"Loudness" Question

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Brendan D, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Brendan D

    Brendan D Auditioning

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    Based on information I have received on this site, I believe I now have my speakers correctly set up, with my sub correctly set as far as crossover goes. How does the "loudness" option on my receiver fit in? Is it unnecessary if the speakers are configured? Will it "distort" some of the effects by sending additional sound through the speakers?

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    1) Usually loudness only affects material in stereo mode, on most receivers I've seen, it is bypassed when doing DD or DTS surround material.

    2) Loudness is just an EQ bump in the top and bottom- designed to simulate the impact of high volumes when your material is set at low volumes. At higher volumes it might very well cause distortion, or at the very least skewed response.

    The loudness button, IMHO, was suspect from day one, and shouldnt be used it you can avoid it--- it was basically invented because are perception of bass is not as linear as our perception of midrange- so a 6db redution in overall sound might SOUND like a 6db reduction in mid but a 10db reduction in bass- so the loudness button goosed back some of the extreme top and bottom for times when the volume knob was down.

    In that case, it really has no use in a modern surround system playing at or near ref level.

    -Vince
     
  3. Brendan D

    Brendan D Auditioning

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    Thanks for clarifying!
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Expounding a little on what Vince wrote, a loudness control will (or at least should) decrease in effect as the volume is turned up – that is, the bump for the bass and treble gradually flattens. However, the return to fully flat typically doesn’t happen until the volume control is something like half-way up, or even further. Certainly, that’s well above “low listening levels” in anyone’s book, so it only makes sense to manually turn it off above anything but the lowest levels.

    And to me the “lowest levels” where you want to use it (if at all) are really low – as in, so low that you could comfortably carry on a conversation with someone in the room.

    I always liked the concept of a loudness control but it never seemed to do what I needed. Typically I felt the bass boost kicked in at too high a frequency. But I guess that may depend on the speakers being used. I personally had much better luck manually adjusting the contour I needed with one of those stereo 10-band equalizers. That way I could dial in only as much boost as I needed, and where I needed it, instead of the values pre-set by the button.

    These days I accomplish the bass boost, when needed, simply by using the remote control to bump the sub level a little.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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