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What does the decibel rating for the volume level display of most pre-amps represent?

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J Lustig

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Somewhere along the way, I missed the answer to this question. I am hoping someone can give me the answer to this seemingly remedial question.

What does the decibel rating for the volume level display of most pre-amps represent? The reason I ask this is because there doesn't seem to be any reference point for the level shown from piece to piece. It seemed so much easier when the numbers went fro 1-10 because you always knew what the numbers represented. Here is my current scenario. On my previous set up of a Sony ES4 receiver / processor and a classe CA150 amp, I would listen to music at a high volume once the decibel rating read -40 or so. On my current system of Sunfire Theater II and Cinema Grand Signature, I find myself needing to drop below 40 to listen to the same music at the same level. This is all my perceived level as I am not measuring it with anything, but I think it is pretty obvious. That being said the sunfire is putting out substantially more power than the classe, so the old style 1-10 measurement doesn't seem to apply here. I guess I am just missing something here :confused: :confused: :confused:

Any help?
 
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SugarMedia

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Good question, and I've wonder the same. On my MF amp I usually have it about 9 or 10 O'Clock, with 11 being very loud. The knob begins around 7 O'Clock.

Some point in time I'll have to get something to measure the decibels. Are you guys buying these at RadioShack or where?
 

jfm

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Sometimes it's also a question of gain, not just power. Connected to the same amp, a higher-gain preamp will put out higher spl's at a lower volume-knob setting compared with a lower-gain preamp.
 

stesom

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The only way to really know is to go to Rat Shack and buy an SPL meter. Then get some white noise and measure the db level at different volume positions. It also will be source dependent, since some sources may have more or less line level output......Good Luck.......Steve
 

J Lustig

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So I guess what I am hearing is that the -XX decibel rating really means nothing in terms of definition. I understand that the SPL meter is the only true way to determine the level, but it sounds to me like there is no true reference for the -xx decible level shown. I am probably over thinking this, but it just seems like the -100 to 00 db levels would represent a measurement other than something as simple as the 1-10 level ratings on an old school volume knob. :(
 
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lugano

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J Lustig said:
So I guess what I am hearing is that the -XX decibel rating really means nothing in terms of definition....I am probably over thinking this, but it just seems like the -100 to 00 db levels would represent something other than something as simple as the 1-10 level ratings on an old school volume knob. :(
Sure it does, Lustig.

Decibels are a measure of the sound's pressure level. 0 dB means that there is NO attenuation from the amp. Going from -12 to -9 dB means doubling the sound pressure - dB's are a logarithmic unit, and as such, every 3 dB more means doubling the intensity. A loudspeaker outputting 92 dB at 1 meter with 1 watt is twice as "loud" as another, which only outputs 89 db with 1W/1m.
On the other side, a scale going from 1 to 10 might be easier to interpret, but it does not directly relate to any physical unit or measure.
 

stesom

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lugano said:
Sure it does, Lustig.

Decibels are a measure of the sound's pressure level. 0 dB means that there is NO attenuation from the amp. Going from -12 to -9 dB means doubling the sound pressure - dB's are a logarithmic unit, and as such, every 3 dB more means doubling the intensity. A loudspeaker outputting 92 dB at 1 meter with 1 watt is twice as "loud" as another, which only outputs 89 db with 1W/1m.
On the other side, a scale going from 1 to 10 might be easier to interpret, but it does not directly relate to any physical unit or measure.
Actually your volume control does correspond to some DB+/- per increment on your preamp . Unless it is stated in your owners manual, the only way to correlate your volume control to DBs is to measure actual readings. Then you will know by DB what each incremental move up or down on your preamp means.....The scientific method is on your side......Steve
 

TheBobGoat

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J Lustig said:
It seemed so much easier when the numbers went fro 1-10 because you always knew what the numbers represented. Any help?
I actually have an amp that goes to 11, higher than other amps that top out at 10
 

Peter Hogan

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TheBobGoat said:
I actually have an amp that goes to 11, higher than other amps that top out at 10
Hi,
So if I wanted to double the power of my amp, I should just get a knob that goes up to 20, right?...:)

Peter
 

MarkNewbie

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Peter Hogan said:
Hi,
So if I wanted to double the power of my amp, I should just get a knob that goes up to 20, right?...:)

Peter
Now that's funny!!! Like the way you think! :D
 

TomDac

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Yeah.. I'm having a party.. got some friends over.. crank up the volume to 10 and then you know what I do then? Most other blokes got nowhere else to go, but when I want that little extra push, I got to 11!

:)

Bob, the reference was most appreciated.. One of my favorite movies of all time!

"...this one's called "Lick My Love Pump"..." - Nigel Tufnel
 
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