SVS calibration and S & V test disc findings

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Johnny Mac, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When I first received my SV, the only calibration discs I had were the Sound and Vision disc and my trusty Pink Floyd disc (The Wall). I have been using the Floyd disc to calibrate for years now and I always get good results.

    I recently picked up the S&V disc, mostly cause it was $14.99 and also because I wanted to double check my levels, video and audio. While i have been very happy with the video portion of the disc, I think the audio portion stinks.

    Using the S & V disc to set subwoofer levels, I was unclear whether or not to use a 75db scale or an 85db scale. I decided to use 75db because I had to crank it all the way up to -22 on my Yamaha just to get 75db. I wasn't comfortable going any higher for fear my front speakers would suffer the consequences. I set my sub to 81db and sat down to have a listen. No bass.

    I then popped in my Floyd disc and followed the calibration instructions. 85db for mains, 89db for the sub. And then there was bass. Out of curiosity, I put the S & V disc back in and checked again. It said I was 10db hot. At least thats what I could guess because the needle on the meter was jumping all over the place. It wasn't quite pegging on the 80db scale, but it was very close.

    Needless to say, I stuck with the levels I set using the Floyd disc.

    Yesterday, after waiting 3 weeks, my rented copy of Video Essentials showed up from Netflix. I was anxious to see what I was actually set at using a "real" test disc. When I got to the subwoofer calibration portion of the disc, the needle gently swayed back and forth, peaking at 81db.

    I don't think i'll be using the S & V disc for audio anymore.
     
  2. Troy_K

    Troy_K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Johnny,

    Even with the Floyd Cal., it says to set your sub hot. IT makes sense that if you level it out with S&V that you will have less bass than you are used to. This shouldn't surprise you.

    The levels on the S&V disk are to be calibrated at 85db, just like AVIA. VE is 75db. It's not unusual to want to run your sub a few db hot, so here's what you need to do:

    1. Calibrate your mains with VE at 75db and then stop.

    2. Pop in S&V and play the left front test tone. adjust your MASTER volume until the needle is hovering around 75 db. Now leave the MASTER alone.

    3. Using S&V, adjust the center, right-front, and rear levels to match the left front.

    4. Next, adjust the subwoofer level to match the mains. Add a few db for your taste.

    Try that out for a while, and see if you like. Pop the VE back in and check your levels to compare. Don't forget to turn up the Master volume to reference where you originaly calibrated your mains in step #1. Let us know what you find out.

    My S&V disk works well for me, and produces very nice levels with the subwoofer 2-3 db hot. This is plenty of bass, and my Bass is EQ'd flat with a BFD, so I know I'm getting an accurate bass reading. If yours is bouncing all around, you have some nulls/peaks affecting your readings.

    Troy
     
  3. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Getting 85db out of the Sound & Vision disc is nearly impossible for me to do. Most discs i've tried, and even my receiver's internal tones, reach reference at right around -24 on my Yamaha. Using Sound and Vision, I have to crank it up way past that to get 85 db. Probably somewhere in single digits. Anyone who owns a Yamaha knows that anything over about -20 is very, very loud.
    I dunno, maybe I have a defective one. Or, maybe you're onto something in that maybe the spectrum of noise used on that particular disc exites a problematic frequency in my room causing inaccurate readings.
    Either way, I have no problems using VE or my copy of The Wall for my bass settings. I get consistent readings using either one.
    Didn't mean to bad mouth the S&V disc. Well OK, maybe I did. [​IMG] It has proven to be a little frustrating, at least for subwoofer calibration.
     
  4. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  5. Troy_K

    Troy_K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Guys,

    I'm wondering what your channel settings are at? Yes, 85 db with S&V and 75 db with VE should require your receiver's to be cranked up to single digits - ideally at "0" so you know what your reference level is. If you can't do that, you should trim down your speaker levels until you can.

    I have Klipsch KG 5.5 speakers with 99db/m sensitivity. I need to trim them about -2 to -4 from my listening level to acheive this.

    I suggested that Johnny start with VE and calibrate to 75 prior to inserting S&V, just so that he could see the differences and understand/test that VE's 75 should be the same as S&V's 85. That way he could then also compare the differences in individual speaker levels to see if the calibration points on the S&V disk yield different speaker level adjustments than the VE.

    Troy
     
  6. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I must have a bad copy if Aaron is reaching 85db at only -18.5. I have a nearly identical Yamaha RX-V1000 and my speakers have a 91db efficiency. The noise in the subwoofer portion has always seemed strained to me. All the other tests seem to work quite well though.

    Troy, Yamaha receivers do not have the "0" reference level that other receivers and processors do.

    No matter what variables I try, the Sound and Vision levels always vary greatly from the consistent levels I get when using the two other discs. Interestingly enough, the Pink Floyd disc uses the 85db reference while VE uses 75. Even so, I get nearly identical readings. About 5 db hot in this case.

    Where is everyone else running their SVS? I think 80db (needle just ticks the 81db mark on its highest swing)sounds the most natural to me.
     
  7. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 1998
    Messages:
    1,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Using Video Essentials, I have my SVS 25-31PCi REF Calibrated to 77 dB (lowest swing 75 dB / highest swing 79 dB), or 2 dB Hot above 75 dB for my JBL S-Series - in my 20' x 30' w/10' high vaulted ceiling HT/family room.
    I have the Yamaha RX-V995 and my VE REF Level Volume Control Mark = #16 (12 o'clock position).
    NOTE: Because my website is 'free', hosted by GeoCities, if too many HT enthusiasts visit, GeoCities will shut it down for an hour or so because it exceeded the specified 'freebie' Data Transfer Rate. Sorry about that, just bookmark it and visit my site an hour later or when everyone has gone to bed!
    Phil
     
  8. Robert Cobb

    Robert Cobb Agent

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2002
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I also had issues with the subwoofer calibration on the S&V disk. I use similar equipment (Yamaha RX-V1200, SVS 25-31PCi) I calibrated the mains and surrounds to 85db. When moving into the subwoofer calibration portion of the disk I was confused when the noise emitted from the main speaker as a reference point to the sub was now approximately 10db below (75db) where I had just calibrated it to on the other S&V menus. By calibrating the sub to match the output of the main speaker in this test, I found that the sub was way too low for my tastes. I say "for my tastes" because I do not own another calibration to DVD with which to compare my results.

    Does anyone understand why the output for the main and surround calibration would be recorded so much higher than the reference speaker used for comparison in the subwoofer calibration? Hell, why do I need a reference speaker to compare my sub output to anyway? Just pump out the same volume to the sub as the rest of the speakers and let me tune each according the readout on my SPL meter.
     
  9. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Seems like you have the same problem I did. I suspect this may have been a bad batch of discs. Oh well. Maybe we can get replacements eh?
    Are you a member of Netflix? If so, just rent Video Essentials to do your sub calibration. I just sent it back. [​IMG]
     
  10. Troy_K

    Troy_K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    During the subwoofer level tests, you aren't supposed to adjust anything besides the subwoofer level. It is assummed that you already adjusted the levels of all the speakers less the subwoofer. Don't concern yourself that the subwoofer test isn't recorded at the same level. It doesn't matter. Just as long as it is the same volume as the mains (or a few db hot, if you like that).

    I don't think you got a bad batch of DVDs, its just that you aren't used to calibrating via this method, and you are also probably used to listening to your subs hot (nothing wrong with that, I guess).

    Troy
     
  11. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I went through your EXACT situation with the S&V disk on Monday when I tried to calibrate my new 20-39pci. I calibrated all speakers to 75db and then went to the sub calibration menu -without adjusting the master volume. The test then alternates between two tones, 1 out of the left front and 1 out of the sub.
    Here was the kicker-the tone out of the left was now about 5db less than the previous menu? I calibrated to about 4db hot anyways but like Robert said, "the bass was not there." To get any substantial bass I had to run about 10db hot.
    I email Ron at SVS for assistance and here is the guidance I got, which seemed to help. The ones in bold I think helped the most.
    -----------------------------------
    Confirm for me that you have the Crossover “Disabled” and just for the heck of it keep your crossover knob all the way to the right.
    Try to flip the polarity switch for one of your runs, and remeasure from your seat (all measurements should be done from the same spot).
    Try the sub in different locations. Any given sub is very much dominated by the room it is in. Move it 2 feet and it can have a totally different sound. Really. Put it the best closed corner closest to your seat if you can, again remeasure.
    Try to calibrate using your receiver’s test tones and see if you get different readings. I don’t have any experience with the S&V disk but it sounds like it’s being seen 10dB down from reference or something. Any chance you can get your hands on Video Essentials?? That disk I know VERY well and it gives nearly infallible results.
    Are you certain your DVD player is set up correctly? It’s a long shot but I’ve seen players that default to the “PCM” track which only will give you dolby pro logic. Make sure you have DD and DTS enabled for audio.
    On your receiver make darn sure you have NO sound field or other “modes” enabled. This includes “Midnight mode”, THX Movie etc etc. If there is any sort of LFE limiter or “Trim” make sure it’s on the highest setting.
    Right now I’d say pick the loudest bassiest movie you have (the first 5 min. of Toy Story 2 are perfect) and play it back at the loudest you are likely to every do. Set the sub by ear so that it gives you the impact you want with no strain or bottoming. Let that be your reference area.
    I would tend to run your subwoofer output level at least at -15dB though keep it to no higher than -10 for now. Turn your sub volume up (at the sub amp) as high as you need to to get a nice +5dB rise over your mains. Given the odd nature of your findings so far though it’s hard to say where that is. Again, look at your receiver’s test tones, get VE, or just do it with TS2 for now by ear.
    -------------------
    I plan on getting the VE disk to verify. Here are my yamaha setting just in case:
    DD LFE (-20-0)= 0
    DTS LFE (-10- +10) = +7
    Subwoofer (-20-0) = -16 (about 4-4db hot)
    All speakers set to small
    20-39pci gain = just below 12:00 position.
    DJ
     
  12. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here are some facts about my setup while calibrating:

    Room size: 16x14x8 = 1792 cubic feet
    Vol level on receiver with left main at 85Db = -18.5
    Sub Level on receiver = -20.0
    LFE on receiver = 0Db (maxed out setting for my Yamaha)
    Gain on sub at roughly 10 o'clock
    Crossover on sub bypassed (fully counterclockwise)
    Phase on sub at about 6 o'clock
    The sub is positioned about 2 feet from the rear wall and 1 foot from the side wall.
    I was roughly 9 feet from the left main and 5 feet from the sub for calibration.

    Mains: B&W603s
    Surrounds: B&W601s
    Sub: Adire Rava
    Receiver: Yamaha RXV-1200
    Calibration Disc: S&V

    Everything is calibrated at 85Db on the Radio Shack SPL meter.
     
  13. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Also, we have hardwood floors and a pier and post foundation. We do have rugs, curtains, several bookcases, a sofa, and a loveseat which help to tame the hardwoods somewhat. [​IMG]
     
  14. Troy_K

    Troy_K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Guys,

    I don't believe that the subwoofer calibration portion of the S&V disk is meant to be used to set a reference volume level. That should have been set by the rest of the speakers earlier. All it is intended to do is match the calibrated level of your left main (which should be the same as the rest of the speakers, so no need to do this for each one again) with your sub. It's that simple. It doesn't matter how loud it is on your spl meter, only that it is the same. That's why it toggles back and forth between sub and main so you can set your sub level to match the mains (which should already be calibrated.

    Troy
     
  15. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If indeed that is the case, then why not just tack the subwoofwer calibration on the end of the main calibration run? Having a seperate subwoofer calibration run with an alternating tone between the left main and the sub would indicate, at least to me, that the two are meant to be compared.

    If we are supposed to use the level attained during surround calibration instead, then it is not very well explained and it is definitely not logical.

    Just for fun, i'm going to contact Ovation and see what their take is on this so those of us using the disc will at least know what they meant for us to do. Maybe i'll dig up something interesting.
     
  16. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Johnny, it is confusing but I think that I know what I will try next. I am going to measure the alternating sub tone & left main tone from my original listening position for calibration with the volume at -18.5 on my receiver (the level that my left main hit 85Db) and adjust using the sub level on the receiver rather than the gain on my sub. By ear, it sounds like the sub tone is not quite as loud as the left main tone. At -20.0 Db, I have plenty of room to move up on the receiver's sub level rather than using the gain. I will be able to see how many Dbs low I have been listening at. I will measure with the SPL meter and adjust accordingly.

    I think that I agree with Troy, ie, it probably doesn't matter what the volume on the receiver is set at for the sub calibration since it is assumed that you have already calibrated the other 5 speakers already but I will use the same receiver volume level for the heck of it.
     
  17. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 1998
    Messages:
    1,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The following comments were from a thread where some switching from DVD (LFE set 4-6 dB HOT) to CD Music had too much bass for critical music listening.
    Yamaha owners with the following 3 Sub controls (2 for each LFE format) like my ...
    Yamaha RX-V995 3-subwoofer controls (each w/memory):
    A) SWFR
    B) DD LFE
    C) DTS LFE
    can switch between Music CD's and Blockbuster DVD's (LFE] with correct bass output respectively. The following is copied and makes interesting reading - I own AVIA & SV but primarily use Video Essentials for my Audio REFERENCE Calibration ...
    ====(copy)
    Let me quote from ...
    Video Essentials DVD FAQ - read the answer (by Joe Kane?) ...
    Next, I run Video Essentials LFE Test Signal so I can adjust ... the LFE channel of the Dolby Digital 5.1 system.
    1) I started w/DD & DTS LFE default settings:
    o Yamaha RX-V995 (fixed x-over 90 Hz)
    · SWFT = -12 (range: 0 to -20) (Value after calibrating my 'normal' subwoofer level above.)
    · DD LFE = 0 (range: 0 to -10)
    · DTS LFE = 0 (range: -10 to +10)
    o SVS 25-31PCi
    · Level: ½ power (12 o'clock position)
    · Crossover = Disabled
    · Phase = 0 (located front right corner)
    2) Next, I run Video Essentials DVD Test Front Signal
    3) 1st Test Signal = Left channel)
    4) I then turn-up my Yamaha Volume Control knob until the LT Channel = 75 dB
    . . . at this point, I don't touch the Volume Control knob again
    5) 2nd Test Signal = Center
    6) I use the remote and change the Center Level until = 75 dB
    7) 3rd Test Signal = Right Front Channel
    . . . if the SPL doesn't = 75 dB, I use the Balance Cntrl Knob until it is
    . . . I re-check the Left Front and Center if I used the Balance Cntrl.
    . . . Fortunately, both L&R is equal.
    8) 4th Test Signal = Left Surround
    . . . I use the remote and change the LT Surround Level until = 75 dB
    9) 5th Test Signal = Right Surround
    . . . I use the remote and change the LT Surround Level until = 75 dB
    10) I change the Radio Shack Meter = 80 dB (all other options the same: Weight = "C" / Speed = "Slow")
    11) 6th Test Signal = LFE
    . . . I use the remote to change the DD LFE Level until = 77 dB (lowest swing 75 dB / highest swing 79 dB - of the needle)
    . . . Result = -5** (Dolby Digital LFE)
    12) Afterwards, I re-run the test again to verify my values.
    13) That sets the Dolby Digital LFE
    14) For DTS LFE, I added 10 to DD LFE "-5" = +5** (-5 + 10 = +5 - DTS LFE)
    **Equipment final settings:
    o Yamaha RX-V995
    · SWFT = -12 (range: 0 to -20)
    · DD LFE = -5 (range: 0 to -10)
    · DTS LFE = +5 (range: -10 to +10)
    o SVS 25-31PCi
    · Level: ½ power (12 o’clock position)
    · Crossover = Disabled
    So, I don't experience 10 dB difference in the subwoofer levels between my Dolby Pro-Logic and Dolby Digital 5.1 (AC-3) / DTS 5.1. Using my
    Yamaha RX-V995 3-subwoofer controls (each w/memory):
    A) SWFR
    B) DD LFE
    C) DTS LFE
    ... when I switch between my Music CD's and Blockbuster DVD's (LFE]!
    ===(end of copy)
    Phil
     
  18. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  19. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I decided to try one more test with the sub calibration tones. I turned my receiver volume down 10Db below my calibrated ref level of -18.5 to -28.5. I set the SPL meter to 70 and sure enough, the left main tone dropped to 74.5-75Db and the sub tone dropped to 75-75.5Db. This confirms what Troy was saying, ie, it really does not seem to matter what volume your receiver is set at when using the sub calibration test for S&V. Just make sure that the left main tone & the sub tone read the same with the SPL meter from your listening position when performing the sub calibration test AND make sure that you complete the speaker balancing tests prior to the sub calibration test.

    I do not believe that you should experience a 10Db dropoff when moving from the speaker balancing test unless you have decreased the volume on your receiver or you have a bad disc.
     
  20. Robert Cobb

    Robert Cobb Agent

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2002
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I went back to review the difference between the recorded volume of the subwoofer calibration and the 5-chanel balance portions of the S&V disk. I'll have to retract my earlier statement that there is a 10db difference. In fact, I found only a 2db drop (the subwoofer calibration being the lower of the two).

    The tone generated by the front left speaker is very different for these two tests and makes me wonder if the SPL meter is affected by the different frequencies used.

    Anyway, I'm still a bit puzzled. According to the S&V sub calibration, my sub is 3db hot over the front left speaker. However, the front left is 2db lower in this test than on the 5-channel calibration, so maybe the sub is really only 1db hot? I suppose I should just trust that the front left and sub are recorded at the same level, but why would they make them different than the 5-channel test?

    I guess this is just a good excuse to buy VE or Avia. Do either of these disks include the sub level check with the other speakers or do both of them split it into a separate "comparison calibration" as the S&V disk does?
     

Share This Page