Microphone placement?

When calibrating my system with MultEQ, where should the microphone be placed?

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208 Comments

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Rob, it's not a good idea to have the gain all the way up.  The AVR will run out level compensation range.  It shows -12 dB now, but that's all it can do.  Most likely it needs to cut more to bring the sub to reference level.  So, the midway point is more typical and sometimes you have to go even lower than that depending on sub placement.  Any trim value other than ±12 dB is fine.

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    Argifotini1992

    Hi Chris

    for your precious  help all these years , I would like to THANK YOU !

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    Audyssey Labs

    You are most welcome Argyri.

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    Bobby Lisanti

    Chris,

    So I ran it again and I got +0.5 for the sub setting after putting the gain ( Level ) on the third dot, although when I put Toy Story on it seemed a little loud ( the Sub cone was vibrating alot ) I just backed off on the level.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Bobby, some of this may be personal preference.  The gain you are getting is right in the middle of the adjustment range of the AVR so you are fine there.

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    Bobby Lisanti

    Thanks again Chris!

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    Silmott

    Chris, I love how well Audyssey works with my home stereo.  Now I want to use it in my car and replace my Cleansweep with an Alpine PXE-H660.  I want to have it professionally installed, but suspect that most installers will just want to use the standard 4 positions since they won't need to drag out a computer to do more positions (though I could just recalibrate it myself later).  It would seem that more positions is preferable as it is with a home setup.  If so, do you have suggestions as to where the extra positions would yield the most benefit to the computations?  Also, is there an upcoming standalone unit that will incorporate XT32 instead of XT expected anytime soon?

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    Guy LaRochelle

    Hello Chris

    This is great information, thanks! One question... I have a Denon 3808 with Paradigm Monitor 5 as front speakers, 4 Micro for surround channels, CC-290 as center and PDR-10 as subwoofer. You mention in the document that all speakers should be set to "Small" otherwise no bass will be sent at all to the subwoofer... I find this a little strange as I seem to remember that mine are not set to Small but probably Large (although not full range I think) and I do get bass on my sub.

    Anyway, with the kind of setup I have, do you still recomment to set the speakers to "Small" ?

    Thanks!

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    Audyssey Labs

    @Silmott   Yes, it's important to measure more positions so that the algorithm can capture the data from the car cabin.  Typically, the best results are obtained by taking a few more positions in the driver and passenger seat.  In other words, bias the front of the car more than the back seat.  We have not heard about any plans from Alpine on an upgraded processor for the car.

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    Audyssey Labs

    @Guy The definition of Large and Small is as follows:

    Large: Turn off bass management and don't redirect any bass to the subwoofer.  For 5.1 content only the separate LFE track will be sent to the sub.  For 2-ch stereo there will be no bass sent to the sub.

    Exception: If you have set the subwoofer mode to LFE+Main then bass goes to the sub even for Large speakers.  However, this is a terrible thing to do because the bass is also sent to the speakers and you end up with boomy overlapping bass.

    Small: redirect the bass below the crossover frequency to the subwoofer.  

    Small is better because the MultEQ XT filters in the subwoofer channel have 8x more resolution.  That means that the bass response will be much smoother in the sub and so sending the bass there for reproduction will give you better performance.

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    Stephan Leroy Folkes

    Hi,

    this is not really the exact thread to ask this question but here goes. I have a Samsung HT-C6930W home theater system and was wanting to mount the back rear speakers. According to the booklet, it states that the speakers should be 70cm to 1m away from the listening position. I want to mount from (they're currently on stands) on the back wall but it would be about 1.2m to 1.5m distance away. To compensate the distance would it be best to set the delays and/or increase the db to make up for the longer distance? Or should I do what was recommended in the booklet? Thanks

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Stephan,

    It doesn't matter what the distance is because you can compensate for it via the delay control (I assume your model has these).  You will have to do this for all speakers in the system because proper calibration starts with sound from all speakers and sub arriving at the same time.  After that you will also have to set the speaker levels because proper setup requires that all speakers and sub play at the same level as each other as you move the volume control up and down.  This is achieved by adjusting the level trims.  However, it does require an SPL meter and test tones to set the levels.

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    Stephan Leroy Folkes

    @Chris

    Thanks for that you just dissolved one of my concerns. I have another two questions however, I was thinking about placing the rear speakers the same height as the side surrounds at about 1.68m from the ground which is just over 2 feet above ear level. Do you think that would be fine as well? And what SPL meter would you advise me to purchase? Thanks in advance.

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    Argifotini1992

    in my case I put the surround back little more heigher, and tweeter do not look straigth to my ears.

    Also a spl meter from radio shack it will be OK ,

    But wait for Chris answer. 

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    Audyssey Labs

    The Height of the Back Surround speakers is not that important.  Above ear level is recommended so that they are not easy to localize.  Any SPL meter will work for measuring the levels.

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    Stephan Leroy Folkes

    Chris@

    I have another question what do you recommend the width of the back rear speakers to be? Should they be in line with the front left and right speakers ideally to create a wider sound field? My left and right speakers are about 1.95m away from one another. I had one speaker in line before, (apart from the left rear speaker) just would like to know your opinion thanks again.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Stephan,

    There are varying opinions about this.  Dolby recommends wide spacing and THX recommends very close spacing.  Both make their own arguments.  In my opinion, the importance of the Back Surrounds is highly overstated.  It really won't make much difference how you space them so I recommend doing it based on whatever is easier for your room.

    What really makes the biggest improvement to 5.1 surrounds sound is adding Wide speakers to the front.  Research in psychoacoustics has shown that this is the most important direction for expanding the soundstage.  The second most important is Height speakers up front.  Back Surrounds are a distant third.

    More info here: http://www.audyssey.com/audio-technology/audyssey-dsx

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    Stephan Leroy Folkes

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks once again I actually did some research on that in the past and found it to be quite interesting indeed. But I'm skeptical about the height speakers. According to a few people and reviews like this; ( http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10220826-47.html) the reviewer said that it didn't make much of a difference and/or was difficult to hear. They made a second attempt though, but they got the same results. ( http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10230238-1.html) They did admit that maybe in the future height speakers may have their place though. However, there were other people that were impressed.

    I have a few questions to ask you. I'll like to know your opinion on my side surround positioning, about wide speaker placement and about a rear center speaker. 

    My side surrounds are not exactly in line with my seating area. (BTW if you haven't realized already I have a 7.1 set-up) They sound fine until I tilted them towards the listening area. In fact, they sound better however, they're about 50cm away from my seating area. Don't ask me how I placed them there LOL. Do you think it would be better to line them exacting with my seating area or leave them because they sound fine?

    About the wide speakers I think it would be good especially it should create better panning between the sides and front speakers. But let's say I wanted to update my receiver for wide surrounds. Would they be between the fronts and sides in the middle? For an example, my sides are about 4ft away from the front left and right speakers. Would that mean the wide surrounds would be 2ft from the fronts and sides? If there needs to be more spacing, it wouldn't be much of a problem because I can rearrange my room for that.

    Finally, would it make sense or be possible to have a rear center speaker in say a 10.2 set-up? instead of having 2 speakers as height speakers? Looking at the Audyssey positioning there's only one configuration for that set-up. Or do you think it would somehow have a negative effect altogether? 

    I hope that wasn't too much for you and thanks once again.

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    Audyssey Labs

    Re: surround speakers. They should really be dipoles... I know there is a big disagreement between the movie and music industry about this, but the fact is that 90% or more of surround content is movies.  Dipoles are better at creating the needed diffuse sound field that matches what you hear in a movie theater.  Pointing surround speakers to the listener causes them to be more localized and this is not desirable for surround content in film.

    Re: Wides.  They need to be at ±60° relative to the center (0°).  This puts them twice as far apart as your front L and R speakers.

    Re: Back Surround.  It's the least important direction.  Wides are the most important, followed by Heights and then Back Surrounds.  Keep in mind that only a couple of AVRs today support the capability to have all 11 channels.  Most are 7- or 9-channel products and the choice there is clear: no need for Back Surrounds.

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    Stephan Leroy Folkes

    @Chris

    Thanks for the reply. I disagree with the surround placement part and the rear speakers as well. But nevertheless people do have opinions and/or preferences regarding this anyway. According to something I read was that apparently majority of people preferred direct sound rather than diffused sound.

    About the rear speaker part I like them when watching films, (even though not many are in 7.1) music and especially with games. Like when you open a door and you can hear it shut behind you and/or you hear footsteps and/or gunshots. In other words for me they create tension. I think we humans would be more tense with sound from behind us then anyway else. Think of it like playing in the playground and your playing a game of "it" and your trying to get away but, you didn't see one of your friends behind you. That right there is what I'm talking about I'll be more afraid of not seeing something behind me rather then any other direction.

    Thanks for this discussion anyway if I have anymore questions I'll ask. Cheers.

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    Simsaladim

    Chris,

     

    What if the MLP is on the couch which is up against the back wall?.

    What is the better option in your opinion?.

     

    a. measure on the MLP which in my case puts the mic. at 25 cm. from the back wall, but exactly where my ears would be.

    b. measure from a given minimal distance from the back wall, even if this is not where my ears will be?.

     

    What does audyssey recommend being a "safe" distance from the wall?.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Dimitri

      

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    Patrick Williams

    Hi Chris -  I'll be getting a pre/pro with XT32. It's a 7.1 system, but the 2 rear speakers will be mounted behind the couch where I listen from, on brackets facing up. They will be about 15 inches below the top of the couch, out of line of sight for the mic. I know this isn't optimum, but will it calibrate OK?

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    Audyssey Labs

    @ Simsaladim the best method is (b).  You should be at least 50 cm from the back wall to get away from the bass buildup that happens there and can influence the measurements.

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    Audyssey Labs

    @Patrick

    You may have an issue because MultEQ may not "hear" the highest frequency range if the speakers are below the couch.  It will give you an error if that happens.  If you don't get an error then the data collected is fine.

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    Samuel fleming

    I have an onkyo 807 that has multi eq and my home theater room is a small bedroom. I have space limitations so my listening area is right against the back wall and my surround left an right are pointed directly to my ears is this a good idea. I also see that it is not recomended to have the mic right on a wall when doing the test because of reflections so should i move the farther up even though thats not where i would sit, what do you think i should do. I need to know because i ran audessy like that and when bass hits in music like a kick drum instead of a nice smooth punch i sounds kind of like the sub is trying to make like a fake ehoe sound. So what should i do.

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    Alex0925

    Hi Samuel,

    I just wanted to share my experience with you as I am in a very similar situation to yours - also a small bedroom with a listening position on a couch which is practically against the back wall. It's perfectly OK that the mic will be placed ahead of your main listening position even though you wouldn't sit there because the main point is to make sure that you observe the minimum distance of 18' or 50 cm from all the boundaries in your listening area such as back wall, side walls and the back of the couch (if your listening position is on it, as in my case), and since most couches' backs are tilted the minimum distance should apply to the bottom of couch back, not the top, as it is further ahead - so you should measure 18' ahead from that line, and you better use a tripod for the mic as it is very convenient and it prevents mic signal distortion. As long as you observe these minimum distances there won't be any bass dips or peaks - the bass will sound precise as it should. And, yes, it's OK that your surround left and right are pointed to your ears, given the space limitations.

    If you should have any further questions feel free to ask.

     

    Cheers,

    Alex

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    Samuel fleming

    Thanks Alex for your responce ill re run audessey with the mic farther from the back wall today I think that is causing the problems with the sub the reflections are causing it to over correct the frequencies in the sub. Thanks again for the reply Alex.

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    Alex0925

    You're welcome, Samuel, and one more thing: please, also make sure that there is at least 2 feet distance between your measurement positions, no matter if you take 3 or 6 measurements, otherwise Audyssey will take incorrect space measurements, and also, as already mentioned above, please, make sure that the mic is placed exactly at ear height.

    Regards,

    Alex

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    Samuel fleming

    Alex I just finished running the test and the sound is awesome real big improvement, thanks for all the help. One question though do you think it would make more of a difference to bi amp or do front high modes because i have 2 free channels with my rti4 thanks man.

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    Alex0925

    Samuel,

    Yes it's worth trying to bi-amp your fronts because bi-amping gives you 2 advantages: firstly, it provides for separate amplification channels for your bass and treble and therefore reduces amplifier load, secondly, it improves your treble performance by using a separate amp for you bass, which requires more power that otherwise would be taken away from treble. If you do front highs I guess there's no point in bi-amping as it would have the same effect. Frankly, I don't think bi-amping will make a tremendous difference in sound quality, it's more of a power load issue. Actually, my fronts were bi-amped right from the start, so I can't tell the difference in the sound, but you definitely should try.

    Regards,

    Alex

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