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How to calibrate low-end 5.1 speakers volume using Windows controls

Posted: 07. 05. 2017 01:30
by Ashus
This is a guide to calibrate levels of your cheap 5.1 analog surround sound setup on a Windows machine. If you have an expensive setup, there is YPAO or other automatic setup system with microphone. However to emulate this feature for free with any speakers, this is one way to go. It is especially useful if you go with cables around the furniture on in walls to hide them. The signal may be lost and one rear side will be louder than the other.

You will need these media files:
PinkNoise 2.0.mkv
(891.58 KiB) Not downloaded yet
PinkNoise 5.1.mkv
(2.65 MiB) Downloaded 1 time
PinkNoise 7.1.mkv
(3.53 MiB) Not downloaded yet
They all are 1 minute generated Pink Noise 500 - 2000Hz with various track numbers. Select the one you need to match your setup.

Also you will need a smartphone and this app: Sound Meter or a dB loudness meter.

For getting sane environment please use Media Player Classic Home Cinema and after opening a video right click the dark window and select Filters - LAV Audio Decoder. Verify, that you have the checkbox Enable mixing under Mixer tab turned off.

Follow these steps:
  1. Make sure all speakers are set up at fixed posititons according to numerous guides on the net. Make sure all speakers are connected and after opening audio devices you have the correct speaker count set under Configuration button.
  2. Open up audio devices, click on connected speakers and Properties. On Levels tab click the Balance button.
  3. Start your DB meter on your phone and place it on a stool to a position of your ears, right in front of you. You will need a quiet environment, so close the door or tell your roomie to keep it down if you haven't already.
  4. Prepare the test audio file in MPC-HC and play it (you may consider enabling Loop).
  5. Set your speakers volume to medium (not too silent and not reaching their limits).
  6. Put all sliders to 0, try one by one to identify which speakers are used.
  7. For all active speakers (except subwoofer) repeat this: put only the slider of one speaker to 100, wait for a few seconds and mark down the loudness in dB on a piece of paper.
  8. Now look at your paper and find the lowest number (57dB for me). This is the loudness you need to match on all other speakers.
  9. Again go one by one and move the slider to a position in which the loudness is matched while all other sliders are off. Mark these results to a piece of paper.
  10. Set all sliders to positions according the results on the paper you just made.
  11. Subwoofer should be set by ear and to your liking preferably while watching a movie.
  12. You are done. Make sure nobody adjusts balance or surround knob on your subwoofer if it is present, you'd have to repeat this.