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Monitors and Calibration pt. 1

Steven J Stanek February 2, 2017 No Comments

Today I want to talk to you about monitor calibration. And it’s a subject that Dennis has gone over and I’m sure there’s a lot of other videos out there but if you’re looking into our YouTube channel for great references. I hope this helps you out because it has helped me out tremendously for mixing but not only – not only mixing but also acoustics and everything inside of that.

So there’s a system out there called K20 metering and what that is is when you send a pink noise signal out of an iPhone or your DAW we wanted to read an SPL level that we choose on a meter. I use an iPhone app. I now put a link under the one that we use here at Acoustic Fields but if you send a -20 dbFS outside of Pro Tools through your converters into your speaker you want your speaker to read 83 SPL at its loudest. If you do that and you see that it’s too loud or too soft, what you’re going to do is literally go behind the speaker and attenuate it.

So before we get there – so you’re going to want to send a pink noise through each channel individually. So you’re going to turn off your right speaker and start out with your left speaker. You’re going to put the SPL meter whether it’s from an iPhone app or a radio shack. You’re going to put it in your listening position. Once you’re ready, turn the pink noise on, start off with -20 dbFS and read 83 SPL on your meter and adjust it on the back of the speaker until you do.

Then you’re going to turn the left speaker off, you’re going to turn the right speaker back on and do the exact same thing. You’re going to notice that because of your room’s acoustics and reflections and all kinds of things you’re going to have different calibrations on each speaker. But what you want in the end is when you turn it into a stereo signal then you’re going to have + or – around 86 SPL as an average. You’re going to find that your speaker sounds balanced and then you can start experimenting with placement.

If you’re reading around 87 or 88 experiment with adjusting your speaker width so that it widens out the stereo spectrum and you’re going to see that it may drop a db or two or vice versa, bringing the speakers in to bring up your levels. Why do we do this? It’s to create a reference for you whenever you’re mixing. If you come over to a studio here in LA, if you’re mixing in your room, if you already – if you have that reference SPL level embedded into your head of around 83, well, you’re going to on average listen to music from 80 to 83 decibels. That’s what our ear curve finds to be flattened complimentary.

So you know, as you get more acclimated with mixing in general you probably do this automatically without the calculations and the metering but for those who are starting off with mixing this is a good procedure to start off with in your beginning stages because it sets a standard, it gives you a reference so when you go to other places you have something to go by.

I put 79 right here because that’s actually what I use for my office at home. K20=79 SPL. So when you do – my loudest or average metering in my room is around 80 decibels and I do that because I have a smaller volume room and those who are mixing at home might want to experiment with 79 or 80 as opposed to 83. It gives you a little bit more headroom so to speak.

If you have any more questions on this please give me an email at steven@acousticfields.com. or comment on the YouTube page.

This is an unedited transcript from our video series from Acoustic Fields. There will be some errors in grammar and sentence structure that occur during this translation process.

For complete understanding and comprehension, please view the video which is included in this text. For any additional information regarding this topic or others relating to room acoustics, please contact us directly at:

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