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Sound Level Help for a Newbie!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric Taylor, Oct 17, 2001.

  1. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Hello...I am new to the HT world and recently bought a older system off my brother. He had the RCA RT2300 system he bought and has recently upgraded his and gave me this one at a good price. Okay my problem is this...I don't understand how to set up my speakers to get optimum sound. The levels go from -10db to +10db. Can anyone explain to me what this is? Also, I have read on this forum that some people talk about setting the levels to 75db. Is that the master volume setting or what? Please any information on how to set this up would be of great help. Thanks.
     
  2. Howard Christian

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    Go to radio shack and get an SPL meter.
    Also try buying Video Essentials to calibrate your home theater speakers. I would search in eBay as I have found the best prices there. When your receiver is set at 0db, the reading on the SPL meter will be about 75db so if you add like +10db on the receiver it gets to 85db, but this is with the test tones that comes with Video Essentials. During movie viewing it may not be the case.
    Hope it helps.
     
  3. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Okay so now let's see if I got this right. When I get my SLP meter I should set my speakers all at 0db for each of them right? And then set up the SLP meter where the sweetspot is while I watch the movies and then mess with the volume for each speaker to make them 75db from that spot...is that correct? Also, would the THX sound optomizer from either Xmen or Star Wars Ep1 work the same as Video Essentials until I can get me a copy of it? Thanks again.
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    eric -
    welcome to the forum! [​IMG] you've found a great place to ask questions!
    regarding your speaker level questions...think of it this way. you're volume is the "master" volume for all the channels. the +/- 10db adjustments are the "fine tuning" for each of the channels.
    the point of that feature is to allow you to adjust all your speakers so that they are the same volume. this really comes in handy when one speaker is farther than the other, or maybe the speaker is partially blocked by a couch or coffee table. by adjusting the fine-tuning of each of the speaker, you'll be able to compensate for these deficiencies.
    the most accurate way to adjust your levels is using the spl. i have one, but haven't bought a calibration dvd yet. so i'm just using the internal test tones built into the receiver. you're better off getting the calibration dvd if possible because it'll allow you to test the entire "chain" of components (dvd --> receiver) instead of just the receiver.
    it sounds like you've got the reference thing down...i'm a little unclear on that topic so i'll leave that to someone else.
    regarding the thx optimode thing...i think that is specific to the particular dvd you are watching. if you calibrate with that, then put in a different dvd, then the settings will be off. i'm not sure about this point though...
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  5. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Thanks for the warm welcome! [​IMG] Okay that explains alot to me too....I think I am getting this thing down now. Okay now I have a question about my subwoofer. On the back of it it has two buttons. One says Hi-Cut and the other says Phase. Can someone explain to me what these are? Should I turn them on, leave them off or what? Thanks, you guys are all big help. I know this is going to be one of my favorite websites for now on.
     
  6. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Eric,
    Check your manual and find out how to adjust each individual channel when using the test tones. Now with your SPL in hand sit in the sweet spot and hit the test tone button. I know on my reciever it sets the volume to 0. As it plays the test tone I adjust each channel till its putting out a signal at 75db. Thats it.
    Kevin
     
  7. John Schmiedt

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    Eric,
    I'll take a guess here, someone else correct me if I'm wrong.
    I guess that the phase is what I've always seen labeled as polarity(either 0 degrees or 180 usually). It's just regular or inverted(i.e. 180 degrees out of phase). If you get Avia or Video essentials they have tests for proper setup of phase/polarity. But, you can also just use your ears & pick the one that sounds more dynamic/fuller. Usually only noticeable on real low level frequency stuff.
    Truthfully, I've never heard much of a difference with this setting.
    The Hi-Cut I guess is the Crossover frequency? Your main speakers have a low frequency limit. Below this limit, the sub should be providing the bass. I've read that the sub should be set about 10Hz higher than the lower limit of you main speakers. But if you have a receiver that does it's own bass management, then it decides the low limit of your main speakers & the sub setting should be set to off & the receiver will direct the bass to the proper speaker.
    John
     
  8. John Schmiedt

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  9. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Okay, I went out and got me a SPL meter from Radio Shack...now what I need to know is...what do I set my main volume level too to set up the speakers? Is there a certain level that I need to turn it too to make sure I get optimium sound?
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    you'll probably have to crank the receiver "sort-of" loud. i'm assuming you have your meter set to c-weighting, slow response, etc.
    what i did was just crank my system until the needle got around the right-hand side (sorry, i don't remember the values). then i started adjusting everything.
    for me, it was most important to make sure that the same amount of sound was coming out of each speaker. since this is relative to the volume control, just crank it until the meter can "catch-up".
    hope that makes sense...
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  11. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Okay...so once I get the levels the same..do I have to keep the master volume at that high or can I lower it then? I live in a small house with alot of neihbors around and I don't want to disturb them. I just wondered if I turn the master volume down will that hurt my leveling of the speakers? Thanks for the help guys.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    once your levels are all the same, then the volume knob controls all the channels at once. think of it as the "master" control relative to the rest of the channels.
    even if the left channel is +2db to the right channel, when you raise/lower the volume knob, both channels will increase or decrease the same amount.
    it sounds like you're all set...
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    "The ship of death has a new captain." - nosferatu (1922)
     
  13. Vin

    Vin Supporting Actor

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    Eric, in addition to the good advice you've already gotten, I think you'll find this very helpful.
    Good luck!
     
  14. Eric Taylor

    Eric Taylor Agent

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    Okay thanks guys I got it now! System sounds great..probably will sound better when I get the disc to help calabrate it...just don't know when I will be able to afford it. Okay well thanks again.
     
  15. Matthew Anderson

    Matthew Anderson Second Unit

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    I had similar questions about sound and speaker levels. Thanks for all the advice you gave Jay. It helped me as well and I really liked the the links provided by John and Vin. These were excellent.
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