Is the volume set correctly?

Is the monitoring volume set correctly? That's how it's done!

What is volume?

Volume is a measure of how loudly a person perceives an auditory event. It is a psychoacoustic quantity that depends on the sound pressure level, frequency spectrum and the time behavior of the sound.

Addendum: A distinction is made between loudness and loudness. Volume happens on the volume control on the system. Loudness is the actually perceived and perceived threshold limit of an acoustic signal. I speak of volume because this is more common in the vernacular and this article should be understandable for everyone. 🙂

How do I adjust the listening volume?

Even among experts, this question is often discussed and very controversial. Even if a sound pressure level of 85 dB is often recommended, we see the whole thing a little differently. For our Mixing and / or mastering we set our levels using 3 measuring methods.

As follows:

We calibrate a level of 100 dB with the help of a sound pressure level meter (available for just under € 83) and white noise (available for free online download). If you do not have a "DIM switch" on your monitor controller, carry out a second measurement with 2 dB. You then carry out a measurement with 77 dB, 85 dB and 70 dB. Set your markers on the gain control as well as in your digital sources, such as in the interface etc. (if possible). Now you have different levels of your listening volume, whereby we see the "60 dB mark" as the mark with which the ear can most linearly detect musical signals.

Personally, however, I often switch back and forth between different loudness levels in order to constantly challenge my ears. But please do yourself a favor and take a 5-10 minute break after every hour of "listening" in absolute silence. Your ear will thank you!

An old studio wisdom:

Sounds like one Music mix good on a monitor with low to medium listening power, it is also a feast for the ears on any disco system!

The loudness war:

Since the mid-90s, the tracks in pop, rock and techno music have been mastered louder and louder. The dynamic is compressed to a few dB in order to achieve a maximum loudness level. RMS levels of -5 dB are no longer uncommon today. This development leads to a loss of quality and is absolutely unnecessary, after all, a CD can also be turned up on the amplifier.

The reason for this development is the artists' fear of sounding too quiet compared to other tracks and thus not being able to compete. This fear is absolutely unfounded. B. all radio stations use a processor through which all tracks played, regardless of their actual level, are played at the same volume. In the end, booming and too loud music leads to hearing damage and nobody wants that!

Fortunately, this trend is slowly waning and it is getting quieter and again mastered more dynamically. It will certainly take a while before everyone rethinks.

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