Many people in the Audiophile Style community are familiar with Mitch Barnett's fantastic articles about digital signal processing, room correction, loudspeakers and their measurements, and many other topics. Mitch is a multi-talented guy who started his company Accurate Sound to offer a calibration service. I used his services extensively when setting up my Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 speakers in my new listening room (link). Now, Mitch has put his software development expertise to work to expand the offerings of Accurate sound, with a product called Hang Loose Convolver.
What is Hang Loose Convolver and why do you need it?
As this is just an introductory article, I'm not going to go all-in on DSP or even the full product at this time. That's a great topic for another article.
I look at Hang Loose Convolver as a software product that serves two different sets of people. The first I'll call music lovers and the second I'll call geeks. No calls or nasty emails please, these are just rough generalizations and I know full well that many people here are in both camps. Splitting the audience into two camps will help me explain why I think this product is game changing for almost everyone in HiFi.
The Music Lover
I'm using the term music lover to describe people who don't know / care much about software, measurements, or how they are derived, and they just want to listen to music that sounds as good as possible. I have many friends who are in this camp.
Without turning this into a how-to or academic article, I'll briefly say that a convolution engine is a piece of software that processes convolution filters. Convolution filters are created for several reasons, among them room correction. Applications such as Roon and JRiver have built-in convolution engines to which a zip file of convolution filters can be added. Once the filters are enabled, the convolution engine processes the audio behind the scenes when the listen presses play. There's nothing to do but listen.
DSP and room correction have come a VERY LONG WAY over the years and now offer performance beyond what most audiophiles have ever heard. However, there are still holes in many convolution solutions offered by the main playback and library management applications. This is where Hang Loose Convolver takes us to another level.
I'll cut to the chase for music lovers. With Hang Loose Convolver, we can now use high end room correction while streaming audio from services such as Qobuz and Tidal, to DLNA renderers (endpoints). The last sentence needs a bit more explaining though. For years I've been searching for an application that supports streaming services, DLNA, convolution filters, and can use the convolution filters while sending audio over DLNA. There are a few terrible solutions out there that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Now, using Audirvana or the new Audirvana Studio in combination with Hang Loose Convolver, it's finally possible to use room correction / convolution filters with DLNA audio endpoints and audio from both local and streaming services. THIS IS A BIG DEAL!
Of course Hang Loose Convolver isn't limited to only DLNA. I just get excited about that because it's a first. HLC also works with any audio component that one's playback application can send audio to over USB, DLNA, or whatever other means one uses.
When I worked with Mitch to create my convolution filters for room correction, he sent me several different filters to listen to before I decided on my favorites. There is not a single best filter. Listening to different filters wasn't a completely seamless process because switching between them involved stoppages in playback. Hang Loose Convolver solves this issue because it can load up to six different filters and enable the listener to easily switch between them, all level matched, in real-time, without a hiccup. Just click the big buttons and the filter switches. Extremely simple.
On the Hang Loose Convolver site there are images of it being used with Audirvana, Roon, JRiver, and HQPlayer to name a few. I've personally tested it with both Audirvana 3.5 and the new Audirvana Studio.
Again, there is so much more to cover that this introductory article glosses over. Much more to come at a later date.
I'm using the term geek to describe those who understand more about the whole convolution process, what's required, how it works, and the pitfalls pf previous products. Readers in this camp will certainly hop over to the Hang Loose Convolver website and understand most of what I'm about to say and obtain much more information.
- HLC's key features include:
- Seamless real-time switching between filters
- Autogain level matching with manual gain adjustment
- Import Acourate, Audiolense, Focus Fidelity, REW filters
- Supports stereo 32-bit float wav FIR filters in a zip file
- Automatic filter switching based on host sample rate
- 6 Filterbanks x presets = dozens of FIR filters
- System-wide and app specific convolution capabilities
- Zero latency, uniform partition convolution engine
- Standalone application mode and VST3/AU plugin mode
There's much more to come here at Audiophile Style about Hang Loose Convolver. I have a good feeling that tons of AS readers can benefit greatly from it. If you don't quite understand it or don't see how it can help you, I know @mitchco will be here to answer all your questions in the comments below. This brings me to another point, Mitch Barnett is one of the nicest, most helpful, and honest guys in the audio business. I recommend his services and now his application without a scintilla of hesitation. I say this both for end users and for audio companies. I think many audio companies could use Hang Loose Convolver in their products because it's extremely light weight and runs on nearly any platform in use today. I'm looking at you music server manufacturers who really should have convolution engines in their products :~)
Product: Hang Loose Convolver
For more information see - https://accuratesound.ca/