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How loud do you listen to your stereo?

LTig

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I always wondered about how loud my system could play. I have a pair of K&H O300D (predecessor of Neumann KH310) supported by a Genelec 7060b subwoofer (10" woofer, 120W amp) in a 50 sqm living room / open kitchen with enough bookshelvs and furniture to offer a rather dry environment. Listening distance is 3.8 m. Room EQ is done in an AVP.

Recommendations by Neumann and Genelec for this room size and listening distance are much bigger speakers than these comparatively small 3-ways. When I bought the sub the Genelec support recommended the 7070 sub as the better match but said that if I wouldn't play too loud the 7060b should be sufficient.

The O300D is an active 3 way with 8" woofer (150 W amp) and 3" (65W amp) and 1" (65W amp) domes for mids and highs in a sealed housing, crossed over at 85 Hz. According to the manual the company logo (which is lit when power is on) shall flash if the speaker overloads. I've never seen it flashing though even when I played loud.

I took the chance that my wife was out to see how loud I could play before the speakers complained:
  • I started with Metallicas Black Album and realized that my ears were the limiting factor, not the system. I played some 10 to 15 dB above my normal SPL (according to the volume control) and the company logos did not flash. The sound was still clean but I couldn't stand to go higher.
  • Next test was Faithless Reverence track of the album with the same name. No flashing of the O300D but the sub gave way. Above +8 dB I could locate it because of too high harmonic distortion components when it played the deep loud bass notes. So Genelec support was right.
  • Joe Jacksons Heart of Ice (final track of the Body and Soul album from 1984, one of the best sounding pop albums ever done) starts very very quiet and culminates in a very loud (but short) ending. It sounded absolutely great at 15 dB above my usual SPL.
I haven't done any SPL measurements during these tests. Earlier I'd done a few measurements using my smartphone with a calibration based on a very old analog Brüel & Kjaer SPL meter, and back then my loudest music was around 80 to 85 dB (don't know how precise those numbers are). This would mean some 95 to 100 dB SPL in the tests shown above, with peaks at 110dB or more (if that is possible). Pretty scary for my ears.

How loud do you listen?
 

Doodski

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How loud do you listen?
When I was in my late teens and early 20s I would listen to it as loud as it would go. Think Pioneer HPM-150 and Cerwin Vega D9. I had a car system with about 750 watts in the mid 80's with 4-JBL speakers which was pretty powerful for the era. I would max the volume in the car as much as possible with classic and hard rock and the passengers loved it too. I can still hear up to ~16KHz doing self tests online and I'm curious to go get a proper formal hearing test done so I know where I stand. :D
 

NepinMn

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I've been listening at lower volumes lately. Average at 75 db ish. I enjoy listening loud, around 90db average, but don't want to accelerate my hearing loss. I use gelelec glm's microphone to measure.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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I'm an apartment dweller and I don't like bothering the neighbors. 75dbs is pretty much my standard volume. If I really want to crank it up a bit I grab the headphones.
 

Blumlein 88

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That depends. Right now listening to Godsmack. Pretty much want elevated volume for proper enjoyment of that music or the Fiver Finger Deathpunch I was listening to last hour.




OTOH, last night I mostly listened to female singers like Allison Krauss, Tanita Tikaram, etc.




This one I'm not sure how loud to play or even if I should.

 
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richard12511

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I always wondered about how loud my system could play. I have a pair of K&H O300D (predecessor of Neumann KH310) supported by a Genelec 7060b subwoofer (10" woofer, 120W amp) in a 50 sqm living room / open kitchen with enough bookshelvs and furniture to offer a rather dry environment. Listening distance is 3.8 m. Room EQ is done in an AVP.

Recommendations by Neumann and Genelec for this room size and listening distance are much bigger speakers than these comparatively small 3-ways. When I bought the sub the Genelec support recommended the 7070 sub as the better match but said that if I wouldn't play too loud the 7060b should be sufficient.

The O300D is an active 3 way with 8" woofer (150 W amp) and 3" (65W amp) and 1" (65W amp) domes for mids and highs in a sealed housing, crossed over at 85 Hz. According to the manual the company logo (which is lit when power is on) shall flash if the speaker overloads. I've never seen it flashing though even when I played loud.

I took the chance that my wife was out to see how loud I could play before the speakers complained:
  • I started with Metallicas Black Album and realized that my ears were the limiting factor, not the system. I played some 10 to 15 dB above my normal SPL (according to the volume control) and the company logos did not flash. The sound was still clean but I couldn't stand to go higher.
  • Next test was Faithless Reverence track of the album with the same name. No flashing of the O300D but the sub gave way. Above +8 dB I could locate it because of too high harmonic distortion components when it played the deep loud bass notes. So Genelec support was right.
  • Joe Jacksons Heart of Ice (final track of the Body and Soul album from 1984, one of the best sounding pop albums ever done) starts very very quiet and culminates in a very loud (but short) ending. It sounded absolutely great at 15 dB above my usual SPL.
I haven't done any SPL measurements during these tests. Earlier I'd done a few measurements using my smartphone with a calibration based on a very old analog Brüel & Kjaer SPL meter, and back then my loudest music was around 80 to 85 dB (don't know how precise those numbers are). This would mean some 95 to 100 dB SPL in the tests shown above, with peaks at 110dB or more (if that is possible). Pretty scary for my ears.

How loud do you listen?
The sub is definitely your weak link. I was using dual 7370s for a bit with the 8351s, and they still tapped out before the monitors. I’m guessing your 301s actually have quite a bit more in them.
 

Trdat

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I haven't done any SPL measurements during these tests. Earlier I'd done a few measurements using my smartphone with a calibration based on a very old analog Brüel & Kjaer SPL meter, and back then my loudest music was around 80 to 85 dB (don't know how precise those numbers are). This would mean some 95 to 100 dB SPL in the tests shown above, with peaks at 110dB or more (if that is possible). Pretty scary for my ears.

How loud do you listen?
I have horn/CD speakers with 15 inch woofers that have a closed roll off plus 4 subs, the system can easily reach about 105db C weighted with peaks to above 110/115db if not higher but I would crank it like this for about 20 sec max just to feel the bass crank. RT60 times are all between 200 and 500 ms with group delay under 50 ms at listening position(I'm hazaridng a guess this is okay) so I would say bass is punchy and tight minus a few room modes that I can't get rid of yet. Most of the time I would play well below 75 db when the music is playing in background while working but on occasions I can have the volume around 85/90db for about an hour or so 2 times a week.
 

2ndHarm

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I sit about 12' away from my Infinity QLS-1 speakers and a Mackie HRS120 sub. I power the main speakers with a 330w/channel (8 ohms) Bryston amp while the Mackie has a 400 watt built-in amp.
I only push them when everyone else is out of the living room (15 X 30 feet) or I have friends over who say crank it up - and measured sustained SPLs of 85 dB. If I went higher than that I found my hands covering my ears. I really enjoy the power on movie soundtracks where I can easily recreate the sound of thunder/explosions, etc. The sub shakes the house - it's wonderful.
My test track is "Inside the Case" from "Fantastic Beasts" Disk 1.
 

Pdxwayne

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Just listened to one electronica song and checked using RadioShack analog meter. C weighed, the dB range is mostly between 84 to 93db at my sitting position.
 

2ndHarm

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Just listened to one electronica song and checked using RadioShack analog meter. C weighed, the dB range is mostly between 84 to 93db at my sitting position.
Wow that's loud. I couldn't listen to heavy metal or similar music at those levels - anytime the soloist is screaming and the drummer bashes the cymbals all the way through the song. Guess I'm just old fashioned LOL.
 

antennaguru

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My main system is the only one I really turn up loud. It plays about as loud as the Pat Metheny concert I went to tonite.

My main system has 95 dB efficient main stereo speakers of my design driven by a large Class AB amp, the Infinity IRS Beta subwoofer system with two 6 foot tall towers each containing 4 twelve inch carbon woofers and an accelerometer on one woofer in each tower for the central servo controller driving Class D amps, plus one more push-pull self-powered subwoofer next to and slightly behind my listening position to correct a room node. The background noise level in my dedicated audio room is 22 dBA and a lot of the music I play is in the 80 dBA range with some peaks reaching a bit over 100 dBA, like tonite at the live concert - although my background noise level is much lower in my dedicated room than at a concert. Because it's so quiet (22 dBA is really quiet) I often experience over 80 dB dynamic range from good recordings.
 

Holmz

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There is a NIOSH SLM app for free I put on my iPad.

85 dB(A) is not uncommon for me with peaks up around 100 for pretty loud listening.

Usually I have it about 65-75 dB(A) with peaks 10-15 dB above the average.

That app will also tell one when to stop.
 

NepinMn

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My main system is the only one I really turn up loud. It plays about as loud as the Pat Metheny concert I went to tonite.

My main system has 95 dB efficient main stereo speakers of my design driven by a large Class AB amp, the Infinity IRS Beta subwoofer system with two 6 foot tall towers each containing 4 twelve inch carbon woofers and an accelerometer on one woofer in each tower for the central servo controller driving Class D amps, plus one more push-pull self-powered subwoofer next to and slightly behind my listening position to correct a room node. The background noise level in my dedicated audio room is 22 dBA and a lot of the music I play is in the 80 dBA range with some peaks reaching a bit over 100 dBA, like tonite at the live concert - although my background noise level is much lower in my dedicated room than at a concert. Because it's so quiet (22 dBA is really quiet) I often experience over 80 dB dynamic range from good recordings.
22 db sounds very very quiet. Basement with lots of treatment?
 

antennaguru

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He does some very cool stuff with electric guitars.
The show tonite was so good. He just started the second part of a tour with a couple of great young musicians playing with him, one on all sorts of keyboards and the other a fantastic drummer, playing great music. So much talent - highly recommended to catch this tour!
 

Doodski

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The show tonite was so good. He just started the second part of a tour with a couple of great young musicians playing with him, one on all sorts of keyboards and the other a fantastic drummer, playing great music. So much talent - highly recommended to catch this tour!
He's desirable to jam with/attracts some pretty good musicians to play with. I like this one with all top shelf musicians.
 

antennaguru

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22 db sounds very very quiet. Basement with lots of treatment?
Main floor, big room with doors to seal it and not much purpose built treatment, but yes on a very thick rug and heavy drapes over the windows as well as soft wall hangings. House is in the country, very quiet and very dark sky - usually see the Milky Way.
 

MediumRare

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He's desirable to jam with/attracts some pretty good musicians to play with. I like this one with all top shelf musicians.
Normal listening is at 2 watts, maybe 80 dB. Loud would be 20 watts sustained, prolly around 86 dB.

That was really excellent - I played it at 90 dB avg, peaks about 97 dB, according to a phone app. Seemed like a good concert level. During Pat's soloing, amp was halfway between 20 and 200 watts sustained, with needle dancing a bit past 200 on peaks.

BTW, I saw Herbie Hancock at the Chicago Jazz Festival summer of 1981 - he brought along a kid he introduced to the crowd: Wynton Marsalis, one year older than me, he was 19. Saw Pat Metheny too, I think at Ravinia. Outstanding.
 

2ndHarm

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My main system is the only one I really turn up loud. It plays about as loud as the Pat Metheny concert I went to tonite.

My main system has 95 dB efficient main stereo speakers of my design driven by a large Class AB amp, the Infinity IRS Beta subwoofer system with two 6 foot tall towers each containing 4 twelve inch carbon woofers and an accelerometer on one woofer in each tower for the central servo controller driving Class D amps, plus one more push-pull self-powered subwoofer next to and slightly behind my listening position to correct a room node. The background noise level in my dedicated audio room is 22 dBA and a lot of the music I play is in the 80 dBA range with some peaks reaching a bit over 100 dBA, like tonite at the live concert - although my background noise level is much lower in my dedicated room than at a concert. Because it's so quiet (22 dBA is really quiet) I often experience over 80 dB dynamic range from good recordings.
That sounds like a fantastic setup! Wish my living room had space for those speakers.
 
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