Why calibrate sound?
Setting up a sound system properly is actually just as involved as a display. You may have multiple speakers, but where should they go?
You take the supplied mic. and plug it in. You hit the auto set up and hope for the best?
Chances are the voices will be not loud enough, the bass will dominate and all the subtle detail is an incoherent mess.
Why calibrate a display?
Your new TV has been configured to look as bright and garish as possible so it stands out in a sea of competitors’ sets in a over lit showroom.
It’s in your home now, and it’s a light source that you are looking directly at. Set too bright and garish it will cause fatigue, headaches and will be uncomfortable to watch.
The projector has to be aligned properly to it’s screen.
What is calibration?
Calibration is to check, measure and adjust something to a known standard.
For a display: To measure and adjust it so that the images are accurately reproduced to a known standard.
For a sound system: To optimize its performance by adjustment and positioning to interact as neutrally as possible with its environment, i.e. your room, to a known standard.
A display and/or a sound calibration will maximize the performance of your TV, projector and sound system.
That's the science. What it really means is that when you watch and/or listen, the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, your jaw drops in shock, you hide behind your hands in fear etc. You may even shed a tear.
A director spends a lot of time and money trying to engage with your emotions, creating the atmosphere using sound and images. They change the volume and dynamics of sound to create tension as well as the use of subtle colour palettes and lighting effects, camera shake and even noisy film grain all in order to tell the story.
The impact of the intended experience is reduced if your products are not set up correctly. If something is wrong, your subconscious emotions will not be reached as the gatekeeper, your concious mind, will be stopping the intended engagement with your subconcious mind.
Calibration helps to maximize your emotional engagement.
Display calibration technical
Your eyes and the environment are critical elements, shaping the experience of what you’re watching.
Lighting, colour casts and even noise (film grain) may have been added to the image. All these effects are designed to engage an emotional response.
The settings that you are offered from the manufacturers’ presets are designed to look as bright and vivid as possible. So what are the key areas of the image that need to be fixed and why?
Sound calibration technical
Excessive bass is a killer of good sound. Rarely do auto set-up systems get bass even close to correct. And sub-woofer placement is vital.
Excessive bass will overpower voice dialogue, muffle high-frequency detail and effectively destroy the sound stage and steering.
Incorrect volume, delay and distance settings do the same thing. It can all be fixed to provide the impact the director intended.
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