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How to use a SPL meter correctly

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by MALC12, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. MALC12

    MALC12
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    Could any one please tell me the correct and most acurate way to set up the speaker levels on my Denon AVR 3802.
    I am using this reciever wired up to 7 speakers plus 2 subs at the moment.
    I have a Tandy analogue Spl meter and having positioned my self in the optimum listening position was wondering whether to send the test tones round and move the meter around pointing at each speaker or just to hold the meter vertically and adjust each level.

    Any ideas would be a great help.

    Malcolm
     
  2. andy-p

    andy-p
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    What test disc are you using?

    What is generally regarded as the best (DVD I assume) currently available disc?

    Andy P.
     
  3. MALC12

    MALC12
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    Hi

    I currently have not got a test disc and I am using only the test tone sent out by the amp for setting up levels.

    Malcolm
     
  4. Jase

    Jase
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    Hi

    You need to set the meter to C-Weighting, Slow Response. Hold the meter roughly where your head would be at the listening point. Either hold the meter pointing straight up or at angle of 45 degrees forward (towards the ceiling above the centre speaker as it were). Then balance all speakers to 75db incl the subs. Dont point the meter at each speaker.

    For a test disc use either AVIA available here

    www.ovationsw.com

    or Video Essentials available here

    www.ezydvd.com.au

    Hope this helps

    cheers
     
  5. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    I would agree with Jase on the use of your SPL meter, that,s how i use mine.
    However don't use it for your sub. Depending on your equipment and room etc the 75db setting will be too low for your sub. Start with your sub channel setting at 0db on your amp and reference level on your sub, and tweek it from there. If you start at 75db using the SPL meter, the output may be too low and have no impact !

    Kev
     
  6. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I set up my Marantz last week using the test tones and an SPL meter. When I finished I played some music and thought that the sub was broken as it didn't make a sound so had to whack up the level until the SPL needle was almost bouncing off the stop.

    The Optimode tests on T2 showed that I had it about right although it also shows a level drop in the lower mid range that I cannot so anything to compensate for.

    It also showed me that I had connected the two rear speakers the wrong way round but that's another story.
     
  7. Jase

    Jase
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    Bass level is a personal thing, mines set at 75/77db and is fine for movies. I dont like too much bass for music as it can overpower the whole soundstage.

    Setting the sub level to 75db is "technically" correct but if you fancy more just turn it up, if you want less, turn it down!!

    Certain modes on my Denon sound better with a bit more bass (5/7ch stereo) others (DTS, etc) sound better, to me, at the correct level.

    As I said, its down to personal taste, so set it where you want.
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    jase,

    Perhaps I should have said that I have a sub / sat system and with the settings as per the SPL meter there was nothing coming from the sub which only left me with treble and mid range.

    The bass guitarist might just as well have not turned up for the recording as I couldn't hear him.
     
  9. greeny

    greeny
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    Just to reiterate the personel preferance nature of bass levels.

    Hearing is generally a lot less sensitive in the bass area 20 - 60 hz than in the mid frequencies 500 - 3000. And varies greatly from person to person.

    So although 75 db may in fact be technically correct (as stated above) to many (/most) people this will seem much lower than the mid frequencies.

    Of course you could argue that the studio's allow for this and increase the LF channel accordingly, or in fact that because that is what we are used to anything higher would seem too bassy.

    However the point is that for all the other speakers that produce a full(ish) range signal the levels should be the same (as measured at the listening level). But this does not necessarily apply to the subwoofer.
     
  10. bob007

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    Hi ian...........i thought that the THX optimode on the DVD extras was not for setting levels, the one on Castaway says it's just for positioning, making sure you have the speakers the right way round :D is this different to the one on T2?
    I tried this once and when i checked the settings you could tell that some channels were quite a bit out, that was listening by ear............jase has given two recommendations for test discs, iv'e decide to go for one of them.
     
  11. Stewart C

    Stewart C
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    When using the test tones on my Denon, the sub is set to 75 db's which is the same as the other speakers.

    Look at it this way.When you listen to music the sound has to be proportioned correctly across the audio spectrum.

    Let's say you didn't have a sub but two main speakers that provided the bass for you. You would set up so that the speaker sounds right. How would you give a bass unit within a speaker another 2 3 or 4 or more db in loudness. It would sound ridiculous. The tweeter would be singing at 75 and the bass unit would be more. How can that possibly sound right for music.

    LFE now that's a different story. I have my LFE set up to a higher figure that 75 but not by much but the bass response for music and movies must be the same as the rest of the speaker levels...Surely !!

    Regards
     

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