Too much bass?!? (does anyone really listen at 'reference volumne'?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-05-2011, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
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So I just watched Master & Commander for the first time, Blu Ray, after reading about the epic bass scenes. After setting up the speaker levels and sub level with an SPL meter (finally).

I did use the SPL Meter app for iPhone (since I can never get around to buying the RS meter) but it's supposed to be "more accurate than the Radio Shack meter".

Anyway. First went through the receiver's test tones and set to 75db. Then popped in Avia DVD and went through it's audio setup. The Avia (played through Blu Ray player) was slightly louder but the levels were still equal. In both the Avia and the receiver test tones, the subwoofer signal came in at about 59-60db when the other channels were measuring 75-76db.

Now this was with the receiver sub level at 0db and the sub amp gain at about 1/3. I had been listening to the sub at this level for both music and movies till now, I couldn't imagine it being that much louder. I cranked the gain on the sub amp and still only got it to the low 70's with the test signals.

I put it back to around 60db and figured I was doing something wrong, because at that gain the sub kicks yer ass.


*side note* while doing the low freq sweep in Avia I learned my room has terribly UNflat bass. Big boomy bass at certain freq and some nulls as well. That'll be for another day, or another house.


Watched the movie, turned down the master volume -5db (from where I set it at 75db) and it was LOUD. The cannon scenes kicked my ass! I mean, couch shaking, windows buzzing, kick you in the chest, bass. It was awesome.

Question is: is the sub level on the test signal seriously supposed to be @ 75db as well? I can't imagine it being anywhere near that loud. I use the sub as a side table and it was literally shaking the remote off the top of it.

Bonus question: does anyone actually watch movies at 'reference level' at home? 85db? Seriously? I like my music/movies loud and I like my bass but I dunno......

Cliffs:

Finally set speaker levels w/ SPL meter.
Bass was way low, but still loud.
Watched movie, bass blew my brains out, reference level for real?

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 01:07 AM
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The SPL meter app for iphone is very inaccurate. Try resetting your levels with a proper spl meter (such as the RS) or use auto calibration to properly set your levels. Many people here find the sub to be underwhelming at 75db and will run the sub a few db's higher or "hot"
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 05:13 AM
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Definitely. Don't use the iphone SPL meter for subwoofers. The Sound Send Frequency Response chart on this page shows that the mic is obviously not designed to work for midbass and bass level response. It's likely extremely inaccurate, if it's producing any reading of actual sound at all in a subwoofer's output range.

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post #4 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 05:57 AM
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After running Audyssey (and re-setting all my speakers to "small"), I boost the sub level by 3dB.

And while I tend to demo stuff at louder volumes (-12dB to -8dB), I actually watch most movies at -18dB to -16dB.

It works for me. YMMV.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesando View Post

The SPL meter app for iphone is very inaccurate. Try resetting your levels with a proper spl meter (such as the RS) or use auto calibration to properly set your levels. Many people here find the sub to be underwhelming at 75db and will run the sub a few db's higher or "hot"

Yep. The iPhone SPL app is just novelty app. It is not worth using. Get the radioshack Spl meter as it's the cheapest Spl meter I would ever suggest or recommend
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 07:41 AM
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I agree you need a better SPL measuring device. The RS meters are approx $50 and a good investment if you are even semi serious about this hobby.

As for reference level, it can be loud during dynamic peaks in movies like Master and Commander, but if you have the right room and gear, it can be really fun and totally enveloping (like a big projection screen). Depending upon your room size and the reflectivity of the walls/ceiling/floor, playing a system at reference can be painful. In the right size room (ie smallish, fully enclosed) with some room treatments (sound absorption) your speakers and AVR should be able to reproduce close to reference levels and still sound clean (no distortion). Even though your speakers are capable and efficient and your receiver may powerful enough to play material at reference level, in a large untreated space you are pushing the envelop. The ability to produce undistored sound at reference level in the home is neither easy nor inexpensive (even if you DIY ).

Since you are a home boy, why don't you shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to give you a demo of that same Master and Commander scene at reference level in my purpose built dedicated HT. That would give you a good point of reference (pun intended) and we'll see how you feel about reference level play after the demo.

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-06-2011, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMK! View Post

Since you are a home boy, why don't you shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to give you a demo of that same Master and Commander scene at reference level in my purpose built dedicated HT. That would give you a good point of reference (pun intended) and we'll see how you feel about reference level play after the demo.

Very nice offer, and one anyone should be interested in. Additional context for which to form a target curve for one's HT experience,...


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