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Safe Headphone Volume

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by bsong, May 22, 2009.
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  1. Bilavideo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by twylight /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    If my wife is talking to me and I am ignoring her...what db is that?



    I'll tell you but I've never listened to your wife. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've listened to my own. Isn't that way we buy headphones in the first place?
     
  2. Icehawk
    I have a related question - I have used open cans and IEMs (see sig) for the last couple of years for extended time with no fatigue or apparent hearing problems.

    Recently I got an iPhone and have used those cheap earbuds w/mic a few times - I've noticed even at volumes below what I would consider loud I will get a bit of hearing loss for a short term after taking them off. At a fairly loud level, but not as loud as I'd listen to for one song, I can get ear ringing. What gives? I had assumed that volume is volume but are these cans playing some kind of trick on me so they are actually blasting but I think they are not?

    I ordered some IEMs w/mic to replace them as I'm hoping it's just some weird reaction to the ear bud design. Plus I need better sound! [​IMG]
     
  3. paaj
    IEM's isolate much better, so for the ibuds to match the perceived volume they have to be louder. that could be an explanation.
     
  4. xnor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by crossmd /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Thats really interesting, I hadn't heard that. I've been wondering about the safe volume thing, and realize that, often..at the volume constraints projected here (85ish db) I lose a great amount of sound quality. Ideally, you should say that reference grade phones should need no real volume increase to achieve their best sound, but I'm a purveyor of the belief that this really isn't true.

    So then, is it better to listen at lower volumes and save your ears..or is it better to enjoy your rig alot more with just a tiny volume increase?




    I think it's the other way round really. Every additional db decreases SQ (e.g. because distortion increases), damages your hearing ...
    If you have to turn up the volume really high to achieve the "best sound" you already have damaged your hearing.
     
  5. AtomikPi
    The reason SQ seems to improve with increased volume is because perceived frequency response changes due to Fletcher Munson - bass and treble both increase with volume. Also, higher volume causes increased transparency and detail. This is why certain headphones are great at low volumes and others require 80dB+ to sound their best.
     
  6. xnor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AtomikPi /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The reason SQ seems to improve with increased volume is because perceived frequency response changes due to Fletcher Munson - bass and treble both increase with volume. Also, higher volume causes increased transparency and detail. This is why certain headphones are great at low volumes and others require 80dB+ to sound their best.



    Yeah it just _seems_ to improve. Is there any scientific material about increased detail at high volumes? Because I usually listen at a pretty low volume level, also when doing ABX tests and SQ seems to be brilliant...
     
  7. anetode
    With most modern releases you can listen at levels below 80db and still discern the entire dynamic range. Some recordings, mostly classical, require peaks above that, but with most of the music significantly quieter. Begin with silence and turn up the volume until you hear a satisfactory dynamic without focusing too much on the details of the recording. Using this approach I usually end up in the 70s.
     
  8. tosehee
    there is no way in hell that I will be putting SPL meter for every song that I listen to. Some songs are louder than the others with the same volume setting. You just have to go with the volume that is most comfortable. I'd go with anetode's suggestion.
     
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