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calibration problems

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by sjp1966, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I am really in need of some assistance when it comes to calibrating the sound on my system. I have the DVE disk and *muddled through* set up the picture recently, and that is looking ok, but I have never been able to set up the sound properly.

    My room is not a dedicated room, it is all set up in the front room, which may not be ideal, but that’s how it is, so we have sofas, tables, curtains, pictures etc (not sure if this makes a big difference)

    Anyway, my setup is this: The have a Harmon Kardon AVR8500 AMP, a Harmon Kardon DVD 22 DVD player. The Speakers are KEF Q4 for the fronts and surrounds, a Q6 for the centre and PSW2500 for the sub woofer.

    I have set up the correct distances between my viewing position and the respective speakers. Also all the fronts, surrounds and centre are set as “small” in the speaker size setup. I use anything between -36 to -41 for the volume setting (I have neigbours : - ) )

    I used the basic calibration microphone which is on the remote control for the amp, it generally sets the front and surrounds and centre at +/- 2Db. I find with this that the dialogue is very low and the action sequences are loud.

    So I up’d the centre speaker to about +8Db, but still the action sequences (explosions, incidental music, etc etc) are very loud and the dialogue still seems to suffer a bit on the low side.

    This problem occurs in both DD5.1 AND DTS, although sometimes in DTS it can seem worse.

    I am at a loss at what to do. I was thinking of getting the company I bought the equipment off of to come around with a dedicated SPL metre and try and set it up, but at £35 an hour I am loathe doing this unless I know it will work. After all they will only adjust the db level on the speakers as I do.

    Can anyone give me an idea as to what could be wrong? I have checked the speaker connections to make sure they are ok? And when I turn up the volume everything seems better, but I cannot turn it up any more as it is way too loud.

    Thanks for any assistance you can give me.

    On another note (almost relevant) note, with the DVE disk I have i played the 5.1 Pink noise through it, however that seems to indicate more speakers that i actually have (perhaps not explained very well), can someone explain how that works

    :lease: help
     
  2. Jase

    Jase
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    Hi Steve

    It's worth investing in a Sound Meter yourself. DVE is a bit of a nightmare to navigate but you have different audio tests (Dolby & DTS) for both 5.1 and 6.1/7.1 setups.

    I found with my Dad's setup that the HK EZYset was a bit crap and didn't work that well. His HK 630 also has no built in test tone for the sub so it's impossible to balance it correctly without an external test disc.

    You've also noticed something that we did. He also had an HK DVD 22 and could never hear the dialogue properly, even after calibration we had to wind the Centre channel up by about 10db. He replaced his with a Denon 2910 and it's now spot on. We reckon there's something wrong with the DVD 22 in that respect. Very strange.

    Bear in mind that the HK's store seperate settings for each mode, rather than one global channel level setting, so you'll have to use the readings you get from DVE and apply them to other modes e.g use the Dolby 5.1 readings for any Dolby mode, DTS 5.1 readings for DTS modes etc etc.

    Another option to try out is the Dynamic Range control. This will make dialogue easier to hear yet you won't be blasted out of your seat when there's an explosion. Putting it on the MID setting works quite well. Obviously, if you want huge dynamics then leave it OFF.
     
  3. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Output on centre channels are often set too low on discs. This is due to the sound mixers hearing dialogue so many times that they know it off by heart, and so don't need the sound to be so loud to identify what is being said.

    Just set the tones to the same level, then up the centre by a couple of db or so, until you are comfortable with the dialoge levels.

    The speaker tones on DVE are for front left, front centre, front right, right surround, rear (centre) surround, right surround, and subwoofer.

    If your system is 5.1, you won't have the rear/centre surround speaker(s).

    Additionally, the DVE disc generates tones for 'phantom' speakers inbetween your real ones - for example there's a tone which should sound like it comes from directly between your front left & centre speakers.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve W
     
  4. maxiboy

    maxiboy
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    I have found that increasing the compression level on the amp will make dialogue a lot clearer- you can turn it all up knowing that if there is a louder section, it won;t be too loud. This doesn't work with dts by the way
     
  5. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    Ive not come across a compression function on the AMP, do you know if my particular AMP has this feature?
     
  6. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I will check this out when i get home tonight, at the moment my front and surrounds are on 0db and the centre is +7db, some disks seems fine at this, with others i am still struggling with the dialogue, its as if i have to strain a little to hear what i being said.
     
  7. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I was thinking of getting a sound meter, but i am a little bit technically inept when it comes to these things, how do they work? do you basically set a Db level, then adjust all those speaker until they hit that level?

    That is an interesting point about the DVD 22. I had a DVD 21 too and the same thing happened, that player developed a fault so they swapped it out for the 22. It would be crazy if it is the actual DVD Player causing the problem, after all a HK DVD player connected to an HK amp, should work great. But then again i am having to crank up the centre DB so you may have a valid point.

    I will also check the manual about Dynamic Range Control, i cannot remember seeing that as an option, is it within the OSD or can you access it via the remote?

    ALso can you recommend a sound meter, there are so many around and i dont really know what to look for?

    Thanks for the info

    Steve
     
  8. Jase

    Jase
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    Sound meter's are a doddle to use. You just set the db range to 70, C-Weighting, Slow. Set your HK volume level to 0db (loud!). Play the test tones and then adjust each channel until it reads 75db on the meter.

    There's a link to the Analogue SPL meter here:-

    http://www.cornwallelectronics.co.uk/?page=shop/flypage&product_id=1560

    The Dynamic Range Control is accessed via the remote on the HK 630 so I would assume it's the same for your HK.

    It's definitely a strange thing about the HK player but we could never hear the dialogue properly. We also plugged in a Toshiba SD530 in the system and could hear that ok. Very odd.
     
  9. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Moved to more appropriate forum.

    Can a friendly mod merge with the existing thread here?

    :smoke:
     
  10. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I called HArmon Kardon themsleves last night and he explained the sound meter, so i may well invest in one.

    I also found the dynamic range opions but i got to it through the OSD, and set it to mid, i would say it is good for night time but it really does dampen those explosions :(
     
  11. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I bought a sound meter yesterday and ran the test tones last night with some interesting results.

    I had called Harmon Kardon directly to ask advise, and their advise was this:

    Put in a DVD and choose Dolby 5.1. as soon as the disk plays pause the disk then crank the volume to -6db. then run the test tones.

    I would need to first run the test on the front left speaker, with the sound meter on C rating and slow and get it to about 75db which i did, and then i would need to do each speaker in turn.

    After i have done this for DD5.1 i would need to do the same for DTS.

    now i must admit it all sounds better, the dymamic range has not been compressed but everything sound a little more manageable (although i did leave the centre channel on about 80db), however one query i do have is that the settings on my speaker are now

    FL * -2db
    Centre * -2db
    FR * -3db
    SR * -6db
    SL * -6db

    it is roughly the same for DTS, is this right? i mean the meter says they are roughly 75db but -6db isnt that excessive?

    thanks

    steve
     
  12. Jase

    Jase
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    DVE also has DTS tones so you can use those to set your levels. I'm not sure if the HK's automatically attenuate DTS tracks by 4db like my Denon does (DTS tracks are usually recorded 4db louder). On my Denon, each channel reads 71db on the meter for the DTS tones rather than the 75db for Dolby ones.

    -6db isn't excessive. A lot depends on your room size, speaker efficiency etc. My readings are similar to yours. Not sure why HK are recommending setting the volume to -6b though. Most recommend 0db so that it equates to Reference Level Playback once balanced.
     
  13. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    I will try it again at 0, as although improved, it is still not ideal. do you still ramp up your center channel a bit or do you have that at 75db too?
     
  14. Jase

    Jase
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    I leave my Denon as is and have no problems at all. On my Dad's HK he listens at relatively low levels so he likes to boost the centre channel a couple of db.
     

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