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Comparison of DRCs: Dirac Live for Studio, IK Multimedia ARC System 3 and Sonarworks Reference 4 Studio edition

Mesh

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Excellent thread for sure. And now I ofc sit here wondering about GLM and MA 1 compared with those you have tested... I know, needs Genelecs and Neumann speakers of the appropriate model... but still. That would say a ton about the value added from in-speaker correction compared to independent brands. For next Christmas, I wish for...? ;)
 
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dominikz

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The reason for the attenuation is that there is a 30 dB peak to peak variation on the left speaker and 25 dB p-to-p on the right. That huge narrow peak on both speakers at around 125 Hz looks unusual to me. The dip is wider and makes sense acoustically, but curious about that big narrow peak.
@dominikz is there an explanation for that in your setup?
It is definitely a room issue, and I would say it is a winning combination of:
1) Less than ideal room with no acoustic treatment (it is a bedroom, size 4m x 3m x 2,6m) - from room sim in REW looks like there is a cluster of 5 modes between 124-130 121-132 Hz in this room:
JBL LSR305 - speaker response vs room modes.png

EDIT (2020-12-31): Noticed that above picture had wrong room sim calculated modes drawn, so now updated with correct one. Sorry about that!

2) Poor placement of speakers and MLP - configuration is offset and not symmetrical: speakers backsides are very close to the room long wall and left speaker is almost in the room corner while the other one is close to the wall midpoint. Looks more or less like this:
JBL LSR305 nearfield setup v2.png


Also, to be consistent, I see some REW charts with var smoothing and others with 1/12 oct smoothing. Maybe choose one like 1/12 for all charts for consistency.
Thanks for the suggestion, but there was always a reason why I've chosen specific types of smoothing for each graph. Variable smoothing shows more details in the LF range than 1/12 smoothing, which is why I've been favouring it for most diagrams relating to DRC comparisons (you can see that most-in room measurements I did use var smoothing).
1/12 smoothing I only used a few times, and specifically here I used it with a few in-room measurements of Audiolense as I saw you used 1/12 in some of your measurement so I thought you might appreciate it :) To be honest I was trying to be quite consistent across this whole exercise - using the same vertical scale range for all FRs and using var smoothing for the largest portion of in-room measurements posted.
As @thewas alluded to in an earlier post, lets have a look at the timing response like acoustic step response and phase in the low end. The excess phase correction, should show a much improved measured phase response in the low end and should sound clearer to boot.
I'd be happy to, but I only have the trial version which only allows me to process 90s of WAV audio files with the generated filters, rather than being able to use them with real-time convolution as the full version allows. Do you have any suggestion how I could measure phase and time-domain responses while only having access to limited trial exporting capabilities? Maybe I'm missing something REW can go with externally generated test files.
Excellent thread for sure. And now I ofc sit here wondering about GLM and MA 1 compared with those you have tested... I know, needs Genelecs and Neumann speakers of the appropriate model... but still. That would say a ton about the value added from in-speaker correction compared to independent brands. For next Christmas, I wish for...? ;)
If someone sends me a pair of Neumanns and/or Genelecs with the corresponding calibration kits, I'd be more than happy to do many measurements with them - even much before next Christmas. Sounds like a great suggestion to me :D:p
Joking aside, those look like great systems to me - I'd also love to see and hear how well they work!
 
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Olli

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Also, to be consistent, I see some REW charts with var smoothing and others with 1/12 oct smoothing. Maybe choose one like 1/12 for all charts for consistency. As @thewas alluded to in an earlier post, lets have a look at the timing response like acoustic step response and phase in the low end. The excess phase correction, should show a much improved measured phase response in the low end and should sound clearer to boot.

Speaking of which - here are some updated REW measurements comparing Audiolense vs. Trinnov: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-altitude-jbl-sdp-75.13095/page-9#post-620828
 

Flak

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It's just marketing. Dirac is not smart. It will over correct room modes and applies target curve regardless of direct and early reflection response.

Dirac Live doesn't treat all reflections in the same way... the algorithm takes advantage of the multiple measurements for knowing what/how changes depending on the position, late reflections are reflected by walls and have a longer path.
They change with position and, appropriately, they are not corrected.
We consider impulse response correction important, if one has the time and inclination Jakob Agren explains why in this video:
Also, we are beta testing a Dirac Live update that adds systemwide correction of all audio from the computer by adding a virtual soundcard in addition to the plugins.
It's available for Windows only and it works as Stereo and Multichannel.
If interested in testing it, one can contact us as usual at https://helpdesk.dirac.se
(you'll need to "Sign up for an account")

:) Flavio
 
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dominikz

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Still, the real test of Audiolense for me will be in my living room setup - unfortunately I haven't yet gotten around to doing that.

So I've finally managed to do some more testing - this time specifically focusing on Audiolense in my living room setup.

Have to say that it did take a little bit of reading and a few tries for me to get consistent measurement results with Audiolense, but I believe I got there in the end :)
To try and make my results more meaningful I did some comparisons too, as well as some blind listening tests with foobar2000 ABX utility.

Audiolense XO - living room
After using the SW a bit I'll rate usability as just 'OK' - it is definitively not the most user friendly layout and UI, and I believe most users will need a while to find their way around it. However it seems there's a lot of power and customizability built-in, so I can understand the appeal for power users.

Anyway, after a few takes I got a pretty clean measurement (single-point), performed noise filtering, used the default true time domain correction algorithm and the Olive/Toole target curve/tilt this time around (i.e. slope of -1 dB per octave or -10dB total slope from 20Hz to 20kHz). This is what the SW simulated result looks like after filter calculation compared to measured response:
Revel M16 - Audiolense FR.PNG

Using REW to validate the correction resulted in basically identical measured response! o_O I could hardly believe my eyes seeing alignment this good:
Revel M16 - Audiolense XO correction - Sweep measurement at MLP.png

Similarly for the time domain, simulated step-response after correction:
Revel M16 - Audiolense SR (sim, zoomed).PNG

Vs measured step response:
Revel M16 - Audiolense XO - measured step response.png

Practically identical. So I guess we can very well trust what the SW predicts :)

Let's see if the step response degrades if we move out of the MLP horizontally:
Revel M16 - Audiolense XO - Step response at multiple spatial measurement points.png

Seems tweeter and woofer remain aligned for the most part, but we do get some pre-ringing if we move ~70cm to the side of MLP.

For comparison, here's how this looks with Dirac Live:
Revel M16 - Dirac Live - Step response at multiple spatial measurement points.png

As we can see there's a bit less time-domain correction done by Dirac, but there's also less variation as we move away from MLP.

Lastly here's the speaker's uncorrected step response for reference - clearly showing unaligned tweeter and woofer responses:
Revel M16 - measured step response.png


Audiolense here adds almost 0,4s delay to the signal to allow for non-causal filters and therefore phase corrections. This can be seen from the impulse response simulation window:
Revel M16 - Audiolense IR (orig vs sim).PNG

For comparison, Dirac live seems to add much less delay to the signal - around 8ms (image reposted from post #32):
1610440345509.png


Here's how the generated filter for left channel looks:
Revel M16 (Left) - Audiolense XO filter response.png

The phase correction is very visible indeed. Phase slope is steeper than what Dirac came up with previously.
Speaking of that, let's see how similar are the Audiolense filters to those of Dirac with the same target (left channel only):
Revel M16 (Left) - Audiolense XO vs Dirac Live filter response.png

Close in general, but Audiolense decides to fill-in more dips - we can see that from having more peaks in the filter response (e.g. 85-100Hz, 200-250Hz, 600Hz, 950Hz) - more on this next.

What was really bugging me was how well would this correction translate to other measurement points across the couch.
With other DRCs I definitely saw issues at some measurement points away from MLP, if the correction was based on a single-point measurement at MLP only.
So to check I tested by doing 6-point sweep measurements across the whole couch (to show wide listening area behavior) and also MMM periodic-pink noise measurements around the MLP (to show the spatial average close to the MLP).

Left speaker multi-point sweeps (wide listening area response):
Revel M16 (Left) - Audiolense XO correction - Multi-point sweep measurements and their spatial...png

Right speaker multi-point sweeps (wide listening area response):
Revel M16 (Right) - Audiolense XO correction - Multi-point sweep measurements and their spatia...png

MMM measurements (MLP-focused listening area response) - speakers without correction (dotted, upper lines), and with Audiolense (solid, lower lines):
Revel M16 - Audiolense XO correction - MMM measurement with periodic pink noise.png

As you can see, although still an improvement, these sadly do not look as nice as the MLP single-point measurement made it look - some peaks show through, and these of course correlate well with peaks in the filter response measured a few figures above. I guess this is just the nature of single-point measurement - the SW probably cannot determine from just a single measurement which dip is safe to correct and which not. :confused:

Listening impressions
Initial listening impressions with Audiolense were pretty positive, definitively a clear improvement vs without any room correction. However, as I listened on, and depending on tracks I listened to, I noticed some resonances and 'blurring' of the bass response here-and-there, which, now looking at measurement results, seem could be related to the peaks at ~110Hz and ~170-220Hz visible in the spatial averages. Still, it was not major, and it was quite enjoyable to listen to overall.
Anyway, more on all this in the comparative listening test at the end :)

Comparisons with Dirac Live and MathAudio Room EQ
Let's now compare measurements done with corrections based on equivalent target curves with Dirac Live and MathAudio Room EQ (i.e. Olive/Toole target). In both Dirac and MathAudio cases multi-point measurements were used to calculate corrections, unlike Audiolense where I could only use a single-point measurement (since there's no way to save measurements and use them in a multi-point pool in the Audiolense trial).

Let's start with MLP single-point sweep measurements, Dirac Live:
Revel M16 - Dirac Live correction - Sweep measurement at MLP.png

Improvement definitely visible vs no correction but it is a much more jagged response than Audiolense at same location (MLP).
MathAudio:
Revel M16 - MathAudio Room EQ correction - Sweep measurement at MLP.png

Similar to Dirac, perhaps a bit more even - still not close to AudioLense.

Now let's see how spatial average around the MLP looks, measured with MMM:
Dirac Live:
Revel M16 - Dirac Live correction - MMM measurement with periodic pink noise.png

Notice no peaks sticking much out of the curve, unlike with Audiolense. Guess this is where some benefits of multi-point correction come through :)
MathAudio:
Revel M16 - MathAudio Room EQ correction - MMM measurement with periodic pink noise.png

Same deal as Dirac - spatial average looks pretty smooth, maybe even more so!

Here's Dirac Live correction measured at 6 spatial positions across the couch with sweep measurements, and their averages:
Left speaker:
Revel M16 (Left) - Dirac Live correction - Multi-point sweep measurements and their spatial av...png

Right speaker:
Revel M16 (Right) - Dirac Live correction - Multi-point sweep measurements and their spatial a...png

NOTE: Please disregard the HF downward slope >10kHz - I guess I didn't load the 90° mic calibration curve in REW for these measurements.

Let's just compare the average curves between Dirac Live and Audiolense (right speaker shown in upper curves, left speaker shown in lower curves):
Revel M16 - Audiolense XO and Dirac Live correction - Spatial averages comparisons.png


I guess we can pretty much see the pattern now - with Dirac there's less peaks going much above the target response curve on individual measured or average curves compared to Audiolense.
Again, I attribute this to multi-point vs single-point correction approach rather than being some limitation of the SW itself - however since I can't test Audiolense multi-point correction I can't verify how different Audiolense multi-point correction would look.

Blind listening results and impressions
First let me start by saying that testing all these various DRCs, my main takeaway was that IMHO they can all be made to sound more similar than different with the correctly configured and equivalent target curves. Any audible differences were in most cases subtle, and naturally I was very much skeptical whether these differences were even real, or just a figment of my imagination :)

So I decided to do a blind test to see if I can differentiate between various DRCs with any consistency. To perform the test I did the following:
- Exported a track sample file (90s) without any correction, and then exported equivalent sample files but now each processed with one of Audiolense, Dirac Live or MathAudio Room EQ corrections
- Imported the tracks into PreSonus Studio One project view, to match loudness using the LUFS scale within +/-0,1 LU
- Loaded the tracks into foobar2000, and used Replay Gain to double-check and fine tune loudness matching
- Disabled any global EQ or room correction, so only the correction now embedded in exported files is in use
- Used foobar2000 ABX comparator component utility to compare the files. I used 12 trials for each run.
- The files were of course played and ABX compared over my living-room stereo system for which the corrections were generated.

NOTE: It could be argued that loudness matching of spectrally different versions of the same file (i.e. EQed differently, as here) is a much more difficult exercise than just using average loudness scale such as total RMS dBFS or INT LUFS as I did. Though that may be true, my reasoning was that there's still a lot of correlation and similarity between various corrections, and that overall loudness will still perceptually be fairly closely matched between files. Subjectively, my listening impressions confirm this - loudness perception was the same between matched files for me, with only slight tonality differences between various DRCs - i.e. as expected.

First two runs were supposed to be pretty simple, just to see if I can consistently pick out the corrected vs uncorrected files.
  • 1st run: Track: Josephine Cronholm - In Your Wild Garden, comparison of Audiolense corrected file vs no correction applied.
    Code:
    foo_abx 2.0.6d report
    foobar2000 v1.6.2
    2021-01-11 20:06:05
    
    File A: Audiolense - Josephine Cronholm - In Your Wild Garden.flac
    SHA1: cd2c43446eee7b60e59b5e1458dd206bbca511b6
    Gain adjustment: +6.95 dB
    File B: Josephine Cronholm - In Your Wild Garden.flac
    SHA1: a7a32edc7bd678368d57ce7136564986b50fe369
    Gain adjustment: +6.90 dB
    
    Output:
    Default : Primary Sound Driver
    Crossfading: NO
    
    20:06:05 : Test started.
    20:08:20 : 01/01
    20:08:33 : 02/02
    20:08:44 : 03/03
    20:08:57 : 04/04
    20:09:10 : 05/05
    20:09:23 : 06/06
    20:09:34 : 07/07
    20:09:46 : 08/08
    20:09:59 : 09/09
    20:10:11 : 10/10
    20:10:24 : 11/11
    20:10:35 : 12/12
    20:10:35 : Test finished.
    
    ----------
    Total: 12/12
    p-value: 0.0002 (0.02%)
    
    -- signature --
    f3a66f45a8b842f950ee5f18d147a050c7596307
    With this track I get an awful lot of bass resonance without correction, so it was pretty easy to pick out. Phew, that was a relief :)
  • 2nd run: Track: Toto - I WIll Remember, comparison of Dirac Live corrected file vs no correction applied.
    Code:
    foo_abx 2.0.6d reportfoobar2000 v1.6.2
    2021-01-11 19:44:53
    
    File A: Dirac Live - Toto - I WIll Remember.flac
    SHA1: 943231d65994cd11bb2048aee8bb941007956f20
    Gain adjustment: +3.48 dB
    File B: Toto - I WIll Remember.flac
    SHA1: c332fec9d8a67a403d5a0186cd6874d41a9082fa
    Gain adjustment: +3.44 dB
    
    Output:
    Default : Primary Sound Driver
    Crossfading: NO
    
    19:44:53 : Test started.
    19:49:33 : 01/01
    19:51:33 : 02/02
    19:54:41 : 03/03
    19:55:20 : 04/04
    19:55:38 : 05/05
    19:57:11 : 06/06
    19:58:26 : 06/07
    19:58:51 : 07/08
    20:00:15 : 08/09
    20:00:48 : 09/10
    20:01:18 : 10/11
    20:01:37 : 11/12
    20:01:37 : Test finished.
    
    ----------
    Total: 11/12
    p-value: 0.0032 (0.32%)
    
    -- signature --
    2ab2a170135d1318e5036beb67a81d772166323f
    This track also energizes room resonances for me, but to a somewhat lesser degree - while the difference is audible, it was easier to get confused this time around as one gets tired as the test progresses. This happened to me already after 5-6 trials, and I had to try hard to focus and continue. Definitely harder than last one to pick out :)
  • 3rd run: Track: Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far, comparison of Dirac Live and Audiolense corrected files.
    Code:
    foo_abx 2.0.6d reportfoobar2000 v1.6.2
    2021-01-11 20:14:06
    
    File A: Dirac Live - Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far.flac
    SHA1: c2fa5f34778533443009bffe9c424d77d0d4e605
    Gain adjustment: -0.96 dB
    File B: Audiolense - Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far.flac
    SHA1: 115fdb9115cb22a1bcb73b071f5e23ab493cf709
    Gain adjustment: -0.85 dB
    
    Output:
    Default : Primary Sound Driver
    Crossfading: NO
    
    20:14:06 : Test started.
    20:16:01 : 01/01
    20:16:12 : 02/02
    20:16:28 : 03/03
    20:16:42 : 04/04
    20:16:57 : 05/05
    20:17:05 : 06/06
    20:17:13 : 07/07
    20:17:20 : 08/08
    20:17:27 : 09/09
    20:17:32 : 10/10
    20:17:55 : 11/11
    20:18:10 : 12/12
    20:18:10 : Test finished.
    
    ----------
    Total: 12/12
    p-value: 0.0002 (0.02%)
    
    -- signature --
    642dfa7bb365cbf5ce3743db32dce3e1558800aa
    Used this track as it is a pretty busy, compressed mix, which typically makes it easier for me to pick-out smaller differences in tonality (closer to pink-noise, I guess :)). With casual listening I thought Audiolense correction had more energy in the mid and upper bass (almost resonances at times) vs Dirac Live, and this is what I tried to use to anchor myself when doing the ABX. Phew, again :)
  • 4th run: Track: Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far, comparison of Dirac Live and MathAudio corrected files.
    Code:
    foo_abx 2.0.6d reportfoobar2000 v1.6.2
    2021-01-11 20:20:24
    
    File A: Dirac Live - Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far.flac
    SHA1: c2fa5f34778533443009bffe9c424d77d0d4e605
    Gain adjustment: -0.96 dB
    File B: MathAudio - Allen-Lande - Gone Too Far.flac
    SHA1: 59409b85ae440e9856e32e5c01fcd16e8a3c160f
    Gain adjustment: -0.97 dB
    
    Output:
    Default : Primary Sound Driver
    Crossfading: NO
    
    20:20:24 : Test started.
    20:22:39 : 01/01
    20:22:46 : 02/02
    20:22:51 : 02/03
    20:22:57 : 02/04
    20:23:06 : 03/05
    20:23:14 : 04/06
    20:23:22 : 05/07
    20:23:31 : 06/08
    20:23:35 : 07/09
    20:25:26 : 08/10
    20:25:35 : 09/11
    20:26:10 : 10/12
    20:26:10 : Test finished.
    
    ----------
    Total: 10/12
    p-value: 0.0193 (1.93%)
    
    -- signature --
    15253493a16f7500c08ce1c95776b7818d827f60
    Used the same track again, for the same reasons. In my previous informal tests (and in above measurements) Dirac and MathAudio corrections seemed more similar, and this was confirmed for me by this ABX. What I used to anchor my picks was a difference in upper-bass response, where I thought I heard a bit more energy in what turned out to be the MathAudio corrected file. It was definitely close and more difficult to pick out than the rest, resulting in 2 mistakes out of 12 and p-value of almost 2%. I guess I'd have to do more trials here to have more certainty in my ability to pick them out
As tedious and tiring exercise this was, it did give me some confidence that the differences I thought I heard with sighted listening were real.
To be honest, considering how I thought the differences between DRCs were pretty small when sighted, I was half-expecting to fail miserably in a blind ABX, so this result was a bit of a positive surprise for me :D

Another thing I believe is worth noting, is that I could only differentiate different clips based on spectral/tonality differences - i.e. I felt I could hear broad differences and resonances in frequency vs amplitude responses, but I heard no differences that I could correlate to any phase or timing correction differences. E.g. I felt Dirac Live and MathAudio sounded close and they had very similar measured frequency responses, although Dirac does time-domain correction and MathAudio doesn't.
Perhaps I just don't know what to listen for, perhaps the differences would be more obvious with multi-way drivers with digital XOs, multi-channel systems or systems with subwoofers, or maybe these time-domain response differences are simply not very audible in general (as some research on the subject seems to suggest, e.g. some info in this topic). Personally I won't argue for or against any explanation as I have too little experience on the subject, but will say that this experience does tell me to personally not worry too much about time-domain correction in my own stereo setup :)

Closing thoughts
Have to say I feel I've learned some more with each iteration of these comparisons, and this one was no exception :)
In general, my key takeaway is that with appropriate configuration and equivalent target curves, one can get what I feel are pretty similar audible results in most setups with either Audiolense, Dirac or MathAudio.
Most of the audible differences I heard in the end between Audiolense vs Dirac and MathAudio were IMHO related to differences intrinsic to multi-point vs single-point correction approach, rather than having to do with major differences in each SW implementation. Sadly I could not test Audiolense multi-point correction to verify :confused:, but based on all the other results I posted so far, I feel it likely my conclusion wouldn't change much.
In my experience through all these tests, multi-point corrections gave me a more consistent result when listening in the far-field (though it is a compromise at every listening point), whereas with single-point measurements I could sometimes hear some resonances - depending on where exactly I sat or which track I listened to. Maybe this could be further optimized somewhat in Audiolense even with a single-point measurement, but I doubt that in most acoustic environments one can get ruler-flat frequency response at a single measurement point without sacrificing the response somewhat at other points around it.

I'd also like to repeat that all of the audible differences I did hear were spectrum/tonality-related, and that I can't say that I heard any conclusive differences related to phase/time-domain correction done by Audiolense or Dirac in any of my tests - in any case none that I could then anchor myself to and recognize in blind listening. Perhaps others could do better with this - my ears may be far from golden :)

That being said, the bulk of the very real differences between Audiolense, Dirac, MathAudio and others for me is mainly in their ease of use, measurement/configuration/correction process robustness, configurability/customizability and price. Still, I'd say these are anyway very important considerations in themselves.

Audiolense XO seems to provide much more configuration options than the others, making me think it could be suitable for a power or professional user to calculate custom-made corrections in cases where other automatic systems might give sub-optimal results - and do that on top of also doing XOs and complex driver time alignment while providing the most freedom with regard to target curve tweaking (of the DRCs I tested). However, it is IMHO also more difficult to use and understand than others, so might be overkill for many users and simple setups. The UI is unappealing and dated, and note that you need an additional filter processing engine to apply generated corrections.

On the other hand with Dirac Live you have a relatively simple, nicely guided and illustrated process for measurement and correction, that allows simple target curve editing and which IMHO gives very good results quickly. IME results I got with Dirac were least sensitive to user-error and therefore quite consistent. However, since it does not appear to be possible to configure much other than choose a listening setup and tweak target curves, if you don't like the out-of-the-box results it could be limiting to some users. The Dirac Live processor component is available in a variety of types, including VST plugins, third-party HW devices and apparently a Windows systemwide application is also planned.

MathAudio Room EQ is fairly simple to use as well, but the measurement process is less guided and it is the least configurable of the three. It is however also the cheapest, and even offers a free foobar2000 plugin variant. VST plugin version is also available, for use in a third-party VST host. IMHO the foobar2000 plugin is a very good option to get familiar with automatic room EQ for free (and probably good enough for many PC stereo users).

There. :) I believe with this installment I'm ready to finally put an end to my automatic room correction/EQ investigation saga :p
 

Snarfie

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Thanks Dominik this is realy a extensive overview that's very usefull.
 

thewas

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First of all, thank you so much for the superb comparison. :cool:

Another thing I believe is worth noting, is that I could only differentiate different clips based on spectral/tonality differences - i.e. I felt I could hear broad differences and resonances in frequency vs amplitude responses, but I heard no differences that I could correlate to any phase or timing correction differences. E.g. I felt Dirac Live and MathAudio sounded close and they had very similar measured frequency responses, although Dirac does time-domain correction and MathAudio doesn't.
Perhaps I just don't know what to listen for, perhaps the differences would be more obvious with multi-way drivers with digital XOs, multi-channel systems or systems with subwoofers, or maybe these time-domain response differences are simply not very audible in general (as some research on the subject seems to suggest, e.g. some info in this topic). Personally I won't argue for or against any explanation as I have too little experience on the subject, but will say that this experience does tell me to personally not worry too much about time-domain correction in my own stereo setup :)

In general, my key takeaway is that with appropriate configuration and equivalent target curves, one can get what I feel are pretty similar audible results in most setups with either Audiolense, Dirac or MathAudio.
Most of the audible differences I heard in the end between Audiolense vs Dirac and MathAudio were IMHO related to differences intrinsic to multi-point vs single-point correction approach, rather than having to do with major differences in each SW implementation.
Above were also my feelings over years of testing several DRC programs and strategies (Acourate, Dirac, DRC, REW), so thank you for a confirmation which increases the confidence in my previous experiences.
 

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If I were Audiolense I'd reward this excellent write-up with access to the full-featured version so you could put the dots on the i... ;)
 

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I was planning to test Dirac. Reading Dominik test i think it is not worth the time spent esspecialy it cost compared to Mathaudio (freeware) quite some money an the diffrences ar neglectible close to inaudible.
 
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dominikz

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I was planning to test Dirac. Reading Dominik test i think it is not worth the time spent esspecialy it cost compared to Mathaudio (freeware) quite some money an the diffrences ar neglectible close to inaudible.
I'd like to do a bit of disclaimer here and say that while indeed both can be made to perform and sound very similar (at least to me), this may not be the case for everyone and every setup, as end results can depend on measurement methodology and layout as well as target curve configuration.
If I may refer to my older posts in this topic (#1, #55, #96 and #104), it can be seen there that I was able to easily get good (and repeatable) results with Dirac Live in both of my setups on pretty much the first try, while MathAudio Room EQ took a bit more work to get similar level of performance in my living room (far-field) setup. My suggestion would therefore be still to try it out and see how you like it yourself :)

Also, to play the devil's advocate for a moment - if one looks at my ABX test results, you can see that although I felt differences were small, I was fairly successful in differentiating between various corrections in blind conditions. So one could also argue that differences were in fact larger / more audible than I described, and that others may not find them irrelevant :)

a comparison beween Acourate and Audiolense would be intresting
As I wrote in post #96, unfortunately Acourate doesn't seem to provide any means to generate filters in the trial version so I couldn't test it.
 
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I'd like to do a bit of disclaimer here and say that while indeed both can be made to perform and sound very similar (at least to me), this may not be the case for everyone and every setup, as end results can depend on measurement methodology and layout as well as target curve configuration.
If I may refer to my older posts in this topic (#1, #55, #96 and #104), it can be seen there that I was able to easily get good (and repeatable) results with Dirac Live in both of my setups on pretty much the first try, while MathAudio Room EQ took a bit more work to get similar level of performance in my living room (far-field) setup. My suggestion would therefore be still to try it out and see how you like it yourself :)
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I think it is also needed to mention to do measurements as describe in the manual for each solution. So if the manual suggest an horizontal measurement keep it horizontal an vertical if the manual requires that for best possible results.
 
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I think it is also needed to mention to do measurements as describe in the manual for each solution. So if the manual suggest an horizontal measurement keep it horizontal an vertical if the manual requires that for best possible results.
Absolutely, it is indeed important to follow instructions provided by the SW vendor, microphone orientation being one of them in certain cases.

However with e.g. Dirac Live microphone orientation didn't significantly influence results for me (as long as the appropriate microphone calibration curve was used - 0° for horizontal, 90° for vertical):
Dirac Live - comparison of vertical vs horizontal mic position for measurements.png

Note that the target curve was exactly the same in both cases, and the two measurement sessions were done on completely separate occasions.

On the other hand, MathAudio EQ was slightly more sensitive to microphone orientation in the same setup:
1610549005410.png

But the differences were mostly linear and so could be compensated by adapting the target curve slightly. It was enough to change HF slope by approx. additional -5dB @20kHz for the horizontal mic orientation measurement to get this alignment of filters:
MathAudio Room EQ - Comparison of vertical vs horizontal mic position.png
 
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Just wanted to share a few of my random thoughts on automatic room correction that I was mulling over the past few days...

IMHO one of the main issues with practically all current automatic room EQ software solutions is their default target curve. As you probably noticed, it is typically flat (Sonarworks, MathAudio, ARC System) or close to it (slight tilt in Dirac Live).

My problem with this is that I feel many users will at least initially just use the default target, and it doesn't seem likely to me this would fit many (perhaps even most) real-world scenarios. Of course, in my tests I did find that the flat target may work OK in nearfield with flat on-axis response loudspeakers, but I'm not sure how widespread that scenario is in reality.
Different loudspeakers will have different on-axis response, and especially if listening in farfield, louspeaker dispersion as well as room characteristics factor-in and one needs to adapt at least the tilt of the curve to get natural sounding results.

So I wondered why none of the DRCs I tested try to automatically generate a target curve shape based on the measured in-room response?
E.g. perhaps they could do a linear regression of the measured in-room response above the transition frequency to build a flat but tilted target better matched to the room and loudspeaker.
Another option would be to simply follow loudspeaker in-room response above the transition frequency, and use e.g. 1dB per octave bass boost below it. I'm sure there are other/better options that one could use.
Sure, some loudspeakers may measure so uneven that it could be very difficult to estimate a reasonable target curve - though probably in that case a flat target also wouldn't perform much better.

Any thoughts on this?

Seems to me like it could be a simple way to provide better out-of-the-box results for many casual users.
 

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I am also missing such adaptive target solutions and wondering why they aren't implemented yet, mind you for example at Acourate you can give a different number of FDW cycles for low and high frequencies and thus by giving a lower number at higher frequencies mainly measure (and thus also correct) the direct sound.

Also even such a simple approach could be possibly used http://www.ohl.to/calculators/targetcurve.php
 

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I am also missing such adaptive target solutions and wondering why they aren't implented yet, mind you for example at Acourate you can give a different number of FDW cycles for low and high frequencies and thus by giving a lower number at higher frequencies mainly measure (and thus also correct) the direct sound.

I use this software and it does that, too http://drc-fir.sourceforge.net/

I think this topic is not realy properly discussed yet. I personaly found out that when you only correct direct sound above 1000Hz you don't need to reach out to artificial room target curves. this approuch also showed me I had to move my mains out of the corners cause the resulting total curve was very uneven. once moved my resulting curve had a natural slope (while meassuring flat with a direct sound filter)
 

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Just wanted to share a few of my random thoughts on automatic room correction that I was mulling over the past few days...

IMHO one of the main issues with practically all current automatic room EQ software solutions is their default target curve. As you probably noticed, it is typically flat (Sonarworks, MathAudio, ARC System) or close to it (slight tilt in Dirac Live).

My problem with this is that I feel many users will at least initially just use the default target, and it doesn't seem likely to me this would fit many (perhaps even most) real-world scenarios. Of course, in my tests I did find that the flat target may work OK in nearfield with flat on-axis response loudspeakers, but I'm not sure how widespread that scenario is in reality.
Different loudspeakers will have different on-axis response, and especially if listening in farfield, louspeaker dispersion as well as room characteristics factor-in and one needs to adapt at least the tilt of the curve to get natural sounding results.

So I wondered why none of the DRCs I tested try to automatically generate a target curve shape based on the measured in-room response?
E.g. perhaps they could do a linear regression of the measured in-room response above the transition frequency to build a flat but tilted target better matched to the room and loudspeaker.
Another option would be to simply follow loudspeaker in-room response above the transition frequency, and use e.g. 1dB per octave bass boost below it. I'm sure there are other/better options that one could use.
Sure, some loudspeakers may measure so uneven that it could be very difficult to estimate a reasonable target curve - though probably in that case a flat target also wouldn't perform much better.

Any thoughts on this?

Seems to me like it could be a simple way to provide better out-of-the-box results for many casual users.

Automatically generated target curve's is an interesting concept/functionality never thought about it.

For what it's worth here under my experience with Room Correction (RC) an target curves (highly subjective).

When using for the first time RC i was advised to use a flat target curve more or less placed as low as possible to avoid all down peaks as you could see here under.
T0I1hrT.jpg

Mine first impression is i whas astound about the balanced sound. With balanced sound i mean all instrument voices where for the first time separate amplified more or less equally it created air an distance between all instrument & voices. Basically it was listening to a band instead of listening to sound. Sometimes if the recording is that good the whole experience become intimate i seldom experienced in 50 years time.

So what i did to to get a better result is using target curves (i thought so) . To make along story short i failed regarding my far field setup (not my near field setup) to get a better result in 90% of the cases (ok highly subjective). The 10% i did get a better result were mostly 70ties music where lows where probably sacrificed to get a good result on vinyl regarding it dynamic limitations i guess (so called Vinyl masters). A Harman curve of 4db did the trick for me.

But if i use the Harman curve on let say Frank Sinatra – Live at the Sands at least 30 % of the detailed timbre of his voice is gone the lows are a bit better but i prefer than the horizontal target curve to get the complete detailed balanced picture. IMHO if i use target curves as Harman or B&K the balance in sound get less.

What i learned using Room Correction is that the flat target curve could sound in some recordings not impressive (probably because of bad or compromised recordings i guess) but it sounds 90% of the time using good recordings the most balanced as i describe above. Basically i found out that i had an addiction for listening to long in a room with bad acoustics that increased mid an high frequencies.
So i had to learn what a Neutral level playing field sound (flat target curve) should sound.

Another important thing i noticed to play your music as close a possible to the original SPL. Now i acknowledge that is for instance playing Nirvana on their SPL is quite unpleasant for you neighbors. But in most cases taking in account my room dimension an average measured of 70 a 73 db is loud enough for me.

At that SPL RC sound quite different I'm much more involved than if the same music is played at an average of let say between 65 a 68db. I guess their is an optimal SPL that has to be played with RC to know what sort of target curve is suitable for you taking in account your room dimension. As an example see my preferd target curve for my IMF monitor speakers were lows are boosted which is quite different than my far field curve which is flat.
iz4zfHP.png


So what i would suggest:

  1. try a flat target curve that is more or less under or near the lowest down peak (what suits you regarding loss of gain)
  2. bring up your volume to an SPL that is loud enough for you let say 70db for the Beatles - Abbey road as an example
  3. compare the same music an use a flat target curve with something in between 65 an 68 db average see what sounds better.
  4. for each result give it some time a few minutes to listen to an compare
  5. if the preferred sound is not found use an or tweak another curve but always compare that with the flat target curve.
I use a SPL/db android app which is tested against a hand made one an had more or less the same result.
 
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Geert

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personaly found out that when you only correct direct sound above 1000Hz you don't need to reach out to artificial room target curves.
The same approach over here; room correction only for the low end and above 800Hz only speaker correction based on a near field measurement.
 
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