How Loud Do You Listen??? Do You Know?????????

I found myself having to re-balance the speakers in my HT today….. well, I have both the digital and analog Radio Shack meters (wouldn’t have bought the analog…but thought the Great Dane had eaten the digital one so….). well, I sat around tonight after setting up the Halloween decorations listening to music….. and had the SPL meters out…….

I must say I was surprised to find out that I was listening to music @ 94 dBs! (FWIW It was Elton John Funeral For a Friend, SACD). I know I have demo’d my system for friends at much higher volumes… I’m afraid to document the levels there…….

I must admit, my stereo/HT handled this level perfectly! I could have gone louder…if I needed, but I just don’t think I do!!!

I’m curious if any of you have documented how loud you listen to your tunes at??

FWIW I don’t normally listen at this level…it was a good day….
I typically listen in the mid 80dB range, I have measured to the mid 90dB range in my room, which sounds great but is just too loud for me.
my average listening is between 87db 93db
I typically listen at 87dB max. or about 1watt. My speakers have an 87dB SPL. I live in a small apartment & like to maintain good relations with my neighbors.
You have JC-1's. How loud can you get? 800 watts is like 118db on the Maggies, right?
When discussing average listening levels, one needs to specify where the reading is being taken. For sake of consistency, placing the meter where your head would normally be and having it set up with the mic facing straight forward between the center of the speakers seems the most acceptable way to do this to me. Some folks take measurments 3 ft / 1 meter from the speakers, which is not nearly the same as what one hears at their seated listening position.

Having said that, some music sounds best at low to moderate levels while other music sounds best at a roar. A good system should be able to perform well at either extreme and be coasting somewhere in the middle. This doesn't mean that you'll always listen to "loud" music loudly, etc... It just means that each recording will have a specific spl range that it seems to work best at. After all, wailing electric guitars weren't meant to be listened to at 80 dB's and a chamber music wasn't meant to be listened to at 110+ dB's. On top of that, we all know that volume varies with our mood and recordings, so how do you tell what an "average" really is? Sean
gee Beavis thought you would say 110 decibels how was your user name chosen it doesn't seem match with your indicated average listening level? lets see 100 decibels is about average for me at listening position.
Sean sez:
we all know that volume varies with our mood and recordings, so how do you tell what an "average" really is
Good point! One way of "averaging" is to measure voice at listening position. In my case that's ~5m away from the spkrs. I usually "average" 82-85db spl with opera aria.

BTW, as Dusty mentioned 800W -- that's ~29 db added on to the reference sensitivity. But the amp's current capacity plays a role too... I thought Maggies were around 84db -- and can they take 800W?? I'd be afraid of damaging the ribbons.

Why don't you buy an SPL meter so you know what you're talking about :). $50 well spent and you'll learn something about you and your system!

It really isn't all that philosophical and although different music will create a range you are correct....the keyword is Average and you'll find you have a sweet spot where you typically play the system. That sweet spot could define a limitation in your system and room size also music preferences.

Using an SPL meter is a great way to buy speakers, you'll be shocked how loud you can listen to one speaker and the next speaker is doing all sorts of nasty stuff that makes it sound 10 times louder at the same SPL.

PS: 88-94dB
Mostly 75-85db at my listening position, add some refreshments to the mix and I'll crack the 90's.

90db. and above is very loud in my room.

It varies with the presence of my mate. For some reason it's always louder with her absence. I'll have to pick one of those meters from Rat-Shack.
Very good question. What level of loudness you listen to can greatly alter speaker preference. I usually like to listen at about 70-80 dB.
Slappy I think that is instant ear bleading, which can't be good :)

Dusty, I have never pushed the maggies to there limits, there still is more, a lot more in fact, available but I don't want to risk a hiccup in the power and fry a ribbon. Even though they are only $100 I try to act like its more so I listen like a responsible audiophile.
Mejames, What did you say? Do resemble Beavis but that's about as far as it goes. Beavis user name chosen for humor. Used to listen to music about 100dB average, too. But after I found out hearing was affected, decided to turn volume down.
My Rat Shack meter is now measuring between 65-75 db's
in my smallish second room.

I know what you mean! Always is louder around here when she's gone.
I usually listen at about 70 to 75db (RadioShack meter at listening location.)
If I am in need of LOUD, I may go up to 85 to 92 db
Did anyone say 340 decibles? For your information the ears start bleeding at 120 and above, Concorde was 130 Decibles, have you tried standing next to it when it is taking off :)
Normal evening listening is around 84db.

If Metallica, or similar heavy metal is on, pressure level could reach 96db.

Measured w/Rat Shack analog meter at listening position.
If Slappy *was listening* @ 340 db's, well, uhhh, he should have no blood left in his head !! Call 911 !!
Are you there Slappy ? Slappy, can ya hear me boy !!
He's probably at the Space Shuttle launch site waiting for the countdown (up close) !!
My ears start bleeding whenever I put a Celine Dion CD in my player. And that's with the amp switched off.

Must be the placebo effect.

That was really funny Imust say LOL

Slappy, WATT?
Wow, I feel in the minority!
I listen at about 70 to 75 db max most of the time... 80-85 if the mood really hits, but only for short periods of time.
I'm only 26, and this makes me feel darn old!

80-85 for rock. 70-80 for classical. don't feel to old Will. Before I had my maggies, I used to listen to my electrostats at 75 max all of the time (they didn't sound right at louder volumes). in some way I miss those speakers as the maggies want to be pushed louder than I prefer. Yep, and I'm 26 too.
Ouch. I don't know how you guys do it. I'm listening to some Mancini at a comfortable c weighted 60-65 db right now, and don't feel the need to go louder...
hello Rwbadley,when im listening to mancini ,i dont play too loudly,but when i put on something like audioslave,i cant seem to leave the vollume knob alone,,seems like every recording has sweet spot where it sounds best.ive worked around very loud machinery for years,that might have an affect on my listening levels too.but it does seem like the older i get,the lower the volume goes,,
For classical music the dynamic range is so great that in order to hear the quiet passages the volume control is set so that the loud parts run well over 90dB.
actually measured again yesterday it's right around 90 decibels c weighted average levels
As loud as it takes to drown out the whining outside my (locked) music room door from my wife and children wanting to be fed.
I listen to music from about 94 to 104db. The measurement is taken from the sweet spot about 19' in front of center channel. The rat shack meter is pointing stright up. I need to feel the music as well as hear it. I begin to feel it at around 98db in my room.
What, Qman? I can see your lips moving but I can't hear what you're saying. :)

How true. That's another reason why I listen to music alone. I'm there to listen to music, not some joker trying
to cary on a conversation.
That last sentence was supposed to read. I'm there to listen to music, not some joker who is trying to cary on a conversation.
Q_man if at 19 feet your systems SPL is what you say it is, how come your system has not taken off and is still on ground :) Did you know that the Concorde generates 130 db SPL at take off?

SPL measurements are done at 1 meter, not at 19 feet, God only knows what your systems SPL's must be at 1 meter. I would not like to go near it!
My rear center is only 7' behind me, and my left and right surrounds are 8' to either side. That helps some with the readings. All my speakers are full range and have a 104db sensitivity rating and I'm feeding them 200 watts each. The efficiency of the speakers is the main thing.

At 104db from my seat I only will listen for about 20 minutes or a song or two at a time that I really like. Then it is back down to 94db.The sound is still very clean at 104, but I don't want to over do it on my ears. Most of the time I'm at 94db, and I can sit there for guite a while.
Q-man, I surrender unconditionally :)

I am glad to know you restrict yourself listening to it loud for a shorter period of time. Sometimes it does help to get the adrenaline flowing freely!

Depends on the quality of the recording and my mood but any where from 75 to 105 db peaks. If I could go more I would but the sound becomes conjested and goes south quickly. At times I wish my system could handle 115 dbs.

Some of my recordings can have some large dynamic swings and it would be sweet to hear them with out acting as a human compressor, fearing that I'm going to blow a ribbon on my Maggies.
Slightly off topic, yahoo had a story today about a ClearChannel stadium which has had many noise complaints about its concerts, the latest one being by Korn. The article allowed that peaks from the concert reached 90db. Now, you might think that a general purpose audience and journalist might not notice that's a wee bit funny, but the article went on to say, "That's as loud as a kitchen blender."

The thing is I can't figure out the typo. The numerals "90" don't emanate from what they must have intended - a hellacious number - easily.

BTW, any dietician will tell you that corn is not fully digestible....
Average listening levels @85 db at home

Suits me
That has to be some kind of misprint....90db at hard rock concert? Believe me it gets much louder than that especially at indoor venue.
Perhaps the article was referring to reidential home near by stadium with concerts of hard rock music where noise levels reached 90db.....that sounds more realistic, he he.