Audio Calibration and Set-Up

Audio installed already? Great! But remember the final stage—calibration and set-up. Get those right, and that last 10% will make your system sound 100% better.

home theater calibration

Many audiophiles will change equipment, speakers, or cables in the hope of improving imaging, soundstaging or bass response. What most don’t realize is that how they set up your system is as important as their equipment. Precise speaker positioning can unleash the potential of your expensive equipment, and resolve ongoing bass and soundstaging issues. Many people and dealers have a semi-random approach for speaker set-up. We’ve got something better–a process that combines objective acoustic measurements with critical listening and real world experience.

Similarly, most folks avoid subwoofers because they’ve only heard badly integrated examples that detract, rather than add to the musical experience. A good sub, properly set up, improves sound quality by increasing low frequency extension and headroom, as well as reducing

distortion. The problem is that most people and dealers don’t have the tools or experience to properly integrate a sub. We do. At Acoustic Frontiers, we use high-resolution acoustic measurements to precisely dial in levels, polarity, and phase.

For most home theater enthusiasts (and their installers!), audio calibration consists of running the automated set-up process on the AVR. This rarely optimizes everything, and often makes things worse. For true high performance you need a trained Home Acoustics Alliance calibrator to set things up for you.

“The sound after calibration has changed considerably. The soundstage is much wider and more encompassing and the center image stronger. The subs are integrated perfectly and have illuminated the pace and rhythmic quality of the music. I was missing much more than I had ever imagined.”

Mr. Rubio, San Francisco, CA.

Professional Audio Calibration and System Set-Up Services

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System set-up or calibration for Acoustic Frontiers is not a random process of tweaking things until they sound or look subjectively right. We use high-resolution acoustic measurements along with quantifiable targets and rigorous calibration processes to optimize your stereo, studio, or home theater system. Our approach is based on industry standards, real world experience, and thought leadership.

We hold the top home theater calibration certification — HAA Level II. We are one of only four Level II certified calibrators in California. And we can handle everything from simple systems with an AVR and a single sub all the way to multi-seat, multi-sub set-ups.

Elements optimized may include: speaker / subwoofer / seating positions, subwoofer polarity / phase / crossover frequency / slope, room correction / parametric EQ, individual speaker levels / delays.

Audio Calibration and Set-up Deliverables

Written Audio Calibration Report containing:

  • Speaker, seat, and subwoofer placement
  • Settings for AVRs, Pre-Pros, crossovers, and equalizers
  • Before and after acoustical measurements

Audio Calibration and Set-up Benefits

  • Every last note of performance extracted from your existing audio system
  • Knowledge that your system has been optimized by one of the best audio calibrators in the country
  • Speaker positioning optimized for best balance of bass response, imaging, and soundstaging
  • Proper Subwoofer integration.
  • Objective before and after acoustic measurements showing improvements

Case Studies and Articles

  • Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA) certification

    What it is The Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA) was founded by Gerry Lemay and is a professional training organization dedicated toward home acoustics. Its purpose is to promote the correct and most effective use of acoustical design and calibration techniques specifically for the home. Level I training covers the theory and application of acoustic measurement [...]

  • Audyssey XT32 vs. Parametric EQ: A Comparison of Manual vs Automagic Calibrations

    Setting the Stage for Battle! Earlier this year Acoustic Frontiers had the opportunity to improve a two channel and home theater system in Tucson, Arizona.  Our client owned a Polk / Onkyo system which incorporated the latest Audyssey XT32 ‘room correction’ algorithms. However he was unhappy with overall sound quality and wanted to know how [...]

  • Home Theater Calibration 101: Speaker Levels, Distances and Subwoofer Phase

    Introduction This blog article will teach you about home theater calibration – in particular how to calibrate the audio side of your home theater pre-processor (pre-pro) or audio visual receiver (AVR). I’m not going to cover the video side. The three basic elements of audio calibration in home theater setup are: Speaker and subwoofer levels [...]

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