Why Calibrate Studio Monitors?
You will agree with me when I say: inconsistency in audio or video recording can compromise recording quality.
Taking things to chance is a leading contributor to this.
What if I told you there is a solution to this?
Yes! It is possible to have control once and for all.
Thus, you can determine your sound levels in advance.
The good news: you do not have to keep adjusting this after doing the setup.
This is what it means to calibrate studio monitors.
The common practice is to carry out your recording in a room with acoustic treatment.
However, this is always ideal and not possible if you are on a budget.
You do not have to settle for less regardless of the situation.
Here is the deal:
You have full control of your music volume.
Therefore, you can take advantage of this and set a reference point that meets your preference.
Here is a fact:
Sound perception is relative to everyone’s ears.
As it’s the case, an average human will find louder volumes appealing.
A critical analysis of this phenomenon posits that it’s the root cause of poor audio quality.
Here is the problem:
Manually adjusting the volumes up or down can influence your judgment into settling for what is not the standard.
Consequently, you settle for what you think is better while there is still room for the best.
Alternatively, you can find yourself making sound decisions based on sound levels that according to your judgment is flawed.
As you can see, this technique is not reliable and it’s likely to compromise quality.
I bet you don’t want to sound like an amateur.
But things can get better:
The only catch is that you have to be intentional about this.
Therefore, other than depending on a subjective point of reasoning and decision making, you can opt for a standard method that is more objective.
By being objective, you set a reference point that you use for deciding how loud or quiet the sound is.
The good part about this is that once your ears are used to this, you can tell from afar whether things are a miss or not.
What is the Ideal SPL Range?
To achieve near perfection with your audios, you need to reference your studio monitors to the right sound pressure level--SPL.
This level should be friendly to your ears while enabling quality sound from the monitors.
Before setting the reference sound pressure level, you need to know the size of your room.
And the reason for this?
Your room size will definitely affect your sound quality.
Also, each room can sustain a specific range of sound pressure levels.
For home studios or small rooms with a size of 42 m3 a sound pressure level range of 69-70 dB is ideal.
Also, with these kinds of rooms, you can have a reference point of 74 dB.
Thus, using this point, you can ensure you don’t deviate from the range.
Achieving the Right Levels
The best way to realize the quality sound is through unity gain.
You are probably asking, “Why is this so?
Well, when your entire sound system is at unity gain, every piece of the system is under balance.
Thus, output and input levels are at equilibrium.
But how can you accomplish this?
Ideally, you have two options; you can opt for a monitor controller or a master fader.
A monitor controller is an intermediary analog device that links to your audio interface and the studio monitors.
Though it sounds like a luxury if you’re just starting out, you will find it useful in controlling volume levels.
Alternatively, using a master fader, you can adjust the volumes from your Digital audio workstation to your liking.
But how should you configure your entire sound system?
Here’s what you need to do!
First, identify an ideal listening position.
Second, you want to ensure the speakers are equidistantly positioned from each other and at a 30-degree angle.
Third, the distance between the walls and the speakers should be the same from both walls.
Lastly, you need to ear the tweeters properly, therefore, you should position them in such a way that they are at your ear level.
Moreover, you need to avail the right equipment for calibration.
So, what exactly should you have apart from your studio monitors?
Check these out!
Digital audio workstation which is audio application software.
Sound pressure level (SPL) app for measuring the audio levels.
Pink noise audio file signaler which signals you when there is unity gain or not.
Studio monitors need calibration.
The most critical aspect of this is understanding why you should calibrate your studio monitors.
Inconsistency in sound pressure levels is a major contributor to low-quality audio output.
However, this is a problem that can be solved through calibration.
All you need to do is set a reference SPL that you can go to each time you need to use your studio monitors.
Besides, you need to avail the right equipment to achieve this.
Before setting off for calibration, check the size of your room as it has a direct influence on the sound quality.
The ideal SPL range is between 69 and 79 dB. Also, the right reference point should be 74 dB SPL.
You do not need to experience inconsistencies anymore.
With an SPL App, you can set, modify and calibrate studio monitors to the standard sound pressure level.