Help! I can't calibrate my speakers with my Onkyo!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by GioAngles, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. GioAngles

    GioAngles Auditioning

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    Just picked up a set of Energy Take 5.2, which sound great in my tiny HT room. The receiver I'm using is an Onkyo TX-SR600 that I'm using for the first time after buying it a few months ago.

    Like any educated HT newbie that reads these forums, I bought an SPL meter and even helped a few friends calibrate their systems. When I run my Avia disc and select the option to configure the speakers, the Onkyo emits its own built-in test tone, instead of using the Avia one. They each have a different pitch, so it's easy to pinpoint which is which.

    I can't find a way to adjust the speaker levels without using the receiver test tones, which I've learned is not as reliable as the Avia one.

    Is there something I'm missing, or should I just settle for calibrating my system with the receiver's own tones?
     
  2. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    My Onkyo TX-DS898 has Channel Select and Level up/down buttons on the remote control. The calibration settings will return to the original values when the receiver is put in standby unless you press the the Test button, which will save the new values.
     
  3. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    Here's what I would do: calibrate the receiver using the Onkyo test tones and your SPL then double check the settings with Avia. Take notes while you're double checking the settings with Avia, if any of the levels need to be adjusted switch back to Onkyo test tone mode, make your adjustments, then switch back to Avia. You shouldn't have to switch any more than 2-3 times to get the levels correct.
     
  4. chadahren

    chadahren Auditioning

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    I just spent a few quality hours with my own TXSR600 and Avia last night and had a few strange experiences...most strange was my difficulty getting the sub to emit substantial noise during the simple level-matching calibration. My center, fronts and surrounds are all at same levels (I go at 70 dB if only because I don't get time to do this stuff until after the lady has gone to bed) but the sub seems reluctant to put out anything louder than 20 dB. I can't imagine I need to crank the sub that high; what am I missing?
     
  5. BrianMe

    BrianMe Stunt Coordinator

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    A better sub?
     
  6. BobAZ

    BobAZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, it has been a few months since I last cal'ed my SR600, but I used the internal tones and the S&V HT Tuneup disc and did not have both tones simultaneously as you describe.

    Are you pressing TEST on the remote when playing the AVIA disc? Try getting to the Level Calibration menu using the MENU button on the remote.

    I'll go test on my setup and get back to you.
     
  7. AndyDC

    AndyDC Agent

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    I also am calibrating my SR600 with the AVIA. I alternated back and forth as described above and didn't have a problem.

    I did get some output from my left main while doing the subwoofer calibration tones, even when just the subwoofer channel was supposed to be playing (alternating with the left main). Did anyone else have this problem?
     
  8. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a sr6000 and can get the sub calibrated properly. Sub test signal outputs fine. I've used the THX optimizer too. I haven't tried the avia or S&V test disc yet though.
     
  9. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Let me see if I can help several people at once:

    AndyDC, the subwoofer test tones on Avia are recorded in each channel, not in the LFE channel. Among other reasons, this is so you can adjust the bass level to match the mids and highs coming from your speaker. How much bass is being output by your speaker during those tests is dependant on the crossover your receiver uses when speakers are set to small. If you search, Guy Kuo (Avia creator) has gone into detail about the many ways Avia's subwoofer tones can be used to perform advanced system setup. But the short answer to your question is: this is normal for Avia's tones.

    Chadahren, if you have your speakers set to LARGE, the subwoofer will NOT play ANYTHING during Avia's subwoofer calibration test. This is because the tones are recorded in each channel and not the LFE channel. If you're getting this with your speakers set to small, then that's another story. Have you adjusted the gain control on the sub itself to try to bring it up to level? Perhaps more information about your setup would help us figure it out.

    GioAngles, on your remote you should see a button that says CH SEL/TOP MENU in the main circle of buttons surrounding the blue joystick. Directly beneath that you should see the ANGLE and SUBTITLE buttons, also labeled LEVEL. When playing Avia's tones, press CH SEL and you should see the channel that you're changing come up on the Onkyo's display. You can then use the LEVEL controls to adjust up and down. In other words, when playing the center tone on Avia, press CH SEL until CENTER shows up on the Onkyo's display. This lets you set the levels without the Onkyo's internal tone generator coming on. On the left main tone, leave the channel trim at 0 and increase the master volume to get to the correct level on your SPL meter. Then, set all other channels to match that level.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Doing it this way does NOT save the settings, because the CH SEL button is for making temporary adjustments during listening material (say, if a movie's dialogue is overshadowed and you want to bump the center up a notch). When you find the proper settings, you can press the TEST button to save (as StephenL mentioned) or engage the Onkyo's internal tone generator by pressing SETUP and then picking the speaker level test (you'll hear the left main speaker tone), then hit the RETURN button (or you can scroll through each channel and make sure Avia's tones correspond with your receiver's -- though per the next paragraph, they will intentionally read 10dB lower). This will save the current settings to memory. If you don't do this, your settings will reset as soon as you power off the receiver.

    As far as the Onkyo's test tones go:
    On my TX-SR600, readings with Avia match the internal tones perfectly. The only difference is that Avia is recorded so that your SPL meter should read 85dB at reference level, while the internal tones will read 75dB at reference level. The end result, however, is the same -- 105dB peak output from all channels and 115dB from the subwoofer. However, models from the previous year (like the 595) were known for having improper levels on the subwoofer test tone and would result in the subwoofer reading 10dB off from Avia or VE's results. This has since been fixed in newer models.

    The reason Avia's tones and the internal tones have a different pitch is that they use slightly different ranges of noise. The only reason the internal tones will read differently than the Avia tones for speaker balancing (outside of a malfunction in your receiver) is because your room's acoustics may interact differently with these two differing tones. For instance, if your room reinforces frequencies in a particular range then Avia's test tone may be getting some reinforcement since it uses a wider frequency range (and hence will read higher on your SPL meter). The internal tones are more limited in range and are less susceptible to this. This means for general setup, the internal tones are probably the better option for basic level matching. However, Avia offers very detailed and intricate options for using their tones that let you do advanced audio calibration (such as having full bandwidth tones for using real time analyzers, evaluating the crossover for each channel, checking LFE output vs. managed bass, etc.).

    One final word: Your SPL meter is merely a starting point and will get you CLOSE. Because of the way your room affects the sound and the differences in everyone's hearing, your final settings may differ slightly from what a SPL meter says is correct. For instance, when I had my theater in my previous home, one of my mains was next to an open doorway and the other was next to an angled china cabinet. When I set with the SPL meter, all channels read the same... and yet everyone who heard my system said the left main was louder than the right during movies. In short, you are the final judge for what the correct levels are on your system. Don't hesitate to play with the levels a bit once you've matched them up with a SPL meter, especially if you hear any discrepancies in the soundstage.
     
  10. Myo K

    Myo K Stunt Coordinator

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    i recall a while that the entry level onkyo receivers had a defect in the lfe channel, in which the lfe was practically non-existant and very low, it sounds like you have a defective receiver. though i dont know if the 600 was affected by this defect, i do know that in regards to the htb 650 set most had defective units with no lfe channel, the problem was not acknowledeged and recalled until the units were discontinued at the end of its shelf life. onkyo did eventually acknowledge the problem and offered customers a fix if still covered under warranty.

    because of this defect it was impossible to calibrate the subwoofer properly in any way, since the output was so low.
     
  11. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    The TX-SR600 was not affected by the LFE bug, so I think we can rule that out as a problem unless he just has a defective unit. More than likely it is something else causing the problem, but we need more information... like what kind of subwoofer, where gain and phase are set to, whether all speakers set to small with subwoofer ON in the setup menu, etc.

    Of course, my first question is this:
    How did he get a 20dB reading? The lowest that the analog SPL meter will display is 50dB.
     

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