Decibels For Listening

What number of decibels do you listen at?

I thought that I probably listen at 85db, until I measured using a smart phone app.

Turns out, I listen at 55 average with peaks up to 65. And this is loud to me.

I looked into this after a recent Darko podcast.



Using a smartphone app, I’m around the 70 - 80dB generally. I do quite like it loud, to me 80 is extremely loud, wouldn’t need to go over that.


Using an American Recorders sound level meter…

I like 55 db with 75,77 db peaks…but some dynamics well
they can go way past that…

65 db is loud and absolutely 85 db is extremely loud for me as well.

Best wishes


Yes. I too am 70 to 75db mostly as well. 80 is prob max.

Interesting I was at a concert recently and the crowd noise measured 70db. The music was pushing close to 100db.

I was looking at class A wattage and found an SPL calculator based on speaker efficiency / listening position / surrounding walls and found 16 watts gives me around 85 db I recall.


The Noise app on my Apple Watch has the alarm threshold set for 90db. I’ve never set off an alarm even when my wife isn’t home and the hi-fi is loud by my standards. Now I’m curious, so will measure next time she’s out. She’s not a fan of loud.

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Roughly 70 db here too. 80 is ok for a short while but that’s about it.

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I found this post from me…guess it’s still correct.

It’s still fascinating that most, arguing about dynamic range, listen below a level that would mean any difference between tape, vinyl and digital…maybe even cassette :wink:

When I’m able to turn it up where I want, it seems to average in the mid-60s (C-weighted).

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Average around 65dB (A-weighted) with peaks below 80dB.


Maybe my hearing is going. I’m typically averaging 80 I’d say.

When I listen loud it’s 73db average with peaks bumping to 85db. My wife is asleep upstairs when I do this. (2 floors up)


That’s loud for only 2 floors down, unless you have good isolation and sealed doors :wink:

Not sure anyway if we all use the same weighting when measuring. Not even remember mine.

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C-Weighting. Typical 75 to 80. Peaks in the upper 80’s.

My listening is in the 70 to 84 range. Always use the C or Z weighting when measuring. Great phone app is from NIOSH, the science side of OSHA. The app is free and calibratable. Very accurate. Just go to NIOSH web site to get it. You dont want to use A scale as it “weights” the noise data. C or Z scales have no weighting.


Interesting…I’ll take that under consideration.

In terms of FR accuracy (I use the iPhone app pictured below), which scale would you recommend?


Decibel X PRO v9.5.0 (19506):

You should find in your settings, the choices for the weighting scales. Some systems call it C and some use Z. They are the same. Also use Fast response. The settings give you instantaneous response. If you’re looking to aggregate the data, use leq and sample the sound for a whole song.

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My options with this particular app/meter are:

ITU-R 468

Clarifying my question and your answer(s):

  1. Use C or Z for a more accurate measure of sound pressure level potentially impacting your hearing. Correct?

  2. For measuring the frequency response of the room while playing music, which of my available choices would you recommend, and why?



If your speaker efficiency is in the 85-90dB/W/m range then that calculation is in the right ballpark.

Responding to other points in the thread so far:

The most commonly reported normal listening level seems to be around 70dB.

Phone app meters, especially on Android where there is a wide choice of phone hardware, are often inaccurate and should be calibrated. If you cannot do this then in an urban dwelling at the dead of a windless night it should read about 35dB. A few dB lower out in the country.

Since we are primarily interested in SPL, not nuisance, levels the A weighting is very misleading, particularly for bass. C is better but you really want the unweighted Z reading.


Good info.

Thank you, Chris.


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Very rarely above 70 dB peak at a few meters distance. Why? Because I live in a high-rise and common-sense courtesy for my neighbors who share walls, floors and ceilings prevails. Also, never above a whisper if at all after 10 pm. If only some of them did the same.