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How to Calibrate Your Studio Monitors
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bellsauce
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Rick Naqvi shares some important insights about calibrating your studio monitors. Hearing your mixes accurately is critical to even the most humble recording environments!



For more on PreSonus studio monitors, check out our Eris and Sceptre monitor pages, linked below. Eris: http://www.presonus.com/products/Eris Sceptre: http://www.presonus.com/products/Sceptre

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 18/09/2013 22:12:40

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moraldecay31
Presonic
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Nice tutorial.if I am using the monitor outputs on my SL 1602 where on the output knob would be considered unity gain?I asked this question before in a different post. It seems rick must be using the main outputs.
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cristofe
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Cool! Thanks Rick & bellsauce

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Kahlbert
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Highly underrated topic.

I believe that if every engineer was forced to work with monitors calibrated to 86 dB (as in cinema) the loudness war would be over in an instance.

Nice video, thanks!
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salvadoredelle
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moraldecay31 has a good question that apples to all SL consoles... I use the Control Room outputs into my monitoring system in the studio and the Main outputs for running to main PA speakers.
same destination but different roads getting there and slightly different operating levels.

Also... how would you address this same calibration on a Fire Studio Tube or any other Presonus interface box...

I like this topic! we should all take note and add what we can to all this as I believe it does make a huge difference in your overall outcome and workflow. Consistency is the way to go!
I agree with Kahl... we should all use the same standards to also be consistent with each other and the rest of the world... No way are we gonna stop the loudness wars tho... there is that mindset you would need to change first... good luck!
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salvadoredelle
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Also... no mention of the output level on the mixer XLR main outputs was made in this regard. Where does that land in this scenario if you are going to use the Main XLR outputs instead of the CR outputs.

To moraldecay31 ... I set my monitor knob on my 1602 at 12:00 for the most part... I figure that as my unity gain position for that output... I would like to see what Presonus suggests as the unity gain position for the Monitor/Control Room outputs.
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salvadoredelle wrote:(...) No way are we gonna stop the loudness wars tho... there is that mindset you would need to change first... good luck!

Good point. Without the mindset, certain people will go deaf before they stop going loud ...

By the way: I absolutely loved how Rodney elaborated on the topic in his PreSonus Live show about mastering!
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moraldecay31
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salvadore i also have my monitor output at 12 o'clock and then run that out into my presonus monitor station into 4 powered monitors and a sub
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jdps150
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salvadoredelle wrote:Also... no mention of the output level on the mixer XLR main outputs was made in this regard. Where does that land in this scenario if you are going to use the Main XLR outputs instead of the CR outputs.

To moraldecay31 ... I set my monitor knob on my 1602 at 12:00 for the most part... I figure that as my unity gain position for that output... I would like to see what Presonus suggests as the unity gain position for the Monitor/Control Room outputs.


I've asked the same thing in the 'how do I' section http://forumsarchive.presonus.com/posts/list/40493.page no replies yet
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Presonoid
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Ain't you guys over-thinking this?

Get the monitors in the 80dB ballpark level @ listening position and make sure LR balance is dead center (per Rick's method). The setting of the output level knob vs. the level settings on the back of the speakers isn't critical at all (unless something's clipping). Note that the trim on the back of the SL isn't mentioned at all. More important is the -20dB working level before dialing in the monitors. Tends to be forgotten...
roblof
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If your monitors aren't noisy turn their gain knob to 100%.

This way you (should) have perfect balance between your monitors and you set the correct level with the studiolive output gain knob. It is usually easier to reach and setting new prefered levels when adjusting for the different k-{20, 16, 12} settings.

Btw, using ios7 I notice that typing in the forums isn't as smooth anymore
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hakangencol
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Hi to everyone,

As i recently made my home studio, apart from other necessary stuff, i bought myself a pair of presonus eris E5 monitors which i think are ok for beginner level.
I watched Rick Naqvi's video (Presonus Audio Electronics > http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=idGvZnSnPhs) for calibrating my monitors with my new audio interface (Apogee Duet for ipad & Mac).

I bought even SPL Meter for my IPhone (set to C-weighted and Slow Response Time). By using the Tone Generator with DAW Studio One 2, I obtained a Pink Noise at a level of -20.0 dB. As explained in the video, the volume level of monitors were at 0 level (minimum). As also explained in the video, my audio interface (Apogee Duet) speaker volume was at its maximum (zero). In fact, this was the point where I was confused about the video; he was saying that "our recording interface's output level should be set to U (Unity) or zero. Since there wasn't U level on my AI, i had set it to zero which was the maximum volume level.

After setting the volume knobs of Eris monitors enough to have 80 dB on my SPL Meter for each speaker (L and R), I thought the calibration was over. On my surprise, I saw the arrows on volume knobs (Input Gain) of the monitors were so close to zero. I had read (or watched somewhere) that the arrows are supposed to be near to U (middle level)on the monitors. At this point, I had realized that there was something wrong with my calibration (or something missing with the information given on the video by Presonus Audio Electronics).

I wrote my question to Technical Support and had this answer:

"Calibration is not an exact science except to state that the science of monitoring the SPL level is done within the software and your room. You are referring to different voltage levels of interfaces, vs. different cable types, vs. different amounts of level, vs. differences in room reflection and absorption. All of these play into your comment of being surprised that, "I saw the arrows on volume knobs (Input Gain) of the monitors were so close to zero."

If this is happening, it's because your room is not like the room on the video, nor is the room on the video a reflection of your hearing. Therefore, if your volume knobs are not the same as the volume knobs on the video, this would make sense. You are not using a StudioLive mixer (you stated an Apogee Duet), you are not in a room that is just like the one on the video, and you are probably do not have the same room reflection as that studio room is.

This all culminates into an explanation that to me seems very normal in experience."

I replied this message as follows:
"I understand clearly that every little detail makes a difference on the results. I totally agree.
On the other hand, since I know that the input gain knob behind the E5 monitor should be around the 12 o'clock position (U) or just a little bit behind it, and also the person on the video mentioned that he doesn't have a big room and 80 dB was ok for him, thinking about he fact that I have 9 sq meter room where I sit at the very right spot, specially used as a home studio (properly covered and isolated with acoustic foams, etc.) and I have fairly high quality professional material (including audio interface, cables, connectors, etc.), I honestly wasn't expecting such a big difference on the calibration results.
If you can kindly give me just main features of a typical calibration of these monitors, it would be adequate for me, I believe...
For instance, if you can translate what he meant by saying "Unity" or zero level, I'd appreciate it. So I can try to mimic a similar action on my audio interface.
Or if you can tell me what should be the ideal level (dB) for listening/mixing on the sweet spot (ear level), it would be really helpful.
So that I can be sure that I'm monitoring at the correct sound level. If you can kindly give some tips or instructions for the best results for using these monitors, I'd really appreciate it. "

Then I had this answer from the Technical Support team member:
I understand clearly that every little detail makes a difference on the results. I totally agree.
On the other hand, since I know that the input gain knob behind the E5 monitor should be around the 12 o'clock position (U) or just a little bit behind it"

This is not entirely true. Gain is not measured by Unity. Unity states that input/output is not "increasing or decreasing." This cannot be confirmed or denied based on your device, therefore the moving target here is that the device does not have to be at Unity nor is there an exact setting we can confirm here in technical support.

Also:

"If you can kindly give me just main features of a typical calibration of these monitors, it would be adequate for me."

Because we do not support the Apogee Duet, nor do we have one in our Technical Support department to test, we cannot answer these questions. In particular the questions pertaining to:

A.) The output of the Apogee should reside.

B.) The output knob on both Eris speakers are to reside (based on the ohm rating of the device and the way it functions to you),

C.) or the environmental factors that can be involved in the calibration."

After this reply, I've decided to write my problem to the Forum thinking someone could help me more about this problem.

Thank you in advance...
natspace
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I have some questions too:

In my case, I have a soundcard Steinberg UR22 whose outputs are connected to the input of my mixer (Makie 402VLZ4).
At what volume should be my sound card?
Because there are no number written above the output knob?
Should I put it on the maximum or at 12 O'Clock?


At what volume should be the Windows environment? (I mean the virtual mixer next to the clock)
50 or 100%?

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Monolithent
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If it is feeding a mixer then it's maximum output without clipping should be sent to the line level inputs of the mixer. The mixers level should be set to maximum input without clipping.

Do some reading about gain structure. That will help you figure this out completely.
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