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Do It Like Tom's: Calibrating Your Monitor With CalMAN RGB

CalMAN Products Overview: Professional

We’re focusing primarily on CalMAN RGB for this article, though SpectraCal offers many products in its portfolio that not only work for computer monitors, but other display technologies as well. At Tom’s Hardware, we use CalMAN Ultimate, the top-level application that retails for just under $3000. It gives you all the functionality of every other CalMAN level, as well as full meter and pattern source support.

Since the feature list is pretty long, we’ll break it down one version at a time. First up are SpectraCal’s professional products.

CalMAN 5 Expert - $1495

  • Meter support, see below
  • Pattern source device support, see below
  • Three PC client licenses
  • Direct display control
  • Basic and advanced workflows
  • Client management
  • Meter profile editor

CalMAN 5 Professional - $2495

All of the above, plus:

  • Full meter support
  • Full pattern source support
  • Five PC client licenses
  • Direct Display Control with Color Cube
  • Basic, advanced, and pro workflows
  • Multiple display locations
  • Levels editor
  • Gamma editor

CalMAN 5 Ultimate - $2995

All of the above plus:

  • Ten PC client licenses
  • Design mode
  • Simultaneous use of multiple meters

Hardware support is another differentiator between product levels. Here is a list of meters.

CalMAN 5 Expert

  • SpectraCal C3 and C6
  • X-Rite i1Display Pro, i1Pro, and i1Pro 2
  • X-Rite Color Munki and Chroma5
  • X-Rite Hubble
  • Klein K-10
  • Sencore Color Pro V
  • Datacolor Spyder 2, 3, and 4

CalMAN 5 Professional & Ultimate

All of the above plus:

  • Minolta spectroradiometers (all)
  • Photo Research spectroradiometers (all)
  • JETI SpecBos 1201/11
  • Orb Optronix SP-100 & 200

And here is a list of standalone signal generators. All CalMAN products support the PC client pattern source.

CalMAN 5 Expert

  • DPG 1000/1200/1400/2000
  • Accupel HDG and DVG series
  • AV Foundry VideoForge
  • Extron VTB-300 and VTG-400
  • Quantum Data 701 and 780
  • Sencore MediaPro MP500

CalMAN 5 Professional & Ultimate

All of the above plus:

  • Quantum Data all
  • Sencore all
  • Phabrix SX

A major feature in these three CalMAN versions is Direct Display Control (DDC), which works with nearly any computer monitor and even a few consumer HDTVs. In today's story, you're going to see it used with a Dell UP3214Q. But it also works with some Panasonic and Sharp televisions, as well as JVC projectors.

We should also mention 3D LUT support; also known as Color Cube. This is an AutoCal procedure where CalMAN calibrates multiple saturation levels for each primary and secondary color. While no displays support this, there are some outboard video processors that do. If you’re able to take advantage of the feature for your TV or projector, you’ll enjoy the most accurate color possible.

Of course, we saved the best part for last. In case you’re reeling from sticker shock after looking at some of the prices, fear not. SpectraCal sells a package with CalMAN RGB and a C3 colorimeter for just $249. The combination includes everything you need to calibrate your monitor, including the patterns, which are provided by the PC client. This package also supports the C6 meter, which is an i1Display2 modified by SpectraCal for greater accuracy with LED-backlit displays.

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.