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Embracing Simplicity in Audio: Anyone Else Skipping Room Correction, Measurement Microphones, and the Like?

GXAlan

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I've always considered myself an early adopter, perhaps even an avant-gardist, when it comes to hi-fi technology. Over the course of the hi-fi journey, there have been paradigm shifts – the transition to CDs, later embracing streaming, and the shift from bulky floor-standing speakers to sleek active monitors, just to name a few.

In my experience, I've found success in keeping my signal paths straightforward. I've been hesitant to transform my regular home listening environment into an acoustic laboratory with heavy computer usage or reliance on proprietary DSP products. Call me old-fashioned, but I value the simplicity of my setup.

Are there others out there who, like me, choose to forgo room correction, measurement microphones, and other sophisticated tools in favor of a more straightforward audio experience? I'd love to hear about your approaches, experiences, and the reasoning behind your decision.

Is simplicity still a virtue in the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology?

Simplicity comes in a few forms.
Room correction does help with bass room nodes, but so can speaker position and the room itself. Sometimes the room effects are beneficial as is the case with REL subwoofers and recommendations to place them in a corner. Juicing up the bass can make for a more pleasant experience even if it's inaccurate.

Additionally, we know that luck plays into room/speaker interactions.

As for me, I have embraced simplicity with active speakers (Meyer Sound Amie).

In keeping with your concept of “simple source”, I then have a few options

1) Turntable to phono equalizer, all analog

2) Digital to Yamaha AVP with option to enable room EQ or PEQ. Paradoxically the Yamaha room EQ is pretty hands off, so it keeps simplicity in play instead of getting to into the weeds of good room measurements.

For my home theater, I do use Dirac and all sorts of “in the weeds” measurements to fully EQ my Bose 901 digitally.
 

winsome

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We use a MiniDSP Flex in the living room. It suits us very well as a "preamp" and we actually use all the inputs on it.

- Analog input is for the turntable, using the ART Precision phono preamp
- Optical input is for the HDMI switch and audio extractor, which connects to the video streamer (Roku) and a BluRay/DVD player.
- Coax connects to the Wiim Pro audio streamer (for lossless streaming from Amazon Music and my media server with ripped CDs)
- Bluetooth is useful for the phone, e.g. podcasts and audiobooks
- USB connects to the Raspberry Pi which runs Volumio, which we don't really need any more given the WiiM and bluetooth

Output of the MiniDSP Flex goes to a @Buckeye Amps Hypex 250 Wpc amp which feeds Ascend Sierra Tower loud speakers.

We think it sounds real good. After we got the MiniDSP and set it up using measurements there was no longer any need to adjust the volume control while watching TV and movies. Previously it was necessary because if we set the volume loud enough to hear the dramatically quiet dialog (directors love it when actors whisper) then the dramatic music and dramatic sound effects are too loud. I don't know why for sure but I take this as a sign that something is "better" that the problem is gone. It is certainly more comfortable.

In my office/study/studio I use Equalizer APO on the Windows OS. I need to do the room EQ again because we just installed two rugs in there, each thick wool rug from India 3 x 2.4m. One is on the wall. Once again, this was not simple but now it is done and we like it. What do you think?

View attachment 329098

I like the engineering principle that things should be as simple as possible but not more simple than that. In other words, simplicity/complexity is constrained by requirements. In the case of high quality audio reproduction the requirements are stringent and the acoustical problems are complex. I am grateful that we can use measurements and equalizers to sort out some of the problems.
That's dope room you have there. Is that green bike a synapse ?
 

Leporello

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The topic came to my mind spontaneously, and I didn't hesitate to open the thread. Just now, something else occurred to me. The esteemed designer Dieter Rams had the following maxim: 'Less but better'. (Weniger, aber besser) I have tried to internalize this philosophy.
But this does not mean that simplicity per se makes the products better (and yes, I own a Braun wall clock, water kettle, electric toothbrush, three watches and the famous calculator ;)).
 

MAB

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(bThe topic came to my mind spontaneously, and I didn't hesitate to open the thread. Just now, something else occurred to me. The esteemed designer Dieter Rams had the following maxim: 'Less but better'. (Weniger, aber besser) I have tried to internalize this philosophy.
Well, a great musician disagrees;):
Jokes aside, I like elegant solutions to complex problems. I don't want more, I want a solution, and I want it to be elegant. And to be clear, attempting to reproduce musical performances in our homes is challenging.

Infinite respect to the mastery of Dieter Rams, who was an industrial engineer if I correctly understand his background. And carpentry too, right?
Are there others out there who, like me, choose to forgo room correction, measurement microphones, and other sophisticated tools in favor of a more straightforward audio experience?
I am going to try to address the above in parts, because this sentence has a ton of stuff packed into it, in an odd order.
Let's start with the idea of (a) avoiding measurement mics and (b) the assertion they are 'sophisticated':
(a) Do you think Rams eschewed tape measures, micrometers, and other well recognized tools of his trade? I doubt it, perhaps someone who knows more of his work can reverse my doubt, or confirm. But I seriously doubt this aligns with his 'ethos'.
(b) Microphones can't be described as sophisticated, they are fundamental tools of our hobby and the professional careers of many ASR members. And 'measurement' microphones start at a few tens of dollars, plug and play to your computer's USB port. It is hard to read such an exaggerated claim with a straight face, this assertion is quite hysterical. Microphones cannot be considered sophisticated, mysterious, complex, or 'more', they are basic tools.

Regarding DSP:
After making a few measurements with a microphone, what might we do? We will find room modes and interference patterns and all sorts of other garbage due to the room once those measurements are made. There are a lots of approaches, moving speakers in the room, room treatment, DSP, etc. I understand that most people have limited places to put speakers in their living environment. Dedicated listening rooms are quite a sophisticated and expensive way to address this, totally out of reach for most. Room treatment may be more accessible, but is still extremely difficult, and often times is not compatible with home décor. Of course none of this optimization happens without the most basic of tools, the mic. Which brings us to DSP since any live show we see with amplified music uses DSP to correct for the venue. DSP is newer than microphones, but also hard to characterize it as sophisticated or esoteric or complex. And despite some of the anecdotal comments (unsupported by data, and completely contradicted by many reviews on ASR and elsewhere), DSP does not produce some magical degradation on the data, or loss in transparency, or reduced soundstage, unless you do it wrong.

All of these techniques that you are describing as sophisticated or non-straightforward are actually pedestrian and simple these days. And when it comes to identifying a bass resonance or null, or a problematic reflection, it seems a rather odd definition of simplicity to avoid a microphone and quantify the issue. And DSP is also not sophisticated (we a have computers, right?), and DSP is so good at solving many reproduction problems, and is used extensively in the production of live and recorded music.
 

Mnyb

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My 2c .

There is no room that does not need some DRC regardless of speaker placement , none ! it’s a complete pita to even try to fix all the bass modes acoustically.

Possibly if you listen near field to mini monitors in an airplane hangar ? Possibly suspended in mid air to avoid floor bounce ?

That’s why headphones are incredible if you want simple :) with eq apo and peace gui :)

That said it’s easy to overcook DRC due both speaker design and psycho acoustics , hence in most cases DRC should be used in the bass area below the transition frequency.

You can gently eq the speakers anachoic response above the transition frequency not its room response if they have the directivity properties that are friendly to this , as your brain can sort out direct and reflected sound in its own way .

That’s whats wrong with the marketing of some eq solutions you can possibly eq any speaker for near field listening or if your place is acoustically dead like a studio .

But in a normal room in midfield or far field with speakers with bad directivity you just make them sound different kind of wrong with excessive eq as you can not eq the direct sound and reflected sound independently from each other .

Personally I would try correct the bass response and otherwise just touch the general tone if my speakers would be excessively bright or dull .
 

Mnyb

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And if you are a conesiur and collecting of old speaker designs they may not be well suited for room eq shenanigans the og designers did not have modern view on how directivity should handled .
 
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solderdude

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Are there others out there who, like me, choose to forgo room correction, measurement microphones, and other sophisticated tools in favor of a more straightforward audio experience? I'd love to hear about your approaches, experiences, and the reasoning behind your decision.

In my living room I do not use room correction but did try to get a reasonable compromise between usability and sound.
That said, I did measure the response and the active woofer (own design) was tuned in that room. The speakers also were 'tuned' in that room.
I guess it all depends on the room, the speakers and the listening area as well as how serious one wants to use it all.

ON my desktop the iLoud MTM's were used with the supplied microphone and made all the difference so there I use the DSP in the speaker.

Headphones I do correct but passively or analog (active)

I am not anal about targets or research showing me what bass levels I should use and how my ears should perform above 1kHz.
 

Mnyb

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In my living room I do not use room correction but did try to get a reasonable compromise between usability and sound.
That said, I did measure the response and the active woofer (own design) was tuned in that room. The speakers also were 'tuned' in that room.
I guess it all depends on the room, the speakers and the listening area as well as how serious one wants to use it all.

ON my desktop the iLoud MTM's were used with the supplied microphone and made all the difference so there I use the DSP in the speaker.

Headphones I do correct but passively or analog (active)

I am not anal about targets or research showing me what bass levels I should use and how my ears should perform above 1kHz.
Ahh analog room correction :) everything does not always need to be done with the latest gizmo to work
 
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MaxwellsEq

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Are there others out there who, like me, choose to forgo room correction, measurement microphones, and other sophisticated tools in favor of a more straightforward audio experience? I'd love to hear about your approaches, experiences, and the reasoning behind your decision.

Is simplicity still a virtue in the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology?
My preference is to get as much right as possible with everything "flat" before adjustments. So I like my electronics to be as good as possible, select speakers which measure well and place them as correctly as possible given the room.

I wouldn't buy a deeply flawed speaker and use DSP to correct it, that seems irrational to me. I'd also not put the speakers in positions that didn't suit them and then use DSP to correct that.
 
OP
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Good morning! :)

Perhaps I shouldn't have started the discussion. Sometimes I fear the unfriendly undertones that can arise from it. Sometimes it's just misunderstandings. For example, I wrote that near-field listening "minimises" the room influence, not that it is completely gone. Incidentally, I can use the so-called Boundary EQ with my nearfield monitors to make adjustments depending on the set-up situation.

Most rooms are particularly unfavourably stimulated in the low bass range, a frequency range that some people seem to attach particular importance to because they also listen to the corresponding music.

In my current listening room, I even reduced the bass of my floorstanding speakers by closing the bass reflex ports with the foam plugs provided for this purpose. It was too powerful for my taste.
 

abdo123

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The the contrary i recently bought the second generation of the Airpods pro.

You make a 3D map of your face and ears and they make a rough estimate of your HRTF.

For the first time since i was born my center image is actually in the center. I guess i was born with differently shaped ears because i have no hearing loss in one ear or the other.
 
OP
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Today I discovered a completely different practical problem that I can only solve mechanically. The thin plastic back panel of my flat screen apparently resonates and rattles a little when it is excited by the speakers. I have to dampen that.
 

Shadrach

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Not exactly skipped, I use a parametric equalizer for my headphones but not for my room. I have measured and attempted to iron out the worst of the bumps with REW but I was left with the problem that I don't spend that much time listening in the same position and getting something acceptable in more than one position using DSP I found almost impossible.
I have used the filters that came with the loudspeakers and in my rather cluttered room I got what I found to be acceptable using a sound pressure meter. moving a few items of the clutter and careful placement of the sub bass units and the filter options provided with the loudspeakers.
No, I don't have a flat frequency response but it seems the speakers are good enough in the room at frequencies above 100 Hz to not be irritating. To get a more acceptable bass response I would need three sub bass units to cancel out the worst of the bumps and at a grand each they would make the system unacceptably expensive for the limitations the room the system plays in and my listening habits.
 

Galliardist

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I currently have no room correction and am starting on that at the moment, though I'm sorting out proper streaming at the moment (just started a Roon trial on a Black Friday offer, on a cheap PC from work that blocks access to the remote app!). I've not been really unhappy with my setup in the lower registers since I changed to my current speakers, but I probably need to cut down a peak somewhere around 90Hz as open sixth string on guitar recordings isn't quite right.

I'm still an advocate, having heard DSP correction work wonders in other cases.

My headphone "system", or desktop computer, has EQ for the attached headphones.

On the smiley, my sister has an old equaliser in one of her systems set up for that - and turns it off when she plays loud. I think it's rather costly for a loudness button!
 
OP
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One tool that I have on all my digital systems is the Pulse Audio Equaliser, whose parameters can be adjusted very finely. However, I have never used it seriously. I have the subjective impression that it degrades the sound if you involve it, even if it is set to neutral or flat.

com.github.wwmm.pulseeffects-f9f857338a385b6dcdfc665310e0623a.png
 

Purité Audio

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The ‘anti-digital’ crusade reaches back as far as I can remember, beginning with the introduction of Compact Disc, Eq tainting the pure analogue signal, in hindsight it just looks like it was manufacturers of analogue equipment desperately trying to hang on revenue until of course they could develop their own audiophile versions which ‘cured’ the format.
Keith
 
OP
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The ‘anti-digital’ crusade reaches back as far as I can remember, beginning with the introduction of Compact Disc, Eq tainting the pure analogue signal, in hindsight it just looks like it was manufacturers of analogue equipment desperately trying to hang on revenue until of course they could develop their own audiophile versions which ‘cured’ the format.
Keith

Haha - a great phrase. I'm not on that track, by the way. :D
 

TurtlePaul

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Computer-audiophile,

What would it take to get you to measure a sine sweep in your room?
 
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