Speaker Engineer Questions Home Theater Equalization Process
Paul Hales, founder of Pro Audio Technology, wonders why installers tune home theaters with unreliable microphones and measurement techniques, adding that musicians don’t tune Steinway pianos to suit the room.
Sapphire Marketing is a large, N.J.-based manufacturers’ representative that handles high-profile companies such as Crestron, Digital Projection (DP), Middle Atlantic, Pro Audio Technology and Leon Speakers in the Northeast.
Sapphire invited its brands to exhibit at its Boston RoadShow, putting together an impressive home theater demo that included DP’s new HIGHlite 330-3D three-chip DLP projector and a multichannel audio system from Pro Audio Technology.
Pro Audio Technology and founder Paul Hales have a growing legacy of producing well engineered products that can withstand the rigors of high-demand home theater playback, with systems capable of producing more than 130dB of volume.
Highlighting Pro Audio Technology’s ability to reproduce high SPLs is its demo that features Cream’s 2005 reunion show Blu-ray disc and legendary drummer Ginger Baker’s drum solo.
The key to the wide dynamics of this demonstration, Hales contends, is the use of minimal equalization (EQ) in home theaters above the standing wave/modal region. Hales says the industry has become too reliant on automatic room EQ, and he questions the quality of the microphones and techniques used to gather the data used to measure home theaters.
Hales says the best way to get quality sound in a home theater is to make an accurate speaker and treat the room. He adds that if there is something between the listener and the speakers, such as an acoustically transparent screen, installers should then look at compensation tools to correct the problem.
The bottom line when thinking about equalizing a home theater: approach it from a musician’s perspective. “No one tunes a Steinway [piano] to compensate for the room,” he asserts. “People are designing with their eyes [a reference to using plotted graphs] and are not listening to what their ears are telling them.”
The following videos feature Hales explaining his perspective on room equalization and a clip from Pro Audio Technology’s popular Cream system demo.
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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