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The problem with calibrating a sub

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Rick_Brown, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

    Oct 25, 2001
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    I have seen many posts about the difficulties calibrating a sub using a sound pressure leevel meter. Usually the posts are about how one DVD calibration disk yields a different level than another one or how the receiver's own test tones yield different results, or how once set the sub now seems too loud or quiet compared to the mains.

    I got to thinking that the quality of the sub and/or the room response may be the reason for the variation. For example, when I had a cheap 8" sub I could NEVER calibrate it with any test tones as the darned thing simply could not reproduce the frequency of the test very well so the meter never moved.

    Also, could one test tone excite room nodes more than another test tone? If so, this too would lead to variations.

    I'm thinking that we should always use our ears to make final adjustments to our subs.
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Jul 8, 1998
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    The room, and where the sub and measuring device are located within that room make a HUGE contribution to the process of sub calibration.

    In room low frequency response is normally no where near flat, such that a given room will have peaks and valleys at given frequencies.

    And yes, the test tones will vary from source to source (discs vs. internal tones) such that you will not normally get the same results from test to test.

    You can start out with test tones, but you almost always will make final adjustments by ear. And, if you find that you are not satisfied with the quality of the bass, you will need to start moving the sub and/or your chair around. And failing that, EQ of the sub channel will almost always yield superior results, if done correctly.


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