Most new AV receivers come with an "auto setup" or "automatic calibration" feature, but despite the word automatic, these features can stump AV novices. If you're setting up an AV receiver for the first time, this guide will put you on the right track.
First, let's describe what auto setup systems do.
They send test tones to all the speakers and subwoofer, and use a microphone to pick up the sound of the speakers in your room. Auto setup systems determine speaker sizes and volume levels, set the subwoofer-to-satellite crossover frequency, measure distances from each of the speakers to the listener, and confirm that all of the speaker cables are correctly hooked up. Some receivers also use equalization to balance the frequency response of all the speakers.
Auto setup systems go by different names, but they all do approximately the same thing. Denon and Onkyo feature Audyssey; Sony has Digital Cinema Auto Calibration, Pioneer Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration, and Yamaha uses a Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer.
The exact positioning of the auto calibration microphone is crucial for achieving accurate results. Some auto setup systems work from just one mic position, which would be the primary spot where you sit when watching movies by yourself. Ideally the mic should be placed at the same height as your ears when you're sitting watching a movie.
If you have a camera tripod, use it to place the mic at ear height; perfectionists should move the couch entirely out of the way. Lacking a tripod place the mic on the back of the couch, atop the highest pillow.… Read more