Q: I know a lot of guys (me included) who like to run their studio monitors loud, because it sounds good, you can “feel” it, and clients/musicians are impressed. But what is the best volume to monitor at?
A: Most experts agree that 80-85dB is the best range for monitoring, for two reasons. First, this level allows you to listen for long periods of time without ear fatigue or danger of hearing damage. Second, this is the volume level at which our ears are most “flat” in their response. If it sounds good at this volume level, it will sound good at louder or softer levels as well.
Some engineers go so far as to make a mark on their monitor volume control to indicate this level. We use an inexpensive SPL meters to calibrate our monitors.