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Is "reference level" LOUD to YOU? - Page 6

Poll Results: Is properly reproduced (read: relatively low distortion, unstrained/unclipped programme) "reference level" playback (concening properly mastered cinema media) :

 
  • 12% (20)
    1. Perfect. This is the way movies should sound.
  • 34% (55)
    2. A bit too loud for me/my guests, I'm usually between -10 and 0 on the volume dial
  • 32% (51)
    3. Too loud, I'm usually between -10 and -15 on the volume dial
  • 17% (28)
    4. Much too loud, I'm usually - 15 or more on the volume dial
  • 3% (5)
    5. Ae you crazy, it's not loud enough, I spend most of my time in "0+ land"
159 Total Votes  
post #151 of 262
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.
James

Hmm.. I guess I can see both sides of the argument. I have gone 70mph in a rental Ford Escort and thought the car was going to fall apart and was literally afraid to go faster than that.. And then I have gone 100+ mph in numerous cars and it felt like I was going 30mph in that Escort....

Same can be said for flying. I have flown in military jets at 800+ miles per hour that felt like I was gliding on air, and I have flown on twin prop planes at 300mph that did not feel smooth at all....

The equipment has to factor into the equation along with the room.
post #152 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Hmm.. I guess I can see both sides of the argument. I have gone 70mph in a rental Ford Escort and thought the car was going to fall apart and was literally afraid to go faster than that.. And then I have gone 100+ mph in numerous cars and it felt like I was going 30mph in that Escort....
Same can be said for flying. I have flown in military jets at 800+ miles per hour that felt like I was gliding on air, and I have flown on twin prop planes at 300mph that did not feel smooth at all....
The equipment has to factor into the equation along with the room.

problem is, terms like "felt like", "smooth", "cooked right" etc. are subjective. Reference sound done correctly is measurable. its objective. its not the same. One is opinion. the other is factual data.

thats why when someone says that most people have not heard real reference, it is a legitimate statement. i haven't been to a theater in a while but, i dont remember them posting their spl and distortion numbers at the door.

Just because you have your front wall full of speakers and amplifiers, doesn't mean you know what real reference is either. you just know what real loud is. it takes proper measurement tools, placement, room treatments etc.
post #153 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Hmm.. I guess I can see both sides of the argument. I have gone 70mph in a rental Ford Escort and thought the car was going to fall apart and was literally afraid to go faster than that.. And then I have gone 100+ mph in numerous cars and it felt like I was going 30mph in that Escort....
Same can be said for flying. I have flown in military jets at 800+ miles per hour that felt like I was gliding on air, and I have flown on twin prop planes at 300mph that did not feel smooth at all....
The equipment has to factor into the equation along with the room.

Sure, the point is though of course, not only does the "speculator" have NO CLUE how or when someone experienced something in the first place, but more laughable still, that if you alter the parameters (of which, again, you know nothing about, lol) that they're guaranteed or even more likely to enjoy something.

And imperatively, that's not to say that someone may not not very well change their mind/position, just, well, the above.

James
post #154 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

problem is, terms like "felt like", "smooth", "cooked right" etc. are subjective. Reference sound done correctly is measurable. its objective. its not the same. One is opinion. the other is factual data.
thats why when someone says that most people have not heard real reference, it is a legitimate statement. i haven't been to a theater in a while but, i dont remember them posting their spl and distortion numbers at the door.
Just because you have your front wall full of speakers and amplifiers, doesn't mean you know what real reference is either. you just know what real loud is. it takes proper measurement tools, placement, room treatments etc.

I think the point is that if the room is properly treated and you have a system that can play clean to reference level with minimal distortion, it can sound different from a system that is falling all over itself at reference level in an untreated room.

I don't really have a dog in this hunt with three small kids, who have an early bedtime.. But one day....
post #155 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

problem is, terms like "felt like", "smooth", "cooked right" etc. are subjective. Reference sound done correctly is measurable. its objective. its not the same. One is opinion. the other is factual data.
thats why when someone says that most people have not heard real reference, it is a legitimate statement. i haven't been to a theater in a while but, i dont remember them posting their spl and distortion numbers at the door.
Just because you have your front wall full of speakers and amplifiers, doesn't mean you know what real reference is either. you just know what real loud is. it takes proper measurement tools, placement, room treatments etc.

You definitely should add your vast array of "reference knowledge" to the thread. Including "acceptable" THD levels, as it appears a guy like me with "a front wall full of amplifiers and speakers" could likely learn from such a towering reference-audio-intellect. What about free measurements for those who disagree with you so you can show them- empirically- the error of their ways? rolleyes.gif

I's not a "fact" (of course) that most people have not heard "real reference". You are speculating, sir. Where is your evidence to bolster such a statement? I will guarantee you that you have none. You have an OPINION that you have reasoned. Understand the distinction, please.

That said, I would be inclined to agree with your OPINION nonetheless. But, again, it has little to do with the veritable handful of folks who have responded HERE, on this poll. Folks who are- by the way- fantastically more inclined to have had an experience with "real reference" playback over john q public. These are essential distinctions that continue to be glossed over by a small few people.


James
Edited by mastermaybe - 12/19/12 at 12:54pm
post #156 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I think the point is that if the room is properly treated and you have a system that can play clean to reference level with minimal distortion, it can sound different from a system that is falling all over itself at reference level in an untreated room.
I don't really have a dog in this hunt with three small kids, who have an early bedtime.. But one day....

With all due respect, I'm not sure whose point that is, but mine is that people have varying tastes/tolerances for volume levels, regardless of the grade (poor, average, or state of the art) of fidelity.

Again, throw all of the OT bass nonsense out the window.

James
post #157 of 262
** footnote 2

If your poll proves anything at all, it's that many people think reference is louder than it really is. Quite a few erroneously think it is 0 on their volume dial. If the poll was titled 'which is louder, reference level sound or riding on the subway?' would 100% of respondents choose the right answer - the subway?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

But it's not a "fact" that most people have not heard "real reference". You are speculating, sir. Where is your evidence to bolster such a statement? I will guarantee you that you have none.
BUT, I would be inclined to agree with your OPINION nonetheless. But, again, it has little to do with the veritable handful of folks who have responded HERE, on this poll. Folks who are- by the way- fantastically more inclined to have had an experience with "real reference" playback over john q public. These are essential distinctions that continue to be glossed over by a small few people.
James

Edited by imagic - 12/19/12 at 12:58pm
post #158 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

With all due respect, I'm not sure whose point that is, but mine is that people have varying tastes/tolerances for volume levels, regardless of the grade (poor, average, or state of the art) of fidelity.
Again, throw all of the OT bass nonsense out the window.
James

the only way to prove that would be a controlled environment with a group of people. the "grade" of volume levels would have to be determined with different measurements(varying spl levels, distortion/clipping etc) for each term. poor, average, state of the art etc. and that same group of people then experience those same controlled environments and answer the same questions regarding those levels. "is this too "loud" for you?" "Is this a comfortable level for you" etc.

a poll on the internet with an unknown group of people, with unknown experiences, answering questions based on subjective analysis proves nothing regardless of how much more our fellow members know than the average Joe.

edit: this is audio SCIENCE after all isnt it?
Edited by brian6751 - 12/19/12 at 1:03pm
post #159 of 262
Thread Starter 
^ how can I reconcile the the two? Ummm, well, I didn't state mine as FACT...but my learned inclination. Understand the difference, please.

I could be wrong, but most would find it an extremely reasonable assertion, I'm confident.

James
post #160 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

With all due respect, I'm not sure whose point that is, but mine is that people have varying tastes/tolerances for volume levels, regardless of the grade (poor, average, or state of the art) of fidelity.
Again, throw all of the OT bass nonsense out the window.
James

I agree that people have different tolerances for volume levels. I really don't see anyone saying that is not the case in the thread. But I think my point is very much valid. Different systems can be designed for different things. I have heard enough speakers in my life to know that. Do you agree that two speakers could be be playing to reference in the same room, with the same material, and sound very different from each other? One could sound distorted and fatiguing and the other could sound clear with minimal to no distortion?
post #161 of 262
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.

BTW, if I hear a speaker system at reference and think it sounds better than what I have and then I measure it to be 10%THD do I say well it is distortion and it is not accurate or do I keep them and say it does not matter because it sounds better to me and accept I like distortion. I would switch if that happened. The problem is an increase in distortion has gone hand in hand with compression and then it limits dynamics.
post #162 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

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......

........Generally the more controlled the energy is in the room above ~250Hz, the higher the comfortable playback level can be in the room.


Spot on Mark, it's all about the room.
I agree entirely, and have tried to clarify the point a few times in this thread. I was surprised it didn't get more traction.

I did unnecessarily bring in other non-linearities. And although problematic, they're not as relevant to this discussion, as is poor acoustics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

I know that superb audio, is all about the room. And the room, is all about the time domain.

The perceived quality of us experiencing playback at realistic levels, and higher cool.gif , does depend on the time domain. How the decay characteristics over time, at various frequencies, combined with nasty clarity smearing early reflections, all manifest into how tolerable a particular playback level will be.

plus, ... and more relative to this discussion, the overall decay of the room, plays a overwhelming role in how we perceive reference level.


I realize there's a preference for "how loud", but I'm convinced that based somewhat on the system, and a great deal on environment (acoustics).

At least this discussion may elicit more thought on the subject. It's all about the room. (that once was my tagline)
post #163 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post


At least this discussion may elicit more thought on the subject.

I'm tempted to start a thread. I've been wondering what to do with my room. It's really good in raw form, but wonder if it couldn't be improved. I've heard / had dead rooms, and it does make a dramatic difference. Mine isn't dead, but reflections are late and attenuated. Maybe the DIY forum needs to talk about it more.
post #164 of 262
I liked this idea of a poll to see what level others like to listen at, but your condescending attitude towards those of us who prefer to have headroom above reference for minimal distortion is tiring.

Can't you have both if you pick the right amps and speakers? Whoever said 30db of sub over reference, it seems like everything below 80Hz would be so loud it would drown out the rest of the range. Kind of like these kids in cars that you can hear booming a half block away.

BTW: I heard on one of the national news networks that the Supreme Court has ruled that police can't ticket them for blasting everyone around them. It is a "free speech" right. By that reasoning, I have the right to blast my neighbor as much as I like, and can't be punished. The Supremes must be dropping acid.
post #165 of 262
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.
Quote:
BTW, if I hear a speaker system at reference and think it sounds better than what I have and then I measure it to be 10%THD do I say well it is distortion and it is not accurate or do I keep them and say it does not matter because it sounds better to me and accept I like distortion. I would switch if that happened. The problem is an increase in distortion has gone hand in hand with compression and then it limits dynamics.

THD has very poor correlation to what we perceive to be "cleaner" or better sounding. That is not to say increased THD is good, but rather that all distortion is equally offensive, and a lumped %THD is way to broad a stroke to make such a determination from. Distortion isn't automatically tied to compression, but for cases of dynamic/peak compression, they often coincide. The root cause and how the distortion changes with level will also play into how offensive any distortion is.
post #166 of 262
Thread Starter 
Yes, of course that's
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I agree that people have different tolerances for volume levels. I really don't see anyone saying that is not the case in the thread. But I think my point is very much valid. Different systems can be designed for different things. I have heard enough speakers in my life to know that. Do you agree that two speakers could be be playing to reference in the same room, with the same material, and sound very different from each other? One could sound distorted and fatiguing and the other could sound clear with minimal to no distortion?

Yes of course, that much is obvious. If you have read the thread it should be pretty clear that there have been some who have directly stated or implied that those who think reference-level volume is too loud to one degree or another simply have not experienced it "correctly". It's all there in plain English and nothing I really care to debate about, honestly.

No one would could contest that some equipment is more capable than other gear...that I'm confident we can all agree upon.

James
Edited by mastermaybe - 12/19/12 at 4:13pm
post #167 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

** footnote 2
If your poll proves anything at all, it's that many people think reference is louder than it really is. Quite a few erroneously think it is 0 on their volume dial. If the poll was titled 'which is louder, reference level sound or riding on the subway?' would 100% of respondents choose the right answer - the subway?

If does not prove that in any manner whatsoever. This is becoming painful.

James
post #168 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

the only way to prove that would be a controlled environment with a group of people. the "grade" of volume levels would have to be determined with different measurements(varying spl levels, distortion/clipping etc) for each term. poor, average, state of the art etc. and that same group of people then experience those same controlled environments and answer the same questions regarding those levels. "is this too "loud" for you?" "Is this a comfortable level for you" etc.
a poll on the internet with an unknown group of people, with unknown experiences, answering questions based on subjective analysis proves nothing regardless of how much more our fellow members know than the average Joe.
edit: this is audio SCIENCE after all isnt it?

Surely you jest? Arguing to argue, I love it. You're right- there's no way of knowing that people prefer different volume levels for playback without conducting without conducting your proposition. We're all the same in this regard until you seem empirical scientific evidence to the contrary.

Unbelievable. Lmao.

James
post #169 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Spot on Mark, it's all about the room.
I agree entirely, and have tried to clarify the point a few times in this thread. I was surprised it didn't get more traction.
I did unnecessarily bring in other non-linearities. And although problematic, they're not as relevant to this discussion, as is poor acoustics.

I realize there's a preference for "how loud", but I'm convinced that based somewhat on the system, and a great deal on environment (acoustics).
At least this discussion may elicit more thought on the subject. It's all about the room. (that once was my tagline)


"It's all about the room".

Well, sure it is as far as sound is concerned, no reasonable person would contend otherwise. Does that mean that a significant number of people will STILL think reference level is too loud?

I believe with the utmost confidence they will: in a perfect room- which doesn't exist of course- with whatever equipment you'd care to select.

But again, I understand there is group of people that refuse to believe this. It must be factors a, b, c, d, g, h, y, and/or z, NOT that it's just inherently louder than most prefer.

Ok.

James
post #170 of 262
You confuse people with the selections in the poll. 'Reference' is not zero on the volume dial. The answers you are getting to your poll are more akin to 'is your stereo too loud when turned all the way up' which is rather likely to be the case on this forum and really for just about anybody. Sure is for me. Proper, measured reference levels is awesome - maximum impact without risking hearing damage. 'Nuff said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

If does not prove that in any manner whatsoever. This is becoming painful.
James
post #171 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydster View Post

I liked this idea of a poll to see what level others like to listen at, but your condescending attitude towards those of us who prefer to have headroom above reference for minimal distortion is tiring.
Can't you have both if you pick the right amps and speakers? Whoever said 30db of sub over reference, it seems like everything below 80Hz would be so loud it would drown out the rest of the range. Kind of like these kids in cars that you can hear booming a half block away.
BTW: I heard on one of the national news networks that the Supreme Court has ruled that police can't ticket them for blasting everyone around them. It is a "free speech" right. By that reasoning, I have the right to blast my neighbor as much as I like, and can't be punished. The Supremes must be dropping acid.

No, what's really tiring are baseless posts contending items that are patently untrue. You know, like yours. The REAL condescension is within the posts of those contesting the opinion of those who prefer a volume less than reference.

Now, I'll ask again: please stay on topic. This has nothing to do with your or anyone else's unused output potential, I mean headroom.

Thanks again.
James
post #172 of 262
All outta troll food. See ya guys later!
post #173 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

You confuse people with the selections in the poll. 'Reference' is not zero on the volume dial. The answers you are getting to your poll are more akin to 'is your stereo too loud when turned all the way up' which is rather likely to be the case on this forum and really for just about anybody. Sure is for me. Proper, measured reference levels is awesome - maximum impact without risking hearing damage. 'Nuff said.

My dial is at or near reference on nearly all properly mastered cinematic media...as are most modern avrs that I'm aware of that utilize a RC system like audyssey. Yes, I've measured mine and others.

You are again making ignorant assertions without evidence. I'll ask you again to stop. Your last word, I mean footnotes should have ended hours ago.

James
post #174 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brian6751 View Post

All outta troll food. See ya guys later!

Promise?

Thanks.

A troll in his own thread. Lmfao.

James
post #175 of 262
The fact remains the selections in your poll skew the results so there's no 'science' to the results and the conclusions you have drawn are likely to be false as a result. The folks who chose '2. A bit too loud for me/my guests, I'm usually between -10 and 0 on the volume dial' are almost certainly listening at reference levels much of the time, sometimes above.
post #176 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

My dial is at or near reference on nearly all properly mastered cinematic media...as are most modern avrs that I'm aware of that utilize a RC system like audyssey. Yes, I've measured mine and others.
You are again making ignorant assertions without evidence. I'll ask you again to stop. Your last word, I mean footnotes should have ended hours ago.
James

Just curious. Do you also employ an SPL meter when doing the measurements and also some demos, or are you just letting Audyssey do the calculations only?

Thanks,

Robert
post #177 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Seaton View Post

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.
THD has very poor correlation to what we perceive to be "cleaner" or better sounding. That is not to say increased THD is good, but rather that all distortion is equally offensive, and a lumped %THD is way to broad a stroke to make such a determination from. Distortion isn't automatically tied to compression, but for cases of dynamic/peak compression, they often coincide. The root cause and how the distortion changes with level will also play into how offensive any distortion is.

Loved this, thanks.

Especially re the THD...the idea that THD at even higher levels goes largely undetected is a concept that some simply refuse to acknowledge...they see the dramatically higher figures and just throw the baby out with the bath water.

I would contend- again- that many people are in quite small rooms, with mine being very close to that category, where they're not sitting much further than 6-10 feet from the speakers and really do not need much power or macho-efficient/output levels to reach 85 and 105db peaks. This though again seems to rarely be considered though when some begin throwing stones at folks systems that they know little to absolutely nothing about.


James
post #178 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertcharles View Post

Just curious. Do you also employ an SPL meter when doing the measurements and also some demos, or are you just letting Audyssey do the calculations only?
Thanks,
Robert

I have a couple spl meters and after a few dozen audyssey calibs in my room I've found it (audyssey) to be VERY accurate, so now I suppose I "trust" it (audyssey)...in my room, with my gear, unmoved and unchanged.

Thanks, good question.

James
post #179 of 262
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

The fact remains the selections in your poll skew the results so there's no 'science' to the results and the conclusions you have drawn are likely to be false as a result. The folks who chose '2. A bit too loud for me/my guests, I'm usually between -10 and 0 on the volume dial' are almost certainly listening at reference levels much of the time, sometimes above.

Another baseless and evidence-lacking assertion.

You're on a roll...can't wait for your next one.

Hide the children.

James
post #180 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

I have a couple spl meters and after a few dozen audyssey calibs in my room I've found it (audyssey) to be VERY accurate, so now I suppose I "trust" it (audyssey)...in my room, with my gear, unmoved and unchanged.
Thanks, good question.
James

I tried using Audyssey many times in my HT, but when I went back and tested the system with REW, it showed major reduction in low end output as well as less impact in the mid bass . I felt that the visceral aspect was removed from my system and as of late have been running my system with only calibrations using very little EQ and matching the levels of the channels with a SPL meter. I am still in the process of building my system and it may never truly be done, but I am happy with how it sounds. I hope to one day have the opportunity to have someone more skilled than I demo it and offer their opinion as to what to do.

Keep cranking,


Robert
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