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i'm still a bit confused on how to calibrate the system with a sound level meter


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 27 2003 - 04:17 PM

i've read the F.A.Q., as well as my receiver's manual. could someone post an idiot's guide to system set up?

maybe it just seems confusing, but won't be when i actually get my speakers set up tomorrow and actually go through the steps on my own.

from what i gather:

- i want to set all my speakers to "small" and have subwoofer set to "yes"

- the crossover frequency should be 80Hz

- i should select "LFE", rather than "LFE+Main"

- Flag Detect should be "Off"

- for setting the delay time, i just select the true measurements from listening position to each speaker

- now, i think it's the "Channel Level" set up where the sound level meter comes in. this is where i'm most confused. i know i set something to 0 and something to 75...but i'm not sure what to watch and when to watch it...or what to look for.


also - i see that my DVD has a sound level set up menu as well. once i do all of this with the reciever, will i have to do it again with the DVD player menu, or will the receiver take care of making sure all sound is set to the receiver's sound level settings?


random side question - i'm using 2 optical cables in my set up. exactly how delicate are these cables? i understand that you cant bend them at sharp angles...but how fragile do i have to be with them. also, if one were to break, will i immediately know it because i won't hear sound? is it possible for these cables to be "damaged" and just not sound as good as normal, or will i know for sure if one's broken, or breaking?

#2 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 27 2003 - 07:36 PM

Which receiver and speakers do you have? what dvd player?
Do you know your speakers frequency response?
Which flag are you taking about? the one for 6.1 or EX material?

Do you have a calibration disk such as Avia or Video Essentials?

Generally, you want to set your receivers volume indicator to the "00" position or some other easy to remember position. This will serve for you to know where reference level lies.

Next start up your calibration test tones(receiver test tones, Avia or Video essentials) and adjust all the channels' level to read 75 dB (85 dB with Avia) with your sound level meter.
That's it. Your system should be balanced now.

So now you know that if your receiver is at the "00" position, you'll be at reference level(very very loud). If you assume that your reciever uses dB's for the volume scale, then a setting of -20 would indicate that you are at 20 dB below reference level( a comfortable level).

You don't normally have to setup your DVD's sound levels. You might want to if you have a universal player like the pioneer 563A.

As for the optical cables, you'll know when you have a broken cable, it just won't work. Just handle them with some care, like you treat the rest of your system, right?

I hope this helps.....
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Cagri

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Posted August 27 2003 - 08:15 PM

Mike, forget about the reference level and adjust your receiver's volume at a level where you generally listen, or a level where you are comfortable with. Say that setting is -25 on the receiver (or +25, does not matter). Now place the SPL meter properly at the sweet spot, note what it reads during the front left speaker test tone. Don't change any setting now. When the test tone jumps to the center channel, see what reading is displayed on the SPL meter. Adjust the channel level for the center channel so that the reading on the SPL meter is same with the reading you noted when you were playing the test tone for the FL. If you adjusted the volume for the center channel as, say, -2; that means that the volume for this channel is 2 db lower than the volume of front left (or the master volume) but still it gives the same SPL, which is what you want. Follow the same for the rest of the channels and you are set. You do not have to adjust anything at 75db unless you would like to know how loud ref level sounds.
Hope this helps.
Too much debt...

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 28 2003 - 12:46 AM

Which receiver and speakers do you have? what dvd player?
Do you know your speakers frequency response?
Which flag are you taking about? the one for 6.1 or EX material?
_____________________

i have a Denon AVR-2802. DVD is Panasonic S55
Monitor 11s, Mini Monitor, CC-370, SVS PCi20-39
don't know the frequency response...
don't know about the flag - saw it in the receiver menu


if i set my receiver's volume level at 00, won't that be super loud? because the higher you turn up the volume, the lower the numbers go...

i've seen people blasting their system and it isn't even at 00 yet...

#5 of 38 OFFLINE   brentl

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Posted August 28 2003 - 03:49 AM

"don't know about the flag - saw it in the receiver menu" Should be just for the receiver to decode the signal and decide which format to play it back in.

Turn it on!

Brent

NOPE, found out that's the flag for the rear center channel...........Leave it off

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 28 2003 - 06:57 AM

Well cragi, I don't agree that mike should forget all about reference level. Granted is not neccesary to calibrate to reference level to have all your speakers spl at the same level.
But...
the main reason we calibrate to reference level, is for example, if he reads here in the forum that someone played Lord of the Rings at -15 dB below reference, mike will know what level of playback that is.

Mike: you don't have to listen to your receiver at "00". All I'm saying is to use the position "00" as a easy to remember setting for you of where reference level will be.

Reference level from dolby specs is that a full scale digital signal (0 dBFS) will produce a peak of 105 dB of SPL. That's why Test tones like the ones on Avia, have their tones recorded at -20dB (-30 dB) on the digital domain, because it would be too loud for you to calibrate
at 105dB SPL!!! so 105db-30=75dB a comfortable level that can be used on your home system.

So Mike, if you play a movie at "00" it'll be super loud!
You only set it at "00" or any other position you'll remember easily when you are calibrating.

Since you have the Denon 2802(I have this receiver) let me tell you how I calibrate mine.

1. Put master volume at 00. (be careful not no play anyhing other than the test tones or you'll get blasted with sound).

2. Start the receiver test tones (not sure you have avia or VE), and adjust the individual speaker settings so that your SPL reads 75dB (85dB Avia) for each one.

3. For the sub, since you have an SVS I would leave the reciever setting at about -5, and adjust the knob on the sub to reach 75dB or a little higher if you prefer a little bit more bass.

4. Since I know that the volume display on the Denon reports dB increments or decrements, if you put it to -15, I'll know you are playing at -15 dB below reference.

That's it. So whenever you say you have played a movie at "-20 db below reference" we'll know what you are taking about.

And about the rear channel flag, you have to experiment with it and see if you like having a rear channel for 5.1 material (I'm assuming you have a 6.1 setup). I myself experimented with it and I left it on... You don't have to turn it off or turn it on if anyone tells you, YOU have to experiment with it.

Also you don't need to calibrate the sound levels on the DVD player since you'll be decoding DD and DTS with the denon not the player.

Hope I didn't confuse you....
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 28 2003 - 07:53 AM

ok, this is all helping me out. thanks


my problem is: i don't know how to get my spl meter to read 75dB. the round dial has 70 and 80 on it. not sure what that's about. plus - how do i know where i want the meter position to be once i choose between the 70 and 80?

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 28 2003 - 08:09 AM

Ahh, yes.. It's a bit confusing at first but here is a quick explanation.

First things first, set your meter to "C" weighting and slow response. Slow response avoids quick jumps from the needle by averaging the input.

On the needle side you can see markings from -10 to +6 right?
If you set the dial to 70, that range indicates you can measure from 60 (70-10=60) dB to 76(70+6=76) dB SPL. If you set the dial to 80, you can read from 70 dB to 86 dB SPL and so forth.

On the manual, it says the left side of the range (-10 to 0) is less acurate than the right side(0 to +6). So when making measurements, I would set it so that the needle is on the right area.

Hence if you are shooting for 75 dB, then set the dial to 70, and adjust your receiver settings so that the needle is around middle of the 4 to +6 marks (the fifth mark wich indicates a 75 dB SPL).

You should position the meter on your seating area, where you will usually be seated. If you have a tripod you can use that to mount the spl meter and put it on your seat. Some say to point the mic at 45 degrees to the front, others upright pointing to the ceiling. Yet others point it at intersection of the wall and the ceiling. I myself point it upright...

Do you get it now?
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 28 2003 - 08:12 AM

PERFECT - thank you!

#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 28 2003 - 10:21 AM

according to the receiver manual, front speakers have to be set to "large" in order for the subwoofer mode setting to be an option (LFE vs LFE+Main). are your speakers set to large to make sure bass comes from the sub during movies and cd playback?

also - i don't have 6.1 ( i have 5 speakers and a sub), so the auto flag is pointless to have on, right?

#11 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 28 2003 - 11:04 AM

Yes in page 19 of the manual it says that. What it actually means is
LFE: play all redirected bass through the subwoofer,
LFE+main: play all redirected bass through the subwoofer, and also sent it to the mains(L&R).

The reason you have to set them to large for this option to appear is because of the second option LFE+main.

If you read further down below that page (19) there is some more explanations about what it does. Also note on page 18 the little explanation of selecting small or large.

I recommend setting all the speakers to small, and sub to yes, since you have a very capable subwoofer (SVS). Altough you could experiment to see what you like best (setting front speakers to large, and LFE or LFE+main)

Always remember, this is your system, so you can tailor it to your liking. What we say or recommend here can be used as guidelines but ultimately you are the one who is going to listen to it....

Ohh and yes it's pointless to have autoflag on with a 5.1 setup
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Alex-F-V

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Posted August 28 2003 - 04:22 PM

I was going to ask something like this so I'm marking it for later.

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 28 2003 - 06:02 PM

Albert A - this is sort of a pointless question, but it seems to me that the receiver automatically sets the reference level to 00 when calibrating. am i correct, i do i have to adjust it manually before i enter the menu? just curious...

#14 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 28 2003 - 06:16 PM

You have to adjust it manually if you are going to use test tones from Avia, Video Essentials or other.

You are correct, the receiver automatically goes to 00 when you select play its internal test tones.

I can help nitpicking but, "00" is just a volume position, which will indicate reference level if you calibrate like I described before... I just wanted to make this point clear...
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#15 of 38 OFFLINE   Cagri

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Posted August 28 2003 - 06:28 PM

"Well cragi, I don't agree that mike should forget all about reference level. Granted is not neccesary to calibrate to reference level to have all your speakers spl at the same level."

He seems to be having problems with CALIBRATING, and confused with 00 and 75 which relate to ref level, and by all means he can forget about ref level when calibrating. You can calibrate your system properly without knowing where on your receiver ref level is, which is his MAIN concern..

OTOH, if you read my post carefully I said if he wants to know where ref level is, he can then easily find it.

Ref level is mostly confusing for people who are new in HT and I think that if they find it confusing they should calibrate without caring what ref level is.
Too much debt...

#16 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 28 2003 - 06:51 PM

Quote:
He seems to be having problems with CALIBRATING, and confused with 00 and 75 which relate to ref level


Well not anymore, he got the point! And he learned why "00" was mentioned as well as 75.

Quote:
You can calibrate your system properly without knowing where on your receiver ref level is, which is his MAIN concern..


And I dully noted this...

Quote:
OTOH, if you read my post carefully I said if he wants to know where ref level is, he can then easily find it.

Where exactly did you state this?
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Cagri

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Posted August 28 2003 - 10:55 PM

Good thing he did learn.

Quote:
And I dully noted this...


Well done.

Quote:
Where exactly did you state this?


Here:
Quote:
You do not have to adjust anything at 75db unless you would like to know how loud ref level sounds.

Too much debt...

#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 29 2003 - 08:04 AM

alright - i got everything calibrated to 75dB, and i set the sub to about 78dB, as recommended by the SVS instructions. however, i'm not really getting as much bass as i'd like. can i simply increase the gain on the sub...or will that somehow throw a bunch of sound factors out of whack? i calibrated the sub with the gain 1/3 of the way up...so should i re-calibrate with the gain higher? do i know what i'm even talking about?? basically, is it ok to just turn up the volume on the sub?

also - once my speakers are all calibrated, does it mess anything up to adjust the treble and bass settings on the reveiver?

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted August 29 2003 - 10:34 AM

SVS recommends setting the gain 1/2 to 3/4 and adjust your receiver settings to read 75-80 dB.

What kind of material are you playing? I am surprised you want more bass with that SVS beast!Posted Image

But i'll say it again, this is your system, so you can adjust the level of your subwoofer to your liking...and the treble and bass on the receiver (I myself have tone defeat on, that is no treble or bass adjustments)....
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Matthews

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Posted August 29 2003 - 11:31 AM

wait - do they mean to set the gain at 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the max? as in, set the volume 3/4 as loud as it goes? i have it set at 3/4...as in not even at the half way mark. maybe i got confused...

i'm just not hearing much of the subwoofer, and i don't blast music at all. and it's all stuff like Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, Bela Fleck, etc...

EDIT - the manual that came with the sub says "ensure your subwoofer's volume control is set 1/4 to 1/3 up, to start. it also says to set the receiver's test tones to no higher than "-5dB" initially.

this confuses me...in the stereo world, would HIGHER than -5 be -6, -7, etc... or would it be -4, -3, +1, etc...


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