Calibration for dummies!?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by tom_furman, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok...i'm gonna sound like a major retard but here goes. I just made myself a new 15" Tempest sub, and I want to calibrate it with my HTD Level 3s. I have had the Avia dvd for some time, but I finally went to RS and bought the analog sound level meter. So....

    I put the meter on a nice tripod and faced it straight up at the celing, and placed the tripod in my usual seating position.

    I turned the knob on the meter to the 80Db level and cranked out the pink noise from my left front...it started off reading like 70 so I kept turning up the volume on my receiver until it hit 85 (THIS WAS LOUD!!!). Then I turned the pink noise out of the center speaker and it was a bit lower that 85, more like 81. So should I go into my receiver's setup and turn up the center speaker 4Db, and check it again? Then repeat this process for the rears?

    And then I set about calibrating the sub, but it lost me completely...should I turn the gain up on the sub, or turn down the Db level on my receiver? etc?
     
  2. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Yep that's the idea. Start on the left speaker, adjust main volume up to a set level. Then using the individual channel level volume controls on the receiver make it so all 5 speakers are producing the same level.

    For the sub I'd set the receiver level to it's middle value (0 if it uses a equal amount above and below 0). Then adjust the gain on the plate amp until you are relatively close, then use the receivers sub level controls to fine tune.

    Reference level requires 85dB. I find this way to loud. I usually give demos with the level at 80dB and watch movies at 75dB. Try calibrating to 75dB and then see what you think of the level.
     
  3. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    ok..i'll give it a whirl...w/o actually trying it yet i cant imagine the sub giving out the same Db level as the speakers! [​IMG]
     
  4. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    Woo-Hoo! Well heres an update:
    On my Sony Db940, the fronts are "set", and you adjust the center and rears to the level of the front. So I cranked up the volume till my fronts gave out 75Db. Then I turned of the center speaker and I had to turn it up about 4Db on my receiver. Then I turned on my rears and I had to turn them up only about 2Db on my receiver. Then I let Avia do a sweep of all 5 speakers and the needle only bounced about 1.5Db at any one time. Thats not too bad is it?
    Then I attacked the sub. To my suprise the level I had it set at was WELL about the 75Db! So I turned down the gain till it was right around 75Db. The gain knob is only about 1/5 up!
    Then as I was checking all the settings on my receiver before i tried a movie I noticed something...my front mains were set to LARGE!! ARGH!!!!! No wonder my sub sounded a bit "off" before, and my friend got a headache during some scenes..lol. So i switched them to SMALL and cranked up a movie!
    WOW!!! the bass is SOOO much tighter...not the constant "ring" I had before. I dont notice too much of a difference in the speakers themselves..i was only off a few Db. But it was worth getting the SPL meter just for the sub!
    TEMPEST rules [​IMG]
    Oh dustin..thanks sooo much for all your help. even taking the few minutes out of your day to help out is a big deal to me. Some schmuck on the internet you've never met, yet you take the time to help me. I've never had any sort of background id HT or sound engineering so I appreciate it when you dumb things down for me! [​IMG]
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    You're welcome. I was the schmuck once too, well not quite the schmuck you are :p)

    Anyways, my gain is set around that area as well. Enjoy.
     
  6. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Tom

    After you noticed your large fronts boo boo, did you re-calibrate again????

    I recommened you do this. Yeh, big bummer, but your center, sub, and rears are probley 3-4db hot compared to the mains.

    Just to be safe and more accurate I would do it all over again. All speaks small and sub yes. Now re-calibrate everything to 75 again. If you like a little more kick on the bottom end, maybe a few db hotter than 75db on the sub. ~{C-weighted slow response}~

    I'll bet you will find it sounds even better than NOW, once you re-cali. Alot of receivers have a bass limiter, or LFE trim that has to be set. Be sure and read your receiver manual completey to see if this applys in your case. Can make a big difference in the bass department when all speaks are set to small. Neither my older Yamaha receiver nor my pre pro have this but my neighbors Pioneer Elite 33TX dose, and untill the Bass Limiter thingy was set correct the receiver was throwing away bass in many movies that we new had bass content in those particular sences.

    Made a huge differance once we set it,,,, and then had to recalibrated the whole thing again... It was very worth it for him in the end! Went from wow to (Holy ****)! I think you get the point.....

    Good luck & enjoy the new Tempest
    Geoff
     
  7. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    I'm confused by these "bass limit" things for various receivers.
     
  8. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    I belive Vince M.

    Has wrote extensivly about the bass, trim, limiter, LFE control, ect along with Full Blown, HOW TO PROPERLY calibrate your complete DD DTS system

    Do a search in the Basic Area for LFE Trim or LFE Limiter or Bass Limiter, Bass trim and you should finding ample reading material. Alot different receivers call it different things,,,, and NOT all receivers have this feature.

    If yours dose have some type of trim, limiter etc,,,, this is nesessary reading material to cali properly..

    Geoff
     
  9. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    I have something called "LFE mix" in my receiver, it also goes from -10 to +10. I turned it off and the sub has alot more punch...not sure if i should go fiddling with it though
     
  10. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Well if you want to get all there is to get from your set up, than fiddeling is what it is all about...[​IMG]
    When you turn off the LFE mix it probley goes to a defalt setting , I am just gessing here, most likely to 0...
    You might want to read about this in your manual and then if it's not clear do a search for the LFE stuff were mentioning about to get a better understanding of just what it dose and or can do for your system.
    I am certainly not trying to push you into screwing with your receiver, if "your happy" thats all that counts. But on the other hand maybe more performance is their and you just have to set it up right to get that little extra?...[​IMG]
    Im sure you love your new sub though, the Tempest is very nice choice!
    Best Regards
    Geoff
    Edit: What receiver do you have??? Ok so I missed the Sony receiver in the first post! Sorry:b
     
  11. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Tom,

    I cudn't find the manual for yr Sony, but I'll make two comments before this gets outa hand over different terminologies.

    Strictly speaking, LFE only is the .1 special effects soundtrack in 5.1 DVD movies and goes from 120Hz frequency down. Soundtracks also carry regular bass. Two different animals.

    I dont know what Sony means calling the control "LFE Mix." But I'll bet it should default at 0dB. This isnt a control that people usually continually adjust on the fly.
    You said you have it "off." Well, ok, sometimes we have to listen to DVDs with good LFE to hear what's what. And it varies from disk to disk, too! If, in the long run, you feel all LFE from DVDs isnt really punchy, then your LFE Mix can be boosted to +10dB.

    This is a setting only you can determine listening to YOUR set-up.

    The other thought I had, is in balancing the sub amp control with the Sony's SWFR Level control, which typically may range from -20dB to 0dB. It's not a good idea to have the receiver level at either extreme. If you want to recalibrate the sub, put the rcvr swfr level in the middle, say -10dB, then readjust the sub amp gain control to compensate using the RS meter to match the sub to the left front main or mains.
     
  12. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Sorry I am not familar with that line of Sony receivers!!!!

    And if thats just the volume adjustment control for the .1,,, than it is total different thing than a LFE limiter or trimming fuction.!

    I'll back my way out of this! :b

    I'll let the boys with the Sonys take care of any questions you might have in regards to the LFE control of this Sony receiver. They can tell you if it has any other type of LFE controls other than the standard LFE .1 volume up down control that feeds your .1 powered sub....

    I apoligize for any confusion I may have added to your thread.

    Geoff
     
  13. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    The manual is pretty much crap..i just read through it one more time.
    I have the following options on my receiver...
    "Sub" 0 - +10
    "LFE Mix" -10 - +10
    "Dts LFE Mix 0 - +10
    Then I got the gain on my plate amp for the sub...ARGH! [​IMG] too many variables...i'll just have to twist, pok,e pull, adjust till something sounds decent and jives with the RS meter.
     
  14. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Tom,

    As a starting point, set DTS LFE to 0dB and leave it here.

    Set LFE Mix (which is Dolby Digital) to 0dB. Much later, if you want more punch, ease it up to +5dB and listen that it doesnt overwork your sub.

    Set the rcvr Sub Level to +4dB to +6dB and recalibrate by turning up the plate amp until reaching yr 75dB or 85dB calibration level. Leave the plate amp at this setting. Now, you will have adjustment room in the rcvr remote to raise and lower the Sub level sitting in your chair to your liking for various sources: tv programs, CDs, FM radio, then back to +4dB or +6dB for reference DVDs.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I was working on my friend's system today (3ES), and I noticed this "LFE mix" thing also. I couln't figure out what it was, so I left it 0 also.

    I completely agree with Bill's recommendation to leave yourself some tuning room for the sub on the receiver. This is what I have done in my system also. I turned the sub's gain up a little, and used the receiver's level to hit my ref cal point. That way I can make adjustments with the receiver's controls if I want a little more bass. I actually never do this though, since my sub has memory, and I can store 3 settings for gain, x-over and phase. I have a setting for +5dB from ref cal, and I usually switch between those two.

    I have to say that the more time I spend with that receiver, the more I like it.
     
  16. tom_furman

    tom_furman Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok...i found out what the "LFE mix" is. You can cut the amount of LFE that gets sent to the sub. 0 is the default and it allows 100% of the LFE signal to get sent to the sub (you can cut it down to -20Db if you choose). The Dts mix default is +10 because some garbage about a Dts track being mixed a bit different.

    So I have my "LFE mix" sent to 0, and "Dts mix" to +10.

    Now...if I recalibrate and and I find I want a bit more bass, should I turn the plate amp up a bit, or turn the subwoofer level on the receiver up a few Db. Or is there no difference?
     
  17. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    you got it, tom
    here's a confirmation from a Sony site for the 484 --
    Subwoofer Level: the level may be adjusted in 1dB steps from -10dB to +6dB.
    LFE Mix: Lowers the level of the LFE channel output. You may select "OFF" (mute), or the level may be set from -20 to 0dB in 1dB steps. Note that this effects only the LFE channel, not the bass sent to the sub through bass redirection circuitry.
    Yes, the plate amp volume control and the receiver's Sub Level work off each other. We're just suggesting the rcvr scale go somewhere in the middle of the range from -10dB to +6dB, say about -1dB or 0dB. Then if the plate amp gain control does not end up at the extreme bottom or top if ITS scale, you're in good shape.
    If you want a sub bass boost, use the rcvr remote for the Subwoofer Level while playing something.
     

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