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post #31 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Klay View Post
First as a Dolby pro audio dealer for 45 years, I have had the pleasure of learning from the best (including Ray Dolby himself). It is NOT up to personal preference but instead, it is up to a calibrated playback system according to standards developed since before you were born. Second, let's liken this to a blank canvas. There is a reason artists canvas' are white. If they were yellow, the final product would be off. Third, color bars help us set the visual side so that the program material looks its best. Test tones do the same for the audio playback. I will be the first to admit (as I have mixed TV shows, concerts, movies, and records) that *that* product *is* up to personal preferences but I expect it to sound best when played back on a known good system. You will do yourself a favor to buy a sound level meter (there are good ones for iPhone, not so sure about the Android platform) and use the receivers built in test tones for a level check. Most if not all newer systems self-calibrate (although they do the subs incorrectly--see <http://soundoctor.com/testcd/index.htm>) for a few lessons. With your level meter, one typically calibrates to 85dB.

A few BTWs: if you set a particular channel at +7, realize you are adding 7dB to that gain structure. You are also reducing the headroom of that (or those) channels by the same 7dB. With todays digital sources you may not have 7dB to give up. Note that once calibrated, you may soon realize that some mixes suck. That is not on you--thats on the idiot that mixed it. Finally, use <http://soundoctor.com/surround.htm> as a guide. I have no financial interest in that site, but I have known Barry for 45 years. He is one smart SOB. We attended many Dolby training sessions together. He knows his...business.
So, I should set the speakers as close to 0, if at all possible ? I'll try that. I agree that some mixes suck. DTS is such a mix. I have yet in my entire life to come across a DTS or DTS HD master audio track where the thing was mixed properly. The dialogue is ALWAYS way too soft compared to the effects and often times music. RARELY have a problem with any of the kinds of Dolby tracks. That's what I loved about dvd. If you didn't want a DTS track, you could almost find a movie without it. But now, DTS seems to be standard. WAY too much dynamic range.

I tried using an SPL application on my old iPhone 3, but it only goes up to 100. Even with all my fans and ac off, the meter is still at about 40 db. If you have to test by 75 or 85 db, the application I tried doesn't give me enough range to adjust the levels. Or can I just use the lower number and callibrate the speakers using that ?
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post #32 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 01:51 PM
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Whatever works best in your home or bedroom. (mic drop).
Have fun.

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post #33 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Spottedfeather View Post
So, I should set the speakers as close to 0, if at all possible ? I'll try that. I agree that some mixes suck. DTS is such a mix. I have yet in my entire life to come across a DTS or DTS HD master audio track where the thing was mixed properly. The dialogue is ALWAYS way too soft compared to the effects and often times music. RARELY have a problem with any of the kinds of Dolby tracks. That's what I loved about dvd. If you didn't want a DTS track, you could almost find a movie without it. But now, DTS seems to be standard. WAY too much dynamic range. I tried using an SPL application on my old iPhone 3, but it only goes up to 100. Even with all my fans and ac off, the meter is still at about 40 db. If you have to test by 75 or 85 db, the application I tried doesn't give me enough range to adjust the levels. Or can I just use the lower number and callibrate the speakers using that ?
The "0" on a sound level meter is referenced to what you set it to be; if you set the level meter reference to 65dB, then "0" is 65dB. -10 on that same meter would be 65-10=55dB. 65+5 would be 70dB. To avoid confusion, see the graphic. One can switch between "0" and actual SPL reading. Obviously the latter is easier to start out with. Playing the reference tone, use the meter facing the speakers at your *typical* listening location. And leave it there. If you move it around the room, everything will change. Play the reference tone to one speaker (they usually start at FL) and turn the receiver up so your meter reads 85dB. Or 75dB. It is more important that all speakers reproduce that tone at the same level, than the level itself. Naturally it has to be well above the noise floor. Regarding the center channel issue you write about. If your system calibrates OK, the lack (or apparent lack) of dialog could be the original mix, your speaker horn/tweeter is blown up, something is blocking the sound or you are not on-axis with it (see previous posts on speaker positioning), or a decoding error. If DTS does suck as much as you say it does on your particular system, use Dolby ProLogic and enjoy.
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post #34 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Spottedfeather View Post
So, I should set the speakers as close to 0, if at all possible ? I'll try that. I agree that some mixes suck. DTS is such a mix. I have yet in my entire life to come across a DTS or DTS HD master audio track where the thing was mixed properly. The dialogue is ALWAYS way too soft compared to the effects and often times music. RARELY have a problem with any of the kinds of Dolby tracks. That's what I loved about dvd. If you didn't want a DTS track, you could almost find a movie without it. But now, DTS seems to be standard. WAY too much dynamic range.

I tried using an SPL application on my old iPhone 3, but it only goes up to 100. Even with all my fans and ac off, the meter is still at about 40 db. If you have to test by 75 or 85 db, the application I tried doesn't give me enough range to adjust the levels. Or can I just use the lower number and callibrate the speakers using that ?
Ummm...you set the speaker levels to produce 75dB at the MLP....I thought my first post was clear enough on that. That SPL app will work just fine.

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Do you have a smartphone? If so, just download an SPL meter app. Then, using your system's internal test tones (as m. zillch mentioned) and set the trim for all speakers so that each speaker produces approximately 75dB at your main listening position (MLP).
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post #35 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 02:14 PM
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Good post Klay!

You really should post more than once a year.
OK. I'll try!

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post #36 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Klay View Post
The "0" on a sound level meter is referenced to what you set it to be; if you set the level meter reference to 65dB, then "0" is 65dB. -10 on that same meter would be 65-10=55dB. 65+5 would be 70dB. To avoid confusion, see the graphic. One can switch between "0" and actual SPL reading. Obviously the latter is easier to start out with. Playing the reference tone, use the meter facing the speakers at your *typical* listening location. And leave it there. If you move it around the room, everything will change. Play the reference tone to one speaker (they usually start at FL) and turn the receiver up so your meter reads 85dB. Or 75dB. It is more important that all speakers reproduce that tone at the same level, than the level itself. Naturally it has to be well above the noise floor. Regarding the center channel issue you write about. If your system calibrates OK, the lack (or apparent lack) of dialog could be the original mix, your speaker horn/tweeter is blown up, something is blocking the sound or you are not on-axis with it (see previous posts on speaker positioning), or a decoding error. If DTS does suck as much as you say it does on your particular system, use Dolby ProLogic and enjoy.
Can't use Dolby Pro Logic if DTS is the only audio track available. I CAN'T turn the meter reads 85db. Even with my fans and ac off, the room still reads about 40db. That doesn't leave me enough room to get up to 85.
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post #37 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Ummm...you set the speaker levels to produce 75dB at the MLP....I thought my first post was clear enough on that. That SPL app will work just fine.
I know. I understand completely. But I can't tell if they're 75db or not. As I said, Even with all my fans and ac off, the meter is still at about 40 db. If you have to test by 75 or 85 db, the application I tried doesn't give me enough range to adjust the levels. Or can I just use the lower number and callibrate the speakers using that ?
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post #38 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 03:00 PM
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I know. I understand completely. But I can't tell if they're 75db or not. As I said, Even with all my fans and ac off, the meter is still at about 40 db. If you have to test by 75 or 85 db, the application I tried doesn't give me enough range to adjust the levels. Or can I just use the lower number and callibrate the speakers using that ?
You don't want your speakers to be outputting 75dB above the noise floor (40dB+75dB=115dB).

The test tones in your AVR are output at -30dBFS. This means they are 30dB below "Reference". "Reference" is 105dB.

Play the internal test tones from your AVR, one speaker at a time, and adjust the speaker trims until your SPL app reads "75dB". That's it.

BTW, the noise floor in my room is about 45-50dB. You have what would be considered a fairly quiet room.
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post #39 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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You don't want your speakers to be outputting 75dB above the noise floor (40dB+75dB=115dB).

The test tones in your AVR are output at -30dBFS. This means they are 30dB below "Reference". "Reference" is 105dB.

Play the internal test tones from your AVR, one speaker at a time, and adjust the speaker trims until your SPL app reads "75dB". That's it.

BTW, the noise floor in my room is about 45-50dB. You have what would be considered a fairly quiet room.
ah. Cool. Should I have the speaker level at 0db, as suggested, and then tweak it ?
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post #40 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 03:58 PM
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Sure, you can start at 0dB, but the starting point makes no difference whatsoever.

I should mention this though; some AVRs allow you to adjust the master volume (MV) while the test tone is playing, some don't. If yours does allow it, make sure the MV is at "0" (assuming you have your MV set for "Relative" scale).
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post #41 of 41 Old 08-09-2016, 08:35 PM
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There's an old iPhone that is several years old. I'll have to dig it up and see if an spl will work on it. Cat is sleeping on it at the moment, and i don't have the heart to move her.....
Not only do alot of people have to worry about WAF, now we have CAF!

Is there no end?
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