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    The Computer Audiophile

    A New Listening Room Part Two: Acoustics, Speakers, DSP

    When I last updated everyone on my new listening room, I said "The sound right now is definitely livable" and "However, I am nowhere near satisfied with the sound." I wrapped up part one of this series by stating, "As it stands now, I really like the new listening room. I can't wait to get the acoustic panels installed to bring the sound quality up quite a bit. The room is a giant instrument and has the biggest affect on the sound quality of music. Forget about MQA, lossy, lossless, bit perfect, upsampling, music servers, or even speakers. If the room isn't good, the sound isn't good no matter what one does to the system."

     

    Quite a bit has changed since I wrote that. My room sounds spectacular right now. This is the best sound I've ever had, period. What follows is a description of what has changed and what was done to get my room to its current level. 

     

     

     

     


    Step One - Acoustics

     

    As I said in Part One, I worked with Vicoustic to come up with a plan for room acoustics. Vicoustic delivered a very detailed proposal (PDF 5.6MB) with predicted results, if I followed its recommendations. I bounced the recommendations around to a few friends in the industry and based on their input decided to order 2/3 of Vicoustic's recommended package as a starting point. I didn't purchase the recommended Super Bass Extreme Premium bass traps because I wanted to make sure any bass issues I had, once measured, would be remedied by these traps. 

     


    I purchased 24 Cinema Round Premium absorption panels and 6 Multifuser DC2 diffusion panels. Each product obviously serves a different function as can be seen in the images below.

     

    cinema-round.jpg multifuser.jpg

     


    When the Vicoustic panels arrived, I installed them myself according to Vicoustic's recommended placement. I didn't want to put holes in my new walls, so I opted against a traditional mounting bracket type of installation. As funny as this might sound, I've had great luck hanging items on my walls using the 3M Command products. It was only logical that I tried mounting the acoustic panels using products from 3M's Command lineup. 

     

    My first attempt using only four Large Picture Hanging Strips (17206-ES) was a quick failure. Even though the strips have a weight limit of 16 pounds and the Cinema Round Premium panels weigh somewhere around 2 pounds, it wasn't meant to be. The panels fell off the wall shortly after I finished mounting them. 

     

    I switched to plan B, adding Rapid Fuse all purpose adhesive to the parts of the Command strips that touched the Vicoustic panels and my walls. The panels have been hanging on my walls without an issue for seven months. They didn't have an issue when the Summer heat made it very uncomfortable in my room, and so far the Winter cold hasn't effected them either. My room temperature gets down to about 60 in on the coldest Winter days, before my heater kicks in to warm things up before start working for the day. I don't expect my temperature fluctuations to effect the Rapid Fuse very much. 


    After installation of the absorption and diffusion panels, my room was immediately transformed. Prior to the panel installation I had a hard time talking on the phone while sitting at my desk because the sound bounced off the walls like an echo chamber. After the installation, everything was perfect. Not too much absorption, but just enough to make the room sound great for phone calls and even more important for listening to music. 

     

    This was a larger sound quality improvement than any piece of electronic equipment I've ever placed in my system. Even those with bronze ears could tell the difference in sound was night and day. From my listening chair, the harsh reflections were gone and the room's effect on the music was incredibly reduced. I can't recommend acoustic treatments enough to everyone who values good sound. 

     

    I held off fine tuning the sound of the room because at the time, my TAD CR1 speakers were about to be sold and shipped off to their new owner. I figured I'd need some bass traps, but thought I'd cross that bridge when I go to it. 

     

    Vicoustic Cinema Rounds Mounting Supplies Rapid Fuse Command Strips Back of Room Side of Room Front of Room

     

     

     

     

     


    Step Two - New Speakers

     

    IMG_1867.jpgIn My New Speakers Have Arrived article I finished by saying, "Once the speakers are moved into my listening room, a representative from Wilson will fly out to set them up using the Wilson Audio Setup Procedure. I'm sure I will give this procedure a shot on my own just to start listening. I'm like a kid on the night before Christmas. I'm really excited and there's nothing I can do about it until the new Alexia Series 2 speakers are setup. Look for much more about the speaker setup, my first impressions, and room measurements in the following weeks." 

     

    As usual, things took longer than I'd hoped. Getting the speakers into my listening room wasn't a task a guy like me could handle on his own. In fact, I don't think any one person should attempt to bring Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers up 14 stairs through a narrow, freshly painted stairwell. 

     

    I called a few moving companies in Minneapolis who thought I sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher talking when I said I needed my 260 pound, $60,000 speakers moved from my garage into my upstairs listening room. Fortunately, a nice lady at one of the companies told me to call Manny's Piano moving. One phone call and $300 later, I had two guys at my door ready to carefully move some speakers. 

     

    The speakers arrived in wooden crates that caused one of the movers to comment on the very solid build quality. "Those were made the right way." Said the guy who'd been working at the company for decades. He's seen a few packages and crates in his time. 

     

    After watching the duo carefully bring the speakers up to the second floor listening room, it was time to peel off the protective layer of plastic. Wilson speakers ship with a thick protective plastic layer covering all the paint. This makes the speakers appear to be white before the real color is revealed under this layer. 

     

    I peeled the protective layer off and opened the 60 page Alexia Series 2 user manual (PDF 2.7MB). A lengthy user manual isn't what one wants to read before listening to new speakers for the first time. However, I knew that if I didn't at least attempt to install the speakers correctly, I'd only hear a fraction of their quality. 

     

    I read the manual and adjusted the speakers according to the measurements and charts. Wilson makes this part fairly straight forward. The difficult part of placement within the room and fine tuning this placement was beyond what I wanted to attempt and I new someone form Wilson was coming out to help with the setup anyway. 

     

    I finished speaker setup, connected my amps, and pressed play on my new Alexia Series 2 speakers. As an audiophile who has had a few pairs of new speakers in his life, I must say this is one of the funnest things to do after a new speaker setup. Listening to all of one's favorite tracks again for the first time. It brings out more in each track and identifies differences between old and new speakers right away. 

     

    I absolutely loved what I heard through the Alexia Series 2 speakers. I was apprehensive to sell my speakers with beryllium tweeters and beryllium midrange  drivers and replace them with soft dome tweeters and Cellulose/Paper Pulp Composite midrange drivers. Not that either material in and of itself is better, but I was used to the sound of beryllium after seven years of listening through TAD CR1s. To my delight, the sound was fantastic. 

     

    It took several weeks before schedules aligned and Wilson's John Giolas could make it out to Minneapolis to run through the Wilson Audio Setup Procedure with the speakers in my room. Given that John's official title is Director of Marketing at Wilson, I was skeptical and I told him as much. What does a marketing guy know about placement of speakers? It turns out, John is a master at speaker setup. 

     

    Every step of the setup was documented by John and verbally relayed to me as he made adjustments. John told me everything he did along the way and why he did it. Moving the speakers as he talked also enabled him to hear the reverberation off the side walls and find the perfect general position for the speakers. 

     

    John then took over the iPad and listening chair to fine tune speaker's position down to the smallest of fraction of an inch. Once the final position was settled, the spikes went in the speakers and it was time to listen to my 100% fully setup speakers for the first time. I was impressed with John's work throughout the day and equally impressed with the results at the end of the day. John noticed I'd mis-configured the tweeter housing, causing a slight timing issue (that was later verified by measurements) and moved the speakers only a couple inches from my initial placement. But, the end results were dramatic. I'd never had a better "first listen" than later that evening. 

     

     

    Alexia Series 2 Crates Alexia Series 2 Crates Manny Manny Alexia Series 2 Crates Alexia Series 2 Crates Alexia Series 2 Protective Film Alexia Series 2 on Casters Alexia Series 2 on Casters Alexia Series 2 on Casters Alexia Series 2 on Casters Wilson Audio Setup Procedure Wilson Audio Setup Procedure Alexia Series 2 Final Position with Spikes Alexia Series 2 Final Position with Spikes Alexia Series 2 Final Position with Spikes Alexia Series 2 Final Position with Spikes Alexia Series 2 Final Position with Spikes

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Step Three - Bass Traps

     

    Once the speakers were in their final resting places and I'd had several days to play all types of music, I noted a couple bass humps in my listening room. Like all rooms, these are expected. I pulled out my miniDSP umik-1 USB Measurement Calibrated Microphone and used Room EQ Wizard to take some basic measurements of my room. Indeed, I had a large bass hump and suck-out that was easily heard by my ears and seen by my eyes on the graphs. 

     

    It was time to look closer at bass traps. I talked to more friends in the industry and settled on a pair of ATS Acoustics Corner Bass Traps (24x48) in the Guilford of Maine Snow color, for the two corners behind my speakers. I really liked these bass traps for two reasons, first the price was right (although shipping can be a killer), and second ATS offers them in both full range and low range. I selected the low range version that absorbs low frequencies and reflects high frequencies. I didn't need any additional high frequency absorption.

     

    Here are specs of the bass traps and difference between the full range and low range traps, and an image of one in my room. 

     

    IMG_0735.jpg ats.png

     

     

     

    I installed the bass traps without much fanfare. They just sit in the corner without any hardware installed to couple them to the wall. Such hardware is available if desired. The overall effect of the bass traps was minimal but a positive for my listening enjoyment. The lowest frequencies can be hard to tame due to the length of the sound wave. I found this out through personal experience. This lead me to step four in my effort to fine tune the room even further. 

     

     

     

     


    Step Four - DSP

     

    I've been interested in DSP / room correction since hearing a wonderful demo at an audio show many years ago. In the years since, I've read a bit about it and dabbled with a couple apps, to see what I could do in my own system. Once I had measurements of my new room and confirmed them with what I heard, it was time to get serious with DSP. I talked to Mitch Barnett @mitchco of Accurate Sound, who literally wrote a book on DSP and is well versed in the writings of almost all the industry experts. Mitch gave me enough information to get going on my own, but I soon realized I was in way over my head. If I was interested in messing around and getting decent results, I would've been fine continuing on my own. However, I wanted the best results money could buy. I asked Mitch to continue helping me because I was out of my league. 

     

    I discovered that there are so many facets to DSP / room correction that the average guy has little chance of getting the best out of his system without help. Heck, I even committed the cardinal sin of thinking a flat frequency response at the listening position was desirable. Turns out listening to the experts and trying different industry standard curves is the route most traveled for good reason. 

     

    Mitch coached me through taking measurements of my room. For the most part this was easy, but when things go wrong, it helps to have Mitch. In my case he knew what options to enable or disable and even worked with the creator of Audiolense, Bernt Rønningsbakk on a couple possible issues. 

    After sending Mitch my room measurements, taken through Audiolense with the umik-1, he delivered a couple convolution filters to me via email. I added these filters to Roon, where I could easily switch between them to determine sonic differences. It was equally as easy to disable the convolution filters for comparison to bit perfect playback as well. 

     

    At first I wasn't thrilled with the results. I believed the transients were rounded at the edges far too much for my taste. This coupled with the fact that I was used to listening without any DSP for my entire life, made me frustrated. I reported back to Mitch everything I heard, liked, and disliked. His response to me was very reassuring. He said not to worry because there are many industry standard curves to try and many small adjustments he can make to the filter. 

     

    Over several weeks Mitch sent me more filters to try. I was traveling much of this time, so I assume we could've hammered out my issues pretty quick if I could dedicate more time to the effort. Mitch sent filters based on ITU, B&K and Bob Katz target curves before sending the EBU 3276 target curve. I liked the direction he was taking my system with the ITU curve, but when I pressed play with the EBU 3276 curve enabled, I was sold. My system was really singing. My room was out of the picture, and the music was right there in front of me. 

     

     

    roon-convolution-filters.jpgThe beauty of DSP is that I can enable or disable it with the press of a finger. I don't have to use it all the time and no physical component changes need to take place for me to use my system either way. In Roon or JRiver, or any app that supports convolution filters, it's as simple as tapping the option. In addition, all of the DSP takes place on my Roon core running on a QNAP NAS. This means that any changes to the audio happen (obviously) in the digital domain before the audio reaches my DAC. This is critical for a guy who reviews DACs for a living. If the changes took place after the DAC, reviews would be a much harder thing to accomplish. 

     

     

    In terms of where DSP ranks on my list of things that change a system's sound the most, I believe it's right up there with acoustic treatments. And by change, I mean a change for the better and more accurate to the source. As a hard core, knuckle-dragging audiophile I used to be anti-DSP. Now that I know the benefits of a professionally calibrated system, I'm all for it and think people are crazy for not trying it. As audiophile we obsess over the smallest details and spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on equipment. This equipment may never have a chance to show us what's its got if our rooms aren't perfect. DSP is cheap. If you try it and don't like it, you aren't out much money and you don't even have to worry about an extra component on the shelf collecting dust. It's all software. But, if you like it, DSP can change your life.

     

     

    Chris-Alexia-Series-2-inroom-response-before-and-after-DSP.jpg

     

    My in-room response before (top) and after (bottom) DSP / room correction using the EBU 3276 target curve.

     

     

     


    New Room Wrap Up

     

    It seems like forever ago that I was in my basement listening room with a pair of TAD CR1 speakers and a 6.5' ceiling bouncing. Moving my listening room up to my attic has turned out terrific. I finally went through the right steps to get my room sounding great and it has paid off immensely. Enlisting Vicoustic through its online Acoustic Treatment Project was the first step and it did wonders for my room. It set me on the right course, and set me up for success further down that course. Getting new Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 loudspeakers has been a dream come true for me as an audiophile. I've never been happier with a set of speakers in my life (sorry Andrew Jones). Adding the bass traps as a touch-up passive method of taming the bass was another step forward although the smallest step of the four I've taken on this journey. The final step of having my room professionally calibrated and convolution filters created was likely the easiest, now that I know to let the professionals handle the tough parts, and right up there for most effective. Hands down DSP is the most cost effective way to get a system and room sounding better. 

     

    I feel like I'm not giving my speaker much credit in this wrap up. I must say, without the acoustic treatments and DSP, these speakers wouldn't have been able to perform at their highest levels. The thing to remember is that I'm not DSP'ing the speaker or any of my components, I'm DSP'ing my room. No speaker has a chance of sounding good without the proper environment. Now that my room is in order, the Alexia Series 2 shines like no other speaker I've had at home. I don't know where I'd go from here, and I'm not even entertaining the thought. These feel like end-game speakers to me.

     

     

     

    Current Equipment:

     

     
     


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    @The Computer Audiophile, How did you wire from your DAC or preamp to your left Amplifier?  Seeing all your equipment is on the right side (except the left amp and speaker). did you go under the floor/carpeting or above the ceiling? I'm assuming your using XLR for the runs.  I see a hole in the wall where it feeds from, just curious.

     

    Maybe you could post a short video of your current setup, walking us through your Audio chain and seeing the back of your equipment, speakers and room layout.

     

    Thanks, 

    Shawn

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    14 minutes ago, ShawnC said:

    @The Computer Audiophile, How did you wire from your DAC or preamp to your left Amplifier?  Seeing all your equipment is on the right side (except the left amp and speaker). did you go under the floor/carpeting or above the ceiling? I'm assuming your using XLR for the runs.  I see a hole in the wall where it feeds from, just curious.

     

    I'm running balanced cables throughout my system. On the other side of the walls on each side of the listening room is a crawl space. I used a hole saw to drill holes on each side, through the floor. Then I ran the cable for the left channel under the floor & through the wall. Much better than going under the carpet.

     

    Sure there are possible issues with length of cable and using a different circuit (although same audio sub-panel) for power, but there's no perfect system.

     

     

     

    14 minutes ago, ShawnC said:

    Maybe you could post a short video of your current setup, walking us through your Audio chain and seeing the back of your equipment, speakers and room layout.

     

    Ah, that would be fun. I didn't think anyone would be interested.

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    3 hours ago, mitchco said:

    @yyz Agree with @firedog the UMIK-1 USB is great value being able to plug and play and not have to purchase a separate mic preamp and/or ADC. The accuracy of the mic is just fine for taking acoustic measurements.

     

    One potential issue is clock rate offset and/or clock drift between the input (i.e. the USB mic with it's own clock) and the output (i.e. DAC). However, John Mulcahy has this fixed in the latest versions of REW. Bernt also has clock drift compensation in Audiolense 6.x and Uli has a special version of Acourate LogSweepRecorder that can be downloaded here for taking measurements with UMIK-1. In the case of Acourate, which uses ASIO, one will need to download Asio4All as well.

     

    First of all let me thank you for your book, I like it. Thanks also for this detail set of instructions on the UMIK-1 USB. I think this alleviates my confusion about the synergy with the Acourate software and USB mics. I will finish reading your book to figure out what I need to do. Your statement that I may not need an ADC would be a massive saving for me. Whatever, the case I will learn something from your book and give your firm a call, most likely to fix my mistakes. Best way to learn is to make mistakes.

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    1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Ah, that would be fun. I didn't think anyone would be interested.

    Maybe so, I'm kind of a YouTube junkie, so that stuff interests me.

     

    I also appreciate it when reviewers show pictures of their setup with the product their reviewing, verses stock photos from the manufacturer.  

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    Just lovely Chris and I won't even say you are lucky, just the hard work payed off. We benefit everyday so nice to see it flow the other way...

     

    My evil side wishes you said:

    No i tuned the Wilsons by asking the wife when she wondered in looking for socks and kicked them until they sounded sweet dude....

     

    Or For $60,000 i am disappointed as they wont let me order off Amazon....

     

    Happy 'Chris'   Mass mate to you and yours..

    Thanks for a another great year on AS

    Kind regards

    Dave

    Ps

    My wife thinks DSP  is Desperately Seeking Praise

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    Comical. Spend a lot of money on a speaker with conventional ordinary direct radiating mid-range cone which will spray frequencies all around walls, floor, ceiling and then install acoustics to absorb the resulting distorted frequencies. The distorted frequencies are still there and dynamics are now reduced.   

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    6 hours ago, buffalobill said:

    Comical. Spend a lot of money on a speaker with conventional ordinary direct radiating mid-range cone which will spray frequencies all around walls, floor, ceiling and then install acoustics to absorb the resulting distorted frequencies. The distorted frequencies are still there and dynamics are now reduced.   

     

    What's comincal is your smug response. Or should I say sad.

     

    Did you see the measurements? Did you read Chris' description? Have you ever done something similar in a room? Or are you just talking based on all sorts of doubtful "audiophile" assumptions without any actual knowledge of how using room treatments and measurements in this way can improve sound? 

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    @The Computer Audiophile

    I have a question regarding the in-room response graph you posted. Are the before and after graphs even comparable? The "before" graph is at around 85db while the "after" graph is below 70db, so a lot quieter. I always thought if you put more energy into the room, so listen to music louder you will also experience more effect of the room (and more problems)?

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    36 minutes ago, johniboy24 said:

    @The Computer Audiophile

    I have a question regarding the in-room response graph you posted. Are the before and after graphs even comparable? The "before" graph is at around 85db while the "after" graph is below 70db, so a lot quieter. I always thought if you put more energy into the room, so listen to music louder you will also experience more effect of the room (and more problems)?

    Let's ask @mitchco for an official response. 

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    Chris,

     

    The new space looks great, glad to hear that it's sounding great as well.  Addressing the room was a real ear-opener for me.  I'm going to attempt to add the icing (DSP) to the cake while I have some time off over the next couple of weeks using REW, UMIK-1 and Roon.

     

    Bill

     

    P.S. Jealous of those Ikea chairs...by the time I went to scoop up a pair they were gone!

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    15 minutes ago, wgb113 said:

    Chris,

     

    The new space looks great, glad to hear that it's sounding great as well.  Addressing the room was a real ear-opener for me.  I'm going to attempt to add the icing (DSP) to the cake while I have some time off over the next couple of weeks using REW, UMIK-1 and Roon.

     

    Bill

     

    P.S. Jealous of those Ikea chairs...by the time I went to scoop up a pair they were gone!

    Thanks Bill. Be sure to let us know how it goes with the DSP. The best part is that nothing is permanent. If you screw up the sound, just disable it :~)

     

    Yes, the 1957 Ikea limited edition 2019 reproduction was quite a find! 

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    Thanks for sharing Chris! A lot of work I am sure, but it sounds like very rewarding.

     

    I found the below paragraph from you frustrating. So we still have to go back to “trusting our ears”, even when it comes to applying DSP in a scientific way?

     

    ——-

     

    At first I wasn't thrilled with the results. I believed the transients were rounded at the edges far too much for my taste. This coupled with the fact that I was used to listening without any DSP for my entire life, made me frustrated. I reported back to Mitch everything I heard, liked, and disliked. His response to me was very reassuring. He said not to worry because there are many industry standard curves to try and many small adjustments he can make to the filter. 

     

    Over several weeks Mitch sent me more filters to try. I was traveling much of this time, so I assume we could've hammered out my issues pretty quick if I could dedicate more time to the effort. Mitch sent filters based on ITU, B&K and Bob Katz target curves before sending the EBU 3276 target curve. I liked the direction he was taking my system with the ITU curve, but when I pressed play with the EBU 3276 curve enabled, I was sold. My system was really singing. My room was out of the picture, and the music was right there in front of me. 

     

     

    ——

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    23 minutes ago, thyname said:

    Thanks for sharing Chris! A lot of work I am sure, but it sounds like very rewarding.

     

    I found the below paragraph from you frustrating. So we still have to go back to “trusting our ears”, even when it comes to applying DSP in a scientific way?

     

    ——-

     

    At first I wasn't thrilled with the results. I believed the transients were rounded at the edges far too much for my taste. This coupled with the fact that I was used to listening without any DSP for my entire life, made me frustrated. I reported back to Mitch everything I heard, liked, and disliked. His response to me was very reassuring. He said not to worry because there are many industry standard curves to try and many small adjustments he can make to the filter. 

     

    Over several weeks Mitch sent me more filters to try. I was traveling much of this time, so I assume we could've hammered out my issues pretty quick if I could dedicate more time to the effort. Mitch sent filters based on ITU, B&K and Bob Katz target curves before sending the EBU 3276 target curve. I liked the direction he was taking my system with the ITU curve, but when I pressed play with the EBU 3276 curve enabled, I was sold. My system was really singing. My room was out of the picture, and the music was right there in front of me. 

     

     

    ——


    I wouldn’t be frustrated because of that experience. It’s actually quite cool because there are options to get the sound as close as possible to the source, at your listening position. That’s why there are several standards. It’s like if you prefer DSD over PCM. That’s not frustrating it’s just preference. 

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    18 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:


    I wouldn’t be frustrated because of that experience. It’s actually quite cool because there are options to get the sound as close as possible to the source, at your listening position. That’s why there are several standards. It’s like if you prefer DSD over PCM. That’s not frustrating it’s just preference. 


    So again, trusting your ears? If a correctly applied DSP does not “fix” it the first time around, then wouldn’t you messing around with switching things around to match your listening preferences? I mean if the DSP is correctly applied at first go, as it should be, why would one tweak it? Or are you saying different people have different preferences in terms of how something sounds? Shocker!

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    23 minutes ago, thyname said:


    So again, trusting your ears? If a correctly applied DSP does not “fix” it the first time around, then wouldn’t you messing around with switching things around to match your listening preferences? I mean if the DSP is correctly applied at first go, as it should be, why would one tweak it? Or are you saying different people have different preferences in terms of how something sounds? Shocker!

    DSP isn’t black and white. There’s no way to capture the audio at the listening position and compare it to the source using a diff file and get real results. 
     

    It seems your looking for something that can’t be found or you’re looking for me to explicitly state I have to trust my ears?

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    Just now, The Computer Audiophile said:

    ... or you’re looking for me to explicitly state I have to trust my ears?


    Sure! 😂.

     

    In all seriousness, the frustrating part with DSP is that one cannot be certain a certain setting will make thing better or worse. For your ears, that is. But you are right, it’s all worth experimenting until finding something that sounds better than current sound

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    25 minutes ago, thyname said:


    Sure! 😂.

     

    In all seriousness, the frustrating part with DSP is that one cannot be certain a certain setting will make thing better or worse. For your ears, that is. But you are right, it’s all worth experimenting until finding something that sounds better than current sound

    It’s actually pretty easy to do. 

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    39 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    There’s no way to capture the audio at the listening position and compare it to the source using a diff file and get real results. 


    Actually you can but you need a binaural microphone, pink noise and correction filter. 

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    2 minutes ago, STC said:


    Actually you can but you need a binaural microphone, pink noise and correction filter. 

    But the main point was that you won’t get real results you can use. Capture all you want, it won’t be usable in terms of adjusting the DSP filter. 

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    5 hours ago, mitchco said:

    Hello. There are 4 common industry standard target frequency responses used to calibrate monitors in sound production control rooms. B&K, Toole and Olive, ITU and EBU 3276. And overlaid on one chart:

     

    Industry Standards Operational Room Response Targets.jpg

     

    Given that each target has a +- 3 dB tolerance, effectively each target overlaps one another, all with a downward frequency response at the listening position. This is because loudspeakers are omnidirectional at low frequencies with narrowing directivity at higher frequencies. The rising bass energy yields a steady-state room curve with a downward tilt.

     

    This is important to note because ones preference for one target or the other is based on a number of factors, all coming into play at once. Size of listening room, directivity index or polar response of the loudspeakers, distance from speakers to listener (there is a spec with a range), how much direct versus reflected sound is being heard at the listening position based on how lively or dead the listening environment is, also with spec and range of operation. All of these factors play into which target one prefers, with the common theme of how much or little high frequency response is required based on these factors.

     

    For example, in my room with narrow directivity loudspeakers and a fairly large and lively room (600 ms broadband decay time) with a 9ft equilateral triangle, I prefer the Toole Olive target response. Sounds neutral to my ears given this combination of loudspeaker/room.

     

    On the other hand, Chris's loudspeakers are wider directivity, also larger room. but with a 200ms broadband decay time. In order to hear the same perceived neutral response, more direct high frequency energy is required to arrive at Chris's listening position as compared to my loudspeakers in my room.

     

    Normally, I would deliver all 4 target responses at once for your loudspeakers in your room. As Chris has shown in Roon, one can easily flip through different filters as music is playing and choose what sounds best to your ears. Toole and Olive have shown in participant listening studies that as Floyd Toole describes, accurate and preferred are synonymous

     

    Due to schedules, I delivered Chris one filter set at a time, instead of all 4. And started with the target with the most rolled off top end 🙂 LOL! Exactly what he did not need. The 4th target delivered, weeks later, should have been the first. I would hazard a guess that is the frustration.

    It turned out for the better that I received the other curves first. I learned much more and became very familiar with their differences. 

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