View Poll Results: Is your System Calibrated with an SPL Meter?

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  • Non Calibrated System

    6 18.18%
  • SPL Calibrated System with AVIA or other disc

    14 42.42%
  • SPL Calibrated System via test tone

    12 36.36%
  • Would You Recommend Calibration

    16 48.48%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #1
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    Who Has an SPL Calibrated System?

    I'd like to take a poll of who has an SPL calibrated system. If you do, would it be something that you would recommend to other home theatre enthusiasts?

    I have calibrated my system with the AVIA disc and an SPL meter. I would recommend for anybody who is serious about HT to do the same.

  2. #2
    Indifferentist Slosh's Avatar
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    of course

    I don't get some people. I mean, they spend literally thousands of dollars on their gear (not to mention all of the money on discs) and don't calibrate it??? Stupid. Not calibrating your video display is equally as dumb.

    I even calibrated my stereo-only system in my home office to offset room acoustics (even a channel imbalance difference of one or two dBs makes a difference I can appreciate). Why not get all of your money's worth out of your system? Make adjustments for preference after calibration if you feel it necessary.

  3. #3
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    Agree

    I feel properly calibrating my system with the trusty old radio shack SPL meter and the AVIA DVD has increased my listening and moving watching experience. Plus its down right fun to mess around with this stuff. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something. I haven't taken a survey on how many use this useful tool but I bet its only about the top 10% of people on earth. I highly recommend it to all.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular depressed's Avatar
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    This is a good topic.I just recently bought my home theater system, and honestly, I didn't even know about the difference proper calibration can make. I visited a couple of audio sites, talked to salesmen in the high-end stores and realized that it can make a difference. Unfortunately, my wallet can't please my ears, so I bought a "cheap" HTIB. Now I have two questions:
    1. Would buying the SPL meter and calibration make sense for a cheap HTIB? 2.Is the YPAO from Yamaha the same thing?

    Thanks!
    Thanks to 6.1, I now have more tolerance for people breathing down my neck...

  5. #5
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    I'm with bruther Slosh. Anyone who spends the time reading these boards and who considers this a hobby is spinning wheels without a simple meter and test disc.


    On a slightly different matter-the poll is flawed. If you can only vote once (right?) you can't poll that your system is calibrated AND recomend it as essential. This will lead to skewed results.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  6. #6
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    depressed - yes definitely calibrate your HTIB with an SPL meter

    YPAO does this and more. In addition to setting the level and delay for each speaker, it equalizes each speaker; i.e. flattens the curve. This may or may not be to your likeing. Since it changes the the relative volumes for different frequencies, it may change the way your speakers sound. I saw a review recently where the writer complained the highs were too "forward" after using YPAO.

    I haven't heard a system with YPAO, but it sounds like a great idea.

  7. #7
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    You can vote for more than one choice on the poll.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular depressed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikefish
    depressed - yes definitely calibrate your HTIB with an SPL meter

    YPAO does this and more. In addition to setting the level and delay for each speaker, it equalizes each speaker; i.e. flattens the curve. This may or may not be to your likeing. Since it changes the the relative volumes for different frequencies, it may change the way your speakers sound. I saw a review recently where the writer complained the highs were too "forward" after using YPAO.

    I haven't heard a system with YPAO, but it sounds like a great idea.
    Thanks! I had my doubts about calibrating my "cheap" HTIB. After re-reviewing my speaker's and receviers specs and comparing it to others, I found out that my system is pretty good, especially the receiver (HTR-5640) I found a detailed calibration guide on the net. Trying to save some money so I would appreciate if you could tell me if this would be sufficient: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW
    Thanks to 6.1, I now have more tolerance for people breathing down my neck...

  9. #9
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    don't know about that particular one

    I got the analoge radio shack spl meter for like 30 or 35 buck.

  10. #10
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by agtpunx40
    I got the analoge radio shack spl meter for like 30 or 35 buck.

    Only a FREAKIN IDIOT LOSER would not calibrate his system!


    JSE

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Only a FREAKIN IDIOT LOSER would not calibrate his system!


    JSE
    Well JSE, I must be a FREAKIN IDIOT LOSER. I did not want to get into this since I think it is up to the individual to choose his or her method of calibration. I did calibrate with what I consider the PAIN IN THE ASS RS analogue meter and I did not like the results against my own method of calibration. The question I place here is WHAT IS A TRUE BALANCED SYSTEM.

    I noted over the years of reading reports on the testing of stereo receivers, int. amps. and separates that there was almost always a slight difference in output between two channels tested mainly because even though the parts used to make each channel were identicical in label, certain parts can vary in their measurements. In those test reports, I might see one channel measured at 100.4 watts and another at 100.8 watts. At that point of testing the volume control offers 0 resistance(the volume control is fully clockwise). But volume controls have a habit of not containing a consistant differential as resistance is added meaning turning the volume down. So for example, at 75% down on the volume, your watts could possibly read 25.1 and 25.2. Sounds like it should be balanced. Nope! It would only be balanced if the channels kept a .4 difference in watts through the entire spectrum of lowering the volume control. You would need a test tone and vtvm meter to make sure that occurred. You would also need the elmination of the balance control. In its place should either be concentric twin volume controls that are round which use to be found on units from Lafayette Electronics years ago or slider volume controls for each channel that used to be found on older Radio Shack equipment. It would be better still to have a circuit that would tell you when your electrical balance was maintained. Go into any high end store and where they have separates with a power amp with a meter display and volume controls on the channels, I think you would find that the only time the power amp delivered proper sound was only when the volume controls were fully clockwise(opened). Deviate from that and you find on different settings that you think are balanced that the sound from the power amp becomes raunchy. When I calibrate my receiver, I do something "close" to what I have described here. It is my feeling at that point that the unit begins to sound more like something one hears in a theater. KELSCI

  12. #12
    DIY Dude poneal's Avatar
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    Kelsci

    I agree that JSE's comment was not well thought out, but you seem to agree on the basic premise that calibrating a system is important. I know musicians that calibrate by ear, I know professional installers that use a multitude of testing equipment to calibrate their systems, I know people that don't even bother calibrating their system, but I think we all agree that calibrating a system can improve the sound quality of a system.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by poneal
    I agree that JSE's comment was not well thought out, but you seem to agree on the basic premise that calibrating a system is important. I know musicians that calibrate by ear, I know professional installers that use a multitude of testing equipment to calibrate their systems, I know people that don't even bother calibrating their system, but I think we all agree that calibrating a system can improve the sound quality of a system.
    Poneal; absolutely it is necessary to perform some kind of calibration of ones system. I happen to have my own calibration method which really is done by ear. This allows me to use my receiver at other points certain on the volume control setting. I have seem to find that at least in two instances. I will write about the Sherwood which has D.D. 5.1. The Sherwood maxes out on the settings I determined at 76 out of 80. I can still maintain the same surround field at 68, 60 and 52. Note there is a difference of 8. When I had tried the RS meter at the 75 db set-up, if I went down from any setting deviating from 75 db, I could not maintain a balanced soundfield at any other number. When I set up my system, I leave the left-right mains at 0. I leave the surrounds disconnected and begin to increase and/or decrease the center channel until I feel that an excellent three channel image has been attained and that the dialogue sounds clear. Then I adjust the surround speakers from those settings to a setting that satisfies my interpretation of a surround field.I then adjust the master volume up and down to a setting I feel maintains the whole surround-stereo field. AT this time, I do not know just how good the YPAO and MCACC systems are and as such I cannot comment on them. They may be great and they may be "fools gold" too. I would really like to calibrate the left and right speakers(sm or lg) to the correct voltage difference I described in my previous post. I feel however, that I am fairly close in doing this with my calibration method. That in turn makes the sound more movie "theaterish" in my home theater system IMHO. I also always do one other thing. During the calibration phase of the center and surrounds, I always go from minus to plus on the individual volume adjustments. Not doing so IMHO will give you a phase anomaly. I have an idea why this occurs but that is another story maybe for another time. So I am a home theather "radical". what can I say..... KELSCI

  14. #14
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    Well JSE, I must be a FREAKIN IDIOT LOSER. I did not want to get into this since I think it is up to the individual to choose his or her method of calibration. I did calibrate with what I consider the PAIN IN THE ASS RS analogue meter and I did not like the results against my own method of calibration. The question I place here is WHAT IS A TRUE BALANCED SYSTEM.

    I noted over the years of reading reports on the testing of stereo receivers, int. amps. and separates that there was almost always a slight difference in output between two channels tested mainly because even though the parts used to make each channel were identicical in label, certain parts can vary in their measurements. In those test reports, I might see one channel measured at 100.4 watts and another at 100.8 watts. At that point of testing the volume control offers 0 resistance(the volume control is fully clockwise). But volume controls have a habit of not containing a consistant differential as resistance is added meaning turning the volume down. So for example, at 75% down on the volume, your watts could possibly read 25.1 and 25.2. Sounds like it should be balanced. Nope! It would only be balanced if the channels kept a .4 difference in watts through the entire spectrum of lowering the volume control. You would need a test tone and vtvm meter to make sure that occurred. You would also need the elmination of the balance control. In its place should either be concentric twin volume controls that are round which use to be found on units from Lafayette Electronics years ago or slider volume controls for each channel that used to be found on older Radio Shack equipment. It would be better still to have a circuit that would tell you when your electrical balance was maintained. Go into any high end store and where they have separates with a power amp with a meter display and volume controls on the channels, I think you would find that the only time the power amp delivered proper sound was only when the volume controls were fully clockwise(opened). Deviate from that and you find on different settings that you think are balanced that the sound from the power amp becomes raunchy. When I calibrate my receiver, I do something "close" to what I have described here. It is my feeling at that point that the unit begins to sound more like something one hears in a theater. KELSCI
    Hey Kelsci,

    I was being a little sarcastic. I don't really think that. I was just giving a little jab to some folks. Definitely not you. Truth be told, as long as someone's happy with their system, that's all that counts.

    Have a great one!

    JSE

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Hey Kelsci,

    I was being a little sarcastic. I don't really think that. I was just giving a little jab to some folks. Definitely not you. Truth be told, as long as someone's happy with their system, that's all that counts.

    Have a great one!

    JSE
    JSE; Eh... What's a little sarcasm once in a while. I am satisfied with my methods of calibration. I wish I had volume controls that were concentric or sliders as mentioned in my post. I will not ever give bulldinky to my fellow compatriots on this board. Things that I have run across have come from experimentation that I have performed over many years.
    JSE; have a great one too. Kelsci.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Did you notice something about the poll numbers?

    At this time there have been 199 views of this post and 34 votes placed. Two of these are mine because I checked yes I calibrated and yes I would recommend calibration. If it is that much of an undertaking just to click a vote is it any wonder many people will not go through the effort to get a meter and disc so they can calibrate their system?

    I do realize some people just don't participate in polls and that some do not have the opportunity to vote do to the fact they may not be a member, and I do realize there are other reasons also, but I still think this might give a small hint as to why some folks haven't taken the time to calibrate their systems and find out if it makes a difference for themselves.
    I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days. I just refuse to have bad ones!!!, Jeff

  17. #17
    3db
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    Does the THX optimizer count when calibrating one's system

    I have a RS SPL meter (digital) but I do not have the Avia test dvd . I have been using the THX optimizer on DVDs such as Finding Nemo etc.. to calibrate my system. Does this still count as being calibrated?

  18. #18
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    JSE; Eh... What's a little sarcasm once in a while. I am satisfied with my methods of calibration. I wish I had volume controls that were concentric or sliders as mentioned in my post. I will not ever give bulldinky to my fellow compatriots on this board. Things that I have run across have come from experimentation that I have performed over many years.
    JSE; have a great one too. Kelsci.

    Hey Kelsci,

    You mentioned the YPAO. I previously calibrated my older system with an SPL meter and I think I did a pretty good job. About 5 months ago I bought the Yamaha RX-V1400 with the YPAO. I have since calibrated my system with both methods and I really cannot tell the difference. Granted it's impossible for me to do DBT on this but both methods seem to have produced similiar results. With YPAO, I made a couple of very minor tweaks to the auto settings and the system sounds awesome. The YPAO kept setting my mains to large and I liked the small setting better. In fairness, my mains are large Boston VR965s. However, they have builts in subs which are run seperately through the LFE which basically would leave a "small" speaker to be used as mains. Hope that makes sense? This seems to have tricked the YPAO a bit. The sound is good with the mains set at large, but the small setting is just better. One nice thing about YPAO is that it took about 15 minutes start to finish to calibrate my system. Not bad? I have been tempted to sell my SPL meter but I will likely keep it for possible future use. You never know.

    Anyway, just thought I would relay my experiences with YPAO.


    JSE

  19. #19
    Forum Regular wasch_24's Avatar
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    I don't own an SPL meter but I do own the Yamaha RX-V1400 and have run the YPAO function. If that counts for calibration then let me know, I wasn't sure so I haven't voted yet. BTW my sytem was very dissapointing before running the YPAO.

    JSE, As you know I too have the VR-965's connected to the 1400. Off the top of your head, can you remeber what position you have the knob in for the powered woofers? I have mine at about the Nine-o'clock position, which I guess is about 1/4 of the way up. The reason is that the YPAO on the 1400 kept saying the sub level was too loud and it says the sub is about four or five feet further from the mains, which is obviusly impossible since they are in the same cabinet. It sounds good, I just want to see if you are getting similar results.

  20. #20
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    I to have the YPAO feature on my RX-V750. It does make a big difference than when I took it out of the box. I changed rear surround speakers over the weekend & ran the YPAO several times, with slightly different mic placments & what the mic was setting on. It makes a difference if the mic is on something hard, (table) vs something soft (couch cushion). It altered my sub setting the most. Not only is it the level but there is more to it than I can describe. At the same db & volume level, the speaker or sub can be louder or softer. I'm going to keep playing with it until I can understand it better. I am really happy with this purchase. It has a great sound for HT which I use the most.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular filecat13's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by 3db
    I have a RS SPL meter (digital) but I do not have the Avia test dvd . I have been using the THX optimizer on DVDs such as Finding Nemo etc.. to calibrate my system. Does this still count as being calibrated?
    Good question, and here's a partial answer, based on my 7.1 set up.

    I have both the RS analog SPL meter and a dual display, RT digital spectrum comparator/analyzer. Initially, I used the test tones from my Fosgate Audionics FAP T1 and the RS meter to calibrate the system, and things improved significantly.

    When I got the DVE (Digital Video Essentials) disc, I used both the SPL meter and the comparator/analyzer to redial the system. I changed a couple of settings by +1db.

    When I noticed the THX calibration on Nemo, I again pulled out the SPL meter to do a quick check. For this I used THX specs (higher reference db) for calibration, and I changed the one setting by -1db.

    I also checked the video signal and made some moderate changes from DVE, and the picutre looked better IMO.

    So, yes, I think you can use the THX optimizer set up to do a useful calibration.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Hey Kelsci,

    You mentioned the YPAO. I previously calibrated my older system with an SPL meter and I think I did a pretty good job. About 5 months ago I bought the Yamaha RX-V1400 with the YPAO. I have since calibrated my system with both methods and I really cannot tell the difference. Granted it's impossible for me to do DBT on this but both methods seem to have produced similiar results. With YPAO, I made a couple of very minor tweaks to the auto settings and the system sounds awesome. The YPAO kept setting my mains to large and I liked the small setting better. In fairness, my mains are large Boston VR965s. However, they have builts in subs which are run seperately through the LFE which basically would leave a "small" speaker to be used as mains. Hope that makes sense? This seems to have tricked the YPAO a bit. The sound is good with the mains set at large, but the small setting is just better. One nice thing about YPAO is that it took about 15 minutes start to finish to calibrate my system. Not bad? I have been tempted to sell my SPL meter but I will likely keep it for possible future use. You never know.

    Anyway, just thought I would relay my experiences with YPAO.


    JSE
    JSE; Thank you for relaying your experience with the YPAO. It is very possible that YPAO is capable of detecting my findings on my own experiments and compensating for this voltage variance in its programming. Perhaps that is one of the reasons it is working so well for many. I would be a fool to say that programs such as YPAO, MCACC or any other similar type of set-up program of good quality should not be part of a receiver's make-up. I think eventurally, all units made will include some form of YPAO or the like. It is damm sure much more convenient to use than the RS meter. In fact, it is most likely a chip with a very explicit set of instructions and therefore it in itself is a computer. I expect these new programs to even improve over time. Kelsci.

  23. #23
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    Anyone who knows anything about HT will have the audio and video portion of their system calibrated.

  24. #24
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    JSE; Thank you for relaying your experience with the YPAO. It is very possible that YPAO is capable of detecting my findings on my own experiments and compensating for this voltage variance in its programming. Perhaps that is one of the reasons it is working so well for many. I would be a fool to say that programs such as YPAO, MCACC or any other similar type of set-up program of good quality should not be part of a receiver's make-up. I think eventurally, all units made will include some form of YPAO or the like. It is damm sure much more convenient to use than the RS meter. In fact, it is most likely a chip with a very explicit set of instructions and therefore it in itself is a computer. I expect these new programs to even improve over time. Kelsci.
    I bet it does get better as the technology matures in terms of auto calibration. To me, any receiver coming out over $500 to $600 , should have some sort of auto calibration. Even in it's current form, it provides better sound for anyone who uses it. I can't think of any downsides for the average consumer.

    Anyway, have a good one.

    JSE

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by wasch_24
    I don't own an SPL meter but I do own the Yamaha RX-V1400 and have run the YPAO function. If that counts for calibration then let me know, I wasn't sure so I haven't voted yet. BTW my sytem was very dissapointing before running the YPAO.

    JSE, As you know I too have the VR-965's connected to the 1400. Off the top of your head, can you remeber what position you have the knob in for the powered woofers? I have mine at about the Nine-o'clock position, which I guess is about 1/4 of the way up. The reason is that the YPAO on the 1400 kept saying the sub level was too loud and it says the sub is about four or five feet further from the mains, which is obviusly impossible since they are in the same cabinet. It sounds good, I just want to see if you are getting similar results.

    Yep, I had pretty much the same issue with the subs. The only thing I can think of is that the subs are side and the sound is coming at the mic from two different directions. Maybe this causes the receiver to think they are farther apart than they are?

    Bye the way, I also have my sub control knob at about 9 O'clock. Anything more than that and the bass become way to much. Even a slight turn of the knob drastically changes things.

    Did your YPAO set the mains to large. Mine did but I definitely prefer the small setting. The large setting is not bad, the small setting is just even better.

    JSE

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