How does one properly set up a system?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Ed McCaffrey, May 16, 2004.

  1. Ed McCaffrey

    Ed McCaffrey Agent

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    I am a newbie at this. I don't understand a lot about setting up my reciever/speakers/sub.

    I don't know what refrence is, I don't understand the difference between -10dB and +10dB. I have done some searching, but I still need help with those things.

    Does anyone have any links that would walk a beginner through it assuming he knows nothing.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I suggest reading the following:

    Primer
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Ed,

    Start with the primer, and maybe look into AVIA or DIGITAL VIDEO ESSENTIALS-- they are pretty good at explaining basic concepts and terms... and then they provide test patterns and instructions for doing calibration.

    Aside from that- just start asking questions- I'm imagining after readin through the primer you might just reply to this thread with your questions... like:



    I assume you have seen this in your speaker setup menus on your receiver. What this is, basically, is individual volume controls for each of your speakers. Why would you want individual controls? Well...

    Every room is different, and speakers will be in different relative positions in your room and mine (not to mention the acoustic properties of your room and the speakers themselves may differ, meaning that we would need to tweak a little differently). The object is to replicate the mixing environment where the soundtracks were made- and that means making all the speaker the same volume in your space... and those controls help you do that. Once you set the individual levels, you leave them alone- and the master volume moves the volume level up and down for all the speakers together- maintaining your overall balance between speakers.

    Now the measurement numbers -10 and +10... it's just a range of things-- think of it as 20 steps of volume control- starting at -10 and running up to +10. Each click up or down will increase or reduce the volme level of just the speaker your working with.

    And, by using some test tones on a special test disc, and a sound meter, you can adjust each speaker, using those controls, to be the same level.

    Hope that helps- feel free to post followup questions!

    -V
     
  4. Ed McCaffrey

    Ed McCaffrey Agent

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    Okay, I think I understand what you are saying.

    Basically I should set all speakers to 0dB and then run test tones for one speaker at a time. And I adjust those individual controls until they are all the same volume from where I am sitting?

    I guess since I only have two identical speakers right now and they sit an equal difference away from me on my desk they should be relatively similar. I will get a meter and calibrate it right once I get a sub, since the room probably affects this a bit. It will be more important when I go back to college and will be moving my system to a different room to watch movies.

    Now if I understood correctly above, then it gets a big more complicated with a subwoofer. The sub I think I am going to get suggests setting each speaker's volume to 75dB, but it my be that I have a cheap reciever, but I don't see a way to do this. All that I have for individual channels is the -10dB to +10dB control. I don't know how I would go about that then. I am reading the manual right now (http://www.iq.sony.com/srvs/sosdocs/...rc=sonysupport search for STR-DE635 if it helps) and I don't see an option for doing that.

    Now if I can't do that, I assume that I basically want the sub to be the same volume as everything else; then I can make it louder or softer based on personal tastes (as well as tuning it to a lower frequency)?

    This site has helped me a great deal, thank you very much.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    What this is referring to, probably, is a measure of output level. See, this is where some users get confused: because the whole DB scale is used both for internal voltage levels and for external sound pressure, you might see it and not be sure what they mean.

    When you get that meter I was discussing above- it tells you how much output level you're getting (how loud it is measured on the meter). Most calibration systems are designed with tones in such a way, that meaurement on the meter should read 75 from each channel. this will make more sense once you get a meter and a calibration dvd (in fact, I'm confident from the level of your posts so far that once you get your hands on it, you will slap you head at realizing how simple it all really is).

    But the bottom line is, don't look for 75 db on your volume knob- it won't be there. Instead, what it's saying is- different systems will perform differently in different rooms (for a mental picture of this, imagine your system cranked wide open in your bathroom, and then imagine the same setup cranked wide open in a basketball arena... in the second case it's not nearly as impressive.)

    So, the best bet for companies trying to explain this stuff, rather than offering up a position on your knob and expecting that to be the same for everyone (which it won't be), they usually talk in terms of measured output level... that way all of us, no matter what system or room we're talking about, can be on the same page.

    So when it says to set each speaker to 75db (which will be the same instructions you'll get when using a calibration DVD like Digital Video Essentials)-- it means play the tone, and adjust the little -10 to +10 controls until all the speakers measure 75db on your handy-dandy little meter device.

    You might find the basic overview of calibration I wrote for the primer, alot of the stuff we're talking about here is covered in more detail there.

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...553#post650553
    "A Quick Overview of Home Theater Calibration"

    and while you're at it, check this:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...92#post2000792

    But, feel free to keep asking questions- that's the only way you learn anything. Also, as far as you first question about why there isn't a basic step by step- it's because every system and room is different- so it's tough to draft a if/then/else set of rules that will cover everyone- so instead you get the concepts from stuff like the primer, ask the questions for your specific situation, and learn as you go.

    In my opinion it's better to get to know the WHY's of what you're doing rather than the steps-- as it will help you if you encounter "out of norm" situations and will let you abstract a little better. You know the old saying about "teach a man to fish..."

    Happy fishing

    -Vince
     
  6. Ed McCaffrey

    Ed McCaffrey Agent

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    That makes a lot of sense. I feel stupid thinking the 75dB the sub manual called for would be internal. It makes sense that it would be the output of the speakers, since that is what you would want to set the sub to.

    I am reading the primer now; its great information.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Glad it's helping you out- again, feel free to post questions, or even suggestions for material you think is missing from the primer.

    -vince
     

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