Loudness Table

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edwinr

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Loudness Table

dbSPL Example

0 Threshold of hearing

10 Normal breathing

20 Whisper at 2.5 yards

30 Soft whisper

40 Quiet residential area

50 Rainfall

60 Normal conversation

70 Highway traffic

85 Noisy restaurant

90 Shouted conversation

100 School dance

110 Disco

110 Shouting in ear

112 MP3 player (highest volume)

115 Rock concert

120 Car sound system

130 Car race

150 Firecracker (1 yard)

157 Balloon pop (1 foot)



Note: This subjective measure is easier for me to work out how loud I actually listen to music at home. So based on this table I listen mostly around 85 to 90dbSPL.
 

amey01

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In this case, most of my listening would be in the 75-80dB area, peaking at maybe 100dB when things get really serious!
 

edwinr

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According to Australian OH&S guidelines, noise levels exceeding 105dBA can damage hearing if the listener is exposed for more than 15 minutes. At 110dBA maximum safe exposure is only 90 seconds. But even at a relatively sane 85dBA (noisy restaurant levels), maximum safe exposure is only 8 hours before permanent hearing damage can occur. Scary stuff!

It should be pointed out that these spl levels relate to 'average' noise levels, not peaks.
 

Steve

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I have a question for this group (kinda work related)...by this scale, what do people feel is the maximum acceptable noise level from equipment in your listening room?
 

Gordon Gray

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Radio Shack meter

If any of you don't have an SPL meter, you really should buy one just to verify how loud you are listening. The RS meter has a table that lists DB levels and the amount of time it is OK to listen at that level before you could cause hearing damage.

GG
 

amey01

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Steve said:
I have a question for this group (kinda work related)...by this scale, what do people feel is the maximum acceptable noise level from equipment in your listening room?
From the listening chair, ZERO! - I am lucky enough to have a very quiet room (when the 'frig is not running anyway) and the last thing I would want is noise from what should be the quietest components in the house. Of course, the components make a small amount of noise, and a small amount of hum can be heard with my ears pressed against the speakers, however from the listening chair it is nothing!
 

edwinr

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I've got a digital Shack SPL meter. Just for fun I played Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five' with the SPL meter on at levels I thought was reasonably loud. I was really surprised... I measured PEAKS of around 105 to 110 dBA! I can't believe that. :eek:
 

roberto

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edwinr said:
I've got a digital Shack SPL meter. Just for fun I played Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five' with the SPL meter on at levels I thought was reasonably loud. I was really surprised... I measured PEAKS of around 105 to 110 dBA! I can't believe that. :eek:
Hola edwinr. Your measurement is telling you that you are playing Dave Brubeck too loud with all respect. Once, at our National Theater, with my Peavy SPL meter, I did measure our symphonic orchestra playing some works, and I do recall that at the most strong passages, at a distance of 20 feet away of the stage, the reading was 93 dBs (scale A weighted)...about 84 musicians playing there at that time. Also, in the same room, you can listen a classical guitar unplugged, in other words, without any electronic or artificial way for more level...it was not needed. We listen in our own systems too loud many times, and this is why you only listen 30 to 40 minutes only. If you teach yourself to bring down the level at a such point of around 80 dBs, picks at 85dB to 90 dBs, then you will be listening for hours without any ear fatigue...and ML is one of the few speakers that allow you to have the stage and the right size of the instruments, with an astonishing transparency, at low level. The details, the inner nuaces of the musician(s) with their musical instruments are breath taking. Even Dave Brubeck playing take five, (a Paul Desmond composition) you can bring the level down and still listen all the details that are there in that fine recording. Also, IMHO, low level will present better the right size of the instruments than louder. There are few room bad resonances with low level...try to teach yourself to play your system at low level...We have in our own brain and ears, an AGC control (automatic gain control). It last about five minuts to adjust it self to the level that are at the stage. I went to a heavy rock concert at the CEDIA, and I only could stand there to the fourth song...I thought that my ears were going to explote, and still have some tinitus at my right ear. Due to our high quality power amps, and the power that we are getting from them, allow us to play at high levels where we could damage our ears...we have to be aware of this!!! perhaps at the begining we could stand high level, but with the time, we could start to loose our hearing. My advice is try to get at your listening room the sound presure level that a guitar or a piano will get there without any artificial way to amplify its own natural sound. With low level too, is easy to correct and to put your system to sing better...try it, you might like it!...please forgive my dare to say this...we have the right to play our music the way that we like most...happy listening,
Roberto.
 

Statman

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Roberto,

That AGC that you mentioned. It's called getting old! :D I find myself starting to say it's "too loud". Speaking of loud. Imagine being 17 years old in the Army and in the armor division. They take you out to the field and roll the Tank around have you put in your ear protection while sitting on the bench about 100 feet from this Tank and they fire a round off. There was a poster with a picture of the Tank in the dorms always said warning wear ear protection 180db when firing! :eek: To this day, I have never heard a louder sound in my life! The ultimate SPL for me.
 

edwinr

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Thanks, Roberto. I don't normally listen that loud, but I was very interesting to see the SPL meter peaking at such high levels. I think the average level was around 85db to 90db at the time. But it is a dire warning to all of us to be very aware at what levels we listen to music.

The comment you make about room resonances is very accurate. As soon as I turn my Summits up to a level I would call quite loud, the soundstage and fine detail start to drop away. Also the low frequencies become muddy and lack punch. This is not the Summits overloading - it's the room. Also, I'm becoming to understand that there is a vast difference between listening at just plain loud average levels verses listening to music at more comfortable levels but maintaining a huge dynamic range.

Statman... Was that 180db? OMG! That is LOUD... I can't beleive anyone would have any hearing left after that.
 

Gordon Gray

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What happens, beside potential hearing damage, if you listen at excessive levels

After having listened to ML's for some 20 years, here's my experience and a good indicator that you are listening at excessive SPL levels. The front to back imaging will collapse and the soundstage will become two dimensional.
edwinr said:
Thanks, Roberto. I don't normally listen that loud, but I was very interesting to see the SPL meter peaking at such high levels. I think the average level was around 85db to 90db at the time. But it is a dire warning to all of us to be very aware at what levels we listen to music.

The comment you make about room resonances is very accurate. As soon as I turn my Summits up to a level I would call quite loud, the soundstage and fine detail start to drop away. Also the low frequencies become muddy and lack punch. This is not the Summits overloading - it's the room. Also, I'm becoming to understand that there is a vast difference between listening at just plain loud average levels verses listening to music at more comfortable levels but maintaining a huge dynamic range.

Statman... Was that 180db? OMG! That is LOUD... I can't beleive anyone would have any hearing left after that.
 
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