Trust SPL or ears when calibrating?

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
I am having trouble getting the correct setting for my rear speakers,

I have a Radioshack SPL meter set to C weighting and slow response.

I have the Q Acoustics 1010i speaker set, however I have the 1050i for fronts.
I am using an Onkyo 507 amp.

I sit around 3.3 metres away from the front speakers and I have the rear speakers wall mounted to the left and right of the room.

I have them facing downwards towards the listener but not firing directly at the ears, I have them shooting over.

With the Radioshack SPL set to C weighting and slow response I aim for 70 on the dial and that sets my rear speakers to -1

However if i place the SPL meter in front of me I would have to turn them up, its only that I place it further back towards the back wall and it registers the sound more.

The problem is when playing games or watching 5.1 content the rears are overpowering at this level. I play alot of Modern Warfare 2 and on that game to make the fronts sound anywhere near the rears I set the rears to -7

However -7 on my amp level calibration registers at around -6 or something on the SPL meter when I am aiming for 0

I am trying to get an accurate level due to the fact that I have no idea currently how loud certain surround effects should be .

The reason I have the rears facing downwards is they are front firing and with playing alot of games I appreciate the directional information that this gives.

I dont really understand why the SPL meter doesn't pickup the sound louder from the rears when I put it in front of me as when I am gaming I sit on the edge of the chair and the rears still overpower the fronts.

All my equipment aprart from Sky HD is connected via HDMI

Any help would be appreciated :thumbsup:

I have included some pictures at the bottom so you can see what it looks like, excuse the speaker wires on the rears I haven't sunk them in yet :)
 
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Carnagerover

Well-known Member
Anyone got a dead cert for getting the best levels setup, I can't seem to get it right using an SPL meter, back overpower the fronts and by ear it doesn't seem quite right.

Anyone :lease:
 

Amioa

Novice Member
how are you holding the meter?
 

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
how are you holding the meter?
Just in my hand, the spl meter is facing straight up.

The front left and right speaker are now a good couple of inches either side of the TV to give more space and a better stereo soundstage. They are wider than the sofa now.

Still having problems though
 

Amioa

Novice Member
do you have a tripod? you had the SPL and you facing the rear speakers?
 

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
do you have a tripod? you had the SPL and you facing the rear speakers?
I dont have an SPL meter

Basically, I would sit on the left of the sofa out of the way of the rear speaker holding the SPL meter so that I could see it basically in the postition I would normally sit in at ear level.

However what happens is that once it is set up, the rears are too loud and when I play a game like MW2 the rear surrounds are always way to loud.

When I calibrate them by ears the rears are set to -9
 

Amioa

Novice Member
interesting. normally the meter is a lot more sensitive. if the setup sounds good the way you have it now, then leave it like it is.
 

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
interesting. normally the meter is a lot more sensitive. if the setup sounds good the way you have it now, then leave it like it is.
I'm not sure it does though, maybe I am used to hearing more out of the rears, however when I have it at -9 the rears are almost non-existent in normal Pro-logic 2 playback. I was definitely running them too hot before.

The way I calibrated them was to load a level of MW2 and listen to a noise coming out of the fronts, then spin around so it was coming out of the back.

Once both sound the same I left it, this was -9 on the rears, I would rather know that they are right, however I'm not sure I can achieve this either way.
 

Amioa

Novice Member
my surround sound is alot more rear heavy with MW2, it could be the nature of the game. If i then switch to a BD its fine again..How much closer do you sit to the rears?
 

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
my surround sound is alot more rear heavy with MW2, it could be the nature of the game. If i then switch to a BD its fine again..How much closer do you sit to the rears?
I sit about 1.8 metres away from the rears, they shoot over my head put are pointed downwards.

Where should I hold the SPL meter? In exactly the same position as I sit or a little further away like it shows on the tutorial videos on here?
 

Amioa

Novice Member
I havent watched the video, but my own experience has shown that almost the same position is ok, its near enough, if we were doing testing at a lab then the mic would be almost in your ear....you must make sure the mic is at the same height as your ear, that is very important, for the purposes of completeness, do the test with the mic at your listening position.
 

Carnagerover

Well-known Member
Thanks for the reply, I will do the test tomorrow and post back my results.

C weighting, Slow response and trying to get all speakers to 0db at 70.

I have included some more pics that show my setup a little better.

Should I toe the speakers in? They are the same length as the sofa now and that has improved stereo separation.
 
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Carnagerover

Well-known Member
Hooooora,

I figured out what the problem is, I looked in the settings for the amp and noticed that equalizer was set to audyssey as I briefly messed around with audyssey when I first set up the speakers. Turned it back to manual and now my rears aren't overpowering everything and I have recalibrated and it sounds much better indeed.

I have moved the front speakers as far as I can get them really as my rear soundfield is really nice due to the length, the front is not as good at the moment. I'm not sure if I should bring the fronts a bit further away from the wall.

However due to the corner wall I really can't get anymore distance on the fronts but i'll have a go I think
 

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