In reply to Sugarbrie:
I understand the vagaries of the listening room acoustics and I am not really suggesting that the level be pre-determined and not subject to any alteration by the listener. All I am suggesting is that some index point be given as to what the proper volume should be. If we accept my premise that what we are trying to recreate is the truest copy of the actual performance of a piece of music, (except for electronic/computer generated music which may never really have been performed in any real acoustic space, and even that is debatable) there has to be a proper realistic level which should be the equivalent of what was heard in the room where it was performed. Again, we could split hairs and ask how far out in the room and was that sound heard by someone whose hearing is normal, I agree. Moreover, the way most records are produced and especially with digital editing, I understand that there may never have actually been one single performance identifiable as such; again, the presiding engineer hearing the last and final version would be called upon to indicate this level. Also, if we are dealing with music performed live but with sound reinforcement, it could be said that we never hear the true volume of an instrument. This last point should have been settled around the time Merle Travis got Bigsby to build him an electric guitar or maybe right after Les Paul built the Log. I think we have to assume that the "proper volume" of any amplified instrument, even the human voice through a p.a. system, is the level as actually set by the performer or the techs doing the actual work for such performer. Again, we have to assume that the room was properly sized for the performance in question and the acoustics were decent. With all the foregoing assumptions, and agreeing that nothing dictatorial is implied here, would not such an index be a good idea? I don't know, I may be biting off more that I can chew here, but maybe such a feature would entail some kind of interactive system were the source can actually hear what is being produced in the room and set the level in more than in a semi-blind way based on assumptions of an average room, an average listening distance and, I guess, an average set of ears. Geez, throw in a digital "infinite band" equalizer in there and an acoustic field processor and we could be in La Scala one minute and the old Fillmore the next. We may never leave home. Perfect music forever! The absolute sound! Isn't science wonderful! My prediction: too complicated, kind of like stereo or quad. It will never get off the ground... Regards.