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  • Introducing Hang Loose Convolver From Accurate Sound

     

     

    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. 

     


    Geeks

     

    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

     

     

    Wrap Up

     

    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
    Price: $129
    For more information see - https://accuratesound.ca/

     

     

     



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    @The Computer Audiophile will this be available on Linux? Many users here use Linux based systems. I feel Euphony is best sounding for my liking (IMHO). Having convolution functionality with Euphony would be icing on the cake..

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    I'm a big Fan of Mitch's work currently using Audiolense room correction filters he developed for me to use in HQplayer . I see Hang Loose as a big step forward in the evolution of digital processing implementation so looking forward to exploring how it might fit into my system. I applaud Mitch's efforts to simplify the implementation of convolution for the non-geeks. One thing I need to look at, does Hang Loose offer enough things I can't do with the way I'm implementing convolution in HQP to make me try it?

     

    My initial question is ,, where does Hang Loose  grab the digital stream? I see Hang Loose is limited to 384K and the Mac pass through is limited to 192K, didn't see what the Windows limit is. For those of us who up-sample to the max rate of our DAC, will Hang Loose limit that ability? Like I said, I use convolution in HQP which does the convolution at the file's native rate and then HQP  up-samples to 16FS.  If Hang loose grabs the stream before it is up-sampled it will work for me as I have no files above a native rate of 192K. Obviously if Hang Loose grabs it after HQP it won't. For those using PGGB to up-sample files to 16-32FS before playback it is a nonstarter.

     

    For those using Pure Music or Pure Vinyl software on a Mac which can accept AU and not VST,  the availability of AU plugins is a big +. 

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    I have several questions:

     

    1. With a VST3 plugin, does this mean that HAF’s Room Shaper can be loaded into HLC, and then through HQP desktop thereafter, running convolution filters in either HLC or HQP, and then on to Roon?

     

    2. How does HLC compare to the new Audiolense Convolver product?

     

    3. Can HLC be configured to apply convolution filters for the audio tracks from Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc?

     

    4. Sorry, but I’m not clear on the DLNA benefit.  What’s the use case there?

     

    These might be @mitchco questions to answer. :) Thanks. JCR 

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    17 minutes ago, yyz said:

    I would love to have my RAAL SR1a with some convolution options.  Not sure if it would be better but it would be interesting.

     

    Oh just wait :~)

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    6 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

    4. Sorry, but I’m not clear on the DLNA benefit.  What’s the use case there?

     

    I can answer this one. 

     

    Many people have DLNA audio endpoints. For example, I have an EMM Labs MA3 right now that accepts DLNA on its Ethernet interface. And, many people use apps that send audio out via DLNA. The high thing missing has always been the ability for an app that supports Qobuz or Tidal to use convolution while sending audio out via DLNA to a DAC / endpoint. Now we can do this by using the HLC convolver VST3 plugin for Audirvana.

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    33 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    The high thing missing has always been the ability for an app that supports Qobuz or Tidal to use convolution while sending audio out via DLNA to a DAC / endpoint. Now we can do this by using the HLC convolver VST3 plugin for I

     

    I'm a bit confused.. There are a variety of VST convolver plugins. I even found an old AU convolver plug to use with Pure Music on my Mac  that was a bit awkward to use but worked. Was it not possible to use any of these VST plug ins before HLC?

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    Yes, other convolvers have been around; seems like mostly from the pro sector.  This one could be cool as it will hopefully be easy to use and has been developed by a good friend of the forum/audiophiles. 

     

    I have been searching for an answer to this question as I know I read it somewhere, but I can't find it.  The processing order in Audirvana.  Is it upsample then Audio Units or vice versa?

     

    Bill

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    41 minutes ago, bbosler said:

     

    I'm a bit confused.. There are a variety of VST convolver plugins. I even found an old AU convolver plug to use with Pure Music on my Mac  that was a bit awkward to use but worked. Was it not possible to use any of these VST plug ins before HLC?

     

    32 minutes ago, Bill Brown said:

    Yes, other convolvers have been around; seems like mostly from the pro sector.  This one could be cool as it will hopefully be easy to use and has been developed by a good friend of the forum/audiophiles. 

     

    I have been searching for an answer to this question as I know I read it somewhere, but I can't find it.  The processing order in Audirvana.  Is it upsample then Audio Units or vice versa?

     

    Bill

     

    There are many possible solutions out there, but every one I tried was problematic. Either it was buggy, not supported because it was VST rather than VST3, or it didn't support very many taps or high sample rates, etc... I searched long and hard for a solution prior to HLC. 

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    Chris, wow! You are too kind! Thank you for supporting my articles here at Audiophile Style for the past 10 years. It has been a blast, and more is yet to come.

     

    Kind regards,

    Mitch

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    4 hours ago, Bill Brown said:

    This is exciting!  Brings me closer to getting into DRC with the AU plugin on a Mac running Audirvana (with what appears will be minimal hassle).

     

    Bill

     

    1 hour ago, Bill Brown said:

    Yes, other convolvers have been around; seems like mostly from the pro sector.  This one could be cool as it will hopefully be easy to use and has been developed by a good friend of the forum/audiophiles. 

     

    Thanks Bill! As a +25 year pro software developer, this is one of my main goals. Make it easy to configure and operate from a user's perspective. From a developers perspective, creating software that is easy to use takes more time and effort.

     

    Good luck on your journey.

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    3 hours ago, ASRMichael said:

    @The Computer Audiophile will this be available on Linux? Many users here use Linux based systems. I feel Euphony is best sounding for my liking (IMHO). Having convolution functionality with Euphony would be icing on the cake..

     

    Hey Michael, yes available on Linux soon. I just need the Linux distro and supported C++ compiler to target a release on.

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    2 hours ago, bbosler said:

    I'm a big Fan of Mitch's work currently using Audiolense room correction filters he developed for me to use in HQplayer . I see Hang Loose as a big step forward in the evolution of digital processing implementation so looking forward to exploring how it might fit into my system. I applaud Mitch's efforts to simplify the implementation of convolution for the non-geeks. One thing I need to look at, does Hang Loose offer enough things I can't do with the way I'm implementing convolution in HQP to make me try it?

     

    My initial question is ,, where does Hang Loose  grab the digital stream? I see Hang Loose is limited to 384K and the Mac pass through is limited to 192K, didn't see what the Windows limit is. For those of us who up-sample to the max rate of our DAC, will Hang Loose limit that ability? Like I said, I use convolution in HQP which does the convolution at the file's native rate and then HQP  up-samples to 16FS.  If Hang loose grabs the stream before it is up-sampled it will work for me as I have no files above a native rate of 192K. Obviously if Hang Loose grabs it after HQP it won't. For those using PGGB to up-sample files to 16-32FS before playback it is a nonstarter.

     

    For those using Pure Music or Pure Vinyl software on a Mac which can accept AU and not VST,  the availability of AU plugins is a big +. 

     

    Hey Bruce, good to hear from you and thanks for your kind words. I am taking feature requests :-)

     

    As far as I know, HQP does not support VST3 plugins. So currently the digital stream for HLC is after the HQP upsample. I don't know what the API capability of HQP is as I haven't looked into it yet. Maybe there is a way...

     

    Kind regards,

    Mitch

     

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    3 hours ago, jrobbins50 said:

    I have several questions:

     

    1. With a VST3 plugin, does this mean that HAF’s Room Shaper can be loaded into HLC, and then through HQP desktop thereafter, running convolution filters in either HLC or HQP, and then on to Roon?

     

    2. How does HLC compare to the new Audiolense Convolver product?

     

    3. Can HLC be configured to apply convolution filters for the audio tracks from Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc?

     

    4. Sorry, but I’m not clear on the DLNA benefit.  What’s the use case there?

     

    These might be @mitchco questions to answer. :) Thanks. JCR 

     

    Hi Jeffrey, thanks for your questions.

     

    1) No Room Shaper cannot be loaded into HLC. 

     

    2) Bernt is one of my DSP Partner's :-)

     

    3) Yes, see the System Wide Audio section in the HLC Operations Guide.

     

    4) Chris answered that one.

     

    Kind regards,

    Mitch

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    4 hours ago, mitchco said:

    As far as I know, HQP does not support VST3 plugins. 

     

    correct, I would consider HQP to be a plugin in the sense that it integrates with roon and other audio players and adds it's own set of capabilities, upsampling to many different rates and bit depths with a variety of filters as well as having built in convolution capabilities accepting impulse files for EQ. Also a stand alone player.  That is a very poor explanation of all it does but hopefully you get the idea.

     

     

    4 hours ago, mitchco said:

    So currently the digital stream for HLC is after the HQP upsample.

     

    this will be a severe limitation for some. If I understand correctly, the pipeline you need to get the stream into HLC is limited to 192K so if it comes after upsampling and before HLC doesn't that limit the max rate to 192K? I'm not convinced that going higher really makes much difference, but some here are convinced that 16-32FS is essential for getting the best out of their DACs. 

     

    I know this is a work in progress so I'm sure if the demand is there the need will eventually get met

     

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    Hi Chris

    Thank you for mentioning this software from Mitch. Looks great.
    Hi Mitch

    Great to read about your software. I will have a look at it. Thanks.

    Juergen

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    Very nice article Chris, as many others I'm familiar with Mitch and his guides over the years configuring convolution software (thanks Mitch) I will definitely check HLC

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    18 hours ago, mitchco said:

    Make it easy to configure and operate from a user's perspective.

    Hi Mitchco, 

    First of all thank you so much for your work during all these years, for the benefit of those who want to enjoy music at its best 

    Absolutely fantastic! 

    Question: in order to load the Acourate filters,  can I just use the cpv files generated by Acourate? 

    Thank you again

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    Hi @deneb Thanks! Re: Acourate cpv is Acourate's proprietary filter format. But it is easy to generate the filter format HLC will accept from Acourate in a minute or 2. In Macro 4, select 32 bit stereo .wav format and generate as before. From the Room menu, select Create Acourate for Roon ZIP and that will place all of the filters at different sample rates in a zip file. In HLC, select the zip file and you are good to go.

     

    Kind regards,

    Mitch

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    @mitchco Very glad to see this coming up! Can't say enough good things about you. Your Computer Audiophile Acourate articles inspired me to go digitally active an into Acourate, which I still use. That opened the door into DIY speakers, and your ebook was essential to getting a better grasp on measurements and use of Acourate. And you have always been very helpful on email exchanges. Outstanding member of this community!

     

    Where does HLC fit into my system? I have Roon Core in a PC convolving filters to send 4-way stereo to a headless AudioPC with Roon Bridge at the living room, and I operate Roon from the phone app. I listen to files in my library in Roon Core PC and also Tidal streaming into Roon in that PC. I guess HLC plugs into Roon, takes the feed from Roon that is actually Tidal stream or my music files, convolves it with the selected filter, and outputs into Roon again to be sent to Roon Bridge on the AudioPC?

     

    Is there a phone app to manage this or should I be at the Roon Core machine (Teamviewer can solve that), or does it integrate with Roon app?

     

    Looking forward to learn more! Congrats again!!

     

    Best,

    Horacio

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    Hi Guys,

    The Zero latency, uniform partition convolution engine.

    More information please.

    I gather you are targeting low end CPUs - so how many channels @ 48k could be considered on a modern PC ?

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    4 minutes ago, deanoUK said:

    The Zero latency, uniform partition convolution engine.

    More information please.


    Huh?
     

     

    4 minutes ago, deanoUK said:

    I gather you are targeting low end CPUs


    I don’t think there is a target. It should happily run on very fast machines as well. 

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