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  • How loud should a given recording be played

    the simple answer to the above question is as loud as we like. It that is not really correct I think. For me with a line source a ten foot Nora jones scares me a bit.
    One way to find the right volume is height for me. But as I sit some 18 feet back it's more like the band is playing ona stage in front of me. I am someone who wants to hear every note and it's over tones after the initial stick. This means loud. If I play grest music low I feel I am missing out on so much of it. I am fortunate that I can play my music as loud as I wish at anytime. Here in NYC I live alone and my place is very well sound proofed. Infinity are a speaker that play low well as some need a certain sound level to get balanced. I own chads release of Stevie ray von sacd set. A shame it is from a pcm master or it sure sounds like it is. It has a bite like a great white shark. But the right tubes in my lampi tamed it a bit. And the new USB in my Msb is improved as well. Point is that's nice rock and should be played loud. I play so loud that I can hear the hum in the studio in soft passages. How loud is that when the band is whaling. If someone is right next to me. It's like the disco days I must speak directly into the ear.

    I am very interested in others thoughts. On this.
    analog stuff.
    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
    Dacs lampi various

  • #2
    Seems to me years back there was a label on an album that said "Made loud to be played loud".

    I've found pretty much each decent recording has a volume level at which it develops a satisfactory sound field.

    Comment


    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah there were even a couple of audiophile records with that on the covers too!

  • #3
    Ive seen album covers with "meant to be played loud" or something to that effect printed on them.
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

    Comment


    • #4
      To me that is just bull. It's cool
      to say play LOund.
      Dave growl of foo fighters says loud is fine but likes it to have a hum and basically grunge sound. The opposite of clean and clear as we like. But how do some find that level to feel it's correct. Just wondering.
      analog stuff.
      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
      otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
      sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
      new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
      thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
      thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
      kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
      phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
      speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
      mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
      digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
      Dacs lampi various

      Comment


      • #5
        Perhaps it is a reflection of my system and my ears, but each album seems to have a natural volume level where it sounds "right"-- everything is brought into relief, and it doesn't sound overly loud or "reproduced." I'm sure some hard rock records can be played at jet air craft take off levels and it won't matter much insofar as they are already distorted, but apart from that, and the limits of your room and system, some records also vary widely in how 'hot' they are cut. which means that the relative volume setting is somewhat misleading. I used to use a SPL meter in my listening room out of curiosity more than anything and was surprised that I didn't listen at levels that were as LOUD as I thought--
        but, apart from personal preference, it seems that the system and room also play a big part --there comes a point, where, to me, playback seems unnaturally loud for a given piece of material. I may be somewhat sensitive to this.

        PS: Mountain Climbing has a notation that says Meant to be Played Loud, as does The Who's Live at Leeds (which is basically a terrible recording, but it sounds pretty amazing, nonetheless, on the really early UK pressings).

        Comment


        • lasercd
          lasercd commented
          Editing a comment
          When you start to hear the room you need to back off the volume.

      • #6
        Even in my younger days I never really played and enjoyed music at jet-engine levels. Based on the things already mentioned (room, system, the media itself) it should tell you when you've gone overboard. I always dial it back at that point as the music to me becomes a bit of a distorted mess. My tolerance for loudness may be less than others. There are some songs I'd love to play louder, like Robbie Nevil - C'est La Vie. Maybe I could if I had a bigger room.
        Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

        Comment


        • #7
          Great reply and I thank you for it. My room is a bit large. No matter how loud it's not a hot mess or distorted it's just very loud. Some songs warrant loud playing. Playing Hendrix or Stevie ray von at low levels misses the point for me. I am a detail freak always was. And you cannot get all the details at low volumes and for people who feel it's all there no disrespect to any of you , but it's not all there. Be it headphones or speakers
          headphones are like a microscope into the music and don't need to be played as loud. For me others play too loud with headphones or at least some I know do.
          But the best headphones and I own a few do nkt do as my IRS v do. But in a smaller room speakers to get messed up.
          analog stuff.
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
          Dacs lampi various

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
            Great reply and I thank you for it. My room is a bit large. No matter how loud it's not a hot mess or distorted it's just very loud. Some songs warrant loud playing. Playing Hendrix or Stevie ray von at low levels misses the point for me. I am a detail freak always was. And you cannot get all the details at low volumes and for people who feel it's all there no disrespect to any of you , but it's not all there. Be it headphones or speakers
            headphones are like a microscope into the music and don't need to be played as loud. For me others play too loud with headphones or at least some I know do.
            But the best headphones and I own a few do nkt do as my IRS v do. But in a smaller room speakers to get messed up.
            That getting it loud enough to 'get the details' is essentially what i'm talking about, Al, when I say there is a "right" level for each record, and it needs to be loud enough to get it all without sounding overloaded. You would be surprised if you haven't heard the horn SET systems how much detail you can retrieve at lower volume levels--at some tradeoff, including getting the system itself quieted so you don't hear all the gremlins of system noise. I 'grew up' with electrostats- old Quads in particular, so I was used to trading off volume (among other things). It is nice to hear a big-assed system that can deliver really deep bass and has natural mids and highs. Which is what makes our world go 'round.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
              Perhaps it is a reflection of my system and my ears, but each album seems to have a natural volume level where it sounds "right"-- everything is brought into relief, and it doesn't sound overly loud or "reproduced." I'm sure some hard rock records can be played at jet air craft take off levels and it won't matter much insofar as they are already distorted, but apart from that, and the limits of your room and system, some records also vary widely in how 'hot' they are cut. which means that the relative volume setting is somewhat misleading. I used to use a SPL meter in my listening room out of curiosity more than anything and was surprised that I didn't listen at levels that were as LOUD as I thought--
              but, apart from personal preference, it seems that the system and room also play a big part --there comes a point, where, to me, playback seems unnaturally loud for a given piece of material. I may be somewhat sensitive to this.

              PS: Mountain Climbing has a notation that says Meant to be Played Loud, as does The Who's Live at Leeds (which is basically a terrible recording, but it sounds pretty amazing, nonetheless, on the really early UK pressings).
              I couldn't agree more. It always amazes me when people spend crazy money on this hobby of ours in order to achieve their view of audio perfection, and yet when they play their systems the volume is kept at background music levels.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #10
                Funny and true. Some systems costing hundreds or thousands is pride of ownership like having gold plated dynasore eggs ona table. While I don't feel jealous of them never I do wonder why. Most here struggle to afford what we have and do what we like with it. Just before my final curtain call I was planning on getting a set of genisis g1.2 or the next ones down if he instructed me too. It for pride but to do as I do play music at volumes I feel appriate at the time. Now life changes. But I always did wonder what is correct. PAUL of ps audio has his stuff labled for how loud to play. Now hiw he arrives at it aludes me. Of course some music can be played louder then others but that is not the point to be made here.
                analog stuff.
                otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                Dacs lampi various

                Comment


                • #11
                  Loud is for the ear of the beholder. That's it, simple, there is NO correct.
                  Chris
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------
                  Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    While I do appreciate all comments including yours I do feel there is a process to follow that can lead to better enjoyment. My room is a good size and while it does effect the sound it does not get over loaded and smear the music. My smaller room did very much so. Nice headphones and love woo stuff. I own the hd800 and a woo WA5 great paring.
                    analog stuff.
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                    Dacs lampi various

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
                      While I do appreciate all comments including yours I do feel there is a process to follow that can lead to better enjoyment. My room is a good size and while it does effect the sound it does not get over loaded and smear the music. My smaller room did very much so. Nice headphones and love woo stuff. I own the hd800 and a woo WA5 great paring.
                      Al the only process is how you like it. While someone can walk into your room and say I like it this way, louder or softer, not enough bass, midrange is weak etc.. that doesn't make it right for either of you. Your room can handle only so much and you have to make that determination. If you want a process, hire someone like JIm Smth to come to your home, set your area up , in most cases he is spot on, BUT! you might not like it. Its like art, the viewer either likes it or they don't. I also won the hd800sw with a WA6SE and a WA22, the process I put it on my head it either sounds good to me or its doesn't, my neighbor likes my Mr Speaker Flow C better, so what is the process there, change my ears remove my head , etc.. Your ears and only your ears. Like you said, its about the pairing of equipment that fits you and only you, not someone that has never been into your home and sat and listen to your system, if thats the case someone could come into your home and tell you you need more amp, your dac is niot addressing the mid';s or highs, YOU NEED TO SPEND more MONEY, thats not a process, thats a opinion of someone else.
                      Chris
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------
                      Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I think it depends on your age, room and system. And why are you playing it loud?

                        With regards to systems. There almost always seems to be a "sweet" spot --or a minimal level -- in level for systems. (that of course is also dependent on the room.) Those estat owners don't have to play as loud to get all the information. The Magicos for me came the closest to my ML in that regard. Or maybe tubes give a little more information and don't need to play as loud to get the same info?
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

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                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
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                        Comment


                        • #15
                          All systems distort and compress the louder they are played. The trick is to find a compromise setting loud enough, but not loud enough to cause audible distortion or compression.
                          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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