Calibration

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim_Lan, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Jim_Lan

    Jim_Lan Agent

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    I've heard that you need to get an SPL meter to calibrate.. Is that really necessary? What do you need to calibrate a sub woofer?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yes it is necessary for proper calibration. How else will you know if the levels match eachother? Most people do not have good enough ears to hear an exact Sound Pressure Level, though in the end, you may still tweak your setup to your liking.

    For a sub, a basic level calibration can be done with an SPL meter, but there are other devices to perform additional control with respect to the room and sub itself.
     
  3. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Jim,
    in the opinion of this HT enthusiest, an SPL meter is absolutly CRUCIAL, no question about it.
    Having all of your speakers at the same level realative to your seating position makes a big difference in your soundfield. It prevents the speakers from overpowering one another in terms of volume and yields a smooth unified soundstage that is balanced.
    Rule of thumb with a sub: IT dictates where it goes, not you.
    Proper placement is key and you can find it's best location with an SPL meter quite easily. First, place the sub where you are going to normally sit when you watch movies, next crawl on your hands and knees(don't laugh) around the room taking readings on the meter from a repeating bass tone from the sub (a favorite scene with a lot of low end on A-B repeat works well for the test tone, I recommend the T-Rex footsteps in Jurassic Park for this if you have it), where the sub reads the highest and where it feels the strongest and tightest, that's where it goes.
    With the sub in it's final location, the bass tone will sound just as strong and deep as it did when it was in your seating position.
    Calibrate the sub the same way as your other speakers once you've got the AVIA dvd and the SPL meter mounted at your seating location (a camera tri-pod is also a must for hyper accurate readings). Some here like to have their sub's a couple of dbs igher than the other speakers just for a little extra "ummpphh", that's up to you though. I've got my sub set three dbs higher than the rest of my speaker array.
    But yes, an SPL meter is a must if you want your system in perfect line.
    Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  4. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

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    Jim, think of it this way. A Rad. Shack spl meter costs $35. You can also get the Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up calibration DVD for $15. In relation to what you've spent on your system, this is peanuts, and may be the best $50 you have spent. If you disagree after trying, you can always return the SPL meter to Rad Shack within 30 days. Odds are, you'll like it and will use it often (whenver you move your speakers around, or whenever your wife/kids/friends screw around with your settings etc.).

    I can honestly say proper calibration was one of the two biggest improvements I have made to my system. The difference when watching movies was huge.

    The other "biggest" improvement was buying a very large, matching center channel speaker. My previous CC was from the same speaker family, but was much smaller, and the dialogue never sounded right. Now it matches the mains seamlessly.
     

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