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Please, help me get a feeling of what reference level is

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by cribeiro, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hi!
    I intend to buy an spl meter, but in the meantime I'd like to know how loud is the reference level. I have a Yamaha rx-v530 amp, and maybe another owner of the same gear knows at which level of the amp he gets the reference. I know that it also depends on the signal and the sensibility of speakers, but I only want a rough estimate. BTW, my speakers are rated to be 91 dB, although I wouldn't believe it much...

    edit: I have just realized that also room size is an issue... There is so much in the game!! Well, it is about 6x4 square meters, and about 2.5 meter height.
     
  2. RobDickinson

    RobDickinson
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    Go to a THX certified cinema. That'll be reference level...

    IMO well to loud for home.
     
  3. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Ok, you have proved that I am stupid... Never thought about it!
    I have been a couple of times in a thx certified cinema, actually for The Lord of the Rings, and I must admit it is loud. But I must also say that it didn't disturb me. I think it is simply right like that, because I had never before felt so inmersed in a movie like then. You may remember there is a scene in the second part where one of the animals that orcs ride looks directly at you and bites... I jumped back on my seat, trying to save my testicles!! I promise it is true!
    Thanks for the idea!!
     
  4. bobgriffiths

    bobgriffiths
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    I was amazed according to the THX web site there are only 11 THX certified cinemas in the UK

    Cambridge Picture House
    39-39 St. Andrews Street
    Cambridge CB2 3AR
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1

    Cheshire Oaks
    Site Offices, Stanny Lane
    Ellesmere Port
    South Wirral L659CB
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1

    Curzon Soho
    99 Shaftesbury Avenue
    London W1D 5DY
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1-3

    Greenside II
    Greenside Place
    Edinburgh
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 3

    Liverpool Picture House
    FACT Centre
    88 Wood Street
    Liverpool L1 4DQ
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1

    Stratford Picture House
    Salway Road Stratford
    London E15 1BN
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 4

    Warner Bros West End
    3 Cranbourne St
    London WC2H 7NA
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 5

    Warner Village Plymouth
    Barbican Leisure Centre
    Shapters Road
    Coxside Plymouth PL4 0LG
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 7-9

    Warner Village Portsmouth
    Gunwharf Quays
    Portsmouth P01 3TA
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 3

    Warner Village Star City
    Star City
    Heartlands Star Park, Watson Rd.
    Nechells
    Birmingham B7 5SB
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1 & 19

    York Picture House
    Coney Street
    York Y01 9QL
    United Kingdom
    Screens: 1

    NOT one in the UK's third largest City Manchester!!:(
     
  5. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    He, he... There is even one in my home town, Naron (Galicia, Spain), which has even less than 50 thousand souls!
    48 in Spain, although this in my town doesn't appear in the web... (it is very new)!
    Yes, amazing about uk... Germany has 54...
     
  6. bobbypunk

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    I thought reference level on a home amp is 0 db
    maybe i'm wrong and completely off the mark though.
     
  7. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Ok, without entering in details, the dB scale is logarithmic, and such scales (as actually any other, but we are so used that we don't realize) need some reference, i.e., a measure unit. 0 dB means that you have exactly a measure unit.
    An example: you measure in meters (well, not you in uk...), and 1 meter is your measure unit. If you say "this tree is 10 meter high", you know what you talk about, because you know how much 1 meter is (well, not you in uk... ;-) ). Now imagine that instead of meters, you measure in Log(x meters/1 meter). In that units (which are actually dB), 10 meters is 1. Funny, right? And one meter is 0, i.e., reference.
    I hope I didn't mess it up too much... I tend to do so... But I promise I know what I am talking about!!
    PS: I admit, I have no idea of how big one foot is... except mine :))
     
  8. buns

    buns
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    i agree with the guy saying it is too loud...... at reference in my room my ears will get sore simply from talking. With an explosion i could all but blow the windows out (if you care to investigate some of my earlier posts, i have before managed to crack one....)

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  9. Malky1903

    Malky1903
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    I have a Pio 912 and when I run the MCACC, the amp automatically turns all the speakers down to a muted -18db. Would that be reference level for my amp?
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    so it is muted at -18db...... you cant hear anything?

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  11. Malky1903

    Malky1903
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    Correct! The only sounds you hear are the test tones from each speaker. Once the set up has finished, the volume automatically goes back to where it was before the auto set up started.
     
  12. avanzato

    avanzato
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    cribeiro: My Yamaha AX630 is -29db when calibrated with the Avia DVD to 75db. This is certainly loud enough for me and I wouldn't really want to try 85db reference level. I think the speakers are 87db efficient so you can work your level out from there... maybe?
     
  13. buns

    buns
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    oh...... i misunderstood, the signal is muted but the test tones arent! :rolleyes: makes sense now! The test tones are simply being set at -18db, i imagine 0db should be reference

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  14. bobbypunk

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    the vsxax3 set itself to 0db to run it's tests
    om MCACC
     
  15. bobgriffiths

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    Sorry its off topic

    criberio In the UK we use and are now taught centimetres ,metres ,kilometres at school and not taught feet and inches but we still have road signs in miles?! .
    In the Uk you buy speaker cables by the metre and i think its illegal to sell speaker cable without telling you how much it is a metre and displaying only how much it is in feet and yards!

    No wonder kids are confused.

    11 THX cinemas in the UK is a disgrace we have tons of crud sounding multiplexes.

    I personally have only heard one cinema in my local area which sounds "much" better than my home system and that was at the Printworks IMAX in manchester
     
  16. buns

    buns
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    I still have trouble seeing past the size (sorry hearing) of the real cinema. Although my sound is better, it can be just as loud, it can do most things, but it cant mimick a room 5 times the dimension, the volume is correspondingly 125 times more..... for this reason I think its hard to actually compare cinema and home cinema.... refernce level really doesnt cut it for me as far as making the experience more cinematic

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  17. bobgriffiths

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    your right buns the amount of detail, the quick transient response at home makes it sound better.than most multiplexes but it is hard to compare as the room makes all the difference.
    The most important "reference" level is getting your levels set correctly to the same output level with a SPL meter .
    The actual volume level you play it at isnt really the isssue i listen to my system at a comfortable level and when a loud action sequence occours it has enough impact to make me jump and shake the sofa.
    People get obsessed with how load it is . a pneumatic drill is loud but i dont want to listen to one all night .Quality has to come into the equation.
     
  18. zaphod

    zaphod
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    With regard to the earlier post by RobDickinson just because a cinema is THX certified does not mean that it plays at reference level. Most cinemas I have come across do not play at reference level including the THX screen I have seen. Most seem to play with the level set to about 5 where reference level on Dolby kit is 7. The reason being that they get complaints that the sound is too loud from some members of the audience so they reduce the level for the rest of us.

    Zaphod
     
  19. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    That list is incorrect: the UGC cinema at Ipswich has its premiere screen THX certified, and at least Screen 6 (which, quite honestly is awesome).

    Dolby reference level IS too loud for most people, I used to think that with my Lex MC-1 I was listening to most stuff at around -05db, but in fact their test-tones were 3db out from Avia's. On the whole not alot in my room goes above -8db as it's simply too loud (even at -8db it's as loud as any movie I've ever seen at the cinema). Then you have the extremes of badly recorded DVDs such as Underworld, where I found above -20db was uncomfortable....
     
  20. bobgriffiths

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    i got the list direct from THX web site.
    As i understand it you have to pay for regular certificates and check ups to be a THX certified theatre.
    but i am most probably wrong!

    maybe it was (and still is )a THX certified cinema but they havent paid there subs(pun sadly intended) or is it a new cinema?
     
  21. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Definately not a new cinema...
     
  22. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Avanzato, thanks for the numbers... Now I see that it is really loud... Only one more question... How big is your room? That also matters...

    Bobgriffiths... I didn't intend to hurt with my comments, I only wanted to make some fun out of that... But your points are very interesting. I didn't know about that. Thanks!

    Thank you all for your comments!
     
  23. avanzato

    avanzato
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    It's 5.7m long by 3.4m wide and 2.75m high. Just the right size for THX Select.

    Smurfin also makes a good point about the differing recorded levels on DVD's. Some you have to turn up and some down. Presumably THX specced ones are at least standardised and accurate?
     
  24. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Ok, that means it is approximately same size as mine. Then I can compare your levels with mine, although your amp has some more power than mine... But at least I know I will never play at reference levels (I actually don't know if I can reach them with my amp, because -25 dB on the display is about half of the amp power, and that is usually the limit for playing without distorsion). I never play louder than -35 dB on the display (for an average recording level, if that can be said...), maybe I'll try... but that means I have to invite my neighbours, or I'll get the police knocking on my door :)

    About the recording levels, you are of course right, and I would guess that THX certified should have a kind of standard, but I don't have any official info about it...

    Off topic: I went for another listening session this weekend, I'll write my impressions soon, but I don't know if I should continue the thread I started with the first session, or continue that one... I promise it is interesting!!
     
  25. RobDickinson

    RobDickinson
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    But at home, isnt more complicated than that?

    Amp power/current deliver, speaker efficiency etc all need to be factored in. I assume with the use of a SPL meter you'd get it close to accurate (at least across part of the spectrum).

    He only wanted a feel. a decent, loud cinema will give him a feel.

    Personaly conemas are often too loud for me, loud at the start is ok , oy adjust, but some are loud near the end when they need not be - but were all individuals, one reason I like home cinema is to be able to control all the variables to tastes I prefer.
     
  26. avanzato

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    You're right. AFAIK 85db Ref level is to give 105db peak SPL per channel. If the speakers, amps or your ears can't do that then there's no reason to go for it 'just because'. I suppose an advantage of THX certification on gear is that you can reach Reference if you want to. I think I'm right on this?
     

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