How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

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ammarmariti
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How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by ammarmariti » 16 Oct 2017 07:52

I consider myself a beginner, I got my first turntable 4 years ago and had began collecting my stereo component until today. Being a beginner I don't have much friends who came over for a little chill and some audition, as well as going to their places. Before stereos I dabbled with headphones because they were adequate at the time.

My first 'real' eye opener stereo setup was in a hifi store. It was playing a blues or jazz record with a female singer. (Can't remember how many times I've parroted this story because its just that much exciting for me) The moment I stepped into the store, the setup mesmerized me because it sounded real and ethereal. The singer as far as I was concerned, was transported there into the space between the speakers. It was surreal how real it was. And the store had set the volume to a regular human singing voice that added that much to the realism of the whole thing. From that moment on I was like a heroin addict trying to chase that same high.

And I don't blast my music at all. I never do. It's just, to me, not something that brings enjoyment to me. I can't imagine the singer singing that loud in person. Any illusion of their presence in the listening room collapses. The loud volume will be a constant reminder that you're listening to a stereo representation. So I just never blast my volume.

These past few months there had been about 2-3 sessions where I had friends coming over to test my setup. I've just completed a power amplifier build and wanted to get some opinions on how it sounds.
The first time someone came over I thought my friend just likes to play it loud. And maybe he was looking for cues in the music - for distortions or how much power the setup is outputting, the speakers' capability, that sort of thing. I didn't think too much of it. But then I put something on to show him and lowered the volume to sensible levels, he asked me if that was my normal listening volume.

So understandably that puzzled me a bit. I said yes, it is sensible, the volume is convincing as compared to a personal live performance in front of you, and it doesn't disturb the neighbors. Then he looked just as puzzled as me. Dios mío..

And then later there was an AV show nearby and I went there. They gave a free complementary CD and some coupons so that was nice.
I find all of the exhibits were blasting their volumes as well. It wasn't very entertaining to me, it sounded like the speakers were trying very hard and the treble on most of them sounded brittle and shrill/grating.
That's probably another one of my biggest gripe when you blast your speakers. Your ears are especially sensitive to higher frequencies compared to the lower ones. So when you blast your speakers the first thing that goes is the treble. The high hats and cymbals and guitars will sound like angle grinders competing with each other. The poor vocalist won't stand a chance competing against them. Poor ol' bass player is just going to sulk over there in the corner since the lower registers are mushed with the rest of the spectrum into a coagulated mess.

Most recently last Saturday I visited another friend to listen to his setup. A shop had sent him some ATC speakers with an all in one ATC amp+DAC+CD player+preamp to test out. The whole thing costs probably about RM20,000 (US$5,000).
First thing he did was turn the speakers up. It was pretty shrill and I did not enjoy it at all.
I tested out some reference tracks at (my) sensible levels and they honestly sound pretty good. Except my friend insisted that a setup at this caliber needs to be turned up to hear all of it. By "all of it" I assume it means what the setup is capable of.

Later in a group discussion over the phone he mentioned that, it turns out I'm the first person he's ever met that doesn't turn up the volume on their setup, which I honestly find a bit odd.

I don't have an SPL meter and I don't trust my phone mic to show a correct measurement so I don't know at what SPL do I listen to my stereo. The best description I can give is "at sensible levels where its logical for the vocalist to sing at that volume in real life".

So how loud do you play your music?

vinyl master
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by vinyl master » 16 Oct 2017 10:52

Remember, too, that a lot of this is speaker-dependent...You don't want to blow anything prematurely...When you keep things at normal listening levels, you are actually protecting your equipment, so it doesn't have to work so hard! Of course, I listen to a lot of jazz, pop and soul...Even classical on occasion where there is no need to turn things up drastically...Metal fans may disagree, and there is something to be said for turning the volume up a little on some songs...As long as you don't wake the neighbors! :lol:

cafe latte
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by cafe latte » 16 Oct 2017 10:57

Loud sounding can be very speaker dependant. For example I listen louder now with my home cooked ATC scm 100's as loud sounds easy and free but before loud sounded forced.
Listening live it is hardly ever without amplification so concerts are often very loud.
I live on over 600 acres so next door and my music are not a problem :D
Chris

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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by davidsss » 16 Oct 2017 11:07

Depends on the music but I do like it loud sometimes. Beethoven, Stones, The Who, Deep Purple, some of this begs to be played loud. Loud should still sound good, otherwise your system is not suited to the volume, or possibly you are overloading the room. Loudness is a matter of taste but I've had it over 100db. You can get sound level meters on a smart phone, that's what I have used, probably not particularly accurate but gives a guide.

DS

ammarmariti
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by ammarmariti » 16 Oct 2017 13:49

It's true, a lot of valid points are being made. Sometimes when I put on the occasional Slipknot or Korn I'll turn it up a bit louder than usual. Classical also begets louder volumes that invites a sense of larger than life presentation, much like being inside a concert hall. But most of my music are slow and soothing, or ballads like Adele, Norah Jones, a bit of Diana Krall, Gregory Porter. So I don't put them up too loud because even if all the frequencies are intact the volume doesn't bring enjoyment to me.

Alec124c41
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by Alec124c41 » 16 Oct 2017 15:00

Most of my listening is at very modest levels. I will turn it up to a more realistic level, if what is playing particularly catches my attention. This means voices sound like voices, instruments sound like instruments, and the magic is there.
However, I have been to concerts with Pink Floyd (DSOTM), Iron Butterfly (Inna Gadda Da Vida), and Kodo Drummers. I have tried to reproduce the sound levels I experienced, but have to dial it back a bit. My ears do not appreciate that much SPL. (And neither do my neighbours!)

Cheers,
Alec

analogaudio
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by analogaudio » 16 Oct 2017 18:59

It varies with the type of music. Jimi Hendrix Red House cannot be played too loud :-) On the other hand there is music I like quiet.

To a large extent the maximum loudness a system can produce and be pleasant depends on how it distorts when "pushed". A system that can reproduce clean peaks of 110dB SPL may be a pleasure to hear. One that runs into heavy distortion at 90dB SPL will be unpleasant to hear. It is loud and clean that is expensive to achieve, loud and distorted is cheap.

Slavikcc
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by Slavikcc » 16 Oct 2017 19:01

Generally, I do not blast my music since I listen to headphones or else I will become deaf. :P

Usually, I put my volume at 2-3 out of 10 on my Nakamichi receiver and 15-18 out of 100 from my PC.

RockerFrank
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by RockerFrank » 20 Oct 2017 09:09

Not loud at all, just loud enough to hear all the instruments and the details.

I also don't like the loud volume at concerts. What's the point in having to plug your ears for a night of music?

rewfew
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by rewfew » 20 Oct 2017 17:09

When your young it's fairly natural to do most things in excess. Loud music is just one of the rites of passage. I zealously did so as with many other happy indulgences. Nowadays though I don't have to pin my ears back emulating the famous Maxell blown away advertisement. I have the capability for sure with 98 db sensitive speakers but enjoy now a good bloom filling the room with satisfying sound.

Roberto C2H3
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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by Roberto C2H3 » 20 Oct 2017 20:06

As a general rule, not loud at all. Let us say, within the spectrum that my variable loudness knob is required to be put into play.

How ever, there are occasions when loud is welcome. In those instances, +1 on what Ted wrote above: Loud without distortion is a pleasure. Loud with distortion added by the set up is a pain in my ears within seconds of being exposed to it #-o

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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by MonkeyBoy » 25 Oct 2017 03:13

I never blast it anymore, but I do play enough to squeeze out some more detail and nuance sometimes. It depends on how much I like the music and what it is. I always keep it at a level that won't tick off the neighbors.

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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by tobyKenobi » 25 Oct 2017 08:50

Too loud - according to my wife!

Someone once told me that the cheapest way to upgrade your hi-fi was to play your favourite record again slightly louder and close your eyes.

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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by JDJX » 27 Dec 2017 22:18

How loud? T
That is a lot like asking, how fast do you drive you car?

There are many variables.... like..... the acoustical environment that the speakers are in, and the fact that human ear is mare sensitive to certain frequencies .
Either can change the perception of a given frequency balance as the volume is increased.

Also there are just some types of music that just sound best played loud and some not so loud.

I just tun it up so it sounds correct to me, no matter what I play.
It's really that simple . :)

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Re: How Loud Do YOU Play Your Music?

Post by Budddhacide » 30 Dec 2017 03:45

Can't play too loud, as I have paper thin wood walls and close neighbors. I'd rather have detail.

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