System volume query

I don’t know if anyone else finds that they start listening at a low level and then slowly start edging up the volume, not realising how loud it actually it is until someone tries to start a conversation with you and end up having to shout over the music.

I guess this just means the system is working ok then!


Happens regularly here. Although during a proper listening session, conversation is difficult even at the opening volume…
Having said that, I have one of those decibel meters on the phone and the difference with the gradual increments is relatively small overall, the volume knob on the 282 is almost always between 8:30 and 9:00, any louder is just too uncomfortable for long periods…

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Normally around 9 o’clock position on the loud knob here - depends on the recording level of the music though. Vinyl tends to need a bit more than CD but slll the systems I’ve had have a natural level where they ‘wake up’’.

Low level for me means the dial starts at 12:00. Funnily enough I have never heard my missus shouting over the music.


On an evening when the wife and kids are in bed the volume starts low but then the dog starts to snore, eventually the volume goes up.


Very true… The 8:30 or 245 degrees (ish) is where mine becomes real hifi, 9:00/270 degrees is when the turbocharger kicks in…

I don’t disagree, but don’t you find it’s enormously disc-dependent? Some of my late 80s/early 90s CDs need to be right up at 12:00 before it gets too much, whereas discs from the last 10-15 years can’t go much higher than 9:00.


I mentioned it being disc dependent too. Some older recordings can often be at 10pm instead of 9 on more recent records.

Out of interest what dB is a normal level according to your phone?

I’ve tried this to see and I think I listen at a much lower volume than a lot of people here (not much past 9 and that’s with attentuators).

My experience if anything id the converse, at least when playing rock music, when I will often start at ‘realistic’ level and after a while reduce a bit (out of respect for my ears).

Otherwise, apart from occasionally having to adjust the VC between albums to compensate for different average levels, I actually rarely change the setting.

However a few decades ago when I ran a rock disco I did gradually increase volume. In part it would have been to compensate for more absorbing bodies, but definitely getting louder. By the end of a good gig with a packed venue it was not uncommonly everything wound up to max, which would have been theoretically about 122dB 1m in front of a speaker (audience not quite that close), while my customary explosion at the end was louder. On a gig like that I used to keep my headphones on most of the time as partial ear defenders, despite being behind the speakers.


Phones/apps of course can be quite variable, apps I’ve tried reading some reading 6dB or more different from others. I settled on two of those that gave consistent readings, and from general awareness of sound levels I think they’re not far out. also, of course, to be meaningful people have to be sure to read the same way. A weighted is normal for such purposes (some apps default to other weightings).

My own listening level would be typically about 80-85dB(A) at listening position, other than heavy rock at realistic levels which I play maybe closer to 90-95dB(A) average, sometimes a tad over, though that level for only an album or two. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Telarc 24/96/recording requires the average level to be set unnaturally low, otherwise the cannons push the amp into overload (= 500W, corresponding to about 110dB at listening position - no not realistic levels: I’d need more efficient speakers for that!). Chamber or solo piano inherently lower average levels, but I haven’t measured.

Compression. Older Recordings have less hence lower volume but better dynamic range. Lots of new recordings are very compressed, so more volume but less dynamic range.
Several articles out there about “ the loudness wars”

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On my 282/250 I was usually around 8:30-9:00 on the volume control (the “knob” to some, LOL). I have noticed that with my 252/300 (which I’ve had since early Dec '19) that my setting is more like 9:00-9:30. Anyone else notice a difference going from 282 to 252 or from 250DR to 300DR?

9 o’clock is pretty loud for the NDS and the NAT01. Sometimes vinyl needs a bit more (up to 10 o’clock) through the Superline. That was not the case with the Aria where 9 o’clock was enough.

The volume control setting gives no indication of actual loudness at the listening position, as even with same source and amp the sound level depends on speaker sensitivity, which can vary hugely, speaker to listening position distance, and to some extent the room characteristics.

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Oddly I find it the other way round. Typically the LP12 through Superline is around 9pm and the NAT01 is around 10pm. AV duties through a Chord Qutest can need up to 12 depending on whether it’s Sky, Netflix or Amazon Prime.

When I get the chance for serious listening the Vinyl can creep up to 10pm. Anything beyond that would begin to entertain the whole neighbourhood.

I found the same with phone apps, can I ask which ones you have settled on?

I certainly don’t go as high as 90dB I think. I only measured out of interest really.

I agree with the majority in that I generally listen between 8:30 and 9:00.
However I agree that this is disc dependent and I find on many of the older discs I add half an hour.

I think the take off level is when it’s enough to get the bass drivers moving some air so you starting getting the lower end of the system
working. For me, that’s when the sound starts to become believable and the image & soundstage push out beyond the speakers.

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At what volume level do you typically find you have lift off Rack?