Should the loudness control be off?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by William Lane, May 11, 2003.

  1. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    I read the primer (Accuracy & Calibration) and it said that it might be a good idea to turn off all treble and bass boosts/cutting. Am I right to assume that the 'Loudness' control on my receiver is a booster? Should I turn it off when I calibrate? I believe it only adds enhancement to the main left and right speakers. That would obviously throw off the surround field in a movie since the center speaker wouldn't have the same tonal balance as the mains. Especially since my front three are timbre matched. I was thinking of just turning the loudness on when listening to music. Opinions?
     
  2. Jim Williams

    Jim Williams Second Unit

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    Loudness is a bass boost for when you are listening to music or movies at lower volumes. When calibrating your setup you should have this off also. On some AV receivers this is called "midnight" and serves the same purpose.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    If it were up to me, so-called "loudness" controls would be banned. It's an "enhancement" (i.e., a distortion), so of course turn it off when you're calibrating.
     
  4. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    So it's a bass boost when listening at lower levels. Does this mean I'm safe to turn it on in that situation or should I just leave it off ALL the time?
     
  5. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    The "loudness" control is actually more than just a bass boost. It actually boosts at both the high and low end and is usually intended for a very low level listening. I'd say if you're listening at very low volumes it would prolly sound better. But then again, why listen at very low volume in the first place [​IMG] At normal or above listening levels I'd say definitely not, and certainly not for calibration.
     
  6. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    Thanks to everyone for your opinion!
     
  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    IMO, the loudness control comes into play if you are in an apartment and watching a movie after 10PM, when your neighbors can legally complain. It does make it sound much better at the lower levels, but leave it off if those are not your circumstances.

    Glenn
     
  8. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    The sound still seems to sound better even at high volume. I turned the volume up pretty loud then turned on the loudness and I could still hear a difference. Of course at that volume the bass was too much. I thought you weren't suppossed to tell a difference at high volumes?
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, boom-and-sizzle sound is not my cup of tea. Then there's the even increased distortion of an already-distorted signal empasizing unrealistically the midbass and upper midrange. The possiblity of damaging your speakers becomes an issue.

    Try to achieve as flat a signal as possible given your speakers and listening environment. And when it's time to turn down the volume late at night, opt for headphones and two-channel listening. It's still home theater, after all, regardless of how many active channels are in play.
     
  10. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    Well you're still boosting the treble and bass a certain db level, so that boost will still apply no matter what the volume. So it will definitely be noticeable especially if you switch back and forth. I guess whether or not it sounds better depends on your listening preferences and the performance qualities of your equipment. Just be careful boosting frequencies at very high volumes unless you're sure your equipment can handle it.
     
  11. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    My equipment should handle it but I'm more concerned with recreating, as much as possible, the director's acoustical intentions. I will leave the loudness off. I'm sure the director would have wanted it that way.
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Yes, and don't confuse the loudness control with midnight mode. Midnight mode or night mode, is a Dolby Digital mode that compresses the dynamics so that the louds are not as loud, and the quiet scenes are louder, so that you don't lose dialog, nor wake the neighbors when listening at night. The bass boost/loudness, depending on the receiver, either boosts the treble and bass, or the bass, and I would leave it off always. These things go by other names too, which makes things confusing. Loudness is like the tone control argument, and there will never be any end to the debate. I say, if it sounds better at low volumes, then use it if you want. I personally never will. My receiver stays in direct whenever possible.
     
  13. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    Yo, Chris...Seattle's my home town [​IMG]
    BTW....How do you keep your equip from rusting up there [​IMG]
     
  14. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    lol, rusting? Rusting from what? I keep my stuff inside out of the rain [​IMG] Rust is more of a problem in humid places, not too humid here. How do you keep stuff from frying in the sun down there in California? [​IMG]
     
  15. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    A well placed cooling fan will keep everything nice and comfortable! According to my manual, the loudness function only affects the left/right main channels. I also have the midnight mode but who cares about the neighbors? Well, actually I do care but I'd rather test them (wait until they complain) just once to know where their comfort level is. Fortunately, no complaints so far.
     
  16. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Interesting. This has been an uncommonly cool "spring" in Los Angeles. As late as last week, the highs were only in the 60s. I yearn for warm and hot weather.



    See? He is being worn down. William, your indoctrination is close to completion. [​IMG]

    Seriously, about that vestigial organ on your receiver known as the "loudness control": I was unclear in my earlier message. I meant to say do not use the control at normal or loud volume levels. That can be an issue in certain setups, at least.
     
  18. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    The Force is strong with me Master, but I am not a Jedi yet.[​IMG]

    Even though I might get away with turning it on a low volume, I would never be able to forgive myself if George Lucas walked into my house and caught me using it. First, he'd be pissed about the loudness mode being on and even more pissed that I was listening at a low volume level. "Hey George, can I come over to your house for a couple of beers?"
     

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