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Article: Home Audio Fidelity - Room Shaper Review

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Thank you @mitchco

that article opens an interesting road to a possible solution for my very bad room modes below 100hz.
An option to explore next year after I have made my experiences with Roomperfect in December.

Tom
 

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Mitchco-

Great article. I would never have thought of using this together with standard DRC.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way to make this work with Roon (VST plugins).

Yes, JRiver is a possibility, but I strongly prefer Roon as a UI.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Good to see the single blinded sentence.

 

A diagram of a standing wave in a room might help explain, and a comparison with Kii3 or Dutch et Dutch would be interesting.


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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4 hours ago, firedog said:

Mitchco-

Great article. I would never have thought of using this together with standard DRC.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way to make this work with Roon (VST plugins).

Yes, JRiver is a possibility, but I strongly prefer Roon as a UI.

You can integrate plugins with Roon by using a virtual cable application such as Audio Hijack. That application is designed for recording streaming music but can also be used to link Roon to plug-ins. Before I dropped Dirac Live in favor of Thierry's Home Audio Fidelity DSP filters, and after last year's update to Mac OS destroyed the ability to us Dirac in the traditional way as a Roon endpoint, for a while I was running Dirac as a plug-in with Audio Hijack linking the output from Roon (Dirac plug-in was an audio effect applied by Audio Hijack). This is on a Mac, of course. If Thierry's new product is a plug-in, when it becomes available for Mac at least I predict you could make it work using Audio Hijack. 


JiLS

2018 Mac Mini > Roon + Home Audio Fidelity DSP > ISO REGEN + LPS-1 > Schiit Yggdrasil  DAC > Cambridge Audio Azur 851A amplifier > PSB Synchrony 2 loudspeakers

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What does this do that you cannot accomplish using Thierry's software and implementing those corrections in HQPlayer/Roon? 


Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO M4000 Win10>Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>Fiber Switch>Sonicorbiter SE (NAA)>REGEN>Oppo BDP-105D>Bryston SP3>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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Hi Mitch. Great Report. Thanks. One question, as this seems to work “dynamically”: If you would make some steady state frequency response measurements with different levels, will you then be able to see changes / correction in the resulting frequency response? Juergen

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On 11/13/2019 at 10:57 AM, Ralf11 said:

Good to see the single blinded sentence.

 

A diagram of a standing wave in a room might help explain, and a comparison with Kii3 or Dutch et Dutch would be interesting.

 

Thanks. I linked two articles that explain room modes, standing waves, and room resonances, but a GIF of a standing wave may be helpful, agreed. 

 

I have listened (and reviewed) the Kii THREE and D&D 8c in my room before. Their cardioid design does a great job of minimizing Speaker Boundary Interference Response (SBIR). However, below the room’s transition/Schroeder frequency, the room is in control as per Dr. Floyd Toole’s (and others) research that I linked to in the article. In other words, regardless of speaker, room resonances, especially below 100 Hz, are determined by the physical size, shape, and construction of the listening room. As mentioned in the article, the worst resonances are the ones with long decay times, which is what Room Shaper addresses.

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13 hours ago, sdolezalek said:

What does this do that you cannot accomplish using Thierry's software and implementing those corrections in HQPlayer/Roon? 

 

@sdolezalekSee this article on three acoustical issues that digital room correction (DRC) can't correct:

 

1) Speaker Boundary Interference Response (SBIR). Agreed. Speakers like the Kii THREE and D&D 8c with their cardioid designs help deal with this issue. However, my research and results show that some DRC software packages, (that don't boost eq), do a decent job in dealing with this.

 

2) Strong Early Reflections. Agreed, DRC does not address this acoustic issue.

 

3) Long Decay Times. Agreed. DRC will not address long decay times, for example, in a bare room. This requires passive acoustic treatments. However, this is where Room Shaper comes into play as it targets and removes room resonances that have long decay times at low frequencies (i.e. think below 100 Hz). Thierry's Room Shaper software also takes the "boxiness" sound out of one's room, which is another type of room resonance, also reducing its long decay time. DRC does not do this.

 

Hope that helps explain.

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10 hours ago, JR_Audio said:

Hi Mitch. Great Report. Thanks. One question, as this seems to work “dynamically”: If you would make some steady state frequency response measurements with different levels, will you then be able to see changes / correction in the resulting frequency response? Juergen

 

Hi @JR_Audio Juergen, thanks! I hope you are well. I did not try that experiment, but next time I am measuring, I will. It does work dynamically with a Sense control in the digital domain, but is based on knowing your rooms impulse response ahead of time. So the software already knows the rooms frequency response and decay time before it processes the music... if you catch my drift 🙂 My hypothesis is that the frequency response will measure the same at different SPL's. Anecdotally, that's what my ears tell me while listening with Room Shaper on listening at different SPL's.

 

Kind regards,

Mitch

 

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10 hours ago, Graham Luke said:

Phew! I think my Sonos does all that for me...

 

Hi @Graham Luke are you referring to TruePlay? "Trueplay then applies a combination of equalizer and filtering techniques to correct these frequencies so your music sounds the way the artist intended it to." 

 

This is similar to eq room correction, and very cool! But I see no mention of removing room resonances (i.e. shortening the rooms decay time)...

 

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7 hours ago, mitchco said:

 

Hi @Graham Luke are you referring to TruePlay? "Trueplay then applies a combination of equalizer and filtering techniques to correct these frequencies so your music sounds the way the artist intended it to." 

 

This is similar to eq room correction, and very cool! But I see no mention of removing room resonances (i.e. shortening the rooms decay time)...

 

I was indeed referring to Trueplay. I'm sure you are quite correct about what Trueplay does and doesn't do but I must admit my old ears ain't what they used to be, so this is all something of a moot point.

There was also a rather feeble attempt at 'click bait' with my comment as Sonos tends to 'trigger' the audiophiles...

For the record, I love my Sonos system; it's great with the telly and for quiet tinkling jazz in the evening but all my critical listening is done with a humble little headphone set up.

Thanks for your response, Mitchco.

 

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Thanks Mitchco for this fantastic review/article!

 

One question, is there a reason why one would record impulse responses for Room Shaper with DRC filters enabled ?

I did that (Audiolense filters), but in my (simple) head I think it should be other way around...

At the moment I'm so sick of taking measurements, but I need to test that. Not sure if it's possible with Audiolense, but maybe it's doable if one uses Jriver asio output in Audiolense (with Room Shaper enabled in Jriver).

 

I'm in the middle of fairly comprehensive acoustic project for my listening room, but most of my bass traps aren't arriving until mid december and this Thierry's genius plugin really helps the wait. Got to say if this was released a week earlier I might have skipped purchasing most of those traps :)

 

I can't believe how well this thing actually works (at least for my room & equipment).

I have ended up using effect/sense at 40-50%. 

 

 

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On 11/13/2019 at 8:24 PM, firedog said:

Mitchco-

Great article. I would never have thought of using this together with standard DRC.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way to make this work with Roon (VST plugins).

Yes, JRiver is a possibility, but I strongly prefer Roon as a UI.

 

You can still use Roon UI. Just enable JRiver ASIO output in Roon and set JRiver up correctly.

It's bit fiddly I must say. I have had several Jriver crashes, but it might be due to too short buffer. I've now maxed it out in Jriver (500ms) and no crashes in few hours. WASAPI output seems to be more stable...

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Forgot to mention that I did notice one negative side effect, soundstage depth has gotten smaller in my case.

However cause for that can be so many things as my audio path is now so much more complicated than before.

 

Overall improvement means more to me than losing some depth, so I can live with it for now.

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I'd like to try this plugin once it is available for MacOS but I can't figue out how to configure it with my Roon-->HQPlayer set up.  I tried Audiohijack and that doesn't work application to application. I was looking at Puremusic streamthrough but it isn't capturing the signal out of Roon. Nor can I specify the output to HQPlayer.  There must be some way to do this.  It would be helpful if either Roon or HQPlayer supported plugins.  I'm not willing to give up this playback configuration atm.  I may try it as a plugin for Purevinyl just to test it.  Anyone have suggections here?

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5 hours ago, kohmelo said:

Thanks Mitchco for this fantastic review/article!

 

One question, is there a reason why one would record impulse responses for Room Shaper with DRC filters enabled ?

 

 

 

@kohmeloThanks for your comment. Yes, the reason is DRC changes the amplitude/frequency response in the room and as a result will change the level of room resonances.

 

5 hours ago, kohmelo said:

Forgot to mention that I did notice one negative side effect, soundstage depth has gotten smaller in my case.

However cause for that can be so many things as my audio path is now so much more complicated than before.

 

Overall improvement means more to me than losing some depth, so I can live with it for now.

 

May want to check your audio path. In my case, I felt the soundstage depth got deeper as there are less room resonances to mask the depth of field in the recording.

 

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On 11/16/2019 at 11:29 AM, scintilla said:

I can't figure out how to configure it with my Roon-->HQPlayer set up.  I tried Audio Hijack and that doesn't work application to application. I was looking at Puremusic streamthrough but it isn't capturing the signal out of Roon. Nor can I specify the output to HQPlayer.  There must be some way to do this.  It would be helpful if either Roon or HQPlayer supported plugins.

 

You can use Rogue Amoeba's "Loopback" to route the audio from Audio Hijack to HQPlayer.  The "Loopback + Audio Hijack" bundle is $130, but I expect Rogue Amoeba will offer a discount for Black Friday.

 

For others who are not wedded to Roon, the Audirvana music player supports AU plugins, and I recall reading on the HQPlayer thread that Audirvana can output directly to HQPlayer.


Mac Mini (2012 i7) > HQPlayer or Audirvana > exaSound e32 > Parasound JC-1 > Thiel 3.7

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One caveat applies to both of my suggested methods of inserting a plugin between the music player and HQPlayer:  With HQP's streaming input, the sample rate must be set manually; it is not automatically detected.  So you must manually adjust the sample rate of HQP based on the sample rate of the music currently being played, or else you can leave HQP set to a fixed sample rate such as 384KHz and configure Roon or Audirvana to upsample all music to that rate.


Mac Mini (2012 i7) > HQPlayer or Audirvana > exaSound e32 > Parasound JC-1 > Thiel 3.7

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Thanks Bob, I tried that and got a chain that worked using Audiohijack with Roon outputting to Soundflower rather than system. I think it is worth playing with on a trial basis now that this plugin is available for Mac.

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