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Am I crazy for abandoning Room EQ?

Chrispy

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fieldcar

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FeddyLost

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Again, crazy?
If that's not a commercial studio, your personal satisfaction is the only one indicator of success.
I don't think that adding extra processing of signal without real need is a good solution.
 
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Buckeye Amps

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killdozzer

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So, in the last three years I have went from a simple Yamaha AVR using YAPPO for simple distance and level adjustment to a Monoprice HTP-1 using Dirac and really diving into making my own house curve that didn't change the FR of the speakers too much past 500Hz (used the Harman house curve basically with more bass added) to a Trinnov Altitude and using a similar house curve to now an Anthem AVM90 and only using ARC EQ up to 500Hz.

Through them all, I still never felt like my Funk sub was being EQ'ed properly as there was a lot of oomph missing that I knew the sub could produce (being a 21", 2.4kw beast).

Recently I got around to using the Funk subs built-in DSP software and making my own PEQ adjustments to get a flat response: before, there was a +12dB peak between 30-45Hz and a -8dB null between 65-85Hz. The large difference between the two would always have any of the Room EQ software "neutering" the sub and favoring a baseline EQ target that used the peak instead of cutting the peak to get closer to the dip.

What I found doing my own PEQ is I can safely cut the peak and bring up the null for a somewhat flat (+/-4dB) response curve from 15Hz to 100Hz. And using reference level testing material, the sub handles it (no limiting, no distortion, etc).

By and large, the sub/bass sounds the best it ever has in my room with just using PEQ on the sub and letting the speakers play unaltered (no Room EQ). It also helps I have Revel Be speakers for the LCR and a decently treated room, so the natural sound above 200-300Hz is perfect to my ears in my room.

With all that said: am I crazy for completely abandoning Room EQ and letting my speakers play as they are in the room with just simple PEQ adjustment to the sub?
I am even contemplating selling the AVM90 to pocket the funds and just get a simple (but well reviewed) pre-pro or AVR at this point.

Again, crazy?
No, why would you be? Are you happy with the end result? I'm guessing at least you're more happy than before. Then, you made the right choice.
 

Peluvius

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It would be Crazy to implement a solution which disappoints you.
 

krabapple

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It’s completely fine. You are running room correction— it just happens that your literal HOUSE curve is different in your home.

Harman curve is the best overall curve, but there may be times you want a little difference because of seating positions.
The 'house curve' is a target FR , as measured at the listening position. You don't know if room EQ correction has achieved it, unless you measure again at the listening position after the req is applied

And ideally you want this measured response (house curve) at *all* listening positions. You don't 'want a little difference" in a house curve "because of seating positions'.
 

HighImpactAV

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With all that said: am I crazy for completely abandoning Room EQ and letting my speakers play as they are in the room with just simple PEQ adjustment to the sub?
I am even contemplating selling the AVM90 to pocket the funds and just get a simple (but well reviewed) pre-pro or AVR at this point.

Again, crazy?
No, automatic Room EQ makes no sense and can't help a physical problem with electrical manipulation. I have never heard a room EQ system that improved the sound (YPAO, Audyssey, Trinnov, Dirac, ARC, Audiolense). I own a StormAudio processor with the highest precision of Dirac Live available and still don't use Dirac.

Acoustician Joules Newell (Phillip Newell's son) said the following:
You can’t equalise a room.

Not even if you are a wizard.

It still staggers me how many people think they can correct room issues by changing the electronic input to the source. Some quite serious people too.

The concept is that we worsen the source response to compensate for a poor room acoustic, which in itself kind of is illogical.

Most room response problems are time domain issues being reflections or resonances. Very few, if any emanate from the source. There may be anomalies such as the acoustic loading of the room on the loudspeaker driver (like placing a woofer against a wall or in a corner) but the majority of issues are simply related to the sound waves bouncing and splashing around the room.

I have authored various papers on the subject that were presented at various acoustics and audio institutes and societies, some co-authored with respected experts.

One study we found that correcting the analyser response by manipulating the source input signal at a measurement point in the room resulted in worse performance at most other points in the room, on average it made matters worse.

Another study we found that taking an averaged (various types of averaging) reading from multiple sources did not render a response that represented anything that actually occurred in the room. Now we had a non-existent virtual assumption of a general room performance (which in itself is an ignorant concept) based on a few samples of spatial information, and we found that tailoring the system to the “average” response was no more helpful than any other single point measurement.

A third study we did found that when given clear simple instruction for a basic “correction”, no two system tuners out of a group of many subjects did the same thing, nor got the same (or even similar) result with the same tools.

The biggest elephant in the room however is that we as humans, with two ears and a brain, are able to spatially locate sound pressure arrivals as distinct sources and can hear through the room “response” to differentiate the source from the reflections (over a certain minimum time). Thus while an analyser (dumb compared to a human ear-brain system) will display a “corrected” overall energy response the listener will hear the room and the source separately with a now further unbalanced source response.

Our software people love to think that by fixing a line on a graph they can manipulate audio data being put into a room to “fix” a problem that exists as an immensely complex multidimensional 3D sound-field.

While we CAN manipulate loudspeaker input to correct a certain type of anomaly to improve a response at a miniscule point in space (a simple summation, for example) so long as we omit any ability to determine directional information, we certainly can’t “Equalise a room”.

There is almost a degree of stupidity in assuming that we can display a single line on a 2 dimensional plot (or even worse a 30 band bar-graph) to accurately describe an infinitely complex 4 dimensional pressure/time sound-field at a vast number of listening points. It is almost a similar degree of stupidity that would say we can describe the beauty of a sunset over the Himalayas with a single pencil line drawing on a post-it note. We can only represent a very, very crude reading of pressure amplitude at a single point in space, and certainly not enough data to represent what the response of what a system in a room is producing. Furthermore we somehow assume perfect directivity response of that system if we assume we can “fix” the room by manipulating the system input. To assume that simply altering the amplitude / frequency response of an electronic input signal will “fix” a room is a fools errand indeed.

As for “smoothing”.............

If a room needs fixing.... you HAVE to physically fix that room. (With the exception of active acoustic treatment) There are only “snake-oil” solutions that can equalise your room correct for you.

Loudspeakers is another topic... They CAN be corrected very well so long as the problem is minimum phase (not time related), or time related between bands.


Sam Berkow of SIA Acoustics and the original developer of SMAART measurement software wrote this as a counterpoint. But, he also says as point 9, "I hate auto-room corrections systems!" I think Sam tends to work in larger rooms than Joules.

Joules - I think we agree in general, but there are some details that you need to be very careful about (and I believe you grossly over-state).
To try and clarify;
1. AGREED - It is ALWAYS best to FIX The Room.
2. Within LIMITS, you CAN AND SHOULD OPTIMIZE the interaction of a loudspeaker system with a room and with itself! I can list MANY MANY cases where this is required and works EXTREMELY WELL!
3. Your comment about data plots is overly dismissive. There is a HUGE difference between the information contained in: i) an RTA graph, ii) A multi-time windowed transfer function (magnitude and phase) plot, and iii) an impulse response! No plot captures the complexity of the 'sound' at a location in a room.... but there is very valuable information to be gained from studying one or more of these plots. And there is almost always a need to use several of these together TO INCREASE ONE'S UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT YOU HEAR!
4. A combination of CRITICAL LISTENING and careful measurements is the best way to determine how to change a room to improve accuracy.
5. Your description of current measurement technology as "We can only represent a very, very crude reading of pressure amplitude at a single point in space," is like saying "don't go to a Doctor, because they use leeches". Today's technology is FAR from complete in describing complex acoustical conditions, but it is far far more complex than a "very, very crude reading of pressure amplitude at a single point in space".
6. I find your statement: "while we CAN manipulate loudspeaker input to correct a certain type of anomaly to improve a response at a minuscule point in space ” - GROSSLY INACCURATE! We have found this to be incorrect many many times!
7. In my experience, a combination of Critical Listening, Proper acoustic measurements and an understanding of architectural acoustics is the key to good acoustic-design!
8. I have designed concert Halls, recording studios. I have developed acoustic measurement software. I created this group to foster discussion of how we design and build sound critical spaces. Your post raises many important issues - but as I wrote above, is overly dismissive of measurement technology and the way it can be used.
9. I hate auto-room corrections systems!
10. I love listening to and measuring rooms and working with great musicians and engineers to optimize the acoustical designs and sound systems in these rooms! It's super fun!
 

DWPress

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For those who eschew room (or any) EQ - let us agree to disagree.

Everyone has a unique situation with their system, room and personal preferences. There is much information out there on how to do it properly and even more information on how to do it half ass. I would never dream to tell someone they had to do this "thing" (whatever that might be) to improve the SQ of a space without seeing measurements and maybe some pics of the room and then suggestions would be merely opinion.

Room treatment is the best place to start but it has limitations as well especially in bass/sub bass regions. EQ up to Schroeder is widely accepted to help there in taming resonant peaks some of which may be mechanical and have nothing to do with the room. Gentle low Q cuts or boosts above Schroeder can help as well.

It all needs to be confirmed with measurements though before and after. Agreed placing a mic at MLP and doing a sweep will give you only information for that point in space but MMM method can give much better spatial overview info but lack timing/phase references. The auto EQ apps and stuff that comes with your hardware has many limitations. Understanding how to do it properly is like fully understanding the graphs and measurements Amir gives us - unless you're an EE it takes time, patience and a little studying to get truly good results.

End rant, enjoy your music everyone! Hope you find nothing lacking! Otherwise, tweak away!
 

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I also think acoustic treatment is the best way to eleminate room sound problems, but it's not always doable for all kind of reasons. EQ can fix some issues, but not all. But it's a usefull tool. I just think Dirac and similar systems promise to much and some see that it does not fix what is their issues (mostly reflections and comb filtering/phase issues like said above), and create new issues while trying. How to solve it, i don't know. But EQ and other dsp systems has it's place, it's just not the solution to everything like some think here.
 

abdo123

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Room EQ is transformative, and is the improvement that was the most worth it in all of my systems.

If you're inserting the steady state response into REW's auto EQ (or any auto EQ system, really) then you're not going about this right.

I'm willing to bet that i can change @Buckeye Amps 's opinion in 30 minutes.
 

Matias

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In my experience both physical and EQ are complementary. Yes both can alter frequency response, but only physical can absorb and diffuse, and only FIR can time align too.

Instead of having to choose one or the other, why not have both and enjoy what each does best?
 

Rick Sykora

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IMO, no…

While I have had generally positive results with room eq, have heard plenty of great sounding systems without it too! If you have flexibility in positioning speakers, there is a lot that can be improved by positioning them more optimally.
 

Dj7675

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So, in the last three years I have went from a simple Yamaha AVR using YAPPO for simple distance and level adjustment to a Monoprice HTP-1 using Dirac and really diving into making my own house curve that didn't change the FR of the speakers too much past 500Hz (used the Harman house curve basically with more bass added) to a Trinnov Altitude and using a similar house curve to now an Anthem AVM90 and only using ARC EQ up to 500Hz.

Through them all, I still never felt like my Funk sub was being EQ'ed properly as there was a lot of oomph missing that I knew the sub could produce (being a 21", 2.4kw beast).

Recently I got around to using the Funk subs built-in DSP software and making my own PEQ adjustments to get a flat response: before, there was a +12dB peak between 30-45Hz and a -8dB null between 65-85Hz. The large difference between the two would always have any of the Room EQ software "neutering" the sub and favoring a baseline EQ target that used the peak instead of cutting the peak to get closer to the dip.

What I found doing my own PEQ is I can safely cut the peak and bring up the null for a somewhat flat (+/-4dB) response curve from 15Hz to 100Hz. And using reference level testing material, the sub handles it (no limiting, no distortion, etc).

By and large, the sub/bass sounds the best it ever has in my room with just using PEQ on the sub and letting the speakers play unaltered (no Room EQ). It also helps I have Revel Be speakers for the LCR and a decently treated room, so the natural sound above 200-300Hz is perfect to my ears in my room.

With all that said: am I crazy for completely abandoning Room EQ and letting my speakers play as they are in the room with just simple PEQ adjustment to the sub?
I am even contemplating selling the AVM90 to pocket the funds and just get a simple (but well reviewed) pre-pro or AVR at this point.

Again, crazy?
I would say you aren’t abandoning room eq at all if you are using PEQ on the sub. You are abandoning automated EQ. Figuring out how to make your system sound best is what is important. If you just use a couple of PEQ adjustments and it sounds best… definitely do that.
 

curiouspeter

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Room correction is absolutely essential unless you have a perfect listening room with the optimal dimensions and treatments.

You practically will have to design your house around this room and most people do not have this kind of resource. DRC is really cost-effective for those who actually have to live with the system.
 

ta240

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To quote a designer, "it isn't dialysis" so do what pleases you.
 

Waxx

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Room correction is absolutely essential unless you have a perfect listening room with the optimal dimensions and treatments.

You practically will have to design your house around this room and most people do not have this kind of resource. DRC is really cost-effective for those who actually have to live with the system.
Sorry, but that is a ridiculous answer, in the sense that it's "absolute essential". Room correction does not exist very long yet (it's 21st century tech), so all those who were listening before and without dsp or room correction were not enjoying their music? And many still don't use it and enjoy music in relative good sound without it.

Does it help, often the answer is yes, but it's not absolutly needed, it's a very handy tool to solve problems that otherwise are very hard to solve. It's new tech, still developping and still to complicated for the average joe to use. But we will get there like we did with other stuff and it's moving fast.
 

curiouspeter

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Room correction does not exist very long yet (it's 21st century tech), so all those who were listening before and without dsp or room correction were not enjoying their music?
Houses have also existed only for the last few thousand years. People have lived before, but wouldn't you say that houses are essential now?

Room correction has been around for probably more than 20 years. A lot of people have experienced this technology in AVRs. Nowadays, even Sonos has DRC through TruePlay. Usable room correction can be done using a smartphone app.
 

Holmz

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Let’s go through these a few steps at a time


The biggest elephant in the room however is that we as humans, with two ears and a brain, are able to spatially locate sound pressure arrivals as distinct sources and can hear through the room “response” to differentiate the source from the reflections (over a certain minimum time). Thus while an analyser (dumb compared to a human ear-brain system) will display a “corrected” overall energy response the listener will hear the room and the source separately with a now further unbalanced source response.

^true^ we are appearing to be largely hearing in the time domain.
Most of those analysers work in the frequency domain.



Our software people love to think that by fixing a line on a graph they can manipulate audio data being put into a room to “fix” a problem that exists as an immensely complex multidimensional 3D sound-field.

With DIRAC, the idea of fixing the impulse response seems valid??
And in terms of gated measurements, the rom then becomes removed from some of this.



There is almost a degree of stupidity in assuming that we can display a single line on a 2 dimensional plot (or even worse a 30 band bar-graph) to accurately describe an infinitely complex 4 dimensional pressure/time sound-field at a vast number of listening points. It is almost a similar degree of stupidity that would say we can describe the beauty of a sunset over the Himalayas with a single pencil line drawing on a post-it note. We can only represent a very, very crude reading of pressure amplitude at a single point in space, and certainly not enough data to represent what the response of what a system in a room is producing. Furthermore we somehow assume perfect directivity response of that system if we assume we can “fix” the room by manipulating the system input. To assume that simply altering the amplitude / frequency response of an electronic input signal will “fix” a room is a fools errand indeed.

It is more likely to be fixable as the frequency heads to zero.
And in terms of the speaker, it is more like a 1 dimensional system.

Moving the speakers to delay the early reflections, and minimise their amplitude usually helps.
But the lowest notes may be more easily fixed with pressure absorption, then diffusion and velocity absorption.
 

MattHooper

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Sorry, but that is a ridiculous answer, in the sense that it's "absolute essential". Room correction does not exist very long yet (it's 21st century tech), so all those who were listening before and without dsp or room correction were not enjoying their music? And many still don't use it and enjoy music in relative good sound without it.

Does it help, often the answer is yes, but it's not absolutly needed, it's a very handy tool to solve problems that otherwise are very hard to solve. It's new tech, still developping and still to complicated for the average joe to use. But we will get there like we did with other stuff and it's moving fast.
Agreed, I haven’t found it essential (and I had it with my subs and on my AVR). But “essential” is clearly a subjective call.
 
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