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Combining the powers of Audyssey and Dirac Live together

K man

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I'm successfully using a setup where I use both Audyssey XT32 and Dirac Live 3.1 together. Since I haven't seen any texts online about anyone else doing that I figure I might share my setup. If nothing else just for inspiration and to point out the possibility.

Speakers:
Monitor Audio Platinum PL200 II (Front)
Monitor Audio Silver 50 (Surround)
Monitor Audio Silver FX (Surround Back)
Rythmik E15

Electronics:
Denon AVR-X4000
miniDSP DDRC-24
Roksan Caspian M2 Power Amp

The DDRC-24 sits between the Denon receiver and the Roksan power amp.

The front speakers are plugged into the Roksan power amp, all the others are plugged directly to the Denon receiver.

I love the sound of the Monitor Audio Platinum's mid range, but they have a bit too aggressive sloop in the top. So first of all I used the DSP to up the top a bit to balance them out nicely. Then I ran Dirac Live to room calibrate everything <700Hz. That did help remove some room modes in the lower frequencies, while keeping the character of the speakers intact. It also gave me a super solid stereo image (which the Monitor Audio Platinum are very good at already to begin with).

With the front stereo perfectly to my liking, I then ran Audyssey on the Denon receiver to balance in the rest of the speakers. The key thing here is to use "Bypass L/R". It means I'm able to keep the front stereo fully intact, while I harmonize in all the rest of the speakers with the fronts.

Then the DTS NEO:X Music processor to distribute the sound.

I'm keeping the fronts dominant but let the surround speakers add in a lot of atmosphere, in anything from large stage live recordings, to cathedral singing to trance music. Anything with reverb is amazing in my current setup. I'm extremely satisfied with the result.

I'm using this setup 100% for music.
 
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Galz

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Did you try to just limit the audyssey correction frequency on the front speakers to 0? That will likely provide better resuts than L/R bypass, which will try to force anything that is wrong with your fronts onto your surrounds.
 
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K man

K man

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Did you try to just limit the audyssey correction frequency on the front speakers to 0? That will likely provide better resuts than L/R bypass, which will try to force anything that is wrong with your fronts onto your surrounds.
You mean by setting the same target curve in Audyssey as I did in Dirac, instead of mirroring the fronts?

No, I didn't try that since that functionality isn't available on the X4000 (only from X4400 and later).

Even if it did though I'm not sure how to practically go about replicating the "target curve" in Audyssey when I only have Dirac applied for <700Hz and some filters applied in the upper frequencies.
 

dougi

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I also also use a combined approach for HT, but with different EQ systems. Roomperfect is used from the front L&R. The sub is only used for HT and that uses its own manual PEQs for an average correction around the couch. On top of that, for HT the Yamaha AVRs YPAO-RSC does what it can to match timbre to the fronts and levels/delays. It actually does an OK job of matching timbre (I use YPAO-front) so that the AVR doesn't play with the fronts much.
 

Galz

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You mean by setting the same target curve in Audyssey as I did in Dirac, instead of mirroring the fronts?

No, I didn't try that since that functionality isn't available on the X4000 (only from X4400 and later).

Even if it did though I'm not sure how to practically go about replicating the "target curve" in Audyssey when I only have Dirac applied for <700Hz and some filters applied in the upper frequencies.

What I mean is to use the Audyssey app to basically disable any Audyssey corrections on the front speakers by limiting the maximum correction frequency in Audyssey to 0 for the front L/R pair. That will let Audyssey calibrate the other speakers without affecting the front L/R which are calibrated by Dirac. This will still let you set any target curve you want for Audyssey calibration for the other speakers, and not force them to try imitate the measured response of the Dirac-corrected front L/R speakers.

Not sure which minimum AVR is needed for the app, but Audyssey without the app is indeed pretty limited as you can't limit the correction frequency or make target curve changes.
 

dougi

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What I mean is to use the Audyssey app to basically disable any Audyssey corrections on the front speakers by limiting the maximum correction frequency in Audyssey to 0 for the front L/R pair. That will let Audyssey calibrate the other speakers without affecting the front L/R which are calibrated by Dirac. This will still let you set any target curve you want for Audyssey calibration for the other speakers, and not force them to try imitate the measured response of the Dirac-corrected front L/R speakers.

Not sure which minimum AVR is needed for the app, but Audyssey without the app is indeed pretty limited as you can't limit the correction frequency or make target curve changes.
Dont' most AVR implementations of Audyssey have an option not to adjust the front speakers? e.g. from old Denon AVR2310 using Audyssey MUTLI-EQ: "Audyssey Byp.L/R : Optimize frequency response of speakers except front L and R speakers."
 

EEE272

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Dont' most AVR implementations of Audyssey have an option not to adjust the front speakers? e.g. from old Denon AVR2310 using Audyssey MUTLI-EQ: "Audyssey Byp.L/R : Optimize frequency response of speakers except front L and R speakers."
If I understood the op correctly, that is the option in use, but you want some involvement because the other speakers need to be time matched. Like someone else pointed out with regards to Ypao front, here all the speakers are matched to the front, which itself is unchanged. Independently of how well Ypao does it, without such adjustment, you might end up with phase issues between speakers.

In this particular setup, which is only used for music, it could even be that the op appreciates the effect, as it is only used for music. Consequently, these imaging distortions might be welcome.
 
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K man

K man

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What I mean is to use the Audyssey app to basically disable any Audyssey corrections on the front speakers by limiting the maximum correction frequency in Audyssey to 0 for the front L/R pair. That will let Audyssey calibrate the other speakers without affecting the front L/R which are calibrated by Dirac. This will still let you set any target curve you want for Audyssey calibration for the other speakers, and not force them to try imitate the measured response of the Dirac-corrected front L/R speakers.
Wouldn't that give a mismatch in timbre between the front and surround speakers? That was the practical problem I was pointing at, that I don't know how to draw a target curve in Audyssey that matches with my unmodified front speakers.

The reason I use Bypass L/R is to get the timbre matching among all the speakers, in the same way as @dougi uses YPAO-front for the same purpose.
 
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K man

K man

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If I understood the op correctly, that is the option in use, but you want some involvement because the other speakers need to be time matched. Like someone else pointed out with regards to Ypao front, here all the speakers are matched to the front, which itself is unchanged. Independently of how well Ypao does it, without such adjustment, you might end up with phase issues between speakers.
That's interesting. Doesn't Audyssey Bypass L/R correct for phase? It still sets and use the measured distances to MLP.

I haven't noticed any significant reduction in the stereo image when adding in the surrounds. Perhaps because I still have the fronts dominant, perhaps because the sound processor is putting sensitive parts (such as voices) in the fronts or perhaps because Audyssey Bypass L/R does correct for phase.
 

Galz

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Wouldn't that give a mismatch in timbre between the front and surround speakers? That was the practical problem I was pointing at, that I don't know how to draw a target curve in Audyssey that matches with my unmodified front speakers.

The reason I use Bypass L/R is to get the timbre matching among all the speakers, in the same way as @dougi uses YPAO-front for the same purpose.

Not necessarily. If you use the same target curve for Dirac front L/R and the surrounds in Audyssey, other than differences between Audyssey and Dirac, you should get as similar of a timbre as those systems are able to give you when used like that.

Using L/R bypass will take any issues that Dirac couldn't fix on your front L/R speakers, and try to enforce them onto your surrounds, so if there is still a dip at 200Hz that Dirac didn't fill, Audyssey will try to create such a dip on the rears as well. At high frequencies even peaks/dips that result from measurement issues and not the actual acoustics be then applied to the target curve of the surrounds. I doubt that kind of thing would be beneficial, but I guess you can try both and see what sounds better.

The fronts should sound the same with either option, but I'm estimating your surrounds will sound better with my suggestion.

Distances are unrelated to frequency response and target curves, so supposedly should be the same regardless of which option you use. The delays/distances don't change when you change the mode in Audyssey).
 

Ata

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I have done it, and could hear nothing audibly wrong with the setup:

- DENON X2500H with Audyssey XT (not XT32) multi-point measurement with the app and all recommended settings;
- Mac-based stereo DIRAC processing on CD or better quality digital streams.

Turning DIRAC on and off shows the subtle effects of its operation on soundstage and focus, presumably due to its phase and SBIR control capability that is missing in Audyssey.
 
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K man

K man

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Not necessarily. If you use the same target curve for Dirac front L/R and the surrounds in Audyssey, other than differences between Audyssey and Dirac, you should get as similar of a timbre as those systems are able to give you when used like that.
The issue here, as I tried to point out in my first reply, is that Dirac is only applied at <700Hz. Above 700Hz there is no "target curve" for the fronts, but there are some manual filters applied.

What I'm pointing out is that I don't know how to manually turn that actual response curve of the fronts (>700Hz) into a matching target curve for the surrounds in a way that makes the timbre of the speakers match - without using Bypass L/R. Any ideas on how that would be done?
 

Galz

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If you use the Audyssey app you can apply any curve you want, granted you'd have to draw it in some way so you will be limited by the accuracy of your touch screen... But you'll be able to exclude any frequency response elements that you think should not be applied to the surrounds.

Sure L/R bypass will try its best to make your surrounds sound as similar to the front L/R as it can. However that might not actually sound good in the end, because it could try mimic measurement errors (which are common in higher frequencies) or otherwise change the response of the surrounds in a bad way, so trying to make them similar might still not result in similar sound in the end. You'll have to try and see what each method achieves. There are many posts and videos about how room correction systems have issues correcting high frequencies, that I'm not sure how much it's actually worth bothering with.
 
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K man

K man

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Sure L/R bypass will try its best to make your surrounds sound as similar to the front L/R as it can. However that might not actually sound good in the end, because it could try mimic measurement errors (which are common in higher frequencies) or otherwise change the response of the surrounds in a bad way, so trying to make them similar might still not result in similar sound in the end. You'll have to try and see what each method achieves.
I like the idea, although I see some challenges in getting the target curve for the surrounds right.

Would love to try it out and see if it gives any improvements, once I have a newer receiver supporting it.
 

f1shb0n3

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I'm successfully using a setup where I use both Audyssey XT32 and Dirac Live 3.1 together. Since I haven't seen any texts online about anyone else doing that I figure I might share my setup. If nothing else just for inspiration and to point out the possibility.
...
The DDRC-24 sits between the Denon receiver and the Roksan power amp.
The front speakers are plugged into the Roksan power amp, all the others are plugged directly to the Denon receiver.
Interesting idea. I also use Audyssey XT32 to calibrate my 5.4.2 home theater and it works fine, but prefer Dirac for stereo. Also happen to have a DDRC-24 laying around and use a power amp for the fronts, so might try it out!
 

Chromatischism

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I love the sound of the Monitor Audio Platinum's mid range, but they have a bit too aggressive sloop in the top. So first of all I used the DSP to up the top a bit to balance them out nicely.
Assuming these measure the same, are you sure those speakers roll off the top end?

Listening Window:

frequency_listeningwindow.gif


 

Chromatischism

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So first of all I used the DSP to up the top a bit to balance them out nicely. Then I ran Dirac Live to room calibrate everything <700Hz. That did help remove some room modes in the lower frequencies, while keeping the character of the speakers intact. It also gave me a super solid stereo image (which the Monitor Audio Platinum are very good at already to begin with).
I wouldn't use PEQ before room correction. There is no point. Dirac has a good curve editor that will do a lot better job than PEQ – use it to get the result you want.

Clever use of L/R Bypass. I'm not sure it's worth spending the $$ for Dirac when you could get similar results with the gear you already have, though.
 
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K man

K man

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Assuming these measure the same, are you sure those speakers roll off the top end?

Listening Window:

frequency_listeningwindow.gif


SoundStage! Measurements - Monitor Audio Platinum PL100 Loudspeakers (9/2008)
That is a very different speaker from a previous series.

My PL200 II are closer to the measurements of PL300 II:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/monitor-audio-platinum-pl300-ii-loudspeaker-measurements

I wouldn't use PEQ before room correction. There is no point. Dirac has a good curve editor that will do a lot better job than PEQ – use it to get the result you want.
Then you need to apply Dirac Live to the entire frequency spectrum, which is what I wanted to avoid. It wanted to preserve the sound signature of my front speakers and hence only applied correction to <700Hz. If you have good speakers it seems to be a common practice and also a recommendation to only correct frequencies <1kHz.

In my setup there is no frequency overlap between the PEQ filters and the Dirac Live correction.

I'm not sure it's worth spending the $$ for Dirac when you could get similar results with the gear you already have, though.
Well, with my current equipment I can't. The X4000 doesn't have any support for editing the target curve nor any useful manual equalizing.
 

Chromatischism

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That is a very different speaker from a previous series.

My PL200 II are closer to the measurements of PL300 II:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/monitor-audio-platinum-pl300-ii-loudspeaker-measurements


Then you need to apply Dirac Live to the entire frequency spectrum, which is what I wanted to avoid. It wanted to preserve the sound signature of my front speakers and hence only applied correction to <700Hz. If you have good speakers it seems to be a common practice and also a recommendation to only correct frequencies <1kHz.

In my setup there is no frequency overlap between the PEQ filters and the Dirac Live correction.


Well, with my current equipment I can't. The X4000 doesn't have any support for editing the target curve nor any useful manual equalizing.
Ahh, you are right. The X4000 was a great AVR but can't be used with the MultEQ editor app.
 
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