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Help with Volume Measurements

ParadisDruid

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Hi, 1st thread here, thanks for having me. Not sure if there are the right tags, feel free to correct me/them.

I got myself a decent enough multimeter and decided to test how loud I should listen to music. After much reading, I proceeded as follows:

1. Using REW I saved to file a 0 dBFS, 1KHz sine wave file.

2. Plugged the Sensitivity and Impedance values of my headphones (Samson SR850, Truthear X Crinacle Zero: Red, 7Hz Salnotes Zero) into this calculator to convert the required voltage for 94 dB to 85 dB.

3. Using the Multimeter, I measured the voltage coming out of my headphone amp (a humble Apple USB-C dongle, US model) while playing this file through Foobar2k (Replay Gain +- 0dB for non-tagged files), through a male-to-male TRS cable, and set Windows volume closest below the given 85 dB voltage requirement for each set.

4. Finally, for the sake of convenience given that I use Peace, I matched the voltage with the preamp slider and saved these settings as profiles (For example, while using the SR850s, Windows volume 30 + -12 dB Preamp = 38 mV as measured whiel playing the 1KHz Sine.)

Is this the correct approach to measure/limit to a reasonable degree my listening levels? What could be done differently/more efficiently? Is there any glaring mistake/ommision in this measuring method?

Also, I've noticed that giving higher values to Windows Volume while reducing the preamp further shows in Peace as if giving more headroom before signal clipping. Is this true?

Sorry if the OP is kinda confusing/convoluted to read, I'm not a native speaker.

Thanks in advance.
 

Audiofire

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Is this the correct approach to measure/limit to a reasonable degree my listening levels? What could be done differently/more efficiently? Is there any glaring mistake/ommision in this measuring method?
Listening level is rather subjective and done by listening to what feels nice. Compare the volume of normal speaking voice for example as the reference for hearing. If people already have bad hearing, they can handle higher volume level.

Also, I've noticed that giving higher values to Windows Volume while reducing the preamp further shows in Peace as if giving more headroom before signal clipping. Is this true?
Quite possible.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Hi, 1st thread here, thanks for having me. Not sure if there are the right tags, feel free to correct me/them.

I got myself a decent enough multimeter and decided to test how loud I should listen to music. After much reading, I proceeded as follows:

1. Using REW I saved to file a 0 dBFS, 1KHz sine wave file.

2. Plugged the Sensitivity and Impedance values of my headphones (Samson SR850, Truthear X Crinacle Zero: Red, 7Hz Salnotes Zero) into this calculator to convert the required voltage for 94 dB to 85 dB.

3. Using the Multimeter, I measured the voltage coming out of my headphone amp (a humble Apple USB-C dongle, US model) while playing this file through Foobar2k (Replay Gain +- 0dB for non-tagged files), through a male-to-male TRS cable, and set Windows volume closest below the given 85 dB voltage requirement for each set.

4. Finally, for the sake of convenience given that I use Peace, I matched the voltage with the preamp slider and saved these settings as profiles (For example, while using the SR850s, Windows volume 30 + -12 dB Preamp = 38 mV as measured whiel playing the 1KHz Sine.)

Is this the correct approach to measure/limit to a reasonable degree my listening levels? What could be done differently/more efficiently? Is there any glaring mistake/ommision in this measuring method?

Also, I've noticed that giving higher values to Windows Volume while reducing the preamp further shows in Peace as if giving more headroom before signal clipping. Is this true?

Sorry if the OP is kinda confusing/convoluted to read, I'm not a native speaker.

Thanks in advance.
Some things which popped to mind.

1kHz is not representative for listening levels. Use Pink noise for example.

Most (cheap) multimeters can only measure to around 50/60Hz correctly. So check yours.

0dBFS might (or might not) lead to “digital clipping”. Use -3dBFS just to be safe.

… there might be more.

Have fun experimenting.
 
OP
ParadisDruid

ParadisDruid

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Jan 4, 2024
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Some things which popped to mind.

1kHz is not representative for listening levels. Use Pink noise for example.

Most (cheap) multimeters can only measure to around 50/60Hz correctly. So check yours.

0dBFS might (or might not) lead to “digital clipping”. Use -3dBFS just to be safe.

… there might be more.

Have fun experimenting.
Thanks for your response.

Just tested, and my meter tests evenly up to ~1KHz, after which the voltage reading start to drop (about 5% at 2.1KHz, no readings past ~9.2 KHz)

Would it still be useful to test pink noise under these conditions?
REW gives me an option between random (0 dBFS = +8.99 dBFS peak) and periodic (0 dBFS = +2.15 dBFS peak) Pink Noise, which would be useful in this case?
 

DVDdoug

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Our ears are most-sensitive at around 1-2kHz and continuous tones sound louder than music with the same peaks.

You'll need some headroom over the average/measured pink noise and it depends on how dynamic your program material is.

If you boost with digital EQ, you generally need to bring down the overall level with a "preamp" setting for attenuation to prevent clipping. (I'm not familiar with how to do that with Peace.)

REW gives me an option between random (0 dBFS = +8.99 dBFS peak) and periodic (0 dBFS = +2.15 dBFS peak)
I don't know what that means, but DACs are integer-based and they can't go over 0dBFS.

How Loud is Loud?

K-System Monitoring is supposed to be a guide for mixing & mastering engineers but it's got some good information about preferred listening levels (SPL) and headroom.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Thanks for your response.

Just tested, and my meter tests evenly up to ~1KHz, after which the voltage reading start to drop (about 5% at 2.1KHz, no readings past ~9.2 KHz)

Would it still be useful to test pink noise under these conditions?
REW gives me an option between random (0 dBFS = +8.99 dBFS peak) and periodic (0 dBFS = +2.15 dBFS peak) Pink Noise, which would be useful in this case?
@DVDdoug already answered.

And yes see if you get pink noise with peaks below 0dBfS. I am sure there must be an option, but I am on my phone and can’t look.
 
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