Play Loud!

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Arjen
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Play Loud!

Post by Arjen »

There are albums which tells you on a sticker “Play Loud”.
Most friends visiting they ‘re playing their music very soft, let say at 7.30, like Muzak. Boring, not interesting to me when it is really about music, more than musical wallpaper
To me the real listening of music start at position 9 O’Clock. Is it me old ears that I need playing rather loud, or should you play music nine and over for the real experience? Is there an optimum in volume or it it only a matter of taste and circumstances or customizing?
Just asking you as my more experienced fellow members on this forum.
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beck
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by beck »

I like both but enjoy playing loud because it gives my body a good “shake” as well as playing the music. To me “loud” gives more to the experience than just dreaming away on the sofa while the music play’s softly in the background. :-)
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by Spannko »

For me, hearing “musical wallpaper” is indicative of a poorly performing system. To sound good at low levels, it’s doubly important for a system to be able to play rhythms and tunes accurately. Only then, without the impressive crash, bang, wallop of high level volumes will the system reproduce the musical subtleties we find so entertaining. A good system is engaging, whatever the volume.
Whatsmynaim
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by Whatsmynaim »

It can be speaker related. Some just needs to be played at high volume levels to become engaging.
For example. My current speakers, Totem Dreamcatcher, is still fun at low volumes while my old Linn Ninka wasn't.
It actually made me skip listening to music late in the evening when it no longer was possible to crank it up without bothering someone.
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markiteight
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by markiteight »

Fun question, Arjen!
Spannko wrote: 2023-03-04 21:06 For me, hearing “musical wallpaper” is indicative of a poorly performing system. To sound good at low levels, it’s doubly important for a system to be able to play rhythms and tunes accurately. Only then, without the impressive crash, bang, wallop of high level volumes will the system reproduce the musical subtleties we find so entertaining. A good system is engaging, whatever the volume.
I remember reading a piece in Stereophile many, many, whole-bunches of years ago by, IIRC, Wes Phillips, where he postulates that the sign of a good system is one that can play background music for, say, a dinner party without drawing attention to itself or the music it's playing. If your guests' attention is drawn to the music the system is failing at its job. This seemed ludicrous to me, but the point he was trying to make was that a system that commits major sonic sins will draw attention to itself, even if those sins aren't necessarily sonically offensive. What he missed is that a musically competent system will also draw attention to itself, simply by virtue of the fact that what it's playing is musically compelling.
Whatsmynaim wrote: 2023-03-05 00:10 It can be speaker related. Some just needs to be played at high volume levels to become engaging.
For example. My current speakers, Totem Dreamcatcher, is still fun at low volumes while my old Linn Ninka wasn't.
It actually made me skip listening to music late in the evening when it no longer was possible to crank it up without bothering someone.
My experience is similar. The Zu Dirty Weekends held together musically down to a whisper. The JBL 308s don't. However, the 308s are still better at low volumes than the DWs were at any volume, so it doesn't bother me too much.

It's also been my experience that the more musically competent a system is, the less I feel compelled to turn it up in an attempt to find that engagement I crave. It's already there so there's no need to turn it up. But like Beck said, sometimes you just need a "good shake." Crowded House just came on and I'm sorry, but there's no other way to play Weather With You than LOUD!
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John
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by John »

I always thought the Quad ESL manual had a good perspective on listening volume.

https://quadesl.com/origRefs/Quad%20ESL ... manual.pdf
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springwood64
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by springwood64 »

John wrote: 2023-03-05 02:28 I always thought the Quad ESL manual had a good perspective on listening volume.

https://quadesl.com/origRefs/Quad%20ESL ... manual.pdf
Thanks for posting that. V interesting.
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by matthias »

beck wrote: 2023-03-04 19:17 I like both but enjoy playing loud because it gives my body a good “shake” as well as playing the music. To me “loud” gives more to the experience than just dreaming away on the sofa while the music play’s softly in the background. :-)
+1
I mostly listen like Arjen at the 9h volume level position which is very loud with the high sensitivity 3677s. It seems to be the sweet spot for my set-up similar to a live concert in my living room. But it is also very satisfying to listen at lower volumes.
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El Mero Mero
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by El Mero Mero »

We should do a survey at how loud we listen to music using a loudness app. I think it was ThomasOK who recommended NIOSH SLM. Is anyone interested?
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John
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by John »

El Mero Mero wrote: 2023-03-05 15:43 We should do a survey at how loud we listen to music using a loudness app. I think it was ThomasOK who recommended NIOSH SLM. Is anyone interested?
For me it’s usually between 65 to 75db.
Arjen
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by Arjen »

John wrote: 2023-03-05 02:28 I always thought the Quad ESL manual had a good perspective on listening volume.

https://quadesl.com/origRefs/Quad%20ESL ... manual.pdf
Good quote by Quad as they say that much listening is spoilt due to insufficient care on this (volume control) point.
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Charlie1
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by Charlie1 »

markiteight wrote: 2023-03-05 00:48 I remember reading a piece in Stereophile many, many, whole-bunches of years ago by, IIRC, Wes Phillips, where he postulates that the sign of a good system is one that can play background music for, say, a dinner party without drawing attention to itself or the music it's playing. If your guests' attention is drawn to the music the system is failing at its job. This seemed ludicrous to me, but the point he was trying to make was that a system that commits major sonic sins will draw attention to itself, even if those sins aren't necessarily sonically offensive. What he missed is that a musically competent system will also draw attention to itself, simply by virtue of the fact that what it's playing is musically compelling.
That's a good point, although my wife would say that 'anything' by Norah Jones is sonic wallpaper no matter what the system :)
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by ThomasOK »

I once posted that theory from Quad and I recall Fredrik referring to it in terms of the excrement of a bull! I think the first thing to be aware of on the Quad hypothesis is that they are referring to orchestral music recorded in a hall with simple microphone techniques and in monophonic. There is almost an addendum near the end of the manual on page nine that says you can use two for stereo but that "experience obtained so far is insufficient for us to make specific recommendations". The Quads came out in 1957 and this manual is obviously from the very early days of stereo where the tape recorders used for stereo had only two or three tracks so the whole multi-miking/multi-tracking techniques of the mid to late 60s didn't yet exist. The recordings were picked up with only a few, or even a couple, of mics and the recording engineers were trying to give a recreation of what the music sounded like in the hall or jazz club. In such an instance you could argue, as Quad did, that only one volume level would give you the natural reproduction of the perfromance. Under those circumstances I can understand the hypothesis. There is some simple logic to it in that almost any acoustic instrument will change the tone quality as it is played softer or louder so if you turn it up above original level the instrument(s) don't sound natural for the level they were played and recorded at.

But I think that is about as far as you can take it. With modern recordings, and I'd put that starting somewhere in the mid-60s to early 70s, almost everything was multi-miked and multi-tracked. There is no reference level on the instruments as the levels are played around with on the mixing board and many of the instruments are electric to start with. So it would be hard to imagine there is one volume where it would be most natural or most musical.

I used to think there was a volume at which some of my recordings sounded best but that was when I had a Linn Klimax Kontrol. If I remember correctly Fredrik indicated that was more likely a characteristic of the preamp rather than of the music. Indeed ever since I have had the Sagatun Monos in my system I have found that there is a wider range where the music is gripping. I also find that I don't have to turn things up as high to get the same sense of engagement in the music as I once did. There are still, of course, those pieces of music that are best played LOUD, whether or not indicated on the album. (I seem to recall an album that said Play it Loud on one side and Play it Really Loud on the other.) But even those can still be enjoyed at a lower level. Overall I don't find myself playing as loud now as I used to but I'm also not sure how much of that is trying to be merciful to the ears of my dog, Lily. ;-)
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Charlie1
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Re: Play Loud!

Post by Charlie1 »

Great post - thanks Tom
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