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What Do People Mean When They Say "Calibrate"?? (1 Viewer)

Ryan Stone

Apr 8, 2002
I have heard people talking about calibrating their home theater system. What does this mean and do??? How does one go aobut calibrating their HT???

Michael Reuben

Senior HTF Member
Feb 12, 1998
Real Name
Michael Reuben
The following is from A Primer for Home Theater Newcomers, which can be found at the top of the Home Theater Basics forum. (Or you can just click on the name in the preceding sentence. :))
Make Video Essentials or Avia and a Radio Shack sound pressure level (SPL) meter a mandatory purchase when you set up a home theater. It's more than just plugging in a bunch of boxes. The goal is to faithfully recreate to the extent possible the theatrical experience. That means setting audio and video levels relative to recognized standards. It only takes a short time to make these basic adjustments but makes all the difference in the world.
For video, colors will be more natural and vivid and the overall image will offer more punch and snap. You will see greater amounts of detail and richer, deeper levels of black. Images will no longer have that blown out, desaturated look like you see on the showroom floor.
For audio you will realize a better balance between each channel. Dialogue won't be obtrusive or lost in the mix. Surround effects will serve to enhance the presentation rather than distract from it. Low frequency effects will not overpower the rest of the soundtrack.
For a fraction of the money you spent on your hardware (and probably software) you can invest in tools that will make movies look and sound closer to the way they were originally intended. And these tools will be appropriate as your home theater evolves.

Stefan A

Second Unit
May 27, 2001
There are a couple calibrations that are done. For audio, you can use a test tone and a decible meter to make sure the speakers are all at the same volume. Also, proper speaker placement could be a part of the audio calibration.

For the TV, there are calibrations to make the picture look more natural and more like what the director wanted. Discs like Avia or Video Essentials will help you to properly adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, color, and tint. Past that, you need to call in a specialist (ISF certified calibrator) to properly adjust gray scale, geometry, convergance, focus, ect... Some of that can be done on your own if you have the knowlege - except the gray scale which requires speialized equipment.

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