Theoretical question re: Calibration and relative Ch levels

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve_Ma, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Question:
    If someone calibrates their HT setup properly with an SPL meter and test tones/AVIA or VE, why is it that many people seem to continue to have difficulty with channel levels RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER?
    Is it me or do we tend to read about this a good deal with center channels and subs? It would seem that assuming there was no errors in the process, the listener would be hearing what the sound engineer intended, correct? If not, what accounts for this?
    --Steve:[​IMG]
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well first of all, a sound booth has different acoustics than your normal living room so you have real-world reflections in your home that dont exist on the dubbing stage.
    (Sound studios also dont put the center speaker on top of a boxy, vibration prone RPTV [​IMG] )
    You also have the problem of having different sounds on the center speaker vs the L/R, and every second of each has a different volume. This leads to the question: how do you get the dialog on the center to be the same volume as the music/effects on the L/R?
    This is not a simple question. Do you:
    - take an average of all the sound and make them match?
    - try and match the first few intersecting seconds?
    - trust the sound-engineer to blend it? (I believe the last is what is typically done.)
    I believe this "human-variation" is why some DVD's have the center dialog a little too-soft. I've rarely heard of a center track being too-loud.
    Anyone else have a theory?
     
  3. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Thanks Bob. Interesting thoughts. I hadn't considered the fact that most living room/HT setups are so unique that they would be impossible for the engineer to compensate for during recording. DOH!!! Maybe the center also seems so vulnerable because so much more of the sound actually comes from the center as opposed to the other channels? I think I'll experiment with the phantom mode next time I watch a movie, just for kicks.

    --Steve
     

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