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post #1 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Help me out with "Reference"

From what I gather, reference is 0db on the dial and is set by Audyssey based on measurements, am I correct in that? What I mean is, 0db is not arbitrary, its calibrated to the sensitivity of my speakers and gain in my room?

Here's where I'm at with reference (0 db). I'm afraid of it. When I get up into the negative-single digits, it gets so loud I am both uncomfortable and afraid of popping tweeters (and would have difficulty finding replacements).

I love how my mains sound, but does it feel too loud because my mains are objectively harsh? Or am I a ninny? Or a wuss?

FWIW I've never set foot in another subjectively or objectively "good" home theater, but I am planning to attend the SE MI GTG this summer to rectify this.

Discuss. And yes its ok to call me a ninny or a wuss.

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post #2 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:06 AM
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Help me out with "Reference"

Hahaha we will be able to answer most of these questions with a 3 min. movie demo. We (Jeremy and I) are both big fans of reference volume movie clips.
I’m guessing your speakers aren’t up to the task of playback at those levels. I have no idea what your using, but distortion sounds terrible. So do bright speakers played loudly. At the gtg you will experience loud but clear sound with gobs of dynamics and bass to match. I’m sure you won’t be begging us to turn it down. I put out a container of ear plugs last time and no one used them.
Also, if your room is untreated and has a lot of hard surfaces, all those reflections bouncing around will bombard your ears.
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post #3 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jevchance View Post
I love how my mains sound, but does it feel too loud because my mains are objectively harsh? Or am I a ninny? Or a wuss?
First off, you should always, but always, respect what your ears are telling you. If your ears say "loud", they are loud regardless of where the volume dial is on the AVR.

It's entirely possible that your mains start distorting at reference levels and that's the harshness you hear. However, IMO, if you have an untreated room, it's highly likely that your room is what stands between you and playback at reference levels.
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post #4 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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My mains are Eosone RSF 1000s. Here's a picture of them before and after AT screen:



They are pretty good all-around speakers (I also listen to a lot of music), but still not the same quality you can get from some DIY offerings I'm sure.

Here are specs (per speaker):

19mm titanium dome tweeter
4" midrange
6.5" mid woofer
[email protected]" powered woofers (built-in 120 watt RMS amp)
Frequency response: 26Hz - 22kHz

My room has 0 acoustic treatment so I suspect this might be much of it. Unfortunately my room is not ideal but I'm going to bump up acoustic treatment on my priority list.

Do you guys think if I posted some images of my room you might be able to recommend where I should focus my treatments?

Thanks for the already helpful feedback.

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post #5 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, I do wonder if my titanium tweeters would be considered bright and therefore harsh. Any general opinions on titanium domes? I don't see them in builds very often anymore.

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post #6 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevchance View Post
From what I gather, reference is 0db on the dial and is set by Audyssey based on measurements, am I correct in that? What I mean is, 0db is not arbitrary, its calibrated to the sensitivity of my speakers and gain in my room?

Here's where I'm at with reference (0 db). I'm afraid of it. When I get up into the negative-single digits, it gets so loud I am both uncomfortable and afraid of popping tweeters (and would have difficulty finding replacements).

I love how my mains sound, but does it feel too loud because my mains are objectively harsh? Or am I a ninny? Or a wuss?

FWIW I've never set foot in another subjectively or objectively "good" home theater, but I am planning to attend the SE MI GTG this summer to rectify this.

Discuss. And yes its ok to call me a ninny or a wuss.
Calibrate to reference, then listen at -10, -15, or -20, whichever is most comfortable for you. As for myself, I typically watch TV at -20 to -15, and movies at -10.
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post #7 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevchance View Post
From what I gather, reference is 0db on the dial and is set by Audyssey based on measurements, am I correct in that? What I mean is, 0db is not arbitrary, its calibrated to the sensitivity of my speakers and gain in my room?

Here's where I'm at with reference (0 db). I'm afraid of it. When I get up into the negative-single digits, it gets so loud I am both uncomfortable and afraid of popping tweeters (and would have difficulty finding replacements).

I love how my mains sound, but does it feel too loud because my mains are objectively harsh? Or am I a ninny? Or a wuss?

FWIW I've never set foot in another subjectively or objectively "good" home theater, but I am planning to attend the SE MI GTG this summer to rectify this.

Discuss. And yes its ok to call me a ninny or a wuss.
Enjoy the GTG, explaining reference is pretty simple. In the simplest terms it is 85db with 105 db peaks, think of the peaks as something quick and sharp like a gun shot. Reference level with subwoofers is similar but different db level. That being said many people find reference level to loud for them. Think of the last time you went to see a movie in a theater, that is or should be at or near reference level. But as @Jk7.2 said listen to your ears, if its to loud turn it down, listening at full reference level isn't a requirement. But you will REALLY enjoy the GTG, I have never actually been to one down where I live, but I have seen some of these setups and they are bonkers in all the good ways.
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post #8 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Augerhandle
Calibrate to reference, then listen at -10, -15, or -20, whichever is most comfortable for you. …
^ This.
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post #9 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 09:09 AM
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No question for me about compression and distortion causing speakers to sound annoyingly, painfully "too loud." This was drilled into my head when I tried turning up the volume on small, inefficient mains that had sounded just fine at lower volume when crossed over to a sub at 100Hz. Going into full experimental mode I maxed out the crossover to 200Hz and the small mains magically sounded sublime at the same high volume where they sounded awful when crossed over at 100Hz. Of course crossing to a sub at 200Hz isn't optimum even when the sub is at the front of the room located between the L/R. That taught me that if I wanted to listen comfortably at higher volume it was critical to have efficient, dynamic mains designed to play loudly and cleanly when optimally crossed to a sub.
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post #10 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Of course crossing to a sub at 200Hz isn't optimum even when the sub is at the front of the room located between the L/R.

Not necessarily; 200 Hz wavelength is 5' so there's room to play around.

Steinway/Lyngdorf systems use corner subs on the front wall with wall-mounted mains crossed as high as 800 Hz and owners and showgoers who see them rave about the result.

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post #11 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 09:56 AM
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As I've alluded to several times before when referring to my HTM-12s, "reference" was dangerous due to the fact there was so little distortion at high output levels that the ears were not detecting harsh distortion. I didn't realize how loud they were because I never experienced listening fatigue. It was not until it was time to leave the room and re-beer that I realized my ears were ringing.
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post #12 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 10:28 AM
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Not necessarily; 200 Hz wavelength is 5' so there's room to play around.

Steinway/Lyngdorf systems use corner subs on the front wall with wall-mounted mains crossed as high as 800 Hz and owners and showgoers who see them rave about the result.
Interesting. I know I had no issue with localization when crossed to the sub at 200Hz as long as the sub was located between L/R. However, the reason I said it's not optimal is because being located between L/R may not be the optimum location for best sub performance in a given room. Of course if you can live with adequate sub performance in a non-optimized location between L/R to minimize localization I don't see any downside to a higher crossover point to clean up performance of the mains at higher volume than they can handle at a lower crossover point.
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post #13 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JCJetta View Post
As I've alluded to several times before when referring to my HTM-12s, "reference" was dangerous due to the fact there was so little distortion at high output levels that the ears were not detecting harsh distortion. I didn't realize how loud they were because I never experienced listening fatigue. It was not until it was time to leave the room and re-beer that I realized my ears were ringing.
Of course you do already know that if your "Ear's" are ringing, the damage has already been done. Hearing damage and Hearing loss is the #1 under reported/tracked health crisis in America. Treasure and protect your hearing. Once lost never regained.

Every persons hearing is different in regard to what sounds loud. As already stated, trust your ears! If they hurt at ANY point, its TOO loud for YOU.

Wish I knew this when I was young. Now my ears ring 24/7...Don't be like me

Forget the word "Reference". Replace it with "Comfortably" Loud, an stop there.

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post #14 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 12:10 PM
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[QUOTE=Dave in Green;58168850...However, the reason I said it's not optimal is because being located between L/R may not be the optimum location for best sub performance in a given room.[/QUOTE]


Understood.

It also bears mentioning that the S/L setup is assumed to be used with their RoomPerfect correction.

Noah
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post #15 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 12:19 PM
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I would go death at "reference" level 0db according to my Yamaha rx-3050. Yeesh -16db is LOUD! 0db is ridiculous.

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post #16 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 12:46 PM
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Depending on source material, I can tolerate about 90 db peaks in my listening areas (~1500-2000 cft) but these are also untreated. This typically calibrates to -10/15 db at the MLP. You guys who listen at or above reference seems bonkers to me but I also have never heard your rooms. I will say however, adding 5-10 db really increases the immersion.
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post #17 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 01:19 PM
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Jevchance, much solid advice given, I'd submit it's potentially all of the above and more (throw in suspect source material too).

Yes, an over-simplification, but it would seem that many factors revolve around crest factor.

Dynamically compressed material

File size compression

Incorrect gain staging

Amplifier clipping

Loudspeaker thermal compression/distortion

Psycho-acoustics;
-Room volume
-Room reverberation
-Listener proximity to the source (loudness expectation)

Regarding room volume, 85dBspl isn't uniformly applicable, I believe there's an incremental (9dB total) adjustment downward from 85dB to 76dB for rooms smaller than 1500 cubes.
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post #18 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 03:06 PM
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I would go death at "reference" level 0db according to my Yamaha rx-3050. Yeesh -16db is LOUD! 0db is ridiculous.
I'm glad you said this lol... I have the 3070 and -20 is pretty comfortable though loud. about -17 to -15 (depending on the source) is where I settle if I want really loud playback. Some content I can dip into single digits on the volume, but the perceived loudness is still the same, just depends on source like I said. And I like it loud lol... so 0 on the volume would be suicide for most content on the yamaha.


I read somewhere that reference on the Yamaha's is around -17? Could be bogus... I may just be a big wuss as well haha

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post #19 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 03:26 PM
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I'm glad you said this lol... I have the 3070 and -20 is pretty comfortable though loud. about -17 to -15 (depending on the source) is where I settle if I want really loud playback. Some content I can dip into single digits on the volume, but the perceived loudness is still the same, just depends on source like I said. And I like it loud lol... so 0 on the volume would be suicide for most content on the yamaha.


I read somewhere that reference on the Yamaha's is around -17? Could be bogus... I may just be a big wuss as well haha
Pretty sure -20db is reference for a Yamaha. With the app I noticed the volume goes red once you reach -20db or beyond. -10db with two channel music requires really yelling to talk to the person next to you. I run sound from time to time and have to watch the SPL meter, that is reaching upper mid 90s territory or more. 85db is pretty comfortable, you just have to speak up some to talk to the person next to you, but it is not blaring. The tracks are suppose to have a 20db range for dynamics 85db to 105db. Throw another 10db on for the sub channel.
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post #20 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 03:41 PM
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Pretty sure -20db is reference for a Yamaha. With the app I noticed the volume goes red once you reach -20db or beyond. -10db with two channel music requires really yelling to talk to the person next to you. I run sound from time to time and have to watch the SPL meter, that is reaching upper mid 90s territory or more. 85db is pretty comfortable, you just have to speak up some to talk to the person next to you, but it is not blaring. The tracks are suppose to have a 20db range for dynamics 85db to 105db. Throw another 10db on for the sub channel.
Good to know. Yea I noticed the red background on the app, never thought it meant reference though. I hadn't looked into it too much as I just stayed at what was comfortable for me (and didn't wake up the kiddo )

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post #21 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 05:35 PM
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Good to know. Yea I noticed the red background on the app, never thought it meant reference though. I hadn't looked into it too much as I just stayed at what was comfortable for me (and didn't wake up the kiddo )
Reference on my advantage 3050 is -5dB. I say that because I checked it with rew. When playing a speaker calibration tone at -30 dBFS, the Yamaha had to be at -5dB on the dial for the speakers to be at 75dB.

I listen to movies at -15 typically.

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post #22 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 06:49 PM
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Reference on my advantage 3050 is -5dB. I say that because I checked it with rew. When playing a speaker calibration tone at -30 dBFS, the Yamaha had to be at -5dB on the dial for the speakers to be at 75dB.

I listen to movies at -15 typically.

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What happens at 0dbfs and -30db on the AVR?

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post #23 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Five View Post
What happens at 0dbfs and -30db on the AVR?
I'd be 5dB above reference there. REW says it has a clipped signal if I try to generate a speaker calibration signal at 0dbfs though so I usually only go as high as -5dBfs in rew.

I've checked with say -15db main volume and had to have rew at -20dBfs to hit 75dB with the speakers.

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post #24 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 07:35 PM
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I'm probably dumb but... I regularly play music at 15db above THX @ 10ft when I'm in the "spirited" mood, which is often! (1-5% system power)

That's about ALL the treble I'm WILLING to tolerate though... and ONLY when accompanied with equally hot bass.
My system can sustain these levels all day long.

When guests are in the HT I turn it down to -5 to -10db, as I've discovered that that is about all the treble they can handle long-term without complaints.

Most are willing to tolerate a 30 second demo at +15db, sometimes a few whole songs.
To your average joe that usually gives them a grin from ear to ear, something they will likely never experience again (not with good SQ at least.)

When I reach 10% power on the fp amps, the walls and speakers are on the verge of flying apart or smoking or bottoming out.
I'm almost-certain that 50% power would cause all the subwoofers to blow up (depending on the song);
and the mids and tweets would be dead by 3% power, on their respective fp amps...

But my system is FAR from conventional, so your figures may vary a lot...
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post #25 of 40 Old 06-11-2019, 07:45 PM
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IMO:
The SEOS's can't tolerate much more than 15db above THX at 10ft, you'll likely melt them IMO (and definitely go deaf while trying to...)

and that would generally take a [email protected] amp to "get there" when shared with the types of mids they are often found paired with (B&C, Eminence, Celestion etc.)

I'd doubt an AVR is going to threaten the life of a SEOS, unless you disable the mid or something silly like that...

Hi-Fi speakers though can be damaged FAR more easily, because of their much lower power-handling and lower efficiency ratings.
Generally like ~92db/w/m and ~20watts (or whatever...)

But yeah... when a speaker is distorting, THX can sound unreachably-loud.
Humans hear distortion as loudness to a very large degree.
and yeah, it usually IS a sign that the speaker is at (or near) its limit...
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post #26 of 40 Old 06-12-2019, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevchance View Post
My room has 0 acoustic treatment so I suspect this might be much of it.
An untreated room combined with your speaker specs suggests that it is the room that's the problem. Treat the room right and enjoy playback at reference on what look like dynamic speakers based on the specs.
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post #27 of 40 Old 06-12-2019, 03:59 AM
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I've never been able to get my head around calibrating to reference. Surely you just turn the dial until its loud enough? I have the A3050 with the HTM12s in a 16x8 room, sit around 8ft away and typically listen to movies around -12db, which gives peaks of around 100db, and 120db bass, and music can vary from -40 - -20db.

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post #28 of 40 Old 06-12-2019, 04:41 AM
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Similar here, -12 is just about right for watching a full movie. If i want to show off the theater with demo clips, i have gone as loud as -6, but i wouldnt be able to handle that for too long.

Commercial theaters are absolutely not playing at reference level, not the ones i go to. I’d guess they are closer to -20.
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post #29 of 40 Old 06-12-2019, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the great feedback, this turned into quite a discussion.

Sounds like I'm in the same boat with a lot of you so that's good to know.

I'm going to take some pictures of my room and get recommendations for treatments.

New LCRs are on the list but like I said I'm still pretty happy with these towers so I'm not in a rush.
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post #30 of 40 Old 06-12-2019, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCallas View Post

Commercial theaters are absolutely not playing at reference level, not the ones i go to. I’d guess they are closer to -20.


Not to disagree, just to discuss...
I can remember two times where I had to often put my fingers in my ears, because the theater was so loud. One was IMAX showing of that oil rig movie.... deep water horizon. It was way way too loud. The other was a Dolby Cinema showing of Jurassic World. It was so loud, it gave me a headache. Not sure why it was unbearable both those times, because I love listening to movies at home while hitting 125 dB spl’s at -2 or -4, depending on the movie. And I’ve never experienced ringing or pain or listing fatigue at home.
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