How much is "LOUD" still a reference point for some?


Do you feel that with speakers things are about the same as they were in the 1970s?  In the early days of Magnepan, Advent, Dahlquist and more, much of the competition was in speakers that sounded like a Jukebox and played LOUD.   Has this changed or is "LOUD" still the point of reference for many? 






whatjd
I think the important thing is if your speakers will play as loud as YOU want while still sounding good.  I listen at levels between 70db and the low 80s, so it doesn't matter to me if my speakers fall apart at 100db.  Someone who listens to rock music at concert levels will feel differently.
New speakers (quality) while generally needing more power can reach serious spl’s before sounding loud so maybe you can elaborate.
I think this is a really good point.

Don't audition speakers louder than you will listen to them.  You'll get a different presentation.

Listen to speakers at your normal listening levels. Use tone controls to adjust if you need to.

Be well,

E
When auditioning speakers/systems I always want to hear a low level presentation first. 
Depends on in what way you will use the speaker. You always need at least 10 decibel headroom. 
Thanks for your responses.  An ability to play well softly or loud is up to the buyer/owner desire and taste choices.  Nothing wrong with loud or soft....as long as any neighbors are o.k. with loud. 

Take care in this time of concerns.

Given the lack of SPL meters and astute level matching I would say loud colors many decisions.... unfortunately 
I pretty much only play loud, Bach to Motorhead and everything in between, so that's my only listening range. And Magnepans still are around and still do play loud if you have the power. Have a newish pair. 
I try to set my Maggie's loudness level as if I was at a live event and what my Wife will tolerate!
I have a very powerful amp driving the Maggie's 
so the music is very dynamic, even at lthe ower levels
How many watts are your amps and how loud at DB levels do you get your Maggie pans
Loud is good as long as it is clean, Cerwin Vega ads mid 70’s. I have grown out of the peel the paint off the wall days. My ears have survived, the Acoustic Research integrated did not, little pieces of capacitors on the ceiling, grey smoke in the room. Now days low level for most listening-but my Maggie’s can still rock.  200wpc when called upon, Digital Amplifier Company amps.
My room is a bit constrictive so I have my .7's Maggie's 4 ft from the front wall,  7 ft apart & 11 ft from my listening position. My amp puts out 450 watts @8ohms, [email protected] & 1,[email protected] and will do 65amps for 500 milliseconds. Haven't had my sound meter out lately, but guessing around 85/90 db
I like loud sometimes, but as a professional drummer, loud is my world. (I wear ear protection religiously these days) but music wise I ultimately prefer “comfortable” overall and that is around 70-80db. I can push past 100, sounds great, but is just obnoxious for neighbors, wife, etc.
Extreme heavy bans often sound better on their mellow acoustic tours.
Recommend a look at the RME ADI-2 dac and its smart loudness functionality.
The magic is in the first watt.
Never really given this any thought. I remember as a young student seeing Van Halen in Concert at NC State and could not hear correctly for the next 2 days. I told myself never again. I enjoy my Maggies at 70-80 Db depending on the music being played. Its nice to physically feel the music and still hear all the detail. For me 90-105 is loud and at this level my brain fails to process detail well, hardly the speakers fault. 
I like to listen loud after a few beers, so not a lot.  I measured 105-108 on the scale.  I would like it louder, but that's about as loud as it goes.  It's still clean at that volume.  NAD and Performa speakers.
With live-recorded acoustic music, an excellent audio system should be able to fool the blinded listener into believing the musician is in the room with them. 

Amplified music like rock concerts present a lot of sonic variables depending on listening position, but a great audio system should be able to replicate what the front of house sound mixers can hear at the ideal position of their mixing boards...center spot about as far from the stage as the stage is wide.

Headphones won't work, because we need our skin to feel the vibrations of the music for it to be like being there at the time of the recording.  High efficiency speakers with low distortion and stereo bass reinforcement powered by amplifiers with generous power reserves seems like a minimum requirement.

Studio albums are wholly different because they usually aren't trying to capture a "live" sound.  They are making a piece of sonic art whose characteristics are subject to the whim of the artist and recording engineers.  But sometimes they still sound great loud.

It's nice to be able to play realistically at concert levels, even when you prefer not to.
 
The ability to play loud is essential for me.  It's not so much that I listen at crazy levels as I appreciate dynamics.  The cannon in the 1812 Overture should sound (and feel) like cannon.  I use my speakers to earn a living mixing music and film, but I also use my studio as a listening room and (in the old days) gatherings and listening parties.  I want to hear the quiet parts quiet and the loud parts loud. And even though all my fan-equipped gear lives in isolation racks there is still some low level residual noise perceptible in the room.  My JBL M2s can play quieter than the noise floor and resolve accurately down to where I can't hear them anymore.  Loud is essential.  Quiet is essential.  Those two qualities give perspective to everything in the middle.
When I can feel my presence, within the same volume/expanse of air, as the original recording venue: it’s, "loud" enough. Difficult, with certain pipe organ, direct to discs(yeah- and Telarc cannons, too).
Bands...that was "bands."
Every trackhas a "sweet spot" level that sounds best on each system.
That's the only point of reference.
As I include a lot of classical in my listening, and it has far more dynamic range than rock does, I am more concerned with whether a speaker sounds realistic at quite low volumes - many do not and require a fair bit of 'knob' before they start to sound good.

Unless you can hear the 'ting' of a triangle in a quiet section as realistically as the cannon on the 1812 (or the range in much of Stravinsky, Beethoven etc.) a speaker is basically useless as an all-rounder.
wspohn304 posts  ....Well said.