Is there a better word than "Calibrate"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Gibbons, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. David Gibbons

    David Gibbons Auditioning

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    Dear HT Folks,

    I have done calibrations at my high-tech company for years, and there is a lot of freight that comes with the word.

    In our adjusting our home theater equipment, it seems like we are not quite doing formal calibrations as much as developing baseline settings which will give us a known starting point.

    Particular films or shows may have too much of one thing, or too little of another. We thus may want to reduce the subwoofer, or increase the treble, or "back off" the center channel to watch that particular show.

    However, having a known neutral point to return to after making compensations is useful.

    I would suggest that adjusting our systems using any of the known-good test disks is better called by another term than calibration, because calibration implies that one can ONLY use the settings developed if one wants to be correct.

    Adjust; Setup; Tune; Initialize; Create Default; Set

    All of these above words can be used - but which (if any) works better for you than the commonly-used "calibrate"?

    I have done this process on 4 different systems now, and whatever you call it, the systems' owners were pleased and surprised at the improvement it made.

    I do suspect this baseline adjustment does provide 90 or more percent of the possible performance of typical home theaters in the typical home.

    If you haven't gone and bought your Avia or Video Essentials disk and cheap Radio Shack sound meter yet, do so!

    Sincerely,

    David Gibbons
     
  2. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

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    In the sense that the term "calibrate" is used I think it is done correctly. Generally, this term is used to describe speaker level settings, which after having been done, will match the level settings used in the mastering process of the audio tracks. So in essence you are calibrating your speaker levels to those of the mastering studio.
    Of course, after speaker level calibration has been done other fine tuning is necessary to compensate for electronics and speakers that accentuate certain frequencies, to reduce room peaks and nulls, etc. For lack of a better term for this process, I suggest the phrase "dialing it in". [​IMG]
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I also thought "Calibrate" implied a bit more than it really is. I sometimes use the phrase "level-adjusting".

    But Ron is correct: you are adjusting your system to match what the sound engineer expects your system to be.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Calibrate is reasonably accurate; you are adjusting the equipment according to accepted standards (volume levels, picture quality, gray scale, white level)

    Another possiblity could be "Optimize", since we're trying to achieve the optimal performance from our equipment.
     
  6. Ivan Lindenfeld

    Ivan Lindenfeld Second Unit

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    The thing that struck me about the "calibrate" used in these threads is a little lie that Best Buy tells me every time I try to but something that plays 5" discs: That their extended warranty includes a yearly calibration of the laser on that DVD/CDROM/DVDROM. They work pretty hard to tell you that, but not too hard as they are not on commission.
    MY wife almost got trapped into one of those converstations that ends with "Honey, have you ever calibrated our 4 year old DVD player?" But I gave her our sign and we walked away.
    I have had one compact disc player since 1988 and it has never needed calibration even tho it was tossed in my trunk to go to college and back 4x a year. So I think this is poppycock.
    But they sure do use the word calibration a lot to sell extended warranties. [​IMG]
    I think the best word for what we do with our VIdeo Essentials or Avia discs is "Balance". Or maybe "tune" or "tweak." Yeah, I like "tweak."
     
  7. David Gibbons

    David Gibbons Auditioning

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    Folks,

    Thanks to you who replied to my post: it seems that calibrate is indeed the accepted term. I'll be re-checking my system soon, as I realized that my Sub has been misplaced, and I will have to re-adjust for the new location.

    Take Care,

    David Gibbons
     

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