Listening volume

For the last couple days I have been typically listening at a lower volume. Typical volume (not peak) is now low to mid 80's (dB). Interestingly, peak still is high 90's maybe 100 dB. Before, I would listen at a typical good 10dB louder average. But peak was only a tad bit higher so I think I was clearly running into dynamic compression.

The real surise is that at these average lower dB levels, my soundstage is better defined in width and depth. Was dynamic compression limiting my soundstage? Anyone else ever run into this? I'm really puzzled by this-
I suspect rising distortion at higher volumes makes the whole listening at higher volumes thing a little unpleasant. It's one of those unpleasant things in life I'm afraid we get kind of used to, not knowing any better.
Is this true for several types of music / recording? I would think listening level is ideal when music is played around the same level as it was recorded. For me 90dB is too loud for normal listening. I find a sweet spot of 75 - 85dB in my room and am happy with everthing, including the soundstage.
Every speaker Has some limit where it will compress, My Totems are only speaker I ever saw where this limit is stated
in specs, for my small monitors its listed at 103 db.

Everyone runs into this, some just don't realize it.
There is a "perfect" volume for every room and system. Too low and you can't hear every little nuance, too loud and the room starts to interact more and the sound starts to "bounce" around, (reflection and refraction) and things become diffuse. I have found this to be true in almost room...except an anechoic chamber.
Mofi, you describe the problem perfectly.
Sadly, I never could afford the custom made listening room I need.
Also, I never found a remote sensitive to dial it in either.
If it's a solid state amp, it's possible that based on the speaker and amp sensitivity that the amp was clipping.

OTOH, I have also experienced what Mofi is talking about.
"Was dynamic compression limiting my soundstage? Anyone else ever run into this? I'm really puzzled by this- "

Dynamic compression is certainly a common limiting factor with modern smaller speaker designs that also have good bass extension for there size. There is only so much that a dynamic driver of given size can do.

Walsh drivers smoke conventional drivers in regards to going loud and clear with minimal compression. Modern OHM Walsh CLS driver based speakers are absolute champs at this in their price range. The largest drivers used are only 10", but Walsh style wave bending seems to enable a dynamic driver of certain size to deliver a lot more sound with minimal compression a lot more effectively than it could otherwise. ALso the CLS crossover to tweeter is quite high (7khz range) which helps keep demand on tweeter minimal.

I have run OHM Walsh speakers of one form or another for almost 30 years now. No matter what you throw at them, they will never show any signs of stress, breakup or duress and any compression that might occur seems minimal compared to most anything else anywhere near the same price.
Map, there are a pr of Walsh Fives on here now that are 3 miles from me. I ain't going for 3K though they may be worth it, and since they are from an Estate can't hear them either.

At 2 K i might bite. What do you think?
In my room louder is better and better, until the point that is becomes too loud for comfort. The room not large and is extensively treated.
IT depends.

Are they original Walsh 5s? Or newer Walsh 5 mk II, mk III, or latest 5000?

Also what cabinets, any other special customizations?

Any of these are good values for the right used price. ORiginal 5s should cost <$1000 normally I would expect.

New 5000s list at $6500. Not cheap, but still very good value for what you get.

My 5 mkIIIs in refurbed F cabinets (in my system pic) ended up costing me ~ $2400 direct from OHM. New 5 mkIIIs at the time listed for $6000. These used refurbed cabinets, were on summer sale to start, and I traded in two pair of old OHMs for the full value offered in addition.
Mapman , I see the listing is gone , either sold or more likely expired, was 2nd or 3rd time around.
I believe they were MK II's .

I've seen only on e pair here recently, that is now gone, a very nice custom finished pair of Walsh 5 100 mkIII (same drivers as mine), but custom new cabinetry. I don't recall the price exactly but I think not much more than what I paid for refurb, so I thought that to be a steal. They were very nice looking, custom Bubinga finish and marble bases I recall perhaps?

All Walsh models go loud and clear with proper amplification as I describe. Even my original Walsh 2s from 1983 never blinked, even when used outdoors at quite high volume (with just a good 80w/ch Tandberg receiver at the time). Sound in newer models tend to be more refined, focused and detailed to various degrees compared to originals, and more competitive sonically overall with other well regarded contemporary lines, but any originals in good working order going for market used prices is a very good value, if going loud and clear without strain breakup or noticeable compression is something you seek. Not to mention the unique advantages of the wide range/wide dispersion, Walsh-based omni design, ie huge sweet spot and excellent coherency top to bottom.

At the prices some OHMs go for, every audiophile should have a pair, just in order to be able to hear something completely different for a change when desired, if nothing more, just like a decent pair of headphones. :^)
There is a pr of Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grands near me that has my wallet itching as well-LOL.
I find that when you get a system sounding right, you're less likely to listen at higher volumes. Volume can be used to in an attempt to compensate for a system's weak spots.

Perhaps, but I think it is also true that realistic volume
levels suits music best. It is not so hard to get a system
to play well at low volume for less cost. Playing loud
well does not come as easy,especially in larger rooms, and
will usually involve some additional cost.

Myself, I want it to sound as best it can at all levels.
Only my main personal reference setup can do that in a
larger room of all the stuff I run in my house (I'm a little
nuts this way). The rest is limited in comparison but does
just fine for what I need there, usually at much lower
Mapman, e-mail me please: I have some ohm questions, and you seem to always be talking about how much you love them!

Back to the o.p. I've been listening at very low levels lately and I'm not exactly sure why. It may be that my set-up now has more resolution so I get all the micro details and nuances at a low level...??

I used to shake the whole dang room. No joke, I was reinforcing the windows and doors in my room so they wouldn't rattle, lol. Larely though, I listen at very quiet levels; I'm guessing in the 70db-80db range. Kinda strange. Went from 100db techno to 80db jazz and classical...

You should be able to pop any member with a login an email via inbox (use "mypage" link at top of this page for example to get there. Its kind of a buried feature here on teh gon that I did not even realize existed until recently. It let's you send emails to other members privately as needed but also logs and provides access via agon site.

I'm always happy to chat about all things audio, OHM or otherwise. Just send your questions my way.

Classical music has so much more dynamic range than rock you listen at a lower overall volume as a rule.
Some speakers sound better at higher volume. However, it depends on the music listened to. I play it loud, but not head banging so, and I restrict these session usually to the mid afternoon when older people and babies are in REM sleep to the power of 10

I could not imagine listening to WHO'S NEXT, YES GRATEFUL DEAD,ETC, ETC at moderate volume. Classic rock was written to play loud, its dynamics are part of its power, emotion, and craft

The 18th and 19th "symphony" format evolved out of engaging more of the audience's attention with acoustic power and dynamics. I can't imagine Beethoven's Ninth being played at lower volume.

Amplification in this venue was accomplished by hall acoustics, increasing the number of players, and segmenting players in divisions of their musical expertise. The words symphonic and orchestral convey a sense of organic unity larger than its individual parts

Obviously for rock, this is done by electrical and digital means, so a 6 member band can sound like the roaring power of Niagara Falls, even in a large venue.
"02-06-14: Mapman

Perhaps, but I think it is also true that realistic volume
levels suits music best. It is not so hard to get a system
to play well at low volume for less cost. Playing loud
well does not come as easy,especially in larger rooms, and
will usually involve some additional cost."

Sorry I wasn't clear. I just meant to add my comment to the list. I didn't mean to suggest other comments were not valid. Everyone here is making excellent points.
Difference between loud and dynamic range, Rock is louder ,Symphonic music has more range between softest and loudest parts.

Every recording ever made has a certain volume where it sounds optimum . Finding it is another matter .
I don't listen at the same volume all the time, and am surprised if anybody else does. What are you people...robots? heh heh...Certain recordings sound better than others when louder...recording a piano with a brighter mic or mix sounds fine at times, other times annoying if too loud. Monk...nice...sax jumps in...different. Smoother overall mixes can more readily be cranked up a bit, regardless of musical genre. And if you're utterly drunk, you do have to turn it up quite a bit.