How do I calibrate my sub?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by AndrewErickson, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. AndrewErickson

    AndrewErickson Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Radio Shack SPL meter and HK AVR325. Unfortunately, my receiver doesn't send a test tone to the sub, only the other speakers.

    Do I have to buy a calibration DVD or is there another way to calibrate it?
     
  2. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Yes. Don't buy DVE. Buy S&V if you are on a budget. Otherwise buy Avia.
     
  3. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I've got an H/K AVR8000 and Infinity powered towers (IL60's). Every test disc I try (AVIA, VE, DVE) gives me different results! The AVR8000 is THX certified and part of the THX specs require test tones for all channels (including the sub) and they must be pretty accurate too. So, based on THX recommendations, I'm calibrating with the internal test tones. But, like I said, these levels don't agree with ANY of the test DVDs. Sounds great though.

    It leaves me with the question, how do you know when it's REALLY correct?
     
  4. Dustin Harrison

    Dustin Harrison Stunt Coordinator

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    My quick and dirty way to calibrate a sub is to play a few different music tracks that you are familiar with and adjust the gain on the sub that way.
     
  5. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    By only using the receiver test tones you are not using the full path a DVD will use when playing, i.e., DVD to receiver to speakers. So using a test DVD is the way to go.
     
  6. AndrewErickson

    AndrewErickson Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry, but that makes absolutely no sense.
     
  7. Mike_Skeway

    Mike_Skeway Second Unit

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    Not all test tones are created equal, but that really does not matter as long as for each channel they are the same. You are calibrating the relative level of each speaker to the main listening position, or the balance if you will. All you need is to get them to be equal, there is no right or wrong test tone levels. If a disc or receiver has a channel that is to hot or to low say the sub for instance then you will not have a balanced system. Not all receivers have these tones as ‘accurate’ for the sub to the rest of the system.

    If you do not have test tones on your receiver, you will need to use a disc.

    I will also note that balancing for DTS or DD from the S&V will give you different results as well. You are not getting perfection, you are getting a well balance system to the seat you designated as the main viewing/listening seat.
     
  8. Paul_A

    Paul_A Extra

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    I have a question about calibration. I have an analog RS spl meter and DVE. When calibrating using the limited pink noise in DVE, it seems rather quiet (compared to the full band pan), but all of the speakers register 75db. I don't know if this makes a difference, but I began by setting my receiver to 00 and then manually adjusting each speaker level insted of adjusting to 75db using the left front speaker set at 0db. I am assuming it would be near 00 anyway if I had started at -30 db and then raised the volume.

    Anyway, aftering calibrating my speakers, I found that my "by ear" calibrating I had done prior to owning an spl meter was somewhat accurate in regards to the surrounds and fronts, but the center was about 6 db wrong and my sub was grossly off, or so it seems. I read all about the DVE LFE test signal being kinda weird, but to achieve a 76 db rating on my SVS 20-39CS, I had to lower the volume on my amp to a little less than half (it was originally at full) and set the volume control on my receiver to -12db (which is the limit before the receiver just shuts off the LFE channel).

    Now, I am guessing this just seems weird to me because, before now, I had been listening to music and movies with the sub waaaaay too loud. I assume this is the case, but if not what have I done wrong? Also, should all other audio tests done in DVE be done with the position at 00? When people say that reference is really loud, are they refering to a movie being played at reference or the pink noises?

    Sorry for the long post, but I just want to make sure I have done everything correctly.
     
  9. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    I was replying to a later post in the thread, and in looking at it I see it does not address the original question. My bad.

    If you have the THX Optimizer on any of your current DVDs (Monsters Inc, Star Wars I or II, etc.) you can use those test tones with your Rat Shack meter and get pretty good results.
     
  10. AndrewErickson

    AndrewErickson Stunt Coordinator

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    They have a sub channel tone too? I may just have to rent Star Wars I.
     
  11. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, they have a tones for your sub as well.

    Other DVDs with it are Indiana Jones set, Finding Nemo, POC, Pearl Harbor, Aliens set, T2...
     
  12. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I've certainly tried that but found it futile since I don't know how the bass in any given track is supposed to sound. For the past year, I used the sub settings as suggested by AVIA because the bass seemed way too overpowering when the subs were calibrated with the receivers internal test tones. But recently I decided to set it at the higher level and give it a week or so for my ears to become accustomed to the sound. Now, a lower sub setting sounds too weak.

    Twin 500W 12" subs should be able to move lots of air. My guess is that it is accurate now and I just wasn't accustomed to how much air.
     
  13. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Generally, I agree with you, but AVIA, VE, DVE and THX Optimode all give me different sub results. The levels for all the other speakers agree...it's just the sub level that differs. If memory serves, none of those DVD based test tones agree with the H/K's internal test tones either. Some are higher, others lower.
     
  14. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith Second Unit

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    I calibrated my sub (JBL10) to the S&V disc. Though I was satisfied with the music output, I wasn't with DVD's (you really need that boom once in a while). Is this a common problem? I jacked upthe sub for a compromise.
     

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