Is ISF Calibration Or Audio Calibration Worth It?

ISF calibration is a service that can bring your display to peak performance. The truth is that displays and blu-ray players are not shipped with settings that deliver the best picture. Once you have seen an accurate image on a quality display it is a very captivating thing. Poor quality displays, rooms or sources will not be transformed into the best with this service. The quality of the results will depend on the system you own along with the tools, skill and desire of the person performing the work. An improperly setup display will have poor flesh tones, poor contrast and image artifacts. A calibrator who does not ask about the equipment you own or claims all displays will benefit is one you do not want to use. A quality calibrator should at a minimum use a video generator, spectrophotometer and real images to fine tune the image quality. An example of what a quality calibrator uses and does can be found here.

Audio calibration is a service that can dramatically improve your sound performance. The truth is that setting up receivers, speakers, subwoofers and blu-ray players properly is much more complex than people realize. The automatic setup routines found in today’s products are also not very effective at delivering anything close to the best sound from your system. Boomy bass, weak bass, inability to comfortably play the system loud, weak surround effect, irritating high frequencies and poor dialog intelligibility are just a few of the problems caused by improper setup. Systems that will benefit little from this service are ones where the room acoustics are horrible (lots of glass and tile) or if you listen so quiet that you can barely hear anything. An example of what is done by a professional can be found here.

In general the better your equipment and room are the more it will benefit from these types of systems. However, very modest systems can frequently surpass more expensive ones that have not been calibrated.

W. Jeff Meier

ISF and THX Certified Home Theater Consultant

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