System volume query

Decibel X and dB Volume

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If there is bass in the music they move air from the lowest audible volume setting…

But what maybe is the significant effect is your ears being progressively less sensitive to bass (and high treble) as sound level drops - the reason for the ill-famed (and very crude) “loudness control” common on low-fi equipment.

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Around the 9 o’clock position for me. I’ve done 10 plus on some occasions - normally when I know the neighbours have gone on their holidays! TBH, they’re easy going & have plenty of house parties and retired so we have an unspoken live & let live policy going. :sunglasses:

Weekends are when I’ll let the system go a bit more too.

LP12 through a 252/250
8:30 - 9:00 and 80 - 85 db is plenty loud

smallish listening space, but in a good sized living room, and I don’t want any more hearing loss than I already have

Just last week I used my Radioshack dB meter to measure the average SPLs I’m getting at normal listening levels. Mine is 75dB average with peaks hitting 80dB.

I forgot I also have a RadioShack meter. I should break mine out and check it.

Same Radioshack unit here. Used it to set up the AV side of the system. No auto room fanciness on the AV2 but it sounds sweet when it’s all dialled in. :+1:t5:

Typically around 87dB average with peaks in the low 90s at my listening position. As others have said I doubt the accuracy of these apps, especially as an increase of 3dB is a doubling of the volume

What I have read is that +3db is doubling of sound intensity, +6db is doubling of SPL, and +10db is doubling of perceived volume level.

You may well be more knowledgeable than me on the subject, not sure how advanced a free phone app could be in telling the difference between the parameters.
Interestingly I’ve just tried another phone app which is reading an average 81dB at a very similar (to my ears) volume level…

Similar levels here for ‘normal’ listening, but only have the Decibel X app - absolutely no idea how accurate it might be!

I have the db Meter iOS app so I may pull that out and my RadioShack meter and see how they compare.

Following this thread I installed Decibel X on my phone.
Found that listening at fairly loud level that the app recorded approx 74dB but at more or less silent it recorded 24dB…

Earlier in March my wife and I went to see Hot Tuna Electric trio. I was wearing earplugs. Much the concert was right around 95 db.

When we bought tickets in late 2019 it was advertised as Hot Tuna Acoustic, which is what I really wanted to see. I would not have bought tickets for electric. I don’t like that part of thier music nearly as much as their acoustic stuff.

An increase of 1dB is supposedly the smallest noticeable change in sound level, though that doesn’t mean you can’t hear a smaller difference, just that it isn’t really noticeable (and I guess it may vary between people)
It is very hard to define what is double the perceived sound level, as the ears do not behave as reference measuring devices, but indeed an increase of 10dB is widely reported as approximately doubling the perceived loudness. More interesting is that an increase of 10dB is 10x the power, while an increase of 3dB is a doubling of power. These are of significance in considering required power capability for a given sound level (of course also depending in particular on speaker sensitivity and listener distance)

That is one of the free apps I felt was best on my iPhone. But check the weighting setting: when talking about sound levels in this sort of context it is conventional to use dB(A). The others may give different readings (depending on the frequency content of the sound).

Do check they are set to the same weighting, dB(A). As I mentioned in an earlier post, I found up to about 6dB difference with some apps. Of course to be sure of accuracy you need a calibration source - and better still a measuring microphone.

My Radio Shack has A and C weighting, with fast and slow response. I don’t really understand the difference between A and C and can no longer remember what I used when I set up my old HT system, which I barely care about anymore.

The short, detailed but possibly less helpful answer is to look up IEC 61672:2013.

The opposite answer is that:

  • A weighting is set to mimic the response of the human ear, so it’s not a flat frequency response at all but is more sensitive between 500-6000Hz. This is what is used to assess likelihood of hearing damage in the workplace, for example.
  • C-weighting is similar but doesn’t roll off the lower frequencies, being more or less flat from 30-8000Hz.
  • Then there’s Z-weighting which is as flat as a ruler across the whole range of human hearing.

For level-setting in home cinema, my understanding is that C weighting should be used and the instructions for my Radio Shack meter confirm this. When I do this, my sub ends up really rather loud so I wouldn’t want to set it using A weighting at all.

The auto-calibrate function on most cinema amps is fine for doing a quick spit ‘n’ sawdust job, but it’s so much better when done using a dB meter.


I don’t disagree at all - but when talking about loudness levels what is critical is that everyone uses the same. For describing the sound level as heard - which is unrelated to setting up relative sound levels of speakers - it is conventional to use A weighting. And that is also possibly the more common default weighting on low cost sound level meters or apps, or only weighting where there is no choice, but not universally as at least one phone app I tried had Z as the default.