AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Burpelson Air Force Base
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I personally would not bother with an SPL meter. I have one, and used to use it (before I had a receiver with an automatic setup; it was useful and good then). The things that automatic setups tend to get right are the things for which meters are needed, and the things the automatic setups tend to get wrong are the things that are easy to set without a meter. You can easily set the speakers to small and set the crossover point yourself based on the frequency response of the non-subwoofer speakers; no meter is necessary for that. Automatic setups typically get levels and delays (AKA distances) right, assuming one has set the microphone in accordance with the directions in the manual (and assuming you don't have extreme problems with incorrect speaker placement or acoustics). And if you set your microphone wrong, a manual setup with an SPL meter will be wrong, too. The microphone has to be in the right place, correctly oriented, for either automatic or manual setup, or the results will be off.
Now, if you want to get fancy with playing with the EQ of the system yourself, then a microphone and a laptop with the appropriate software would likely be what you would want. But we are not then talking about just an SPL meter.
God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.