Home Theater/5.1 RCA Surround Sound System
"Hello how are you? I will probably respond a lot until I get this figured out lol I finally set my 5 speakers up correctly now my problem is, understanding the DB Level's And Distance Level's. My apartment isn't all that so I have my couch against the wall and my 2 rear speakers ear level with the couch facing towards the tv no way to turn them or no side walls. My Front speakers are nicely apart and my Center speaker is right under the TV. Now I'm trying to figure out DB Levels, I put all of the speakers on 0db and the subwoofer. I'm not sure if they are supposed to be turned up or if the front speakers db supposed to be louder than the rear or if the rear's db is supposed to be louder than the front just anything lol And the same goes with the distance levels, are some supposed to be louder than the others or are all of them supposed to be equal? I'm new to this so that's why I wanted to see if you could explain everything to me step by step. I appreciate the read in advance thanks :D"
It doesn't sound like you've got anything too complicated to setup here - hopefully this helps:
- The "distance level" is meant to be the distance (in a straight line, roughly) from the individual speaker to wherever you're sitting. So if the Front Left speaker is 11 feet from your couch, put in "11 feet" (if its something not-even, like 11 ft 3" just round up or down to the nearest option). The receiver/processor uses this to configure delays for each channel - having the distances configured will help things sound more "in line" as effects pan front-to-back or side-to-side.
- The "db Level" (more accurately the channel level) is boost or cut for each speaker - basically think of this as a very complex balance control. If one speaker is too loud, trim it down a few dB, if one is too soft, raise it up a few dB. In general it is better to trim than to boost, when reasonable/possible. You can set this up roughly "by ear" with a test program (if you have any THX-certified DVDs with the "THX Optimizer" for example) or actual material (usually playing music on the system makes this easier than a movie). The goal here is that all of the speakers sound roughly the same loudness from your seated position. The subwoofer's control is similar - adjust it up and down until the subwoofer is appropriately blended. If your subwoofer has separate volume/gain controls on it, set the level to 0 dB and adjust the settings on the subwoofer itself after setting up the speakers.
As far as the "ideal" - the speakers will be time aligned (distances set correctly) and roughly the same loudness from where you're sitting. However personal preference can influence this (for their output levels; I'd set the distances as correctly as possible and be done with that) - for example if you like more bass, turn the subwoofer up, if you need dialog/speech to more intelligible it may help to raise the level of the center-channel, etc. It's really up to what you specifically want to hear after a point.