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PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby hobbyist » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:04 pm

Moroccomoose wrote:I think the point that is being missed is that the standard does not require anyone to mix at 85dB. Nor is the standard suggesting what level a song is mixed at. It is simply saying that in two different rooms calibrated to the same standard, the loudness of the track should should be the same.

The standard does not say you can't turn down the master fader or monitor controller while you mix. It just says that when you turn it up again to the reference level, it will be the same volume in that 2nd equally calibrated room.

So those with sensitive ears could set the monitor controller to full to do the calibration thus preventing any chance of going louder (assuming sensible gain structure rules are adhered)

Or, following the SOS article advice, set the monitor controller half to three quarters to perform the calibration so you have headroom if you wish to scrutinise low volume artifacts.

For general mixing duties, the standard does not suggest you can't turn the volume down. It simply means if you turn the volume knob to the point where you calibrated, it will be the same loudness as in a similarly calibrated system also at its calibrated volume. You can turn monitor controller down in that 2nd room too if you like, but it is still calibrated.

Or to put it another way, for any given electrical signal input to the speakers, the two systems will have the same perceived loudness.

I'm happy to be corrected, but that is my understanding of speaker calibration.

You may be right.

But that is not the way many 'experts' tell people they have to do it usually referencing some standard.

And the way many others claim they do it.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:09 pm

ulrichburke wrote:If anyone's interested, the 5-minute video I've been trying to follow is here.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idGvZnS ... e=youtu.be

I've finally been able to sit down and watch this video all the way through, and I'm very pleased (and quite relieved) to see that Presonus' Rick is spot on all the way through his instructional video.

He describes an appropriate range of reference SPLs for small home studios right at the beginning, of around 78-85dB SPL, and then why he has chosen a value towards the higher end of his recommended range for his own space (the 80dB figure mentioned by the OP). Personally, I'd start that practical range lower down at 74dB... but Americans tend to have larger rooms than Europeans so it's an understandable difference! :-)

The only thing I'd really query about his whole alignment process is that he doesn't check or take any account of the panning law attenuation/boost imposed by his DAW when playing his reference pink-noise.

Where all you're aiming for is to set a local reference level, the absolute SPL figure really isn't critical so a few decibels up or down from your intended target due to the DAW's panning law probably isn't the end of the world... but he really should have mentioned the point since it could result in as much as a 6dB error.

And that's the reason why, in my first post in this thread, I recommended checking the DAW output meter reading first, once the channel pan had been set, by using the calibrated tone file, before starting the pink-noise tests!

He also used a broadband pink-noise source which I've found can give rather unreliable results in small rooms -- hence my recommendation for a band-limited calibrated pink-noise source file.

Other than those small points, the video all makes sense to me....

My brief alignment description above might be easier to follow for some... and that SOS article I linked does explain the thinking behind the idea in much more depth, and it gives practical alternative ways of achieving a local reference monitoring level.

H
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:30 pm

TNGator wrote:Its a great document on meters.

It's mostly good, but I'm afraid there are a few small errors in there...

These two articles below were published in the Institute of Professional Sound's journal, Line Up. I think they probably do a better and more inclusive job (although they don't mention the K-system):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6t-QlBod0gkczc2MFRzWGZFdDg/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6t-QlBod0gkd2pnU0JvSjB6a0E/view
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby TNGator » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:18 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
TNGator wrote:Its a great document on meters.

It's mostly good, but I'm afraid there are a few small errors in there...

These two articles below were published in the Institute of Professional Sound's journal, Line Up. I think they probably do a better and more inclusive job (although they don't mention the K-system):
Thanks Hugh. Heading for a few beers. I'll try read these later (good luck with that).
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:04 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
hobbyist wrote:The only sad thing is that I have to compress my classical music so I can enjoy it without riding the gain knob constantly.

Without wishing to cause offence, and with the best supportive intentions, may I suggest having a professional hearing assessment? I say that simply because I gather you are a gentleman of mature years, who apparently finds moderately loud sound levels uncomfortable and struggles to cope with normal dynamic range material. These are all pretty classic symptoms of age-related hearing loss. Just a thought...

H

With all due respect I think Hugh may be onto something here. Unless you’re listening in an environment where there is a lot of ambient noise, then the dynamic range of classical music, even symphonic music, should be bearable. I remember an audiologist friend explaining there was a particular condition that manifested itself in an intolerance for loud noise - so different to the usual “hard of hearing” complaint.

Said with good intentions in mind.......

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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:17 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:... I remember an audiologist friend explaining there was a particular condition that manifested itself in an intolerance for loud noise....

Bob

Indeed. I've worked with someone who suffered from this. No-one likes feedback squeals, but occasionally when you're setting up a gig and setting the levels the odd one can squeak through. Most people can put up with the odd brief burst until the sound-tech gets on the case... For this person it was so bad - causing acute physical agony - that they wouldn't come into the room until all levels were set - just in case.

I'm just reporting a situation as an observed phenomenon. There's no point in going down the 'So how did they cope with being in a band?' route. I don't know. Once on stage all seemed well. I just had to be uber-careful once they were on the room that both FoH and Mons were well under control.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:28 pm

You are describing something that sounds (excuse the pun) a lot like something called Hyperacusis. Here's a PDF document detailing the condition:

https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/-/media/ahl/documents/publications/factsheets-and-leaflets/factsheets/hearing-health/hyperacusis-factsheet.pdf

I suffer from a mild form of it myself. Loud sounds (above about 90-95dB SPL) -- particularly percussive sounds -- are distinctly painful in a way they weren't 30 years ago.

However, judging from Hobbiest's complaints about painful loud sounds and inaudible quiet ones, combined with the extreme dynamic range processing he deems essential, I suspect he might be suffering from a different but related condition called 'Recruitment'.

http://www.hyperacusis.net/what-is-it/hyperacusis-or-recruitment/

Recruitment: The abnormally greater increase in the sensation of loudness in response to increased sound intensity as compared with a normal ear. In practical terms, if you have recruitment, you perceive certain louder sounds as much louder than normal, and they often hurt. Recruitment is one result of the greatly-reduced dynamic range found in people with sensorineural hearing losses.

It is related to the loss of hair cells due to prolonged exposure to loud sounds, or some drug treatments, or age....but I am not a trained audiologist and that is only a guess based on my limited knowledge and experience -- my late mother suffered from a degree of (diagnosed) Recruitment following hearing loss due to chemotherapy.

She was prescribed very clever digital hearing aids which implemented a considerable amount of both downward and upward compression, and it took the audiologist a few attempts to optimise the dynamic range and the correct reference levels (which were different for each ear).
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby hobbyist » Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:28 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You are describing something that sounds (excuse the pun) a lot like something called Hyperacusis. Here's a PDF document detailing the condition:

https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/-/media/ahl/documents/publications/factsheets-and-leaflets/factsheets/hearing-health/hyperacusis-factsheet.pdf

I suffer from a mild form of it myself. Loud sounds (above about 90-95dB SPL) -- particularly percussive sounds -- are distinctly painful in a way they weren't 30 years ago.

However, judging from Hobbiest's complaints about painful loud sounds and inaudible quiet ones, combined with the extreme dynamic range processing he deems essential, I suspect he might be suffering from a different but related condition called 'Recruitment'.

http://www.hyperacusis.net/what-is-it/hyperacusis-or-recruitment/

...but I am not a trained audiologist and that is only a guess based on my limited knowledge and experience -- my late mother suffered from a degree of (diagnosed) Recruitment following hearing loss due to chemotherapy.

She was prescribed very clever digital hearing aids which implemented a considerable amount of both downward and upward compression, and it took the audiologist a few attempts to optimise the dynamic range and the correct reference levels (which were different for each ear).


Wow

who knew they had those things.

I was always afraid of hearing aids as I thought they just made things louder which is not what I want at all.

Both upwards and downwards compression! That might be the answer.

Although the annoyance and pain has gotten worse over the decades even though I can hear quite well. It is just the start of Bolero and a few other pieces that are too low. OTOH some things that were painful are not now as I have lost some hearing but still hear well.
I was the only one who ever complained about the IBM 2260 and 3270 video monitors squeal due to the cheap transformers they used.
Terrible squeal about 18kcps that very few others ever heard.

And I must not annoy the neighbors with loud sounds so the average is turned down to handle those peaks.

I would compress and normalise all the CDs anyway because they have so many average levels and I hate adjusting the knob when the changer goes to the next album.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:09 am

Having just come up to date on this thread I will edit my last comment on the other.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:27 am

Hearing aid technology is becoming quite impressive. I met a friend I hadn’t seen for months in a restaurant recently. When she arrived we were talking and she was fiddling with her phone like all the young kids do, except she was my age.
In her case she was setting up a specific hearing aid preset for that restaurant - eq and compression I believe. If we ever meet there again the phone would automatically call up that preset and Bluetooth it to her hearing aids as she entered the door.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:19 am

ManFromGlass wrote:Hearing aid technology is becoming quite impressive. I met a friend I hadn’t seen for months in a restaurant recently. When she arrived we were talking and she was fiddling with her phone like all the young kids do, except she was my age.
In her case she was setting up a specific hearing aid preset for that restaurant - eq and compression I believe. If we ever meet there again the phone would automatically call up that preset and Bluetooth it to her hearing aids as she entered the door.
That's an impressively well thought out application. :thumbup:
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Moroccomoose » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:30 am

I wear hearing aids, Had them since I was 9. I stopped wearing them when I was 16 for just the problem you describe, ie they amplified EVERYTHING so lots of background stuff was intolerable.

Fast forward nearly 30 years and my wife booked me into an audiologist. My new hearing aids are fantastic. The are completely personalised and eq'd to my requirement (Basically every thing from 2kHz and above)

The onboard electronics can automatically detect the type of environment and adjust the settings on compression to suit. It works, but you can't notice it happening as it has a gradual transition.

The other important change between the old hearing aids and the new, is that my old hearing aids needed full moulds so they blocked out everything then gave you back everything via the aid, which resulted in a very un-natural sound, but necessary to prevent feedback whistles. My new hearing aids are more like very small perforated earbuds that let in sounds naturally and just reinforce the areas lacking. It makes for a much more natural sound. It has a feedback suppressing algorithm within the software that controls them.

Now they do not make anything louder, they just make everything much clearer. I'm hearing artifacts on my favorite records I didn't even know were there!

My audiologist let me have a 6 month no obligation free trial (They build in an electronic time bomb so they just stop working when the trial expires) But to be fair I was sold within a couple of weeks.

So I guess I'm saying give it a shot, there is nothing to lose and much to gain (no pun intended)

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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:11 am

Fascinating -- thanks for that Stu. I was aware that hearing aid technology had evolved to a very sophisticated level, but it's always interesting to hear a user's experience. We could all be in need of assistance one day!
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Ariosto » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:29 am

Moroccomoose wrote:My audiologist let me have a 6 month no obligation free trial (They build in an electronic time bomb so they just stop working when the trial expires) But to be fair I was sold within a couple of weeks.

So I guess I'm saying give it a shot, there is nothing to lose and much to gain (no pun intended)

Stu.
But I bet they cost an arm and a leg! Because of a recent op and the following radiotherapy my left ear now hardly works. I've got a NHS aid which they said "was very nearly state of the art" and it is tuned for that ear at all the frequencies that are down. However, it's not great and I refused one for the other ear as it's fine and I don't need it. When listening to music it will suddenly start whistling at a similar frequency - say a clarinet, flute or piccolo. And it does completely block the ear as it was made from a mould of the ear. I don't use it a lot.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:11 am

Ariosto wrote:But I bet they cost an arm and a leg!

What value do you put on your hearing?

My mum started out with the standard NHS offering, and that wasn't great, only really working in a very small set of circumstances. It cost a chunk of cash to go down the private route and have the clever digital model, but the performance (and customisation) was in a totally different league and they allowed her to hear remarkably well in pretty much every situation. She only lived a year and a bit with them, but they were definitely worth it for the virtually normal quality of live she was able to enjoy with them, as opposed to the whistles, discomfort, and ineffectiveness of the bog-standard NHS offering.

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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:00 pm

worth every penny
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Moroccomoose » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:24 pm

In the older designs, the speaker? driver? the sound making bit? was in the body of the aid that sits behind the ear and the sound travelled down the hollow tube into the mould. That means if the mould isn't a good fit, then feedback is a problem. Also as no air can get into the ear, they can cause skin irritation in the ear. Now they put the driver right into the ear canal on the end of a tiny wire, making the whole unit much smaller and lighter and almost invisible. I presume the driver location also helps with the feedback, thus allowing the small perforated buds for the more natural sound I mentioned.

For those interested, this is what I got

Moxi Fit - tech level 700 - Basically the hardware is universal and you pay for the software options. Maybe for my 50th I'll get an upgrade! :lol:

https://unitron.com/global/en_us/produc ... xi-fit-700

you can see all of the processing they are capable of doing.

Without being specific, I guess one is in the price range of a high end audio interface, so no, not cheap, but for me, very worth it.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby Ariosto » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:55 pm

Thanks for the link - I will look into those aids.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby TNGator » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:57 am

ulrichburke wrote:Dear Anyone.

So I've got a music mixing teacher saying to me I've got to calibrate my speakers. She sent me to a YouTube video and I really tried to follow it but boy..... What am I not understanding here!?!

Firstly, my computer. Windows XP SP3 using IDT High Definition Audio Codec. I'm sorry it's not a more modern windows but my DAW wouldn't work on anything else, trust me, and I'm having enough of a nightmare understanding this DAW without having to understand a more modern one. So here goes.

He downloaded an app. onto his phone to check speaker levels. I don't have a phone posh enough to do that, so I downloaded something called Praxis which I'm not pretending to understand for one moment but it says it's a sound level meter. He said it should have C-weighting and slow response. I can't find anything called C-weighting on Praxis - whatever the heck that means - but I DID find a response control and put it over halfway, which I presume is pretty slow.

He then said 'calibrate to 80db'. Now the noise of a cruising aeroplane is 85db. So does that mean I've got to have speakers that can go as loud as a cruising aeroplane (almost!) before I can mix stuff? Apart from anything else, I'm in an apartment and what's that level going to do to the neighbours?

He then said 'turn the speakers up till the pink noise level is -20db'. It doesn't matter what I do with the speakers, the reading on Praxis doesn't change. I've got the internal sound on full, the speakers on full and it's still hovering just above -100. What am I not understanding here? The speakers themselves, btw, at this point, are briefly - so I don't get lynched by the neighbours - emitting sounds loud enough for a rock concert - they're GOOD speakers - but the meter's still at just over -100. So I can't go on with the rest of the video because I can't get the meter to go up to -20 which is the first thing he tells me to do.

Then, purely by chance, I read on Google that the correct level for mixing a piece of music should be about conversation level. If it's supposed to be conversation level, why in hells' bells am I following a video that's trying to get me up to aircraft-cruising-speed sound levels!?!

Please, I WANT to do what my teacher says and calibrate everything but I am utterly beyond confused by all of this, I really am!

If anyone's interested, the 5-minute video I've been trying to follow is here.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idGvZnS ... e=youtu.be

And if anyone can explain all this sound calibration business in a way this dummy can UNDERSTAND, especially the bit about 'correct level being conversation level' (Google) vs. 'calibrate your monitors to 80db' (YouTube) I promise they'll have a friend for life cos I am not getting this at all. (Including why the guy on YouTube says the reading will change if you turn your speakers up and, I promise you, the reading stays exactly the same despite any speaker volume knob turning, up OR down, if the speaker volume knob's on zero the Praxis reading's exactly the same as if the speaker volume's on max.)

Yours frustratedly

Chris.
Chris I just a google for SPL software and the first thing i found was this free one. https://spl-lab.org/products/spl-lab-so ... ndows.html? Might be worth a try before spending money on an actual SPL device.
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Re: PLEASE someone explain calibration after reading this....!!

Postby hobbyist » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:25 am

TNGator wrote:
ulrichburke wrote:Dear Anyone.

So I've got a music mixing teacher saying to me I've got to calibrate my speakers. She sent me to a YouTube video and I really tried to follow it but boy..... What am I not understanding here!?!

Firstly, my computer. Windows XP SP3 using IDT High Definition Audio Codec. I'm sorry it's not a more modern windows but my DAW wouldn't work on anything else, trust me, and I'm having enough of a nightmare understanding this DAW without having to understand a more modern one. So here goes.

He downloaded an app. onto his phone to check speaker levels. I don't have a phone posh enough to do that, so I downloaded something called Praxis which I'm not pretending to understand for one moment but it says it's a sound level meter. He said it should have C-weighting and slow response. I can't find anything called C-weighting on Praxis - whatever the heck that means - but I DID find a response control and put it over halfway, which I presume is pretty slow.

He then said 'calibrate to 80db'. Now the noise of a cruising aeroplane is 85db. So does that mean I've got to have speakers that can go as loud as a cruising aeroplane (almost!) before I can mix stuff? Apart from anything else, I'm in an apartment and what's that level going to do to the neighbours?

He then said 'turn the speakers up till the pink noise level is -20db'. It doesn't matter what I do with the speakers, the reading on Praxis doesn't change. I've got the internal sound on full, the speakers on full and it's still hovering just above -100. What am I not understanding here? The speakers themselves, btw, at this point, are briefly - so I don't get lynched by the neighbours - emitting sounds loud enough for a rock concert - they're GOOD speakers - but the meter's still at just over -100. So I can't go on with the rest of the video because I can't get the meter to go up to -20 which is the first thing he tells me to do.

Then, purely by chance, I read on Google that the correct level for mixing a piece of music should be about conversation level. If it's supposed to be conversation level, why in hells' bells am I following a video that's trying to get me up to aircraft-cruising-speed sound levels!?!

Please, I WANT to do what my teacher says and calibrate everything but I am utterly beyond confused by all of this, I really am!

If anyone's interested, the 5-minute video I've been trying to follow is here.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idGvZnS ... e=youtu.be

And if anyone can explain all this sound calibration business in a way this dummy can UNDERSTAND, especially the bit about 'correct level being conversation level' (Google) vs. 'calibrate your monitors to 80db' (YouTube) I promise they'll have a friend for life cos I am not getting this at all. (Including why the guy on YouTube says the reading will change if you turn your speakers up and, I promise you, the reading stays exactly the same despite any speaker volume knob turning, up OR down, if the speaker volume knob's on zero the Praxis reading's exactly the same as if the speaker volume's on max.)

Yours frustratedly

Chris.
Chris I just a google for SPL software and the first thing i found was this free one. https://spl-lab.org/products/spl-lab-so ... ndows.html? Might be worth a try before spending money on an actual SPL device.

The way I read the link was you still need to buy a hardward device and this just gives more data than a plain SPL meter does.

I say ignore that alleged teacher and set up his studio without wasting money on things of low value. Use headphones if there is a question about a mix.
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