, first time in decades. My oh my, I recommend it to others.

Where'd you get that done? Cost?
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post #16 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:30 PM
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Where'd you get that done? Cost?
At my Dr. I have Kaiser. $20 for me.
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post #17 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:41 PM
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Scary seeing the results in this thread.

I'm a quiet listener. I'm lucky if I'm above 20 - 25dB most of the time. Yet I still have good bass and clarity.
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post #18 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by xvfx View Post
Scary seeing the results in this thread.

I'm a quiet listener. I'm lucky if I'm above 20 - 25dB most of the time. Yet I still have good bass and clarity.
Impossible!
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post #19 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:53 PM
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How? I don't like earthquake bass. I prefer subtle and rich.
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post #20 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by xvfx View Post
How? I don't like earthquake bass.
Are you baiting me?

Your claim is that at the arguable level of human perception of most sounds that you can not only hear them all, but with the presences of good bass and clarity...

You can have you're hook back, but sorry, I've digested the worm; so you will have to apply some new bait.
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post #21 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 08:58 PM
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If you're listening to 95dB, thats crazy. As someone once clocked my motocross bike at the track with those sound guns while going flat out and it was 96dB.
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post #22 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 09:02 PM
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If you're listening to 95dB, thats crazy. As someone once clocked my motocross bike at the track while going flat out and it was 96dB.
It's not crazy, it's a calculated exposure to produced music, which derives most of it's SPL from frequencies below 150Hz and not a haphazard exposure to raw, mid-band laden noise.
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post #23 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xvfx View Post
Scary seeing the results in this thread.

I'm a quiet listener. I'm lucky if I'm above 20 - 25dB most of the time. Yet I still have good bass and clarity.
This is a measured listening level? Or numbers on your volume dial?

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post #24 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:19 PM
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Generally 80 to 95db continous.

When I'm cranking it, around 115 to 120db continous. Most of it bass.
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post #25 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xvfx View Post
Scary seeing the results in this thread.
I'm a quiet listener. I'm lucky if I'm above 20 - 25dB most of the time. Yet I still have good bass and clarity.
Do you live in an anechoic chamber or something?

My $140 SPL meter is only rated to 30db. How are you even determining this number?

20-25db is the sound of normal tower-PC fans at a distance of 40ft away.
(or whisper fans at a distance of 3-6ft!!!)

The SPL in my room with all my gear off is around 0-10db, which is below the recording capability of my camera mic and SPL meter (basically all you can hear is the static self-noise of the mic rather than the dead silence of the room):
It is so quiet I can hear every mechanical noise a device makes.

Just clicking a single plastic button at the 22 seconds mark there, that was 44db!!! That's how quiet <30db is!

It's freakishly quiet, but I spent $20,000 on soundproofing in a specialized building, so it better be decent results for that money!!! The only way you will hear quieter is inside an 20ft deep underground anechoic bunker!

Last edited by BassThatHz; 08-01-2014 at 10:39 PM.
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post #26 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
This is a measured listening level? Or numbers on your volume dial?
The context of this thread is acoustic SPL, not electronic attenuation. I would also cite that his numbers are provided in standard notation, therefore they're not attenuated values and cannot not be his receiver volume levels. I have not seen a receiver exceed 10dB, above 0 attenuation, let a lone 20-25 dB. (I am aware that his receiver may be numerically ascending; however, it's doubtful)
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post #27 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garidy View Post
The context of this thread is acoustic SPL, not electronic attenuation. I would also cite that his numbers are provided in standard notation, therefore they're not attenuated values and cannot not be his receiver volume levels. I have not seen a receiver exceed 10dB, above 0 attenuation, let a lone 20-25 dB. (I am aware that his receiver may be numerically ascending; however, it's doubtful)
Until xvfx defines the numbers hard to say what the heck they are or mean but they are certainly doubtful to be listening levels He might have omitted the "-" sign.


Last edited by lovinthehd; 08-01-2014 at 10:42 PM.
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post #28 of 66 Old 08-01-2014, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Until the OP defines the numbers hard to say what the heck they are or mean but they are certainly doubtful to be listening levels He might have omitted the "-" sign.
Let's 'hope'... because he has over 600 post and five dozen likes... I'm feeling a little concerned. I'll feel better to learn that he mixed up the context and merely failed to realize that his volume dial values have no relationship to other members volume dials... For me, I like my volume dial on at 1:00...
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post #29 of 66 Old 08-02-2014, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake9 View Post
I use a free iPhone app.
That can work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake9 View Post
With that I've gotten about 101 dB peak SPL. But I usually listen around 85-90 dB, which after a couple hours causes my ears to ring.
I would go so far as to say that 101dB SPL peaks for a half hour or so shouldn't cause normal ears to ring. For several hours, it could be a problem.

There is a malady called tinnitus which causes the ears to be unusually sensitive to starting to ring. Ears ringing due to loud sounds is nature's way of telling you to stop!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jake9 View Post
I would like to get a dedicated SPL meter like the one posted above for more accurate measurements.
For the $30 or so it costs, what is stopping you? ;-) That's like the price of 2-3 CDs, no? ;-)

I know that they might pull your audiophile's card for buying test equipment, but maybe this once!
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Last edited by arnyk; 08-02-2014 at 05:44 AM.
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post #30 of 66 Old 08-02-2014, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garidy View Post
Impossible!
Yes, apparently we've got yet another person who like zillions doesn't know the big difference between the calibrations on some AVR face plates and actual SPL.

If you have an AVR with a self-calibration facility based on a microphone, then the dB numbers have some relevance to SPL. I don't feel like I have a really good handle on what it exactly is. It is probably something like: A FS 1 KHz sine wave plays at the indicated dB at the listening location the system was calibrated for.

That would roughly correspond to parts of the music that actually reach FS, which is in reality only a tiny part of the music. IOW, when my AVR reads out 105 dB my SPL meter reads about 105 dB SPL at my listening location, but only for the very loudest peaks and only if it is in peak hold mode, fast response and C weighted.
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