Are these channel levels too high or too low?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by GregBe, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    I am calibrating my speakers, and my question involves the individual channel levels of the speakers in the AVR. My subwoofer has an outboard control module that allows for the control of phase, crossover, volume, and some equalization to be done on it rather than on the back of the sub itself. It is a really cool feature, and I can also control the volume by remote control which is great for on the fly adjustments. I have it located in my rack for easy access. I want to calibrate everything so that my normal movie sub level has the volume control on the outboard module at 12:00. That way, when I adjust it up or down for content, I can easily get back to my starting point.
    I have used a test disc to calibrate all of the channels to 75db, and the sub to 80db. I may lower the sub to somewhere in between once I play with it a little more. Unfortunately in order to do this, the level on my subwoofer channel on the avr has to be at -10 (out of a -12 to +12 range), and the other channels are in the +9 to +10 range. I have read that it is good to keep the sub level in the negative range to minimize distortion, but is -10 too low?
    Also are the other channels subject to the same distortion if I have them that high in the positive range. Obviously the sound is the most important thing, but if all that matters is that the levels are calibrated the same, this setup is much more user friendly for me.
    Thanks
    Greg
     
  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    What speakers do you have? just curious as why your other speakers are at +9/10.
    Which disk did you use?
    Is your room big/open/vaulted ceilngs?
     
  3. Lee Carbray

    Lee Carbray Second Unit

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    The only thing that might be a problem is if your sub has an auto on circuit. The signal may be too low to trigger it. Otherwise I would not worry as long as it sounds good.
     
  4. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    Thanks Lee,
    So you don't think distortion is a problem for the other speakers?

    Chad,

    The speakers are Cambridge Soundworks M60 bookshelf speakers. It is not so much that the speakers have to be that high to drive the room. I am setting it this way to achieve what I am trying to do with the sub volume level on the control module. If I wasn't trying to get the sub level to 12:00 when calibrated, I could very easily have the speakers at even on the AVR and the sub level (on the sub) down to 1/4 gain. If it made a difference regarding sound quality and distortion, I would gladly bring the AVR speaker levels in line with the sub level at even or slightly lower, and not worry about where the gain level is on the sub itself. This setup is simply for ease of use.
    Greg
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have my sub turned to only about 10 o'clock on it's gain, and calibrate with the AVR's control to -3. I adjust for content on the AVR.

    How did you calibrate? Did you start with the front left speaker and turn the volume up until you got 75dB? If the front left is "0", your reference, then the other main speakers should not be significantly different from one another if well placed (within +/-1dB, depending on room and how close the speakers match).

    So you have a CS sub too? I like the remote feature, and used to have that with my old Yamaha sub, but found that I don't change my settings anymore now that I have the VTF-2. The nice thing about the Yamaha was I had 3 memory settings, so I had one for music, one for movies and one that was calbirated way hot for movies. Too bad it wasn't a great sounding sub.
     
  6. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    Hi John,
    I do have the CSW P1000 sub. I really like it, and the volume control feature is great. I have sub +- as keys on my universal remote, so I can adust the sub volume on the fly as much or as little as I want. (Maybe that is too much "tweakability" for my own good). Maybe that is the problem. Maybe I should just set it and leave it, but I have three different levels I set the sub to. When the kids are sleeping, I usually watch at 30 below reference, so I bump my sub to 80db (this is the 12:00 setting). My normal loud movie level is at 15-20 below ref so I bring the sub down to 77db. For music I like the sub flat at 72db (offset for the innacuracies of the Radio Shack Meter). The only problem is that I need a specific place on the dial to get back to after I tweak it up or down.

    All of my speakers with the exception of the sub are within 1 db of each other (at +9 or +10). The sub is at -10 with the level on the sub at 12:00. I used DVE for all of the channels except the sub which is grossly off, so I use my receiver tone for that. This is the way I did it. I am sure this will be confusing, but here it goes. I have an Onkyo 600 receiver, and it is volume graded in numbers that go upwards (not in relation to zero) Since I can't put reference at 0, I wanted to set it to something I could remember like 75 or 80. I currently am at 75 as reference (a coincidence to VE's numbers). If I were to go up to 80 as reference, I would be able to bring down the channel levels of the speakers to something closer to 0, but I don't think I could get the sub level to remain at 12:00. Even if I were to drop the AVR sub level down to -12. If I were to go the other way and make 70 my reference level, and keep the Sub level at 12:00 I would be able to bring the sub level on the AVR up to something like -6, but would then have to increase my regular channels to above +12 to get a balance (which I can't do even if I wanted). Maybe I am looking at this the wrong way.
    Any thoughts?
    Greg
     
  7. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    try a different "reference time" than "12:00", like "3:00" or "9:00"
     
  8. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    ScottCHI,
    Thanks for the input. I tried 9:00 on the subwoofer dial, which allowed me to bring the other channels down to -1 and 0, and the avr's sub channel up to -3, but to do this I had to move the reference level up to 85 on the Onkyo receiver. This brought up a different problem. With the reference level pushed up so high, the dial on the subwoofer became very sensitive. When I pushed the remote very quickly with one burst, the sub volume jumped by huge amount (something like 6 db's). Even when I went up to the control module and manually put the dial at what I thought was precicely 9:00, I was off by 4 db's. I couldn't duplicate the level I originally had with any precision. When I had the ref level set at 75 on the Onkyo, the increments on the sub dial were not as dramatic, and was able to move the sub up or down by 2 db's with each push of the remote. When I would manually place the dial at 12:00 I would always be right on to where I had it calibrated.

    I know all this probably sounds pretty frivilous, but it is a feature that makes me happy. I get to do slight or major tweaks from my seat without going through a bunch of receiver menu's. I guess back to my original question. I am ok with the major differences between the sub and the other channels in the AVR, because once it is set, I know I will never have to look at it, and I know that all of my channels are balanced.

    I do remember reading to keep the sub level below 0 on the receiver and below 12:00 on the sub itself to eliminate distortion, but I don't recall seeing anywhere about the same thing applying to any of the other channels. Does anyone recall seeing if there are distortion problems with upping the non-sub channels to above 0 on the AVR?

    Thanks
    Greg
     

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