I made a rare trip to the mall this weekend. I entered through the food court which has always struck me as a loud place, but this time I had a way to provide at least a little measurement. When I went in, I was listening to my MP3 player. If I'm in the office and just want a little background to help keep out the rest of the world I have the volume set at 2 or 3. If I'm out and about and actively listening to it I have the volume between 4 and 6 depending on how much other noise there is. When I walked into the food court of the mall, I had to crank the volume up to 21 in order hear the music clearly. To give you an idea of how loud this is. If I place the headphones at about 3 feet away and turn the volume up to 21 in my office I can clearly make out the words and music. It's a little distorted because my headphones are cheap, but still. That's pretty loud.