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Dirac - Part 2


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This is a follow up to my initial post back in October. Shortly after my initial trial I went back for my second project. This time I was very careful to keep the mic positions as accurate as possible, and to spread them out a bit less. I also used the chair setting when creating the new filter. When I edited the target curve, I cut off the bass and treble a bit and was careful to avoid the right angle curves. Below is the target curve I came up with.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 3.17.40 PM.png

 

I didn't expect it to sound much different than the first project I did. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I popped it on "just for a second" to see if it worked. Two hours later I had to pull myself away. That was enough for me to purchase the program. Major impressions:

 

1. At first I thought that the bass was a little rolled off, but after more experience with it I realized that what I thought was a roll off was really just the elimination of a could of bass bumps and that the bass was much more detailed and articulate. Wgscott and others have also noted this.

 

2. There really is a difference across albums. For some the effects of Dirac are much more pronounced. For example, I really don't notice a huge difference in my EMI jazz albums, but I do on my Naxos classical albums. This is a real bonus because I have a bunch of Naxos albums. I am really at a loss as to why how this could be but it appears to be pretty consistent.

 

3. Playing with the DSP gain is necessary for best performance (I think that DallasJustice and a few others made this point). Mine is now at -2.1 from the -3.5 it was set at originally. I really don't like that I had to do the trial and error bit and I wish there was an objective means of finding the optimal setting but alas Dirac doesn't provide a clipping indicator for Mac. Sigh. I actually think I could go higher, but when I go just a little too high (about -1.5 for sure) I get a glare that isn't pleasant.

 

4. The "balance" of instruments seems much more "right." What I mean is that one instrument doesn't stand out at the expense of others. What this means in terms of listening is a sense of increased detail while maintaining musicality. For some reason vocals seem to demonstrate this the most. The singer(s) are in their own space not setting on the lead guitar's lap. I have a Naxos album of West Side Story that I had thought was pretty mediocre till I heard it on Dirac. Did a major re-evaluation of the recording (singers still were the best though).

 

5. There's absolutely no sense of the sound being "processed." I experimented with upsampling and decided after a very short time that it wasn't for me. That was actually my biggest concern going in.

 

I have a few things I wish were better. I mentioned the DSP level above. I wish that Dirac could give some actual number for mic positions (e.g. at least .6 meters apart or at least .3 meters depth). I had to guess from the pictures. I think the fact that my second set of measurements were a bit deeper (e.g. spaced farther front to back) may have made a difference. It would also be nice if I could create the filters on one machine and run them on another. I use a headless Mac mini and it is not the easiest thing in the world to edit a filter using screen share. The only final nit I would add is that it would be nice if they supported DSD. I may be getting into that in the future and I would love to hear what the combo of Dirac and DSD would sound like.

 

So in a nutshell, I spent about 700 bucks (Dirac, mic, mic stand cable) and got a very meaningful improvement in sound. People spend more than that for USB cables (not me though). I keep thinking that people buy 5000 dollar DACs and play them in rooms with 10 cent acoustics. IMHO you could combine a 500 dollar DAC (say a PeachTree) with Dirac and get performance that would rival a much more expensive DAC without correction.

2012 MacMini 8G ram -> Audirvana + 3.0 -> Mcintosh MHA 100> Nordost > Audeze LCD X

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So in a nutshell, I spent about 700 bucks (Dirac, mic, mic stand cable) and got a very meaningful improvement in sound. People spend more than that for USB cables (not me though). I keep thinking that people buy 5000 dollar DACs and play them in rooms with 10 cent acoustics. IMHO you could combine a 500 dollar DAC (say a PeachTree) with Dirac and get performance that would rival a much more expensive DAC without correction.

 

Amen!

 

And thanks for sharing. :)

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Dirac is GOOD!!!

But dont you struggle with some static noise when you play music of different sample rates?

 

KnockKnock

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a follow up to my initial post back in October. Shortly after my initial trial I went back for my second project. This time I was very careful to keep the mic positions as accurate as possible, and to spread them out a bit less. I also used the chair setting when creating the new filter. When I edited the target curve, I cut off the bass and treble a bit and was careful to avoid the right angle curves. Below is the target curve I came up with.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16272[/ATTACH]

 

I didn't expect it to sound much different than the first project I did. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I popped it on "just for a second" to see if it worked. Two hours later I had to pull myself away. That was enough for me to purchase the program. Major impressions:

 

1. At first I thought that the bass was a little rolled off, but after more experience with it I realized that what I thought was a roll off was really just the elimination of a could of bass bumps and that the bass was much more detailed and articulate. Wgscott and others have also noted this.

 

2. There really is a difference across albums. For some the effects of Dirac are much more pronounced. For example, I really don't notice a huge difference in my EMI jazz albums, but I do on my Naxos classical albums. This is a real bonus because I have a bunch of Naxos albums. I am really at a loss as to why how this could be but it appears to be pretty consistent.

 

3. Playing with the DSP gain is necessary for best performance (I think that DallasJustice and a few others made this point). Mine is now at -2.1 from the -3.5 it was set at originally. I really don't like that I had to do the trial and error bit and I wish there was an objective means of finding the optimal setting but alas Dirac doesn't provide a clipping indicator for Mac. Sigh. I actually think I could go higher, but when I go just a little too high (about -1.5 for sure) I get a glare that isn't pleasant.

 

4. The "balance" of instruments seems much more "right." What I mean is that one instrument doesn't stand out at the expense of others. What this means in terms of listening is a sense of increased detail while maintaining musicality. For some reason vocals seem to demonstrate this the most. The singer(s) are in their own space not setting on the lead guitar's lap. I have a Naxos album of West Side Story that I had thought was pretty mediocre till I heard it on Dirac. Did a major re-evaluation of the recording (singers still were the best though).

 

5. There's absolutely no sense of the sound being "processed." I experimented with upsampling and decided after a very short time that it wasn't for me. That was actually my biggest concern going in.

 

I have a few things I wish were better. I mentioned the DSP level above. I wish that Dirac could give some actual number for mic positions (e.g. at least .6 meters apart or at least .3 meters depth). I had to guess from the pictures. I think the fact that my second set of measurements were a bit deeper (e.g. spaced farther front to back) may have made a difference. It would also be nice if I could create the filters on one machine and run them on another. I use a headless Mac mini and it is not the easiest thing in the world to edit a filter using screen share. The only final nit I would add is that it would be nice if they supported DSD. I may be getting into that in the future and I would love to hear what the combo of Dirac and DSD would sound like.

 

So in a nutshell, I spent about 700 bucks (Dirac, mic, mic stand cable) and got a very meaningful improvement in sound. People spend more than that for USB cables (not me though). I keep thinking that people buy 5000 dollar DACs and play them in rooms with 10 cent acoustics. IMHO you could combine a 500 dollar DAC (say a PeachTree) with Dirac and get performance that would rival a much more expensive DAC without correction.

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Dirac is GOOD!!!

But dont you struggle with some static noise when you play music of different sample rates?

 

KnockKnock

 

I get it after a cold boot and sometimes when I switch sample rates, but my problem isn't nearly as bad as yours. All I need do is push pause for a few second. In rare instances I have to restart Dirac. It's worth the aggravation to but YMMV.

2012 MacMini 8G ram -> Audirvana + 3.0 -> Mcintosh MHA 100> Nordost > Audeze LCD X

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