First post, newbie question about calibrating

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Johnny_M, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    Hey guys, I've been reading through the forums for a few days now and learning as much as possible before posting, but I have a question about calibrating.

    I realize I need an SPL meter and will soon get one, but how important is a calibration disk? Can I use the recievers built in "test tone" to calibrate?

    johnny
     
  2. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Yes, but in many cases the ".1" or LFE tone is not terribly accurate. My pioneers test-tone was more than 10db's off! The main channels however were spot-on. (This is of course only refering to properly balancing the speakers. Bass managment is another issue).
     
  3. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    a calibration disc will calibrate the entire system's audio "as a whole" (for dvd playback, anyway). they also, just as importantly, contain very useful video calibration tools.
     
  4. DaveJo

    DaveJo Auditioning

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    Where do you get one of those disc?
     
  5. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    Thanks for the quick respsonses. I just ordered "Digital Video Essentials" for about 18 bucks on overstock.com.

    Are there any better deals than the $50 SPL meter radio shack offers? Such a simple device I would think could be found cheap some where.


    Johnny
     
  6. craig_curtis

    craig_curtis Stunt Coordinator

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    i just bought the analog version of radio shacks SPL meter (#33-4050). $39.95. works great, but they are hard to find at this point...
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    OMG buy the calibration discs for VIDEO if anything, HUGE HUGE improvements. You can "get by" using receiver test tones, but don't even think TWICE about not getting a calibration disc if you watch any movies unless you are blind. And even then, if I were a blind person, I would buy the disc and calibrate for the sake of non-blind friends.
     
  8. Nathan Bjork

    Nathan Bjork Stunt Coordinator

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    Would a THX setup found in a THX certified movie work? Like found in fight club, and star wars ep. 1?

    Nate
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    the thx calibration thing is ok, but not always accurate, it varies from disc to disc sometimes, and a dedicated calibration disc has better explanations, and many more patterns for more advanced setup. I'd recommend a calibration disc, its a minimal and worthwhile investment.
     
  10. Nathan Bjork

    Nathan Bjork Stunt Coordinator

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    Makes sence, can I just pick a good disc at best buy or do I have to order it online?
     
  11. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    Johnny & Nathan,

    The problem with calibrating level from a DVD is that you're only calibrating your system for the DVD player. There's a very good chance that your other sources: TV, CD, Video Games, Turntable, Tape Deck, Radio, VCR, etc will be off because of the level of the signal they output being different from your DVD player.

    I calibrate levels using my Rotel Pre/Pro's built-in test tones. I set cross-over frequency with 1/3 octave warble tones.

    The Radio Shack analog meter is a great unit, though not perfect. You can search the web for the corrections.

    Calibration DVD's like DVE and Avia are fantastic for tweaking your video display.

    Bill
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    That's erroneous. There is no reference level, and nothing to calibrate with regard to other inputs at all.

    The tones on a test disc are different from those in your receiver, which are usually just white noise. I beleive Avia uses pink noise if I recall correctly, which can help minimize differences in level measurements due to different freq response among your speakers. The tones also ensure that your entire DVD chain is correct, and there is a much more thorough set of tones than the ones available on your receiver.
     
  13. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    well, my system is pretty much movies only anyway. i ordered a calibration disk, looks like my local radio shack may have the analog spl in stock. ill check it out today. now all i need is the keys to my new house to set all this stuff up!


    Thanks your help guys.

    Johnny
     
  14. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    I agree with ChrisWiggles, who in turn disagrees with Bill Blank. I used the DVE test tones to calibrate my system, then played the exact same DVD on my XBox to verify the levels and they were all spot-on. Comparing these levels to my VCR or satellite would be like comparing apples and oranges, since the VCR and satellite are 2-channel analog, and the receiver uses Pro Logic IIx to simulate surround anyways. The digital sources (XBox and DVD) showed the exact same levels on the SPL meter, and its more accurate than using the receiver's internal test tones since that's the way I watch my movies and play my games, movies from my DVD player and games from my XBox.
     
  15. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    The tones ensure that ONLY your DVD chain is correct. Someone that uses a DVD player for movies and an SACD for MCH Hi-Rez music could potentially have two very different results if they calibrate their speakers through the use of the DVE DVD and their DVD player.

    It the same thing as using the DVD to calibrate whatever video input your DVD Player is connected to on your TV. You are only calibrating THAT input. If you were to set all other video inputs to be identical to that input the results would be all over the place. Same exact thing applies to audio. What looks right coming out of your DVD player is different than what looks right for your X-Box, standard TV feed, your VCR, and your HD feed.


    Bill
     
  16. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Bill, I entirely disagree with your comparison of audio to video. I've calibrated each of my video inputs based on the source, i.e. I used my XBox to calibrate my XBox input by playing Avia on the XBox and I used my DVD player to calibrate the DVD input by playing Avia on the DVD player. That's because every video source has different black/white/saturation/hue levels, but in the case of digital audio the levels are the same regardless of the source, since its digital. The digital audio is simply transferred to the receiver by the source, and the receiver handles the decoding of the signal, so regardless of the source, the levels will be the same for all digital audio inputs. As I've said before, playing the test tones from DVE on my DVD player via digital audio interconnect and on my XBox via digital audio interconnect resulted in the exact same speaker levels, and I don't see in any way why that would not be the case! Comparing the digital audio to my 2-channel analog audio sources (VCR, satellite) is just ridiculous since the receiver is simulating the surround field anyways using Dolby Pro Logic IIx.
     
  17. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    MuneebM,

    You're assuming everyone uses digital connections for audio. Analog levels can differ significantly and your "calibration" will be null & void.

    By calibrating using your processors internal test tones you're ensuring consistency regardless of what source you're using and how it's connected. Whether his processor's internal test-tones are adequate is another matter.

    Since it appears Johnny's using his system only for movies this discussion may not matter now. In a typical system both digital and analog connections are used in which case a calibration DVD like DVE would only be good for certain inputs.



    Bill
     
  18. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

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    Bill,

    I'm not assuming everyone uses digital connections for audio, I just strongly believe that since I am using a digital audio connection from my DVD player to my receiver, it is hence more accurate to use a calibration disc playing on my DVD player through the same digital audio connection, since that is exactly how I will be watching my movies. The same applies to my XBox and its digital audio connection. My receiver has YPAO which does its own speaker level calibration with an external microphone and the results were close to my SPL calibrated results, but didn't sound balanced. Furthermore, when I verified the SPL levels on my meter of the internal test tones with speaker levels set to that determined via DVE, they were all roughly reading the same level on the meter, i.e. ~85 dB, plus or minus 0.5-1 dB.

    As for the LFE, I wasn't even discussing that, since LFE calibration is a matter of debate on this forum with all the calibration discs and with internal test tones. My receiver's internal test tone for the LFE is much too low and I would never use that as a means for calibration!

    PS: Bill, I would recommend against listing your equipment as text in your signature, its actually a forum rule. Listing your equipment as such throws off the Search function causing it to bring up all your posts if, for example, someone searches for "Mitsubishi WS-55411". I was doing this a while back and a bunch of members on the forum asked me not to, so I made a JPEG listing my equipment. Just some friendly advice [​IMG]
     
  19. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't disagree that in your case everything worked out right but unless you've got identical equipment to Johnny in this case your advice can result in bad calibrations.

    Perhaps we should have pressed Johnny for more info on his setup before getting into this pissing match.

    Bill

    P.S. Thanks for the FYI [​IMG]
     
  20. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    no, you're not. you're calibrating the receiver's test tones. your individual components' performance and different output levels will NOT figure into that calibration at all. ideally, you should calibrate each source individually AND identically, to the same exact levels, across the board. problem is, these DVD calibrators won't work for calibrating, for example, a dedicated SACD player. we don't have a standard, universal calibrator.
     

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