What is 'volume sweet spot'?

BLASTO

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I need some technical insights into what is referred to as the 'volume sweet spot' for any system.

We often observe that a system sounds best only at a particular volume range. Below this, it not enjoyable (lower dynamics, lower perceived immersion) and above this the system falls apart (Nothing to enjoy here). Some systems need certain volume to 'come alive' etc. Sometimes it so happens that the system sweet spot does not suit the listener and the entire thing has to be redone.

What is the (technical) root cause of this phenomenon? Why should there be a volume range sweet spot at all? Can this be resolved without changing major components?

Is it the power amplifier failing to run the speakers properly beyond the range? Or is it inherent property of the driver etc?

Need some insights in this area. Hopefully I made my question clear.
 

Hari Iyer

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I typically keep volume levels to match vocals at a typical room conversation level when we talk. That way I have a perceived balance of the performance in my room and also allow me to converse with other members of the family. Voice levels are better bet as we always know how loud a typical conversation at home happens ( no electronics here). But during singing a typical singer also raise their voice by a dB and you may need to factor that too.

Concert level volume - i always avoid as it becomes unpleasant after a while
 

alpha1

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I need some technical insights into what is referred to as the 'volume sweet spot' for any system.

We often observe that a system sounds best only at a particular volume range. Below this, it not enjoyable (lower dynamics, lower perceived immersion) and above this the system falls apart (Nothing to enjoy here). Some systems need certain volume to 'come alive' etc. Sometimes it so happens that the system sweet spot does not suit the listener and the entire thing has to be redone.

What is the (technical) root cause of this phenomenon? Why should there be a volume range sweet spot at all? Can this be resolved without changing major components?

Is it the power amplifier failing to run the speakers properly beyond the range? Or is it inherent property of the driver etc?

Need some insights in this area. Hopefully I made my question clear.
Nope the reason why it doesn't sound good above the sweet spot is NOT because the system falls apart, it is because it becomes painful to ears and brain. This threshold of pain gets higher when inebriated - hence most people's propensity to raise the volume after 2-3 measures.

In general - the louder the sound - the better it will sound since the SNR improves (background noise always exists) as well as the dynamics also increase.
 

amit11

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We often observe that a system sounds best only at a particular volume range.

What is the (technical) root cause of this phenomenon?
In my experience, the main reason for it is the concept of fletcher munson curves.
 

arj

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Based on what I have experienced, there is question of Distortion at high volumes and dynamics at low volumes in any given room ( ie volume and acoustics) . the media ie the music content is also a factor but for the time being lets assume a great recording in a constant average room

As a system ie the Amp+Speaker need to be able to get all the dynamics and tonality for us to enjoy and at low volumes, either due to the components design or due to their "Match" you may not getm that and hence you increase the volume . additionally the amp not having enough power to drive a system also can cause this as it starts clipping.

At high volumes the distortion of the system comes to play...on the really well setup systems you can increase the volume and the neighbours will complain but you will still not feel there is a headache/irritation. SPL may trouble you but not the tone. But when it is not so, then the treble starts to hurt, the midrange starts getting sharp and the bass will give you a headache


Of course all of the above will happen with a poor recording no matter how good a system.
 
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srinisundar

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Based on what I have experienced, there is question of Distortion at high volumes and dynamics at low volumes in any given room ( ie volume and acoustics) . the media ie the music content is also a factor but for the time being lets assume a great recording in a constant average room

As a system is the Amp+Speaker needs to be able to get all the dynamics and tonality for us to enjoy and at low volumes either due to the components design or due to their "Match" you may not get and hence you increase the volume to get that. additionally the amp not having enough power to drive a system also can cause this as it starts clipping.

At high volumes the distortion of the system comes to play...on the really well setup systems you can increase the volume and the neighbours will complain but you will still not feel there is a headache/irritation. SPL may trouble you but not the tone. when it is not so then the treble starts to hurt, the midrange starts getting sharp and the bass will give you a headache


Of course all of the above will happen with a poor recording no matter how good a system.
This is absolutely sensible one. I have experienced this.
 

jenson

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same volume in varying room sizes would have different effect... I guess one has to factor in this aspect as well.. How volume fills up a room is super critical. Rest I would imagine (now that I have experience with both ends from 2a3 + lowther to a ss with jbl 4312 to now a cadence setup) system integration and most importantly speaker sensitivity is super critical. In this respect hats off to JBLs, they seem hard to drive, but was easily driven by 2a3 set.

This question is too deep :) I agree with arj.. Ultimately one would expect systems to be revealing at lower volume too, that would ideally be the best system. Higher volume for perceived sweet spot should be balanced with room size/interferences..
 

Kannan

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An ideal system should scale at an even proportion upto to its capabilities.
How clean a drive that a preamp can give plays a major role.
With modern high output sources, a properly matched passive pre or a unity gain is a better solution to get the lowest noise floor.

A good system should be able to give low end details at lower volumes without getting sibilant at higher volumes.

Room responce will ofcourse dictate this aswell.
 
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