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Increasing subwoofer output post-Audyssey calibration? (1 Viewer)

kalm_traveler

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Hey guys I just got my PC's 5.1 system calibrated a few days ago and followed Marantz's recommendation of setting the subwoofer volume at half (on this SVS SB 3000 that was -30dB)

I believe that the AVR set the sub level at -1.5dB. While in general everything 'sounds' clear and tight, I prefer a little more bass for music listening than what this resulted in.

Am I correct in understanding that the ideal way to increase output here is to increase the AVR's sub level output, not increase the sub's internal volume? IE, increase the sub level on the Marantz up to say 0dB or even a few +dB, not increase the SVS sub's volume above half?
 

Al.Anderson

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This is just a guess, but I think overall it doesn't matter either way. But if you're increasing it just a little, using the receiver would be more precise; if you're cranking it up, using the sub's amp would be better as you're boosting the amplified signal vs the line-level signal.
 

JohnRice

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Since your calibrated level is close to 0, I'd use the receiver's level adjustment to increase it. If the calibration had come out with it as -10, for example, I'd suggest lowering the sub's level to -40, which would then make the receiver's setting 0.

Many people like the sub juiced a bit. I know I do. So no problem turning it up some.
 

JohnRice

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But if you're increasing it just a little, using the receiver would be more precise
BTW, all the current SVS subs have digital volume controls instead of a knob. So they're just as precise as a receiver's controls.
 

kalm_traveler

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BTW, all the current SVS subs have digital volume controls instead of a knob. So they're just as precise as a receiver's controls.
Thanks guys.

Oddly, setting the AVR's sub level to +3.5dB sounds about the same as leaving it at 0 but raising the sub's volume from -30 to -25. I guess in any case it sounds how I want it to now so that's all that matters?
 

JohnRice

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Thanks guys.

Oddly, setting the AVR's sub level to +3.5dB sounds about the same as leaving it at 0 but raising the sub's volume from -30 to -25. I guess in any case it sounds how I want it to now so that's all that matters?
Are you saying you did both? Because that would mean a 10dB increase vs just 5. So, yeah, that's more.
 

kalm_traveler

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Are you saying you did both? Because that would mean a 10dB increase vs just 5. So, yeah, that's more.
not both, I tried leaving the AVR's level at -1.5 where Audyssey set it and raising the sub's volume to -25dB which sounded about what I wanted.

Then I put the sub volume back to -30, and instead increased the AVR's sub level from -1.5dB up to +3.5dB which sounds pretty much identical volume-wise as the first thing I mentioned.

Though now that you're making me think about it that is +5dB either way so... it should sound the same! haha math :biggrin:
 

John_Bilbrey

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I run my sub a little on the hot side most of the time. But then again, I don't listen at reference levels either. A little juice on the bottom end at lower overall volume levels really helps out.
 

Mike Up

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I prefer to set my subs a bit hot. I just used my hand held SPL meter to see how far off I was by ear on my Velodyne sub and I was pretty close. It was hot by about 2 - 3db which is what I typically like.

I never cared for any of the Audyssey settings. I do everything myself with a SPL meter and tape measure. Audyssey always left everything sounding overly bright, harsh, and unrealistic sounding. After all look at those mics they use. I doubt their frequency range and sound pressure levels are very linear or repeatable every time you run the setup program even if their standard frequency errors are accounted for in the logic.
 
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kalm_traveler

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I prefer to set my subs a bit hot. I just used my hand held SPL meter to see how far off I was by ear on my Velodyne sub and I was pretty close. It was hot by about 2 - 3db which is what I typically like.

I never cared for any of the Audyssey settings. I do everything myself with a SPL meter and tape measure. Audyssey always left everything sounding overly bright, harsh, and unrealistic sounding. After all look at those mics they use. I doubt their frequency range and sound pressure levels are very linear or repeatable every time you run the setup program even if their standard frequency errors are accounted for in the logic.
I don't have an SPL meter but I picked up one of those calibrated USB mics and noticed that REW has an SPL meter function that works with it. Would that suffice if I wanted to try your manual method? So far I'm happy with things but if measuring each speaker individually might sound better I'm happy to try it out.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I don't have an SPL meter but I picked up one of those calibrated USB mics and noticed that REW has an SPL meter function that works with it. Would that suffice if I wanted to try your manual method? So far I'm happy with things but if measuring each speaker individually might sound better I'm happy to try it out.
There are SPL apps for smartphones, too. I have never tried one, as I own one of the old Radio Shack analog meters.
 

Dave Upton

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I don't have an SPL meter but I picked up one of those calibrated USB mics and noticed that REW has an SPL meter function that works with it. Would that suffice if I wanted to try your manual method? So far I'm happy with things but if measuring each speaker individually might sound better I'm happy to try it out.
Yes, REW's SPL meter is quite accurate with those microphones.

You should always adjust levels with a meter and not by ear - otherwise you might fall into the trap of preference over reference. It's advisable to keep things within 3-4dB of the bed channels when adjusting the sub, and a SPL meter will let you verify that.
 

JohnRice

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I don't have an SPL meter but I picked up one of those calibrated USB mics and noticed that REW has an SPL meter function that works with it. Would that suffice if I wanted to try your manual method? So far I'm happy with things but if measuring each speaker individually might sound better I'm happy to try it out.
As Dave said, you already have the most accurate way available, since the mic is calibrated and much better than anything in any SPL meter. Plus, you can go the extra step and do entire sweeps, which can result in a more accurate level match than Audyssey is likely to accomplish.
 

Mike Up

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I use a Radio Shack SPL Meter. I set it for C based weighting and slow response. I usually try to set all channels for a volume about 75 db so set the meter on the 70 db setting if you use the same.

Amazon has a bunch of SPL meters but don't cheap out, get a decent one that has the DB level in 10 increments from say 60 to 100, has A or C weighting, and has a slow or fast response setting. Here's the one I have so you can see all of it's settings here. I also use a tape measure for all the speaker distances for accurate timing/phasing. Also look for one with a good low tolerance and a good frequency response. My specs for my Radio Shack SPL is Range setting of 50 db to 125 db, tolerance of +/- 2 db @ 114db SPL, A and C weighting, with Fast and Slow response. The Radio Shack SPL meter is what all the professional Home Theater reviewers used to setup their systems.

Good luck
 
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Dave Upton

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I use a Radio Shack SPL Meter. I set it for C based weighting and slow response. I usually try to set all channels for a volume about 75 db so set the meter on the 70 db setting if you use the same.

Amazon has a bunch of SPL meters but don't cheap out, get a decent one that has the DB level in 10 increments from say 60 to 100, has A or C weighting, and has a slow or fast response setting. Here's the one I have so you can see all of it's settings here. I also use a tape measure for all the speaker distances for accurate timing/phasing. Also look for one with a good low tolerance and a good frequency response. My specs for my Radio Shack SPL is Range setting of 50 db to 125 db, tolerance of +/- 2 db @ 114db SPL, A and C weighting, with Fast and Slow response. The Radio Shack SPL meter is what all the professional Home Theater reviewers used to setup their systems.

Good luck
Mike - while there's nothing wrong with the Radio Shack meter, they aren't super accurate (it's luck of the draw with each one) and require calibration to truly get reliable readings at a variety of frequencies. Pros mostly use Galaxy CheckMate SPL meters or a calibrated mic + REW software.

This is the SPL meter I recommend for most folks who want a standalone unit:

At this price however, you start to get pretty close to the cost of a calibrated mic. If you're willing to use a PC, that's by far the best option these days. I use both because I don't always want to pull out my laptop :D


Amazon product
 
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Clinton McClure

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Not to derail the conversation but I’ve been getting by for 20 years with an analog Radio Shack SPL meter and have always wondered how it compares to other meters. I may check out the one you linked to above, Dave.
 

Dave Upton

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Not to derail the conversation but I’ve been getting by for 20 years with an analog Radio Shack SPL meter and have always wondered how it compares to other meters. I may check out the one you linked to above, Dave.
If your only goal is level matching your speakers, the RS meters are fine - but if you want to ensure you're actually achieving a 75dB per channel level then I would say it's worth the investment to get a CheckMate.

I typically calibrate every system I have to the below offsets after running room correction. This is just my personal preference to deliver what I consider a more immersive surround experience.

Subwoofer: 77dB
Left: 75dB
Center: 78dB
Right: 75dB
Surround L/R/: 77dB
Surround Back: 77dB
Atmos Overheads: 78dB
 

JohnRice

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If your only goal is level matching your speakers, the RS meters are fine - but if you want to ensure you're actually achieving a 75dB per channel level then I would say it's worth the investment to get a CheckMate.

I typically calibrate every system I have to the below offsets after running room correction. This is just my personal preference to deliver what I consider a more immersive surround experience.

Subwoofer: 77dB
Left: 75dB
Center: 78dB
Right: 75dB
Surround L/R/: 77dB
Surround Back: 77dB
Atmos Overheads: 78dB
Dave, if someone already has REW and a mic like the UMIK-1 with calibration file, is there any reason to spend the extra $ for the CheckMate, other than the convenience of it? I have both myself, since the CheckMate is convenient to quickly check things, but it hardly seems necessary.
 

Dave Upton

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Not at all - the CheckMate is a total luxury item if you have a PC and calibrated mic. That said, personally I just find it a lot more convenient to use the mic for my DSP calibration and use the meter for quick tweaks.

I use mine for all sorts of other things of course, such as calibrating my iPhone as a pseudo-SPL meter for when i'm on the go, checking the sound levels of household appliances etc.
 

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