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

Justdafactsmaam

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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?
Short answer is no. Simplicity is lost opportunity. DSP is the path to real progress
 
OP
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computer-audiophile

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What would it take to get you to measure a sine sweep in your room?
At the moment I don't have a proper measurement system with a calibrated microphone.

I've already been doing frequency sweeps for fun and listening to see if there are any major anomalies. I use the following online tool for this:


By the way: the simplicity I mentioned refers to my analogue setup with turntable and horn speaker, i.e. the minimalist elegance of the circuit that I was ultimately able to realise. It's a very special concept. If it didn't sound really good, I would have discarded it long ago. I'm not an inexperienced listener.
 

Whoareyou

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I think your are purest, as am I. I don't even like engineered soundstage, the best recordings seem to have fewer mic's and less mastering, IMO. Remember most of those programs are in AVRs that have DSP for the speakers and room and are gimmicks rarely used by ASR readers/posters. But as AI, sound and video merge they play role in creating believable realities that would be too expensive or impossible to undertake and will become very realistic over time. They may even rescue failed or poor recordings from the past and make sound better.
I hear what you are saying and yes, I have some excellent 3 channel classical - 3 mics for 3 channels. I've also heard 1 mic sourced material, most notably friend's direct to vinyl albums, recorded live with vinyl lathe on-site. Actually sounds really good.

In reality, how many recordings are not engineered? I remember reading article on live concert videos, some of which sound fantastic, but the whole point of the article was that the vast majority of these recordings are studio recordings, dubbed in after the fact. Article claims there are only a handful of "live" recordings that are truly live (they had list - but I don't remember). But all I really care about is that the recording sounds good, with good dynamics and none of that loudness wars stuff going on.

So Purist? Not so sure LOL, but I like to get things where I like the sound and usually, what I like corresponds to fairly good measurements.

I do what I can with my room and without DSP and couldn't approach quality without thousands and thousands of dollars in room treatment.
I started going down that path, and in addition to it being a money pit, I was getting "how many more of those things do you need" comments from a "certain person".

Getting back to corresponding to fairly good measurements and purist.... so, a spec says that frequencies should fall within 3DB variance across the listening spectrum, but is that absolutely necessary, or should I do that? If I don't hear it, I don't completely correct it, which IMHO helps to avoid falling into the trap of over correction.

In the end, the purist in me wants to completely meet the specs for everything, reflections, reverb, frequency, etc.... The purist loves to read about DSP and understand the concepts. The realist in me says enjoy the music because I can't hear much of what the spec is trying to achieve.
 

Multicore

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In reality, how many recordings are not engineered?
An acoustic space must be chosen. Musicians and instruments must be arranged within the space. Mics must be chosen and arranged relative to the space and the instruments.

Relative to all these unavoidable and very important choices, fussing over what type of recorder to use seems like an equipment fetish.
 

mhardy6647

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On topic (sort of): Since I can only think in analogies*, this sort of discussion puts me to mind of all of the modern aircraft that could not fly absent a massive infusion of artificial stability controlled by software. I am not just thinking about bad examples (737 MAX), but (relatively) modern military aircraft such as the US "B-2" bomber. Jack Northrop was obsessed with flying wing aircraft designs for decades, and killed more than a few pilots with them. Finally, with enough sensors and tweaks, the B-2 flies. In fairness, I don't think they've lost any due to system failures -- but they could. From my perspective, such a brute force approach to problem solving is just -- inelegant.
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I'll stop now. ;)


______________
* I guess I am just an analog kind of guy, through and through! :facepalm:
 

Multicore

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That's dope room you have there. Is that green bike a synapse ?
No. That's a Cannondale SuperSix EVO HI-MOD from the years when Cannondale supplied bikes to the Liquigas pro racing team. I never won anything on it. The yellow and black bike is more interesting, I think. It's a Tiemeyer track racing bike, one of the last he made before retiring. I rode that at nationals and got a podium on it in team sprint. I rode the black one in Boston-Montreal-Boston (70h 32m) and in Paris-Brest-Paris (DNF). I don't ride them any more. Their job now is mock me for being old, fat and lazy.

EDIT: wait, you might mean the city bike. That's a Scott Sub Sport 10. What's cool about that is the integrated fenders, Gates carbon belt drive with a gear hub, and hydraulic brakes. Very practical and low maintenance bike.
 
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Mart68

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. Finally, with enough sensors and tweaks, the B-2 flies. In fairness, I don't think they've lost any due to system failures -- but they could.
They did - back in 2008 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Andersen_Air_Force_Base_B-2_accident

Because three pressure transducers failed to function[7]—attributable to condensation inside devices, not a maintenance error—the flight-control computers calculated inaccurate aircraft angle of attack and airspeed. Incorrect airspeed data on cockpit displays led to the aircraft rotating at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) slower than indicated. After the wheels lifted from the runway, which caused the flight control system to switch to different control laws, the erroneously sensed negative angle of attack caused the computers to inject a sudden, 1.6 g (16 m/s2), uncommanded 30-degree pitch-up maneuver. The combination of slow lift-off speed and the extreme angle of attack, with attendant drag, resulted in an unrecoverable stall, yaw, and descent.
 

Multicore

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From my perspective, such a brute force approach to problem solving is just -- inelegant.
I agree. I think it's quite common for ASR readers to prefer equipment that doesn't itself need software correction. For example, many of us seem to admire the engineering that's implicit in passive speakers that don't color the music and can efficiently deliver a lot of sound at low distortion.

DSP is useful for adjustments the manufacturer can't make for us: correcting room modes, integrating subs, balancing many channels within the room.

I get the relutance to get into these technologies. I remember a kind of resentment towards having to learn them. But then I did it and now it's done and we prefer the results.
 

Whoareyou

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An acoustic space must be chosen. Musicians and instruments must be arranged within the space. Mics must be chosen and arranged relative to the space and the instruments.

Relative to all these unavoidable and very important choices, fussing over what type of recorder to use seems like an equipment fetish.

That vinyl lathe with one microphone example, is considered the holly grail by my vinyl friends, but then again I'm not a vinyl guy nor do I believe a lathe is will ever provide the sound reproduction of modern technology. I also agree that the microphone placement, is of paramount importance for some recordings.
But for many of today's studio recordings, microphone placement may be irrelevant, as the artists don't even have to be in studio at same time.
Even if they are in studio at same time, the musical instruments can be placed via engineered timings and not necessarily via the microphone's placement.
 

TurtlePaul

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What is elegant about a B52 needing 100 ft of fusalage behind the wing root and massive horizontal and vertical stabilizers which generate a huge portion of the aircrafts drag? These parts contribute no lift and carry no fuel or ordinance.

Elegance isn’t a measurable characteristic. People confuse it with familiarity.
 
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pkane

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From my perspective, such a brute force approach to problem solving is just -- inelegant.

Most gadgets today, from washing machines to automobiles and airplanes would not function without digital controllers monitoring and adjusting nearly every function. This is also not that uncommon in nature: think about all the nerve endings that provide feedback enabling the nervous system and the brain to make adjustments and corrections to the behavior of an animal that would otherwise not survive even for a minute in the real world. Is it inelegant? Perhaps, but highly functional, IMHO :)
 

Whoareyou

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Most gadgets today, from washing machines to automobiles and airplanes would not function without digital controllers monitoring and adjusting nearly every function. This is also not that uncommon in nature: think about all the nerve endings that provide feedback enabling the nervous system and the brain to make adjustments and corrections to the behavior of an animal that would otherwise not survive even for a minute in the real world. Is it inelegant? Perhaps, but highly functional, IMHO :)
I can do without the internet connectivity. I never felt the need to turn on my washing machine from across the country, but a hacker might like to try :)
 

DLS79

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Finally, with enough sensors and tweaks, the B-2 flies.

You are way off timeline wise. The Avro 105 that first flew in 1958 was the first plane to use a computer to help control it.

A lot of planes since then require automated systems of varying degrees. This is mainly because humans are the limiting factor. We can't think or move fast enough to maintain maximum performance.
 

mhardy6647

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They did - back in 2008 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Andersen_Air_Force_Base_B-2_accident

Because three pressure transducers failed to function[7]—attributable to condensation inside devices, not a maintenance error—the flight-control computers calculated inaccurate aircraft angle of attack and airspeed. Incorrect airspeed data on cockpit displays led to the aircraft rotating at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) slower than indicated. After the wheels lifted from the runway, which caused the flight control system to switch to different control laws, the erroneously sensed negative angle of attack caused the computers to inject a sudden, 1.6 g (16 m/s2), uncommanded 30-degree pitch-up maneuver. The combination of slow lift-off speed and the extreme angle of attack, with attendant drag, resulted in an unrecoverable stall, yaw, and descent.
:( That is very unfortunate.
 

MAB

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What is elegant about a B52 needing 100 ft of fusalage behind the wing root and massive horizontal and vertical stabilizers which generate a huge portion of the aircrafts drag? These parts contributes no lift and carries no fuel or ordinance.

Elegance isn’t a measurable characteristic. People confuse it with familiarity.
Elegant and simple point.
You can make the same point about speakers like Genelec Ones (using one of the most obvious examples), you don’t get their radiation pattern and flexibility without DSP. Playing the toe-in and room placement game with traditional speakers seems inelegant.
 
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