Why do I constantly have to adjust volume?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by erew99, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Hello there,
    I am just curious about this. Using a SONY DAV-FX500 HTIB, I have to keep adjusting volume when using anything other than 2-channels. Any 5 channel setup, I cannot hear people talk, so I put the volume up, then I can hear them, but then music will come on, or a sound effect and jumps so high that I have to put the volume down again, and I do that until the movie/show is over.

    Any ideas on how to fix this?
     
  2. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    in 5.1 most vocals come out of the center channel. have you or can you adjust the levels. sounds like your center channel may need to be bumped up a bit.
     
  3. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Yes I have the ability to change it.
    So most vocals come out of the center? I didn't know that. I'll try that.
     
  4. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    Yeah, your vocals and on screen action usually come through the center channel (which is why most people strongly believe it is your most important speaker in the setup and will go to great lengths and funds to get a good speaker).
    For best results, if you can, I'd try to calibrate your levels with an SPL Meter and a dvd with test tones like Avia or Digital Video Essensials. but if you cant, just try to see if you can adjust them by ear as best as you can. that should most definetly help you a little bit.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Actually, you should calibrate each channel to output the same amount by playing test tones and calibrating them with a SPL meter. This is described in the "Calibration" section of the Primer/FAQ located on the beginners page. It is the single best thing you can do to improve your surround sound experience.
     
  6. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Jeff,
    What do you mean
    "you should calibrate each channel to output the same amount by playing test tones and calibrating them with a SPL meter"

    When you say, calibrate each channel to ouput the same amount - you mean the same volume level?

    Don't even know what a SPL meter is [​IMG]
     
  7. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    basically, you play a dvd which sends a sound through your system one speaker at a time. while this is going on your holding a meter which measures the level. you + or - your speakers so that they all match the same level. it sounds more complex than it is.
     
  8. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Okay,
    I think I have that built into my Sony receiver.
    I can switch to DVD mode, and adjust the levels to each speaker. Sony has a mic you can attach to the system (not sure how well it works) that is supposed to adjust the levels to each speaker, and find how far the speakers are, and they're all different levels once that is finished. Now I am not sure if those levels are the same type you're talking about. I can go to radio shack and pick one up for $50/60 but just checking w/ you guys first.
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    You can do it with the Sony microphone and it will probably be fine. The SPL meter and the test DVD lets you calibrate it to the DVD player's specific output, but it is probably close enough doing it with just the receiver and mic. Just put the mic in the "sweet spot" (the central viewing/listening position) at about ear level and run the calibration routine. This will ensure that all speakers are outputting the same relative volume level and set up your delays. That way, a DD or DTS soundtrack that is mixed for a calibrated system will be outputting the desired sound level out of each speaker. If you still find it difficult to hear after this procedure, you can bump the center up a little, but the calibration should clear up most of your problems. It seems center channels are usually a little harder to drive that the front and surrounds, so they tend to need a little more level boost than the other speakers.
     
  10. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    I have tried the microphone already, but I will now bump up the center a few levels. I'll post back later and see if it is better.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  11. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    I agree. Once calibrated my bedroom and livingroom setups both are set to push the center a little extra because its always weak I find.
     
  12. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Hey Guys,
    I had to bump it up from -2db to +3 or +4 to get it where I wanted it to be. Is that too large of a range that I've jumped, or does that sound normal?[​IMG]
    Thanks for the help already supplied [​IMG]
     
  13. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    It's your setup, so whatever sounds good to you is ultimately good. If you need to bump it up that much for it to sound more even to you, then its perfectly fine. There is no normal. Every setup is different, so theres no rule of thumb, the only way to know for sure how accurate it is would be to use an SPL meter.
     
  14. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Okay, I will go to radio shack and pick one up.

    Thanks again.[​IMG]
     
  15. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    most people on here swear by the analog ones vs. the digital ones, I use an analog one, Im not sure why they argue the point, but I do know that radio shack doesnt sell the analog ones anymore. you can however, find them online.
     
  16. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    Cool, I'll check for an analog one. Any recommendations?
     
  17. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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  18. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

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    Sure, it looks almost identical to the one I use (which originally came from Radio Shack) It should pretty much be the same thing. If your going to purchase the SPL Meter you should probably think about purchasing either AVIA or Digital Video Essentials DVD's. they help you calibrate your HT (picture and sound) and explain a lot. those are probably the single best things you can purchase that will improve your setup hands down.
     
  19. erew99

    erew99 Second Unit

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    I am back from RS*. I got the analog SPL meter. Does anyone know of a good doc for me to read this? I am not sure about all the settings on the dial. It has from 60 all the way to 120. I don't know what A or C weighings are either. But just buying was a start for me. [​IMG]
     
  20. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Use 'C' weighting. For 99% of receiver generated tones, they are attenuated 30 dB from reference (reference is 105dB from mains, center and surrounds) so you should set the dial to '70' and adjust the tone until the needle settles on the '5' when measured at the sweet spot. Do this for each channel in the sweep (the sub should be adjusted to 75dB also, even though LFE reference is 115dB). If you are using a calibration disk, DVE tones are also 75dB, but Avia's are attenuated 20dB, so you have to set the dial to 80 and adjust each channel to 85. That's about it.

    Also, when you are finished, note the position of your master volume. This is now your "reference volume" and you can relate this to any conversation that states "I was watching Terminator last night -10dB from reference and my pictures rattled off the wall."
     

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