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Perception of loudness: 1 ear vs. 2

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm just listening to some MP3s with my Altoid + MX500s while waiting for an MD to finish recording off my 9000ES, and I tried playing around with Winamp's balance controls. Well this question has been with me for a while, but I'll ask it now. When listening with the balance centered, what seems to be a low volume, sounds low. But when I shift the balance all the way to one side or the other, it suddenly seems as if the sound is twice as loud. Which makes me think the centered sound is in reality too loud for my/our own good? So given that...should we actually be monitoring with just one ear to truly figure out how loud we're really listening at? Or is this just a perception thing that the sound is louder in one ear after a balance shift?
post #2 of 6
I've been playing WinAmp the last few mins and yes, it seems sound louder at center. But when I just used my right hand earbud, the volume is the same when I switched between center and right. So I think when you have both sides of the phones on, of course it seems louder for you.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
No, it's the other way around for me...when I have both 'phones on, it seems as though it's NOT as loud as when I just have one side on. Which is making me wonder just what is the real loudness....the perception I get in just one ear, or both?
post #4 of 6
Since you have many phones, how about to test it with other phones?

Or you should check your computer's volume control properties.
post #5 of 6
You ought to just take one bud off if you want to compare volumes... you never know, Winamp might be doing funny things when you move that balance control... like adding all the volume of one channel into the other

Things sound louder when I use both buds--especially in a noisy environment, I'd have to crank up the volume to be able to hear the music with just one ear
post #6 of 6
I notice the same thing as Vertigo. There's more of a "pressure" feeling along with loudness when I only have one phone on. I wonder if the brain is expecting to get a reflected sound in the other ear, but doesn't.

It's a good question if we should be measuring db in only one ear or both. I personaly would want to measure in one ear since that's the 'peak' sound level if an instrument is mixed in either the left or right channel.
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