Adivce about Amp volume readout?

Paulherb

Active Member
Hi all,
I have never really understood what the volume reading on my amp actually means ie I always listen to my films with a volume of -7db.

What does the -7 actually mean in terms of volume?

Do all amps use the sames standard?

What is the reference volume that the home cinema crowd usally listen at?

Any help would be most welcome!!

Cheers


Paulh.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
I've always had yamaha amps, and I think the loudest movie I've ever listened to was at -8db..............that was incredibly incredibly LOUD.

To me, (living in a semi-detached house) -20db is too loud because of neighours.

My normal movielistening level now is -30db
 

lynx

Moderator
Originally posted by Paulherb
Do all amps use the sames standard?
No they don't. My Sony is normally at around -38db,which is moderate.At -30db it is starting to become exessive easpecially on Black Hawk :eek: :D
These figures are driving Tannoy R2's all round (exept the centre,it's an RC :p )
 

enajh2

Standard Member
My Sony 1070 is typically at -60>-57. Up to -52 for quiet films or mainly dialogue when I know there's no surprises coming!

Anything louder than -50dB is intolerable for me.

I am driving Videologic Digitheatre satellites and sub; and my old Aiwa hifi speakers (4 fronts spread out equidistantly).

If I get myself a Wharfedale 8.3 cinema pack or a pair of Sony SSB4EDs for Xmas, could I expect to see a completely different set of values for the same listening levels?
 
M

MikeK

Guest
Well the values will be different, but whether the difference is big I couldn't say.

The Wharfedales aren't particularly sensitive though, so you may have to drive them with a touch more power!


As for the readout - it's different for every amp!
Usually 00dB represents full volume - obviously some amps can go louder than others, so -20dB on one amp won't be the same as -20 on another different model, even if the speaker sensitivities are the same (which they probably won't be).


I really wouldn't worry about what the readout says - just enjoy the sound at the level you feel comfortable with!
 

mandlebrot

Active Member
I thought I'd read something on these forum's about 0db being the ref volume set by the amp manufacturer. It can't be the loudest cause my amp go's to +15db. Hang on though it could have been the loudest volume the amp can produce without any distortion.

Although I have to say that I can't lisen to my amp at 0db cause I think it might make my ears bleed and I also think I'd be arrested for disturbing the peace haha.

I used to take it to -10 when watching DVD's during the day but that was when I was using some rubbish little speakers. I have now changed to better speakers and a decent sub, I did try it with these at -10 but a few pictures fell off the wall and it was starting to cause me pain in my ears. I now listen at -15 max for DVD's but usually around -27 during normal daytime TV viewing and around -35 at night.
 

Reiner

Active Member
It can't be the loudest cause my amp go's to +15db.

I guess you are refering to the statement made by me, however I didn't say 0dB is the loudest.
If an amp allows to go into the positive area it means it's oversteered (overamplified I think is the more correct term).
 

mandlebrot

Active Member
Cheers for that Reiner, although if you read all my post I had kind of already said it and corrected myself.

Hang on though it could have been the loudest volume the amp can produce without any distortion.
 

Guest
I wonder if some of you guys are half deaf. The loudest I can watch a DVD at is -40. I tried -30 and the room (4m x 4m) was literally shaking. Normal TV viewing is -50 and night viewing is -60/65. I wouldn't say my amp/receiver is particularly powerful as it is a 5 year old Kenwood Pro Logic. I guess I must have sensitive hearing.
 

JimB

Standard Member
I wonder if some of you guys are half deaf. The loudest I can watch a DVD at is -40. I tried -30 and the room (4m x 4m) was literally shaking. Normal TV viewing is -50 and night viewing is -60/65. I wouldn't say my amp/receiver is particularly powerful as it is a 5 year old Kenwood Pro Logic. I guess I must have sensitive hearing.

Herbie, at -40 my Yamaha is not particularly loud. It's depends on the amp volume readout and speakers, as has been stated in this thread.

Also, does anyone else find a big difference in the output level of different dvd's?
 

Reiner

Active Member
Not much difference between the DVDs I would think but between different sources (i.e. when listening to CD I need to turn down the volume by quite a bit).

@Herbie: I am not deaf (yet) but like my movies LOUD! :D
 
K

konghh

Guest
Let make an assumption. With the old mechanical volume knob, 6 a.m position means absolutley no sound and 6 p.m represent the maximum position that the mechanical knob could turn to. Based on that assumption, I have always been TOTALLY unclear of what the new digital volume scales means. For eg., does -50db means 12 o'clock and 0db means 6 p.m.? I normally listen at up to -25db on certain music on my Yamaha RXV630 and does that means the equivalent of 3p.m on the mechanical knob? Or as somebody suggested, does 0db means the maximum volume the particular amp would go WITHOUT any distortion and if that's the case, 0db would probably means 2 o'clock on the mechanical knob. I am truely confused. Any 'wise' guy among us to clear the confusion for me? Thanks.
 

Reiner

Active Member
1. There is no relation what time (o'clock) corresponds to what dB level.

2. There is no such association between mechanical and digital volume control either.

3. The volume control may be linear or logarithmic.

In short: it's up to the manufacturer how he implements and labels the "thing".
 
J

juboy

Guest
Originally posted by Herbie
I wonder if some of you guys are half deaf.

Unfortunately (depending on your point of view and housing arrangements) the suggested reference level for listening to Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks IS an unusually loud level.

If you listen at volumes significantly lower than the reference level, you are missing out on the proper experience... simple as that.
 

cskates

Standard Member
The volume display on a receivers or pre-amp will not be comparable to any other without calibrating both systems to output the same SPL at the same volume reading, also assuming that both volume displays are accurate - does a 20dB increase in the volume actually result in a 20dB change. For THX recievers/processors that are calibrated with an SPL meter the 0dB level should be the same, it should produce 105dB peak from each channel and 115dB from the LFE channel. Some non-THX recivers/processors will also take this approach, but for others it's completely arbitrary. I usually have my Tag AV32R at -8dB for DVDs, -30dB for radio and -18dB for TV.
 

micb3rd

Active Member
When you put an AV amp at 00 and calibrate using either avia or amps internal test tones with a Radioshack SPl Meter, movies played at 00 after calibration will be at Full dolby reference (peaks of 105db per channel and 115db for LFE).

IF you use bass management and run speakers set to small then the LFE peaks are bumped up from 115 to 121 db.

Full reference can damage speakers if the amplification or speakers are not up to very loud volumes.

The reason 00 on the Receiver is used is you can play movies at -10 and be 10 db below reference level or play at -30 and be 30 db below reference level.

Extra info.
Avia is recored at -20 below reference so calibrate on SPL meter to 85.

Internal test tones recorded at -30 below reference so calibrate SPL to 75.

I personly listen at around -27 to -20 when watching movies.
 

JEDIBLADE

Well-known Member
I've always understood that when the readout is 00db this correspondes to 75db (reference level)and when you reduce this by say -10db the actual sound pressure is 65db and so on. This can be changed when you set up the amp channels but not by much. Hope this helps.
 
S

sdl

Guest
Would the speaker level settings on your receiver factor into this question about volume levels. I used to have all of my speaker levels set to +13 on my Marantz SR6200 (which I was later told was set too high). I have since lowered them all to +3 (except center channel +4 and sub +5).

At the +13 settings I would watch movies with the volume as low as -30. With the +3 settings I am watching movies with the volume as low as -20.
 

micb3rd

Active Member
SDL have you calibrated your system with a SPL meter, if not get one and do so that is one of the only ways to properly balance all the spakers.
 

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