Home Theatre Audio Calibration Basics - What you need to know

Home Theatre Audio Calibration Basics - What you need to know

We know it was tempting when you first purchased your new home theatre to plug it all in and start watching your favourite movie without giving the audio calibration too much consideration. But if you have not done the correct audio calibration then your system could be seriously under-performing.

Most new AV receivers these days come with their own calibration microphone and inbuilt software to automate most of the calibration process.  While the automatic calibration tools are really good, they are not always 100% accurate and should be checked to ensure optimal performance.


The basics of Home Theatre Audio Calibration:

  • Speaker Distance to central listening position

This involves measuring the distance between each speaker in your system and the central listening position. Most automatic calibration tools get this pretty close, but it’s always best to double check each measurement which has been saved in your receiver settings.


  • Speaker Crossover settings

This is the crossover frequency which defines which frequencies are sent to your speakers and which are sent to the subwoofer. 80Hz is the most common setting for this and it is what is recommended by THX.  If you have really small speakers using 3” or 4” drivers you may want to go up as high as 100HZ or 120Hz.


  • Speaker Size setting

This is one of the most common settings which people get wrong when they setup their home theatre system. For each speaker in your configuration you have a setting to choose Large or Small, now most people are tempted to choose large thinking they will sound better or because they have large floor standing speakers.

Well quite simply if you are running a subwoofer in your system then all other speakers should be set to small. As any speaker which is set to large will not be sending their bass sounds to the subwoofer. The speaker will then spend most of its power trying to produce these low frequency sounds which they are not designed to.


  • Speaker Volume Level Calibration

This is the individual volume control adjustment for each speaker. These are usually pretty accurate when done by the automatic calibration. Though is you have a SPL meter it’s always a good idea to test the volume of each speaker at the main listening position using some test tones.