reference levels

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  • George Bellefontaine
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2001
    • 7637

    reference levels

    I was reading a review on the Denon 3801 Receiver in the latest issue of Widescreen Review. The reviewer constantly referred to reference level and just what is reference level. I set all channels to 75db. If this is reference where do I set the volume ? 00 ?




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  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16508

    #2
    simply put reference level is the same volume that the media was recorded/mixed at. The methods of obtaining reference level in the home are varied but all relate to getting each channel to the same SPL at a given point. The best way to do this is with one of the calibration DVD's such as Avia Guide to HT or Video Essentials. When you use Avia it will generate a tone that is equal in volume to the mixing levels when played back at 85 dB as measured by an SPL meter such as the Radio Shack meter. Basically what you do is set your denon to channel level mode, doing this will automatically set the volume to 00. Now play back the reference tones on Avia and increase each individual channel level until you get a reading of 85 dB on your SPL meter. Repeat this for each channel. Now a lot of people like to boost the sub channel a few dB's and its generally difficult to get an accurate reading on the sub anyway so get it close then dial in with your ears using a variety of sources from music to movies etc. Now assuming you did everything correctly when the volume display on the denon reads 00 each speaker is putting out a signal at the same volume the engineer was hearing when he/she did the mixing for the soundtrack. Note that to most people true reference level is way to loud with the majority of people watching movies around -10 or so. Now you might be wondering why I was talking about 85 dB not 75 dB...well thats a good question remember back to the good old days of tape decks. there was often a knob for setting the recording level. Well basically Video Essentials recorded their test tones so that when your SPL meter reads 75 dB your at the same loudness as when you get an 85 dB reading using Avia...its the same level just a different starting point. Think of it this way if you calibrated your receiver with Avia to 85 dB on all channels then popped in VE and recheck the levels they should be very close to each other with regard to volume and differnces between channels.




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    • George Bellefontaine
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Jan 2001
      • 7637

      #3
      Very enlightening,Andrew. Thank you very much. I set my channel levels with an SPL at 75db using an SPL meter. I didn't notice t the time that the volume went to 00. I don't have Avia, but I do have VE. Do you suggest I go back and reset the channels at 75db using VE ? Thanks.
      George
      BTW, I really love this Denon 3801. It is warmer and the bass for movies is much better than the Yammy.




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      • John Holmes
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 2703

        #4
        George,
        With VE 75db is your mark, then like Andrew stated above. Glad to hear that you are enjoying that 3801.




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        • GregoriusM
          Super Senior Member
          • Oct 2000
          • 2755

          #5
          George: You may have noticed that I posted in another thread that the Denon 3801 was brighter than the other Denons, so I went with the 3300.

          I do agree, however, that the 3801 is not as bright as the average Yamaha.

          And I do find that setting your system to reference levels, especially balancing the speakers, makes a world of difference. I didn't realize that my left speaker needed a bit more ooomph and my right surround. And I was suprised at the change, both for music and movies.

          I suggest though that anyone who is interested in calibrating their system should always "borrow" the SPL meter and calibration disc - Avia or VE. It worked well for me, and I haven't given back the equipment for a couple of weeks now. Best way to go!!! ;-)

          Hey, posty? You agree? lol

          ... Greg
          .
          Gregor

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          • Andrew Pratt
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 16508

            #6
            greg borrowing is fine just so long as you remember to return it LOL




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