Calibration time, c’mon, it’s a calibration!
When a home cinema room is almost finished, it’s time to bring in an audio calibrator to get the best out of the sound system. Now, this could be done by the book, trying to tune as close as to ‘what the director intended’ and adhere to the various standards set by the gods of audio know-how. Or it could be customised for the client, you know, the client who’s spent a fortune for a custom system.
99% of cinema and media rooms don’t have a chance of approaching the performance of the Hollywood studios; numerous compromises have been made to the build and equipment choices. Add to this, the client is often a whole family, young and old who want to enjoy the room. What works for one person may not work for another, its time to customise!
Here’s what we feel are the most important requirements surrounding calibration day that ultimately benefit the end user. Best check that the calibrator has….
- Contacted you well before the date to discuss furniture placement; that the area will be quiet on the day and that; basic audio checks have been carried out by your engineers.
- Asked questions about the end user and their listening/watching habits, so as to tailor the sound to their taste. What volume levels they like, the amount of bass, music played in stereo or surround for example.
- Engaged with you in a discussion on what post processing to set up for video sources that may not have surround sound i.e. Sky channels that are only in stereo and music only sources; how to get these playing through all of the speakers and making the most of the system.
- Timed the pace of the day to allow for showing you and the client various movie clips when finished. He or she will also take on board feedback and make any adjustments before leaving site. The key questions to ask are “Can you hear the dialogue ok? Are you comfortable with the amount of bass? Can you hear the surround and ceiling speakers?” Whereas subjects best kept inside the calibrator’s head are crossover points, filters, delay settings, phase etc. These are the tools to contribute to what the client perceives.
- Offered to provide a report after the session and offers to return after a month if required. This would be to make further adjustments once the client has had some experience with the sound system and to make sure they and the family are delighted with the performance.
At CAVD, we have put together a comprehensive Audio Calibration checklist. We send this to you upon making a booking for Datasat audio calibration so that you know exactly what to expect from the service. Alternatively you can download a copy here.