Sound level meters what's better digital or analog and do I really have to buy one.

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by ChuckM, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. ChuckM

    ChuckM Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been having trouble geting a balance sound image from the surround speakers. It feels like the left surround volume is greater than the right. I was thinking about geting a sound meter. But it seems like a waste of money to go out and buy sound meter when I'm only going to use it once or twice. So is there any place that you can rent them, and if I do have to buy one what is better digital or analog.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    get the analog. maybe you can borrow one from a friend. i think you'll find it's more useful than just a one shot deal. for example, when you move things around, add a piece of furniture, change your seating positions...look, you'll piss more money than that away on things that don't do anything. just pass on going to starbucks a couple of times.
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I just bought one (analog from Rat Shack) and totally thought it worth the price. Also, my local RS had it on sale for $24.99 (as opposed to $34.99 on their website) - score!

    As I'm moving apartments I'll be able to use this then. And also I'm having a speaker shootout (my old Energy C6s vs. MB Quart QLS-1030s) and now I can level match them so that I can reduce the "louder is better" part of the comparison...

    Worth the $25 IMO!
     
  4. ChuckM

    ChuckM Stunt Coordinator

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    Are there any benefits of using a digital meter over an analog.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Hmmm, I can't rightly recall. I do remember reading a thread a while back (like a long while back, so it may not even be on this server of HTF) that there was something wrong or off with the digital SPL meter. That, coupled with the cheaper price, made the analog model the way to go. That may have all changed by now, though...
     
  6. dave_brogli

    dave_brogli Screenwriter

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    If you want one for cheap (well cheaper than online. Ive got a digital Radio Shack one......... Pm me for details if ya want [​IMG] Its pretty much new. And Im cheaper than radio shack
     
  7. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Get one if you can, especially the analog(Sorry Dave). Easier to watch the needle move than count the the little bars below the db number on the digital. These instruments are a must in any HT, especially if your into upgrading, move you setup around, etc

    Kevin
     
  8. Albert Damico

    Albert Damico Stunt Coordinator

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    Well...I have had three receivers, now I am on seperates, I have had at least 4-5 change of speakers, I now have Dunlavy, but the single most impressive upgrade I ever made to my system was when I bought my SPL meter and dialed in my speakers. I know that's a pretty strong statement, but I mean it. Analog is much easier to work with. Also, you will use it frequently and often, as has been stated. Sometimes speakers get bumped, moved, furniture changes, etc. There a a thousand things that can change in your room. Also, its pretty neat to take it to a friend's house and help them out!!!
     
  9. ChuckM

    ChuckM Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I went out and bought the analog and holy crap did it make a difference. I couldn't believe how off I was by doing it by ear. My only question is how do you use a spl on a sub. Even when you put the needle on slow it tends to move alot. So I just took an average figure. I think I did it right, but I'm not sure.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    are you hand holding it or putting it on a tripod or something like that?
     
  11. ChuckM

    ChuckM Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is what I did I turned my reciever upto 60 and set spl to 60. Then I put the spl on a tripod, which was ear level, and pointed it directly at each speaker, vetically & horizontally. Then I adjust the volume of each speaker till the needle stayed at 0. Is this right.
     
  12. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  14. DavidES

    DavidES Stunt Coordinator

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    Chuck, try setting levels @ 70-75dB slow c-weighted instead of 60dB and your sub about -4dB below due to spl meter's insensitivity to low bass. 60dB might not be enough to drive your speakers adequately.

    Mic compensation chart on page 4.

    Remember your volume control settings at 70 and 75db for future reference. You might find that 70db might be easier on your family's ears volume-wise if 75dB is too loud. Don't even try 85dB reference unless it's a big dedicated isolated treated HT room. It's really loud.

    On my system, I set up the audio on DVD source then carry the settings over to the other sources since my receiver has one-touch memory settings for each source.
    Just make sure that LFE attenuation is set to off or 0 and that "midnight mode"/"Dynamic Range Compression" is set to off or none just for calibration then when done set everything to your needs/preferences.

    It would do you good to invest in Avia or Video Essentials to calibrate everything including video on your HT. I recommend Avia though since it has a lot of special audio tests that can used in conjunction with parametric eqs like the BFD Feedback Destroyer and spectrum software to tame any room/sub combo room booms and detect any frequency response problems, that is if you're willing to risk finding out just how good/bad the system sounds or how the ears are easily tricked [​IMG] and Avia has great tutorials on everything. I took the risk! :b Oh boy! What a difference now. I still can't believe what I missed for so long.

    When everything is setup like you want read this article for some commonly overlooked tips to be able to escape into the music/movies. Makes sense though difficult to do as we get older. [​IMG]

    Great list of articles for your learning pleasure at your leisure.
     
  15. ChuckM

    ChuckM Stunt Coordinator

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    I did it again at 70db, the way Chu Gai suggested, and I still couldn't get a steady sub reading. Could it be that my listing position is right up against the wall. Maybe it is picking up sound reflections. My room is only a 12x10.

    By the way 70db is freakin' LOUD!!!!
     
  16. DavidES

    DavidES Stunt Coordinator

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    I just try to average the swing out. If swinging between 70 and 75, avg 73. Best you can do.
     

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