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Audyssey Levels (1 Viewer)

John Dirk

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Please forgive me if this is posted in the wrong place. If there's a current Audyssey thread I couldn't find it.

My question is embarrassingly simple but, after all, "humility is the beginning of knowledge."

When I run Audyssey and it sets [for example] my Left and Right fronts at -6, my Center at -5, etc., what are these set values relative to? I've tried two methods of deciphering this on my own.

1) Let Audyssey handle it.

2) Used my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter.

Audyssey always sets my speaker levels far lower than my SPL meter indicates they should be to achieve an approximate 75 dB SPL level with the test tones generated [which I assume are at -30dB] by my Marantz AV7702 MKII.

Looking for expert advice here.
 

David Willow

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I believe Audyssey attempts to set the speakers to 75 DB as well. Depending on the age of your AVR, it may use 85 DB (they changed to 75 sometime in the last couple years). I am not sure if the level is set before or after the Audyssey processing is setup (I think before, but not 100% sure).

Assuming your Audyssey MIC is properly setup it should set the levels correctly. I can't recall if I ever double checked (I must have at some point because it seems like something I would do :)).

There's an older Audyssey setup guide linked in my signature. There have been some advances in the tech but the basics are still the same.
 

Todd Erwin

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I have always found that I have to tweak the speaker levels after running Audyssey, particularly the center and rear surrounds. Running Audyssey is a good place to start, as it confirms that everything is wired correctly (although I still will run the test a best of 3 if I get any "out of phase" errors).
 

John Dirk

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I have always found that I have to tweak the speaker levels after running Audyssey, particularly the center and rear surrounds. Running Audyssey is a good place to start, as it confirms that everything is wired correctly (although I still will run the test a best of 3 if I get any "out of phase" errors).

Thanks. Based on the responses from yourself and David I believe I understand the science and am doing it correctly. Given that, I agree with your position. Audyssey is a great tool for establishing basic functionality but your ears [and SPL meter] are better tools for fine tuning.
 

JohnRice

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John, a lot of those numbers are somewhat arbitrary, and are influenced by the rest of the system.

As far as I know, Audyssey doesn't have a precise "Reference Level" like THX does. With a THX processor/receiver, you set your volume level to "0" and use a THX test tone to adjust the channel levels to make the test tone play back at 85dB. Then when you watch a THX certified movie and set the volume to 0, you get THX reference volume level. THX processors are different from most others, because "0" on them is reference, where on others it tends to be full volume. In other words, you virtually NEVER play a regular receiver or processor at "0". Some receivers/processors have max volume at "0" and then go down with negative dB levels, like yours. Mine goes from 0 to 100, with 100 being maximum volume. The THX ones I've used go from mute, then -100 to +12, with 0 being reference with THX movies.

Otherwise, everything and all the adjustments just add up to produce a certain volume level. For example, you said your processor has the fronts at -6 and center at -5. If you play something at -30, the volume you get would be exactly the same as if the mains were set at +4 and center at +5, and the volume at -40. Speaker levels are all 10dB higher, but volume is 10dB lower. Same result.

Then, like Todd said, most people like to fine tune what Audyssey sets for them. Center a little higher to help understanding dialog. Usually the sub quite a bit higher.

Does that answer your question?

BTW, I learned a long time ago that I prefer to calibrate the system myself, but it takes a lot of practice. In fact, my current surround pre-amp is a purist one, that doesn't even have any kind of auto calibration, though it does have a very flexible parametric EQ. I use an SPL meter to set levels, then make EQ adjustments by ear. Fine tuning them over time to find what I like best, then leave it.
 
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