20 Watch Ticking30 Whispering Library40 Leaves rustling, refrigerator50 Average home, neighborhood street60 Normal conversation, dishwasher, microwave70 Car, alarm clock, city traffic80 Garbage disposal, noisy restaurant, vacuum cleaner85 Factory, electric shaver, screaming child90 Passing motorcycle, lawn mower, convertible ride on a freeway100 Blow-dryer, diesel truck, subway train, helicopter, chain saw110 Car horn, snowblower120 Rock Concert, prop plane130 Jet engine 100 feet away, air raid siren140 Shotgun Blast
How unfair. I listen to so many different types of music at so many different times of day in so many different situations requiring so many different volume levels that just one answer will absolutely not do.
Playback of Jimi Hendix requires maximum volume, regardless of the capability of the system - if you happen to go deaf as a result then you shouldn't have been listening to Jimi on such a powerful system in the first place.
A Mahler symphony also requires somewhat loud playback but a Bartok string quartet should not require volume any greater than slightly above normal conversational levels.
The volume of jazz playback also varies from loud for big band and electric Miles to mid-level for quartets and quintets to lowest levels for piano trios and solo piano.
I quote from Antony Michaelson and Musical Fidelity:
"...one of the markers of genuine hi-fi is a decent dynamic range. To produce a decent dynamic range, the system needs to be able to produce peaks of at least 100dB in your listening position, and comfortable peaks of 105dB to 110dB are better. However, 100dB is the bare minimum requirement, and any system that produces less than this does not deserve the name of hi-fi. It takes an amplifier with a lot of power to produce peaks of 100dB or more."
Antony is referring to instantaneous peaks, of course, not prolonged listening levels. And yes, doing that naturally, is a lot rarer than we audiohiles prefer to think it.
When I was younger, I also needed 100db to enjoy the music I listened to. As I got older, 100db became unenjoyable with any music and now, 95% of my listening is at around 80db or less with a very small percentage hitting 90db.
However, Hendrix has also been replaced in my pecking order with other types of music.
I suppose most everyone listens at a variety of levels depending on their mood, but I am simply trying to gauge the percentage of people who actually need those mega watt amps with those that really only need the little jobs to satisfy the majority of their listening requirements.
Still, you have to admit, 100db is loud and unhealthy for your ears. I feel very fortunate that I haven't damaged my ears from all the years of ear splitting levels at concerts and in my cars. I reserve the right to modify this assumption in about 5 more years, though I recently had surgery to correct a deviated septum in my nose that required before and after hearing tests and so far, I haven't lost any hearing.
Yes, as Wes Philips has clarified, I should have been more specific as otherwise my quoting of Antony might easily be misinterpreted. Listening and listening well is dependent to a large extent on hearing acuity. Having our hearing damaged by our love of music- our hi-fi hobby- would be a bitter irony, indeed.
Sustained 90+ dB is unhealthy and would violate OSHA regulations concerned workplace noise in about an hour or so, if I remember correctly. Much less music listening for enjoyment. I have cautioned against sustained high sPL exposure in a headphone thread on this forum.
The days of front row at rock and electronica concerts and long nights in danceclubs is behind me. Fortunately, I haven't sustained any hearing lost either, as confirmed by testing. On an unrelated note, as an avid motorcyclist, I also use earplugs since the noise level even inside a full-face helmet can easily exceed 95+dB at freeway speeds.
::: suppose most everyone listens at a variety of levels depending on their mood, but I am simply trying to gauge the percentage of people who actually need those mega watt amps with those that really only need the little jobs to satisfy the majority of their listening requirements.:::
There are benefits of dynamic reserve granted by these mega watt amps other than mega volume. A sense of ease and bass control are some of them.
Of course, there are other factors and considerations at play. As the saying goes, if the 1st watt doesn't sound good, what's the point of the next 100 or 500?
I cannot say which approach is (subjectively) better. Only there is more than one approach.
Boy, do I agree with TEvo. I have loved some really beefy amps -- and I have loved some flea powered jobbies too. It all depends on your room, your speakers, and your willingess to accept that we have not attained perefction yet.
I looked at the list and am slightly embarrassed. Most of my listening is in the 70 dB range as I do something quiet.
For rocking and rolling, I listen at the "What did you say?" level.
Depends on what it is I am listening too. Most CD around 80-85 average and concert DVD's at higher levels but no where near the live levels in a real show figure around 90-95 which is plenty loud.
Hi Monty ,
I quess i listen to between 90-100 db but boy,you've got a really noisy electric shaver there, 85 db ?!?!?! lololol
Take a typical speaker with a 4Ohm load and a sensitivity of 86dB/2.83V/1m.In order to get 100dB at a listening distance of 4m you need 403W/ch, which means you should use an amplifier with at least 200W/ch into 8Ohm and a beefy power supply.Not to mention each speaker should be able to generate a SPL of 109dB/1m without compression (or blowing a woofer).