Calibrating using Digital Video Essentials

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by RobTauber, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. RobTauber

    RobTauber Agent

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    I have just recently bought the DVE test disc. What an improvement to my system already! I am confused on how to calibrate using the different tones. I would appreciate it if someone could help me with the answers to the following questions.

    1).How do I calibrate my rear surrounds seperately when there is only one tone generated for both?

    2).I understand what reference level is, but how do I incorporate that value into my home system?

    3). What volume do I calibrate at? Why?

    4). Which of the test tones do I use, the limited, or full bandwidth pink noise?

    5). How, (in easy to understand terms)do I calibrate my subwoofer? (it is in the best response position for the room)

    Here is my set up: Onkyo TX-DS989, Energy C-9's, Energy C-C3, Energy C-R3 surrounds L,R,RL,RR, JBL S120PII sub, Pioneer DV-38A DVD, Pioneer 50" Plasma. The FL/FR/C/Sub are all 12 feet away, the side and rears are 9 feet away.

    Thank you.
     
  2. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Hi,

    1. If your speakers are wired correctly, there is a separate output for each channel for sure, but I don't have it at work with me to give the exact chapter, title, etc.

    2. With DVE, you calibrate your speakers to 75dB, the number where your volume sits should then be reference level. I have the Onkyo TX-DS898 so I know yours will automatically default to "00" when using a relative scale display, so when level ajdusting the speakers, that is where reference is at.

    3. There is no right number really. If you have the option for either a reference scale(ex. -50 to +20) or just numerical increase(0-100) display, I'd use "00" as reference, and again, our receivers do that for us. If a receiver doesn't automatically set it there for you during level setting, I'd set reference to be 80% of total volume adjustment.

    4. I'm a little fuzzy at the moment on how DVE uses the terms, but if "limited" must be used to test each single speaker, use that. If full bandwidth pink noise can output to each indivial speaker, use that. If full bandwidth is for all speakers at once, don't.

    5. NOTE! There is a problem with the DVE subwoofer test tone that has been noted by many users, it is recorded about 10-12dB too low. So...with DVE calibrate all your speakers individually to 75dB at your listening position, for the sub you'll want to calibrate to about 83-85dB to be "flat" with your speakers. You want 83-5dB because the RS SPL meter is not 100% accurate at lowest frequencies, about 2-3dB lower will compensate for this and with the sub tone on DVE off about 10dB, you come to about +8-10dB over your other speakers to be calibrated right. If you want more sub output after the fact, increase the level to your preference, but at least you'll know where the "flat" calibration level is at. Additionally, let me add that the Onkyo tones in the receiver were within 1 dB difference with DVE when I calibrated, so you could just use them and not go through the headache of having to navigate a DVD and compensate for the sub tone. Just set all speakers to 75dB and the sub to 73dB for flat calibration.

    Have fun.
     
  3. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I will bet even money that your DVD player is not set to output DD, but is sending out PCM. As such, your AVR is decoding the data in Pro Logic (thus mono surrounds).

    Go into the players menu and make certain that DD and DTS (if your AVR does DTS) are On. This normally will be labeled as Bitstream (for On) or PCM (for Off).

    Actually, the .1 channel of DVE is too HOT not too Low...thus, if you calibrate with DVE, you will think you do not have a sub!

    BGL
     
  4. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Your right, I meant to say you'll read 10dB low on your meter or it is recorded 10dB too hot, came out wrong either way.
     
  5. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    The following is from DVE website ...


    So, start out and REF Calibrate your LFE @ 75 dBc and if the LFE is a bit thin, ... add to taste! Once you're done, write it down for future LFE reference.

    Phil
     
  6. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Good info, but what it doesn't address is the difference between the 5 speaker channel tracks and the sub track, which is where the discrepency lies.
     
  7. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Based on that, I would basically get the same result by subtracking 2 dB from my original VE LFE calibration mark. I liked it a little hot, so +4 (original VE) minus (-) 2 = +2 w/DVE.

    I have VE and DVE, but choose to just use Dolby Labs DD-EX 6.1 w/dedicated LFE test tones DVD, and my LFE today is just +2 @ 77 dB (highest needle swing is 78 dB, lowest = 76 dB) Should match DVE.

    Later tonight, I'll check VE and DVE to see what the LFE mark is.

    Phil
     
  8. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Phil, read the thread hotlinked in my signature block.

    The DVE subwoofer calibration tone is mastered exactly 10 dB too hot. It does not account for the 10 dB boost all pre/pros provide to the LFE channel. This has been proven in the referenced thread beyond any doubt, both with ground plane (quasi-anechoic) measurements, and with an actual digital analysis of the signal.

    It is also an ultra-wide bandwidth signal, with strong content to 15 Hz. This will exacerbate the error even further if you have a subwoofer that exhibits a rising in-room response below 30 Hz due to room gain. In this case DVE appears as much as 12-14 dB too hot.
     
  9. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    I'll be interested in seeing your results. Say I calibrate to 75dB across the board with DVE. I can then run a test tone from my receiver and read 74-76dB as well for my speakers. I'd have to retest for the exact number. When I measure the sub output with my receiver test tone it jumps between 85-87dB! By logic, this means because DVE is 10dB hot or so. I got similar results with another test tone disk that I had borrowed from a friend.

    Uh, I see Ed had the specifics.............thanks.
     
  10. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Now that you mention it Edward & Wayne, ... I do remember when I did REF Calibrate my LFE using VE years ago, that my 'final results' was around 10 dB hot vs. 75 dB for my speakers.

    I'll play around with VE and DVE tonight (it's been a while since I only use Dolby Labs DVD) and report my results! I kept those DVD's to Calibrate my video since the Dolby Labs DD-EX DVD is for Audio only.

    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  11. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    The following REF Level Calibration SPL results are applicable only for my HT/family room size: 20' x 30' w/10' high vaulted ceiling.

    NOTE: RS Analog Meter on Tripod, centered with slight 50-degree tilt towards the Center Channel @ 8.6' away.

    Dolby Labs DVD @ 75 dBc = -19.5 MVC Digital Readout
    LFE = 77 dBc (highest swing = 78 dBc / = lowest 76 dBc)
    Full Bandwidth LFE = 88 dB

    Yamaha RX-V1300 settings based on Dolby Labs DVD
    MVC = .... -19.5
    CENTER: .. -8
    R SUR: ... +2
    REAR: .... +4
    L SUR: ... +2
    SWFR: .... -8.5
    SP LFE: .. -11
    BAL: ..... 0

    ----

    The above RX-V1300 settings remained unchanged for the following Audio REFERENCE DVD sources results. Only the Master Volume Control (MVC) knob was adjusted to reach the desired SPL Level(s).

    DVE @ 75 dBc = -17.0 MVC Digital Readout
    LFE = 82 dBc (highest swing = 83 dBc / lowest = 81 dBc)
    Full Bandwidth LFE = 82 dBc (phantom locations) 85 dBc
    - Rear Center: +2 dBc higher 77 dBc

    VE @ 75 dBc = -18.0 MVC Digital Readout
    LFE = 77 dBc (highest swing = 78 dBc / lowest 76 dBc)
    - No Rear Center test tones since it's only DD-5.1

    AV REC Internal @ 75 dBc = - 21.5 MVC Digital Readout
    LFE = 82 dBc (highest swing = 83 dBc / lowest = 81 dBc)
    - Rear Center: +2 dBc higher @ 77 dBc

    ====

    After adjust my MVC digital readout for each test tone source, ...

    1) Interestingly, Dolby Labs DVD and the original VE LFE SPL = 77 dBc (identical)
    --- a) I sold my original VE (1998/99) and bought the last lot VE for $15 - which had a better blue filter.

    2) and DVE & AV REC Internal SW is only 5 dBc higher than Dolby Labs and VE LFE test tones.

    ====
    Just for the heck ...

    Sound & Vision:
    DD-5.1 & 6.1 @ 85 dBc = -16.0
    MVC Digital Readout
    DTS-6.1 Matrix & Discrete = -20.0 MVC Digital Readout
    SW w/ LF = 85 dBc (highest swing = 86 dBc / lowest = 84 dBc)
    Full Bandwidth SW = 96 dBc
    - Rear Center: +2 dBc higher @ 87 dBc

    AVIA DD-5.1 @ 85 dBc = -16.0 MVC Digital Readout
    SW probably Full Bandwidth = 95 dBc (highest swing = 96 dBc / lowest = 94 dBc)
    - No Rear Center test tones since it's only DD-5.1

    ====

    DVE states that the difference between VE and DVE is 2 dBc, DVE being higher.

    My results was DVE was 5 dBc higher (DVE 82 dBc - VE & DDLabs 77 dBc = 5 dBc) which can be accounted for by my HT/family room acoustics and room bass response at my 'sweet spot' position.

    Phil
     
  12. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Great post Phil - your usual unique and informative style.


    Could you explain a bit more about this setting? What is it and what is the range of the control?
     
  13. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Hi Edward - Thanks!


    The "SP (Speaker) LFE" Level range is -20 to O. This setting is only effective when the unit decodes Dolby Digital or DTS signals.

    ---

    Before I explain the "SP LFE" Level adjustment, ... Yamaha (RX-V995 @ my vacation house / RX-V1300) also has an analog subwoofer control = "SWFR" Level.

    So, for bass management:
    1) "SWFR" Level
    2) "SP LFE" Level

    ---

    Before I REF Calibrate my LFE via my DVD (Yamaha Speaker Levels = Default), ... I first calibrate by ear, ... my 2-channel w/sub using my Jazz Music CD's. Any adjustments will be done thru the "SWFR" Level**.

    So, I play my Jazz CD music (Stereo / 2-channel w/sub) @ slightly above normal and ...

    ... adjusted the "SWFR" Level (Remote) down, ...

    ... until I heard the seamless lower bass blend (acoustic/electric bass; bass drum; tom-toms; etc.) from my SVS 25-31PCi** up to my JBL S26's** super flat Studio Monitor like mids (voices; piano; keyboard; etc.) & crystal clear highs (cymbals; violin string section; bells; triangle; etc.).

    Yamaha RX-V1300 Analog (PCM) Subwoofer Results:
    1) Volume @ -35.0
    2) SPL Fast Peaks = 96 dB (RS Meter Dial = 90 / Weight = C / Speed = FAST)
    3) SWFR = -8.5 (Final adjustment - perfect lower frequency blend; bass not boomy or bloated)
    .... a) Once "SWFR" Level is set, ... I don't touch that control again!

    Next is the DIGITAL LFE REFERENCE CALIBRATION ("SP LFE" Level) using "Explore Our World" DVD DD-EX Dedicated LFE Test Tones.

    "SP LFE" Level = -11 (SPL values noted in my above posts)

    ---

    ** NOTES:
    A) Adjusting the "SWFR" Level up or down will change the final "SP LFE" SPL.

    B) Adjusting the "SP LFE" Level up or down will NOT CHANGE the "SWFR" SPL.

    ---

    Hence, the Bass foundation support is 100% A-OK when I switch between my DD/DTS DVDs Digital LFE bass ("SP LFE" Level) to my analog bass ("SWFR" Level) 2-channel Music CD's; DPL TV shows; VHS tapes, LD's, etc.!!!

    Hope that explains the two controls.
    Phil
     
  14. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    So....

    You have an overall subwoofer level control, and you also have an LFE channel (".1") attenuation (0 to -20) control for DD/DTS source material. This arrangement is common in higher level AVRs and pre/pros.

    I am in agreement with your method for setting the overall subwoofer level for music playback.

    However, I don't agree with your setting for the LFE attenuation control. The LFE "trim" control should be left at 0 (i.e., unattenuated) unless you are experiencing trouble with subwoofer overload for HT applications.

    All pre/pros boost the LFE channel exactly 10 dB (in relation to the speaker channels) on DD/DTS source material. By setting your LFE attenuation control to -11, you have essentially removed this intended boost from the playback.

    I always leave the LFE channel trim setting at 0 (unattenuated), and use two different subwoofer level settings for movies and music (the pre/pro remembers each level setting when I switch between inputs).

    I'm not trying to convince you to alter your subwoofer and LFE channel level settings, I'm just not sure why you are running the LFE channel trim at -11.

    If your "Explore Our World" DVD contains an LFE channel test tone that is not mastered 10 dB lower to account for the aforementioned pre/pro boost, then it should be exactly 10 dB louder than the other speaker channel tones, and you should not try to compensate for this.

    Ironically, this is the exact mistake that was made on the DVE DVD. The LFE channel subwoofer tone was not mastered at 10 dB lower than the other channels, and hence the subwoofer calibration tone (which relies exclusively on the LFE channel unlike Avia which uses RB) appears 10 dB too hot during calibration.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  15. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Dolby provided two LFE Test tones, look @ my results again ...

    Dolby Labs DVD @ 75 dBc = -19.5 MVC Digital Readout
    LFE = 77 dBc (highest swing = 78 dBc / = lowest 76 dBc)
    Full Bandwidth LFE = 88 dB

    The DD-EX LFE test tones rotates starting from the Front Left Speaker, then Center, etc., ... I normally move the cursor to the Subwoofer LFE icon just to REF Calibrate it,... I selected 77 dBc as my REF LFE Mark.

    For yesterdays process, I let the LFE test rotate around the speaker locations and noted that together, the SPL = 88 dBc! (about 11 dB higher than the lone LFE test tone)

    Looking over the remaining tests above with S&V and AVIA, the LFE Full bandwidth results are about 10/11 dB higher.

    Thanks for your comments,
    Have a great remaining Super Bowl weekend,
    Phil
     

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