Question about "Reference Volume" and receiver display volume!

Y

Ybills15

Enthusiast
Hey guys after setting up and running YPAO on my Yamaha TSR7850 the scale of volume runs from -80db to +16.5db. I was curious as to what volume level 0db is? Is it 105db as this is the peak that THX says to have or is this considered to be 85 db which is what THX says is to be the continuous volume? The reason I ask is because i've read several different answers to this question online. Your help would be much appreciated! My current understanding is that 0 db reading is equivalent to 105 db but I've heard others state online that this value is actually 85 db. If that is the case 85 db sure is incredibly loud!

The reason I ask is because I don't want to push my speakers too far (Klipsch RP 8000f's and 504c) but I still wanted to play movies at reference to impress friends and family! I wanted to replicate as close to movie theatre sound as I can and any input would be much appreciated!
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
Afaik its supposed to be thx reference but movies arent mixed at the same levels so whats what depends on each movie. Aiming for «reference» level is pointless. How we perceive sound depends on among other things size of room/venue so what might seem ok in a theater will seem louder or much louder at home in a much smaller room. Use a volume thats comfortable to you and the others you watch with, many find movie theater levels too loud and even painful. Many brands (denon/marantz(audyssey) pluss others) lowered the volume of the auto setup sweeps from 85dB to 75dB because people found 85 to be too loud and uncomfortable.

Edit: P.S. I think yamaha with YPAO also lowered the sweeps volume.

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Y

Ybills15

Enthusiast
Afaik its supposed to be thx reference but movies arent mixed at the same levels so whats what depends on each movie. Aiming for «reference» level is pointless. How we perceive sound depends on among other things size of room/venue so what might seem ok in a theater will seem louder or much louder at home in a much smaller room. Use a volume thats comfortable to you and the others you watch with, many find movie theater levels too loud and even painful. Many brands (denon/marantz(audyssey) pluss others) lowered the volume of the auto setup sweeps from 85dB to 75dB because people found 85 to be too loud and uncomfortable.

Edit: P.S. I think yamaha with YPAO also lowered the sweeps volume.

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Thanks for the quick response I appreciate it! But does that mean the sound at 0db is 105 db? Or does it mean that it's 85?
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
Thanks for the quick response I appreciate it! But does that mean the sound at 0db is 105 db? Or does it mean that it's 85?
85 with peaks at 105 i think but would be good with confirmation on that because im not 100% sure.


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Yes average levels per channel of 85dB with allowance for 20dB peaks, and 10dB more for the LFE channel....
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Essentially the best way to determine what your receiver was set at from the factory to output at reference level go into the settings or speaker playback level. Here your receiver will have a full band pink noise factory set to output at 75,80, or 85 db for reference when you calibrate it to the 0.0 setting on your receiver which should represent the max you should or would ever set your volume control. To complicate the issue where your individual speakers are placed in your room has an impact on that factory setting when measured with an SPL meter. Not that the setting is changed directly by your room I am referring to boundary reinforcement. This reinforced sound reflected from the walls(boundaries) is important during the speaker playback setting process. There is a trick not often considered in my opinion when setting reference for your “speakers” and not just the common accepted 85 with 20 db peaks. Let’s consider speaker sensitivity. Let assume 90 db 1watt 1 meter as per the manufacturer specs. If you calibrate your speakers one at a time to 90 db at tweeter height 1 meter away your amp input in watts “technically” is now 1 watt. If you calibrate that to the 0.0 max volume setting on your receiver you now know that that speaker would use 100 watts input for peaks at 1 meter away from it at tweeter height roughly. Since room boundaries will be much in play long before you ever reach 0.0 on your receiver and every speaker plus the sub is contributing to the total volume output in your room I highly and I mean that literally doubt you would raise the volume of your system beyond -15 unless due to a severely compressed audio recording. The whole speaker setup inside the 4 walls, floor and ceiling adds to the total SPL your hearing and that could be up to 15-20 db. Bonus power from room gain saves your amp not necessary the sound quality but hopefully you get the idea now. In any case never set the speaker output and assume that at 0.0 max that your hitting reference 85 with 105 db peaks your actually going to be hitting reference 100-105 with 115-125 db peaks from boundary gain and source material will influence that massively!


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WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
There is no automatic correlation between reference levels and the receiver’s volume setting. This is because different speakers will deliver different in-room SPL levels for a given volume setting on the receiver.

For instance, your Klipsch speakers will play roughly 18 dB louder at a given volume setting than the Philharmonic Audio BMR speakers (98 dB sensitivity vs. 85 dB).

Here’s a good article on the subject, but THX reference basically means your system has been calibrated so that each speaker plays at 85 dB (in-room SPL measurement) when the receiver’s volume control is set at 0 dB.

Probably the best way to achieve that is to set the receiver’s volume control at 0 dB, and reduce the trim on all channels all the way down. Pick a speaker to start with, and play the reference pink noise signal. Raise the trim for that speaker until your SPL meter measures 85 dB. Repeat for each speaker.

What the article (and most others) don’t mention is that once you’ve gone through this process, with all speakers playing at the 0 dB volume setting, the in-room SPL reading will now measure several dB above 85 dB.

Regardless, at after this calibration, your system should be capable of delivering peaks of 105 dB in-room SPL measurements, and the sub 115 dB. That won’t be a problem with Klipsch speakers (mains at least, not sure about their subs).

Personally I find the whole exercise rather pointless: If your system can hit 105 dB-SPL, who cares what the receiver’s volume setting is?

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Speaker sensitivity is referenced to wattage needed to hit that specific output. That has no baring on actual SPL regardless of input wattage used. 85 db is 85 db if speaker a used 1000 watts to do it and speaker b used 10000 watts.


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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Probably the best way to achieve that is to set the receiver’s volume control at 0 dB, and reduce the trim on all channels all the way down. Pick a speaker to start with, and play the reference pink noise signal. Raise the trim for that speaker until your SPL meter measures 85 dB. Repeat for each speaker.

What the article (and most others) don’t mention is that once you’ve gone through this process, with all speakers playing at the 0 dB volume setting, the in-room SPL reading will now measure several dB above 85 dB.
If the OP ran YPAO properly, after the auto setup, he should be getting roughly 85 dB average from the main mic position with MV set to 0. As you mentioned, he could achieve the same manually using a spl meter on c weighting, and adjust the trims accordingly. I am not sure if the Yamaha's pink noise would cause the meter to register 85 dB at volume 0 though. I do know for Denon/Marantz, we need to aim for 75 dB on the spl meter using the AVR's test tone, in order achieve THX reference level (85 dB) at volume 0 when listening to real program material.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
I am not sure if the Yamaha's pink noise would cause the meter to register 85 dB at volume 0 though.
Right. The THX standard calls for the pink noise signal to be -20dBFS, and we have no way of knowing if Yamaha’s signal level meets that qualification.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Right. The THX standard calls for the pink noise signal to be -20dBFS, and we have no way of knowing if Yamaha’s signal level meets that qualification.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
It can be -30dBFS as well for a test tone. Depends on avr. Hopefully if your master volume isn't quite in sync with the reference volume scale reading of 0, at least your speakers are set correctly individually for delay/level at your main listening position...
 
Y

Ybills15

Enthusiast
So I just played the pink noise, and using a couple of different iPhone apps found it was pretty close to 85 decibels from each speaker at 0db. However, from my understanding, when all three channels are playing at once (say for a song) the volume being outputted at 0 db is significantly greater than 85 db right? According to the apps for many songs, at -20db it was reading roughly 85 db with peaks into low 90's. Does this mean that theoretically when watching a movie that "reference level" is actually achieved quite lower than 0 db "reference rating"?
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Yes. I just watched deep impact and at -15 hit 101.5 db


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HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Room gain remember plays an important roll. At 0.0 you will hit around 120 db or greater potentially, be careful not to push your amps or speakers at that level especially with boosted movies or music!


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HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
All my settings are flat no bass or treble gain. Speakers calibrated to 85 at one meter. At listening seat I hit 101.5 db which means the speaker at one meter only hit 90 db


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
So I just played the pink noise, and using a couple of different iPhone apps found it was pretty close to 85 decibels from each speaker at 0db. However, from my understanding, when all three channels are playing at once (say for a song) the volume being outputted at 0 db is significantly greater than 85 db right? According to the apps for many songs, at -20db it was reading roughly 85 db with peaks into low 90's. Does this mean that theoretically when watching a movie that "reference level" is actually achieved quite lower than 0 db "reference rating"?
The reference level is more about the levels movies are recorded at, varies a lot with music. As HTF says about effects of multiple speakers and boundaries on spl. You might want to play around with an spl calculator....http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
THX came to being to standardize theater reproduction to a set mastering to achieve a set of loudness.
In theater calibration a test tone is used that is -20dBFS. Theaters are acoustically different from most homes so that 85 dB spl may not be that loud whereas at home it will be. My Onkyo receivers use a -30 dB FS signal and I am on good ground that most consumer receivers are the same as an continuous 85 dB spl would drive you out.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
THX came to being to standardize theater reproduction to a set mastering to achieve a set of loudness.
In theater calibration a test tone is used that is -20dBFS. Theaters are acoustically different from most homes so that 85 dB spl may not be that loud whereas at home it will be. My Onkyo receivers use a -30 dB FS signal and I am on good ground that most consumer receivers are the same as an continuous 85 dB spl would drive you out.
Hard to compare theaters to home setups in several ways, tho I have read that in dedicated home theater rooms that are well setup (acoustically) that reference level isn't as loud subjectively as in a room less suited for it, like perhaps a typical living room. That's the usual explanation I've seen for avr test tones being set at 75dB as 85dB was tried early on and people complained about the level....
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
... My current understanding is that 0 db reading is equivalent to 105 db but I've heard others state online that this value is actually 85 db. If that is the case 85 db sure is incredibly loud!
...
This would be the case if the receiver is properly calibrated with the proper input signal.
With master volume at 0 and a full scale signal, it would be 105 dB loud.

The new Balde Runner seems to be mastered very hot, perhaps 10 dB more than most others.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
This would be the case if the receiver is properly calibrated with the proper input signal.
With master volume at 0 and a full scale signal, it would be 105 dB loud.

The new Balde Runner seems to be mastered very hot, perhaps 10 dB more than most others.
It would have 105dB peaks per channel I think is a better way of distinguishing between 85/105 (85 dB average with allowance for 20 dB peaks with 10dB more for the LFE channel). The DD version I had originally of Blade Runner 2049 is less hot than the bluray soundtrack, tho. Regular Blade Runner in various versions isn't as "hot" IME.
 

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