Funny you mention this Bill...Just today, I was jamming with Stevie Ray Vaughn, and out of curiosity I checked my SPLs....94db average. I think I better tone it down! Normally, I don't listen this loud, but hey, it was SRV!
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I have a RadioShack SPL meter also.
Average SPL measurements at my listening position, 12 feet back from the center of the speakers is;
Enjoyable but loud listening levels: 93 to 96 db
If I turn it up (exceptionally loud): 105 to 108 db
These are average levels, without clipping and, as far as I can tell, without any audible distortion. Peaks are typically 10 db higher.
Note: I never listen continuously at an average of 105 to 108 db as it is uncomfortably loud and ears will ring afterwards.
I just try to get to "realistic" volume levels. That is what I would imagine the singer and/or instruments would sound like from my imaginary seating position. My favourite seat is about 50' from the stage which is much more than my real seat from the speakers. When I do go to concerts, it all seems like nonsense through their amplifiers. It's ridiculous for studio recordings but leave me to my perceptions.
When I used b&w's I used to listen at much higher levels than I currently listen with my JmLabs. When listening to Pop and rock I usually listen between 75-85 db currently. However before I used to usually listen around 85-90 db...I guess that is what it took to make me feel like I was getting a good soundstage with the b&w's.
However, sometimes when listening to a great classical symphony before and now with my JmLabs, I let the volume get the best of me. I usually listen to orchestral peaks around 100-103 db. There is something about the power of an orchestra that makes me do this...plus when you are in front of an orchestra or in a rehearsal hall, these are about the spl's of the ensemble anyway. In rehearsal for the Austin Lyric Opera, I have seen/heard/experienced bass drum hits around 107 db, as well as cymbals crashing around 110 db. Plus there is nothing really as great as listing to a good brass section, especially when you can image out the insturments!
Good time, great hobby!
Here's a link to what Shure says about listening levels. It includes OSHA recommended limits on exposure to loud sounds. Tinnitus commences at 127dB. 130dB is the level reached at very loud rock concerts. 140dB levels can cause hearing loss no matter how short the time exposure. Nausea is experienced after only a few minutes listening that loud.
Bigjoe, Quest makes meters that are rated to 140dB.
spl readings dont tell the truth from my listening chair,i measure spl's at 3ft but i sit at 20ft,still its as loud as a concert.
thanks for the tip hwy,i read a blog somewhere where a guy took some crazy rig up to about 150 spl for an entire song & got sick & had to lay down for the rest of the day,now that's too loud.
i blast it out real good but im carefull not to listen like that for extended periods.
my RS meter is reading low 80's db range (81-84 db, measured from my listening position) for my normal high volume level. My normal background listening levels are probably in the 70-74db range. I haven't tested it, but I think for the few albums that I MUST listen to loud, it probably approaches 95db, but I doubt I go any louder than that.
This is actually a little surprising to me. I would have guessed my normal levels were in the 90's
Good thread. Having just moved to a condo with (sad to find this out AFTER buying) paper walls, I find that 70 - 75 dB is about as loud as I can go without being a nuisance to others. This is not nearly as loud as I would like to have it.
Saturday, my neighbor downstairs who constantly complains about the "noise" (this is a guy who bangs on the ceiling when I'm playing Beethoven Cello sonatas at 75 dB at 8:30 PM. Nice guy, huh?) decided to drown me out with his stereo. I turned my stereo off, and got out the radio shack SPL meter. His stereo was playing at 75 dB in MY house. I wonder what the level was in his house?
Audiophiles, a word of advice. Do WHATEVER YOU CAN to find out the sound insulation efficiency of any multi-unit dwelling BEFORE you buy.
i had a pile of dung neighbor like yours about 15 years ago,we lived in a 2 story apt house that I OWNED & we rented out the first floor while we lived in the apartment upstairs.
my downstairs tennant constantly complained about the music & he did one of your neighbors numbers where he tried to drown me out with his stereo at 3:30 am,i got up & put my speakers on end tables with the drivers facing the floor & let him have it real good,we never had that discussion again.