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

CalMAN Products Overview: Home User

Today's article focuses on computer monitor calibration. But SpectraCal also has a full suite of products for optimizing HDTVs. If you’d like to engage in a little do-it-yourself with your display, the price of admission isn’t nearly as steep. In fact, for the same $150, you can buy a package similar to CalMAN RGB that includes a disc of test patterns. Here’s a quick rundown of the home use packages available.

CalMAN 5 Basic - $149

  • Meters: C3, C6, i1Display
  • Pattern control DVD
  • Basic and intermediate workflows

CalMAN 5 Control - $299

All of the above, plus:

  • Support for all tri-stim colorimeters and i1Pro
  • Pattern control via DVD or signal generator
  • AutoCal
  • Advanced workflows
  • Meter profile editor

CalMAN 5 Enthusiast - $399

All of the above, plus:

  • Two PC client licenses
  • Design Mode
  • 3D LUT calibration
  • All workflows
  • All editors

The value of the Enthusiast package is substantial, mainly because you get Design Mode. This is an extremely powerful tool that lets you create your own pages and workflows. Once you’ve mastered it, you can generate reports on pretty much any imaging parameter.

What you don’t get compared to the professional products is support for more exotic spectrometers. You also lose some support for signal generators and outboard video processors. If you’re calibrating your own displays though, that's no big loss. If you can afford a pattern generator (they start at around $1500), the more expensive CalMAN software doesn’t seem quite as dear.

When you lack a signal generator, you need another way to create patterns. The cheapest and simplest solution is a disc and your DVD or Blu-ray player. As I mentioned, the Basic package for $249 includes a DVD with all of the patterns you need. And using the Control and Enthusiast products, you can automate your player using an IR dongle. Stepping up to that Enthusiast level additionally gets you the monitor calibration workflows to do everything seen on the following pages.

The prices we have listed don't include a meter. In my opinion, the best value is CalMAN Enthusiast with a C6 for $1000. With that, you’re able to calibrate any display (including projectors) with the same precision and flexibility as us using CalMAN Ultimate. There are a number of disc-based pattern sets that can be downloaded for free. Or you can pick up the latest Spears & Munsil disc for around thirty bucks from Amazon.

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