Sometimes I have to increase the volume all the way to -26 or -28 depends on the source. I run my entertainment system through - but all old fashioned 2 channel. So my question is - what is normal loudness, i.e., I've seen some say -60 is real loud and others -40. If I play pure aduio from my OPPO I only need -45 to -50 attenuation. Just curious.
The number on your equipment vary by brand . Get yourself a sound meter and measure the decibles that you are playing music at to get a accurate reading.
Optoma 8600 projector, Marantz AV 7702,XPA-7,UPA-500, Wyred4Sound STP-se pre-amp, Audio Space CDP-8A cd player, Sony BDP-CX960 changer, Toshiba A35 HD-DVD, Music Hall 7.0 turntable, Sony HAPZ1ES music streamer, OPPO BDP-103D alregion Blu-ray player, dual Rythmic FVX15 Subwoofers in front and Epic Tower in back, Salk Sound HT'3's for mains, HTC SAlk center, ERD-1 for surrounds and backs and four ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos ,GIK acoustic ceiling panels, GIK free standing Acoustic panels
Depends on room (acoustic treatments), listening distance, speaker sensitivity, amp power/gain, source (BD's/DVD's are generally recorded at a lower level than CD's), personal preference, etc.
So, no real answer. As Thomas mentioned, you can play with a sound meter (or use an iphone/android app) to find out what decibel level you're generally listening at, but it's up to you. Sounds like in your particular setup you have plenty of headroom so your amps won't be straining, which is good.
Last Edit: Dec 17, 2014 7:58:45 GMT -5 by thorcorps
Amp: XPA-1 gen 2 using XLR connections. Speakers: Axiom Audio m80 V3, Sennheisser HD600 headphones. two pairs 12 guage speaker cables per monoblock for biwire. Headphone amp: Basx A-100 (INCREDIBLE VALUE WITH HD600s!!)
1) Power amps are virtually always "fixed gain" devices; they always have the same amount of gain. (Or, at least, they don't change gain by themselves - even though they may have a switch or control you can use to do so manually.) However, many sources, and many amps, may put out different levels from their balanced and unbalanced outputs, or have different amounts of gains on their balanced and unbalanced inputs.
2) "Analog style" preamps, like our XSP-1, also don't change their gain automatically... so, for a given input and Volume control setting, you should get the same output voltage. (Although, again, those with balanced and unbalanced outputs may have them at different levels, or the equipment you're connecting them to may have different gains on those inputs. (If you connect the XSP-1 to one of our amps, you should get the same levels if you switch between balanced and unbalanced outputs/inputs.)
3) Most "simple DACs" like our XDA-2 and DC-1 have a fixed digital output level. Unlike with analog recordings, a digital recording has a well defined "loudest sound you can play off of it" - and the D/A converters in a DAC will produce a specific analog output level when they play that loudest possible digital sound. The analog circuitry in a regular DAC also has a "fixed gain" based on settings - so, if you leave the settings the same, a "0 dB" digital audio signal should play at the same output level regardless of which input it is received through. So, for example, if you were to play digital music from two different sources on your DC-1, assuming you left the Volume control set to the same level, and used the same output, a "0 dB full scale signal" should always play at the same output level. (Bear in mind that we're talking about the highest possible signal that can be recorded in the file or disc; it's quite possible that one disc may be recorded at very loud levels, and another much more quietly. In general, well recorded CDs and digital audio files will have the loudest point in the recording set to somewhere between -3 dB and 0 dB, although the average level on heavily compressed ones may be a lot louder, and "homemade" recordings may vary wildly.) However, if you play a CD and a digital music file, both using digital inputs on your DC-1; and leave the Volume control set in the same place; the gain (and so the level of the loudest possible sound on each) should be the same.
4) This situation is even more complicated with a processor like the XMC-1. While all the gain settings and levels "out of the box" should be the same for any XMC-1, as soon as you start changing settings, that may change. First, all of the various gain trims will obviously change the gain, and so will Dirac. Even beyond the obvious there, the XMC-1 (and most other processors) has something called "normalization"... which is a fancy way of saying that it is smart about its gain. If you go into the parametric EQs on the XMC-1 and set a band to +6 dB, depending on other settings, the XMC-1 might "decide" that it has to set the overall gain down by- 6 dB so the boost you applied won't overload anything and cause it to clip when the music gets loud. (So you might notice that, when you boosted that band, the average level got a bit quieter.) This "compensation" will be applied at the time when you change the EQ setting (if it floated around while the music was playing it would cause distortion). The point is that you might actually notice that, after you change the setting on that band, you end up with the Volume control in a slightly different spot when you play music at the same level as before.