Question regarding 5.1 surround sound..

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by John_McKittrick, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. John_McKittrick

    John_McKittrick Stunt Coordinator

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    I normally hang out in the DVD/movie section of this forum but occasionally I'll scan around various topics.

    I do have a simple question though. I recently bought a new 5.1 surround sound system w/ receiver. I was wondering if the rear speaker are suppose to have less volume than the front and center speakers. This is my second surround sound system and I've noticed the same thing both times. There isn't alot of sound coming out of the rears.

    Each system was different (different receivers, speakers, etc.).

    Can someone elaborate on this please?? Thanks.

    John
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The speaker levels are all set to 0 by default. This will certainly not work for 9 out of 10 rooms. The setting is so that you can calibrate the levels of each speaker relative to your seating position using an SPL (sound pressure level) meter. This single adjustment can make a very noticable difference in just about any system.

    The FAQ has a well writen overview on calibration by Vince Maskeeper if you want more specific info.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    You calibrate them to be all the same volume at the listening position, with test tones.

    However, when watching actual movies, the surrounds are very inconspicuous most of the time, they only provide slight ambience, etc. The only time they should really draw attention to themselves is in action scenes, and specific effects. Otherwise, it's just ambience most of the time.
     
  4. John_McKittrick

    John_McKittrick Stunt Coordinator

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    Are there certain dvd's that you use to calibrate them or can you use a THX optimizer that comes with certain movies??

    John
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    A fallback is the test tones in your receiver, however using a test disc is the best thing that I recommend, because often novices can have things setup wrong between their DVD player and the receiver and not know it, but assume everything works because they've only used the receiver tones.

    I recommend STRONGLY using a calibration disc such as Avia or DVE to calibrate audio AND video.

    THX I've never really explored in terms of audio, for basic setting of level's I'm sure it suffices. However, the video has been known to vary in levels slightly, so I would only use these THX discs for video in a pinch, or until I could get a proper video calibration disc.
     
  6. John_McKittrick

    John_McKittrick Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the DVE because I have and HDTV and needed to turn down the contrast considerably. Thanks for all your input.

    John
     

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