Output Support

Frontier Calibration Guide

Calibrating your monitors is essentially matching volume between all of your studio monitors, and making the 0dB level of your source, whether a DAW or a mixer, match a certain real life decibel level. You’re going to need an SPL meter, and if you do not have a dedicated meter, there are many smartphone apps that do an adequate job—just make sure to remove any phone case, and be careful not to cover the microphone with a finger. Also, make sure that any app has the more flat C-Weighted filter option.

It is important to calibrate your studio monitors for the health of your ears, but also for accurate mixes, since we cannot hear certain frequencies as well at quiet levels, and at loud levels, we hear certain frequencies much clearer. It is absolutely critical you do this if you are using multiple sets of monitors to reference off each other. We usually perceive louder as better, especially after long mixing sessions, so if different sets of monitors are not at the same level, you will have a very frustrating mixing experience.

In general, you will only have to do this once when setting up your new Frontier set.

Calibration Levels

The standard calibration level is 85dB matching 0dB from the source. This is not an arbitrary number. 85dB is very close to the more flat portion of the equal loudness contour—that is, the volume level at which we hear frequencies equally. However, this level was also intended for very large spaces, such as cinemas. 85dB in a normal sized mixing environment is going to be very loud. It is important you calibrate the level that’s appropriate for your room. The following chart is a standard reference level. Keep in mind that the actual calibration will be about 3dB louder than the chart when both monitors are playing back simultaneously (you calibrate one at a time).

Room Size (square feet)

Single Monitor Reference Level

>6000

82dB

3000-6000

80dB

1500-3000

78dB

450-1500

76dB

<450

74dB

Method of Calibration

There are many methods to calibrate your studio monitors, but the one described here is one of the most common. This method is not subjective, so it is also accurate. All you need is some pink noise and your meter. This is also easier with some assistance. If no one is available, you will need a mount for your meter.

This method assumes that you are using a DAW. If you do not have a DAW, you will need an audio source that can generate full bandwidth pink noise. There are many free samples available for download that you can play through your computer’s standard audio player. Full bandwidth pink noise presents equal energy per octave—this is different than white noise which presents equal energy per frequency band. Do not calibrate with white noise.

  1. Place the SPL meter in the listening position. Most meters are designed to have the microphone pointed at the ceiling rather than the source, but check the manual or the documentation with the phone app.

  2. Set both Frontier monitor levels to -10dB, and turn both of them off.

  3. Loadyoursoundgeneratorandstartplayingpinknoise.MakesurethelevelsinyourDAW are set to 0dB, and that your audio interface, or mixer, is set at unity gain.

  4. Turn on the left Frontier, and slowly increase the gain on the back of the loud speaker until you reach the appropriate level on the chart. When you have reached that level, turn off the speaker.

  5. Turn on the right Frontier, slowly increase the gain on the back of the loud speaker until it has reached the same level.

  6. Turn off the sound generator.

  7. Turn on the left Frontier.

  8. Sit down in the mix position, and play some music that you are familiar with. You may need to slightly change your speaker position until you have a balanced sweet spot to mix from.

 
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