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#377443 - 05/30/12 12:19 AM Reference Level
Lampshade Offline
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Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1235
Loc: Millis, MA
This topic comes up often. This is my understanding of it.

You start with an input signal from a reference disc, -20 dbfs. That input should lead to an output of 85 dbs. At your listening position. If you do that then the loudest part of the movie should be 105 dbs.

Sometimes members talk about reference level as 0 or such on an AVR. But reference dial number will be different based on the room, the speakers(location and sensitivity) and the location of the listener.

Reference level is loud.

Add to this if you know more or if I am incorrect.
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#377445 - 05/30/12 12:26 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
ClubNeon Offline
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Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3466
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
If the auto setup has been run using a mic at the listening position (or a proper manual calibration has been performed), -0 dB will result in reference level output. The setup takes into account the speakers, room, and listening distance.
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#377448 - 05/30/12 12:36 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
Lampshade Offline
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Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1235
Loc: Millis, MA
I can't try this right now because my wife is home. But tomorrow I will give it a go.
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#377452 - 05/30/12 12:49 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
JohnK Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10623
Chris, I'll add that the built-in test tones on receivers(and some separate discs)are 30dB rather than 20dB down from the full-scale 105dB level, so the calibration for reference in that case is done at 75dB rather than 85dB.

Then, as Chris Neon points out, the "0" level on the main volume control doesn't mean the same voltage output is occurring in all cases. The automatic or manual calibration adjusts the voltage output at 0 to take into account all the factors you mention so that the desired 75dB or 85dB is achieved at the listening position.
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#377453 - 05/30/12 12:50 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
BobKay Offline
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Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 3596
Loc: Massachusetts Badlands
You had almost six weeks to have thought of this and done it at any hour of the day or night. Now I have to wait for the result. Ha, I just typoed "result" as "reslut." I'll have to think of a good definition.
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#377468 - 05/30/12 09:54 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
Lampshade Offline
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Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1235
Loc: Millis, MA
Dang. I can't do the experiment because My friend has my meter.

Here is a small blurb about it at THX.

http://www.thx.com/consumer/thx-technology/thx-reference-level/
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#377476 - 05/30/12 10:17 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
Lampshade Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1235
Loc: Millis, MA
Neon,
if you do a manual setup, how does the receiver know what reference is? Can you zero out the volume knob in a menu somewhere?
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#377485 - 05/30/12 10:46 AM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
nickbuol Offline
axiomite

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5325
Loc: Marion, IA
I can't even image listening to a movie at reference level, and I like things loud. I find that in my room, with my setup and calibration, -19 up to about -15 is where I like to listen, my family is more in the -23 to -25 range. I turned it up to 0 before and I would have a killer headache after probably 30 minutes of a good action flick.
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#377501 - 05/30/12 12:22 PM Re: Reference Level [Re: Lampshade]
J. B. Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1291
Loc: Quebec, Canada
if i were to listen to movies at levels of -20 to -25 dB rel. to Reference Level, i would often have a hard time understanding dialog.

to compound the problem, it's not every Blu-ray movie where they normalized the audio level to "0" (reference level) with a 0dB normalization offset;
good examples:
LOTR Extended on Blu-ray plays good at -7dB.
Inglourious Basterds plays well at -9dB.
Black Swan plays well at -10dB.
if you have any problem playing the above at Ref. Level, try these.

those 3 movies would be intolerably loud if played at Reference Level.
i can't see any good reason why they offset the playback level like this.

Some that play very well at Reference Level (all Blu-ray):
Super 8;
Godfather collection-the Coppola Restoration;
Hanna;
The 3 Bourne movies;
Saving private Ryan;

the only times i had headaches watching movies or listening to music was when i was upgrading my audio system and it was not calibrated.


Edited by J. B. (05/30/12 12:26 PM)
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#377503 - 05/30/12 12:28 PM Re: Reference Level [Re: J. B.]
BobKay Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 3596
Loc: Massachusetts Badlands
Originally Posted By: J. B.

the only times i had headaches watching movies or listening to music was when i was upgrading my audio system and it was not calibrated.


I get headaches watching movies or listening to music when they suck.

Maybe I should recalibrate and re-listen to The XX again?
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