How many dBs...?

I'm wondering how loud people have their systems during a proper listening session (i.e. when one needn't accommodate the needs of family or neighbours).

As I seem to be having a slow-work day this morning, I downloaded a free dB meter ("Decibel 10", plenty of others available) on my iPhone. Measuring at my listening position (3.2m from speakers) the app shows sound pressure levels are averaging 84.1dB (the app is telling me this is equivalent to an automobile, but doesn't say at what distance(?)) with a current recorded max of 90.1dB.
I set the volume at a level that seems good (happens to be 69% volume on JRiver, in my amp-speaker system, at my listening position).

How hard a time are other people giving their eardrums...?

Comments

  • Shall I get the Spinal Tap joke over with?
  • I wonder if JRiver do a plug-in that recalibrates the volume scale to show "110%"...?
  • edited May 17
    Having said all that (spinal tap) many amps have their volume calibration marked in dBs of cut. Therefore one could argue, spinal tap styley, +1dB!

    It's not only how loud you like your music playing, it has much to do with how your replay system performs at varying volume levels. Some don't really come on song until a certain level is achieved or worse start to perform less well after a certainn level is passed.
    e.g. some amplifiers will (along with speakers they're driving) produce a lovely full balance of sound very low down the volume scale, others not. A poorly chosen or ill matched pair will start to clip before the desired room-filling level is reached.

    At home I like reasonably loud if possible, on portables less so and in the car.....mega-blast!

    Ben I think you may be sailing dangerously close to courting hearing damage (as am I)...

    "Sounds that are louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss."

    "How loud is 85 decibels?
    Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB). 2 times as loud as 70 dB."
  • edited May 17
    cj66 said:

    It's not only how loud you like your music playing, it has much to do with how your replay system performs at varying volume levels. Some don't really come on song until a certain level is achieved or worse start to perform less well after a certainn level is passed.
    e.g. some amplifiers will (along with speakers they're driving) produce a lovely full balance of sound very low down the volume scale, others not. A poorly chosen or ill matched pair will start to clip before the desired room-filling level is reached.

    At home I like reasonably loud if possible, on portables less so and in the car.....mega-blast!

    Ben I think you may be sailing dangerously close to courting hearing damage (as am I)...

    "Sounds that are louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss."

    "How loud is 85 decibels?

    Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB). 2 times as loud as 70 dB."
    What you write about the way systems perform at different levels is interesting. I think I may experienced this to some expect. Also, I think that "brighter" speakers can sound better at lower volumes than those with a flatter overall response.
    Thanks for the warning too, probably a part of me was and is a little worried about this. And tho the music and audio fans in me are reluctant to reduce volume, I think I am probably moving towards making a decision to be a bit more prudent. My tinnitus seems a little more frequent and prominent these days. :-(

    Edit: but not currently a significant issue. Only really noticeable when I'm in silent environments. No concern / sympathy required!
  • Docfoster said:
    It's not only how loud you like your music playing, it has much to do with how your replay system performs at varying volume levels. Some don't really come on song until a certain level is achieved or worse start to perform less well after a certainn level is passed.
    e.g. some amplifiers will (along with speakers they're driving) produce a lovely full balance of sound very low down the volume scale, others not. A poorly chosen or ill matched pair will start to clip before the desired room-filling level is reached.

    At home I like reasonably loud if possible, on portables less so and in the car.....mega-blast!

    Ben I think you may be sailing dangerously close to courting hearing damage (as am I)...

    "Sounds that are louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss."

    "How loud is 85 decibels?Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB). 2 times as loud as 70 dB."
    What you write about the way systems perform at different levels is interesting. I think I may experienced this to some expect. Also, I think that "brighter" speakers can sound better at lower volumes than those with a flatter overall response. Thanks for the warning too, probably a part of me was and is a little worried about this. And tho the music and audio fans in me are reluctant to reduce volume, I think I am probably moving towards making a decision to be a bit more prudent. My tinnitus seems a little more frequent and prominent these days. :-( I wonder how much of your tinnitus is from playing live? I don't know how much you've done over the years.
  • Funny you mention that. On the odd occasion I play with the band these days they're all wearing ear plugs. Tho compared with them, what I might have lost in hearing, I've kept in hair. :-D
    I used to go clubbing and to gigs a lot from about age 17 to 30 (probably at least once a week). They were typically louder than any gigs I played in, so I would think they are too blame.
    Odd*, I hadn't considered either of those possibilities before.

    * Stupidly.
  • Yep. They could do it.

    What hearing damage I have (not tinnitus, thank god) comes from my days of photographing bands.
  • Amazingly my hearing is still very good indeed. Just a small gap in the FR of my left ear from slight scarring of the eardrum.
    After a huge amount of concerts in my younger days, a bit of playing drums in a band, being around loud motorcycles and liking my hifi playing loud I've done pretty well this far!

    The few muso friends I still occasionally have contact with ALL wear ear plugs now! I'm always very aware of volume levels when using earbuds (can't do IEMs), set it to nice and then just dial back a little, your ears soon adjust to the lower level.
  • edited May 17
    cj66 said:

    your ears soon adjust to the lower level.

    Thanks Chris.
    This always amazes me. A volume that one moment sounds pitifully quiet can sound more than adequate a few moments later.
    Also, a volume that seemed perfectly acceptable last night can sound stupidly and needlessly loud when the hifi is fired up at the same volume level the following morning.
    Changes to volume seem to be an important part in my perception of loudness. I think it's what catches me out every time I select the volume level at the beginning of the session. If I turn it down it sounds immediately "too quiet" compared to the previous relatively higher volume. And it only becomes "too loud" when the sound begins to distort or harden.
    I should try harder to exploit all this. Will resolve to monitor dB levels at the outset of the session and find the lowest level at which music sounds fine after a few minutes of consistent volume level.
  • edited May 17
    My thought are if you can't 120dB then you can't feel the pain digital makes. :D
  • edited May 18
    "Also, a volume that seemed perfectly acceptable last night can sound stupidly and needlessly loud when the hifi is fired up at the same volume level the following morning."

    Ah yes, recognise that :-D Similarly, when the song I have been dancing maniacally round the living room too suddenly finishes!
    Not sure if I am pleased or disappointed by my dbs results this a.m., I'm averaging mid - high 70s, which according to one comparative website makes me dreadfully average : "Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB). Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB)." 

    "it has much to do with how your replay system performs at varying volume levels"
    Yes this is the reason I changed my Castles for the JPWs in the end, as I found the Castles did need a fair bit of volume to get the best out of them. I have a tolerant neighbour, but also hyper-active conscientiousness that sometimes meant my paranoia over neighbourhood relations detracted from my focus on the music.

    Volume preference often a bone of contention I suspect. My ex-husband has less good hearing than me, but is highly sensitive to sound so instantly turns the volume down when he walks into the house. As a result of this sonic hygiene he doesnt suffer from tinnitus, and we live in separate houses with separate hifi systems! 
    :))
  • Docfoster said:
    your ears soon adjust to the lower level.
    Thanks Chris. This always amazes me. A volume that one moment sounds pitifully quiet can sound more than adequate a few moments later. Also, a volume that seemed perfectly acceptable last night can sound stupidly and needlessly loud when the hifi is fired up at the same volume level the following morning. Changes to volume seem to be an important part in my perception of loudness. I think it's what catches me out every time I select the volume level at the beginning of the session. If I turn it down it sounds immediately "too quiet" compared to the previous relatively higher volume. And it only becomes "too loud" when the sound begins to distort or harden. I should try harder to exploit all this. Will resolve to monitor dB levels at the outset of the session and find the lowest level at which music sounds fine after a few minutes of consistent volume level.
    Sometimes I find myself constantly fiddling with volume (this is where a remote comes in, Col ;-) ) and sometimes I let album after album go without touching my phone.
  • "Sometimes I find myself constantly fiddling with volume (this is where a remote comes in, Col  ) and sometimes I let album after album go without touching my phone." 

    The best remote is one you never use OFF ON and very Loud that all you need.

    Yes loud is bad, I went to a concert in Southend once and the Exit signs fell of the wall and knocked my beer over that was to loud. It was Tangerine Dream the thing was I hated the music but the girl I was with loved it, but she hated Green King Beer so it lasted a week maybe. Shame her cooking was magic just her tasted in Music and Beer was much to be desired. ( I was 18)



  • edited May 18
    Suzy6toes said:
    Not sure if I am pleased or disappointed by my dbs results this a.m., I'm averaging mid - high 70s, which according to one comparative website makes me dreadfully average : "Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB). Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB)." 

    I've been trying those levels this afternoon. Current average is 77.3.
    Entirely adequate as I work on the computer.
    Possibly I'm missing some of the slam of the bass drum. But, not entirely.
    This is at 50% volume. So I'll probably aim to make this my new normal.
    Also I feel less self-conscious about how it's effecting life elsewhere in the house. :-) (I notice that the ants in the under the stairs cupboard aren't wearing their ear-defenders at the moment.)
  • uglymusic said:
    Sometimes I find myself constantly fiddling with volume (this is where a remote comes in, Col ;-) ) and sometimes I let album after album go without touching my phone.
    Keep taking the Ritalin. :-D
  • edited May 18
    AntiCrap said:
    Yes loud is bad, I went to a concert in Southend once and the Exit signs fell of the wall and knocked my beer over that was to loud. It was Tangerine Dream the thing was I hated the music but the girl I was with loved it, but she hated Green King Beer so it lasted a week maybe. Shame her cooking was magic just her tasted in Music and Beer was much to be desired. ( I was 18)
    I'm wondering if the female population of SE England these days are feeling bereft, or liberated by your bad leg and dicky heart, Col...?  ;-)
  • BTW, thanks for everyone who's joined in here.
    I love that the thread is providing an insight into people's own hifi behaviours / habbits and "patterns of relating" to their hifi. I wasn't expecting that, and am enjoying the information about the process of listening to music through hifi in the home.

    (That said, more dB figures would be welcome. Thanks for yours Suzy!)
  • Hobbits listening to hi-fi? Nah. They like their music live!

    image
  • From Docfoster "I'm wondering if the female population of SE England these days are feeling bereft, or liberated by your bad leg and dicky heart, Col...?  ;-)"

    SAFE
  • Have managed to re-calibrate my listening to about 80dB.
    Thanks to those on the thread who pushed me on this. Better all round methinks.
  • Having been doing much more music listening via my smartphone of late (maybe in an attempt to drown out those pesky callers, don't they know my phone has better things to do!).
    I've found the rather coarse volume adjustments available via the buttons rather irritating...but wait...there's an app for that!
    Precise volume gives a 1% to 100% in 100 steps, much better.
    No more putting up with too quiet in order to avoid my ear drums meeting in the middle!
  • Nice one. :-)
    What's the app...?
  • Precise Volume
  • Looks like it's an Android app, as I can't see it on the iOS App Store.

    Is that right, Chris?
  • edited July 5
    Yes, sorry Dave, I neglected to mention that. Android app only. However, a quick search returned a few results for something similar in the world of "i".
    E.g. Volume Control +.
  • Thanks Chris. I'll have a dig.
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