What SPL level have you calibrated your setup to? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-30-2019, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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What SPL level have you calibrated your setup to?

Calibrating your setup to 85 dB (85 dB average + 20 dB peaks = 105 dB) is considered "theatrical reference level" and is generally very loud, especially for smaller rooms. For smaller rooms, it is generally recommended that you calibrate somewhere between 75 to 80 dB (or even lower). I just wanted to get an idea of what level everyone here is calibrating their setups to.
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-30-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Kain View Post
Calibrating your setup to 85 dB (85 dB average + 20 dB peaks = 105 dB) is considered "theatrical reference level" and is generally very loud, especially for smaller rooms. For smaller rooms, it is generally recommended that you calibrate somewhere between 75 to 80 dB (or even lower). I just wanted to get an idea of what level everyone here is calibrating their setups to.
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-01-2019, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Only one reply? Come on folks, it's not that hard of a question.
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-01-2019, 12:06 PM
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Audyssey is calibrating the system to 75db / setting the reference volume, then I usually play around -15 to -12 reference when watching movies.
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-02-2019, 04:06 AM
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See HERE for a complete explanation on reference level. In reality, while I may calibrate to 85dB, I actually play back at whatever level the movie demands. And in the case of poorly mixed Disney action movies, I have to crank it up a bunch, which usually means reference.
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-02-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
Audyssey is calibrating the system to 75db / setting the reference volume, then I usually play around -15 to -12 reference when watching movies.
Does Audyssey calibrate to 75dB or use 75dB tones and then set the volume so the 0dB point is 85dB?

Me, I don't care where I stick my volume knob (it's content-specific anyway), but after "calibrating" my ears to a meter, I tend to set the control somewhere around a 70dB(A) average listening level for most movies. I double check my ears' "calibration" every now and then by running REW (calibrated mic) (or a phone app and adjusting) in the background during the movie and measuring dB(A). I haven't done this in a while, but I spot-check every so often just out of curiosity. I do find I end up setting the volume higher watching action movies because it's "fun".

That said, if my daughter is down there with me, I try to keep it lower. This is mostly because my wife, despite me citing OSHA regs to her, thinks I'll damage her hearing and gives me a "talking to" (which is partially ignored, just like her ignoring OSHA -- I find a middle ground, if she can't hear it upstairs, I can't get "yelled at", ).

Music is another story -- I don't often measure...maybe I'm afraid to, . It's probably close, but certainly creeps up more easily and generally stays there for the night. It takes one good song to push me 3dB higher and, unless I cue something way overcooked (mix-wise) or that I end up disliking, those three bells often get shaved at the beginning of the next night's session. That cycle repeats until, frequently, what starts at -36dB (volume control) ends up around -30 or even -25 -- atypically much higher or I get "yelled at", . May have something to do with my choice of music and the gobs of subs I have in an untreated basement.... I usually get a text, "let's shut down club Brian for the night, hun" .
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-02-2019, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Does Audyssey calibrate to 75dB or use 75dB tones and then set the volume so the 0dB point is 85dB?

Me, I don't care where I stick my volume knob (it's content-specific anyway), but after "calibrating" my ears to a meter, I tend to set the control somewhere around a 70dB(A) average listening level for most movies. I double check my ears' "calibration" every now and then by running REW (calibrated mic) (or a phone app and adjusting) in the background during the movie and measuring dB(A). I haven't done this in a while, but I spot-check every so often just out of curiosity. I do find I end up setting the volume higher watching action movies because it's "fun".

That said, if my daughter is down there with me, I try to keep it lower. This is mostly because my wife, despite me citing OSHA regs to her, thinks I'll damage her hearing and gives me a "talking to" (which is partially ignored, just like her ignoring OSHA -- I find a middle ground, if she can't hear it upstairs, I can't get "yelled at", ).

Music is another story -- I don't often measure...maybe I'm afraid to, . It's probably close, but certainly creeps up more easily and generally stays there for the night. It takes one good song to push me 3dB higher and, unless I cue something way overcooked (mix-wise) or that I end up disliking, those three bells often get shaved at the beginning of the next night's session. That cycle repeats until, frequently, what starts at -36dB (volume control) ends up around -30 or even -25 -- atypically much higher or I get "yelled at", . May have something to do with my choice of music and the gobs of subs I have in an untreated basement.... I usually get a text, "let's shut down club Brian for the night, hun" .
Meant to say Audyssey is calibrating using 75db test tones to reference level, which is 85db. I then play most movies around -15 from reference.
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-02-2019, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

That said, if my daughter is down there with me, I try to keep it lower. This is mostly because my wife, despite me citing OSHA regs to her, thinks I'll damage her hearing and gives me a "talking to" (which is partially ignored, just like her ignoring OSHA -- I find a middle ground, if she can't hear it upstairs, I can't get "yelled at", ).
Your wife isn't far from correct. OSHA regulations don't prevent hearing loss. They assume a reasonable amount of hearing loss so that when a worker retires, they can still hear their SO telling them that they should have listened to her about OSHA.
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-03-2019, 02:17 AM - Thread Starter
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By the way, what's the point of "reference level" if all movies don't really follow the concept? For example, I can watch Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (the podrace sequence) at 0 dB without any issues (in fact I can go up to +5 dB without it being painful). However, Deepwater Horizon is almost unbearable at around -8 dB.
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-03-2019, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appelz View Post
Your wife isn't far from correct. OSHA regulations don't prevent hearing loss. They assume a reasonable amount of hearing loss so that when a worker retires, they can still hear their SO telling them that they should have listened to her about OSHA.
Fair enough, I'm also nowhere near their limits -- though, not specifically because I took your point into account. Rather, simply just because I figure there is always "wiggle room" in anything; best to be on the cautious side of it.

P.S. I'm not telling her she was "right", lol.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-04-2019, 11:47 AM
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I calibrated the gain structure with pre-amp test tones to 75db at 0 (reference MVL) which equals 105db speakers and 115db subs in REW.
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-04-2019, 11:52 AM
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if she can't hear it upstairs, I can't get "yelled at"

If the music is loud enough you can't hear the yelling either. Win-Win
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-04-2019, 12:02 PM
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If the music is loud enough you can't hear the yelling either. Win-Win
And if I listen loud enough long enough, I'll never be able to hear either again...win-lose, lol.
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-06-2019, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I calibrated the gain structure with pre-amp test tones to 75db at 0 (reference MVL) which equals 105db speakers and 115db subs in REW.
How loud do you usually listen to? Do you find that the 708i can keep up with your SPL requirements? What's the loudest you've gone on the MVL?
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-06-2019, 10:47 AM
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How loud do you usually listen to? Do you find that the 708i can keep up with your SPL requirements? What's the loudest you've gone on the MVL?
The loudest we listen is -10 from reference "0". I applied gain management on this system and designed the speakers for 105db, Subwoofers at 115db at reference "0". The 708i's and 705i's have no problems with 105db at reference. The seven series speakers are amazing but need to have the DSP files to sound right. If you have not listen to these speakers try to get a audition.
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post #16 of 26 Old 12-09-2019, 04:32 PM
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75db.

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post #17 of 26 Old 12-09-2019, 04:41 PM
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75db here also

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post #18 of 26 Old 12-19-2019, 09:41 PM
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85db is here.
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post #19 of 26 Old 05-12-2020, 03:43 PM
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Your wife isn't far from correct. OSHA regulations don't prevent hearing loss. They assume a reasonable amount of hearing loss so that when a worker retires, they can still hear their SO telling them that they should have listened to her about OSHA.
I meant to add to this post and completely forgot. Home a few days and stumbled across my notes.

So, as I mentioned OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits do not prevent hearing loss, nor were they designed to. Approximately 25% of workers exposed to these limits will have measurable hearing loss at the end of their career. The PEL's were put in place for industrial applications and indicate a level of liability for the employer, the point at which the company is legally negligible.

If you want information from an organization that is interested in hearing prevention, and not just mitigating hearing loss, check out NIOSH instead. They have a completely different set of guidelines for noise exposure.

Time to reach 100% noise dose | Exposure level per NIOSH REL | Exposure level per OSHA PEL
8 hours | 85 dBA | 90 dBA
4 hours | 88 dBA | 95 dBA
2 hours | 91 dBA | 100 dBA
1 hour | 94 dBA | 105 dBA
30 minutes | 97 dBA | 110 dBA
15 minutes | 100 dBA | 115 dBA

Of particular interest, I found information from NIOSH regarding the use of phones to measure SPL. A study of over 50 apps indicated that only 1 was within 5dB of accuracy. A similar iOS study showed that among 130 apps, only 3 were withing 2dB of accuracy. Even handheld SPL meters out of the box were found to be as much as 4dB out of their stated specs.

A particular piece of software that I use during calibrations allows me to monitor my total exposure over the day, using Leq, which is a way to qualify total sound energy over a period of time.
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post #20 of 26 Old 05-12-2020, 05:30 PM
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For those calibrating to 85dB, are you rolling off the highs and lows similar to the cinema X-Curve as well, or leaving it flat? Is there an easy way to tell if your source material is mastered for flat or for X-curve, and if it has a -10dB subwoofer mix or not?
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post #21 of 26 Old 05-12-2020, 07:40 PM
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75db. Listen at around 0 to -10db on the dial if I have the house to myself. Subs are +6db hot.

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post #22 of 26 Old 05-13-2020, 03:20 AM
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I use this app called Decibel X Pro on my iPhone to calibrate the speakers to 85db. Depending on the movie, i keep the volume anywhere from -12 to -15.
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post #23 of 26 Old 05-13-2020, 07:29 AM
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I use this app called Decibel X Pro on my iPhone to calibrate the speakers to 85db. Depending on the movie, i keep the volume anywhere from -12 to -15.
That is a perfectly acceptable way to level match your speakers, but highly unlikely the actual SPL level is 85dB, and according to the studies mentioned earlier, could be as much as 5dB off.

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post #24 of 26 Old 05-13-2020, 11:24 AM
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*snip* Time to reach 100% noise dose *snip*
How frequently can I be dosed? Good thing it's dBA, I do love my boosted bass!
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post #25 of 26 Old 05-13-2020, 11:31 AM
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How frequently can I be dosed? Good thing it's dBA, I do love my boosted bass!
I believe the NIOSH numbers are over an 8 hr window. So if you spend 8 hours at work and reach your 100% exposure limit there, maybe watch a quiet rom/com with your SO that night.

Lower frequencies can damage hearing as well, so don't assume you are safe! I know that some countries have A and C weighted recommendations.

Went and looked for more info : https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-...6/02/08/noise/

One very cool aspect of the software I use is an indicator of exposure over time. So in an 8 hr session, if the majority of the noise is at 85dB, the software keeps track and lets me know that my exposure time is increased, and that I can listen to 15 minutes of high SPL content before saturation. It doesn't know that I am wearing ear protection during playback of test tones, and only remove them for listening, but that just increases the headroom I have available.
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Last edited by appelz; 05-13-2020 at 11:43 AM. Reason: more info
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post #26 of 26 Old 05-13-2020, 12:03 PM
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I believe the NIOSH numbers are over an 8 hr window. So if you spend 8 hours at work and reach your 100% exposure limit there, maybe watch a quiet rom/com with your SO that night.

Lower frequencies can damage hearing as well, so don't assume you are safe! I know that some countries have A and C weighted recommendations.

Went and looked for more info : https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-...6/02/08/noise/
Don't I know it...competing in IASCA competitions with a car capable of sustaining +150dB at 40Hz measured with a Term-LAB mic and then listening to it at insane bass levels has not exactly been kind to my ears. I had two "modes" in that car: "I care how it sounds" and "I care how much bass there is". Most content I listened to at the time was divided into "massage music" and "rock", lol. Funny, though, on my home system (which is calibrated much closer to the "I care how it sounds" mode in my car, but can plumb the depths with more accuracy than the car's system ever could) so much of that "massage music" sounds incredible! I just never knew it when I was only interested in being pummeled and assaulted from behind, ! There's actually texture in bass!? NO! I just thought it was there to pound me around!

I will say, I do miss the assault now and again -- feeling like my eyes are being crushed by bass was "fun" in my 20s, lol. I just wish I wore protection .
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