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Full system calibration

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
How many of you independent calibrators offer audio calibration as well? With kits like this becoming more and more affordable, why not?
post #2 of 12
I offer audio calibrations along with my video calibration services.

post #3 of 12
Surprisigly, I've had interest in audio calibration from considerably less than 1 in 10 customers interested in video calibration.

The main reason is that calibrating audio requires flexibility in where you place each speaker, especially the subwoofer AND in where you place the listener(s). If the room pretty much dictates where the TV or projector/screen have to be and the spouse limits where you are allowed to move the seats (and screen or TV), there's not a whole lot audio calibration can do other than add room treatments and that's often also limited by SAF (spouse acceptance factor).

Sometimes much more can be done if the subwoofer offers many tuning options like most of Hsu's VTF series subs... they have 2 ports with 3 possible configurations (2 open, 2 closed, 1 open/1 closed) along with adjustable Q. You can do a lot with that subwoofer without moving it, though if you CAN'T move it, there are likely to be room issues that can't be corrected. I've been able to get VTF series subs within +/- 2.5 dB from 16 Hz to 80+ Hz using just the adjustments available in the subwoofer. But it can take 8 hours to explore all the combinations of settings.

Done right, audio calibration is TIME CONSUMING. You have to find the best locations for each speaker and for at least 1-3 seats. Once you know that, you can place the screen or TV appropriately. Then you get into fine tuning using the tunable capabilities of the speakers (if any) and subwoofer (if any).

If you are there doing a video calibration for 2D and 3D with full grayscale and color controls, you could put 5 to 6 hours into the video calibration and audio calibration can add another 4 to 24 hours of work so it's not likely to get done well in a single visit with a video calibration unless it was a very simple and quick video calibration.

If you plan to do audio calibration in a new room, you want the room done enough that any finish work will be things that don't affect acoustics, but you don't want the room SO finished/completed that you have no flexibility for adding room treatments if needed. And room treatments can add significantly to the cost of audio calibration. I've done some 15-25 hour audio calibration jobs at $55/hr with another several thousand dollars in room treatment products of one type or another. It can be a whole other experience compared to video calibration. If a customer is willing to spend, say, 2 more hours or labor on audio calibration and they have Audyssey or something like that in their system, there's going to only be a limited amount of work/changes that can be done in a couple of hours. I liken it to getting your car washed, but only the bottom 1/3 of the car, not the whole thing. And (very common) limitations about where seats and speakers and TV/Screen can be moved will always compromise results and make improvements more difficult and time consuming.

BTW -- when you click the link to "Buy online" to see what the cost is you get a server error that says the page does not exist.
Edited by Doug Blackburn - 1/4/13 at 10:22pm
post #4 of 12
I've been known to dabble in audio calibration on occassion.
post #5 of 12
Our company does both with a big emphasis on audio. It is a lot more time consuming than video.
post #6 of 12
There's several Calibrators that do full audio.. Jeff Meier (umr on AVS) is another..
post #7 of 12
I do over 100 audio jobs a year and have many happy clients. There is huge potential in improving peoples systems from either room acoustics or system settings.

I would also say for most of my clients the level of improvement from audio is greater than video because the magnitude of the errors is greater even with systems with automatic calibration. Audio is also more permanent than video if the person is not switching out gear often.

I also find that most installers are incompetent with audio. I see almost zero who properly setup the equipment and many who do not understand room acoustics requirements for home theater. It is a shame because these rooms can be expensive and then have to be reworked to get the acoustics to where they should be.

The best way to use me is as a consultant on jobs from the beginning. I can help with equipment selection and room acoustics and prevent an expensive mess. I can also usually save the client money and provide superior results because many installers only recommend gear they carry and tend to recommend gear based on cost and not performance. I can also measure the room before acoustic treatments are installed to provide a very accurate baseline for what type of treatment should be installed. This is important because the degree to which low frequencies are trapped in the room varies greatly. Once complete I can then verify that the system is meeting the specifications and adjust the system settings appropriately. I am doing exactly this process with one of the major studios at this time for one of their screening rooms.

I also have software that allows me to gather a large volume of data for all channels in less than a minute. I can then model the system changes in the same software and implement them in the system. This along with other equipment and the experience gained from doing over a 1000 of these allows me to be relatively fast and provide the highest level of service at very reasonable cost. This is especially true when combined with my video service because I discount the audio heavily when combined because it pains me to leave a system with poor audio when it does not need to be that way.
Edited by umr - 1/6/13 at 5:11am
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback guys! I am actually an audio guy at heart. I am just tossing around ideas in my own head how to add a new skill and make myself more valuable (and have a lot of fun)!
post #9 of 12
I would highly recommend enrolling in an HAA course.
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

I would highly recommend enrolling in an HAA course.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have been through it!
post #12 of 12
Have you done the level II?
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