Do you guys use 'loudness'?
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jaK

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Hi, I am just wondering if you guys listen to your music with loudness on or off. The only amp I have in the house is an amp for my dad's big loud speakers and there's a little switch that turns loudness on or off. Loudness seems to make everything sound better :p but does it 'change' the way the song is _supposed_ to sound? Thanks
 
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ampgalore

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I have a similar feature on my old receiver. To me, changing the loudness seems to change the frequency response. Because of this, I only use the volume knob, not the loudness knob.
 
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My amp doesn't have any adjustments so I don't use it. I do remember an old amp where it made things sound better at very low volumes. I recall a caution not to use it at higher volumes, but I had that amp in the early 70's.
 
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on my 30 year old fisher 275 it makes everything sound like crap. I think its supposed to EQ and increase the real high and real low frequencies.
 
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greenhorn

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At low volumes, one can't hear the high and low frequencies loud enough (close to 0 dB one can hear only what's around 1 kHz). The "loudness" switch artificially enhances these extreme frequencies. Not good for purists but great for those who want to listen at low volumes.
 
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timoteus

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I use the loudness feature often on my old receivers at work and at home when I'm listening at low volume or in the background.

The ear has reduced sensitivity to high and low frequencies at low volume. This circuit counteracts that. Like greenhorn says, it's not the purist approach, but it's nice to have some equipment around with lots of knobs and switches to tweak and turn.
 
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No, I don't. It is supposed to only increase the lows and highs at low volume, but most receivers now just boost the lows and highs with it at all volume levels.
 
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timoteus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ServinginEcuador
No, I don't. It is supposed to only increase the lows and highs at low volume, but most receivers now just boost the lows and highs with it at all volume levels.


Yes, it will boost the highs and lows no matter what the volume is set to. But it was designed to be used at low volumes only, and turned off at louder volumes.
 
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I feel that using the loudness feature, is like using an equalizer. Anything other than using flat response, is adding distortion in the circuitry. Lower powered amps, can't acheived the full spectrum at low volumes, and "loudness" compensates for this by boosting certain parts of the frequency response, but it is artificial to the natural recording.
 
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My dad's old receivers have this; they're a Yamaha and Sony from the 70s or early 80s. I guess the loudness function could be useful for poor speakers from that era.
 
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The loudness control on receivers and integrated amplifiers is designed to compensate for the human ear's relative insensitivity to low frequencies and to a lesser extent high frequencies at low acoustic levels.

Most loudness circuits are wired into the volume control so that as the volume is raised the loudness function tapers off. The problem is that people don't all hear the same, the Fletcher-Munsen curves developed in the 1930s were only a model of what people hear, on average but no one' hearing is perfectly average.

At really low listening levels with speakers, or headphones, the sound you hear can benefit from some bass boost, so the loudness control might be worth a try. Ideally, by the time the volume control is half-way up there should be little if any difference in what you hear regardless of whether the loudness switch is engaged but many manufacturers choose to leave the loudness function engaged for far too loud acoustic levels, so the bass really gets pumped up even when the music is already loud enough not to need this artificial boost.

Because the loudness function is wired into the volume control on most units and when using most headphones the volume rarely is turned up as high as when listening to speakers, the gradual tailoring off of the loudness function will not work as designed with headphones.

In the late 1970s Yahama had a line of receivers and integrated amplifiers with a very well designed loudness control. Instead of a switch, there was a rotary control. To use this control, first you set your volume control to where it would be when you normally listened to music. Then you adjusted the loudness contour until the bass, midrange, and treble of the music you heard was well balanced to your ear. This loudness control worked pretty well. It is really too bad no one offers such a control today.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mkmelt
The loudness control on receivers and integrated amplifiers is designed to compensate for the human ear's relative insensitivity to low frequencies and to a lesser extent high frequencies at low acoustic levels.

Most loudness circuits are wired into the volume control so that as the volume is raised the loudness function tapers off. The problem is that people don't all hear the same, the Fletcher-Munsen curves developed in the 1930s were only a model of what people hear, on average but no one' hearing is perfectly average.



I used to use it with the receivers I had from the 70s with speakers and it was a good thing, never used it with headphones but mkmelt's assessment of the effects seems pretty spot on excepting one thing. I think the older ones were wired into the volume so they reduced as the volume increased but i ran into a number of newer ones that don't work that way.
 
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jaK

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Thanks for all of the great information! I'll try listening without the loudness turned on and see how I like it :p Now that I am all used to it, it sounds kind of weak without it :p Hopefully we might be picking up a new home theatre receiver/amp soon


If the loudness feature adds distortion to the signal, then I should probably disable it when I am breaking in my new headphones?


thanks!
 
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mkmelt

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At low levels the bass is boosted by as much as 10db. This subjectively makes the bass sounds twice as loud but actually calls on the amplifier to produce 10X the power. At low levels this is not a problem, but at louder levels this could overtax a modestly powered amplifier and cause clipping and the associated distortion that comes with clipping an audio signal.

A 10 watt amplifier can produce 1 watt average and 10 watts peak power without clipping. The same amplifier producing 3 watts average power will need to be able to deliver 30 watts peak power. Since this is several times more power than the 10 watt rating, the amplifier will clip the signal when attempting to produce this peak output. Using the loudness control has much the same effect, except that any bass frequencies present in the music will cause the amplifier to attempt to deliver 10X the average power level and except for low to moderate level listening will drive a modestly powered amplifier into clipping.
 
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I know Yamaha still offers this feature even on their newest lines of recievers. I haven't had a chance to listen to it with good speakers tho so I'll have to reserve my judgement.
 
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