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How Loud is your HT?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif
post #2 of 32
I love it loud too. My wife enjoys a movie loud as well, although she tends to want it lower than I do a lot of the times. I have a 735 watt system at home in my living room. I'm running Polk Audio speaker and it's all hardwood floor. The bass resonates awesome and when something explodes you mine as well be punched in the chest. The only reason she likes it a little lower is because of the kids at night... But when they're gone and it's a movie she wants to see... turn it up!! We've never gone absolute full blast, but we've had it so loud many times that you absolutely cannot hear each other sitting side by side. There's just something magical to be said about having a loud system that still remains crystal clear. smile.gifsmile.gif
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif

Treat your room! Then it wont sound harsh, or muddy or whatever that is causing your wife to not like it as loud as the movie theater. Then you can run reference levels and your ears, and hers will be grateful.
post #4 of 32
I live in a wood frame condo, so the traffic outside usually drowns out the home theater tongue.gif
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

Treat your room! Then it wont sound harsh, or muddy or whatever that is causing your wife to not like it as loud as the movie theater. Then you can run reference levels and your ears, and hers will be grateful.

It doesn't sound harsh or muddy at all. >.>
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif

TK, your fiancé is right! And no, she's not an anomaly! biggrin.gif

In a way, all SPL's are not created equal. Perhaps the best explanation I've seen is from Mark Seaton here:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1373016/does-anyone-actually-listen-at-reference-level#post_21214997

Quote:
Unfortunately simple SPL readings on a meter in one space does not equal the same reading in another space. I've posted about this any times, but until someone makes their own comparison/observation with a meter in hand, it's easy to remain skeptical.

Here's the short explanation. Our ears and hearing system generally determine loudness by sound power over different time intervals. In terms of sound, power is intensity over time. In other words a brief transient of a given max SPL is perceived to be less loud than a sound of the same intensity lasting 5-10x longer. After some longer time period we move to a perceived average level, like what is noted for industrial/machinery noise and loud rock concerts.

In a shorter time period, measured in milliseconds to a few seconds, duration is everything. This is where room acoustics, distortion, and compression come into play. Room acoustics are the most dominant, with amp/speaker systems and program material differences following behind.

This is what 67Jason was alluding to above. In a well treated room, the energy of the loud transient peaks are attenuated quickly, allowing you to better hear the quieter bit immediately following and therefore not perceiving a more elevated average loudness level. In an untreated or more reflective room, the loud short duration peaks don't decay as fast and will "pollute" the quieter bits, therefore moving you to perceive a higher average level... the whole lot sounds louder. This really just describing the "dynamic range" of the room and is not about whether the equipment is straining or distorting (although that can contribute).

Anecdotally at least, the close confines of a typical domestic room, as compared to the space of a cinema (for which the soundtrack was originally designed for) and the proximity of the sound sources to the listener can also contribute to the movie soundtrack feeling overbearing or "too big" for the room.

TK, you are a wise man to get this sorted out now! Just make sure you run the possibility of some "aesthetically pleasing", room treatments up the flagpole before June 8! If the bride to be has reservations now... you'll be no chance afterwards!!! biggrin.gif
post #7 of 32
She's always right regardless of the question/topic. There is no point of arguing unless you want to back out of your engagement. smile.gif
post #8 of 32

+1 on treat the room.  There is a calibrator saying "Turn down the pain and turn up the gain".  As already stated if you have an average room it is probably too reverberant and doesn't sound good loud.  Women tend to be more sensitive to this and tend to more easily notice audio problems.

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif

Sound quality is about more than SPL.

There is an interesting effect - lots of SPL is far more ejoyable in rooms with good acoustics.

Uncontrolled reverberation is your enemy.

Check these places out to start:

http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/recording/a-basic-guide-to-acoustic-treatment/

http://www.realtraps.com/

http://www.hometheater.com/content/acoustics-101

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul00/articles/faqacoustic.htm

AVR stickies about room acoustics
post #10 of 32
^^^ Thanks for the links Arny. Heaps of good reading there. smile.gif
post #11 of 32
I would caution about SPL...
U only have 1 set of ears..
In our other vocation of building race engines, these engines can get plenty loud (+130 dB) I would suggest to turn it down..
So we always wear acoustic protection..

IMHO..
A great system sounds good @ just normal volume levels if... the proper components are chosen...
If one has to bring the levels up to sound good, then something is not balanced properly...


Just my $0.02... 👍😉
post #12 of 32
Or your hearing has already been permanently damaged frown.gif In other words, what seems to be only slightly loud to you might be painfully loud to someone else.

Cranking up the volume on earbuds to drown out ambient sound is known to be a major cause of hearing loss in younger people. Similarly, attending live rock concerts can be quite risky.
post #13 of 32
In a simplistic approach, there is a difference between "loudness" and "volume". In your home HT your fiance may be picking up different levels than you, hence it seems different to her. Just as people see color differently, sound can be the same. People tend to have different "expectations" regarding how things sound at the movies as well.

I have to ask if you are the type who also is subject to "volume creep" (as I am!); where you tend to turn up the volume as the movie goes on, and you get "used to a level"?

To answer your question, your fiance is not an anomaly. She simply has a different taste in sound levels.
post #14 of 32
Note that both the IOS and Android platforms have some awesome SPL meter apps for downloading...
I would suggest that you try one, and you will likely find that the mentioned SPL levels are well beyond the safe limits..

Just my $0.02... 👍😉
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

I would caution about SPL...
U only have 1 set of ears..
In our other vocation of building race engines, these engines can get plenty loud (+130 dB) I would suggest to turn it down..
So we always wear acoustic protection..

IMHO..
A great system sounds good @ just normal volume levels if... the proper components are chosen...
If one has to bring the levels up to sound good, then something is not balanced properly...


Just my $0.02... 👍😉

Define normal?

Like i said, an Imax theater gets above 100, mine RARELY goes that high, she thinks 85 is too high.

My ears are definitely not damaged, I hear fine. Just not sure what you meant by normal.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

I would caution about SPL...
U only have 1 set of ears..
In our other vocation of building race engines, these engines can get plenty loud (+130 dB) I would suggest to turn it down..
So we always wear acoustic protection..

IMHO..
A great system sounds good @ just normal volume levels if... the proper components are chosen...
If one has to bring the levels up to sound good, then something is not balanced properly...


Just my $0.02... 👍😉

Define normal?

Like i said, an Imax theater gets above 100, mine RARELY goes that high, she thinks 85 is too high.

My ears are definitely not damaged, I hear fine. Just not sure what you meant by normal.

Maybe she's just telling you in that inimitable female fashion that it's different in her home...
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

Define normal?

Like i said, an Imax theater gets above 100, mine RARELY goes that high, she thinks 85 is too high.

My ears are definitely not damaged, I hear fine. Just not sure what you meant by normal.


Check out the below link...

http://www.schooltrain.info/deaf_studies/audiology2/levels.htm

Do you have an SPL meter or appropriate smartphone app?

The average SPL level should be 75-80dB @ the listening position.
Next is the amount of headroom required...
This depends upon the source material if playing compressed audio such as analog or MP3 or iPod then the volume may need to be raised slightly..
If playing a high dynamic range source such as a DTS Master Audio blu-ray then leaving the volume @ its original setting now provides more headroom if required by the sound track...

Just my $0.02... 👍😉
post #18 of 32
Not to steer this thread off topic, but a question regarding using "SPL"s:

How does the average user (say, one of us...) calibrate one of these meters? I'd assume purchasing one new it would come calibrated, but after a certain time all measuring instruments should be calibrated. Also, depending upon how much you spend on a meter, how do you know how accurate it really is?

I do understand that these meters and their readings could be what's called "reference" readings/results, but again, how do you know?
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

Not to steer this thread off topic, but a question regarding using "SPL"s:

How does the average user (say, one of us...) calibrate one of these meters? I'd assume purchasing one new it would come calibrated, but after a certain time all measuring instruments should be calibrated. Also, depending upon how much you spend on a meter, how do you know how accurate it really is?

I do understand that these meters and their readings could be what's called "reference" readings/results, but again, how do you know?

There are little gizmos called "microphone calibrators" that can be used for this purpose.

Example:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/tools/test-measurement/meters-refractometers/sound-level-calibrator

post #20 of 32
I listen at around 80, I don't know how you guys can listen any louder when I had it creep up to 90 its was getting too loud, reference levels would destroy your hearing.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

There are little gizmos called "microphone calibrators" that can be used for this purpose.

Example:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/tools/test-measurement/meters-refractometers/sound-level-calibrator


THANKS!
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

Not to steer this thread off topic, but a question regarding using "SPL"s:

How does the average user (say, one of us...) calibrate one of these meters? I'd assume purchasing one new it would come calibrated, but after a certain time all measuring instruments should be calibrated. Also, depending upon how much you spend on a meter, how do you know how accurate it really is?

I do understand that these meters and their readings could be what's called "reference" readings/results, but again, how do you know?


The all-in-one are factory calibrated, the SPL SW apps for IOS and Android are already scaled. The all-in-ones are typically more accurate (+/- 1.5dB) but can cost $199 up to $999...

Just my $0.02... wink.gif
post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 
Not saying you're wrong, but IMAX gets that loud. I'll check and see what -35 is for my system. That is her high volume.
post #24 of 32
edit* i thought folks were comparing how loud there systems were...

I listen loud above reference at times but not often. my wife likes to listen at lower volume...no biggie i crank it up when she is in other room or not home. I listen to music alot louder than movies, so we have not trouble on movie night about -25 on the yamaha avr is where I listen to most movies.
Edited by basshead81 - 5/15/13 at 9:53pm
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

I listen at around 80, I don't know how you guys can listen any louder when I had it creep up to 90 its was getting too loud, reference levels would destroy your hearing.

Around 80 dB or 80 on some setting on your avr? What is your interpretation of reference?
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Around 80 dB or 80 on some setting on your avr? What is your interpretation of reference?

80 on the spl meter app, isn't reference around 110?
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryder125 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Around 80 dB or 80 on some setting on your avr? What is your interpretation of reference?

80 on the spl meter app, isn't reference around 110?

No, THX reference level is average 85 dB with headroom of 20 dB.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif

Nope, not an anomaly. Mine is the same way, but worse. She wants me to turn it down so low, the average db is around 60 (I've measured), sometimes less. She wants me to activate the dynamic range compression on the AVR high enough to tame the loud commercials on TV. She asks me to turn it down whenever something has a higher than average level of sound, then immediately complains when she can't understand the dialogue. I've tried to explain to her the concept of dynamic range and the fact that whispers need to sound quiet and explosions need to sound loud. She doesn't care. It's just too loud and the dialogue is too quiet. Sound engineers are imbesiles that need their ears checked.

I routinely have the volume on my reciever at -50 and at times, I still get a "turn it down" from her.

She also thinks that movie theaters are too loud, but she can't do anything about that, so she doesn't complain about that too much...
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK Doom View Post

So, i'm engaged, getting married June 8, fiance and I regularly go the movies, where its obviously LOUD. Especially IMAX.

We are building a HT and my HT can match the theater for loudness. However, significant other does not like it as loud at home.

is this normal? She says "room is too small" (compared to theater), and I said, SPL is SPL, am I right in that regards?

I took my SPL meter to Iron Man 3, and was hitting 100s regularly, which I could match in my HT if I wanted, but she doesn't like it.

I love it loud...I'm just curious or is my fiance an anomaly? biggrin.gif

Nope, not an anomaly. Mine is the same way, but worse. She wants me to turn it down so low, the average db is around 60 (I've measured), sometimes less. She wants me to activate the dynamic range compression on the AVR high enough to tame the loud commercials on TV. She asks me to turn it down whenever something has a higher than average level of sound, then immediately complains when she can't understand the dialogue. I've tried to explain to her the concept of dynamic range and the fact that whispers need to sound quiet and explosions need to sound loud. She doesn't care. It's just too loud and the dialogue is too quiet. Sound engineers are imbesiles that need their ears checked.

I routinely have the volume on my reciever at -50 and at times, I still get a "turn it down" from her.

She also thinks that movie theaters are too loud, but she can't do anything about that, so she doesn't complain about that too much...

Have either of you tried higher settings of Dynamic Volume?

Dynamic Volume is the feature which compresses the dynamics of the audio. Keeping your significant other happy sometimes has to take priority over one's audio purism.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Have either of you tried higher settings of Dynamic Volume?

Dynamic Volume is the feature which compresses the dynamics of the audio. Keeping your significant other happy sometimes has to take priority over one's audio purism.

Of course. i usually have the lowest setting enabled because i want dynamic range for my movies. sometimes i have the middle setting enabled for tv viewing since commercials are the biggest abusers of the dynamic range compressors to increase average volume. i have it disabled for music. i've tried all the settingsbut the highest setting just restricts the range too much.
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