How loud is loud?

Seems like a rhetorical question, but I'm curious what other folks think is "ok, now that's loud"

For me, if something's hitting 100dB as measured from where I'm seated while listening, and not just for a brief moments, but with some regularity, that's loud.

I used to listen at higher average volume than I do these days. Typically, I'm finding that at the right volume, the recording is more nuanced then when it's running full throttle.

If I'm not mistaken, the late Peter Walker observed that every recording has it's one correct or optimum playback level. I think generally he was correct, though once we are willing to forge optimum there's a range of acceptable.
08-21-14: Sebrof

08-21-14: Bombaywalla

If you take 1 step closer to the speaker, the SPL will go up. If you take 1 step back, the SPL will go down. If you raise yourself 1 foot off the floor, the SPL will change Distance from the speaker matters.....

I believe the point of the other posters is that they give the db reading where they listen, and one step closer, one step further away, one foot off the floor are pretty much irrelevant because they don't listen from there.
OK. so you've made my point again: distance from the speaker is important - there's a very specific distance from the speaker they are listening from & measuring the SPL from.
Most think of SPL as a number - 90dB, 95dB, 105dB, etc, etc but it's a number with a distance associated with it.

Look at a speaker spec: For example: 90dB/W/m. Correct?
you've seen such a spec before, right?
how do you read this spec?
90dB SPL feeding 1W into 8 Ohms (not written but assumed to be the industry standard) & listening at 1m away.
dB SPL with a distance attached to it......
It is irrelevant since they measured the db level from their listening position. Whatever the speaker is rated at, say 90db/W/m, is just that, the speakers output. I guess if it where lower, the listener would have to increase the volume to get the db level they want at the listening position. I'm at a loss to see your point...
Especially since the focus of this thread is on what's too loud for listening. All that matters is the SPL at the listening position. 90dB/W/m is a measure of a speaker's efficiency, not how loud it is when you listen.
dB/W/m is an efficiency spec. Not a "how loud is it" spec. That's what dB alone is for. You're grappling really tightly onto an incorrect argument.