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How to tune speakers using Sound Level Meter


kelley
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Ok so I bought a Radio Shack Analog Sound Level Meter. I read some online guides for it and just want to compare what I did to what everyone else does.

 

I sat in my seat with the Meter held up to my ear level, set my volume to 0.0 and played the built in pink noise tone for each channel and set the volume of each channel to +5 on the Meter at a setting of 70.

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Kelley;

 

That sounds about right to me. The only thing I might suggest is standing behind your sweet spot and hold the analog meter around where your head would be. If you had a means of holding the meter in place (such as a tripod) while you were taking measurements, that would be even better.

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Last time I did it (if I remember right), I put the volume up until I hit 83 dB out of the left front speaker. Then I cycled through each speaker, adjusting the level at the receiver until every speaker was at 83.

 

I can't remember whether I used test tones off Avia or VE or if I used the stuff the receiver generates.

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You?ll want the metre in the C weighting position. I must agree with Jeff on the recommendation of mounting to a tripod. Your hand will move to some degree if you?re just holding it, especially if you?re switching between speaker channels with your free hand. You really want it absolutely stationary, fixed at ear level pointing slightly upwards.

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I had it in the C weighting position.

 

I have to say that I've owned these speakers for about 2 years now and tonight was the first night I actually feel like I heard them all. The front mains were just killing out the audio from everything else. Dialogue was clear and wow surrounds surely are awesome when you can hear them!

 

BS - Blade Runner BR has some sweet bass. I got Master and Commander BR waiting on a good day with no wife around to scream to turn it down.

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I have to say that I've owned these speakers for about 2 years now and tonight was the first night I actually feel like I heard them all. The front mains were just killing out the audio from everything else. Dialogue was clear and wow surrounds surely are awesome when you can hear them!

 

It's amazing what a simple calibration will do, isn't it?

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Make sure you set the distances manually as well as speaker sizes (everything small unless you're running only 2 channel with a sub in high pass). Actually if you really want to geek out, check out the HAA website, lots of good reading in there (its the "ISF" of audio).

 

Setting the sub level is a bit more involved than just reading the SPL. In fact the only way to do it properly is to use a RTA so that you can see if the cross over point is appropriate for your speakers and if the phase and level blend well into the the rest of the system. TrueRTA works well and you can use it for free seeing that you don't need that high of a resolution to set the sub, just use your SPL meter for the mic. Oh, and make sure you use pink noise to set levels.

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Set the speaker distances (also called delay sometimes), set the SPL to C and slow, take your reading. If any speaker (or sub) is at the edge (usually +10/-10), reset the volume higher/lower and go again. Commonly the sub will need to have it's power adjusted separately on the back of the unit to bring it above the -10 level.

 

Then enjoy the system. For my system, I find I like the center and sub to be +1 above what the SPL meter says they should be. Makes the dialogue a bit louder when the kids are screaming and well, I just like a lot of bass ;)

 

Have fun, you'll be amazed how much better it all sounds.

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Was I an influence on that? ;)

Of coarse! After watching the DVD at your house I had to get the BR to test out my system and compare it to your SVS. Ever since that night I've looked at the SVS PB13-Ultra website about twice a day, just can't justify the $1600 for it right now when I need to buy a projector for my upstairs project(which I plan to make a thread on very soon).

 

Set the speaker distances (also called delay sometimes), set the SPL to C and slow, take your reading. If any speaker (or sub) is at the edge (usually +10/-10), reset the volume higher/lower and go again. Commonly the sub will need to have it's power adjusted separately on the back of the unit to bring it above the -10 level.

 

The distances are in feet in my Yamaha. If I've read correctly I need to measure the distance from my speaker to the listening position and put that in there. Then tune with the SPL. One nice thing about the Yamaha is it plays the pink noise sound in the speaker settings, makes it real quick and easy to tune.

 

I have DefTech BP-2000tl for the L/R fronts, which each have a built in 15" 500w subwoofer. I've got them set up the way that DefTech recommends which is setting your fronts to Large.

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I first used the YPAO on my yammy and ran with those settings for a long time before only recently (within the last year or so) manually adjusting my speakers with the SPL meter. The difference in bass and surround sound clarity was the first thing I noticed. Big difference. Anyway one thing I noticed before manualy adjusting was the difference in speaker distance between manually measuring and using the automatic YPAO. The YPAO was off by more than I would have though that for sure. In short I'll never trust the automatic calibration mics on recievers again. :)

 

Oh and one thing I could never seem to understand was my phase adjustment on the subwoofer. No matter where I put it I couldn't quite hear much if any difference. I just set it in the middle, put the ouput level between 1/4 and 1/3, put the reciever setting @ +1 and made my level adjustments via AVIA since it does individual speaker + sub performance. It sounds good to me.

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I double checked my settings after running the Audyssey in my Onkyo 805. The Audyssey had it bang on so I left them as is. What the Audyssey didn't get right is the sub level. I turned it up a few notches and I'm happy where I'm at.

 

I wouldn't be so short on these auto calibration settups if your only experience is the YPAO which is the worst of the lot. It can't EQ below 60hz unlike the others. The MCACC couldn't either until they added the notch filter in the past few years.

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