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Thread: Room Correction for 2 Channel?

  1. #1
    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    Room Correction for 2 Channel?

    I spent 10 years selling the original digital room correction product (SigTech), primarily in the 2 channel market. (a 6 channel solution cost about $18,000!!). The product was not overly successful for a number of reasons, but the one I found both interesting and frustrating was the reluctance of the high-end 2 channel guy to "put anything between the source and the speakers".

    And near as I can tell, not much has changed. Virtually all (a few well known exceptions) SSP's have some form of room correction (some better than others) and most home theater enthusiasts (high end or otherwise) are reluctant to purchase a new SSP that does not have some form of correction. As I talk to other 2 channel audiophiles (and dealers) most are still (a) ignorant of the capabilities of digital room correction and/or (b) still want nothing to do with it.

    The benefits of room correction (done properly) are so much more obvious than virtually every other "upgrade" one can make (and in some cases, a lot less costly), I am amazed that this technology for 2 channel has just not taken off. A 2 channel Tact (2.0), for example, cost less than $6K if I recall and will do wonders in 98+% of all rooms. But audiophiles seem to have no problem spending more than that on things like cable elevators, speaker wire, interconnects, equipment racks ... you name it. And while those may (or may not) be worthwhile improvements, all pale in comparison to the improvements that can be had by well done correction.

    And yes, I believe that passive treatment should be the first option, but in my experience, even rooms that are properly designed and built can benefit from this technology.

    So I pose the following for you two channel guys (and girls): What has been the reason for not investing in this technology?

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    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    I can't comment on why not to. I can comment on why I did. I have a Lyngdorf Room Perfect. Most of the time it is on bypass because my system (room being part of the system) really doesn't need much help as it is. It has a mode called global though. When entertaining this mode makes the sound even anywhere in the room except the sweet spot where the sound is diffuse but tonally well balanced. It makes for making moods very easy and guests can still talk easily even with energy feeding background music. It also has some preprogrammed curves that can ameliorate those songs we love but have awful sonics.

    Now, I'm a 95% vinyl guy and am heavily invested in my software and playback rig. I can say categorically however that even when engaged the RP does not introduce any of the bugaboos associated with digitization. Nobody has scored better than 50% on the average on the blind tests I've carried out including myself. I'd say that is as good as it will probably get. I've had the same experience with the newest generation of digital crossovers.

    Right now I think the resistance is really based more on philosophy rather than actual observations. What I noticed is that some folks that employ DRC often do not take enough samples of their rooms from varying locations. I use at least 16 locations including the rear ceiling corners.

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    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    One of the better systems I have heard is a friend of OB's who lives in Dallas. He owns what I used to consider the worst example of a high end, over priced audio speaker, but by replacing the subs with some Gothams AND really tweeking out his Tact (2.2XP), his system sounds marvelous. He too "digitizes" his analog (which, by the way, was the most amazing experience) and I would "dare" anyone to hear it (I believe the ADC is 24/192).

    That said, he (and apparently you) are in a VERY small minority !

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    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackD201 View Post
    I use at least 16 locations including the rear ceiling corners.
    Why? Do you have some small friends who sit up there

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    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    Hahahahaha! Good one!

    Actually all corners should be mapped because that's where there is the most loading. At least with the RP, it is recommended that locations be in front of the speaker plane so I map all rear corners. I did this because I have modular couches that are flush against the rear wall. Mapping the locations mentioned pretty much assures even bass response even in the corners when in Global mode and helps somewhat in any of the regular contour presets. Like I said some folks take the mic and set it at the sweet spot and think that's all they have to do. With 16 settings I get to only 92% on the display, then it goes asymptotic. I quit at 20 where the reading was just 93%. At that rate you'd need about a hundred locations to get to 99%.

    My partner uses one too and I did the calibration for him. He and his wife had serious decor constraints so passive treatment was not an option. He also had to place his speakers very close to the front wall and very far apart. The difference between bypass and active in his system is night and day.

    I really think that if folks could get past the EQ stigma from decades past, it would help so many people for really not much money.

  6. #6
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    Hi

    I actually prefer the Term Digital Room Correction and I like the notion of using the ever increasing power of Digital Power Processing (DSP) to correct some aberrations / non linearity. I , however have become increasing convinced that passive room Treatment is the better alternative (when possible as I am about to find soon), provided the speakers do not need much correcting themselves a big supposition.
    Right now Room Correction systems are not user-friendly . They require much more knowledge of Acoustics issues than most audiophiles need to have and even for those audiophiles who possess the requisite knowledge, the learning curve is very steep.
    I now should be counted as one of the Digital-head. I believe that correctly done digital , right today is superior to analog. High Rez is already there in my opinion. On the subject of digital in general . I will post soon in the Digital Section
    One issue however in Room Correction is that in the bass, there is not too much these systems can do. In the low bass Passive treatment and placement are key. I am , for example extremely surprised and pleased by what using several (3) subwoofers along with Full Range speakers did bring to my former system with no EQ… Rooms nodes and other reflections-related occurrences are not easy to deal with electronic correction they are purely mechanical phenomenon. My conclusion is that Digital Room EQ have their place is an already good system in a reasonably good room , else they do not produce the great results many have expected from them

    Frantz

  7. #7
    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrantzM View Post
    Hi
    One issue however in Room Correction is that in the bass, there is not too much these systems can do. In the low bass Passive treatment and placement are key. Frantz
    I agree that passive treatment (e.g. bass traps) and placement are the first two steps to take. In the case of a full range speaker where no external subs are used (that would be me), placement options are limited. (let's not wander into why external subs are a better option at this point). Given those restrictions, FEW rooms will provide optimal bass, even with treatment. And I can assure you from 10 years of experience, DRC (Digital Room Correction) can make a HUGE difference in the bass. In fact, I would suggest that 80% of the benefit of DRC is the range below 200Hz. In the hundreds and hundreds of rooms I've been in, a grand total of ONE needed NO help in the bass. Again, we are discussing full range speakers with no external sub.

    When you change the scenario and talk about a separate sub(s), things can change for the better. But even in that case, DRC done correctly can make a huge improvement in the bass. Let me use my situation specifically. I have 4 subs and by placement and room treatment, have very flat bass even down to 5Hz. There are two 4 to 5db bumps near 60 and 70Hz but even without correction, the system is listenable. (I am, in my case, referring to HT as I don't use subs for stereo). My room has floor to ceiling traps in all corners AND most of the soffit area is trapped.

    That said, I have taken three different progressions, all of which improved the bass response. (1) added Audyssey Pro to my pre-pro and the bass became much tighter and better defined and the slam factor improved (2) I then added delay to the rear subs, utilizing a QSC DSP30 so that the time arrival matched the front speakers and the bass improved even further and (3) I finally added the Audyssey Bass EQ product (and removed the QSC DSP30 as the Audyssey Bass solution addressed the delay issue) which took the bass to a far more refined level with virtually no bass overhang/ringing. I have only heard bass like that in one other place (and that was in the room that needed no DRC!).

    So, Frantz, I guess I see DRC a bit differently than you do. Both personally and experiencially having been in hundreds of room and done DRC demoes, DRC does make major improvements in the bass. (Now if you are one of those rare soles who build a room from scratch utilizing some of the better names in room design, then all bets are off )
    “Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me” - Gordon Holt

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    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    AG

    (short for Audioguy). . Reading your post I understand your point of view and infact I have had dreams of acquiring a couple of years the TACT SSP for that purpose, I was then told by several people that its LOW bass under 80 Hz) correction was weak. WHile DRC can be very good in the ipper bass region say 80~200 Hz, they do not seem to be very good lower, my expereince with these however is limited so I am far from an expert there. I also will repeat that DRC are not as easy to use as most think and the learning curve can be extremely steep, in the meantime, while the user is trying to understand how to use these, the results can be very counterproductive. I do understand your point and stand corrected
    The flexibility of DSP solution aka Room EQ do add into making the bass better and I understand that, ultimately however the best bass obtainable in a room where treatment is possible and the use of multiple subs could be a mixture of all three: DSP, Multiple subs and Physical ( passive) Room treatments.

    Frantz

  9. #9
    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrantzM View Post
    ultimately however the best bass obtainable in a room where treatment is possible and the use of multiple subs could be a mixture of all three: DSP, Multiple subs and Physical (passive) Room treatments.

    Frantz
    I would agree.

    As to the user friendliness or the requirement to understand acoustics, that would potentially apply to the Tact (at least it is NOT particularly user friendly). There are Tact user groups that can be very helpful.

    But a product like the Audyssey SubEQ is as friendly as anything like that can be, and understanding room acoustics is not a requirement. Just CAREFULLY follow their instructions (and those you will find on other forums) and you would end up with very good results.
    “Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me” - Gordon Holt

  10. #10
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    A point on difficulty of using TacT and need for being acoustician. The issue with TacT software is one of pure usability as with any other software which was designed with someone with very little experience in how people discover operation of a program. Those difficulties have little to do with acoustics aspects of the program. With "in-box" (default) setup, you get an immediate improvement in sound quality. You just have to work yourself through it to get it to run its test and activate it.

    Sure, you can then tweak things to death and that requires either knowing what you are doing or enough time to iterate and see what you like best. In the hands of a good software engineer, TacT could be child's play in how it gets the job done for majority of cases.

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