Lowering level of surround speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by LawrenceK, Oct 3, 2001.

  1. LawrenceK

    LawrenceK Stunt Coordinator

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    I have watched movies in my HT for a long time using the surrounds calibrated to 75db with a spl meter and Video Essentials. Lately I have been moving my surrounds around so that they are roughly 7 to 8 ft. behind me, diagnally. When watching certain movies, mainly action flicks, I feel that the surrounds are too loud, and seem to overpower the main speakers, to the extent that I am taken out of the movie whenever the surrounds are put to use. Because of this, I decided to lower the surround sound levels about 2 db each, and now it seems much more balanced. It sounds fine to me, and it is not noticeably unbalanced when compared to the other speakers using VE's walkround the room in voice. I guess my question is, what is the main drawback to doing this? If it sounds better, should I just let it be?
     
  2. Rob Robinson

    Rob Robinson Second Unit

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    they let you dial 'em down for a reason.
    if it sounds right, keep it.
     
  3. John H

    John H Second Unit

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    THX post processing actually attenuates the surrounds 2dB when engaged.
    John
    ------------------
    Bedroom Based Theater
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I'm a little confused... Do you you re-adjust the levels with an SPL meter after each move, or did you use a SPL meter once and assume the sound volume remains the same as you move your speakers?
    You need to use the SPL meter after EVERY MOVEMENT. Your speakers throw out a sound field like a D-Cell Flashlight beam. It is very intense straight ahead (bright spot), but then it drops off. Even turning the speakers a bit can have a large change in volume at the central listening position.
    Then you get into funny interactions like near-wall reflections.
    (I waited months for my DefTech towers to arrive with built-in subs. I had them for a week or so playing music during the day to break-in, then pulled out the SPL meter to level adjust. To my shock, the right speaker was several DB louder than the left. I was in a panic. My new speakers and one had problems! I swapped speakers and the right one was still louder. My receiver must be the problem. I swapped R/L speaker wires and ... the right speaker was still louder.
    To the left of my HT system is a large open space with a large opening to the entryway. To the right of my HT system is a 4-foot wall to help divide the living room and dining room. That 4 foot wall was reflecting extra sound into the room making the right side louder. I just had to turn down the intensity of the side-fire woofer on that speaker to make it match. But it was a scarry few days.)
    So use the SPL meter after every speaker movement. And if the rear speakers are still distracting, go ahead and turn their levels down a bit.
    Note: a pen-style laser pointer is a nice tool to use when moving your speakers around. Just hold it along side the speaker cabinent and see where the dot hits. Do the same to the other speaker to see if they are symetric. You'd be suprised at how far off you are just doing this by eye.
     

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