Does anyone know why AVIA states 85 spl for mains but, 70 spl for the sub?

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  • John Holmes
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 2703

    Does anyone know why AVIA states 85 spl for mains but, 70 spl for the sub?

    I finally decided to ask this question. I cannot figure out why it says to calibrate the sub to 70db when I know it should be the same calibration as the mains.

    Does anyone know?




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  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    #2
    John where does it say to calibrate the sub to 70? I thought they were all supposed to be at 85?




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    • John Holmes
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2000
      • 2703

      #3
      Andrew,

      What it actually says: "Chapter 7 Sub Level

      The tone consists of alternating high and low frequency bands of pink noise. These have been adjusted so that they should read the same on a sound level meter (set to C-weighting, slow meter response)if the the subwoofer's level matches that of the main speaker. Play the test signal at a level that reads 70 db or higher on a sound level meter held or mounted close to where your ears would be at the primary listining position. Then using either the amplifier/receiver subwoofer level control or the subwoofer's own level control, raise or lower the subwoofer level until the alternating noise bands read the same on the meter."

      Now, I understand that AVIA states to start at 70 db when setting sub level, my question is why? If you tell people the reference for the mains is 85 db, then why not start the sub at 85 db too?

      I know the bottom line is the same, to have the mains and sub match on the meter at the same level regardless. This just seems like a strange and confusing way to put it to me.




      "I came here, to chew bubble gum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubble gum!!!" My DVD's
      "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"

      Comment

      • Andrew Pratt
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 16507

        #4
        hmmm interesting...it could mean that you're intended to calibrate the mains to 85dB then when calibrating the sub you can lower the over all volume to 70 and match the volumes again...it would still mean that all the speakers are calibrated to the same volume though. I read a good post on Avia the other day I'll see if I can dig it up and post it here.




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        • Andrew Pratt
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Aug 2000
          • 16507

          #5
          Heres an explination of LFE
          Home Theater Systems and Audio Components | Audio Visual Equipment Product Reviews, Technical AV Guides, Home Theater Equipment and Product Reviews


          This is a thread about humans and hearing LFE
          Create, record and perform with guitar in new ways.

          This is a copy of a post by Guy Kuo who is the master mind behind Avia

          I've been reminded that the subwoofer calibration in AVIA is more complex to use than VE and thus more time consuming to recommend. I think it's time to revisit the reason and advantages afforded by the approach chosen.

          AVIA intentionally carries its low bass test signals on each of the five main channels independently instead of the LFE channel for the express purpose of making main channel bass reproduction more accurate. Understanding why this is important means knowing the difference between three different concepts.

          a. The signal going to the subwoofer

          b. The low bass which is on each main audio channel (left front, center, right front, left surround, right surround).

          c. The low bass on the LFE channel.

          Most newbies (and I think a lot of pretty well experienced home theater buffs) get confused and think that the subwoofer is used purely for LFE when it actually should also be used to help the other channels reproduce the low bass in the main channels. Indeed, it is possible to have low freq effects carried completely on the mains and nothing on the optional LFE channel.

          AVIA is designed to get the highest fidelity out of the main channels - the channels which carry the vast preponderance of sound. By placing the low bass test information solely on the main channels, one is able to isolate and check the bass management of each channel and ensure that all are being appropriately handled in a system.

          The setting of speaker size and bass management tremendously affects how bass is handled for each channel. Speakers set to "small" have their low bass routed to the bass output channel (s) which can be either just the subwoofer , the "large" speakers or some combination of subwoofer and large speaker depending on how the receiver is set up.

          We highly recommend setting all speakers to "small" because the very very low bass content down to the 20's Hz simply is not as well reproduced by most main speakers as a dedicated sub. Even if one has powered subs inside the main speakers, room placement of those speakers is rarely if ever the best location for bass reproduction. By setting the speakers to "small" you give each speaker a chance to excel in what they do best.

          If a speaker is set to "large" its low bass content will not be sent to the subwoofer output. Remember this! AVIA's subwoofer tests are on the main channels. If a particular channel is set to large, then that channel's AVIA test tone is not routed to the subwoofer (just like low bass on that channel is not routed to the subwoofer). This means that the AVIA subwoofer test behaves exactly the same way as live material to be played back on that channel and you can examine that behavior to learn how real material behaves. This also means that playing AVIA subwoofer tests for a channel set to large produces nothing on the sub.

          Speakers set to "small" have their low bass routed to either the sub and/or "large" speakers depending on how you have set up the processor to handle bass. AVIA subwoofer tones in channels set "small" behave exactly the way regular bass material in that channel does.

          So keep track of how you set your speakers and bass management. AVIA's signals will be routed exactly that way.

          It is frequent for people to find that low bass in their various channels is not routed in ways they previously expected. Listen to what the AVIA tones do and you'll discover what is actually happening.

          During calibration of your subwoofer level, you usually don't have an ability to independently adjust the strength of bass coming from each main channel. This can mean that you find the SPL reading of subwoofer tests vary depending on which channel is being tested. The most common reason for this is a difference in how the bass is being processed (one channel is large while the other is small). Since you can't independently adjust each, it is reasonable to either average for the front three channels or simply concentrate on getting the front channel right since that one carries the most work in a movie soundtrack.

          If nothing comes out of the subwoofer during AVIA tests, it's most likely because all the speakers are set to "large." That prevents routing of low bass in all the channels to the subwoofer. Only the LFE channel would play out of the subwoofer.

          The LFE channel is normally not independently calibrated. Some systems allow you to set things between -10 dB and 0 dB (normal). Ordinarily, leaving the LFE at 0 dB gives good results once the main channel bass has been calibrated.
          If LFE must be independently calibrated, use the Low Freq 6 Channel Sweep in AVIA (Title 6 chapter 29). This test has a discrete LFE channel signal to verify that LFE level is correct relative to the other 5 channels of bass content. All should read the same SPL.

          (For the overly knowledgeable ... the LFE signal is already pre-compensated -10 dB in intensity so it yields the same SPL as the other channels if LFE gain is at 0 dB. No need to worry about the 10 dB playback boost, it's been accounted for)

          Getting the subwoofer to main channel sound pressure levels correct is only the beginning. There is a critical overlap frequency range for each channel which is around the crossover frequency. At those frequencies both the main and subwoofer are involved in creating sound simultaneously. Proper blending of the mains and subwoofer requires that the sound from both subwoofer and main speakers be in phase. Otherwise the main speaker and sub cancel each other out in that frequency range and one creates a hole in overall system frequency response.

          AVIA allows detailed testing of response at the frequency crossover range for both phase adjustment and frequency selection. This can be done for each of the main channels, but usually getting it right for the center speaker is sufficient if you have already correctly positioned the left and right front speakers to be in phase with the center speaker.

          The low frequency phase tests in AVIA have acoustic energy throughout the usual bandpass region. If the subwoofer is out of phase with the speaker channel being tested, partial cancellation of some frequencies will occur and the sound will tend to deemphasize some frequencies in the test tone. Set phase of the subwoofer to make the sound have the widest audible range of frequencies. It is impossible to do this alone. An assistant is required to flip the phase control while you listen for this to work correctly. It simply takes too long to walk up to your sub, flip the phase, and return to your seat. Instant A/B comparison is needed.

          Lacking an assistant, you can use your SPL meter by positioning it at your normal head position. Note the SPL reading as the test tone is played in each phase. Select the phase with the higher reading as that is the one with the least overall cancellation of sound between the two speakers (main and subwoofer). If your sub has a variable phase control rather than a 180 degree switch, slowly adjust the phase to maximize the SPL reading. At that point the sub and main speaker are at best phase coherence.

          If you note little or no change as phase is adjusted, make sure that the delay or distance settiings for all your speakers are correct. If they are grossly wrong, the system may be delaying one signal so far that it will never come into phase.

          The choice of crossover frequency is often fixed at 80 Hz. Some pre/pro's or subs have an adjustable crossover. The warble test tones in AVIA help you find a good crossover point. The tests waver up and down in frequency but not in amplitude. They sweep through the crossover range and well below. The warble effect allows the signal to act as its own comparison level. Bass response is often spikey in a room with small changes in frequency making a large change in response. The warble lets you detect unevenness more easily. If you hear a big appearance/disappearance of the test tone, then the warble is sweeping through a frequency range with a large inequality in response. Play the warble tone and adjust the crossover freq to make overall response as flat as possible during the first (higher freq) portion of the test. That should be the portion which is affected by the crossover.

          It may be necessary to redo phase after adjusting crossover frequency. The two controls will interact. Once crossover freq and phase are adjusted, go back and redo the subwoofer level adjustments. They will also be affected.

          As you can see, AVIA was designed to accomplish a much more comprehensive subwoofer adjustment than previous calibration discs. The end result is better integration of the subwoofer with the main speakers and reduction of the "separate" subwoofer sound. Unfortunately, many users expect a quick and dirty method. You can indeed do that with another disc, but should you short thrift your hard earned equipment that way?. We chose to provide a more complete tool, and the end result is better subwoofer integration, but it takes time and forces users to discover what truly is happening to their bass.

          I hope this helps people realize why we didn't oversimplify and duplicate the test tone on both the LFE and main channels at an arbitrary ratio. Doing things the way we did in AVIA requires greater understanding about your equipment, but ultimately yields more accurate calibration and enlightening information than other means.




          Comment

          • John Holmes
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Aug 2000
            • 2703

            #6
            Thanks Andrew. Both were good reading. I have read the latter before. While I understand bass management and LFE, I still believe, the way it is stated on the fore mention chapter in AVIA is a little confusing.

            If you are stating 85 for the mains, it should stay consistant with the sub. imo.




            "I came here, to chew bubble gum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubble gum!!!" My DVD's
            "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"

            Comment

            • George Bellefontaine
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Jan 2001
              • 7637

              #7
              I'm really getting an education here. Thanks, guys.




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