For some of you that don't Nyal, you should know him. Nyal is an acoustician. His mission in life is to improve the sound in your listening room using real measurement tools and real acoustics knowledge. I built an addition onto my house. Nyal did not design my listening room. I did the best I could under the circumstances. My room is 14'6"x24'x9'3", 5/8" soundboard over standard wall studs and a double wood floor with green glue in between (nothing special for sure). I knew I would need room treatments. I didn't know where to begin. I discovered the XTZ room analyzer and that's how I met Nyal, by phone. Nyal showed me how to use it. He really didn't have to because it's so easy to use, but I have been down the DRC road before and had been sorely disappointed.
Where do the speakers go?! I pushed them around alot before I met Nyal. I wasn't using any measurement gear. The first measurements taken with XTZ showed that the most dominate room mode was centered at 47Hz @12.5db. Nyal advised me that room treatments would touch it and if I didn't want another set of subs in the rear of the room to cancel this mode, I would need to find the null for this room mode. Nyal showed me how to do this simply using the mic and the RTA function in XTZ. I found the null almost exactly where Nyal predicted it would be; 5'2" from the front wall.
Here's bass response before Nyal:
Nyal came up with a room treatment design and I implemented it with the help of my dealer Scotty Warren and my other friend Bill Gainer. Here's are some photos of my room:
After the treatments were setup and I dialed in the toe-in (3/8"), I was ready for parametric EQ. This is the part where most audiophiles will go running for the door. Although Nyal is a proponent of EQ, he does not think EQ can solve all problems. At this point my decay time was about .4 seconds evenly across the frequency spectrum. I was told that my room would sound dead and "uninvolving" with all of these treatments. I don't hear it. The decay time is perfect for me. I am not a live music re-creator. I simply want the musical performance as it was originally recorded.
How to EQ? As you can see, I only use a music server for my source. I have a custom windows music server. I run Jriver is media server mode. Jriver is the best software I have tried and I have tried them all on mac and windows, almost. Nyal recommended a VST plugin called FabFilter. It's very easy to use. Nyal and I ran one more XTZ measurement and then Nyal recommended a total of 6 bands of parametric EQ (all low frequency). XTZ has a simulation mode so I was able to test his recommendations out and this is what the result was:
Fabfilter is totally transparent. I can turn it on and off and I lose nothing in the higher frequencies. The only difference that can be heard is the corrected frequencies. Here's a screeshot of the fabfilter plugin for Jriver:
All of the work Nyal did was remote. Nyal takes a teaching approach to his work. I learned a lot during this process and I feel much more comfortable with things like room treatments and EQ than I used to feel. Thank you Nyal! My system is no longer there. I can close my eyes and the music just flows from another dimension.