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Should the loudness control be off?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 10 2003 - 09:42 PM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim Williams

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Posted May 11 2003 - 01:43 AM

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.
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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 11 2003 - 04:43 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 11 2003 - 08:13 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 11 2003 - 08:33 AM

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 Posted Image At normal or above listening levels I'd say definitely not, and certainly not for calibration.
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#6 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 11 2003 - 09:18 AM

Thanks to everyone for your opinion!

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Glenn Overholt

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Posted May 11 2003 - 10:35 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 11 2003 - 02:39 PM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 12 2003 - 04:22 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 12 2003 - 04:24 AM

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.
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#11 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 12 2003 - 10:56 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted May 12 2003 - 01:29 PM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 12 2003 - 03:04 PM

Yo, Chris...Seattle's my home town Posted Image
BTW....How do you keep your equip from rusting up there Posted Image
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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted May 12 2003 - 04:05 PM

lol, rusting? Rusting from what? I keep my stuff inside out of the rain Posted Image 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? Posted Image

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 12 2003 - 04:33 PM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted May 12 2003 - 04:42 PM

[quote] How do you keep stuff from frying in the sun down there in California? [quote]

I keep lots of cold beer around Posted Image
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#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 12 2003 - 05:20 PM

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. Posted Image

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 of 18 OFFLINE   William Lane

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Posted May 12 2003 - 06:08 PM

The Force is strong with me Master, but I am not a Jedi yet.Posted Image

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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