Speaker Sensitivity


New member
May 4, 2011
I like to play music fairly loud and wondered what sound level in db is considered to be loud.
If you have say a 50 watt per channel into 8 ohm amp what sort of speaker sensitivity should you be looking for to achieve loud listening levels in a 28 sq metre room without the amplifier clipping


Well-known member
Jan 4, 2010
Id suggest looking at some active speakers/monitors.

Studio monitors are designed to be accurate, and most are also made to play loud for mixing purposes.

I like to listen loud sometimes, but how loud something sounds all depends on what the sound is, and if its music, distortion plays a large part in perceived loudness.

I measured the SPL of a 36volt Hilti SDS drill going into concrete in work, bearing in mind i used an iphone spl meter, but i got 98db at 1ft.

I also noticed that a mobile phone(owned by a lad in work) used to play dance music, wedged in the corner of a window to reflect the sound and make it louder, was stinging my ears when in the same room. It sounds terrible and full of distortion, but i thought ''Thats LOUD''.
So i measured the SPL of that too, and it peaked at 96db at 1ft

The iphone SPL meter may not be calibrated, but even if the numbers aren't correct, its still showing how loud the phone is compared to the drill.


Well-known member
The point is that music has lots of peaks and troughs of volume. It isn't steady-state, which is what damages your hearing - though I'm excluding rock stadium levels here. Obviously heavy metal has more high-level than chamber music, and we all have recordings cut at higher levels, or with wider (or narrower) dynamics.

Speakers are often specified in dB and measured at 1 metre with an input of 1 watt (2.83 rms volts into 8 Ω). This will give you a rough idea of those that will sound 'louder' or not. But what you perceive as ear-splitting, others might feel is compressed or dull! The spec will range from say 82dB for a insensitive mini-monitor type (e.g. LS3/5a), up to 90 something for more rock-orientated. I would think you would do best to avoid anything below 86dB/watt. But best of all try any pair of speakers as a reference and move from there.

Subjectively, a strong bass line, or bright top may make you perceive it as being louder, even if strictly it isn't!


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