• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Music: how loud is loud? (video)

tomtrp

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
55
Likes
32
Out of curiosity last night, I checked my SPL levels playing my upright piano while singing. The slow time average SPL was around 90dB, with peaks up around 112dB. This is all acoustic and a very reasonable level for a musician. I do this for about an hour, 3-4 days a week, and am not deaf. I routinely check my hearing and can still hear reliably up to 16kHz.
Where did you put your decibel meter?
 

Spkrdctr

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
548
Likes
575
I forgot to add in my last post. These Govt sound limits have already been looked at and found to be too high. This is the Govt. It takes an act of Congress to get things changed. The military has 50 years of testing and each test always has the same results. People are getting hearing damage from supposedly safe limits and NOT after a lifetime level. 10 year periods or even less show up as giving hearing damage. Now, the military does not push this as a big problem at all as they have no real answer for it. Like Amir recommended. Protect your hearing and don't listen to LOUD music. listen to it a normal levels and then as he stated if a song comes up you can turn it up some. I would NOT do this with headphones. Headphones are dangerous in my book. But in my personal example I listen at roughly 70db music and if going loud I crank it up to 80/85 with speakers. I'm just throwing this out there.to think about.

The same issues were prevalent with the Govt in setting radiation standards. It seems like it took a 40 year period or longer of revising standards downward that they finally got radiation problems under control. If you used the recommended limits for the prior 40 year period, you were screwed. When the Govt says they are here to help, watch your wallet and your daughter. They will gladly take both! :)
 

Andysu

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
527
Likes
286
Audioholics had a great video with Matt, who's an exceptional communicator on this stuff (
). He took a trip to the Dolby cinema with a calibrated SPL meter and reports no issue as far as averages go (82dbA average for Frozen). But he does mention that it's a kids movie and the amount of speakers a Dolby Atmos theater has is really throwing off calibrations.
Oh look same speaker I used to test candle blow out.
JBL candle blow out via the PAL Laserdisc in actual real DOLBY STEREO MP 4.2.4 matrix via the Lucasfilm Ltd THX Sound System, cinema JBL 4645 18".
 

Andysu

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
527
Likes
286
THIS! I guess they're replacing 25Hz bass with butt shaking as it doesn't move between walls
Clearly you've never been to the CIC UCI High Wycombe #1 THX, You ain't felt THX bass sub bass. You missed that boat. I have.
Voted 8th best THX cinema on the planet
94688627_10158117092345149_7131034918531891200_n.jpg
 

Aperiodic

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2019
Messages
151
Likes
180
Amir, you are a very knowledgeable guy when it comes to audio equipment. My two most recent headphone system purchases were based largely on information gleaned from this site. AFAIK you are not an expert on hearing health, however, so telling people essentially "Listen as loud as you want, you won't have any problems" may not be health-promoting advice.

I'm not an expert on hearing health either, but I do have contact information of someone who is- the audiologist who did my impressions for the custom ear tips I had made some years back (Not worth the $ in my experience but that's another story). We had an interesting conversation while she was squirting alginate in my ears. She has lectured on the topic in relation to music and might be willing to do an interview for readers here. If you email me I'll give you her contact info.

In particular I'd like to hear her response on the Fletcher-Munson thing. Seems like the fact that the ear is less efficient at converting low frequency sound into 'audible' sound (an effect that has an inverse relation to increasing SPL. which is why it got called the 'Loudness' control) does not necessarily mean it is safe to be exposed to that. Also it is incorrect that there is 'no' sound level that can cause instantaneous hearing damage, although thankfully most if not all home audio systems are incapable of getting there without self-destructing first.
 

Spkrdctr

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
548
Likes
575
I did not take away from Amir's video that he said "listen to music as loud as you want". He said listen at normal levels and when a good song comes up, then you can turn it up within reason. 85db is getting loud UNLESS you have hearing damage already and then yes, it may take a very loud 90db average to hear it as loud as a normal persons 85. I think he would say to err on the side of caution just to be safe. Those sound levels that are the defacto "standard" are a little too loud but hey, who would want to push it to the limit? Moderation in all things is the watch word! :)
 

Dave Tremblay

Member
Manufacturer
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
65
Likes
334
Location
Boulder, CO
Another data point from acoustic music. Playing my acoustic guitar with a meter about 1m from the sound hole. Finger picking was relatively quiet at upper 70's low 80's for slow response. Switching to a moderately aggressive strumming moved slow response SPL to 88dB, with peaks up to 108dB. The major caveat here is that acoustic instruments are very dynamic, no compression, etc. If I play a typical mastered audio track at these levels, it is very loud, almost painfully loud. The point being that SPL levels are one data point. The dynamics of the content are key.

The way that typical compressors work in the recording environment is that they squash the transient peaks, allowing the engineer to bring up the levels of that track in the recording. You can think of it as taking the quieter parts of the recording and turning them up. Squashing out 6-10dB of dynamics would be pretty common. Purists might want to argue that recordings shouldn't do this, but I would argue it is necessary, especially for anything that is close mic'd. Think about the changes in volume as a singer moves just an inch or 2 with a vocal mic. The volume of the recording could change 6+ dB just with minor changes in position.
 

ernest16A

New Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
3
Likes
0
Sometimes I simply wonder how effective can be applications for smartphones, which claim they have all the needed sound and noise measurement options to get the detailed information about it for user.
 

Xenio

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
52
Likes
6
Hi,

I have a serious question, when listening to your voice in this video it litteraly HURT my ears with my (not good I know) schiit bifrost + magni + HD 600

It does this in some videos, especially when the sound quality isn't that great (like it is in this video, sorry). I HAVE to lower the sound A LOT to be able to just bear it. Even though normal listening volume usually doesn't cause me any "lack of comfort close to pain".

What could possibly cause that ? I'm asking because it's kinda the topic of this video and you guys are knowledgeable.
I know my setup isn't that great (bought the schiit stuff yeaaaars ago when I didn't know about this place) but I honestly don't believe it is the reason.

I have some really sensitive ears, not in terms of "capabilities", I don't claim to "hear better" ofc !!, but sound just ... idk... "hurts" (litteraly) faster.
I can't sleep with the window open for example, when I'll wake up my ears will hurt for the first hour/a few hours even though there wasn't that much noise outside.

One thing to note is that I have a genetical condition that basically makes my body use collagen "badly", it may play a role in this.

I just want to know how it works, when, how and why sound becomes pain.

I didn't look at the video untill the end, it's really uncomfortable. So sorry if it's said in it :/
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
10,127
Likes
22,304
Location
The Neverlands
My first guess would be some volume control is set incorrectly (way too high) and the sound clips.

For the 'hurting' part may I suggest to have this checked somewhere medical ? Pain points towards something serious in general.
 

Bear123

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
771
Likes
1,290
When I clap my hands to make a normal loudness clap, I easily record 115 dB peak on my Apple phone using the NIOSH sound level meter app. I can get quite a bit higher when I purposefully try to clap very loud.
 

Xenio

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
52
Likes
6
It's not really pain, just discomfort, well I don't know what's pain anymore since I'm hurting everywhere every freaking minute of my life because of the aforementioned condition so idk

Right know I'm listening to some music, with a higher volume than when I was listening to the video and I don't feel this.

How can I check if it's what you said i.e. clipping ? I have the magni in low gain mode (since the high gain mode doesn't work since it's schiit lmao), and at around 50% with windows at max.
 

Beershaun

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
1,194
Likes
1,164
It's not really pain, just discomfort, well I don't know what's pain anymore since I'm hurting everywhere every freaking minute of my life because of the aforementioned condition so idk

Right know I'm listening to some music, with a higher volume than when I was listening to the video and I don't feel this.

How can I check if it's what you said i.e. clipping ? I have the magni in low gain mode (since the high gain mode doesn't work since it's schiit lmao), and at around 50% with windows at max.
If you are experiencing discomfort listening to a person speak in a video I suggest you go to your doctor and get a full hearing test so they can pinpoint where you are sensitive and why to diagnose the problem and help you treat it.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
10,127
Likes
22,304
Location
The Neverlands
It's not really pain, just discomfort, well I don't know what's pain anymore since I'm hurting everywhere every freaking minute of my life because of the aforementioned condition so idk

Right know I'm listening to some music, with a higher volume than when I was listening to the video and I don't feel this.

How can I check if it's what you said i.e. clipping ? I have the magni in low gain mode (since the high gain mode doesn't work since it's schiit lmao), and at around 50% with windows at max.

What is the source you are using ?
Set the volume control of that source (for instance VLC player) much lower and turn up the volume on the Magni.
Set windows volume at 70% or so.
 

Spkrdctr

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
548
Likes
575
I agree with going to have your ears looked at by a competent doctor. You are having pain when you should not be having pain. At least they can tell you if it is from your other health condition.
 

Bear123

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 27, 2019
Messages
771
Likes
1,290
Top Bottom