Calibrating speakers with a SPL meter


Distinguished Member
I want to calibrate my 5.1 set up using a SPL meter. I've read some descriptions of how to do it but am still confused.

I'm especially confused by the actual meter. If I set the dial to say 75db then do I want the needle on the meter to point to zero?

Do I measure from my sitting position or from the speaker?

Shouldn't Audyssey have done this already?



Active Member
Yes, you measure at the listening position.

If you want to calibrate to 85dB, then either set the meter to 85 and have the needle read 0, or 75 and read +10.

edit: And yes, Audyssey would have calibrated the difference between the speakers, but perhaps not the actual SPL level.

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Audyssey should set the speaker levels. You'll probably find all speakers are set to either 0 or a minus figure, leaving you with the reference level when your amps volume is at zero.

Ben has already covered the spl meter :smashin:


Well-known Member
If using an SPL meter make sure the dial switches are set to C weighting and Slow Response and set the level dial to 70db. When taking readings make sure your Amp/Recievers master volume is at 0db which should be reference level then play the test tones and adjust the individual speaker levels so that the needle shows 75db for each speaker and for the subwoofer it should read between 73db and 77db as the needle bounces 4-5db with it's test tone. Make sure the SPL meter is at ear height in the central listening position and pointing straight up when taking readings. Also make sure you also set the speaker/subwoofer distances to the central listening position as well ;)


Distinguished Member

I've had a quick look and doing the spl calibration would mean me turning down all the speakers quite a lot.

For example; my L speaker is set to -3.5db, it would need to be adjusted down to -10db for me to get 75db on the spl.

Is this the right thing to do? What will be the benefits?


Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Doing that is fine. It basically means that when your amp volume is at 0 you know your getting a 75db listening environment. This is normal practice and the adjustment in the amp allows it to be custom set to different rooms, once set any room will give you the 75db when your amp is at 0.


Active Member
On some receivers the main speakers are the reference and not adjustable. My Yamaha RX-V2095 is this way. I setup my system by turning on the test tones and having my SPL meter set to the 70 range.

I adjust the level of the mains until I read 75db on the meter. I then adjust each of the remaining speakers + or - to match the mains. Except for the rears, the level setting should be around the same +/- 2db. The rears may take more volume since they may be further from the listening position.

If you get really strange readings +/- 5,7db variation, you may want to verify your speaker polarities to ensure proper phase relationships.


Aren't the test tones generated by the amp or receiver output at a particular volume regardless of were you set the main volume to anyway ?

I know the Onkyo volume reading is different to Denon, so i'll use Denon for my example.

I have my 3806 set to 40db for switch on, just incase i forget to turn the volume down when i switch it off. So it switches on at a very moderate volume. For music i'll listen at around 20 - 25db or so. For movies i'll listen at around 10-15db or so. 0db is the reference level, plus it will go way beyond that, although i have never tried it.

So for test tone purposes, if i set the main volume to 0db i dont think it makes any difference to the actual volume of the test tone. I may be wrong !

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