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Join Date: Jan 2011
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A nice-enough guy who was in the broadcasting biz before he started doing calibration work showed up with arm-loads of gear, but after initial setup, I was soon listening to more cursing "at Sony" than I preferred. As he eventually seemed overly-frustrated , I offered a modified set of ratings.com settings I had been using as something for him to start from with profiles, gamma, etc. I knew they worked, but were likely not as good as they could be. From there he used Calman, a DVDO and C6, but I was appalled at one point when he put up the color bars and pulled-out his cardboard-mounted blue tint glasses (perhaps to just impress me, or maybe he really was doing a double-check of what his gear had told him. I think not.). He never questioned settings I had with my AVR in the middle of my components and A1E (even though I had already set it all to passthru). There was no exploration of HDR or trying source material from any of my own sources in the nearly 3hrs he was here, until I put in my PE II UHD disc as he was packing-up so I could make sure everything was still working, and he commented on how good the picture looked.
My summary: Using my own settings as a basis that I'd gathered and tried from reviews and reading every post about the A1E here, the professional calibration I had done improved color settings and blacks that I had created (with my eyes & AVSHD disc) because he had the tools that I didn't have at the time. I received a single setting for use 7x24 in my lighting-challenged family room (not say one profile for day and night, or an additional calibrated game profile), and he went on his way. So, my take is just because someone is certified, does not mean much by itself -- especially if that person was certified years ago, well before today's tech came into being. If I were to ever buy a calibration service again, the price someone charges will be a partial indicator of what sort of end-service I may receive, and I'd ask a lot more questions what I was going to get. I'd also be wary of big box stores that send just "someone" from their team to do the calibration, without knowing who the individual was, their certification level, experience with my mfgr/type of TV and what I'd be left with at the end of the calibration session (e.g. one SDR profile?).
So, in your case, is it worth $50 to have the Squad "calibrate" your A1E? Perhaps, if nothing more than having another POV on what optimum settings may be. As long as you're sitting there while they do their work, they can't really do any permanent harm to your TV. You can always keep the settings if you like them, go back to something you prefer more, or have the calibration done by a tried-and-true professional at a later date.
- Some may be happy with settings out-of-the box, but those are also likely not the sort of individuals that frequent AVSForum.
- I think some people that don't want to spend the money and are not as critical could be happy with careful eyeball work on the basics using a good calibration disc such as AVSHD IF (and that's a big one) they took the time to know what they are trying to accomplish, then take the time to do it. That's what I initially did, and while I know it wasn't perfect to some decimal point like some here demand, it wasn't bad to my eyes and friends/family.
- Professional calibration, if you can afford it, you can properly vet the individual as I discussed above with a few of my learnings, and you are not going to need to have the work done often could be a really great option.
- Me? I have since purchased CalMAN Enthusiast, an i1Pro2 to calibrate my C6-HDR against, and splurged on a generator as well. I've started playing and learning more beyond what I can read here, traded notes with Joel, and am registered for a ISF II Certification course in the Fall. I don't plan to go into the professional calibration biz, but am sure I'll be able to do a better job than my first professional calibration experience left me with. (Let's not talk about how the calibration gear and future course cost more than a second A1E, and that I will never have the practical experience a great professional will have, but I should be able to make my TVs look better for some number of years than nearly most others that don't go the professional-route; take care of a few select family and friends TVs, and as a hobbiest/Enthusiast, learn a little something along the way.)