View Full Version : SPL meter - sound investment?
05-28-2002, 02:12 PM
After installing my system, I calibrated the six channels by ear. My receiver allows me to adjust from -12dB to +12dB in 1dB increments. I thought that I had it set, but after a couple weeks watching DVDs, I further tweaked a couple speakers up/down 1 dB. I redid my "ear" calibration test and would have returned the channels back to the original values if it wasn't for the fact that I thought the new tweaks sounded better.
I borrowed a friend's SPL meter this weekend. Get this - the SPL meter readings matched what my original ear calibration had determined. I did not adjust any channels to match the SPL meter as I still think my tweaks sound better.
My point? Does anyone think a $60 SPL meter is worth the cost for the one-time setup of a personal HT system? :confused:
Maybe for a professional installer, but I think that the average user is better off using their ears.
05-28-2002, 03:22 PM
It's good for other things too, like finding the optimal place for a subwoofer by creating a frequency response graph. Of course, I still haven't bought one yet. I'll have to remedy this situation.
05-28-2002, 03:24 PM
I think a paid more like $30 for mine and YES it was well worth the investment. I used it for my main HT and my livingroom HT. Most HT people are always under continous improvement. New speakers---changing placement---new equipment. I have also hepled friends set up there HT's. The Video Esentials Disc was $50 and that was also very much worth it. And in saying that I can cal. a TV by looking at it but when I do it with VE disc it looks even better. Now if you want to talk expensive check out the people that do this for a living. Mantis knows what I am talking about--video and sound cal. equipment worth more than a person's car. I have seen HT sound devices that measure stuff I do not even understand --like room acoustics for speakers placement and such that run like $7000. If a person is that to cheap not to buy an SPL meter, pick one up at Ratshack use it and bring it back and say it doesn't work. :rolleyes:
05-28-2002, 07:22 PM
Calibrated ears you have robert,
Yes An SPL is a sound investment,and a nessary tool for Installers(as I am one of them).I couldn't live without mine,I own 2.The set up disks are also a usefull tools.
05-28-2002, 10:29 PM
MANTIS ---- I am curious, i do HT setup/install in my small cheap town of 30,000 and i am lucky to do 2 installs a month. Tons of people interested in HT but everybody wusses out when it is time to take care of bussiness. (Wife, No $) Have a 50 hour a week job as an areospace mechanic. Me and my girlfriend are known as the people with THE HT. I run ads in my local newspaper to stir up interest. I also took the THX Certified Training Program.
Is this what you do for a living? How large is your city? Has it been profitable for u? (I am sure there are people who make thousands a month) not to mention the huge gaining popularity of the bussiness.
What type of installs? (Plug and go's)(custom)
I am quessing u are not too busy considering you are on this site about 5 hours aday. Ha!!!
Give me the scoop man! Being a full time HT installer would be like my dream job.;)
05-28-2002, 11:46 PM
I'm a FULLTIME CUSTOM HOME THEATER,MUTILROOM AUDIO,AUTOMATION,PROGRAMMER,INSTALLER!
I work for Soundex.You should check out our web site.WWW.soundexonline.com
We are high end carring Elan, Krell ,Wilson Audio,Dynaudio,Martin Logan,Audio Research,Mark Levinston,Dunlevy,B&W,Rotel,B&K...just to name a few.You can say I work for a SNoB shop as some of you call it.
I make alot of money doing what I do...I live very fine thank you.
We do full custom job's ranging from a simple 12k system to a full blown 300k multiroom audio/audiomation Theater system.
I put in at least one system a day,unless we have a big job that could take weeks or months.Smaller jobs we do 2 to 3 jobs a day.
We are a multi million dollar company.Before I worked for Soundex, I worked for Tweeter.Another big company thats a multi Million dollar company at a different level then Soundex.2 different worlds I have Installed in.Tweeter was a good company to work for.They also pay very/extremely well.
As far as the time i spend on here........thats none of your bussiness as well as anything else for that matter.
If you want a friendly post, I can do that,want to attack me......thats another story.
Want to question me .....try me.
05-28-2002, 11:54 PM
how much is the thx traning program?
05-29-2002, 01:23 AM
Thanks Mantis for answering my questions, I was just interested. Don't mean to knock ya. If I was making making the big $--installing Krell equipment allday I don't think I would be playing around on a Polk Audio site. It's like working and eating at Spago's and spending the rest of the day hanging around at Taco Bell??????? :eek:
05-29-2002, 01:27 AM
goinggonzo, if you go to THX.com you can find out all about it. It changes every year. Now the latest and greatest is a home training program. It is pretty cool to kick down the big bucks and go the Skywalker Ranch Program. ;)
05-29-2002, 01:02 PM
Where can i get SPL and basicly what is the SPL ????
Sound level meters are available at Radio Shack. Thay carry an analog and digital version. IMO the analog one is easier to use, and cheaper.
05-29-2002, 01:10 PM
Want to question me....try me?
Gosh Darnit, you just can't pay for entertainment this good...
05-29-2002, 01:14 PM
...and the hits just keep on coming.....
05-29-2002, 09:39 PM
let me tell you something......I have been into Polk's all my life.They are a family brand as well as Sony and Yamaha.Over the years I did everything I could possibly could to make my system sound the best it can be.When I worked for tweeter, I still felt my Polk's sounded as good as anything they carried untill you got to the Sonus Faber's and Vienna Accoustics.Polk holds no ground against those companies.
After years of owning,being around Polk and since I have Worked for a high end company,yes my Polk's suck now to me.I don't enjoy them as I once did, you can say I out grown them.
There is some good people in here.I have been posting in here for years.I joined this site a long time ago.It's fun helping others with there problems.Home theater systems aren't as easy as they once were.If I can help someone,I enjoy doing it.Thats the only reason I still post here.And it's fun.
05-29-2002, 10:16 PM
It's fun helping others with there problems.Home theater systems aren't as easy as they once were.If I can help someone,I enjoy doing it.
That's Cool!!!!! I do as well.:)
I would really like to see your HT rig. It must be pretty amazing. All your knowledge, the companys you have worked for and the amount of time you have been into this hobbie. WHY havnt you put your system in The System Showcase???????? This has me puzzeled. Or maybe you have your own website---I would like to check it out. :D
05-29-2002, 11:01 PM
My current system, I don't own a digital camera(which I need to buy)But I can tell you about it.Its getting all out when I finish building my new house(it just takes forever for them to build our new neighorhood).
Heres my current system as it stands.
TV..........................Sony wega XBR 36"
Dvd player.............Poineer Elite dv47a
Laserdisk...............Pioneer Elite CLD59
DSS........................Phillips dsr6000 Tivo/dss combo
VCR........................Mitsubishi HSu746 S-VHS
CD.........................Pioneer Elite PDF-19
Cables..................Transparent and Monstercable mix.
This system is in my livingroom and pulls double duty.I will be selling most of it soon.All the speakers,receiver,All the Monstercables.
The tv,tivo and the vcr are going in my new familyroom.
A theater room in the basement in under construction.I will be using a Sharp z9000u DLP projector and a Stewart Firehawk 100 inch screen for video.
Speakers are going to be Dynaudio unless another company I feel sounds better.The Receiver is in the air as B&K is releasing a new avr507 soon,currently I have me eye on the Rotel rsx1065,Pioneer Elite vsx49tx.After I move in I will deside which one comes home with me after I test all three in a receiver shootout with the Dynaudio audience 82's.I still have a ear for B&W N803's and the rest of the theater package,put I'm favoring Dynaudio as the more I listen to them the more i love them.They mate extremly well with all the above receivers I just need to figure out which one is best.
The new sub will be a Rel Strata 3 or a Storm.Rel is the only sub I care for at this time.
05-30-2002, 01:29 AM
I will be using a Sharp z9000u DLP projector and a Stewart Firehawk 100 inch screen for video.
O.K. now you are talking my language-----very impressive!!!!!!!!
Pass go----collect $200
I just purchased a 100" greyhawk replacing my white matte Da-Lite. Made a 20% improvement on my Sanyo LCD. (Color and Contrast) I can not what for HD DVD. :D
05-30-2002, 07:06 AM
you should see the new firehawk,its even better then the grey hawk.Better blacks with lcd .Colors are rich as well.
05-30-2002, 08:55 AM
You wouldn't be using that Denon receiver for a preamp now would you?
05-30-2002, 09:47 AM
Want to question me .....try me.
those who live in glass houses.....
05-30-2002, 09:55 AM
Tell me what you think of my setup (I'm curious).
Krell KAV250A & KAV250P (2-channel Mains and HT pass-thru)
Polk SRS SDA 3.1TL (mains)
RT800i's (side surrounds)
RT25i's (rear surrounds)
Only reason I mention mine is that its very similar to yours.
05-30-2002, 09:05 PM
I use the B&K st140 for multiroom audio to power my rt35i's in my masterbed.I used to install it for music playback to improve the quality oof the main channels on my Pioneer Elite vsx26tx.I never used it for theater as using different amps cause tonal shifts all across the front soundstage as well as matching the rears.So NO I don't use it that way in my current setup.Ibrought home a B&K pt3b preamp for 2 channel but found it to be a pain in the ass to keep switching the wires around for theater.I perfer to build a stand alone 2 channel system as I told you about once before.Mark Levinston No 383 intergraded and a pair of Dynaudio contour 3.0s.
I'm suprised you didn't go for the Home theater standard.It drives the hell out of the kav amps.The Denon has a lower output voltage,it will distort before you get maxDynamic range out of your amps.
You have a nice system byt the way,I love the older polk speakers,I used to own the SDA-2B'S,they were nice.Sounded real good on my old B&K st140.How do they mate with the newer models,I didn't like the way my SDA-2B'S mated.
What kind of wire do you have running from the receiver to the krell's?And wire on the rest of the system?
05-30-2002, 09:35 PM
but just to clarify, that amp is being preamped by a receiver?
05-30-2002, 10:21 PM
For multiroom,yes.For a main room amp,no.When you use 7.1 in the main zone, you use up all the internal amps, so now you need to add another amp if you want to use the multiroom.With this setup, I can watch a surround es or ex movie while my Woman or children use the cd player or DSS or whatever they want to hear in the masterbed, therefore not wasting any internal amps.If I converted the main room into 5.1 then no amp would be required to run multiroom as the Denon can be reasigned to power the 2nd zone with the surround back amps.
06-03-2002, 03:00 PM
Not to harp but you have your reason to use the receiver as a preamp. So does everyone else, your reason is legit to you and I'm sure that to other's thier reasons are legit to them. Therefore, I say people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
06-03-2002, 05:50 PM
I'm thinking about picking up an SPL myself. Mostly out of curiosity, neighbors, tenants, etc. Calibrate by ear. You listen to the music, the meter doesn't. If you get a RatShack SPL, I've seen a conversion chart around here to compensate for the inaccuracy of calibration of this calibration device. Maybe somebody will repost/link it. Remember, any given person's hearing is not =/-0 dB 20hz-20Khz. Unless you also get your hearing checked at all frequencies to use as a baseline, test tones and meters do that patience can't. And even then it should be used as a starting point.
Mantis: I too caught this pre-out(wanna-be) and was going to give you a friendly razzing, but the point has been made. I whole heartedly agree; as I'm sure others will, that using a different amp for your mains compared to center can be bad. Had it been voiced differently initially or subsequently I think everything would've been different. I too have multi-room on my piddly JVC. I'm using the 2nd room pre-outs for a Dynaco to drive a 2nd pair of mains. It works for me.
06-03-2002, 06:08 PM
How in the hell did I miss this post?? I almost fell out of my chair when I started reading this! mantis is a WANNABE!:lol: Welcome to my kingdom Sir mantis!:D
06-03-2002, 10:01 PM
you got me....I'm a wannabe.....you see i was trying to tell you guys not to be like me but you insist on dissagreeing with me.So now the wannbe fan club can start,we can have meeting on this topic and throw the parties for the Kings.
All kidding aside, gidrah was the only one who read my posts and found logic in it.The whole tonal shifting is real noticable when wathcing movies,I know because I used to hook my amp to the front channels for better 2 channel sound....hence a wannabe!!
BUt I learned from my own mistakes and found a new home for the amp,out of the theater where it belongs.Keeping the same amps all the way around is so Important.But for multiroom ,you have to use an external amp or use the surround back amps and go back to 5.1 in the theater.
by the way nascarmann you were missed...I don't know about anyone else but I missed you!:lol:
06-03-2002, 10:11 PM
by the way nascarmann you were missed...I don't know about anyone else but I missed you!
Kiss me and all is forgiven? :lol: What can I say?;)
06-03-2002, 10:22 PM
Naaaa......Id rather argue with you over anything then kiss you:eek:
06-03-2002, 10:28 PM
I think you would get less flack if you'd have said from the get go "this is what I did and this is what I found" rather than immediately belittling others.
People liked to be talked to, not down at.
06-03-2002, 10:30 PM
Naaaa......Id rather argue with you over anything then kiss you
Well, I tried? Think it fun though? If not I will stop!:rolleyes:
06-03-2002, 10:56 PM
are you referring to me???I'm not quite sure what you mean my your post.
That was a joke as well nasscarmann I'm a straight man with 2 kids
06-03-2002, 11:02 PM
Man, You guys are sooooo GAY!!!!!!!!:lol:
06-04-2002, 07:41 AM
not to beat a dead horse but the whole tonal shift thing....
In theory I get that each amp has it's own sound BUT, wouldn't that be the case with the amp in your powered tower as well? It certainly isn't the same as the amp in your receiver. How about the amp in the powered sub?
06-04-2002, 08:22 AM
The amp built in to the powered tower I assume is matched to sound as close to the rest of the speakers as possible.I'm not sure on that but thats the best I can do on that.The mid to high's in the theater system are all running from 80hz and above,except the powered towers which cut off at 90 hz,this is where you can hear the biggest difference in tonal shifting.When you change one of the amps driving any of the speakers, you get a slightly different sound quality.When your watching movies,you want to watch the movie and not be distracted by the system.Its like changing one of the speakers and putting a different brand in place of one.It just sounds different.I call this tonal shift,as the tone from one to the next changes enough to sound different.
Give this a try and see what you come up with.
Back to the powered tower thing,your question is right on the money.Powered tower's are not for me anymore as I had problems getting them to sound right or good in my system.I wish back then Polk made a passive version of the rt1000 series,I like the tightness of the mid bass and high's in a sealed cabnet.The sub has been the problem all along.
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