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Thread: Confused about calibrating and placing monitors

  1. #1
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    Confused about calibrating and placing monitors

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    I did more than 10 hours worth of reading on this topic of "tuning" monitors to get flat response. The more I read, the more headaches I get. My monitors (M-Audio SP-5B) sound dull and muddy to me. My mixes do not translate well at all to other systems. So, I feel the need to calibrate my monitors in order to produce a more accurate response and hopefully will help me improve my mix.

    Okay, I just ordered a Radioshack SPL meter (the current digital model RS is selling now), and I have The Bink's Audio Test CD. So, here is the process that I PLAN to follow in order to calibrate my monitors:

    1. I should mount the meter onto a tripod at the position of where my ears would be during mixing.
    2. Play test tone (any tone??) through one monitor and adjust its volume until I get 85dB readout. Then, play that same tone through the other monitor and adjust its volume until I get 85dB.

    After this, I will have both monitors outputting same volume. Okay, I understand everything up to this part.

    3. Now, start playing other test tones from low to high frequencies and make a chart of the meter readout (by the way, do I play these test tones with one monitor or both at the same time? If I play both monitors at the same, would that be twice as loud as the volume would be at 85dB?) After I'm done making that chart, what can I do with it?

    Suppose the chart is like this:
    1Khz : 85dB
    2Khz : 85dB
    3Khz : 90dB
    4Khz : 85dB
    5Khz : 80dB

    So, in order to hear what my mix would sound like on monitors with a flat response, I would need to initially EQ ALL my mixes with -5dB @ 3Khz and +5dB @ 5Khz? Would this be called "EQ'ing the monitors"? (which I know I'm not supposed to.)

    Also, I read that the SPL meter has its own response curve that needs to be adjusted. However, this problem occurs in the old version. I will use the newer version. Do I still need to be aware of this problem? If so, where can I obtain the correction for it? I already have the correction for the old version.

    Here's a summary of all my questions, please try to answer all if you can.

    -Which test tone do I play to calibrate monitors' volume level?
    -After the volume is adjusted, do I play the other test tones with both monitors or just one?
    -What can I do with the Frequency vs. Volume chart?
    -Do I need to apply any correction to the new SPL meter's readout?


    Some extra stuffs you might want to know:
    -I put my monitors within 6 inches from the wall because I read that this will somewhat make up for their weak bass response.
    -The monitors and I form an equilateral triangle with each side 3 feet long. I mix with my ears within that triangle.
    -Since I use these as nearfield monitors, I don't plan to do anything to my room. I AM willing to make adjustments as long as they don't cost alot of money.
    -If this adjustment does not work, then I'll upgrade to Yorkville YSM1P monitors.
    Last edited by aznwonderboy; 10-11-2005 at 20:45. Reason: Yorkville

  2. #2
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    Feb 2005
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    Even though you are using these as nearfields, the room still makes a difference in the sound. I realize that you were not planning on doing what I am going to suggest, but here it is anyway.

    If I were you, I would take a look at the Studio Building and Display forum and check out some info on improving your room's acoustics. I have an inkling that your room is having a negative effect on the sound you get from the monitors.

    EQing your monitors does not seem feasable, if not impossible. I may have misinterpreted, but on Ethan Winer's website (he is an Acoustics master!) for the business that he runs there is a video and it says that there are peaks and dips in response in a room that are too narrowly spaced for most EQ units to do anything to. Or something like that!

    Check out these videos and also check out this site for a wealth of information about acoustics, also by Ethan. They are both great sites.

    Hope I didn't mislead you at all by accident!
    GFCG Membership No:000 019

  3. #3
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    tuning monitor speakers

    Hi everybody,
    Who the hell would want a flat frequency response in there monitor speakers.....I have a good stereo system that sounds great.....
    so I made a disc with pink noise on it and droped it in the stereo.....miced it up with a dead flat condencer mike and recorded the sound to my computer...

    I placed a 31band equalizer between sound card and Monitor preamp.....I put pink noise into comp and recorded .....

    I matched frequency response from home stereo to the studio monitors
    buy using Har-bal program ...studied differences between the two frequency readouts made ajustments on the equalizer......recorded pink noise on computer a few more times ....a few extra little ajustments.....

    Now my computer and studio moniters make nearly the identical sound

    I have done many recordings scense , and have gone to the great extent of driving to all of my friends places to use their stereos.....or in there cars,or in their small portable stereos see just how transportable the are.

    They sound good on all systems.......

    I have another monitor system hooked up permently....a set of truth monitors . with dead flat response and a fairly good room....i only use these to doubble check things...but never made any reel adjustments.....

    Some people may think I'm crazy for thinking mixing in a real world frequency response of a home stereo system .....Thats stupid .......

    The fact of the matter is Every home stereo , car stereo or anything that plays CDs has certain frequency curves built in ....

    so all the hard work you have done with your eq can be undone

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Kansas City
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmark
    Some people may think I'm crazy....

    for your procedure...yes

    but even more so for unearthing a thread from 2005!
    If you're gonna do a search, make sure you check the original post date before you reply to it

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