ISF Calibration - More than I bargain for

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Geo, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I finally broke down and had my Toshiba 65H81 ISF calibrated. The tech spent about 2 hours on it and WOW, what a picture. We watched HDNET and Super Speedway Mach II DVD after he was done. What a transformation, the picture looks like a really good version of what it use to be, and I thought it was great before the calibration. I highly recommend getting this done if you haven't already. The tech that did the ISF calibration was a great guy and really knowledgeable not only with video but audio as well.

    It was great having an "expert" checking out my system. I sort of got in the show-off mode trying to impress him with my system. Anyway after all was said and done, we started talking about my receiver (Denon 4802) and amps (2-Citation 7.1's)I stated my desire to maybe upgrade to the Denon 5803 when it came out. He looked at me like I was crazy or something. He said what you need is a good separate pre/pro. He went on as though in any good system a receiver is totally out of place. He talked about many pre/pro choices, like Lexicon, Theta, Meridian, etc......... He even stated that my receiver was the "weak link" in my system. So much for showing off. The company he works for doesn't even sell audio components, so he didn't seem to have an agenda.

    What do you guys think,

    Is a receiver with external power amps, even a flagship receiver "out of place" in a high-mid to high end system? Are good pre/pros really that much better?

    And Why?

    PS FYI...Also the tech stated that Dish Network is buying out Direct TV............ news to me

    geo
     
  2. Brian Vaughan

    Brian Vaughan Stunt Coordinator

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  3. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

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    He's right. For the coin you would have to lay down for the 5803 you can get a really nice pre/pro. I think list on the 5803 is something like $4700. Check around and see what's available -- Krell, Proceed, Lexicon, the new Parasound Halo pre/pro are all around that price point. Don't forget the Outlaw 950, which looks to be a really nice unit (if they ever ship it!) and which costs a bazillion dollars less than any of the high zoot stuff.
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    General ISF cal question:
    Do you think I'd get enough benefits for my direct view, slightly older, Panasonic 32" Super Flat set?
    (The set was like $800, but ISF cal is like $200?)
    This is my calibration technique: I watch some football games. I set the color of the grass so it looks green. Then I watch some shows with people's face. I set the color so that the people's faces are more or less "flesh" colored. Then I turn down the brightness ~1/3 because I think I'm smart enough that I know that the brightness is always turned up way too high on a set out of the box.
    Sort of funny, but that's been my method over the years. [​IMG]
    (It really pains me to watch a set over my buddies, and the top and bottom "black" bars for a 1.85:1 movie on his 4:3 set aren't black. They are grey because he has his brightness turned up way too high...)
     
  5. Aalok

    Aalok Auditioning

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    To adjust your set more precisely without an ISF calibration, you might want to try one of the setup DVDs (I like the Avia disc).
    If you don't want a separate disc, some movies have the basic test patterns on the disc. The Star Wars Episode One DVD has a THX setup section which is quite good.
    Without a calibration disc, here are some tips:
    -It is the contrast (or picture or white level, whatever it is called on your set) which you want to turn down arbitrarily & not the brightness. This is because you really can't determine the appropriate contrast setting without a test pattern like on the Avia disc.
    -The brightness (or black level) isn't too hard to set without anything special. Your observation of your friend's set is a good one. All you need to do is find a scene which should be black. You can use letterbox bars if you want. Turn the brightness down until the bars don't turn any less grey, but not any further. If you set the brightness below this, you will lose shadow detail.
    -For color and tint, just setting it so flesh tones and grass look OK will get you pretty close, but these are very easy to set with test patterns (the Star Wars disc is very easy to use for these adjustments).
    -Try turning your sharpness (or detail) control all the way down. It will look fuzzy at first, but try it for a week or so with some DVD movies or other high quality source material and you will see a much smoother and more detailed (strangely) picture.
     
  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Aalok- Cool, I'll try the sharpness and contrast (not brightness!) ideas.
    I do have Avia and VE, and I've spent hrs on the audio cals, but I guess I've never gotten motivated enough to so the video parts! [​IMG]
     

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