Once you have your monitors properly positioned, it’s time to start listening to them. Subjective listening tests can be made with reference material that you are familiar with; a favourite album, movie or other recording. Objective tests can be made simply with a smartphone app or a more sophisticated acoustic measurement system.
Play some recorded material that you are familiar with through the monitors to see if the sound is how you expected. Adjust the tilt filters in both directions to hear the different tonalities. It is also suggested that you listen to material you know actually sounds bad or has defects in the recordings. A truly neutral monitor will reveal these defects clearly.
A good monitor delivers accurate representation of the sound whether this happens to be good or bad, so that informed mix decisions can be made. Adjust the tilt filter to the setting you are most comfortable with.
For an objective test of the monitor’s response, you will need a metering system. This consists of a device that can measure the spectral output of the monitor in real-time and a source of pink noise that can be played back through the monitors. Pink noise is a balanced level of noise across the entire spectrum. When played back through a proper monitoring system, an RTA should show a flat response in the room.
- RTA Spectral Analyser
- Pink Noise Source
We have created an iOS app with these tools built in so you can quickly test and calibrate your Core monitors using your iOS device. In the Apple App Store, search for ‘Dynaudio Sound Meter’ to download this free app.
Play the pink noise from the Dynaudio Sound Meter app and adjust the level to a reasonable playback volume. If you wish to play pink noise from your computer workstation, a WAV file containing pink noise is available at dynaudio.com/pinknoise.
Play the pink noise through one monitor at a time at a reasonable level (~80-85 dBA) and place the iPhone or iPad at the listening position. Change the Sound balance filter setting to see how the response changes the response curve in the RTA. In the RTA display, the reading should be as even as possible.
If you notice excessive levels in the low frequencies, try setting the Sound Balance filter to “Bright” and check the results. Or perhaps your monitors are too close to a wall and need the Position 2 switch set to “Wall” or “Corner”.
If the spectrum analyser shows a greater degree of high frequencies, set the Sound Balance filter to “Dark” and check the results. Low frequency response can be greatly affected by boundary walls, soffit mounting, and other positioning issues. Experiment with the Position 1 and Position 2 settings and see how the RTA reacts. You can gain valuable insights into the acoustics of your listening room by repeating this process.
Once you have the Position and Sound Balance filters set for the flattest response curve in the RTA, return to your reference material to see how it sounds. Through this process of objective tests with the RTA and subjective listening tests with your ears, you will arrive at the best setting for your Core monitors.