Sound Calibration question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RussellC, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    I finally got a RS SPL Meter and I was calibrating my speakers to 75db but the sub shoots up way above that. Do I have to tune the sub to 75 also or higher...I couldn't quite understand what they meant on the AVIA disc. Somthing about the sub being at 115 or 105 or something? Is that right? Please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Russell
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    No, not 115 and not 105. If you're using AVIA it's 85db, just like the other channels!

    The sub should be at the same level as the other speakers. Make sure the WEIGHTING switch on the meter is where Avia tells you to put it.

    -Vince
     
  3. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    I have VE also, so i think i will calibrate it to 75db on VE, cause I live in an apartment. Yeah I had it on C weighting ans Slow Response. But for some reason I had to turn my sub down like -10db on the reciever to get it to equal the rest of the speakers...maybe I need to turn the volume down on the sub itself...I didnt think about that.

    Thanks,

    Russell
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    75 on VE is exactly equal to 85 of Avia- calibrating to one will not be lower than the other (you made ref to being in an apartment for using VE's 75db tones-- just wanted to make sure you understood that 75db calibration on VE will yield the exact same volume position as 85db on Avia).

    Sounds to me like you have your sub WAAAAY too high. If you can't get it to proper level at -10 on the receiver, then go ahead and turn the volume down on the sub.

    -Vince
     
  5. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    OK thanks for the info, I haven't done audio calibrating before, just video. This is good to know. Thanks,

    -Russell
     
  6. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    OK I went back to do a calibration via AVIA again. I tuned to about 70db cause ref level is way too loud for my apartment. I also tuned the sub to about +3 or +4 above my other speakers. By the way I have a Energy Take 5.2 system with S8.2 sub. I had it hooked up where the reciever controlled the crossover and and volume of the sub. This made the sub way too loud on the test tones so I hooked it up so that I could control the volume level on the sub and turned it to about half way and put the crossover at about 95-100Hz. After setting up to this Sound level the volume on my reciever was at -30db.

    OK, now I popped in Toy Story 2 and everything sounds good but the sub is way quieter than I am used to I also threw in a familiar CD and changed it out of Dolby Digital to 2 channel music and the sub just want like I am used to at these levels..plus for music I had to turn the volume on the reciver way down or it was way too loud.

    One thing I did notice was that on movies I didn't have to tun it down on loud parts or turn it up when the dialouge was too soft, so that was good.

    OK after all that my question is: Is this how it is supposed to be? I used to have the sub volume up way louder than this. Was I just listening to everything the wrong way? What about the low bass volume levels in music?

    Thanks for listening,

    -Russell
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    1) I assume you have all your speakers set to small?

    2) If your receiver has a LFE pad setting somewhere in it (this will be a different setting than the main subwoofer send)- make sure it is as its highest setting.

    3) Chances are pretty high you had your sub too loud before. Everyone I've ever met waaaaaaaay over cranks their sub when they first get one-- but over time you discover how subs are SUPPOSED to sound, and you'll frown when you hear your buddy's system pumpin out doo-doo.

    When a sub is used properly, you do not realize it is there. It will call virtually no attention to itself, and you shouldn't even be able to locate it in the room. You should just experience more smooth sound- from highest highs, to the lowest lows

    4) I'm not sure about the answer to your issue of bass with music seeming "correct" while movies now seem wrong to your ears. Music bass should also be substantially lower now that you've reduced the sub (unless you have a really low x-over point in the receiver, which means the mains are doing most of the bass work anyway since most music doesn't have tons of really LOW bass anyway)--

    Maybe the difference in overall volume has made the difference in bass seem smaller to your ears. That would be my guess- or possibly that the reduction of the sub had little effect because the majority of "music bass" was going to the main speakers anyway. Double check the x-over point inside the receiver.

    5) You SHOULD have to reduce the volume for cd vs. dvd- and should have ALWAYS had to do so in the past. CD is created with levels squashed as loud as they go- between -3 and 0db... and DVD average levels are about 25db below that level!! So, if you try a cd at the volume you have set for DVD, it will be about 8-10 times louder on average level!!

    6) One issue here that makes the whole thing difficult is your decision not to calibrate to ref levels. While no one would argue you have to LISTEN at ref- often proper calibration- or at the very least the ability to communicate with others on the forum-- is dependent on calibrating to ref and knowing how many steps below ref you're listening at...

    Keep in mind, as you reduce overall volume- your ears will percieve a much bigger drop in bass as they do in mid/high... this is how our ears work. So, with your system some amount below ref (but again, impossible to really know how far below)- you might be losing a little perception of bass due to the overall reduction.

    I would suggest calibrating as instructed to 85, noting that position on the knob, and then seeing how far below that point you are listening on dvd playback. If it is more than 20 steps below that ref point on the master volume, you might consider hopping your sub up one or two clicks- just to overcome your ear's perception of loss bass by going so far below ref.

    -v
     
  8. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW, thanks Vince, that really helped alot.. I guess I have been cranking my bass up way too much all along. I will calibrate to 85db and just turn the volume down to sane levels for my apartment...Don't get me wrong the movies sounded great, but I am just not used to the lower bass levels. I will just turn the LFE up a little bit after calibration since I will be listening to movies at lower than reference levels.

    Thanks for all the info,

    Russell
     
  9. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    One more question, if you don't mind. With Ref levels being so high...you don't think I will damage my speakers durning pink noise calibration do you? It just seems awfully loud to me.

    Thanks,

    Russell
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  11. Paul_Dunlop

    Paul_Dunlop Second Unit

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    Hi
    I've also got the XL 8.2 - I would suggest you set the A/V switch on the front to A (audio)
    The V (video) plays louder at 40Hz, but sacrifices low frequency. This is good for CD's, not DVD's
    The A (audio) plays the same level at all frequencies, and goes much lower. This is much better for DVD's, and doesn't really affect CD's (they don't go as low in frequency on most discs)
    I know this sounds the opposite of what it should be - I double checked a couple of sources for this.
    I always leave mine in the A setting and it sounds good for cd's and DVD's. I also had to go to -6 on my sub setting on the receiver (Denon 1601)I have the LFE setting at 0. I recently switched to the X Over input on the Sub from my receiver. This disables the Crossover and volume control on the Sub.
    It does sound much quieter - when I first calibrated it was at 89 Db. I set it to 79 Db. Now that I'm used to it, it sounds like the bass is coming from my mains and center instead.
    Hope this helps - I think it's a great Sub
    Paul
     
  12. Mark Hobbs

    Mark Hobbs Stunt Coordinator

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    Using the Sony SA-WM40 sub, I have to turn down the sub volume knob to half in order to calibrate to 85db with the AVIA disk. At half volume on the knob, my sub is set to about -4db on the receiver (Denon 1802), and my mains are at about +4db. I couldn't calibrate with the sub volume all the way up, it was way too loud.

    LFE on the receiver is at the highest setting, which is 0. The sub crossover is all the way up (170hz i think), and the receiver crossover is set to 80hz. When I set the crossover on the sub to 80hz also, it further reduces a lot of the sound above 80hz. My understanding is that I am supposed to leave it turned up and just let the receiver crossover do all of the filtering.

    I actually listen at anywhere from -25db to -10db, depending on whether or not my wife is home.

    From everything I have read (including a lot of Vince's posts on this subject), this is the proper way to set up the sub. Correct me if I'm wrong!
     
  13. shankar

    shankar Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince,
    I also started another thread here with the same dilemma.
    If I set my reciever (VSX D608) readout at 0dB, I have may mains at 4, surrounds at 3 and center at 5. The sub level is at -10. With this setup, the subwoofers own amplification is turned way down. I think your advice is against that. If I understood your advice, it is best to let the sub use its amlpifier that was desgned for that express purpose, rather than taxing the reciever. Is that correct???
    Shankar
     
  14. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    So, there you go.
    -V
     
  15. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    I recalibrated for ref levels (-15 on my reciever) and I watched toy story 2 at about -30 so I turned to sub up a few clicks) and it sounded awesome, I could no longer tell where the bass was coming from, it sounded like it was coming from the mains. I no longer have to turn the volume up and down while I watch a movie to hear dialouge etc... I watche Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Last night though and that movie basically has no bass or something, I kept feeling like I needed to turn the sub up more, which make me still think I did it wrong, but I know I didn't. I guess I will have to get used to it.

    -Russell
     
  16. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Russ,

    Some films have less bass than others. Just like some music has less bass than others.

    Make sure you have all your speakers set to small. Also, check to see if your receiver has a LFE pad setting somewhere in it (this will be a different setting than the main subwoofer send)- make sure it is as its highest setting.

    If so, then you're doing everything right.

    -V
     
  17. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    Cool thanks Vince!!
     
  18. DennisRS

    DennisRS Auditioning

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    Vince in your response to RussellC you said that you assume he had all the speakers set to small- I have JBL L100T mains and a JBL PB12 sub would I also have to set my mains to small for the calibration? At present the mains are set to large and they are quite capable of producing much base on there own. I have the crossover set at 80hz. By the way I enjoy your advice and this forum very much.Thank you![​IMG]
     
  19. RussellC

    RussellC Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm pretty sure, unless your mains have powered woofers in them, you need to set your speakers to small. Even if they are large speakers they still cannot accurately produce super low bass.

    -Russell
     
  20. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Selden
    People often forget to take room resonances into account when calibrating subwoofer levels.

    Low frequencies have wavelengths comparable to the dimensions of the room. This means that their reflections off the walls set up "standing waves". The frequencies corresponding to the dimensions of the room will be extremely loud at some places in the room and almost non-existant in other locations. The precise locations of the peaks and valleys (nodes) depend on the subwoofer's position and the shape of the room. If your listening position happens to be located at one of those peaks, you'll be calibrating the volume of that peak, not the overall subwoofer sound level. This could result in the subwoofer channel's gain being set much lower than it should be. These standing waves also cause the "boominess" that a lot of people complain about.

    The fundamental frequencies of the standing waves can be roughly calculated by dividing 1120 by the lengths of the walls (and ceiling height) measured in feet. A room dimension of 15 feet will result in a standing wave at 75 Hz, for example. Standing waves will be present at several multiples of the fundamental frequencies.

    I'd suggest measuring the sound level in a couple of different locations in the room just to make sure this isn't happening to you. If it is, you should consider moving the subwoofer so the peaks of the standing waves are somewhere else in the room, preferably where nobody will be sitting. Some people use equalizers to reduce the amplitudes of the peaks.

    Dennis,

    I'm not Vince, but...

    There are several reasons why setting all of your speakers to "small" is a good idea.

    Don't forget that high quality subwoofers can reach much lower frequencies than most "full range" speakers. When you send full range signals to your front speakers, you'll lose the lowest frequencies, since they cannot reproduce them.

    By redirecting all the low frequencies to its subwoofer output, you are reducing the power that your receiver's amplifiers have to provide. This can significantly improve the quality of the sound at the higher frequencies. The amplifiers will have substantially higher headroom.

    Also, it's easier to control the standing waves when the low frequencies come from a single, movable source rather than from several that you can't move.

    I hope this clarifies things a little.
     

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