Which SPL meter and how to use document? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-04-2007, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I have an old onkyo HT-S760 system for 2 years but never tune it but still enjoys it
Now after reading post in other forums and getting excellent input from lot of forum members i wanted to play with the system for settings and change some components (i already boutht athena speakers based on forum but still want to test both old and new speakers). I can see that SPL is the basic thing that everyone recommends so send me your feedback on which spl meter to use and also link to document for naive users that explain step by step to use it.

Thanks
--rubs
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-04-2007, 02:57 PM
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Radio Shack
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-04-2007, 05:19 PM
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Radio Shack for sure. I like the digital- some like the analog.

Your AVR lets you set the distance from the listening position to each speaker in feet. Get a tape measure and do that if you have not already done so.

Your AVR has a built in test tone that you can use with the SPL meter. Read your manual for instructions on using the tone.

Position the SPL meter at your normal listening position, at ear level, with the silver microphone on the end pointed upward.

Turn it on, set it for C weighting. Select the 70 or 80 dB range.

Play the test tone.

Adjust the volume on the set until the spl meter reads 75dB.

Test each speaker in turn. The idea is to adjust the volume trim on each speaker until every speaker produces a 75dB reading at the listening position.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
-Bertrand Russell
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-04-2007, 05:26 PM
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In the links below there is the company that makes the radioshack spl meters at 45% cheaper for the same unit ,
And the other link is a step by step how to on how to use the meter..


http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=SLM100
http://www.audiophilia.com/hardware/spl.htm
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for suggestions.
I have HT-510 (may be same as 501) receiver and I have setup the distance of all the speakers in the receiver but there is no option to choose "small" size speakers.
In subwoofer there are 3 options to choose subwoofer1, subwoofer2, subwoofer3 and need to know the correct value.
Also when setting up the sub and use this spl meter what should i set the voluume on the back of receiver? (this is onkyo sub so no option to choose crossover on the sub but planning to buy either stf-2 or bic h-100 so then need to know this value also)
Also I set all the speakers at 80hz crossover (default and not sure need to change)
I am planning to buy meter tomorrow and may be will post some more questions.

Thanks
--rubs
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 11:59 AM
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With a htib all the values are set to a default value since their systems are limited to what comes in the box with the purchase you made ,
so the speakers are set to small and I guess sub 1,2,3 is the different crossover points in the system.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekguy View Post

Position the SPL meter at your normal listening position, at ear level, with the silver microphone on the end pointed upward.

Trekguy,

I have a RS digital. The manual states to point the microphone at the sound source. What advantage, if any, is there in pointing it upward?

Doug
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taperwood View Post

Trekguy,

I have a RS digital. The manual states to point the microphone at the sound source. What advantage, if any, is there in pointing it upward?

Doug

Your mic needs to be pointed up in the "Sweet Spot"since the listeners position is sitting up and not laying down ,so the theory is correct.
LL
LL
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taperwood View Post

Trekguy,

I have a RS digital. The manual states to point the microphone at the sound source. What advantage, if any, is there in pointing it upward?

Doug


I'm guessing if trying to measure the SPL of a source like a jet engine you would need to point toward the engine.

With surround sound you are trying to measure multiple sources & everything I have ever read states to point the microphone straight up. This probably eliminates the variable of trying to point the mic accurately at each spkr.

While playing with your meter, why don't you try straight up & then compare to pointing to each spkr and see what, if any, differences you measure.

Mike
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 05:06 PM
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Mic forward or mic up? Here is what I understood is true.

We are most of us, measuring in a room small enough so that room effects are important. No matter what, we get both direct and reflected sound at the listening position. The advice to point the mic upward is try an get an equal measurement in all directions. I also suspect that prevents the user from standing just behind the mic and blocking reflected sound.

Does it make much difference? Maybe not. The microphone is not especially directional as far as I can tell. Sound waves bend around corners fairly well.

I just put it to the test. Sitting on the floor and holding the unit out and higher than my head. Using the built in test tones on my AVR the difference was not more than 1dB at the most. I actually think it was less because I have the digital version and it tends to flip between levels when the change is on the borderline.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-05-2007, 05:27 PM
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Good try, trekguy, and I agree with your arguments.

Can I assume you used pink noise? I wonder what the results would be with a tripod (more stable than hand-held), with MLS or burst source and a more accurate mike. I've always used the straight up mike but I did get different spectral measurements on each channel with the mike aimed at each speaker.

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http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I can order the test cd online (not available in stores), Is there any web site where i can download the sample tones so that i can play this weekend?
Moreover i bought the digital spl from RS today but when i use the test tone on receiver this meter does not show anything but just the "LOW" sign, what can be the possible issue?
Also in the receiver it changes from speaker to speaker quicky, can we configure it so that i can do 1 speaker at a time or this meter is suppose to work on all spekaers at same time?
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Please ignore my last email since was not using the instrument properly. Now I done following to setup.
I bought the digital spl from RS.
I set the distance properly for all the speakers and subwoofer.
I just need to press the tone button, it don't give much option to concentrate on 1 speaker at 1 time.
I set the spl and set it for C weighting, Select the 70 dB range.
Adjust the volume on the set until the spl meter reads 75dB.
Now pressed the test tone on receiver.
"Test each speaker in turn. The idea is to adjust the volume trim on each speaker until every speaker produces a 75dB reading at the listening position."
Now my receiver can let me go from -12db to +12db but except the center and subwoofer which needs to be at +12db for 75db, I am not able to get >71db from any other speaker. What are the next steps to be done?
Also is there any website from where i can download the test tone until the cd comes from online store?

Thanks
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 01:52 PM
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rubs-re your last.

I am not clear exactly which Onkyo HT or receiver you have, and so I am not sure which on-line manual is yours. Perhaps you could look at http://onkyousa.com/download/own_man...m?cat=Receiver and http://onkyousa.com/download/own_man...fm?cat=Systems or some other site you find, and give me the url of the correct manual.

But if you are using the RC-581M remote the "Test" button starts the tone and just next to it, the "Ch SEL" button cycles the tone through each of the speakers.

If that works for you, run through it again, and then if we need to, we can take a look at the amount of trim. Try changing the subwoofer mode button if there is one; with program material this will increase or decrease the amount of bass.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Good try, trekguy, and I agree with your arguments.

Can I assume you used pink noise? I wonder what the results would be with a tripod (more stable than hand-held), with MLS or burst source and a more accurate mike. I've always used the straight up mike but I did get different spectral measurements on each channel with the mike aimed at each speaker.

Thanks Kal.

I was doing my best to think like a tripod! But the slight fluctuation in readings may have been caused by my heart beat. If I get a chance I'll put on DVE and try it again using a tripod.

Sounded like pink noise, but then as I get older it is all begining to sound like pink noise. Maybe I'll blow the dust off an old FM tuner and listen to the inter station hiss. Actually on my unit, the quick sound check is different in balance than the more complex set up. That one uses two tones, one after the other. The second tone is much more bassy. So it may have been one of the other colors.

A change in spectral balance makes sense. No mic is perfectly omni-directional and certainly the amount of reflected sound will vary with frequency.

Alas I no longer have access to anything more sophisticated than a digital multimeter, so I must leave testing the hypothesis to those of you who do.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, now i am able to set all the speakers. I have onkyo ht510 (similar to 501) and now since i don't have test tones i played a music cd and at about volume 42 the spl reads 75db so then i try to listen from all the speakers and settings comes as:
left 0
right +1
center -3
surround right -4
surround left -5
subwoofer -8 (i setup the gain/volume on behind the subwoofer at mid position, not sure about the correct value)

Now problem is we are not going to listen at volume 42 I am not sure that matter since volume will be still be same from all speakers?
Also i am not able to hear much from subwoofer, should i just move the volumne at the back to max?
Is there any test tones that i can download?
On natch website these is test tone generator, is it will be helpful?
Also still i am not sure how spl is better than visual listening

Thanks
--rubs
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 03:35 PM
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rubs-

My first attempt to reply was lost in the load balancing, so hopefully this time will work.

I am still not quite with you. Where you able to generate test tones and use them set the trim? If not a url for the manual will really help. I have the HT-R501 but don't know if that is right.

But assuming that you did or will on to your questions.

The trim levels you set are with in the normal range.

Don't worry about the master volume control position. This exercise is to balance the levels of each channel as heard at the listening position. Once you do that you can set the volume control where every you like when listening to TV or DVDs or CDs.

If the sub is not quite what you like go ahead and raise the level from -8 to - 4, and or to 0 dB. If that's not enough try +3dB. That is really large increase --about double the sound level.

If that did not do it, take a look at the sub 1 2 3 settings (if you have them). Each of them changes the amount of bass sent to the sub. Sub 1 should have more bass than sub 2. Sub 3 will have no bass unless you are listening to material with a Dolby LFE channel.

Search this forum for test tone downloads, or rent Avia or Digital Video Essentials

Keep us advised.

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post #18 of 26 Old 01-06-2007, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Test tone is on the 501 receiver and since we can increase/decrease master volumne that is good to know.
Also this was HTIB-760 system and i just the speakers with athena speakers after some good input on speaker forum to buy this.
Now before buying new sub(still deciding between bic h-100 and hsu stf-2) want to make sure that i understand the limitation of current sub before buying new and moreover when i can going out of my range to buy this expensive subs.
Thanks for all the good feedback and i am somehow manage to understand this spl but still long way to go but i am enjoying it so far.
receiver and sub are from this package:
http://reviews.cnet.com/Onkyo_HT_S76...-30469461.html
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-07-2007, 07:57 AM
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Hey guys,

I am just now setting up my NAD equipment and learning how to do this properly. I just wanted to thank you for the head start. This thread was like reading my future over the next few days/weeks. I appreciate it.

KKobi
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-07-2007, 11:15 AM
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Thanks all,

The measurement of sound is fun and very revealing. Your ears will thank you. I'm glad there's no appreciable difference in pointing at the source or straight up, at least for the RS meter.

For what it's worth, I have always used a tripod, and I've tested speakers every way imaginable. When testing in-room response on stereo speakers, I point the meter between the two from the listening position at ear level.

I have Stereophile's Test CD 3 that works okay in a player, but if you can connect your computer to your system, that is the only way to go. The program I have defaults to 12th octave steps, and you can play sine, square, triangular, sawtooth, impulse, and white and pink noise. I stick with the sine and pink noise as I don't yet understand the significance of the other noises.

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post #21 of 26 Old 01-08-2007, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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"The program I have defaults to 12th octave steps"
It will be great if you can tell us the web site that you used to do this testing.
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-08-2007, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubs View Post

"The program I have defaults to 12th octave steps"
It will be great if you can tell us the web site that you used to do this testing.

It's a PC program called NCH Tone Generator. It's a free download, but they would like some money eventually. There are others, but this one works for me.

Sorry for the delay, this site has been busy. Couldn't get in for two days.

Doug
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-08-2007, 08:55 PM
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I use and like the free REQ Wiz software. You need a PC sound card with line in and an SPL meter like the one from Radio Shack.

Downloads, instructions and advice can be found here http://www.hometheatershack.com/roomeq/ There is some good discussion on this avs thread here

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post #24 of 26 Old 01-09-2007, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I download the tones mentioned on couple of thread on avsforum(tones.zip) and also downloaded the test tone cd from realtraps.com but don't hear any sound from them. I can see the frequency graph while playing but no sound, Do I need to do something more to play these tones?
(I am directly connecting laptop to receiver, even though sounds is also not coming from laptop inbuild speakers
Test tones of the receiver works fine)

Thanks
--rubs
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post #25 of 26 Old 01-10-2007, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubs View Post

I download the tones mentioned on couple of thread on avsforum(tones.zip) and also downloaded the test tone cd from realtraps.com but don't hear any sound from them. I can see the frequency graph while playing but no sound, Do I need to do something more to play these tones?
(I am directly connecting laptop to receiver, even though sounds is also not coming from laptop inbuild speakers
Test tones of the receiver works fine)

It sounds like the problem is between the laptop and receiver. Have you ever successfully played audio from the laptop through your receiver?

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post #26 of 26 Old 01-10-2007, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes it works fine, I can play any other song connecting from laptop to receiver except these test tones.
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