Calibration Disc

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  • 07-29-2004, 05:29 PM
    saul
    Calibration Disc
    What is a good setup disc to optimize my system for better audio quality and where do you recommend purchasing it? Thanks
  • 07-29-2004, 07:04 PM
    Woochifer
    If you've never used one before and you're fairly new to home theater, I would recommend the Sound & Vision Home Theater Setup DVD. Good set of basic tests that will vastly improve the overall performance of your system, plus easy to follow tutorials. You can buy it for $15 at Borders.

    If you want something more advanced, then Digital Video Essentials is probably the way to go. It usually sells for about $25 and it contains a more advanced set of video and audio tests, but the tutorials are not as easy to follow and the navigating menus just flat out suck.

    Avia has been another widely recommended disc, but it's a bit more outdated than the others, plus it lacks DTS, EX, and 6.1 audio tests. Plus, if you can find it, it typically sells for around $40.

    And it's best that you use the calibration disc with a SPL meter. The Radio Shack analog SPL meter sells for $40, and it's one of the best purchases you can make.
  • 07-30-2004, 05:33 AM
    kexodusc
    Saul: Wooch beat me to it...what he says is gospel truth. Especially the SPL meter. Nobody should buy a home theater without one. I have a receiver that comes with a built in calibrating tool, and I still find the disc and SPL meter handy.
  • 07-30-2004, 05:56 AM
    saul
    Thanks Kexo and Wooch! This definitely helps.
  • 07-30-2004, 09:43 AM
    Woochifer
    And I forgot to add that you should definitely use a calibration disc, and not the internal tone generator that comes with most receivers; and DEFINITELY DON'T use the THX Optimizer that comes with a lot of THX approved DVDs.

    The internal tone generators on most receivers emit a wideband test tone that goes into the bass region. Because of how room acoustics more heavily (and unpredictably) influence the low frequencies, a wideband test tone can give you erroneous readings. The test tones that come with those calibration discs are narrow band tones that focus on the midrange where most of the sound information is typically located. And they use a separate calibrated test tone for the LFE/subwoofer output.

    The THX Optimizer tests are convenient, but woefully flawed in their conception. First off, the THX Optimizer tests are supposedly specific to each DVD title, which means that they are not consistent. For example, the audio tests on the Close Encounters DVD give you different settings than the T2 DVD does. After calibrating my system to the THX Optimizer test, the settings audibly shifted the soundfield to one side and distorted the imaging. I went back to the settings from the S&V tests, and it sounded fine again.