Preferred listening levels – a silent disco study
Aim: To investigate preferred listening levels (PLLs) in a dance situation and compare them to typical sound levels at dance venues (90-105 dB LAeq). Method: Fifty-nine young people had their individually chosen sound levels measured at a silent disco event. In a separate experiment 25 participants set their PLLs for music delivered through headphones and loudspeakers respectively, and repeated measures were conducted to test intra-rater reliability. Results: The sound level at the silent disco event was limited to a maximum of 89-93 dB LAeq. One-third of the 59 participants expressed a preference for louder sound levels while two-thirds were satisfied with this or even softer volumes. PLLs over headphones were on average 2 dB louder than in loudspeaker mode. PLLs varied 0.8-19.1 dB within each participant for the same input, but most participants (84%) showed a personal range of less than 5 dB in 75% of their measures. Conclusion: Many patrons’ PLLs are noticeably lower than what is typically offered at dance venues.
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