How To Calibrate Home Theater Speakers [Step By Step Guide]

Calibrating your home theater speaker's or HTS sound quality is crucial to a superb home theater experience. The calibration will allow you to set up your home theater speakers to your preferences. That is why knowing the calibration procedure is very important. We researched this matter, and here's the method we shared with you below.

The overall calibrating process is simple and easy. However, you'll need a sound pressure level or SPL to accurately calibrate your home theater speakers. Here is the step-by-step guide below:

  1. First, start your calibration by linking your AV receiver's screen to your TV using HDMI.
  2. Get to know well your AV receiver's menu before making any adjustments.
  3. Change and comply with the speaker's specific placement requirements.
  4. Adjust and follow the proper speaker distance.
  5. Based on your liking, set the speaker crossover settings properly.
  6. Start calibrating the speaker volume accordingly to your listening spot using your SPL device.

Details for adjusting the ideal surround speaker settings are ready for you to explore. We know that it is necessary to know first the speaker's proper sound level and placement before calibrating them. That said, let's get started!

Modern apartment with home theater, How To Calibrate Home Theater Speakers [Step By Step Guide]

What Level Should My Surround Speakers Be?

One vital aspect of achieving high-quality sound output is to arrange all your surround speaker channels accordingly. Speakers must be in an ideal spot to calibrate them correctly.

So ensure to place the speakers in the right position before starting the calibration procedure. This placement is also applicable for standard loudspeakers with 5.1 or beyond systems.

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The following are the surround system speakers' proper placements:

The Front Left And Right Main Speakers

The right placement of the main speakers must be 25-30 degrees off from your main viewing and listening spot. Also, position the tweeter about two feet slightly closer to your ear's height.

The Center Speaker Channel

The center speaker channel must be in line with your main listening spot. You must also set the tweeter at or close to head level as per your primary seating arrangement. Note that this will always depend on your TV or projector's placement.

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Just change your center speaker accordingly if it is situated relatively lower than your head level. Doing so will result in better mid and high sound frequency.

The Left And Right Surround Speakers

In a 5.1 system, the ".1" indicates how many low frequency effects or LFE channels your home theater receiver can provide. It is vital for both movie sound effects and Hi-Fi music sound effects.

Especially for movies due to their high bash frequency. Now in a five-surround system, both surround speakers must be set at 90-110 degrees off-axis.

The Rear Surround Speakers

If you have a home theater system with several channels, such as the 7.1 system. You should place both rear surround speakers behind your main seating or listening spot about 135-150 degrees off-axis.

This is for a greater panning audio effect while watching a movie or listening to your favorite music.

How To Set Up The Speaker Crossover

The speaker crossover setup is critical for your AV receivers to accurately control the bass effect. It is responsible for sending the bass tones into your subwoofer channel. Thus, it is essential to ensure it is correctly set up.

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Moreover, changing the crossover settings is more prevalent in HTS systems with different speaker sizes. That is why the calibration process is crucial to have a uniform sound output throughout your speakers.

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Given that you already linked your AV receivers to the TV via HDMI, follow the steps below:

  1. On your TV screen, the crossover menu should already pop up.
  2. Using your TV remote, navigate and set all your smallest speakers as a "SMALL" setup.
    • This will allow the system to evenly adjust the crossover point outcome for all your smaller speakers.
    • Sometimes, the front speaker's setup could go down 80 Hertz or Hz.
    • Though the surround speaker is small and can only provide 100Hz of bass effect. This is the only way to have a balance or equal bass output on each speaker. So adjust them accordingly.
  3. Now for larger size speakers, upon choosing a "LARGE" setup. Another menu will appear.
    • This will allow you to control your subwoofer the way it functions. As a result, your subwoofer generates a bass effect only for low-frequency movie effects.
  4. You can also select "DOUBLE Bass: ON" or "LFE +Main." This will instruct the AV receivers to send bass effects to your sub and main speakers.

The Steps For Calibrating Your Home Theater Speaker Sound Level

Now that every factor like proper speaker placement, distance, and even the bass adjustments are successfully set in place, you can calibrate each of your speakers precisely using a sound pressure level device.

Also, it is very critical that when calibrating your speakers, it must be no other sound interference that might disrupt the way your SPL meter functions. We suggest shutting off temporarily any appliances that cause sound distortion.

Furthermore, the calibration steps on your home theater speakers may differ from the type of speakers you're using. Regardless, the overall calibration steps for most home theater speakers are mostly the same.

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Here are the speaker's sound level calibration steps:

  1. Connect your receivers again to your TV to have better access to all the speaker's decibels or dB points setup. 
  2. Next, proceed to your main viewing and listening spot and switch ON the SPL meter.
  3. Set its dB range to 75 value and switch the weighting meter to the "C" mark. Also, move the response switch to the "SLOW" position.
  4. Hold the SPL meter or set it on a tripod at face level with the microphone facing toward the ceiling.
    • Avoid pointing your SPL meter directly at every speaker.
  5. Now pay attention to your TV dB points controller. You must correctly set the dB points value accordingly to the SPL meter reading.
  6. Do this to all your speaker channels.

Note: If you cannot perform these guidelines. We highly suggest calling an expert to help you set up your HTS.

Looking for a visual tutorial? Click this visual demonstration on YouTube:

Should The Surround Speakers Be Louder Than The Front Speakers?

Home cinema system. TV, loudspeakers, player and receiver in the room

The surround speakers simply contribute to ambient noise and music and boost some other sounds in your movie. While the front speakers are in charge of the dialogue effect and the show's primary purpose.

Your home theater surround speakers shouldn't be louder than your front speakers. Nobody enjoys watching their favorite movie while the speaker blasts annoyingly, overpowering one another.

Hence, calibrate them correctly to ensure there is nothing to disturb you while enjoying your favorite show.

What Is The Right Decibel Calibration Setup?

There are varieties of noises around you, and your HTS is certainly one. The decibels or (dB) is the measurement rate of how loud the sound is. We perceive any sound or noise, even in zero decibels.

The normal dB value is 85, going up to that will have a significant impact on your hearing ability. You should abide by that when calibrating your home theater speakers.

Especially for elderly and youngsters, alike, who enjoy entertainment in a home theater but have sensitive hearing, calibrating your HTS to the right dB setup is always essential to a positive viewing and listening experience.

What Is The Right Hz Setup In My Home Theater Subwoofer?

Contrasting the dB, the Hertz or (Hz) refers to how high the pitch or vibration that sounds create. The suggested setting and sometimes the default setup for home theater subwoofer systems is 80 Hz.

However, depending on whatever option sounds best for your system. You can adjust the crossover Hz points between 40 Hz and 250 Hz. This is the optimal setting for most home theater subwoofer systems.

To Wrap Things Up

Modern apartment with home theater

Throughout this article, you learned the step-by-step guide on how to correctly calibrate your home theater speakers. You also learned that you must first set your speakers in the right placement before performing the calibration.

All in all, the calibration process is pretty much easy as long you ensure to follow all our advice and recommendation above. We can leave you at ease knowing that you can now set up your HTS properly and enjoy your favorite show.

For more great tips on arranging your home entertainment, please read our other posts below:

Can I Use A Data Projector For My Home Theatre?

What Color Should I Paint My Entertainment Center? [11 Great Ideas!]

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