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Dirac: Just say no!


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Wow. What a great way to destroy a fine-sounding system (Benchmark DAC2, Adam A7x). Yikes. Went through their setup protocol. The result was something that sounded like it was buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts.

 

Fortunately, they have a free trial. Unfortunately, I paid $50 for decent USB microphone. Curve-fitting is never a good idea. Why I thought audio would be the exception is beyond me.

 

Avoid.

Before.png

After (aka Dawn of the Dead).png

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If it really "destroyed" your sound, then something is wrong. Unless your room was terrible before, the change should be noticeable, but not as dramatic as that.

 

Good DRC can make changes that take a few days to get used to, because you are actually hearing accurate playback for the first time, and it takes a while to get used to a sound that doesn't have all sorts of room caused "additions".

 

But that doesn't sound like what's happening to you. Dirac certainly doesn't have a reputation as a "destroyer"; so again maybe try again and use "sofa" as a sweet spot instead of "chair", if you used chair before. See: Dirac Live Room Correction Suite | AudioStream

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Wow. What a great way to destroy a fine-sounding system (Benchmark DAC2, Adam A7x). Yikes. Went through their setup protocol. The result was something that sounded like it was buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts.

 

Fortunately, they have a free trial. Unfortunately, I paid $50 for decent USB microphone. Curve-fitting is never a good idea. Why I thought audio would be the exception is beyond me.

 

Avoid.

 

Hello Skipperdude,

 

everything I'm going to say is based on the assumption that no major mistakes have been done in the measurement process and that an omnidirectional calibrated measurement microphone has been used in a position in accordance with the calibration file... but the measurement is so unusual that I'm inclined to believe that something is grossly wrong.

 

If, and I underline IF, the measurement is reliable there would be nothing odd in the fact that you'd think that the sound is buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts :)

 

If you look at the frequency response of your system WITHOUT correction you can see that it speaks for itself...

 

11274d1394728916t-dirac-just-say-no-.png

 

It shows a dramatic dip slightly over 100 Hz and then a very steep upward rising curve which generates a very pronounced emphasis of the high frequencies.

Now if you consider your system without correction a fine sounding system, and IF its frequency response without correction is the one shown in the graph, this would mean that you prefer a sound with a very strong and unusual high frequency boost.

 

There would be nothing wrong with it... but any system with a frequency response that is generally considered as excellent would sound "buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts" to you.

IF this is the case you can modify the target curve so that it has the steeply rising shape that you like or you can alternatively move the right curtain handle so that there is no correction at the higher frequencies... in both cases you will enjoy the correction of your dramatic low frequency dip, a smoothening of the curve and impulse response improvements.

 

I have extensively used the conditional because the frequency response of your system before correction is so unusual that I'm not confident that it has been properly done.... by the way I'm not aware of any decent $50 measurement microphone so I'm almost sure that you did not use a reliable one.

If this is the case all of my above comments would be unuseful because they would be based on a wrong measurement and correction.

 

:) Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Good DRC can make changes that take a few days to get used to, because you are actually hearing accurate playback for the first time, and it takes a while to get used to a sound that doesn't have all sorts of room caused "additions".

 

 

 

Really, though, isn't this just adding another layer of processing "overhead' to the sound?

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Hello Skipperdude,

 

everything I'm going to say is based on the assumption that no major mistakes have been done in the measurement process and that an omnidirectional calibrated measurement microphone has been used in a position in accordance with the calibration file... but the measurement is so unusual that I'm inclined to believe that something is grossly wrong.

 

If, and I underline IF, the measurement is reliable there would be nothing odd in the fact that you'd think that the sound is buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts :)

 

If you look at the frequency response of your system WITHOUT correction you can see that it speaks for itself...

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]11276[/ATTACH]

 

It shows a dramatic dip slightly over 100 Hz and then a very steep upward rising curve which generates a very pronounced emphasis of the high frequencies.

Now if you consider your system without correction a fine sounding system, and IF its frequency response without correction is the one shown in the graph, this would mean that you prefer a sound with a very strong and unusual high frequency boost.

 

There would be nothing wrong with it... but any system with a frequency response that is generally considered as excellent would sound "buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts" to you.

IF this is the case you can modify the target curve so that it has the steeply rising shape that you like or you can alternatively move the right curtain handle so that there is no correction at the higher frequencies... in both cases you will enjoy the correction of your dramatic low frequency dip, a smoothening of the curve and impulse response improvements.

 

I have extensively used the conditional because the frequency response of your system before correction is so unusual that I'm not confident that it has been properly done.... by the way I'm not aware of any decent $50 measurement microphone so I'm almost sure that you did not use a reliable one.

If this is the case all of my above comments would be unuseful because they would be based on a wrong measurement and correction.

 

:) Flavio

 

Interesting...well, I do find the setup a bit too bright, which is one reason I was interested in room eq. I also find the bass sometimes a bit boomy.

 

As for the microphone, it's made by CAD but I'm unable to determine which model. It was on sale. The list might me $75 or so, if that makes a difference. But Dirac provides a calibration protocol, which I used.

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Interesting...well, I do find the setup a bit too bright, which is one reason I was interested in room eq. I also find the bass sometimes a bit boomy.

 

As for the microphone, it's made by CAD but I'm unable to determine which model. It was on sale. The list might me $75 or so, if that makes a difference. But Dirac provides a calibration protocol, which I used

 

I'm not saying that the price is important, I'm saying that you did not use an omnidirectional calibrated microphone in the correct position so that both the measurement and the correction are wrong... also the calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one, any other mic does require its calibration file and must be a measurement microphone.

 

A good but inexpensive USB microphone is the miniDSP UMIK-1... you can buy it at their site:

http://www.minidsp.com

or here:

Dirac Online Store. UMIK-1 USB Measurement Microphone

 

Ciao, Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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What is unusual about the measurement? Thanks...

 

The steeply upward rising curve... the orange proposed target curve is generally considered a good one even if it can be modified, but again commenting an unreliable measurement is probably pointless :)

 

Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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I'm not saying that the price is important, I'm saying that you did not use an omnidirectional calibrated microphone in the correct position so that both the measurement and the correction are wrong... also the calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one, any other mic does require its calibration file and must be a measurement microphone.

 

Ok, let's isolate some variables:

 

1) I used an omnidirectional microphone, set up according to the manufacturer's specifications

 

2) I used Dirac's calibration protocol as per Dirac's instructions specifying its use for an aftermarket microphone

 

3) I'm able both to read English and to follow directions, so neither of us have reason to assume that I "did not use an omnidirectional calibrated microphone in the correct position."

 

Now, here is a new piece of information:

 

4) "The calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one..."

 

Interesting. In other words, Dirac claims that its calibration software will work with any omnidirectional USB microphone (and claims to provide calibration tools for such devices) when, in fact, its software functions properly only when used with the specific brand offered for sale on its website?

 

Why would Dirac sow such confusion?

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Wow. What a great way to destroy a fine-sounding system (Benchmark DAC2, Adam A7x). Yikes. Went through their setup protocol. The result was something that sounded like it was buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts.

 

Fortunately, they have a free trial. Unfortunately, I paid $50 for decent USB microphone. Curve-fitting is never a good idea. Why I thought audio would be the exception is beyond me.

 

Avoid.

 

Hello Skipperdude,

 

everything I'm going to say is based on the assumption that no major mistakes have been done in the measurement process and that an omnidirectional calibrated measurement microphone has been used in a position in accordance with the calibration file... but the measurement is so unusual that I'm inclined to believe that something is grossly wrong.

 

If, and I underline IF, the measurement is reliable there would be nothing odd in the fact that you'd think that the sound is buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts :)

 

If you look at the frequency response of your system WITHOUT correction you can see that it speaks for itself...

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]11276[/ATTACH]

 

It shows a dramatic dip slightly over 100 Hz and then a very steep upward rising curve which generates a very pronounced emphasis of the high frequencies.

Now if you consider your system without correction a fine sounding system, and IF its frequency response without correction is the one shown in the graph, this would mean that you prefer a sound with a very strong and unusual high frequency boost.

 

There would be nothing wrong with it... but any system with a frequency response that is generally considered as excellent would sound "buried beneath 12 goose-down quilts" to you.

IF this is the case you can modify the target curve so that it has the steeply rising shape that you like or you can alternatively move the right curtain handle so that there is no correction at the higher frequencies... in both cases you will enjoy the correction of your dramatic low frequency dip, a smoothening of the curve and impulse response improvements.

 

I have extensively used the conditional because the frequency response of your system before correction is so unusual that I'm not confident that it has been properly done.... by the way I'm not aware of any decent $50 measurement microphone so I'm almost sure that you did not use a reliable one.

If this is the case all of my above comments would be unuseful because they would be based on a wrong measurement and correction.

 

:) Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

Link to comment
Ok, let's isolate some variables:

 

1) I used an omnidirectional microphone, set up according to the manufacturer's specifications

 

2) I used Dirac's calibration protocol as per Dirac's instructions specifying its use for an aftermarket microphone

 

3) I'm able both to read English and to follow directions, so neither of us have any reason to assume that I "did not use an omnidirectional calibrated microphone in the correct position."

 

Now, here is a new piece of information:

 

4) "The calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one..."

 

Interesting. In other words, Dirac claims that its calibration software will work with any omnidirectional USB microphone (and claims to provide calibration tools for such devices) when, in fact, its software functions properly only when used with the specific brand offered for sale on its website?

 

Why would Dirac sow such confusion?

 

1- A generic omnidirectional microphone should not be used if it is not a measurement microphone... and if it is a low cost measurement microphone a calibration file is advised not because of Dirac but because of large fluctuations in frequency response of low cost mics.

There are many measurement microphones, you can choose any of them... I've only suggested one which costs 75 dollars

 

2 and 3- As far as these points are concerned if you followed Dirac's protocol and the mic is reliable than your measurement should be reliable as well... in that case my previous comments about the frequency response of your system do apply.

 

4- No way.... Dirac Live does work with ANY measurement mic and Dirac does not care at all about selling microphones, it is actually a service for the convenience of users.

 

Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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4- No way.... Dirac Live does work with ANY measurement mic and Dirac does not care at all about selling microphones, it is actually a service for the convenience of users.

 

Flavio

 

Confused.

 

In post #9 you wrote:

"The calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one..."

 

Now, in post #15, responding to my quotation of your statement, you write:

"No way.... Dirac Live does work with ANY measurement mic..."

 

Ok, so...which is it?

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Confused.

 

In post #9 you wrote:

"The calibration provided by Dirac is valid for one microphone only, the XTZ one..."

 

Now, in post #15, responding to my quotation of your statement, you write:

"No way.... Dirac Live does work with ANY measurement mic..."

 

Ok, so...which is it?

 

Both are obviously true... Dirac is not in the microphone business and you can use ANY measurement mic, it also happens that Dirac provides the calibration file for one of them, the XTZ one.

 

Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Both are obviously true... Dirac is not in the microphone business and you can use ANY measurement mic, it also happens that Dirac provides the calibration file for one of them, the XTZ one.

 

Flavio

 

"Obviously" true?

 

Interesting choice of words, conveying an implied arrogance that neither speaks well of you nor of Dirac.

 

Here's what I think is "obviously" true: You're talking out of both sides of your mouth.

 

I have now removed your misleadingly-documented software from my computer. Buh-bye.

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Get ahold of some other USB microphone. One that I got for making podcasts for my students gives qualitatively the same result as my measurement microphone. Even the internal microphone of a laptop or iPad should be able to help you verify that the room response you are measuring is real rather than an artifact of the measuring device.

 

Typically what one sees is a bunch of peaks and dips below 200Hz, and then (due to the log scale as well as natural room response) some gradual ups and downs to about 12 kHz, and then tailing off.

 

If the microphone over-estimates the treble, which I think it is doing, the correction would over-attenuate it. Also, the pronounced low-midrange, as others have mentioned, could cause significant problems, whether real or artifactual.

 

Unless your room and/or speakers are really atypical, I would suspect the mic. What does it look like if you measure near-field? It should be similar to the published response curve for your speakers. (What are they, BTW?)

 

I've had excellent results with Dirac, and although skeptical at first, I consider it money well spent.

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I have used Dirac and found it to be truly excellent, in fact a real game changer.

 

The curves you have measured are weird in the extreme, either you mic is wrong or there is something very amiss with you system.

 

Also I would advise that you do not let Dirac make the 'target curves' rather you, based on preferences, do that yourself, Mine tend to favour a slight bass lift of 2/3db....

 

Finally reducing the frequency range it works over can sometimes be a better way in...

 

Finally do not expect Dirac to make a silk purse our of a sow's ear. I would say at this stage say your comments about Dirac are unfair given the herculean task you have set it!

Trying to make sense of all the bits...MacMini/Amarra -> WavIO USB to I2S -> DDDAC 1794 NOS DAC -> Active XO ->Bass Amp Avondale NCC200s, Mid/Treble Amp Sugden Masterclass -> My Own Speakers

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Get ahold of some other USB microphone. One that I got for making podcasts for my students gives qualitatively the same result as my measurement microphone. Even the internal microphone of a laptop or iPad should be able to help you verify that the room response you are measuring is real rather than an artifact of the measuring device.

 

Typically what one sees is a bunch of peaks and dips below 200Hz, and then (due to the log scale as well as natural room response) some gradual ups and downs to about 12 kHz, and then tailing off.

 

If the microphone over-estimates the treble, which I think it is doing, the correction would over-attenuate it. Also, the pronounced low-midrange, as others have mentioned, could cause significant problems, whether real or artifactual.

 

Unless your room and/or speakers are really atypical, I would suspect the mic. What does it look like if you measure near-field? It should be similar to the published response curve for your speakers. (What are they, BTW?)

 

I've had excellent results with Dirac, and although skeptical at first, I consider it money well spent.

 

Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. The room is a shoebox, about 10 x 25 feet. I have Adam A7x on sand-filled Ultimate Support stands (with Herbie's dots). Benchmark DAC2. The speakers are centered at one end, roughly three feet in front of a glass sliding door (curtain over the glass). Tight-weave carpet-over-plywood floor. There is a three-foot cavity underneath (it's a converted porch), which may account for some of the boominess I experience when using a downward-firing subwoofer.

 

There's some huge computer equipment in this room: Forward left of the speakers, eight 27' monitors angled on two four-by-four stands. I'm sure that has some effect. Other than that. No surprises.

 

I'm going to pass on Dirac: It's uninstalled and I'm moving on. But I would like to experiment further in room EQ and I see there are quite a few resources out there, many of them free.

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I have used Dirac and found it to be truly excellent, in fact a real game changer.

 

The curves you have measured are weird in the extreme, either you mic is wrong or there is something very amiss with you system.

 

Also I would advise that you do not let Dirac make the 'target curves' rather you, based on preferences, do that yourself, Mine tend to favour a slight bass lift of 2/3db....

 

Finally reducing the frequency range it works over can sometimes be a better way in...

 

Finally do not expect Dirac to make a silk purse our of a sow's ear. I would say at this stage say your comments about Dirac are unfair given the herculean task you have set it!

 

Perhaps. Not sure why the task is herculean. Seems like I have a pretty ordinary setup. But maybe not. In any event, lots of fish in this sea. No need to deal with certain salespeople, "obviously."

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Get ahold of REW and possibly a different microphone and see if you reproduce the same response curve. If you do, you probably will want to do something with your room to flatten out the response (perhaps mechanical room treatments), unless you just happen to like it how it is now.

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