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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #63. Calibrate Speakers with a Sound Meter

With a calibration DVD and sound meter in hand, you can play a test pattern and set levels for your speakers.

Although the on-screen instructions on calibration DVDs [Hack #62] are clearly written, sometimes questions arise as to how to calibrate the audio portion of the system using the test patterns included on these discs. This hack deals with that process in detail, adding additional detail that is left off of many discs' instructions.

Tip

If you choose to use the THX Optimizer [Hack #65] or internal test tones [Hack #66] , these instructions are also applicable, although the quality of both of these test methods is suspect.

Inside your receiver menus there should be speaker-level adjustments for each channel: front left, front right, center, surround right, surround left, subwoofer, and back or rear.

Tip

Some newer receivers provide a separate level for the rear-right and rear-left speakers. You generally should treat these as a single level, unless you are substantially further from one rear speaker than from the other.

The range of allowed adjustments usually goes from −10 to +10dB, with zero being the default volume. Figure 8-2 shows a Pioneer receiver's face, with the front-left speaker level being modified.

Tip

It also is a good idea to set all treble and bass controls to 0 as well.

Set your meter to "slow" response and the weighting to the setting suggested by the calibration test you're using (both VE and Avia offer on-screen ...

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