Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How much SPL do you really need?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How much SPL do you really need?

    I'm curious - how much SPL, regardless of frequency, do you think is required at the listener for a hi-fi experience? 90dB at your ears seems to be a general minimum for continuous listening, but what about high-power transients?

  • #2
    Re: How much SPL do you really need?

    I broke out the db meter while listening to the Tron sound track loudly. Some of the bass hits were hitting 98db. This was much louder then I normally listen too, but I was just curious as to how loud it was. This is not a level that can be listened to for very long.

    For normal playback, the loud parts probably shouldn't go over 90db too often. Any long term exposure over 85db will cause hearing loss.

    The reference level of 75db is probably the loudest anyone should listen to music, but we all listen louder from time to time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How much SPL do you really need?

      I noticed at the InDIYana event, we were in the 80-85dB range during loud passages for a lot of the listening. At around 10-12 feet (my position - close to the RTA mic) from the speakers in a large room, this was comfortable. There were a couple times where we hit 103-104dB and it was quite frankly way too loud. The 52dB reading was pretty average in between setups.



      Bryan K.

      Midwest Audio Club

      Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How much SPL do you really need?

        I was listening to a choral-orchestral piece, "Voices of Light" with the Cinderella design speakers and an amp capable of 110 watts per channel. The soft passages (solo singer or very soft music) were 50dB at my sitting position (8 feet and the speakers are 8 feet apart) with a Radio Shack digital meter, C weighted & fast response. The peak passages hit 90 to 92dB; 40+ dB range by those measurements. A bit to loud but sort of like being at the conductors podium.

        Followed that with some Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (Moanin' and A Night in Tunisia). A real workout for the low end of that speaker system. Did not monitor the dB levels; just sat there believing I was listing to the band when the recordings were made in 1958 and 1960. What a Saturday night.:D:D:D:D

        The "listening" room (an open kitchen, dining area and living room) is large; 15 wide by 35 with an angled ceiling (14 feet at peak). No room treatments. The room could be better but I am happy and that is what counts.

        George
        "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How much SPL do you really need?

          If you have 90dB at your ears for periods longer than about 20 - 30 minutes you're damaging your hearing.

          Originally posted by spasticteapot View Post
          I'm curious - how much SPL, regardless of frequency, do you think is required at the listener for a hi-fi experience? 90dB at your ears seems to be a general minimum for continuous listening, but what about high-power transients?
          I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
          OS MTMs http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=220388
          Swope TM http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=221818
          Econowave and Audio Nirvana AN10 fullrange http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=216841
          Imperial Russian Stouts http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...=1#post1840444
          LECBOS. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...ghlight=lecbos

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How much SPL do you really need?

            Originally posted by fastbike1 View Post
            If you have 90dB at your ears for periods longer than about 20 - 30 minutes you're damaging your hearing.
            +1, sort of makes you reconsider current dogma on sensitivity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How much SPL do you really need?

              Originally posted by bkeane1259 View Post
              I noticed at the InDIYana event, we were in the 80-85dB range during loud passages for a lot of the listening. At around 10-12 feet (my position - close to the RTA mic) from the speakers in a large room, this was comfortable. There were a couple times where we hit 103-104dB and it was quite frankly way too loud. The 52dB reading was pretty average in between setups.
              Presuming the 80 - 85db is avg. level and 103 - 104 peaks..
              That is a window of 18 - 24db.
              In doing normalizing and spectrum analysis that is in-line with the level differences I'm accustom to observing.
              Dependent on the source material of course and how far the dynamics are used.
              ( What was the track used? )
              "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
              “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
              "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                Originally posted by spasticteapot View Post
                I'm curious - how much SPL, regardless of frequency, do you think is required at the listener for a hi-fi experience? 90dB at your ears seems to be a general minimum for continuous listening, but what about high-power transients?
                I don't think one can fairly say "regardless of frequency." The combined ear (upper bass up) and face/chest (upper bass down) hearing system does not have linear response. So, if one is on a budget (spatial or financial) it makes sense to have varying SPL capacity in different subsections of a speaker system.

                Also, it depends on what the purpose of a system is. A main system might need 105dB from 150Hz up and 115-120dB from 16-150Hz to be comfortably "high fidelity" with respect to any possible program material. A system designed for background music can be less.

                Originally posted by AMC View Post
                +1, sort of makes you reconsider current dogma on sensitivity.
                Not sure what you mean. It seems that most here think 83-86dB/W/m - the typical range for DIY speaker projects - is perfectly adequate.

                I disagree. I think mid-90s is the useful minimum for high fidelity in a domestic living room. Why? The argument is that, when designed for high-fidelity reproduction, more efficient speakers sound better. There are a variety of posited reasons, but whatever the grounds for the difference my subjective experience at least agrees with that argument. Inefficient speakers, even those with lots of cone area and volume displacement, tend to sound much more "rounded off" than efficient speakers. Even if the theoretical SPL capability is higher.

                I suspect that most of the people who reflexively oppose that argument simply haven't designed a high-efficiency system to their tastes, or heard one optimized for high-fidelity reproduction. A big PA with diffraction slots in the horns...that's not a reasonable frame of reference.

                Obviously I am not saying that an efficient system with ragged polar response and diminished bandwidth will sound better than an inefficient system with smooth polars and extended bandwith. Nor, and admittedly inconsistently, have I subjectively found similar benefits in the deep bass from efficient system vs. inefficient systems after EQ. (Though a multisub system is going to generally be more efficient, simply because there are more motors pumping air.)
                --
                "Based on my library and laboratory research, I have concluded, as have others, that the best measures of speaker quality are frequency response and dispersion pattern. I have not found any credible research showing that most of the differences we hear among loudspeakers cannot be explained by examining these two variables." -Alvin Foster, 22 BAS Speaker 2 (May, 1999)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                  Originally posted by Pallas View Post
                  I don't think one can fairly say "regardless of frequency." The combined ear (upper bass up) and face/chest (upper bass down) hearing system does not have linear response. So, if one is on a budget (spatial or financial) it makes sense to have varying SPL capacity in different subsections of a speaker system.
                  Now this doesn't quite make sense, A flat response is a flat response, the 'system' receiving it is irrelevant. If your calibration mic has a 10db dip at 1000Hz, you don't compensate by increasing the output by 10db to make it seem flat.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                    I listen almost solely to instrumental symphonic music. I've measured the SPL at my listening position and it tends to average in the 75-80 dB SPL range, with peaks 10 dB or so higher. That's plenty loud and non-damaging to my hearing. I totally disagree with Pallas who thinks mid-90's is correct or necessary; that's way too loud for long term hearing safety and has nothing to do with whether one is using efficient speakers.
                    Paul

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                      Originally posted by AMC View Post
                      Now this doesn't quite make sense, A flat response is a flat response, the 'system' receiving it is irrelevant.
                      Note that I'm talking about SPL capability, not frequency response, in that paragraph. That paragraph had, in fact, nothing to do with FR. (At least not in the commonly-discussed small-signal form.) I simply noted that it makes sense to design in headroom where actual dynamic peaks lie. One should design in whatever frequency response is subjectively most pleasing. And that's much easier to do if headroom has been designed out as a factor!

                      Originally posted by Paul K. View Post
                      I totally disagree with Pallas who thinks mid-90's is correct or necessary; that's way too loud for long term hearing safety and has nothing to do with whether one is using efficient speakers.
                      Paul
                      You think you disagree because you didn't read what I actually wrote, in the actual context of a quote about efficiency. That paragraph was clearly talking about sensitivity, not average levels. (Yes, I was guilty of using "efficiency" and "sensitivity" interchangeably when that is not really the case.) Clearly, average broadband levels in the mid-90s are way too high for listeners who value their continued ability to enjoy music.

                      My opinion (with which you may also disagree, though you did not address the issue one way or another) is that efficient speakers with smooth polars and extended bandwidth will always sound better than inefficient speakers with smooth polars and extended BW. Even at the same average levels, and even if those levels are well within the theoretical capability of either speaker.

                      One may fairly call that a tough comparison to make, because most inefficient speakers have poor polars and many efficient speakers are BW compromised or designed with compromises that favor output over fidelity.

                      Actually, inasmuch as we disagree it's over a few dB. I think, and rather clearly wrote above, that a system should ideally be able to handle peaks of ~105dB broadband, and more in the midbass and below. The latter is perhaps a matter of opinion. The former is more firmly grounded: 105dB peaks is cinema reference*, and studies have shown measured peaks in 5th-7th row center floor seats in major orchestral halls (Musikverein, etc.) to be in the 104-106dB range, with average levels of up to about 85dB depending on the piece.
                      --
                      "Based on my library and laboratory research, I have concluded, as have others, that the best measures of speaker quality are frequency response and dispersion pattern. I have not found any credible research showing that most of the differences we hear among loudspeakers cannot be explained by examining these two variables." -Alvin Foster, 22 BAS Speaker 2 (May, 1999)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                        Originally posted by Paul K. View Post
                        I listen almost solely to instrumental symphonic music. I've measured the SPL at my listening position and it tends to average in the 75-80 dB SPL range, with peaks 10 dB or so higher. That's plenty loud
                        Yes . . . and that's roughly what I've posted previously as measurements taken in the hall at rehearsal, although I've measured peaks at 95-96dB. "Rock and roll", or even Bluegrass or amplified "folk", changes that considerably. Both in the performance venues and at home the tendency is to "turn it up to 11", and the 20+dB average-to-peak ratio of orchestral music (which has a similar "quiet to average" ratio) is reduced to rarely more than 10dB . . . so an "average" level at 95dB with peaks to something over 100 isn't at all out of the question (although it *is* "too loud" for long term listening). Two speakers with that output at 1 meter will produce that level at the listening position in a typical home . . .

                        Originally posted by Paul K. View Post
                        has nothing to do with whether one is using efficient speakers.
                        That's the one that makes me shake my head . . . it's *never* an issue for me. Once I've determined the "useful" range of a driver and apply whatever equalization is needed over that range I normalize its "sensitivity" (set the amplifier gain) and from that point on *all* my drivers have the same "sensitivity". If the driver is physically and its amplifier electrically capable of producing the desired acoustic output I can pick-and-choose from anywhere in the catalog . . . and driver "efficiency" becomes all but meaningless to the process.
                        "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                          Here's a quick bit of mathematics I did:

                          Assume a speaker of 100W peak power handling with efficiency of 85dB. (This describes quite a lot of them, especially those used in small rooms.) This gives a peak SPL of 105dB at one meter, or roughly 108dB if both are playing simultaneously under ideal conditions (yeah, right!)

                          Assuming a listening distance of 10', there is a 9dB drop in output. This gives a total maximum of a fairly respectable 99dB at the listening point.

                          Is this adequate?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                            Originally posted by spasticteapot View Post
                            Assuming a listening distance of 10', there is a 9dB drop in output. This gives a total maximum of a fairly respectable 99dB at the listening point.
                            Only in "free air" . . . in a typical room you can add back anything from 3 to 6 dB from the "reflections".

                            Originally posted by spasticteapot View Post
                            Is this adequate?
                            Only you can answer that. For "reproduction" and listening at realistic (and even a bit above realistic) levels yes . . . for "show and tell" maybe not. If you're content with "that's as loud as a real orchestra ever gets" then it's plenty . . .
                            "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How much SPL do you really need?

                              Originally posted by spasticteapot View Post
                              .... This gives a total maximum of a fairly respectable 99dB at the listening point.

                              Is this adequate?
                              If your waveform has a crest factor of 12 dB, which is a listenable level of compression, that gives 87dB as the average sound level that you actually "hear" under those conditions. It's not that stinking loud.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X