Originally Posted by serialmike
Anyway back on topic. Dolby labs own guide recommends that the radiosshack meter is good for the job because the relative levels of each speaker to the next is more important than actual levels.
Dolby also recommends the following.
Front and Center speakers set to 70-75db
Surround speakers set -2bd from front and center channels.
Sub is to be set 10db higher than center and front channel.
The recommended procedure is to point your meter at the center channel at arms length and then angle the meter at 45 degrees and take the reading and set the level. Then while still point at the center channel do the same for front speakers. Finally turn 90 degrees and do each of the surround speakers.
This again is as per Dolby labs.http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/z...2.5.1guide.pdf
FWIW, the DOlby doc is for production, not reproduction. SO the lower surround levels are mentioned of film use because film mixing is doen with multiple surrounds. The LFE channels is calibrated 10 dB higher in production, then is encoded -10 dB form the levels set, and on playback with home equipment is (usually) automatically increased by 10 dB. If we calibrate our home systems with the sub 10 dB higher the LFE channel will be 10 dB too loud when we play back movies.
Also FWIW, I saw the usual film mixing calibrations 85 dB with a -20dB bandwidth limited pink noise signal.
Dolby's doc recommends lower ref levels for TV mixing, but not as low as suggested above: "For television work, pink noise at reference level is typically set to produce an SPL ranging from 79 dBC to 82 dBC for each of the main five channels. The lower reference level for television is due to the lower average listening levels used by the consumer (typically 70-75 dBC)."
So the 70 to 75 is the anticipated listening level, not reference calibration . . . For example I caibrate my system to reference, then set my volume control so dialog runs in the 65 to 70 B range typically.