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Old 14th February 2024, 14:17   #1  |  Link
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Stereo speakers calibration for movies.


First let me say that I am doing this for fun and I am trying to find the right volume level to watch my movies for my stereo speakers if it exists.I know these things apply to 5.1 and beyond but I am curious if it will work on my stereo speakers.

We say that ''Your reference level depends on your room size'' and according to my room size my reference level is to be set at 76 db.

I found this site which also has pink noise samples and downloaded the L+R pink noise.If I understood correctly I run this L+R pink noise in stereo and adjust the volume level.I did and set it to 76 db.That's all.

Does it make sense what I've done and does it work in theory?

Last edited by Damien147; 14th February 2024 at 14:27.
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Old 17th February 2024, 00:26   #2  |  Link
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This sample is at -20dBFS which means I have to put 85 db?The correct one to calibrate to 76 db and make some sense has to be -30dBFS?

It will be convenient if someone tells me that I talk nonsense and to adjust volume however I like.

Any other ideas to adjust volume for stereo and movies are welcome.

Last edited by Damien147; 17th February 2024 at 00:29.
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Old 17th February 2024, 14:12   #3  |  Link
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These days it is completely up to your taste and situation.
(..can you afford to bomb your neighbors off the bed or not because the producer shifted gears...)

Movies: Given the poor audio jobs done recently with Blu-ray and UHD releases
(pushing volume for thunder & weapons at the producer's whim by +20dB and then reducing all again for dialogue)
I can not suggest to submit to a one-gain-fits-all.
Some DVD releases are still enjoyable audio-wise, AC3 still allowing for Dialog Normalisation.
5.1 or 7.1 into Stereo 2.0: Yes, the mixdown can exhibit serious flaws, but most of these are already baked-into the source.
The later the release the more I´m being acoustically abused, see above.

With a Sony STR-5700ES or STR-5800ES, Attenuation/Gain is available from -∞, then -92dB up to +23dB.
From here on we talk attenuation, 0dB would mean reference level. But what is the outcome ?

My main conditions: Quiet, well-damped room, easy listening, once, twice per week.
I may raise levels once per month by +10dB (times three) for the "full, but not abusing experience",
and maybe once per year by +14dB (times five) for "the real thing."

Movies: I may start out with -27dB as the first attempt, newer releases may force me to reduce to -32dB, older movies maybe can be listened at -18dB.
CDs: Used with a 0dBFS-touching pop CD the suggested 0dB are already unbearable loud.
I may start out with -27dB as the first attempt and then if it is an older CD and I enjoy it, maybe up it to -12dB.
Used with a classic, not "remastered" CD where a Technics SL-P999 digital level readings hover around at -30..-20dB:
Here PA attenuation can well be -12dB for the whole time, so developing into max. volume only at certain places.
I am going after a constant SPL integral over time, and time being quite long: The album, the movie, the genre, my life.

Calibrating is nice, frequency response-wise, delay compensation-wise, but which producer adheres to volume specs now ?
They want to sell, and the louder one seemed to win.
From here on we talk SPL.
Audio for Vinyl Records/CDs: Historically here in Germany existed a monitoring recommendation:
IIRC the audio engineer had to mix/master under 0dBVU -> 96dB SPL listening conditions.
IIRC this was assuming a classic orchestra playing forte or (fortissimo?) parts.
This was assuming (almost) no compression, delivering HiFi experience at home as it was intended by the composer.
so the quiestest parts being around 40dB SPL, the "Tutti" fff maybe reaching 106dB for a short peak, matching a 2x200W Home PA
60dB dynamics, 70dB maybe possible for high-end cuts for guys with Hi-end PA.
Such cut you may listen to with 0dB, meaning fully-up PA.

But there is almost no new content these days that would use that much range, meaning quiet parts.
If presented with such "Lento" parts the modern listener would ask for turned-up volume or get bored and switch to the next louder program.
So broadcast submitted soon and upped medium volume by any means compressors, limiters, later multi-band, exciters, distortion, melodyne...
The discriminating listener has to escape somehow, and I will rather have to remaster most of the audio tracks for my personal release.

In my active time as live sound engineer I found myself mixing @ 112dB SPL in a 12.000er venue for the typical full-orchestrated pop/rock band
at my elevated F.O.H. position in half-audience depth.
This roughly breaks down to 106dB at audience level around me, 118dB at audience level 6m before PA, 100..96dB in back parts of the venue
and may be 122dB for occasionally sitting ones before the bass bins. This show was well-received.
Behind me was the manager of the band, who drove me there. I probably would have driven 3dB less.

One of my last concerts in the Waldbühne as F.O.H engineer I found myself mixing the same 112dB SPL
in that 22.000er open air amphi-theater for a famous disco band at my elevated F.O.H. position in 2/3 audience depth.
The then-new Umweltamt guys were surrounding the desk with their Bruel&Kjaer leg and demanded a cut down to 98dB or stop the show.
The same manager got into fight with them, and then with me as I tried to negotiate a compromise.
Needless to say I did lose my job later: "I pay you to do what I order and you are willing to go with what these guys say ?"

Some years later I was called off for driving a jazz fusion band "too loud".
Coincidentally a work mate had got his then brand new iPhone out, measured 100dB at my desk and showed it to me.
It sounded nice, we were happy with the readout, I was again following the band leader's/producer's directions: "We need good power".
But one certain important person in the audience had complained...

Some weeks later the same producer had called in a replacement mixing engineer.
As the stage manager I happened to be in the same venue's audience, my work mate measured 120dB with the very same iPhone.
To both of us it was uncomfortably loud, but producer and his bureau crew were smoking happily.
I went up to the men's loo with his iPhone, still measuring 102dB there (!)
"To bypass shortcuts and find suffering...is called QUALity" (Die toten Augen von Friedrichshain)
"Data reduction ? Yep, Sir. We're that issue working on. Synce invntoin uf lingöage..."

Last edited by Emulgator; 17th February 2024 at 15:37.
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Old 17th February 2024, 16:18   #4  |  Link
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....adjust volume however I like if I understood correctly the conclusion.Thank you very much.
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Old 21st February 2024, 14:55   #5  |  Link
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I thought that it made sense too but I am new to this and that's why I asked.I wasn't sure if this pink noise was the appropriate and found another one which seemed to be the right one.By reading this pink noise thread I found another guy that has done the same to his stereo speakers.I gave up and adjust volume however I like though but your answer makes me wanna test it a bit more and see how it goes.Thank you.
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