STONES SOUND STUDIO
A practical guide to Home Theatre Receiver Channel Level and speaker settings for a standard rectangular lounge room
By Russell Storey 2005
Hometheatre Room Settings and Hints
1) Keep any windows or room doors closed when setting up speaker levels or for serious listening
the speaker grills to set the speaker levels or for serious listening , if you have kids cats or
dogs remove them or else you will end up
with damaged speaker cones .
out from the front Left front Right and Centre speakers
should be similar but depends on the room acoustics .
Adjacent doors walls ceilings windows hallways lounge chairs pot plants will all play a role in the final position of your speakers .
For example in an " L shapped room you may end up with
the right front speaker further out from the wall than the left
front speaker because the right speaker is in a corner and the left
speaker has only a wall behind it and no corner wall causing reflections or
corner bass boost.
In this case your home theatre receiver channel levels may end up at say at Left Front +8 centre +7 Right Front +6 to compensate for the room shape.
subwoofer unit can be moved further out into the room away from walls or
corners to tighten up the bass and reduce the bass boom from room
generated low frequency harmonics . IF you play a lot of music then
a direct feed from your speakers to the high level speaker inputs of your
subwoofer amp will make a radical change to the bass in most cases .You
must select subwoofer off and change the receiver fronts and centre to the
large speaker setting.
This by passes the filter in the receiver so you only have one filter in the sub unit to go through thus improving bass speed transit response and dynamics
6) As a good initial front speaker position I recommend 0.4 to 0.55 meters measured from the back or adjacent wall to the back of the front left / front right and centre speakers this again also depends on the location of your screen or TV set .
with the speakers with a home theatre receiver inbuilt test test tone
can and does lead to overall HT system sound level
should be used as a very basic inital setting if you do not have access to the THX DVD mentioned below
8) I recommend using the THX Audio noise test from the menu section of the Pearl Harbor DVD to set the levels of each speaker by ear at your chair with the receiver remote control . It is quite easy with the noise test to pick up level variations and speaker wiring errors. You will be amazed how accurate your ears really are once you get the hang of it .
the DVD player with THX
noise test checks the full sound system level completely from the DVD player
through the Home theatre amp to all the individual speakers.
A Receiver generated test tone only checks the levels from the Home theatre receiver to the speakers and excludes the main reference sound source "the DVD player" .
I have found that some DVD players have variations in their sound levels via their optical or analogue outputs which affects the over all levels via the home theatre amplifier analogue or Digital decoder stages which in turn can and does affect the overall level you hear coming from the speakers which needs to be taken into account .
10) HT receiver initial speaker settings in rectangular room
11) Set the front speaker distance to 0 mtrs and/ or delay to 0ms
12) Set the front centre speaker distance to 0 mtrs and/ or delay to 0ms
13) Set the rear Left and right speaker distance to 4 mtrs
14) Set the rear centre speaker distance to 4 mtrs if you have one
15) Set the rear left and right side wall effects speaker distance to 3 mtrs if you have one
16) Set the fronts levels with all the rear effect speakers and subwoofer turned off or disconnected first
17) Spend 80% of your time to get the front speakers right . Check the balance of them several times with some quality music and DVD movies first before setting up the rear effects or subwoofer
Turn on the
subwoofer and set the level freq and phase controls so the over all subwoofer
bass level is less than or same as the 3 front speakers
Check the balance of them several times again with some quality music and DVD movies to integrate the subwoofer speaker with the fronts so it is assisting the over all front sound stage and not dominating it
19) You may have to reduce the level of the subwoofer when you play music or some DVD movies as it depends on what studio the DVD or CD was recorded in . Some DVDs sound tracks will be recorded louder than others you have probably noticed this already .
20) Donít over set the subwoofer level to much higher than the fronts or the sub will go up in smoke
21) If your HT receiver has a subwoofer DTS level setting in its menu set this to +10db and LPF to 80hz
22) Hint Leaving the all the fronts to 0mtrs in most cases is the best compromise setting and sounds the best if you do not have the confidence to fiddle with the settings
23) Once you have spent a week or so tuning your system speakers and levels , leave it as is donít fiddle with it any more .
24) Re fit all of the speaker grills when you are completely satisfied with your level settings and speaker positions
25) Make a record in a book of your preferred HT receiver settings so if you have a black out , wild storm, mate or unknown fiddler loose the receiver settings you will then be able to reset the HT receiver without the need for a packet of panadol tablets.
Enjoy the music and movies
Stones Sound Studio (Australia)