- Written by Adrian Wittenberg
- Published on 14 August 2008
Avia II program material is broken down into ten chapters. The first seven chapters feature live action personalities that talk about and introduce all of the relevant equipment and concepts present in home theater today. The live action material describes topics such as speakers, display technology, cable connections, and HD technology and the hosts of the program give very clear explanations about the various kinds of equipment that make up a home theater and how they all work together to provide the home theater experience.
With the big digital switch on the horizon, Avia II's information is presented in a way that would be perfect for somebody who is either new to home theater or unfamiliar with the current technologies. The seven introductory chapters serve not only as a guide to equipment but they also serve to educate a user about the home theater environment and what factors are important in getting the most out of the equipment once it is ready to be set up. Following this material, chapters eight and nine consist of live action tutorials on making standard audio and video adjustments. Specifically, the standard video adjustments include contrast, brightness, color and tint, sharpness, and red push. The standard audio adjustments include speaker identification, phase, matching speaker levels, subwoofer phase, and subwoofer level.
The tutorials offer an improvement over the previous version of Avia in that they really make the calibration process easy for someone without experience to make the adjustments. They first describe the test patterns and then show what to look for when making an adjustment and how to perform the calibration. The DVD is also organized so that the media can be paused while making a calibration. These tutorials are clear and simple to follow for anybody no matter what experience level they are at. The last chapter consists of all the patterns and test tones found on chapters eight and nine as well as additional advanced patterns that can be utilized by amateur and professional alike.
While going into detail with all of the advanced patterns and tones on the disc is way beyond the scope of this review I will say that the more than 200 video patterns and more than 100 audio tones that Avia II includes are precise tools and can be used to fine tune or evaluate any system although some do require professional equipment such as a waveform monitor to use properly. A complete listing of the included tones and patterns can be found on Ovation's website.
Many of the patterns cover the same ideas found on the previous version of Avia but this version has updated and improved on many of them to cover more ground and to make them easier to use when calibrating equipment in various situations. One such example comes in the Needle Pulse pattern which has added a horizontal step block that shows how a system is handling blacker than black and whiter than white information thus evaluating a system for proper headroom.
Another example is the 10 IRE field pattern which is handy for detecting if there is interference present in the cables, connectors, or AC power supply of a video system. Noise shows up as visual artifacts that are either static or moving. New to the audio test tones section, Avia II has included a way to calibrate subwoofers at four different crossover frequencies which is used to get a good blend between the main speakers and the subwoofer. The different crossover frequencies at 200 Hz, 120 Hz, 80 Hz, and 45 Hz are handy because of variations in speaker driver size. Avia II also has included twenty seven test tones used to evaluate 6. 1 surround sound systems.
One of the most welcome additions to the Avia series is the included user manual that is accessed from a computer with a DVD-Rom. It's an indispensible resource for understanding and maximizing one’s ability to further calibrate or evaluate their system using the supplied video and audio test material. The descriptions start out by showing what the test pattern looks like and then they explain what they test. This is followed by clear instructions on what to do to use them and what to pay attention to.