EVERYONE interested in Home Theater should have a few Calibration Discs in their collection. This is true even if you intend to hire a professional to come in and set up your system for you. Professionals will bring tools and computer programs which are both expensive to buy and daunting to learn. But even though you can't fully match their professional results, you should STILL have calibration discs handy to confirm there are no silly setup errors in your system, and to check whether any problems you spot while playing real content are due to oddities in that content, as opposed to something you've overlooked in your system setup. Calibration Discs provide you with content of known "correctness" which you can use for this.
There are LOTS of different calibration discs out there at this point, and more likely to come out over the next year or so as UHD (4K) video becomes more mainstream. Some of them are pretty specialized. Some require you also have those professional tools mentioned above. Some are hard to find, or even out of print. The most sensitive test I know of to confirm that Speaker Distance Correction is happening properly, is found in the Avia Pro SD-DVD multi-disc set, which is long out of print. And even in that case, this particular test was included in an add-on disc to that set, which only appeared several years after the set first shipped! Try getting your hands on THAT one!
In this post I'm going to discuss two, generally useful Calibration Blu-ray Discs. And also, one specialized disc -- in this case an SACD disc -- to give you a flavor of what's out there if you go looking for such specialized, test content.Read more