I listen at 600 feet above sea level.
39 responses Add your response
There is no general level.sad to say every recording has a level at which it sounds best which varies from one to another.
I had a friend who had a circle with a line drawn to represent optimum level of a volume knob on all of his records.
At first I thought him nuts,he wasn't- though I would be if I went thru all that.
I aim to achieve a scaled to my room proximity to what the music might sound like if I were to hear it live, in what I would imagine to be an appropriate setting. My room couldn't accomodate a symphony orchestra, so the volume would be scaled down considerably. On the other hand a recording of a solo recital in a rather small venue might be played at nearly live levels.
Schubert, that's a great idea, if you never changed gear, never changed rooms, ambient noise never changed, each track of every recording was consistent, only listened alone, and one's hearing never changed.
Still a great idea for a baseline. I'm surprised no has marketed little removable stickers for just such a purpose. Perhaps in different colors for different places, i.e. main room, car, bedroom, etc..
110db is good ror rock and rollSure, if you're an audiologist or a hearing aid salesman ;-)
Seriously, 110 dB is loud enough to cause hearing damage in under 2 minutes. Too much live R&R w/o hearing protection is one of the things I regret about the 60s. I know that there were some others, but the due to the activities that accompanied R&R back then, I can't seem to remember what they are.
I agree with Swampwalker... If you listen at levels in the 110db are for any extended length of time, you are going to do serious damage to your ears that can not be reversed.
You should not have to listen at those levels to get any more enjoyment, detail or impact out of the music unless your hearing is already damaged or your gear is not capable of delivering excitement at sane levels. I know too many audiophiles who's ears are shot due to this. Don't become one of them!
I think Ebm is being sarcastic in this case with his usual one-line comments, most of which go begging for additional explanation or comment anyway.
I think every recording has a sweet spot where the system makes it 'come alive', and this can range from 65dB to 100+dB depending on genre, individual mood, and auditory ability at any given time.
I often listen at around 65 to 70dB.
For chamber music, small group Jazz this is pretty close to live.
Foor rock I really will never play it at concert levels. I just listen to it at lower levels. Same for orchestral music.
However I find I can crank up Opera some due to it not really having much low freq. content. So the voices can be near concert level from back in the hall. (85dB)
Levels are a funny thing. Someone here mentioned ideal levels for each record-and I get that. I also think that every system (and its interaction with the specific space) can dictate what the prefered listening level is to some degree. A live room usually will sound better at lower levels while a dampened room with the same system might require quite a bit more crankage to "come alive". As my system gets better at resolving detail, I also find that I don't feel the same need to turn up volume as much to get the resolution I am looking for. I recently heard a killer Wilson Sasha setup last month, and the volume was set VERY low at my request and yet was so detailed and layered that I felt the entire experience was properly presented without addition level required. Not many systems can do that I assure you.
Depends on the music, my mood, and A LOT on the time of day. I find I listen much lower early in the morning (6 am-ish) than I do later in the day.
I had friends over a few weeks ago and we were listening kinda loud for a couple of hours, and I turned it to where I listen early mornings (I have a stepped volume) and I was laughed at. It sounded way way low to me too and I thought something was wrong with my system.
It's kind of like how your eyes get accustomed to light.
But normally - 80db or so
Sebrof Yes, the acclimatization to louder sounds.
After listening to loud noises, soft ones seem even softer.
One reason I listen at lower levels.
By ALWAYS listening at lower levels, it sound thtoally natural, and the normal level other's use is too loud to me, and sounds obnoxious.
(So liking it loud is a self reinforcing phenomenon.)
FWIW, recording engineers usually listen at about 82dB. I usually listen slightly under that at home, maybe more like 75dB, but sometimes I will crank it up, though I would certainly agree with some here who say listening at 110dB is absurd. That would be a very quick way to significant hearing loss.
Perhaps some of you with shall we say 'sensitive' ears might get a kick out of Stereophile's John Atkinson's and others' comments on the loudness of my exhibiting room at RMAF last October.
Too bad Atkinson didn't stick around as soon thereafter for another group of visitors I locked the door and played Boston, Stanley Clark live, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood in all their glory.
01-05-12: LearsfoolLearsfool, I'd be interested in clarification of what that means. Average level or the level of short-term peaks? And wouldn't the figure vary depending on the dynamic range of the music? A highly compressed rock recording that has perhaps a 4 db difference in volume between the loudest and softest notes would figure to be listened to at a very different setting than a well engineered classical symphony where that difference may be 30 or 40 db. The symphony tending to be listened to at a significantly lower average volume but a significantly higher peak volume.
I find the OP's question to be unanswerable without some idea of the dynamic range of the music being indicated, and without peak or average being specified. As RRog said, "It depends on the type of music."
I find it amazing that many of you actually measure the db listening level. I guess I am missing something, since all of my life, I just turn up the volume to the level I enjoy. It may vary for different music, different days or even time of the day. May I ask, why some of you have the need to measure your listening level?
I find it amazing that many of you actually measure the db listening level. I guess I am missing something, since all of my life, I just turn up the volume to the level I enjoy. It may vary for different music, different days or even time of the day. May I ask, why some of you have the need to measure your listening level?"
I have a db meter for other reasons (hi fi related, of course), so a few times I just popped it up and measured out of curiosity. I assume everyone just turns it up to the level they enjoy same as you do.
After a while you get a feel for when your system it "overplaying" the room. Much like Sebrof, I know by what reaches my ears when volume is too much for the recording. I don't pay attention to the level that much, but when I have checked out of curiosity I find I rarely have 85 dB peaks, and I listen almost exclusively to rock these days.
Go figure. :-)
Hi Al - I've been away for a few days. Yes, as you suspected, that 82dB figure is an average level, +/- 2dB, for recording engineers. Of course, peaks would be much higher. I was assuming the OP meant an average level. And I have also found, when I have turned on my SPL meter in rehearsals for fun, that the average level of most of what happens onstage is about that same amount, again peaks being much higher, and the softest things quite a bit lower. But the average would be somewhere around that 82dB figure, or not much lower, anyway.
Yes, Blueranger, if you listen at 110dB without some kind of hearing protection, you will suffer some damage in just over 2 minutes of continuous exposure, on average!! I have posted a report on this in a recent thread, if you care to look it up. If you need me to provide a link, let me know.
In all seriousness, if you have done this on a regular basis, you really do need to go get your hearing checked, and you need to turn the volume WAY down to avoid any further damage.
I downloaded a spl meter on my HTC One Droid and it states my listening comfort zone is in the mid 50's into the mid 60's. I can't get it into the upper 70's without rattling things in the room. 80's? That just seems way too loud compared to my comfort zone. I'm wondering if the meter is calibrated correctly.
I just loaded another spl meter on my phone to compare with the first one thinking it may be out of calibration. They perform nearly identically. I had a hearing test recently with normal results. My listening comfort zone is in the mid 50's into the mid 60's. Funny thing is that my wife says I can't hear what she's saying sometimes...