rear speaker level question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by matt bee, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. matt bee

    matt bee Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently used Video Essentials to do the audio calibration on my reciever. When I viewed a few DVDs afterwards, the surrounds just seemed too low to my ears. I bumped up the levels a bit to where they sound right to me.

    In the end, I guess what really matters is that I enjoy the sound that I'm getting, but I'm wondering if I should calibrate, and just get used to the sound as calibrated? Am I short changing my HT experience by deviating from the calibrated speaker levels?
     
  2. Dave Nibeck

    Dave Nibeck Stunt Coordinator

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    Its what matters to you that counts.
     
  3. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Why change it to something you don't like?

    Cees
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    I suppose Rear Surround effects depend on where they are placed on the walls, or on stands, or how high in relation to speaker cones and your ear level while sitting.

    I remember when I first set up I was disappointed I wasn't hearing much from my surrounds, which are capable Paradigm MiniMonitors. I came to realize that DD or Dts 5.1 DVDs vary quite a bit in discrete signals sent to rears, sometimes just scene ambience sounds, sometimes gunshots and moving pans.

    So I now leave rears calibrated the same level as the front stage. Sure, you can boost the rears equally to something you like that doesnt take away from the main soundtrack thru the Mains/Center. However, if your receiver has a 5-Channel Stereo feature for music, having the rears boosted wud be sonically imbalanced in this mode.

    bill
     
  5. Blake R

    Blake R Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember many years ago my first DPL receiver required a simple audible determination by the user from the listening position using pink noise. I set levels according to my ears(outrageous)and was never tempted to check it with an SPL meter. It sounded good to me. My latest receiver has the built in SPL metering in the remote and it balanced the levels automatically in less than a minute. I'm very happy with the sound in this system also.

    The variations in multi-channel audio program material can be appalling especially with many of the first generation DVD's. I believe the best measure is still whatever sounds good to your ear. The good news is both program material and modestly priced audio components are getting better all the time.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i did a calibration for a friend of mine. he kept saying "why don't i hear the rear channels?". i went on and on about calibration, spl levels, how the rear should not take you "out" of the picture, blah blah blah.
    he told me he didn't give a hooey...he liked to hear the rear channels, so i bumped it up a couple db - he was a happy camper.
    the moral: as long as you like the sound, then that's what matters.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. matt bee

    matt bee Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for the responses.

    Of course, setting it up to what sounds good to me is what I have done. I was mostly just curious about it. Wondering if this situation might be along the same vein as someone calibrating their tv for the first time and finding the picture "not quite right" after watching it on default settings for so long. I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on something is all.

    ~Matt
     
  8. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I'm certainly not going to disagree with the idea that you should be happy with the way it sounds- however almost every "non-enthusiast" system I see has the sub and surround speakers CRANKED! The idea of surround sound is an immersive experience- and too often people will buy a system and get hooked on the "surround" gimmick and expect to hear them all the time.
    And don't get me started on subwoofers... so many people run them like 20db too hot and basically have a big booming mess.
    But, If they're happy with that-- I guess that's okay. I'll just make sure to watch films at my house. [​IMG]
    I would say that the audio calibration is like the video calibration-- at first you might be used to the "wrong" setup- and so you're tempted to go back. I think I would opt to live with the calibrated levels for a few weeks and see if that works out in the end.
    Wow, Blake, what the heck is this receiver? I have never seen this offered as a feature in my life!
     
  9. Blake R

    Blake R Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince,

    The new HK's have an SPL sensor in the remote. You sit in the listening position with the remote held up, press a button and off you go. The system starts running the pink noise test and the remote senses volume and feeds the info back to the receiver while it sets levels. Usually the system is balanced to perfection after just a couple of "orbits" around the speaker chain. You can't beat it for accuracy. The subwoofer is a different story. That is done by my ear. And yes, a lot of neophytes way overcrank the satellites. There are a lot of guys out there who do not seem to understand that even in an action film the surround channels are frequently lacking in information during the film.

    My little mid-fi system sounds balanced and precise. I could not be happier.

    HK AVR 520
     
  10. William Lane

    William Lane Extra

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    I always thought the surround channels were not meant to draw your attention too much. If a rear surround speaker is so loud that it draws your direct attention to it then it's set too high. It should be set at a level where you don't notice the speakers are working unless you turn them off and all the sound hits the front wall. As far as video calibration, it was hard for me to give up the so called bright, sharp screens most people are used to but once calibrated you start to see more detail and quality that you've never seen before.
     
  11. matt bee

    matt bee Stunt Coordinator

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    I can certainly understand not wanting the rear surrounds to draw too much attention. It seems like I can't hear much at all, though. On scenes with subtle use of the surrounds, (maybe wind or rain or something) I don't feel like I can hear much at all behind me. In a case like that it seems like the sound should envelop me more. But then, as I said before, I don't know what a properly set up HT should sound like.

    Most likely what I will do is calibrate everything again, then leave it be for a few weeks to see if I get used to it.
     

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