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Reference Level

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by GregBe, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    I am setting the levels of my speakers with an SPL meter and Video Essentials. I much more commonly listen to things at well below reference level. If I set the SPL meter to a lower level when I am configuring, will that give me a more accurate balance at the those lower levels? I am specifically referring to the subwoofer / bass levels at lower volume; or does it not matter, and as long as the speakers are balanced at reference level, they will be balanced at lower volume levels as well.
     
  2. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Setting things at exactly 75db is not as important as just having them all equal relative to one another, so don't worry too much about that. In fact, when I use VE, I find it much easier to use 70db as my reference point, since it is right in the middle of the meter.

    That being said, unless you have an extraordinarily quiet room(NO outside noise, no refrigerators, A/C's, etc., cycling on and off), you should use at least 70db, if not 80db, to set your levels. This will greatly reduce the chance of ambient noises throwing off your readings...
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    What james said. As long as all the levels are the same, they will always be the same. That being said, if you listen below reference (as most of us do), you might want to bumb the sub up a couple decibels, to your taste, to get closer to the same impact you'd get at reference. Depending on how low volume, if dialog intellegibility is a problem, you might want to play with upping the center a tad, or playing around with the night/midnighht mode that most recievers have for DD compression.

    What you probably don't want to do is max out the inidividual adjustments, for instance, calibrating to a comfortable level with volume at 0, by maxing out the individual adjustments for the speakers all the way down. Use as little adjustment as possible there, keeping in mind the whole point of calibration is to have the speakers at the same volume, then you can tweak to your tastes/listening/volume level habits a little bit from there. Calibration to reference level is not necessary, but sometimes useful for comparison/evaluation/just knowing "hey i'm at reference", or whatever.
     
  4. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I agree. Since I listen at well below reference level, I am running my sub on the "hot" side by 4 or 5 dB's.
     

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