Avia, Video Essentials outdated? Alternatives?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Iain, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Iain

    Iain Agent

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    Given the frequency with which they're recommended, I'm guessing Avia and Video Essentials are not outdated... But I'm curious since Avia is more than two and a half years old and Video Essentials is more than five years old (and as far as I know no longer distributed). Anyone know of any alternative A/V calibration discs out there that are more recent? (I know there's a Digital Video Essentials in the works, but I'm not sure when it might be released.)

    Cheers, Iain
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Ovation of Avia fame released in conjunction with the magazine the $16 Sound&Vision Home Theter Tune-Up disk last winter. It uses much of the audio/video format developed by Avia, but isn't as geared to the tweak-minded, esp. video. S&V usually can be ordered at barne&noble.com and amazon.com
    S&V has 6.1 and Dts calibrations.

    Avia is said to be working on new releases incl. a $$$ Pro version. Not seen a HT price or release date.

    "Digital Video Essentials" has been redeveloped by Joe Kane in 4-5 versions (also incl Pro) and the net talk is one will be introduced at the January CES trade show. Look for it after then.

    Meanwhiule, for basic adjustments and calibrations, the origl Avia and S&V still meet most people's needs.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Since the standard for NTSC video was adopted in 1941, I don't know if the 2 year age of these discs really matters all that much.

    The only thing missing from either is updated audio tests- specifically a DTS encoded speaker level test and a 6.1 test.

    However- I would say that the need for DTS 6 channel level test is completely overstated as a proper decoder will match DTS/DD levels (and if not, how are you going to adjust since none of the products I've seen offer independent speaker levels based on format).

    And the need for a 6.1 signal test is equally overrated- as any proper setup would be fine with equal output level across all 3 rear channels.

    If you're looking for a few extra audio tests to play with- check the S&V tune up disc (made by Ovation Software, makes of AVIA)- which is a scaled back version of AVIA with a handful of new test signals.


    But the short answer really is that no respected company has released any new tools to get overly excited about. I would say until you see HD test patterns, there is little real compelling reason to go beyond VE or AVIA. Even D-VE is being prepared more as a test program for eventual HD media- and simply being downconverted to offer a new version for DVD sale...

    -Vince
     
  4. Alan Preston

    Alan Preston Extra

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    Does that mean if I use AVIA and calibrate Dolby Digital the reciever will try and automatically calibrate DTS the same way?
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    It doesn't "try" to do anything- nothing actually needs adjusted differently (in theory). Your question alludes that the receiver can "adjust" the DTS levels based on Dolby levels- when in actuality they should be the same, so setting levels with tones in one codec should result in proper setting for all.

    Both Dolby and DTS are using the same relative channel configurations- so the level of speakers using pink noise should be the same from a disc encoded with dolby as it is with DTS. So, calibrating in this nature should not be dependent on the codec- it should be (theoretically) the same across both audio encoding schemes as it is more based on the physical hardware than the format (as it would be the same using PCM encoding or MP3).

    -Vince
     
  6. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Thanks Vince, that takes care of a question I have had for the last week or so in regards to DTS calibration.
     
  7. Alan Preston

    Alan Preston Extra

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    So I just calibrate them identically?
     
  8. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Alan,

    When you BALANCE your speakers all around with Dolby Digital tones at 85dB, your amp volume dial will end up at a specific point on the dial (unless it's a receiver that goes to 0dB for reference calibration).

    Now when you play back a DVD with a Dts track, the sound will be just as balanced thru the spkrs.

    BUT HERE'S THE DIFFERENCE:

    I cant get into it, but Dolby offers sound engineers a coding technique called DIALOG NORMALIZATION. It has to with the sound dynamic range in actual movie theaters and for at-home DVDs. Dts does not use this technique.

    Therefore when you play Dts on a system that's been balanced with Dolby Digital tones, Dts will be +4dB to +5dB LOUDER.

    So? We just adjust the master volume like always to get it as loud as we want.

    bill
     
  9. Alan Preston

    Alan Preston Extra

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    Thank you Bill.
     
  10. Iain

    Iain Agent

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    I'd just like to add my thanks to Bill and Vince. S&V HT Tune-up sounds like just the ticket for me.

    Cheers, Iain
     
  11. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Since DVD is 480 scan lines by approx 720 pixels per line, there isn't any more performance we can put onto a test disk. So AVIA remains as good as we can get. (VE's resolution chart only goes up to the equivalent of 640 pixels across).
    I would like to see some "chroma resolution" test charts. This subject was never addressed in the early days of video because the NTSC (the committee) knew that color resolution had to be severely limited, But being able to grade the chroma resolution quality of today's component video and S-video connections in DVD players and in TV sets would be nice.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     

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