Dynamic EQ and Reference Level

What is Dynamic EQ and reference level?

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184 Comments

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    Rob Brooks

    I found the same thing with my surrounds.

    BUT. i had them pointing directly at the main listening position. 

    I was recommended that I fire them directly at each other across the rooom.

    I did so and re-ran audyssey and they were much better

    much less "directional" and more enveloping surround experience

    I had issues with one of my mains running out of trim and being 2dB too loud. so i had to manually raise all the other trims using a dB meter anyway.

    have you checked your trims are not maxxed out?

    I also find some content is simply mixed very loud in the surrounds and others is not

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    Tim Catley

    My surrounds are already firing at each other from across the room.

    Audyssey set my speaker levels as follows:

    Left Front -4.5dB

    Center -5.0dB

    Right Front -5.0dB

    Right Surround -3.5dB

    Left Surround -4.0dB

    Front Dual Subs -3.0dB

    Rear Dual Subs -7.0dB

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Tim,

    If the speakers are not pointing to the mic, then Audyssey may not read their level correctly.  The level adjustment of the surround speakers was based on extensive study of film mixer adjustments as we turned the volume down.  Our impression of surround envelopment diminishes faster from the back and that's how we came up with the level adjustment rules.

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    Miles Irving

    Hi Chris, When I do the Audyssey calibration on the Integra DHC80.3, it sets my dual sub levels at +5.5dB, even after doing the 75dB setting at the beginning of the calibration. This is fine, however, I often like to run the subs +3dB hotter which means I am sitting at +9dB on the Integra's sub trim levels, which from what I read is less than ideal. Therefore I re ran Audyssey and at the beginning when Audyssey asks to set the individual sub levels to 75dB, I instead set them both to 80dB. After full calibration I checked the sub trim levels in the menu and they were both at -0.5dB. Is what I have done correct in order to have the subs doing the gain instead of the Integra? I then added 3db to the -0.5db settings and subsequently set the reference level offset to 5 db in order to maintain accurate implementation of Dynamic Eq. Is this correct? Or should I leave the offset to 0 db?

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Miles,

    There is no problem whatsoever with setting the level to +9 dB to match your personal preference.  The individual speaker trims and the master volume control basically do the same thing.  I will never understand why "the internet" keeps saying that trims closer to 0 are ideal.  It's a bit silly.

    Running the subs hotter will not be perfectly compensated by reference level offset.  You will simply have Dynamic EQ run hotter than reference all the time. But that's why it's called "preference" :-)

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    Santo Budi

    Hi Chris, I just want to ask about Source Level in my Denon AVR 1610.

    I know that source level is the input level from BD player. If I turn up or turn down the source level dB, is it change the audio quality of the source or not. For example if I set to -12 dB are the freq range of the source (ie. BD movies) become narrower or lost or still remain the same.

    I mean is the audio quality still the same - only the receiver's volume decreasing ?

    Cause I found that my system sound better - specially for the subwoofer performance when I point to -12dB.

    Thank you very much. 

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Santo,

    The input level adjustment has no effect on the frequency response of the incoming source.  However, it does have an effect on Audyssey Dynamic EQ.  When you turn down the input level, Dynamic EQ starts to use a different reference level to make its adjustments.  It is calibrated for movie content that is mixed to a known standard.  But, music content is not mixed to a standard so it's often needed to turn down the input level to get better performance from Dynamic EQ.  In later models this is call Reference Level Offset and it achieves the same adjustment for Dynamic EQ.

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    Santo Budi

     "When you turn down the input level, Dynamic EQ starts to use a different reference level to make its adjustments" , so do you mean that the audio performance totally different from what I expect. If yes, what should I do.

    FYI I set the cut-off freq = max, vol = 12 o'clock, phase = 0, lpf for lfe = 120 Hz, my subs = JBL PSW1000.

    Thank you Chris. 

     

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    Audyssey Labs

    These settings are OK. No need to make any changes.

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    Santo Budi

    Thank you very much Chris.

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    Menno Mulder

    Dear Chris,

    Let me start by saying, thanks for all the help your offering! I recently bought a new receiver (Onkyo TX-NR809) and a complete Dali surround set. Dali zensor 7 front and zensor 5 back. Incl center speaker, but NO subwoofer. After running Audyssey i noticed an annoying hissing sound with different sound modes when i turn up the volume. I read on different forums on the internet people are experiencing similar problems when using Audyssey. And 2 things that often are being suggested is to turn Dynamic EQ off since it not only boosts certain frequenties but also the noise is boosted. I agree with you (as you mention in a similar question from someone else) the noise is being produced by the receiver and not the Dynamic EQ setting. And when i completly  turn up the volume without Dynamic EQ on, there is also noise, but then barely noticeable. At least not to a level where it annoys me. With Dynamic EQ on i already here a hissing sound at volumes of -30 to -35 when pauzing the music.

    Another tip i got was to select in Onkyo's speaker setup; Subwoofer "Yes" and then to select double bass. This amazingly also takes away the hissing sound. I don't understand how or why this works, maybe you have any idea about this? I wonder if this also means i'll be rid of this annoying hiss since i am planning to buy the subwoofer next year.

    Offcourse i don't want to do any of the above steps. Cause i want to fully enjoy my sound expirience and i do not want to downscale the quality of the sound it can offer to compensate for the hissing noise.

    I already took all connections and cables out to see if it was because of something else i had connected. But no luck. Hope you have any suggestions. Any help is really appreciated!

    And sorry for my bad english.

     

    Thanks, Menno Mulder

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Menno,

    Dynamic EQ performs adjustments to the entire frequency range including the high frequencies.  But, that only happens when you start turning the volume down.  So, this noise would not be more audible because of Dynamic EQ.  

    The fact that it goes away when selecting Subwoofer = Yes (that has nothing to do with Audyssey) tells me that there is a problem with the hardware.  I would highly recommend you talk to Onkyo Service about this as it is not related to Audyssey software.

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    greg pak

     

    Hi Chris,

    could you verify this for me?  - a limitation of MultEQ XT.

    *-----------------------------------------------*

    Another thing that capture my attention was that if you change your speaker settings after the Audyssey set up you will not be able to activate or select Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, but to me this is a limitation of MultEQ XT and its something that doesn't happens on some models like the Onkyo TXNR818.

     

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/AEXY0HQUDVMB6/ref=cm_pdp_rev_more?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview#RGADXJNYJ2MGH

    *---------------------------------

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    Audyssey Labs

    In the earlier implementations we did not allow activation of Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume unless you first run MultEQ.  That's because the calibration of levels that it provides is needed to get the correct performance from these technologies.

    However, Onkyo asked us (and we complied) to allow Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume to be turned on even if you don't first run MultEQ.

    I don't see how this is interpreted as a limitation...

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    greg pak

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your quick response.

    "a limitation of MultEQ XT: after the Audyssey set up you will not be able to activate or select Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume" was for Denon avr3313.

    How about on Denon avr3313? Is this allowed or not?

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    Audyssey Labs

    I don't have the manual in front of me, but I believe Denon still requires you to set up the MultEQ calibration first.  In any case, regardless of whether it's allowed or not, you should never use Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume without first calibrating with MultEQ.

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    BamBamMickey

    Chris, I'd just like to say you are a god of technical information when it comes to reference level, home theatre setup and being unbelieveably helpful.
    If I were a female I'd be looking to marry you :).
    Thanks for all your posts on these boards, I read your posts regularly and enjoy them so much and I feel I know everything there is to know about setting up a home theatre properly.
    I never need to ask a question
    Thanks

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hey Mickey, thanks! Marriage is a big step though... Let's start with a beer :-)

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    Santo Budi

    Hi Chris,

    Already read some of your post and I just want to ask :

    1. Reference Level same as Source Level in receiver, which one better.

    2. When watching bluray movies using Ref Level 10 dB or Source Level -10 dB, is that           the same sound performance w/ the same dynamic range we can heard compare when     the above set to 0 dB ? I mean no loss frequencies or no audio DRC (which make the         loud parts quieter and the soft parts louder)

        Cause I found that some certain movies has an aggressive low freq that makes some         rattle & boomy on my Wharfedale SW150 and when I set to : 10 dB Ref Level or -10 dB     Source Level, it sound good & still deep w/o those annoying sound. 

        Thanks,                                                                                                                               Santo. 

          

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Santo,

    Those two controls do the same thing: they tell Dynamic EQ to do less adjustment.  In the early models with Dynamic EQ there was no Reference Level Offset control so adjusting the input source level was the only way.  But now you can do it either way with the same result.

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    Santo Budi

    Thanks Chris.

    One more question. If I feel that the reference level 0 dB (when watching movies) doesn't appropriate with me and I change it to 15 dB (for example) is the audio performance still the best, because in this case is like not reference but preference, isn't it.

    Thanks. 

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    Audyssey Labs

    Yes, that's preference. But nothing wrong with that!

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    Santo Budi

    Thanks Chris.

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    Brodey Dover

    I'm amazed that people think this technology is new. It's a minor variance of Bose's Dynamic EQ from 50 years ago...I'm also amazed that people don't understand how it works. Look at the response of human ear at different loudness levels. Looks familiar? Click LOUDNESS on your old stereo amp, bam, "Audyssey".

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    Audyssey Labs

    This technology was developed exactly because those so-called Loudness controls did not work.  In most cases they made things worse.  The main reasons they didn't work were:

    They were based on the wrong curves. Most loudness controls were based on data collected at Bell Labs by Fletcher and Munson in the 1930s. While these curves characterized the effect, the measurements themselves were imprecise, due to the primitive equipment that was used at that time.

    They were mimicking the curves themselves. In order to hear content played back at a different volume than the original, loudness compensation controls should have been based on the difference between the curves of the reference level and the playback level.

    No input level calibration was available. There was no way to know the original mix level of the program material. Thus, there was no starting point to find the difference between the original level and the playback level.

    No output level calibration was available. Varying electrical gain after the volume control, speaker sensitivity, and room acoustics made it impossible to determine the exact output level. These factors all conspired to make a particular volume control setting to be reproduced with very wide variations.

    Loudness controls were not dynamic. For example, an orchestra typically plays at 100 dB SPL on peaks and at 50 dB SPL during soft passages. When the volume is turned down by 20 dB for home listening, the peaks and soft passages require different loudness correction. More compensation is required when the starting level is low and attenuated than when high and attenuated. This lack of content-based dynamic control also added to the boomy bass of earlier loudness systems.

    More info on what Dynamic EQ does about these problems here.

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    BamBamMickey

    Happy Christmas Chris.
    Hope you had a good one.
    One question, is TV shows like the sopranos on Blu Ray referenced at 0db?
    I assume its the TV broadcasters that use -10db?
    Regards Mickey

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Mickey,

    It's very hard to know what the reference mix level is for these shows.  Most big budget TV show productions are mixed to film reference.  However, if the transfer to BD is done by people other than the original mixers (a common problem) then we have no idea what was used...

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    scott benson

    Hi chris,

    regarding refrence volume you say it it is 75db but thx state amps with thx 

    Experience Studio Clarity: THX Certified Receivers reproduce studio Reference Level, 85dB SPL with 20dB of headroom

    why is this, and what should these amp be set up using a meter.

    I have mine set at 85db so that means 0db =85db, and -10db= 75db.

     

    scott.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Scott,

    It's actually the exact same calibration level.  The AVR uses a –30 dB test signal to give you 75 dB SPL.  That's exactly the same as using a –20 dB test signal to give you 85 dB SPL.  AVR makers think that –20 dB pink noise is "too loud" for consumers so they went with the lower level test signal.  But the calibration level is exactly as required for film levels.

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    scott benson

    Ah ok so the amp pink noise is -30db and the amp sets the speakers(trims in my case to -10) to 75db.

    but if i set it using a meter im just upping the trims(pink noise to say 0(on the trims which gives me) 85db,

    dont think that makes sense.

     

    so if i set each speaker to 85db in the trims(using the pink noise of the amp) is that right that refrence volume is still 0.

     

    because if i leave it as audessey sets the levels its defo quieter then if i set the level.

     

    what should i be doing.

     

    at the moment i havent run audessy because i had to reset my amp yeaterday so my speakers are set via my meter.

     

    I thought that if audessey set the trims after calibration (75db) and i adjusted each one up by 10 on the trims which is 85db then where is the refrence volume is it now -10 instead of 0.

     

    thanks.

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