Calibration story/question (long)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Pagac, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received the VE disc yesterday (from EzyDVD in Aus). I immediately went to my nearest Rat Shack and purchased the analog SPL meter (after a long discussion with the employees because they did not know what an SPL meter was). When I got back home, I waited until things quieted down (I live in an apartment ) and I was relaxed before starting the process.
    I listened to the narrator ramble on for a while until I got to the test tones. I got into position, grabbed my remotes and the meter and anticipated the moment that I would have my system calibrated and set perffectly. Then the test tones came. No reading on the meter. I turned up the receiver a little more. A small deflection on the meter. I turned it up some more. Finally, a *LOT* of hissing was coming from the speaker (other than the pink noise) and I was at reference level. Holy loud, Batman!
    I knew this was never going to work out right . Not only is my home theater room small (20' x 12' I believe), the neighbors would have me evicted before the TV was warmed up if I listened to anything at that volume. I decided to try something else and here is where the question comes.
    I brought the volume back down to where I usually listen to movies (the neighbors still complain at that volume), figured out the SPL at that point and proceeded to calibrate from there. My new reference point is now around 61-62dB. I know this is a far cry from Dolby reference, but the room is small and I am not looking to be evicted yet.
    My question is, is there anything wrong with the logic behind this process? Has anyone else "cheated" like this before? My speakers can handle the 75dB level, but my *J*ust *V*ery *C*rappy receiver will have no part in it (JVC RX-884VBK). Also, (and I am sure the answer would be yes) will the Outlaw 1050 be able to come closer to the 75dB mark (if not reach it outright) without throwing a fit? I will be buying one in October and I would just like to be able to know I have a decent investment for when I get a house some day and I will be able to have some real fun.
    I am sorry for the length of this post, but it is my first one and I thought I should make it count. [​IMG] Any replies will be appreciated. I will also be happy to include more spec of my equipment if necessary.
    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  2. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    Welcome to the Home Theater Forum, fellow Wisconsinite.
    I think the important part of calibrating your speakers is that they are all at the same db level so that your audio imaging sounds balanced left to right, front to back, etc.. I don't think it's as important that it's calibrated to reference level. I live in a house, and I think even my neighbors would complain if I was playing every movie at reference level, not to mention I think my hearing would be damaged after time.
    I don't know about your JVC, and I don't own an Outlaw...but I have heard good things about the Outlaw, and don't think it would have any problem achieving reference levels. My Sony DB930 has no problem doing it. Also a benefit of the Outlaw is that its capable of 6.1 surround.
    I just went back and re-read your post. I am now thinking that something might be wrong with your receiver or something. Unless it is seriously underpowered, you shouldn't have a problem hitting ref. level using pink noise. Anyone else think something's up???
    Again...welcome to the greatest Home Theater forum on the web...
    Matt
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    Sony DB-930
    Pioneer DV-525
    Mitsubishi WS55807
    Paradigm Titans mains
    Paradigm Atoms surrounds
    Paradigm CC-170 center
    Velodyne CT-120 Sub
     
  3. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    That's absolutely fine. In fact, thats the best way to do it. If you calibrate at reference but then listen at [Ref - 13dB] then the levels may not be right. You can't really expect your volume control to be perfectly linear with zero offset and gain error between 5 channels (plus the sub).
    So calibrate at the volume level you're likely to use. And just make a mental note that you're really at [Ref - 13dB] or whatever. The Avia calibration DVD actually recommends calibrating at [Ref - 10dB] and that's what I did.
     
  4. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    Matt's right, your receiver shouldn't have any problems outputting the pink noise at 75dB. But it was unclear if you were really having problems getting there or if you were simply surprised at how loud reference really is. I was pretty [email protected] surprised. Can't imagine listening any louder than [Ref - 8dB]. Ouch!
     
  5. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the warm welcome. I have been floating around in here for about a month reading and learning. You guys really know your stuff, which is why I finally posted.
    As for the receiver having something wrong with it, I have had the same feeling for a while now with a different issue (which is why I will be replacing it soon, but not soon enough). When I watch DVD's in DD, I get a loud *Snap* out of the surrounds for no reason. Even if I am not watching a movie (if I have the player on and ready to go with the receiver set to DD), it will still snap. This has been going on for about 2 years, with 2 different DVD players, both using the optical input. My opinion is the input is bad (or maybe the decoder). I have not yet tried the coax connection to see if it goes away, but I see that as a moot point. The fact that it does not like the optical input indicates that something is not really right with the unit.
    Outlaw, here I come! [​IMG]
     
  6. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan:
    I can get to 75dB with the pink noise. I don't like staying there for very long (neighbors and all), but that was not really too much of a problem. Once I got to 75dB on the left channel, there is a slight pause before it went to the center channel. During that pause, there was an enormous amout on background hiss (the kind you hear when you turn the volume all the way up on any stereo and no signal is put through). Maybe I should measure the noise as a refernece as to how loud it is later. I just did not like the idea of that kind of noise going through my speakers, so I brought it back down and calibrated as the first post describes.
     
  7. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are getting major hissing, my guess would be a shitty amp in the JVC. When you upgrade, not only will you not hear the hissing, but sound in general (music, movies, etc.) will sound better overall.
    Matt
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    Sony DB-930
    Pioneer DV-525
    Mitsubishi WS55807
    Paradigm Titans mains
    Paradigm Atoms surrounds
    Paradigm CC-170 center
    Velodyne CT-120 Sub
     
  8. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    That is exactly what I am hoping for, Matt. I took some steps a couple of weeks ago to rearrange my setup a bit and got a substantial improvement all around (soundstage, bass clarity/impact, etc.). I am looking forward to another big improvement with the new receiver. Even if it is not as noticable, I will have the peace of mind knowing that I have a much higher quality receiver that will play cleaner/truer and last longer.
     
  9. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    Trust me..it will be noticeable!!
    I went from a Sony str-de835(lowest in their line) to a
    str-DB930(mid level), and the difference was astounding. Just that little bit better amp and internal circutry, and damn..big time improvement!
    Matt
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    Sony DB930
    Pioneer DV-525
    Mitsubishi WS55807-Widescreen baby!!
    Paradigm Titans-mains
    Paradigm Atoms-surrounds
    Paradigm CC-170-center
    Velodyne CT-120-subwoofer
     
  10. RyanL

    RyanL Stunt Coordinator

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    I also have a JVC receiver (same model) and get a snap when I switch outputs too. Also when it goes from DPL to DD. Just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one. I'm waiting for the $ to buy a marantz 6200 or 7200.
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    Paradigm Monitor 90P's
    Paradigm Reference CC-450
    Paradigm Titans
    Aura Bass Shakers (2)
    Marantz 1550
    Aiwa 8" Sub
    JVC RX-884vbk (reciever)
    JVC XV-501bk (DVD player)
    Sharp Hi-Fi VCR
    Sony 27V20 27" Trinitron TV
     
  11. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    Now that you mention it, Ryan, I also get the snap when it switches from DPL to DD. It has been something I have just lived with. I can not wait to get rid of that thing in a couple of months.
     
  12. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    Scott,
    Silly question, but you had the SPL meter setup with the 'C' weighting, right? From reading your post, it sounds like you accidentally had it set to 'A'.
     
  13. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    David:
    I set the meter to C and Slow. However, I can check it out when I get home tonight just to be sure. I was more than positive I took my time and prepared everything just right before proceeding with the test, but I have been known to screw things up more than once in the past. [​IMG] If I find that I did have things set wrong, I will recalibrate, see what happens, and let you all know. If not, I will stand by my original post and wait for the day I can rid myself of that receiver. October can never come too soon. [​IMG]
     

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