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Do I really need an SPL meter?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris_House, May 10, 2002.

  1. Chris_House

    Chris_House Agent

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    I am getting my new digital receiver in a few days, and I have been reading that I should use an SPL meter to properly calibrate my speakers. Will calibrating my speakers with an SPL be a huge difference over calibrating with my ears? Is it one of those high tech, audiophile things? Or would a ten-year-old be able to tell the difference? My system is not high end, and I am not what you would call an audiophile. So would it still be worth it to buy the meter?
     
  2. Martin G

    Martin G Second Unit

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    When I first calibrated my system with a SPL meter I noticed a huge improvement in the imaging of my system as well as an improvement in the bass. The biggest difference was the fact that I had my sub calibrated about 15 db to high.

    You will be extremely hard pressed to find any tweak or upgrade that gives you more for your money.

    In short it's the best $40 you can spend on your home theater.
     
  3. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    Exactly what Martin said. You have no idea how bad you need an SPL meter until you've finished calibrating your system with one. Huge difference!
     
  4. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    No, You don't really NEED an SPL meter. But then again I don't really NEED alot of the things I use on a regular basis. [​IMG]
    Jeffery and Martin are right. Spend the $40. It's a good tool to have and if you passion for the hobby grows, you'll be glad you got it.
    --Steve
     
  5. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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  6. Tom Beski

    Tom Beski Agent

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    Chris,

    About two months ago I asked your same question to the Forum, and got the same answers that you have. I was still in doubt....so I calibrated my system by ear, and then went out and bought the Rat Shack SPL meter (nice surprise - it was actually on sale that week for $29.99)

    My thinking was that if the SPL meter gave me the same settings as my ears just did, I would return it the very next day. Needless to say, my ears were way off....and the SPL is now a permanent part of my HT. It really does make a big difference....especially with the Sub's test tones.

    Tom
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Chris: Since HT is a Hobby, why dont you do your own investigation.

    Setup your system by ear and live with it for a month or so to get used to the sound & features.

    Then, go get a SPL meter and calibrate. Pop in a favorite DVD and listen for yourself.

    Note: you DONT need a SPL meter if:

    - All 5 speakers in your system are identical

    - You sit at the center of a perfect circle with the speakers all on the edges

    - The alignment of all the speakers is the same with respect to your listening position

    - Your room has wall several feet away from each speaker.

    Level-adjusting your speakers is designed to compensate for all the above less-than-ideal placement and equipment differences.

    Good Luck and let us know what you do.
     
  8. Shawn_S

    Shawn_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Slightly off topic...

    I there a FAQ or a particular post that goes into detail on how to use a spl meter? I have Avia along with Sound & Vision HT Tuneup. Thanks.
     
  9. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Initially I considered an SPL a splurge item because I figured I would use it once and not need it again. As it turns out, like any gauge or measuring tool, the meter provides an objective reference and therefore an assurance that everything is up to spec. I've used it many times now, whether it's because I've rearranged some speakers or simply wanted to verify my settings. It IS difficult to calibrate with the naked ear, especially the subwoofer. I don't think you will regret buying one - you will come to depend on it like a carpenter depends on a good ruler.

    As far as how to use the meter, here is what I do. I'm going off memory here, so everyone please correct me if I'm wrong or misinformed:

    Set the dial of the meter to "70," the weighting to "C" and the response to "slow." Position the meter at the listening position, angled upward about 45 degrees. When you start the test tones, you'll want the needle to hit five units above zero, which would make the level 75db. Zero on the meter is whatever you set on the dial, so anything above zero you add to that dial number. I calibrate all my speakers to 75db. Others I think set it to 80db and I've also read the sub should be set at a lower level than the other speakers. I just stick to 75 all around since I like a little more bass anyway.

    Have fun metering!
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Lead Actor

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  11. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    BEWARE....

    I had to go to three different Radio Shacks befroe I found one that HAD the SPL meter.

    Now I have to remember what my signature line is.
     
  12. Chris_House

    Chris_House Agent

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    Thanks for all the input guys. Here is my equipment (the mains and the receiver I am getting early next week.)

    Receiver: Yamaha HTR-5540

    Mains: Polk RT35i

    Rears: Polk R10

    Center: Polk CS245i

    Subwoofer: Sony SAWM40

    And I have them set up in a bedroom (about 15 X 15 foot).
     
  13. erikk

    erikk Stunt Coordinator

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