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How to Use an SPL Meter to Calibrate Speaker Levels

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Level matching your speakers isn’t a topic that gets talked about much these days. With auto-calibration systems like Audyssey MultEQ, Yamaha’s YPAO, Anthem’s ARC, etc., it’s generally done for you. However, while these systems usually yield good results in this respect, it’s never a bad idea to double check the calibration. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do using a SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter. We discuss this procedure in this video and show you how to balance the levels of your multi-channel speaker system. Be sure to get your FREE Top Picks AV Guide here & you also get signed up to our FREE Newsletter (sent once a week) with the latest and greatest articles/reviews: https://www.audioholics.com/newslette... Remember to visit: http://www.audioholics.com ...for more myth busting articles and reviews. FOLLOW AUDIOHOLICS ON : HOME PAGE http://www.audioholics.com FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/Audioholics GOOGLE PLUS https://plus.google.com/+AudioholicsLive TWITTER https://twitter.com/AudioholicsLive Want to get the scoop on the latest AV products with hard facts and no fluff? The Audioholics YouTube channel provides detailed video reviews and How-To Set Up Guides of HDTV displays AV receivers, amplifiers, loudspeakers and subwoofers, Blu-ray players, headphones, gadgets and more. We discuss the latest technology breakthroughs in home theater and dispel the myths and snake oils surrounding manufacturer product claims. New Video every weekend! Have a topic you'd like us to cover? Email us your ideas at: [email protected] Thanks for patronizing our channel and we hope you find our information an invaluable guide to making more informed purchasing decisions. Sincerely; The Audioholics Staff Become a Patron of our YouTube channel for cool features unavailable to regular subscribers: https://www.patreon.com/audioholics
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Text Comments (278)
Claudio Martinez-Valle (23 days ago)
Great video! One question, I tried to calibrate my Yamaha Home Theatre System with a SPL Meter at 75. What should be the volume on the receiver or main knob?
Michael Greco (28 days ago)
Thanks so much for the video! I'm a bit confused on the master volume. I have a Denon 3400 H and I can either do 0-98 volume level or -79.5 to 18 DB. You mentioned 0db, if I select 0db that works out to 79 on my volume level which is quite loud. But perhaps that's where it needs to be to start adjusting the speakers? Thanks in advance
E85Johnson (23 days ago)
@Audioholics Thanks for this comment, makes a lot more sense now! :)
Audioholics (28 days ago)
@Michael Greco yes
Michael Greco (28 days ago)
@Audioholics thank you!!! So you leave the fronts at zero db and just adjust the master to reach 75db?
Audioholics (28 days ago)
No, adjust the master volume until the fronts read 75dB at your primsry listening seat. Then adjust the channel trims so ALL of the other channels match. Note the master volume position after as that's the # you need to be at IF you want to listen at reference level assuming the source material was properly mastered.
badboygto (29 days ago)
i do that with the center also like to bump up the backs abit i have a pioneer sclx87...mine seems drop db at fronts though bumping the backs up ...more for music why i do that ...im using android app at the minute for spl will order a proper one
Adam M. (1 month ago)
This is a fantastic tutorial. It completely demystified the task of calibrating my speakers. I've generally had very good results with the Audissey EQ on my Onkyo (except for the pesky center channel that always seems to be adjusted low). But it will be great to be able to further adjust the levels beyond the automated config. Many thanks!
mr.unknown (1 month ago)
Honestly a SPL meter app on your phone can work pretty much just as well as an actual SPL meter
Not SO Fast There (1 month ago)
I disagree with setting all channel levels evenly. Yes we all want a good balance especially in a 7.x.x surround system . Obviously this comes down to preference so there is no right or wrong , but I much prefer my LRC to be between 2.5 and 3db higher than surrounds.....thanks for the video sir . I use a Dirac 8 channel processor and even with a calibrated mic , I got my meter out of the drawer -set all my inputs to 0db and using the c weighted meter , tweaked the mixer level adjust in Dirac software to within .2 or .3 of my preference .. very very balanced soundstage and obviously with Dirac you get the benefit of mixed phase and Impulse response filters that dramatically address any speaker or room problems - especially in movie dialog coherence .
rcdude86 (2 months ago)
If I am using 2 subwoofers, my question is, does it help to put my volume at 0db reference play pink noise to subwoofer only one playing at a time since I have 2 so I mean disconnecting the other rca. Should i set the gain/volume knob so that the spl shows 75db for each sub separate? Then when they're both playing 75db on there own, then porceed too lvl matching both of them with trims along with the rest of speakers. Or does it matter? Thanks.
Audioholics (2 months ago)
I usually balance each sub SPL level separately measured at the primary listening position (1 or 2 seats) and then adjust the level of both simultaneously compared to the other channels.
Howard Huuues (2 months ago)
Hi Gene...as usual, a great video. I was wondering what inexpensive SPL meters you would recommend in place of the Radio Shack/Realistic meter. I had an analog Radio Shack meter identical to the one you’re using in the video and loved it, sadly it died the other day. I don't want to buy a used SPL meter, and would prefer an analog display. I miss Radio Shack. Thanks in advance...
Wil Thomas (2 months ago)
Thanks for the video! What setting should my subwoofer be set to while running SPL meter test? LFE? And GAIN 1/2 volume?
Howard Huuues (2 months ago)
Your subwoofers gain and crossover should be set to whatever you normally leave it on...by that I mean whatever you normally set it to while watching a movie. Hope that helps...
Scott 1 (2 months ago)
So calibrated all channels to 75db c on slow does that mean when i turn my amp yamaha up to -30 that is ref or is 0 on the dial ref ? Its all calibrated to 75db but the actual volume is it -30 or 0db volume control ?
Jc Dan (3 months ago)
My volume dont show db ot shows numbers. So, what number should I use? Onkyo 636
Kiran Kumar (3 months ago)
What volume level should I carry out this test in? My denon has volume range of 0-100
Kiran Kumar (3 months ago)
@Audioholics thanks guys.
Audioholics (3 months ago)
whatever gets your speakers to 75dB at the listening position.
Allen Vazquez Flores (3 months ago)
Great videoGene
Audioholics (3 months ago)
Thank you Allen
S & P (4 months ago)
Please upload more videos about audio calibration...
XDefinitive (4 months ago)
Thank you, I really like how passionate you are about this stuff.
emersonleon85 (4 months ago)
I just setup my speakers with an SPL for the first time. The levels are all over the place. My Front left -3, front right -1, center +1, surround left +4, surround right +5 and my subwoofer +6. All speakers set to 75db. Is this normal that all speakers are so off of each other? When I ran the setup with the onkyo mic my 2 fronts were at “0” and center was at +1, both surrounds at “0” and sub at “5”
Curtis Whyte (4 months ago)
Adjust the trim settings in your AV receiver so that all you speakers read +5 on your SPL when it is set to base 70. You may want to increase your centre by 1 dB if you find vocals are too quite.
Joey Del Mars Jr. (5 months ago)
so when calibrating your speakers with an SPL meter, what dbs should you start off at??? on the AVR
eja35oz (5 months ago)
What's a safe db level to watch movies using a spl meter
Curtis Whyte (4 months ago)
Nope. C weighted. Use the white noise calibration built into your AV receiver and make sure you point your SPL upwards and that it’s in your seating position
eja35oz (4 months ago)
Bwead that is A weighting correct? Because C weighting shoots up on the tiniest bit of bass
Curtis Whyte (4 months ago)
eja35oz 75 dB average
uscfroadie (5 months ago)
Great video, Gene! Audyssey and YPAO are great for adjusting tonal curves, but they are both horrible at getting levels correct. The information contained here is ESSENTIAL in getting the most from your equipment.
john conboy (6 months ago)
Hi Guys. I recently purchased the Kef T305 speaker package along with two Kef in ceiling Atmos speakers. I have them connected to a Denon AVR-X3400H receiver. As the T2 sub that came with them doesn't have a volume control dial, I left it to Audyssey to set the sub trim which it did to -0.5db. After calibration, I used my Radioshack Digital SPL meter to make slight adjustments to get everything up to 75db, but to get the sub to hit 75db would mean increasing the sub trim to +6db which I feel maybe too high. I spoke to someone on Avforums who said I should put it back to -0.5db as per Audyessy as I would need a special SPL meter with Z weighting measuring brown noise to get an accurate measurement.Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry about the long winded post.
nitrodarrell (6 months ago)
My mains, centre and surrounds have been set to give 75 dB with a test tone (SPL meter set to Slow, C-weighting). I am now running a test tone into the sub. Theoretically, should that level be set so the SPL gives the same reading as with the rest of the speakers (ie 75 dB) ? When I do so, the sub still sounds damn quiet, even for film scenes which are well-known for thir LFE's....unless I turn the sub up, but then I'm not sure if it's turned up too much and it's delivering extra base which the film director doesn't intend the audience to feel.
Wade Gagich (6 months ago)
Does the meter stay straight up for the height channels as well? You guys are great btw!
Audioholics (6 months ago)
Yes and thank you!
BigBriTX (7 months ago)
Very informative video. I purchased an SPL meter, ran the measurments and wow, what a difference! One question, i have a pair of DefTec BP9020's with 8" integrated subs in the front with a BIC 12" sub in the back corner. How do i set volume level on each sub so the 3 of them work in unison at the same level?
Audioholics (7 months ago)
@BigBriTX good, so just turn off all but the sub you are testing and measure SPL at the 2 most important seats. Then do the same for the other 2 subs, one at a time, to get the levels to match.
BigBriTX (7 months ago)
Audioholics LFE out from AVR y-splitter so the sub and both towers have LFE in.
Audioholics (7 months ago)
It depends how you have the DefTec subs hooked up. I assume you have them hooked to the front left/right channels with no line level sub out connection from your receiver. In that case, you need to run wideband pink noise (not internal test tones of AVR) for each channel as well as the subwoofer channel. Alternatively, if your speakers have line level inputs, connect the sub out from your AVR to each of the towers and BIC sub so all 3 units get summed mono bass + LFE.
Nuclear Crypto (7 months ago)
What if your sound level meter only has A weighted, should I go and buy a more expensive one that has a C weighting? Does it matter that much?
perry nestel (7 months ago)
I’ve been using my SPL meter since my prologic days..
Ernesto Cabrini (7 months ago)
mi piacerebbe seguirlo in italiano
Tom Molloy (7 months ago)
Hi again, Gene. Since everything was out I went ahead and did the sound metering. All of the speaker reading numbers came out between 63 and 64, except for one sub which I had been fooling around with. I knew it was too loud. I lowered it to 64 like the other sub. But I notice that when you turn the receiver volume up the numbers on the sound meter go up. Which makes sense. But how do you know where to set the volume on the receiver? Should I keep increasing the receiver volume until the numbers on the meter get to around 75?
Arthur Larkin (12 days ago)
Yes, increase the master volume until you hit 75db and then don't touch the master volume any more. Use the up or down buttons on your remote to increase or decrease the volume for the levels of each speaker until you hit 75db on all the other speakers in your setup.
Tom Molloy (7 months ago)
Hi Gene, Great video as always. I watched it 4 times and took notes. (I'm mental.) My digital Radio Shack SLM set to 70, slow and C. I have a Marantz 7012 receiver. Almost ready to go. First, I don't understand about the volume level on the receiver. Does it HAVE to be set at 0? Can it just be reasonably loud? Does it make a difference how loud the receiver is set at?  And second question. (Sorry, I'm new at this.) If I want the meter to read 75 from each of the 9 speakers and 2 subs, and, for example, Audisey has the front left main speaker set at - 4.5, but the SLM reads 78, do I go in and adjust that speaker to -7.5 (instead of -4.5)?
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
No I don't think it matters. That is only if you want 0 to be what studios consider reference level. The important part is that all the speakers read the same db on the meter when you check them. It really doesn't matter what db the speakers are at, as long as they are all the same. 75, 72, 68 db, it really doesn't matter. Just pick one and make sure they are all the same. Like if you decide to set them at 68 db, set them all at 68db. If you want the center channel a bit louder bump it up a little like 69 or 70 db. The 0 db thing means this. If you set the volume to 0 db, then adjust all your speakers to read 75 db on the meter then when you play a movie back it should be at "reference" levels if your receiver is set to the 0 db mark. Reference level is how loud the movie should be if you were in a movie theater, in an ideal world. Which for most people translates to really damn loud in a house lol. And honestly I question how accurate that is since I would think it would depend on your speakers, how good your amp is and the size of your room. I never tested it myself since I never listen to stuff at reference levels, just too loud for my tastes. As for your second question it kind of depends on if you want to trust the set up mic and software, or your db meter. Like I said before what really matters is that they are the same from speaker to speaker. If they all read 78 db I probably wouldn't mess with it. It isn't going to effect how it sounds. It only effects how loud it will be at a certain volume setting. Now if you go through them and one is 78, then another is 80, and another is 75 or something like that then yes I would re adjust them so they are all the same db on the meter.
Todd (7 months ago)
Denon = Crap Radio Shack = Crap Your video = CRAP
Salman Humayun (7 months ago)
I have the REED SPL. It has a level option that says "Hi/Lo". Do I keep it at high or low? REED 8050
Wayne Lavallee (9 months ago)
Ha ha ha The Kid.... the cleaning lady lol
Don't be like me and run autoconfig one time after buying my first big-boy AV receiver then leave the same settings for the following 9 years, move several times, swap out speakers, and lose the autoconfig mic. After watching these informative videos, I went through all the settings. All I can say is do your homework and trust your ears (and an SPL meter). They make very good SPL iPhone apps if you need one in a pinch. The one I use is called SPLnFFT and I've used it to level out lots of gear that I use to DJ with. For some reason, I never thought to take a fresh look at my home theater setup. Hell, my levels were all over the place. My surrounds were like 5db below where they needed to be (which explains why I never really could hear them). I'm an idiot, don't be like me.
Ze Doc (9 months ago)
People tend to focus on too much calibration rather than enjoying listening to audio.
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
Well sure if you just want to plop your speakers down anywhere you want, turn it on and listen to it I guess you can. But most would like it sound the best it can which means putting the speakers in the proper positions, adjusting the levels and setting the distances correctly. Same with your display. Why would you buy a nice tv and then not adjust it so it looks right in your room? They are no where near close out of the box trust me. They intentionally jack the settings up so they stand out from other tvs when on the show room floor. And the difference between a sound system that has been adjusted properly and one that has hasn't is pretty easy to notice and does have an impact on how good it sounds. If your someone that doesn't care about any of that I guess that is what sound bars are for. I will agree that some tend to obsess about it and over anylize it. They tend to second guess everything they do and worry about what other people will think about their system. That isn't good, the important thing is if it sounds good to you. That being said a pretty cheap system with a good set up can sound pretty amazing. And an expensive system with a bad set up can sound pretty bad. If you have never heard one set up correclty though I guess you wouldn't know the difference so it wouldn't matter. I have seen some systems that didn't even have the speakers hooked up to the correct channels on the amp.
Dave Ev-N-Spread (9 months ago)
What level should my master sound be on?
Sir JoeBuk33 (9 months ago)
Thank you for sharing your expertise on this channel balance. So, what is the difference with this or how does the channel level adjust integrate into all these? Basically where one hit the option button on the receiver's remote and confronted with all these level adjustments.
AJ Gibson (9 months ago)
Hi. Your one of the smartest people on YouTube.. I have a question for you.. I ran the auto set up with the supplied mic. This is what come out.. for the crossover. And my fronts are large Rms 5500 series 4-8 ohm compatible with 12 inch woofers. The rest of the speakers are mix matched.. here are the measurements for the cross overs Front 200hz Center klipsch r25c 80hz Surround 40hz height 100hz also the fronts go down to about 20-25hz why am I getting these measurements. To my understanding.. fronts should be 80hz 40hz or full/large the others should be around 120 hz as there smaller I've ran the test 3 times
BLemb0t (10 months ago)
Do you have any advice on whether to use a paid iTunes SPL app or get a real meter? I hear the iphone is good enough to tune now.
Crazy Wid Raaz (11 months ago)
Thanks bro
Paul Mardis (11 months ago)
Hello Audioholics, my master volume on my Marantz is set to 65% before starting to test. When i go into channel levels do I increase/decrease each tone level to 75db or use the master volume to get to 75db. Right now after re-running Audyssey my levels are reading around 63db on my Radio Shack digital SPL that I have owned since 2003. What am i doing wrong? PM
Stevens Cossy (11 months ago)
5 SubS is that Atmos 17.5 lol. too cool!
Paul McKey (11 months ago)
Has nobody noticed it is pointed at the ceiling? So those numbers are rubbish. I have that exact meter and the manual (pg13) states " Do not hold the meter between you and the sound source... For the most accurate readings, point the microphone towards the sound source..." The numbers are relative though so OK for balancing.
OMGWTFLOL (7 months ago)
Do you point your head/ears towards each speaker separately? No. You sit in one spot and your ears are more or less in a fixed position, which is what you want to do with the sound meter. It should be on a tripod pointing up so it receives sound equally from all 6 speakers, then you adjust the speakers accordingly for balance.
Audioholics (11 months ago)
You typically point the SPL meter straight up at the ceiling at a fixed location with nothing obstructing it between the sound sources. If you instead point it at the sound source ,you'd have to re-point for each speaker and thus the location changes. IT's best to do as I instructed for consistency when channel balancing.
playcold32 (11 months ago)
Do you need to add compensation when measuring the subwoofer level using an spl meter? Or just read it as it is? Because spl meters doesn't pick up low tones and would read much lower than the rest of the speakers. I'm only concerned with matching the levels of the sub and speakers.
RandMan14 (8 months ago)
playcold32 The low frequencies from the sub move around the room a lot different than the other speakers. I read somewhere to calibrate the sub you can do 5 or 6 different readings from all around the room, then average them out to get your trim adjustment.
Haizum74 (1 year ago)
Ive been having trouble with doing this for a while so hoping someone can offer some suggestions. I have a Silverline SPL Meter, set to C weighting, Slow response and range to 70. I am using a Denon AVRX200 with Q Acoustic 2000i 5,1 speaker package. After using audyssey, I am checking my speaker levels and I am not getting much sound through the SPL (it's usually around -6dB) and I am having to turn the master volume up to 70 (max is 95) and when using the test tone my speaker levels are needing turning up to high plus levels just to hit 75dB (I take it 0db on the SPL level indicator is equal to 70db when range is set to 70 so 75db is +5db). What am I doing worng?
Beau Thompson (1 year ago)
what level do you set the volume?
Marshall Timmons (1 year ago)
Does this technique work on car audio systems?
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
To a point it does but it gets a bit strange because of where the drivers are and all the reflective surfaces. For cars I tend to do it by ear and just adjust them so I get a good center stage and the vocals appear where I want them to. In my car I don't much care what it sounds like to the other people in the car. Well honestly I don't care that much in my house either lol. My family thinks blue tooth speakers and ear buds sound good so f' em.
Fabio Zago (1 year ago)
Hello, one question please, to calibrate in 75db, i needs set spl in 70, and the pointer in spl needs be in 0db or 2,4,6...? Ty.
Blotted (1 year ago)
I tend to change my levels on the fly and by ear depending on the content I am listening to. Just because different movies will mix their sub and surround channels loud or quite so ill adjust to my liking. But Ill also use my SPL to mainly balance from left to right and raise or lower my DBs evenly to each other
Droidz Hunterz (1 year ago)
Should I point the SPL meter at the speaker playing?
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
No, point it up at the cieling like he is doing. Which sucks because it makes it hard to see the read out if its on a tripod lol.
Jeff Sharon (1 year ago)
Great video, your video was among the best out there. My only problem was with using that Radio Shack SPL meter, how do you calibrate it? My experience with those meters is that they use very cheap, I mean terribly cheap non-standard microphones and they tend to drift by over 10 dB over time. No easy way to calibrate them as most acoustical calibrators don't fit that size microphone. In searching for videos to calibrate my speakers, found few of them including yours, but I see some common mistakes in all of them and that is the use of the C-weighting to calibrate speakers. If you have access to a professional Sound Level Meter, I suggest you use no weighting, or Z-weighting if available. I believe advocating for the use of C-weighting on an Sound Level Meter started because the A and C weighting were the only available weighting on the cheaper Radio Shack SPL meters. Check out the C weighting vs. Z-weighting curves, C-weighting rolls off at the very low frequencies, and also at higher frequencies (> 8 kHz). Other videos as well as some comments here ask about the use of smartphone apps. NIOSH (govt hearing lab) did a study on smartphone apps and found several that are accurate, you can search for the study. They also make their own app, called NIOSH SLM and verified accuracy against type 1 sound level meter (calibrated based on model), and best of all, it's free and has all the features anyone would want (including Z-weighting). There are other good apps out there, the good ones cost around $6 to $20. If you decide to use an app, make sure you have one that have A-weighting (curve that resembles human hearing) and Z-weighting, for capturing all frequencies. According to NIOSH studies, none of the Android apps are worth it, so if you have an Android, you're better off purchasing an SPL meter but I would stay away from the RS or the Chinese cheap junk you find on eBay, 3M makes "cheaper" meters, I would not buy Chinese-made crap! NIOSH also did a study on apps with external microphones, results were within a 1 dB of a professional sound level meter. They have info on which external mics to use with smartphones.
OMGWTFLOL (7 months ago)
Who cares if the SPL is accurate for speaker calibration? This procedure is about balance. If all the speakers can be adjusted to an equal level using the meter, mission accomplished.
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
I don’t think I really understand, what level should the master volume be on? I just up my volume to what seem like 80% and then I just up the decibel. If I kept going up on the master volume I would had reach 75 dB just by doing that. So I’m honestly really confused.
E85Johnson (23 days ago)
@RandMan14 Thanks so much, this makes much more sense now!
RandMan14 (8 months ago)
1) Set all speaker levels to 0.0 in your receiver setup. Make sure the distances are already done first. 2) Start the test tones from your receiver menu, but only the front/left and front/right for now. Have your spl meter on. 3) Whichever front speaker is louder, that’s the one that is going to be your baseline. Let’s pretend for now that your front/left read 67db and the front/right read 68.5db. 4) Keep the test tone playing on the front/right speaker. Now adjust the master volume until the meter reads 75db for that front/right speaker. 5) Now don’t touch the master volume anymore and go through the other speakers, adjusting them using the trim in the receiver setup and not the master volume.
Marcus U (1 year ago)
mendez77054ify Yeah I'm a little lost myself. I had turned the left speaker all the way down to -12 & when I cranked the master volume, it still hit 75db before it got to max volume. Obviously the left speaker shouldn't be turned all the way down.
Daniel Ryno (1 year ago)
I just purchased an SPL meter and I was wondering what volume do you start at on my Yamaha when the microphone sets up it the volume to 0 do I set it to that or do I set it to my normal listening volume.
Stevens Cossy (11 months ago)
set 75db of test tone to where its comfortable! if you want to do to standards of your system specs, hdx, ect... set it to that. the averge is 80db, I would not go more than 79 or 80 db,. ... remember to turn the volume low and slowly increase it till you hit 0. in the video He says that he listen to his system at -10 usually , I listen to mine at -30 always, I hit the power on the denon and it goes to -30 straight away. but if i push it to 30 I know that the sound was mastered with the intension of it being able to listen at ''0'' without distortions/breakups...ect...
Daniel Ryno (1 year ago)
mendez77054ify where is it at I can't seem to find it. What I did I set the volume on the receiver to 0 it's at the SPL to 75 DB to c weight ans set home speakers that way.
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
If you look a couple of comments below they responded with an answer. Good luck.
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
Daniel Ryno wow, I am having the same question right now.
2019 chillflix (1 year ago)
Hi There, I want what would be the best speakers that can be adjusted to remain at the same DCB level ? Lets say a very loud commercial come on, would the speakers automatically adjust to keep at that same level of setting ? without going higher ? are there speakers i could buy which I could set after hours of 12 am to 80 DCB or any DCB I choose. so no matter what I play , be it , TV, MUSIC or MOVIES , would the volume remain at that same level of the noise of setting i selected ? EXAMPLE.. 60 , 70, 80 DCB,, so the noise output from speakers stays at a constant ? even if a lud TV AD came on, or music track ect,,,, ?? If so , I could carry out a sound test with my neighbour and then i'd finally know i'm not going over my limit at night, so I can sit comfortably knowing my neighbour cannot possibly hear anything. ?
Mayur Jadhav (1 year ago)
Hello, I need to know what is the default level for each speaker to be set before we start the calibration. I am sorry, trying get my home theatre setup (procinema 600 + Yamaha A660) and was unable to understand what level we should keep for each speaker ( not master volume) even before we start the test. Thanks in advance!
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
Mayur Jadhav if you scroll the comment below yours theirs our answer to our question.
Audioholics (1 year ago)
Hit the test tone button on your receiver so your speakers start producing noise. You usually start with the left front speaker for example. Assuming all of the channel trims are set to 0dB, adjust the master volume until you read about 75dB c-wt on your SPL meter pointed up at the primary listening area and not obstructed by anything. Then switch to each speaker adjusting the channel trims so you read 75dB on the meter each time. The sub can be set a few dB higher to taste, especially if you EQ out any bass peaks (advanced users).
Edward P Campbell (1 year ago)
I have had both versions of this Realistic (Tandy UK) DB meter. I gave the analog version to the manager of Wembley Loudspeakers, Hammersmith, London, about 35 years ago. I replaced it about 20 years ago with the digital version. Back in 1980, at the Olympia Sound Show , London, I had the old analog one checked. It was exactly correct, centred at the midpoint '0', according to an expensive, Bruel & Kjaer 4230 94dB 1000Hz sound calibration source, which fitted over the mike shroud. Good gear at a budget price.
Eazy Rida (1 year ago)
How would you use this method in car audio
Jim Chong (1 year ago)
I think I've been doing it all wrong. I am confused on how the Master volume should be set in relation to setting the Channel trims or levels. My reference is at 0db. Why not set everything to 0db.
peanut McPherson (1 year ago)
Jim Chong yes my will get superloud to I thought this can't be right but it is all the way til it get close to 75db or 75db then use your + for all the other speakers then come back to the left speaker to check it make sure you don't have no sound fx on u can set that up after you set your speakers up.
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
peanut McPherson I still don’t get it, if I set my master volume at say 50 percent my SPL meter says 65 dB, should I up the volume more or just “+” on the dB levels? Now if I keep going up in volume from the master control then it gets super loud and i can well reach 75db so then when I move the right speaker shouldn’t be automatically he 75db? I mean my sweet spot is the same distance on the right and left speakers. Should up the volume to reach 70db or use the “+, -“
peanut McPherson (1 year ago)
Jim Chong you do set everything to 0.and your master volume you use your left speaker for reference turn up the master volume.then you go around and set the others by using your up or down on your remote setting your level.then you go back to your left to recheck it.all speakers should be around 75db
jee cop (1 year ago)
How about using SPL meter app in smart phone , how accurate is it ?
Jeff Sharon (1 year ago)
Fairly accurate according to NIOSH (govt hearing lab): https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2014/04/09/sound-apps/
Havenized (1 year ago)
since you are running the sub lvl at -6dB what gain are your subs running?
Havenized (1 year ago)
Audioholics i have a svs pc-12 plus and xtz 12.16 in a diagonal position, in a 30 square meter room. And the room is square.
Audioholics (1 year ago)
it really depends on the sub and its position in the room.
Rudy Rutan (1 year ago)
Question Gene, Hugo, I did auto Ypao,, it set my fronts to Large, it set my bass @ -10db... ? I went in Manually changed to small fronts 60hrz,, raised bass to +5.0db? What's your thoughts ?
timmy tucka (1 year ago)
Great video again Gene. How did you come up with the 70db as a starting point?
Patrick Martin (1 year ago)
70 dB is the perceived maximum intelligibility of a conversation 3 ft away. The meter reading is a +/- 5 so the 70 dB setting will allow you to measure 75 dB which is the reference level for home cinema sound mixing.
edgu71eg (1 year ago)
I feel like such an idiot! Lol 10 yrs I've had my Sony STR k7000 and had no idea this existed No wonder my surround sound speakers sound like queefs! Uhgg i feel dumb! Lol Now what did i do with that mic? Thx President
Jeschitown (1 year ago)
I have a dumb question ok so on the spl reading was reading 75db, but how does that number convert to what you should enter in the reciever? I ask because his said 4.5db how to I convert this?
Jonathan Koh (1 year ago)
At 6:53, while calibrating the speakers at around 75dB, the screen is showing negative or positive dB for some speakers. May i ask what's the reason? can i leave mine to be at 0dB instead? sorry, rookie here. thanks edit: i do not have a spl meter, I'm using an android app for calibration
Audioholics (1 year ago)
The meter is reading the actual SPL in the room at the mic position. The channel trims are just relative levels so -3dB on say a surround speaker means I just lowered it that amount so that it reads the same SPL at the listening position compared to the other speakers. Your channel levels are unique for your setup and probably won't correspond to my settings.
Danny Thompson (1 year ago)
Thanks for the redponsr. Surprisingly the meter is pegged to the left, I would expect proper behavior would be to the right?
Audioholics (1 year ago)
If the lower settings aren't moving the needle to the right with sufficient sound stimulus present but the higher (90dB) setting is, then there is likely something wrong with the meter. Perhaps the analog dial is bad or something.
Student_Upload_Forum (1 year ago)
Hi Gene, thanks again for the great info. I am using the Radio Shack version of this meter. I only get readings when the meter is on 90dB?? They are -6 to -9. When set to 70, 80 or 100 the needle does not move? Does the meter need calibration and if so how do I get this done? Meter setting is c weighted, slow. I am using a Yamaha A1040, all amps are external. Emotiva mono in front and XPA-2 G2 in back. Front amps 2)XPA-1G2 and an XPA-1L(center). YPAO is off. I have used this range to balance the system I think. Front L/R read -7 and center -6 on the 90dB setting. It does sound better. They were off 5dB from where I started in front and over 10dB for the rears as they would not register at all until now.
Student_Upload_Forum (1 year ago)
The meter was at the far left, Negative, on all settings except 90dB. I expected the 80dB to pegged to the far right positive??? Yes it was loud, but I did adjust the levels to be the same. Listening at comfortable levels sounds better than before. I think I need a new meter.
Audioholics (1 year ago)
When you set the meter lower than 90 is it pegged all the way to the right? If so, turn the master volume down a bit. Those test tones must be unbearbly loud!
Always On (1 year ago)
Amit Jayant (1 year ago)
I didn't understand why you lowered the master volume level? at 6:10
Louis R Gutierrez (1 year ago)
Can you tell me at what master volume level I should be at when I start adjusting each speaker to 70 db on the spl meter.
mendez77054ify (1 year ago)
My master volume goes from 0-100. If I set it to 0 then no pink noise comes out. The more I turn up my volume on my tv the higher dB reading I get. I’m confused on what number sound I should have it before starting the pink noise.
Audioholics (1 year ago)
So you could hear me instead of the test tones ;)
Damon Benjamin (1 year ago)
Hey Gene what's the best why to level match Atmos speakers ? Or could this method be used also ?
David Mander (1 year ago)
Will I need the DRC off when using an SPL meter?
JSW (1 year ago)
hello, at what db should i set the center speaker sp meter??? for best dialog, its very annoying almost all movie blueray etc have very low diaglog making me increase master volume, then when and action scene come in it get so loud my wife need to hold the remote during every movie to adjust volume, anyone have any tips?? i taught it was my center channel the problem but i changed all my system 3 time during the past years and i still have this problem, auto callibrating do nothing, i'm using a pioneer elite sc95 receiver. I dont know what to do anymore?? Thankx alot
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
Yep, turn up the center channel some and/or use some sort of dynamic range control. On you system it is called DRC, which you guessed it, stands for dynamic range control lol. Some products they use different names like night mode or something. Mine calls it dynamic volume. I think it should be called wife mode or something. Mine even has a dialog setting so I can turn up the dialog wihtout adjusting the actual speaker level.
Fed Guy (6 months ago)
Use the manual setting in your AVR to increase the center speaker 1 or 2 decibels higher than the others to make dialogue easier to hear/understand. Gene mentions that in the video too
OMGWTFLOL (7 months ago)
This is a common problem, for which I have no answer. Hard to hear the dialog (especially as we get older), so we turn up the volume, then an action sequence starts and it's so loud the neighbours down the street can hear it. Idiot audio mixers at the source is who I blame.
Morten Stjernholm (9 months ago)
JSW if you dont like the original dynamic range of the movie, you could use the “late night listening mode” that will compress the dynamic range to make loud sounds lower and low sounds higher. It destroys the cinematic expirience, but is practical with your “problem” . I like full dynamic range, as it sucks me into the movie.
BodomDeathStar (1 year ago)
I'm stuck in a decision whether to get LG LHB645N or Sony BDV-E4100, could someone help me to choose and explain why?
Adam CaveProject (1 year ago)
Great video! I have my radio shack spl meter from way back and wouldn't be caught without it for room setups. It's a great tool and helps a lot! Thanks for the C setting comment, I'll be doing that moving forward. BTW, SPL meter is awesome for my live band gigs. Very important to sounding better and at the right level.
Audio Fun (1 year ago)
What do u put the volume of the TV to do this test?
Mario Duncan (1 year ago)
What is the right level for atmos speakers would 70db work
Jon Himes (1 year ago)
I like this format of your videos much better.
RJ919sx (1 year ago)
Great video. Got an spl meter to calibrate my system but when I go to test tones the pink noise I very low. Too low to calibrate. What am I doing wrong? Have a denon avr-x3300. Do I need to be in a certain input?
Louis R Gutierrez (1 year ago)
Go to your center channel and raise the master volume until you get 70 or 75 db on your SPL meter. Afterwards, adjust the rest of your speakers using your Trim button ( Not the master volume).
peanut McPherson (1 year ago)
Jeppu jee til your left speaker hit 75db.then you go around and test all your other speakers don't turn or lower your master volume at this point.use your up or down botton on your remote to lower or up the dec
Jeppu jee (1 year ago)
How Much?
Srihari D (1 year ago)
Try increasing the master volume of your av receiver
Audio Fun (1 year ago)
RJ919sx I want to know this as well
Thomas Wyrick (1 year ago)
FYI, you can now get SPL Meter apps for your iPhone or Android devices. The one I use looks exactly like the Realistic meter used in the video.
anon (2 years ago)
Here's a stupid question - I'm looking at buying a reference sub that's about -8,9 db LOWER than the average of the rest of my system and it's RMS / max power rating limits it so when the rest of the system is 112db+, it will be huffing around 105-108db. Is this a case where I shouldn't buy this sub and instead look for a subwoofer with a sensitivity closer to everything else? Are there special DB matching rules for subwoofers where maybe I can be down 10db but it will still fill in just fine?
3dmazter (2 years ago)
If my sub has no LFE but only left right input do I need to use both inputs with a Y adapter or do I use just one of the two inputs? My reciever has two sepperate sub out connectors so I can connect 2 subs.
Daniel Barnett (2 years ago)
Question: At 6:14 you lowered the master volume level. Shouldn't you have lowered the trim on the speaker you were testing till 75db? If you lowered the master volume wouldn't that make it 75db at whatever you lowered it to?
Paul Mohr (3 months ago)
He wasn't actually adjusting anything, he was just explaining how to do it. You will notice he didn't change any of his levels, it is already calibrated.
Stevens Cossy (11 months ago)
I think he did miss it, but the point was not about the volume! it was about the device, if he had not lowered the volume nob we would not have heard him talking! Hence.. good on him to lower the perceived volume. lol
Audio Fun (1 year ago)
Daniel Barnett I want to know this as well
Daniel Tremblay (2 years ago)
Very good video Gene, one thing that surprised me is the tonal difference between the center and the right mains since the speakers are all RBH.
Audioholics (2 years ago)
Yes but the mic wasn't positioned in the center of the listening area and the center is also horizontally mounted so that plays a factor especially when using pink noise.
Anthony Novello (2 years ago)
How do you get all 5 subs = ?
Anthony Novello (2 years ago)
Spider Man (2 years ago)
How can I attach an Audyssey mic to a tripod like the one shown in this video and the one shown in the Av setup guide setting up crossovers video because I cannot find an attachment that will work with an Audyssey mic for the tripod shown? Which is what I need based on my home arrangement.
Jim Sathome (2 years ago)
Gene, Why is this promoted again this month? I just got two emails about setting Speaker Levels with an SPL Meter. By the way I've had one for years. I tend to trust it more than the ones with both of my Denons, and Sony, AVRs. I'd like to see more on how to work through REW -step by step. And what version of MiniDSP is it applicable to a non Balanced Speaker output receiver?
Midnight (2 years ago)
so i got dual subs. do i set each one to 75db? (trun one off and set the other to 75db via the gain control on the sub and vice versa) and then when both subs are set to 75db, do i turn both subs back on and set them both to output to 75db using the channel level control on the avr?
razberryclownsac (2 years ago)
I used an SPL app on my iPhone, just to give it a try (it was .99 cents). I set the range to 70, C weight, and slow response. I had my speakers at +12DB (most I could go) and they were only reaching 56DB on my meter. Do I need to do something with my volume? Or is the meter app just not that good and off that much?
I Gene. I do have the same SLM as you. i have used it to adjust channel levels for my Denon AVR 1611, but not also for this purpose only. in fact I am trying to do manual Eq. Of my system. What weighting curve you would use for manual Eq.? A is the one that, let say copy the human ear response curve (as far as I know), and therefore is used for noise measure in working place environments. Do you think that it is good to do the measurements for system Eq. Instead of using C weighting? I look forward for your comments. Thank you in advance!!!
Spider Man (2 years ago)
When calibrating with a SPL meter should the compression modes on the receiver be off or not, and what should the master volume of the receiver be set to? And what overall setting do you recommend that the receiver be set to for calibrating with a SPL meter? I have a Denon AVR-S920W connected to a 3.1 system or 5.1 if you count the Atmos enabled speakers, which are part of the 3.1 system...I hope that makes sense.
eddie willers (1 year ago)
All Denons that I am aware of have a reference number volume option. Use that and set your overall volume to '0'. Then run channel levels until all speakers read 75 db on your SPL meter. Then listen to at volume that is comfortable. I usually run my Denon for movies at around -12 db and music comes in around -23 db. Remember that 0 is loud!
Audioholics (2 years ago)
Peter ptr51ntn compression modes are irrelivent to calibration. set the master vol at what ever level you want your system to be at 75dB after calibration so you can return to that setting if,you want to listen at reference levels.
Spider Man (2 years ago)
When calibrating speaker levels should the calibration be centered around the center of the room, where you will be listening, or spread out across the entire room in order to get the best sound? because my receiver has six positions for calibration, but I need to know if it should be calibrated toward the center of the room within several feet of each calibration or spread out across the entire room? Please help any input will be appreciated.
Spider Man (2 years ago)
Should the calibration be done for all six tests in the same area (The primary money seat) without moving the meter or the audyssey mic?
Audioholics (2 years ago)
The calibration should be done at the primary money seat. If you have two money seats, then you'll have to balance as best as possible between the 2.
Jeff Hunter (2 years ago)
What volume level do you use on the receiver/amp?? If I use a setting of - 69db the levels are + to much if I use - 39db then too low.Where is the happy medium.
Alberto Garcia (2 years ago)
Jeff Hunter - If i understood correctly your master level should be set to -00db and then calibrate each channel to 75db on the sound meter ( Which in Gene's analog meter is when the needle reads zero ) That way as you're turning up your volume when you get to -00db you'll be at reference levels. On my Onkyo the channel levels are around -2 to +2 range. Hope this helps.
The Swayne (2 years ago)
Hey Gene! I don't know how possible it would be but I think it would be great to see a video talking about some of the great DIY designs that are available to people. Such as the stuff from Jeff Bagby, Siegfried Linkwitz or Paul Carmody. Most of the things they put out can easily be built by almost anyone with a good kit and can provide people with the sound of a premium speaker without having to sell your car. I think your knowledge of engineering could provide some great insight into some of the designs.
msoles1000 (2 years ago)
Hey Genie can you do a basic video on rew how to use it for a average consumer for speaker placements for better sound to a flatter response
msoles1000 (2 years ago)
And to see whether auto calibration will help or make things worse
Thomas Hoctor (2 years ago)
I'm done. I apologize Gene.
Dave Barry (2 years ago)
Typically am able to extract a lot of good information from your videos. However, after watching this video I'm literally more confused than I was prior to watching it. It would have helped if the speakers weren't calibrated properly, then show a close-up of the SPL meter before and after each calibration.
Dave Barry (2 years ago)
Thank you, Gene and Tom, for taking the time to help me understand. Once I order an SPL meter and follow the directions, it will be perfectly clear. As it stands now my system is clearly not in sync so I see the importance.
Thomas Hoctor (2 years ago)
Audioholics Guess I should have just said that😊. Thanks Gene.
Audioholics (2 years ago)
You need to keep the mic fixed at your sweet spot/money seat and calibrate ALL of your speakers to 75dB from that position. The levels will NOT be calibrated in any other position other than that very narrow area. It's why I calibrated a few feet behind my front row so the back row would be a bit more balanced.
Thomas Hoctor (2 years ago)
Dave Barry No problem. Happy to help. Basically the answer is no. The closer you get to the center of any speaker's driver with a level measurement tool (calibrated mic or SPL meter)the higher the levels will be represented in dB's. So one speaker may show 81dB at one meter away but double that distance and the levels might show 75dB's. Level matching speakers calls for taking that measurement at the main listening position to compensate for level loss with direct radiating speakers over distance. Taking them close to the cone of the driver is usually best used when gain matching multiple subwoofer amps not for setting overall levels at the sweet spot for a home theater setup. Hope this explanation helped. Basically you want to measure where your ears will be unless you're looking for speaker specs then you get right up to the driver with the mic. There the levels will be the highest at whatever power level the receivers amps are being used.
Dave Barry (2 years ago)
Thomas, thanks for your response using the technical terms related to home theater since I'm trying to learn as much as possible so I can put together a relatively good system. If you could help me with one more point that would be great. To simplify, let's assume we are going to calibrate all the speakers and subs to the same auditory levels. (SPL set to=75db). If we adjust the channel trims for each channel until the SPL meter has the same reading shouldn't all the speaker/subs be emitting 75db at the sweet spot? In other words, shouldn't the front left speaker and center speaker, as an example, have the same loudness regardless of their distance since I thought that was the purpose of calibrating them in the first place?
Corolex (2 years ago)
I have two subwoofers and got the bass almost flat by having the rear subwoofer at 30 and front at 43 while in the amplifier levels it is -2 and -4 respectively. There is bass but not enough feel it, and if i crank up the volume my ear gets fatigued. Should my subs have been equal volume or is it better to have a flat line?
4252applebee (2 years ago)
Gene , this is a GR8 video, I have been using a Radio shack SPL meter and my "Ears" for more than 15 years although mine has a digital readout. I prefer this method as my room correction more than Audessey microphone based system that came with my Marantz SR5005, receiver, which now I only use to drive my surround speakers and a center channel the rest of the system which consists of Magnepan 1.7I and a Hsu Subwoofer VTF 15 MKii are driven by a Parasound Hint. and custom built Odyssey Kismet stereo power amp. My question - is possible to use the Dirac mic and software with my system ? for room correction
4252applebee (2 years ago)
thank you will do
Audioholics (2 years ago)
Not for Audyssey b/c it's expecting the cal file for the Audyssey mic. You're better off getting mDSP and focusing on bass correction. Leave everything above 100Hz alone.
D Van (2 years ago)
love the video very good ifo
rmSX13 (2 years ago)
how hot do you set your center channels compared to the L/R?
acelakid94 (2 years ago)
I thought 85db was reference. I'm always confused because sometimes I hear 85db or 75db from people.
acelakid94 (2 years ago)
When I used Audyssey MultiEQ, I listened to films at 0.0dB. I found that pretty good. Dialogue was similar to real life speaking volume and loud explosions were..well- loud. Of course, some films were made to be _way_ too loud and I would listen to those at -7.5dB or -10dB. This was in a small bedroom with cushions on the wall for some form of sound treatment. Oddly enough, Audyssey seems to turn up the surrounds if the main volume is lower than 0.0dB which can hinder the sound immersion. I'll have to get an accurate dB meter to verify Audyssey's corrections.
Thomas Hoctor (2 years ago)
acelakid94 It is but people complained that the 85dB test tones that older receivers were generating were too loud in their home environment so they just adjusted the tones to 75dB and added back in the other 10dB after level matching to the 75. 75dB is a common home reference level set manually by users though as technically 85dB is considered theatre reference level and most homes could fit into many 1 screen movie houses. In the end it's a reference that most in the home never even listen at regardless of the 10dB difference. Main thing is consistent levels in the home not any particular number.
Vim Diesel (2 years ago)
Thank you Gene for this video. The Yamaha YPAO auto calibration on the RX-V6xx series tends to set the center and surround levels 2 to 3db to high which does not sound good. At first I thought it was compensating for eq adjustments but having run the calibration on 2 models (673 on a friend's system & 677 my personal system) they both did the same thing. Using my Radio Shack meter set the levels correctly and now my system and my friend's, sounds balanced and clear. Having watched this video confirms I did the right thing. Thanks again.

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