When you are watching TV and you turn the volume up or down with the remote control say from 17 to 16, 9 to 10, etc., how do you describe that single amount of volume? Is the word notch correct to describe this single amount of volume i.e. turn the volume down a notch, turn the volume up a few notches?

1 Answer 1


Calling it a notch would be fine.

The scientific unit of measure is a decibel, but that isn't something you would say unless you're talking to someone who knows what it is, and you know how that correlates to the gradations on the remote control.

  • 1
    +1 for the last clause: I know very well what a decibel is, but I had absolutely no idea that the volume ratings on the TV were actually in proper decibels. I'd always assumed they were some arbitrary unit chosen by the TV manufacturer.
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 20:12
  • 6
    @KRyan If I understand correctly, that is indeed what Xenson is saying--sound is measured in decibels but the TV volume notches are arbitrary, so it would be meaningless to refer to them as decibels unless you knew that (for example) 6 notches equated to 1 decibel. Am I understanding correctly, Xenson?
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 21:07
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    "But this TV goes to 11..." :^)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 23:11
  • TV notches are definitely not in decibels, because decibels are a logarithmic scale, but you want your volume control to be linear, so that each notch creates the same increase or decrease in volume.
    – Beejamin
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 22:16
  • 1
    @Beejamin I'm pretty sure it's the exact opposite actually - for audio the perception is logarithmic such that most controls are designed to be logarithmic Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 16:10

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