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1001 ways to use spl meter - but which is correct? (1 Viewer)


Dec 17, 2003
I have read a lot of posts of guys suggesting different ways to setup your system. I am confused. Could someone with knowledge PLEASE make sense of the following:

Fact or Fiction:

1. Use 'C' weighting, slow response;

2. Use meter at ear level at listening position;

3. Use meter upright when taking measurements, or

4. Angle meter towards the front and take all speaker measurements this way, or

5. Angle meter towards each speaker in turn, and take measurement;

My marantz volume goes from 70 to 0db to +18db, now..

6. Set master volume to 0db and set all speakers to read 75db on spl meter, or

7. In the receiver setup, set the level on center speaker to 0db, now turn up the master volume untill 75db is read on the spl meter, now leave the master volume and set the rest of the speakers to read 75 db on spl meter;

8. Use 75db or 85db? I can use the receiver tones, and I have Sound and Vision Setup disc;

9. I also read that you can set the master volume to -20db and then calibrate the speakers to 85db.

All this info I read in different threads.

I know this question has been asked a few times, but please help me!

Jeff Gatie

Senior HTF Member
Aug 19, 2002

This is the way I did it (per Avia), angled at 45 degrees.

The rest of the questions deal with whether you want to calibrate to "reference", what your reference setting will be and which disk you are using. Calibrate to reference at the '0' setting on your receiver and this gives you a handy way to remember "reference". That way, when you are playing at -10dB, you know you are at -10dB below reference. The actual level you calibrate to depends on your disk. VE uses 75dB (i.e. attenuated by 30dB) reference tones, Avia and S&V use 85dB (attenuated by 20dB) tones. Calibrate to the dB level on the disk and you will be calibrated "to reference". Note, if you are using receiver tones, most are 75dB tones. Try calibrating at 85dB using the S&V disk and then test the levels of the receiver tones. They should be close to 75dB, although receiver tones are not as reliable as the disk tones.

Setting the volume to -20dB and then calibrating will probably not allow you to reach 85dB on the meter. Set the volume to '0' and calibrate from there.


Dec 17, 2003
Thanks for the reply Jeff,

I have RS Digital meter. This is what I've done so far. Could I carve this in stone:

1. Set to 70db range (or 80), 'C' weighting, slow response;
2. Set up meter in normal listening position (sweet spot), ear level, facing upward;
3. Set master volume to 0db, but I can also set to -10db (which is my normal listening volume for movies);
4. Use Sound and Vision 6.1 DTS Discreet Tones;
5. Set all channels to 85db (or 75db for receiver tones).

THUS, if I use 0db master volume, setting to 85db using S&V tones EQUALS setting to 75db using receiver tones (also at 0db volume)?

1. Some say to use 75db for S&V disc and for the receiver?
2. Does it matter if I calibrate for 6.1, or 7.1 speakers, and use only 5.1, or must I calibrate again when I use 5.1 material?
3. Do I need to recalibrate for DD material, when I used DTS for calibration?
4. My Marantz 5400 has got a LFE setup under Surround modes, and also Subwoofer, what is the LFE for, must I leave that at 0db?


Dec 17, 2003
Just confirmed:

85db on spl meter at 0db volume = 75db on spl meter at -10db volume.

Come to thing of it, it makes sense!:)

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