Question about "Reference Volume" and receiver display volume!

HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Set a tripod up 1 meter or 40 inches from the speaker. Adjust the tripod so the SPL meter or iPhone speaker is facing up at the ceiling but level with the centre of the tweeter. Play the test time. That is your pink noise output level from factory. Now raise or lower the speaker trim/gain to 85 db calibrated to 0.0 as max volume setting. Place the tripod by moving couch or chair right out of the speakers path completely. At tweeter height. Now you know how much SPL you lose from that individual speaker at that point. Lower the SPL or iPhone to ear height at the main seat. Now the SPL will drop 1-2 more db. Do not sit or have the couch in the way during the measurements. Let’s say you lost 3 db at tweeter height and 4 db at ear level. The other main speaker will double the power output bring the combined SPL of two speakers up to 84-85 db. Remember the pink noise is more directional then when your listening to music or movies. Do this process for all your speakers one at a time and the sub last! The 0.0 setting is now calibrated to theatre reference 85 db. You may have added 4 or 5 db at one meter/40” to set the speaker up which means at 0.0 max your speaker is actually at +4 or +5 whatever you had to add. Don’t and I mean this literally don’t sit at your main seat and adjust your speakers to 85 db at ear level. That is a sure fire way to find the limits of your Amps, speakers or subs well before the 0.0 setting. If your speakers are rated at 98 db 1 watt/1m your laughing. You will only use about 8 watts at 105 db output from that speaker by itself at one meter if its less sensitive say 85 db then that speaker will needs a lot more juice to hit reference. 2 Speakers with different sensitivities both hitting reference will be just as loud the only difference is the juice required to accomplish that feat. Higher sensitivity speakers that can reach higher output levels are usually an advantage for power cost (gets very expensive quickly) but higher sensitivity ratings should never be associated with the speaker sounding better then s less sensitive one. Most manufacturers know we don’t listen at concert levels and the average audiophile listens at 83 db with room gain part of that equation they are actually at around -15 to -10 when listening loud and -20 to -30 when listening modesty for obvious reasons. Loud gets exhausting even with great speakers. Having gear that can hit true reference output and actually using it at such levels is not a wise decision regardless if the gear can handle it.


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Y

Ybills15

Enthusiast
Set a tripod up 1 meter or 40 inches from the speaker. Adjust the tripod so the SPL meter or iPhone speaker is facing up at the ceiling but level with the centre of the tweeter. Play the test time. That is your pink noise output level from factory. Now raise or lower the speaker trim/gain to 85 db calibrated to 0.0 as max volume setting. Place the tripod by moving couch or chair right out of the speakers path completely. At tweeter height. Now you know how much SPL you lose from that individual speaker at that point. Lower the SPL or iPhone to ear height at the main seat. Now the SPL will drop 1-2 more db. Do not sit or have the couch in the way during the measurements. Let’s say you lost 3 db at tweeter height and 4 db at ear level. The other main speaker will double the power output bring the combined SPL of two speakers up to 84-85 db. Remember the pink noise is more directional then when your listening to music or movies. Do this process for all your speakers one at a time and the sub last! The 0.0 setting is now calibrated to theatre reference 85 db. You may have added 4 or 5 db at one meter/40” to set the speaker up which means at 0.0 max your speaker is actually at +4 or +5 whatever you had to add. Don’t and I mean this literally don’t sit at your main seat and adjust your speakers to 85 db at ear level. That is a sure fire way to find the limits of your Amps, speakers or subs well before the 0.0 setting. If your speakers are rated at 98 db 1 watt/1m your laughing. You will only use about 8 watts at 105 db output from that speaker by itself at one meter if its less sensitive say 85 db then that speaker will needs a lot more juice to hit reference. 2 Speakers with different sensitivities both hitting reference will be just as loud the only difference is the juice required to accomplish that feat. Higher sensitivity speakers that can reach higher output levels are usually an advantage for power cost (gets very expensive quickly) but higher sensitivity ratings should never be associated with the speaker sounding better then s less sensitive one. Most manufacturers know we don’t listen at concert levels and the average audiophile listens at 83 db with room gain part of that equation they are actually at around -15 to -10 when listening loud and -20 to -30 when listening modesty for obvious reasons. Loud gets exhausting even with great speakers. Having gear that can hit true reference output and actually using it at such levels is not a wise decision regardless if the gear can handle it.


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Hey I Just wanted to say that your posts on this topic have been extremely helpful and easy for me to comprehend! You've answered many of the questions I had on this topic! My Klipsch are extremely sensitive at the stated 98 db/1watt so I believe I'm good on power driving them. Plus when I add my subwoofer soon that will help alleviate a fair amount of power on the amp and allow it to drive the speakers more effectively!

My other question on the matter has to do with powering the speakers I currently have. They are each rated at 150 W RMS and my receiver states that it pumps out 90 W/channel. With these stated facts is it physically impossible for me to harm the speakers due to not being able to overpower them with the receiver I use? I don't plan on pushing the any harder than I already have (roughly -7 db in 2 channel) but that was only once and haven't done it again. Most times I'll max out at -20 wish especially when watching intense action movies. Will say the RP 8000f's handled it no problem though without any signs of struggling.
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
For sure with that speaker sensitivity your receiver especially once the sub is in the mix and you apply bass management won’t ever use probably anymore than 10-20 watts for peaks. If those speakers were rated at 85 db sensitivity then I would be concerned. Years ago when I purchased my gear a separate amp was usually the norm. But here’s an example of efficiency, Cerwin Vega makes a speaker with 92.8 db sensitivity in full space. That’s potentially 110 db when corner loaded in a room. Full space is outside away from reflexive surfaces. They are rated 600 watts peak 400 watts RMS if I remember the specs. That’s what our dads and uncles used and why they could use a receiver with 10-20 watts RMS and go deaf. The speaker wasn’t about pure sound quality just ear piercingly loud volume they could hear after destroying their ears in factories and drink half a case of beer


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Klipsch's sensitivity spec is an in-room one so I'd take 4-6dB off their spec for amp estimates compared to the usual speaker's anechoic spec. Not that all speaker sensitivity specs are otherwise equal, the specific measurement method is often not provided so hard to know for sure; the frequency range measured can skew the spec, too. Be nice if there were a solid standard for sensitivity spec that everyone used...
 
Y

Ybills15

Enthusiast
For sure with that speaker sensitivity your receiver especially once the sub is in the mix and you apply bass management won’t ever use probably anymore than 10-20 watts for peaks. If those speakers were rated at 85 db sensitivity then I would be concerned. Years ago when I purchased my gear a separate amp was usually the norm. But here’s an example of efficiency, Cerwin Vega makes a speaker with 92.8 db sensitivity in full space. That’s potentially 110 db when corner loaded in a room. Full space is outside away from reflexive surfaces. They are rated 600 watts peak 400 watts RMS if I remember the specs. That’s what our dads and uncles used and why they could use a receiver with 10-20 watts RMS and go deaf. The speaker wasn’t about pure sound quality just ear piercingly loud volume they could hear after destroying their ears in factories and drink half a case of beer


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Awesome, the reason I ask is I remember reading somewhere that even if the Amp couldn't overpower the speakers it could still damage them by sending out a bad signal at near max volume. I don't ever plan on driving them to that level just want to get to know my equipment better as I'm still new to this whole home theatre hobby!
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
That is the reason you use high sensitivity speakers with moderate power integrated receivers instead of separates. Literally you would never pushed that receiver into overload with those Klipsch mains. They need 1/10 of a watt at 88 db output. Let’s assume you sat 10 feet from them. You might lose 4-5 db at your main seat from a single speaker on. Both mains together will play reference 85 db with a 1/10 of a watt. 10 watts input would drive them to 108 db. Add the centre, surrounds, and sub and your hitting easily 120 db at your main seat. Your receiver is laughing at your ears as they bleed


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Awesome, the reason I ask is I remember reading somewhere that even if the Amp couldn't overpower the speakers it could still damage them by sending out a bad signal at near max volume. I don't ever plan on driving them to that level just want to get to know my equipment better as I'm still new to this whole home theatre hobby!
Amps can put out more than their rated output and conceivably you could damage speakers under the right conditions (like drunk out of your mind and not noticing it sounds horrible...:) ) sensible use of the volume knob is often the best protection.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
It would have 105dB peaks per channel I think is a better way of distinguishing between 85/105 (85 dB average with allowance for 20 dB peaks with 10dB more for the LFE channel). The DD version I had originally of Blade Runner 2049 is less hot than the bluray soundtrack, tho. Regular Blade Runner in various versions isn't as "hot" IME.
Yes, but if you apply a 0 dB full scale signal, it would be 105 dB as long as that 0 dB signal is there and MV is at 0 is what I tried to get across to him.
But, of course when the average signal is just -20 dB, it is 85 and when a peak comes along at 0 dB, it hits 105. That peak is not the peak of a signal like a sine wave peak.
 
HTfreak2004

HTfreak2004

Senior Audioholic
Remember the references 85 db when calibrated to 0.0 is an average across all output signals during a mix recorded in a mixing studio. Even at 0.0 db output can measure much lower during delicate scenes of a movie or music as well. When the mix recording is calibrated to THX standards the peaks the speaker technically could be asked to produce without boundary gain should max at +20 db yet it’s possible using a corner loaded speaker know as “1/8” space loading to achieve up to a +18 db boost from the lower frequency band. The main issue we all face with system calibration is with the interference from the lower frequencies. Dialogue and localized details during playback of pretty much any source material do not benefit anywhere even close to the amount low band frequencies do and as a result causes us to reduce the volume gain prematurely at the expense of details and coherent dialogue. Bass frequencies are by far the most difficult part of setting up a home studio/TH. This is why it is important to not corner load speakers or subs to minimize what is labelled as muddling the sound. Over the years of playing this game I have found that a correctly positioned speaker system can be know as “loud and clean” by measuring tools and the same speaker system can also be positioned in a way that is “very loud and unclean” at the exact same volume setting! The real question becomes are you trying to hear the speakers as they were designed to be heard or the room? Speakers cannot image well when trapped in a corner and or near any boundary without some sort of acoustic treatment. So calibration of a speaker should and will only work properly when the speaker itself is freed from excessive boundary interference. That is why calibration is done at tweeter height in your room since the tweeter stands to gain the least from boundary gain and is the most direct sound a speaker build incorporates!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Remember the references 85 db when calibrated to 0.0 is an average across all output signals during a mix recorded in a mixing studio. Even at 0.0 db output can measure much lower during delicate scenes of a movie or music as well. When the mix recording is calibrated to THX standards the peaks the speaker technically could be asked to produce without boundary gain should max at +20 db yet it’s possible using a corner loaded speaker know as “1/8” space loading to achieve up to a +18 db boost from the lower frequency band. The main issue we all face with system calibration is with the interference from the lower frequencies. Dialogue and localized details during playback of pretty much any source material do not benefit anywhere even close to the amount low band frequencies do and as a result causes us to reduce the volume gain prematurely at the expense of details and coherent dialogue. Bass frequencies are by far the most difficult part of setting up a home studio/TH. This is why it is important to not corner load speakers or subs to minimize what is labelled as muddling the sound. Over the years of playing this game I have found that a correctly positioned speaker system can be know as “loud and clean” by measuring tools and the same speaker system can also be positioned in a way that is “very loud and unclean” at the exact same volume setting! The real question becomes are you trying to hear the speakers as they were designed to be heard or the room? Speakers cannot image well when trapped in a corner and or near any boundary without some sort of acoustic treatment. So calibration of a speaker should and will only work properly when the speaker itself is freed from excessive boundary interference. That is why calibration is done at tweeter height in your room since the tweeter stands to gain the least from boundary gain and is the most direct sound a speaker build incorporates!
Fair enough, and imo that's why we need room correction, for our homes. I believe many people (but not all obviously) do not prefer the often flattened, cleaned up bass as can be seen in that Sean Olive Harman study, but some RC/REQ system are still of value, especially those that allows the user to shape the target curve. I used to spend hours and hours trying to improve the bass manually using tones, REW, subwoofer, even the towers crawling method but it was still hit and miss, when even the often hated, bashed Audyssey could do an excellent job in 30 minutes.
 
J

jsc1979

Junior Audioholic
Set a tripod up 1 meter or 40 inches from the speaker. Adjust the tripod so the SPL meter or iPhone speaker is facing up at the ceiling but level with the centre of the tweeter. Play the test time. That is your pink noise output level from factory. Now raise or lower the speaker trim/gain to 85 db calibrated to 0.0 as max volume setting. Place the tripod by moving couch or chair right out of the speakers path completely. At tweeter height. Now you know how much SPL you lose from that individual speaker at that point. Lower the SPL or iPhone to ear height at the main seat. Now the SPL will drop 1-2 more db. Do not sit or have the couch in the way during the measurements. Let’s say you lost 3 db at tweeter height and 4 db at ear level. The other main speaker will double the power output bring the combined SPL of two speakers up to 84-85 db. Remember the pink noise is more directional then when your listening to music or movies. Do this process for all your speakers one at a time and the sub last! The 0.0 setting is now calibrated to theatre reference 85 db. You may have added 4 or 5 db at one meter/40” to set the speaker up which means at 0.0 max your speaker is actually at +4 or +5 whatever you had to add. Don’t and I mean this literally don’t sit at your main seat and adjust your speakers to 85 db at ear level. That is a sure fire way to find the limits of your Amps, speakers or subs well before the 0.0 setting. If your speakers are rated at 98 db 1 watt/1m your laughing. You will only use about 8 watts at 105 db output from that speaker by itself at one meter if its less sensitive say 85 db then that speaker will needs a lot more juice to hit reference. 2 Speakers with different sensitivities both hitting reference will be just as loud the only difference is the juice required to accomplish that feat. Higher sensitivity speakers that can reach higher output levels are usually an advantage for power cost (gets very expensive quickly) but higher sensitivity ratings should never be associated with the speaker sounding better then s less sensitive one. Most manufacturers know we don’t listen at concert levels and the average audiophile listens at 83 db with room gain part of that equation they are actually at around -15 to -10 when listening loud and -20 to -30 when listening modesty for obvious reasons. Loud gets exhausting even with great speakers. Having gear that can hit true reference output and actually using it at such levels is not a wise decision regardless if the gear can handle it.


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I just stumbled upon this thread and found it interesting. I have been calibrating all of my speakers at my MLP.

If im understanding this correctly setting the trim levels at the MLP is not the correct way and should be set at 1M? This seems to contradict what I’ve read as all of the other videos I’ve seen and forum posts say to calibrate at your MLP.

I might have to give your method a try as I have been calibrating each individual speaker separately at my MLP.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I just stumbled upon this thread and found it interesting. I have been calibrating all of my speakers at my MLP.

If im understanding this correctly setting the trim levels at the MLP is not the correct way and should be set at 1M? This seems to contradict what I’ve read as all of the other videos I’ve seen and forum posts say to calibrate at your MLP.

I might have to give your method a try as I have been calibrating each individual speaker separately at my MLP.
I'd say you were correct that most will advise to calibrate at the MLP. Personal choices can be different.....try both.
 
L

Leemix

Senior Audioholic
I just stumbled upon this thread and found it interesting. I have been calibrating all of my speakers at my MLP.

If im understanding this correctly setting the trim levels at the MLP is not the correct way and should be set at 1M? This seems to contradict what I’ve read as all of the other videos I’ve seen and forum posts say to calibrate at your MLP.

I might have to give your method a try as I have been calibrating each individual speaker separately at my MLP.
Not setting trim for MLP but at 1m from each speaker is basically the same as lowering the volume of the speakers further away from you and increasing the volume on speakers closer to you.
Changing trim levels for preference is very common, and there is nothing wrong with it, but its best to do it in a way thats controlled and you know what is happening and why.


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