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Rear speakers too loud after calibration


Active Member
I have recently purchased a Denon AVC-A1SRA, and presently have it hooked up to an Eltax Universe 5.0 speaker package (for FL+R, C and SL+R), along with a pair of Eltax Millennium Minis (for SBL+R) and a Yamaha YST-SW80 subwoofer.

I am going to replace all seven speakers and the sub as-and-when funds allow, but in the meantime I have purchased a Radioshack SPL Meter and am trying to calibrate the system.

I have put the meter at ear level on a tripod in the listening position (as suggested in various threads here) and gone through the speaker level settings on the amp. After calibrating all speakers to 75db, I am 99.9% certain that all four rears are significantly louder than they need to be (particularly on rear-heavy music DVDs, ie. Peter Gabriel: Play), to the point they are overwhelming the three front channels.

Here's a crude diagram of the room and approximate speaker angles - the blue spot is the primary listening position.

All of the rears are mounted on the wall, 4/5" shy of the ceiling. Unfortunately there is not much I can do to change their positions, although the left and right rears are on moveable brackets and thus there is some play to angle them diffrently. Am I overlooking something in the calibration procedure or in the speaker positions, or do I just do the bleeding obvious and adjust them by ear... which surely defeats the point of a meter?!



Active Member
From your diagram do you have the SBL and SL the wrong way round, or is it just incorrect labelling? I don't know, but it may make a difference to what you are hearing, depending on what format is being output? Other than that, did you have the output mike right at ear level when calibrating - as your speakers are very close to your ears then a small difference here can have quite a difference.

Other than that, its the old maxim of if it doesn't sound right, then let your ears do the calibrating for you, and manually adjust the speaker levels until you're happy.


Distinguished Member
i just noticed that too juniper.........

Mark, have you got your SL and SR channels right near you and the SBL and SBR channels further away? if so swap them over...heh.....

then recalibrate

SL and SR channels are the side channels in a 7.1, so they should be the outermost in your situation, the SBL and SBR should be the ones nearest your primary listening spot....

if you simply labelled your setup wrongly, then just dial down the channel level to compensate while listening.......i quite often find some films have been recorded differently and decide to alter while watching......


Active Member
SBL and SL are the wrong way round in the diagram, but definitely correct in reality. :)
And yes, the meter's mike was at ear height on the last calibration run through.


Active Member
Knyght_byte said:
i quite often find some films have been recorded differently and decide to alter while watching......

I suspect this is the problem. I'm just trying to minimise the room's unofficial eighth speaker* making tutting sounds when I have to stop something midflow to get the levels correct ;)

* = Mrs Mark153


Distinguished Member
Mark153 said:
I suspect this is the problem. I'm just trying to minimise the room's unofficial eighth speaker* making tutting sounds when I have to stop something midflow to get the levels correct ;)

* = Mrs Mark153

haha....love it.....

i normally only bother with DVD's and because they are running in progressive mode the channel level thing doesnt show on the display (my PJ so cant run s-vid/composite at the same time on the same screen) only on the amps display...so it never bothers anyone...lol

most people i know dont even notice a single point or even two :eek:

i'm too particular i think...lol

edit: btw, an observation on the setup and room, if you dont mind, when you get round to changing speakers, tbh i'd be inclined to suggest you get a good quality bi/dipolar switchable pair and just have 5.1.......i reckon you might find it better.....you can then use the spare channels on the amp (assuming it has multi-room anyhow) to run a pair of speakers in the room for stereo purpose, or even in another room if you like....you could put them on the wall over to the left of the main listening position, or like i say in another room...

just a thought anyhow :)


If poss, set them up like the attached (if you must do 7.1).


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Neil Davidson

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I agree with Knight_byte that your future needs would be better served with a better 5.1 setup rather than a 7.1 setup - you just don't really have the distance behind you to get the benefits of the effect making the sound seem right on top of you.

Three things you can do though...

1. Make sure you have the dealys set as best you can (note that this is pretty much impossible to do accurately without an ETG function)

2. Although you have a 7.1 system you will be sending it 6.1 channels of sound. If you calibrate the two rear speakers to 75dB you will actually have an SPL closer to 78dB when viewing 6.1 material! Try dialing these two down to 72dB SPL when measured independently and note if you get an improvement.

3. If you are using the internal test tones on the Amp you are missing out a large part of the potential signal path. If at all possible you will get much accurate results from using a test DVD with tones - DVE say - as the entire signal path is taken in to account.




Active Member
Unfortunately I cannot place the rear left and right where you suggested Wookie, because the long oblong that you've moved the rear right over is a huge window frame/curtain rail with no free wall space :(

On any EX/ES-encoded material I've sampled, the surround backs were definitely more balanced at 75db than the left/right surrounds, and to my ears they are at the right volume.

I will try recalibrating using the test tones on the Ultimate DVD Platinum - thanks for the suggestion.


Active Member
Don't get too concerned if the results sound slightly wrong to you!
On every 5.1 reciever i have ever set up, either with an SPL meter or with their inbuilt auto calibration system, i always fine the rear channels are too loud and the subwoofer is too quiet, so i tweak them accordingly.

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