Is the loudness filter on/off or dynamic?

  • 12 July 2019
  • 2 replies
  • 185 views

My paired Play 5's and sub have a good sound but the small drivers need assistance of tone controls or loudness filter when listening at contrasting volumes. When raising Play 5's volume from around 40/50% to higher, the bass treble boost feels too much, I got the impression that it is either on of off. Navigating multiple menus to manually switch off the loudness filter is awkward.

There have been earlier posts with people stating that it is variable relative to volume.

Approx 6 months before this post, I presented this as a question, to which a Sonos rep stated that loudness is not dynamic, they offered to forward the suggestion of linking loudness and volume to development.

I searched for info on how Sonos crossovers etc work but found very little. Before I get the SPL meter and test tones out, can anyone can provide some juicy links to independent tests which demonstrate any differences at various volumes and filter settings?

2 replies

Traditionally a loudness boost is reduced as the volume level is increased, in line with ear sensitivity. It's always been assumed that Sonos does the same. I'm afraid I'm not about to wind my Play:5s+Sub up to 100% volume to verify this.

Since your problem is that the loudness boost is still in play at higher volume levels have you tried fiddling with the 'volume limit' in room settings? I don't know where the scaler (for it is a scaler not a limiter) sits in the audio pipeline, but if it's after the loudness EQ it might have the desired effect.
"Loudness" is a human condition. There is a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour discussion in Wikipedia. As you will note from the discussion, the loudness contours are very complicated and the equipment can only approximate compensation. Further, since the required compensation is dependent on the absolute sound pressure and SONOS does not know your room size, the (approximate) loudness compensation may not match your situation. Way back, the high end equipment provided two controls "Volume" and "Loudness". The Volume control was used to adjust for the room volume (in cubic measure) -- essentially calibrating the Loudness control for room volume and speaker efficiency. The Loudness control was then used for routine listening adjustment. This scheme, while technically valid, was grossly misunderstood and has faded away. It would be possible for SONOS to use Trueplay to deal with this.

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