Calibration of Studio Monitors

Calibration of Studio Monitors


The placement and calibration of studio monitors is critical to achieving the best listening experience in your environment.

Spend more time setting up your studio monitors !!!!!!! 

You'll ease mixing errors and ensure your mixes transfer well from speaker to speaker. As with everything in recording.

In audio mixing, careful preparation will give you a better result and you'll be able to rely more on what you hear. Perfecting your mixing environment fortunately just requires a little setup , planning and time.

(Theory and proper calibration) Nothing complicated , trust me 

Here is some information needed to get the most out of your monitoring system. 

Once you have the studio monitors and listening position correctly positioned, it is useful to set all the levels in the studio to optimize all the components to the same level.

While not essential, taking the time to properly calibrate your speakers can be very valuable in this regard and will give you a great starting point for troubleshooting or fine-tuning your mixing environment. 

The main purpose of calibration is to ensure that the specific measured sound level in your DAW or mixing console is equal to the predetermined SPL in your studio environment.

Depending on the method and reference levels used in calibration, proper calibration can help reduce unwanted noise, minimize the risk of damage to your studio monitors and your ears.

Maximize the reference capabilities of different types of speakers, and ensure that you hear the sound as accurately as possible.

That's what you want!!!!!!! 
Without Calibrated Monitors, you'll still be where you are, and at worst, deaf.  

There are many methods of calibrating studio monitors.

Which method is best for your studio depends on the nature of your mixing environment and equipment.

If you wish to calibrate your studio monitors using a method other than the one described here, we recommend that you do so. The important thing is not the way you calibrate your environment, but that your environment has been calibrated - even if you use only your ears, common sense, and your favorite recording. 

Almost every calibration method has one thing in common : test tones.

There are many different types of test tones. The one we'll discuss here is full-bandwidth pink noise, ideal for speaker calibration, room analysis, and many other types of acoustic measurements.  

Some DAW applications,including PreSonus Studio One, come with a tone generator plug-in that offers a wide range of test tones, including pink noise. If you use your DAW for tracking and mixing, it's ideal to use it as a calibration source. 

I use pink noise from Bob Katz. 
You can download my Studio One 5 template for calibrating monitors. 

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When calibrating reference monitors in the studio, the sound level or sound pressure level (SPL) should be measured from the mix position at sitting ear height.

There are a number of great apps on the market for measuring SPL on smartphones, and many of them are free! 

You should calibrate the right and left monitors independently to ensure that both monitors are set to the same sound level.

This will ensure that your stereo mixes are balanced and translate well across different speaker systems. 

If two or more monitoring systems are calibrated using the same method, each system should generate the same acoustic level at the same input source.

This is especially important when referencing the mix on different sets of monitors (for example, when switching between speaker A and speaker B for comparison). As with a single system, the left and right monitors of each monitor pair should be calibrated independently to ensure that each speaker is set to the same level. 

Level calibration is especially important if you have two or more pairs of speakers, as there should be no change in volume level when switching between different sets of speakers. In an improperly calibrated studio, the acoustic level will jump when switching between different systems, leading to a potentially inaccurate perception of the consistency and quality of your mix. 

I calibrate my monitors using 
"standard" reference of 85 dB SPL 
 It is one of the most common calibration standards.

1.Start by setting the input sensitivity of the studio monitors to the lowest setting .So, set the output of the audio source (audio interface, mixer or speaker management device) to the lowest setting. 

TIP: If you have any external processors (equalizers, limiters, etc.) connected between the sound source and the monitors, disconnect or bypass them. If the sound source is a mixer, make sure it is reset. 

2. Play pink noise at 20 Hz to 20 kHz with full bandwidth at 0 dB through the outputs of the primary sound source. 
Gain the primary sound source outputs to unity gain. "Unity gain" is a setting at which the signal level is neither amplified nor attenuated. It is usually indicated by a "0" or "U" on the audio device's level knob or control. In many digital interfaces and digital devices, the maximum level of a device is also its unity gain setting. 
You should not hear pink noise now. 

3.Begin slowly increasing the input sensitivity (volume) of the left speaker until the sound level of the test tone being played reaches 82 dB SPL on the SPL Meter in the app or If you purchased a measurement microphone. Thus, set the Left Speaker to 82 SPL,Right Speaker to 82 SPL A When both speakers are playing simultaneously, the total SPL will increase by approximately +3 dB to (85 dB). 

4.Stop the pink noise and turn on the left speaker again. Play a music program you are familiar with from the speakers and sit in the mixing position. You may need to tweak the speaker placement until the sound is balanced and you have a nice, wide sweet spot from which to mix. 

TIP : If 85 dB is too loud for your room, either because of noise limiting or because the room is too small, you can repeat the above calibration steps and instead set each speaker to 79 dB. (76L,76R=79L+R)  
It is important that both speakers are set to the same SPL level. 
So if you set L to 70 spl you must also set P to 70 spl 
and the total SPL will increase by approximately +3 dB when you turn on both speakers. 

There is nothing complicated about this and it is a good idea to check and recalibrate your monitors from time to time. I hope the article helped you and from now on you will calibrate your listening position wherever you listen.