Get it together newbies. Calibrate your stuff!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by CRyan, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    OK. I was just reminded by another thread something I meant to post here. You must calibrate your equipment.
    Your mileage will vary of course, but you have to do it in my opinion. Yes, this means a little more money (around $75), but it is well worth it allowing you to get the most out of your investment.
    First, you have to buy a calibration DVD such as Video Essentials or AVIA. I prefer the latter, but either way. Next, you will have to purchase a sound level meter from Radio Shack pictured here.
    [​IMG]
    Use this meter along with your calibration DVD to properly setup the audio levels for all speakers. The disc will lead you through the most important calibration tests for both audio and video. There is no substitute for using this meter to properly setup volume levels for each individual speaker.
    Also, the difference in video quality following calibration with AVIA can be staggering. All TV's can benefit from this calibration. Your movies will feel more like movies.
    Example: We recently moved to a new house and had not taken the time to recalibrate my set and speakers. We had watched a few movies here and there just to relax in all of the confusion of moving. I knew it did not look great, but it was acceptable with the circumstances. Well, I finally took the time to sit down and readjust my set and speakers using AVIA. Good grief. Yet again, I was astounded by what this relatively simple disc could do.
    After calibration, I decided to take a few of the movies we had recently seen for another test drive. It was an incredible difference in both video and audio quality. I have gotten rather good at getting my speakers setup correctly by ear, so I was not as impressed with the audio difference as I was with the video. All I can say is wow, and my wife concurs. She was amazed, once again, at the difference this made.
    Colors were cleaner, sharper, and the details were mesmerizing. Depending on your setup, you may get a bigger difference on the audio side of things. I remember the first time I used the sound level meter due to recommendations from this forum. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
    If you have any questions, the forum members here can most definately help.
    Good luck, have fun, and calibrate.
    C. Ryan
     
  2. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    Of course if you are happy with you current set up why spend the money.

    I certainly would not spend the money UNTILL you become UNhappy. Then when you do you will get an EXTRA boost of enjoyment.
     
  3. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    I do agree with CRyan but he makes it sound like you can not enjoy your HT unless it's calibrated.
     
  4. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Ok. Let me clarify. I in no way said that you cannot enjoy your setup without calibrating. I began the post stating that YMMV and then gave personal examples of how calibration affected my system. As with all subjective posts, this was my opinion.

    The post was meant for those that do not even know calibration discs exist and for those that deem it useless.

    I do not agree with the wait until you are unhappy statement. Again, this is my opinion. I had my original setup for about a year before I found the HTF. I read about the VE disk and the meter and thought phooey. I decided to give it a try as I wanted to hear and see what the disc was intended to sound and look like. I honestly could not believe the difference. I feel the same way everytime I calibrate my system.

    If you have the $75 now, then why wait to hear and see how good your sytem can sound and look? This is the least you can do to get much more out of your system. There are many more expensive solutions available that I did not suggest. This is just the least amount that I deem necessary to get what you paid for.

    This is the Basics Area, and I wanted to let the new people know that such things exist and that a big difference could be obtained.

    C. Ryan
     
  5. Andrew Signore

    Andrew Signore Auditioning

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    Coming from a newbie, I appreciate the information on calibrating your system. While I have heard the references on this site, I have yet to read an explination of how its done or what I need. Now I know and since I want the most out of my system, I'm going to get my self an AVIA disc and a sound meter.

    Andy
     
  6. efren

    efren Auditioning

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    I have always used my ears as my own benchmark, but it's nice to know that there's stuff available out there to confirm or verify what I'm hearing - or - at least know where I stand. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  7. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    I also disagree with the "wait until your unhappy" statement. You will really be surprised at how much better things look and sound after calibration. Also, a properly calibrated television should last longer and have less problems then one that is set to the factory default "torch" mode. And if you've tried to do it "by eye" without video test patterns then, unless you're a professional and do it all the time, you're probably way off from how good it could look.
    So in the very least, if price is a concern, get a calibration DVD and get the TV set up right. Then later when you can afford the SPL meter you can get the audio balanced out.
    Also, there may be people in your area that will do the calibrations for you at a cheaper price than buying the calibration DVD and SPL meter. [​IMG]
     
  8. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    To all and especially CRyan.

    I totally agree and ordered an AVIA DVD. I think the post hit me at the wrong time this morning.

    Sorry
     
  9. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    For about $15 online (Avia is $35-$45) -- you can also use the new Sound&Vision Home Theater Tune-Up disk. Look on Yahooshopping.com or at Barnes and Noble bookstores. click here
    Here's the word from the man who designed both Ovation products, especially for those with brand-new RPTVs:
     
  10. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    By all means calibrate. An "out-of-the-box" RPTV looks horrible combared to a properly calibrated one. I makes a huge difference. You might be happy now, but do you know what you might be missing? Why settle for less than you could have.

    I have done the following to my Mitsubushi TV and I can tell you that my $2850 65" TV looks better than the $6500 Pioneer Elites that I've seen:

    Calibrated via AVIA

    Corrected color decoder via Eeprom rewrite (was easier than it sounds)

    Set covergence, AVIA parameters, etc., to be new default

    Removed SVM

    Lined the inside with Duvatyne

    Cleaned the mirror

    Electrostatic focus

    Corrected geometry

    Made masks for 2:35:1 material

    There is lots that can be done to big screens if you have one, but any TV can look better with proper basic calibration.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    great advice. [​IMG]
    i suspect most average users aren't aware of what can really be done when you tweak a system. i akin it to the first time i really started using pc's. i never knew about all the 'enhancements' that were out there. now that i'm a (pseudo) power-user i could never imagine running my pc "normally".
     
  12. John ODonnell

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    I hope I do not break a rule by doing this! You can order the Avia DVD from half.com and use the code listed below to get an additional $10 off any order of $40 or more. I placed an order with one of the Half.com vendors for $42.69 with tthe $10 coupon (shipping was only $2.30). My total was $34.99 [​IMG]
    Anyways, here is the code: Capital22
    Just apply the code at checkout time and it is taken off of the total.
    Good Luck!
    John
     
  13. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Rod, you should not feel the need to apologize. You were simply stating your opinion at the time. I have no idea if you are new to the world of Home Theater or the idea of calibration. If you are, then that is the natural reaction for those that have not yet calibrated. There are a lot of mythical tweaks out there that rely completely on subjective perceptions of something that is better.

    However, this is one thing that anyone can do that is actually measured and standardized. Again, depending on what system is being calibrated, a huge difference can be obtained.

    I was in a situation for a few months ago where I had to use my 27” TV for all of my TV/movie viewing. I had no plans on calibrating that set because I new I would be back to my RPTV soon. However, I decided to go ahead and calibrate to see if it could look better. Again, I achieved great results and my time with that TV was more enjoyable.

    Bill made an excellent point as well. If nothing else, a TV will last longer if calibrated properly. My current 55” Mits. HDTV was literally set, from the factory, at 100% contrast with color at an outrageous level. This not only looks horrible, but can kill a TV set.

    People should do what they want with their money. You can even rent the AVIA disc from online DVD rental outlets. If you can borrow an SPL meter from a friend, then you are set. However, I warn that you will probably want to purchase these after you make that first calibration. You will want to calibrate every once in a while, especially if you move things around or if your lighting situation changes.

    Anyway, I just want people to have more fun with their gear and have that wow experience I first had.

    C. Ryan
     
  14. Gregg Pearson

    Gregg Pearson Auditioning

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    C. Ryan, I too have A 55 inch Mits., widescreen. I have messed with the color and stuff, but never did anything else. I guess I need to look into this calibration thing. I never thought of it before. I read all the posts in this thread, but I am still confused as to what to do.
     
  15. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Gregg,

    I haven't used Avia before, but if it's anything like Video Essentials then it will walk you through the whole thing. And during the walk through it will also explain things about video and televisions that are good to know.

    So if you just get a calibration DVD and SPL meter but know nothing else, you'll be all set to go.
     
  16. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Gregg and any other Mitsubushi owners:
    There is another forum (that shall remain nameless here) that has experts on Mits and tons in information on tweaking the sets right down to flashing the software on the motherboards to fix incorrect factory settings. If you want to really know your Mits and fix a ton of stuff, that is the place to go (I like everything else here better, so don't get mad at me Administrators [​IMG]).
    If you email me, I'll pass the information.
    By the way, if you use a Mits TV with component input from a DVD player, you owe it to yourself to get a red push attenuator to remove the ridiculous amount of red that the color decoders put out on Mits TV's. Mits sets the red at 125% of where it should be. They are the worst offender of the TV mfg's for this. Note: correcting this can't be done by adjusting "tint" or "color" as it is not the same thing and that only washes out the other colors. Correcting red push is a very very easy fix, takes 30 seconds and doesn't involve the TV at all; only the cable leading into the TV. (It can also be perminatly corrected with the eeprom flash, but that is another and advanced story).
    I have several unused red push attenutators that I'll provide for $5 each. They work great, I just don't need 'em anymore after flashing the motherboard. Email me if you want more info. Have fun!
     
  17. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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  18. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    I am yet another HT Enthusiast that really recommends calibration of video and audio (although my only calibration experience has been with video as of late). I've personally seen the results of video calibration. Even on my Sony WEGA KV-32FV27, I could see an incredible difference between factory settings (which suck) and calibration settings. I will definitely pick up an SPL meter when I get my first audio system in two weeks! You owe it to yourself to calibrate to get the most performance out of your system.
     
  19. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Yes Gregg, that TV has to be calibrated. You simply are not going to get the most out of your set until you do.

    ONLY for the 2001 Mits. owners (not sure if the new Mits. sets need this)...

    The red push attenuator is a must unfortunately. You can build one yourself using some directions that can be found over at the AVS forum. It is a simple device, made from Radio Shack parts, that goes inline between the video source and TV. This only works using the component inputs. Flesh tones will come alive when you use this device. It is a must for any 2001 Mits. owner.

    About the calibration disc (AVIA). The disc will lead you through the process of calibrating your system. The presenter can be a little long winded and monotone. He goes through giving explicit instructions on what to do. Eventually, you will get to the Advanced Calibration area and calibrate your system. Each video test pattern is preempted by a long description of what you will be doing and how to do it. Following the presentation, you will be prompted to do the calibration using the displayed test pattern.

    The audio calibration is similar with a written explanation appearing while your speakers emit white or pink noise one speaker at a time. You will use the SPL meter for these calibrations. This is very easy and you should not be intimidated by the meter. Simply set the meter to "C" Weighting, Slow Response, and turn the dial to 70. Some will suggest 80. Let each speaker emit the noise as you watch the needle climb. Change the volume for each speaker so that the needle rests at about +5db (giving you a 75db reading). It is easy.

    The hardest part is getting all of your remote controls in order to be able to control the DVD player and receiver simultaneously.

    The disc gives you more advanced calibration as well that gets more complicated. However, the main calibration test patterns and sounds are extremely easy to do. Again, if you watch the entire disc, it will explain everything.

    C. Ryan
     
  20. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes the new Mits sets have red push just as bad.

    Yes you can build one, but why would anyone want to? You can buy one online for about $2.49 that works just as good. You also need a couple of adapters.
     

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