Dumb question coming...what is "reference?"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DanielN, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. DanielN

    DanielN Stunt Coordinator

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    Can someone give me an explanation of reference settings or reference audio? I have an idea what it is but I wanted an actual definition of what it means.
    Thanks.
    Edit: Yes I have done a search for it but it was unsuccessful [​IMG]
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    reference n. 1 referring of a matter for decision or settlement or consideration to some authority. 2 scope given to this authority. 3 (foll. by to) a relation, respect, or correspondence. b allusion. c direction to a book etc. (or a passage in it) where information may be found. d book or passage so cited. 4 act of looking up a passage etc., or referring to a book or person for information. 5 a written testimonial supporting an applicant for employment etc. b person giving this.  with (or in) reference to regarding; as regards; about.  referential adj.
     
  3. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I think, and I am not wholly sure about this, that reference, when applied to Home Theater, means a system that can maintain a constant level of 85 dB from 20Hz-20KHz, along with being able to handle brief peaks of 20dB above this level. Once again, I am not sure of this definition, but it seems somewhat intuitively correct.
     
  4. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Not a dumb question. A lot of people on this forum are mis using the term.
    Vince does a great job explaining the basics of calibration and reference level in this post in the primer.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...553#post650553
    Some things people usually get wrong.
    - there is no reference level for listening to music (this doesn't mean that you can't use the calibration discs to properly level match your speakers and integrate your sub into your system, as you should do this; it just means there is no level specified for the play back of music)
    - the reference level you calibrate to on Avia, VE, Sound and Vision, etc discs are for Dolby encoded soundtracks, DTS encoded tracks are different (usually they are recorded 4dB higher than Dolby tracks)
    - reference level on dolby tracks is very loud and few people have systems that can play at this level cleanly (especially the bass frequencies, as in most systems this requires a sub or subs that can break 120dB at the listening position); most people (including myself) are plenty happy at 10dB below reference level
    - the numbers or dial settings on your equipment are meaningless (they will differ depending on distances to listening position, size of room and speakers used), all that matters is what the SPL meter says when the tones from an appropriate test disk are played
     
  5. DanielN

    DanielN Stunt Coordinator

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    /me smacks Ned with a large trout
    [​IMG]
    Thanks all for the explanation.
     
  6. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    In terms of Reference as in Reference Software. My definition would be a CD, LP or tape that contains desirable audio information (music), mix techniques and nuances that allows an audio owner to more properly evaluate his/her's audio hardwares performance. The plus is if you happen to like the material as well.

    Reference doesn't always mean properly mixed or the best quality mix or music. If hard rock lovers or rap music lovers wanted to pick a reference disk, they would pick a disk that would best represent what goals they like and are trying to acheive.

    In the case of the Reference in the title of the CD I gave away, I considered my disk a Reference disk within the criterior of superior mix and detail. Since so many of us claim to be concerned about how this or that piece of gear performs in 2-channel mode in terms of clarity, realism and all of the other "audiophile" buzz words used, I had an idea of what material to use on this CD and what I thought could be considered a Reference to the description titles and criterior inwhich we evaluate audio hardware.

    Fortunately, it seems some who've heard the disc agree although some may not agree. The more people that recognize a particular recording as "above the average" within the criterior set by the masses, the more of a reference it is.

    This CD would not be considered Reference if you were looking for a Bass reference disk.
     
  7. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I believe reference is the decibel level that the artist/director intended his work to be listened to.

    So for music, the director may not have a specified level at which to enjoy the music. But if you wanted to hear the same exact volume level that the microphone heard during recording, you COULD use a reference level.

    Reference is used as a tool in which ppl can compare volume levels. When everyone on the forum sets their hometheater to reference level, they can then compare music and movies at the same volume levels.

    You may have heard ppl saying they enjoy LOTR 10db below reference and some ppl said they enjoy it at reference. That means the ppl listening to it at reference are listening to the movie at double the loudness of the listeners at 10db below reference.

    Without a reference level ppl can't compare volumes with eachother and the recording artist.
     
  8. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Dustin: Awsome post.
    Just one point that I'd like to clarify. While the bass on DTS tracks may differ from Dolby Digital....most end users need to do nothing to compensate for this. If their receiver/pre-pro will decode DTS material....the software (movie or CD) and the hardware (DSP) will automatically make the adjustment. When we calibrate, we set the speaker levels relative to each other. It is then up to the software and the processor to do the rest. I haven't read through the below links in a bit, but I believe they go into more detail. Certainly great reading.
    --Steve
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...pril-2000.html
    http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/adbarr/page1.html
     
  9. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Reference to me means a benchmanrk, or what all others are to be judged against.

    -rob
     
  10. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    but I wanted an actual definition of what it means
    and you got it [​IMG]
     
  11. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Did you read the link to Vince's post? Here's a quote:
     

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