Hard time distinguishing sounds from different speakers, surround sound feeling

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by bubblebuddyi, May 14, 2012.

  1. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    Hello,
    Since day one of setting up and finishing my surround sound system in my room, I've always had trouble distinguishing sounds coming from separate speakers, as well as having that "surround" effect and feeling. The only way I'd get that surround sound feeling is at very high levels of volume, but even moderately high volumes it's still hard to tell.
    As for telling where sounds are coming from, it's hard to tell as well. Left and right sounds all sound like it's coming from the center, when it's clearly not. Also if I get close I can tell it's not coming from the center channel speaker.
    I set up my surround sound with mounted speakers all around, with the left, right, SL, SR, all on swivel mounts. They are aiming the speakers directly at my seating position (the couch).
    I can give you the exact measurements of everything if you'd like. Also, I left my home theater system set up the speaker levels and distance. I confirmed and adjusted the distance with accurate measurements. I have the EQ set to "Natural", but I created my own custom one.
    The sad part is, when I compare this to my parents "Home theater in a box" from LG, I feel like it blows mine out of the water.. lol weird I know. Anyways, here's what I have..

    Yamaha RX-V665
    5.1 Polkaudio TL150

    I have my Xbox 360 connected to the receiver via HDMI and set to Dolby Digital.
    My PC is connected voa HDMI and set to 5.1 settings (for games, movies are all stereo)
    Cable box is HDMI, HD and set to Dolby Digital.

    What should I do, and where do I go from here?
    -Thank you for the help.
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Did you use a decibel meter to set each speaker level? If not, that is your problem. Even though you set the speaker distances, you still need to do this. I use the digital decibel meter from Radio Shack. The most accurate way to do this is to use the audio test tones on a calibration disc. The Disney WOW cal. disc is the best one for beginners, and it also allows you to do video calibrations.
     
  3. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I did not, I used the auto settings on the receiver, when you plug in the microphone and place it in your seating position. I was hoping that's good enough, maybe it's not?
     
  4. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Easy test is to have either the receiver if capable, or a calibration disc with test tones, run and ensure you are getting a tone from each speaker.

    BTW, that speaker set is 5 not 5.1. It appears that set does not have a sub woofer.
     
  5. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I will do the test with my Avia calibration disk, I'm playing a Xbox 360 game and can hear sounds coming from each speaker though. And I know it's 5.0, I have my own sub woofer I purchased. Thanks for the info though!
     
  6. BrazenRain

    BrazenRain Auditioning

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    How high are the SL and SR speakers? A little higher than your listening position should be an improvement from the same height.
     
  7. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    All the speakers except the center one are probably 1.5-2ft above my listening level, and pointed down and towards my seating position. The center channel is leveled with my ears because my tv is in the way. Should I have them aimed directly at my seating position?
     
  8. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    The surrounds don't necessarily need to be pointed at your ears. Once you set each speaker to the proper level with a decibel level meter, you will be all good. Theoretically, all the speakers should be set to the same decibel level, but I normally boost the center and surrounds by 1-2 decibels. Set them all the same and see how it sounds. If needed, then boost a little.
     
  9. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    Thank you, I adjusted the rear speakers a little bit, I believe they were tilted down a little bit too much.
    Where can I get an affordable DB meter? I only plan on using it a couple times at the most.
     
  10. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    I bought mine at Radio Shack. You will need it more than you think. Any time you move your speakers, replace any speakers, replace the reveiver, etc. you will need to adjust the settings again.
     
  11. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I went ahead and purchased the digital one at Radio Shack, I'm pretty sure I adjusted and got everything tuned in correctly. I have all the speakers set to 85db including the sub woofer. Where's the best way to hold the microphone? I had it about head level right in front of me so I can read it clearly, with the microphone pointing towards the ceiling. Is that ok?
    Also, can anyone explain what "Dynamic Range" does and how I should set it?
    -Thank you for the help!
     
  12. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    85db is very loud. The way you worked the mic is fine, as long as you held it in the same spot for all the speakers. Did you have the meter set to "C" weighting and "Slow" response? I'm not sure why, but that's how it should be set before you begin.
    Dynamic Range on what?
     
  13. John Stockton

    John Stockton Second Unit

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    I would re calibrate all the channels except the Subwoofer and set them at 75 dB with C weighing and Slow response.
    Unfortunately the result you get by setting the Subwoofer channel with an SPL meter is misleading at best. The proper way of setting the SW channel (in fact all the channels) is with an RTA(Real time Analyzer) Since RTA's are very expensive and not practical for home use, I suggest using your SPL and setting it for 78 dB and then listening to some material and making further adjustments if needed. The C weighing and Slow response also applies.
    Also mount your microphone on a tripod and point it to where your front wall meets the ceiling. Do not stand behind or in front of the microphone when taking the reading.
     
  14. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I have a setting on my receiver in Sound Setup called, Dynamic Range. The settings are, Min/Auto STD Max. I'm just going to leave it at Min/Auto since I can't figure out what it does.
    I will give this a shot, thanks for the tip. I had mine set to fast response. I should have the DB meter at head level while sitting, right?
     
  15. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I set the front channels to 75db on the dot, and the rears to 76db. The sub is unknown, I'll just do it by ear. Apparently my distances were way off as well from the last time I set them. I could of sworn I set them correctly to my current seating position, but oh well. Fixed that too. I have to say I'm really impressed with the results! Sounds great now. Thank you for all the help!
     
  16. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Setting the sub by ear is very difficult. Doesn't your Avia cal. disc have a test for setting the sub? It should. I have the old Sound and Vision cal. disc and it has one. It's made by Ovation Software, which is the company that makes the Avia disc. It's a test tone that alternates between the left front speaker and sub.
     
  17. bubblebuddyi

    bubblebuddyi Extra

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    I believe so, I have to use the meter for that sound test too. The way I have it now was the speakers were all set to 75, and the sub was between 76-68db. Still seems a bit over kill though.. It's a klipsch SW-450
     

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