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

MAB

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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 :)
I agree.
But I think that is connectivity, which is different than control. Modern washing machines use microcontrollers to do things like detect and control out of balance loads. This prevents the machines from destroying themselves and the room they are in. And enables modern spindle free designs that are much easier on your clothing.
 
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computer-audiophile

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I agree.
But I think that is connectivity, which is different than control. Modern washing machines use microcontrollers to do things like detect and control out of balance loads. This prevents the machines from destroying themselves and the room they are in. And enables modern spindle free designs that are much easier on your clothing.
I still remember the hype surrounding fuzzy logic in control technology. It was invented in the mid-sixties and used in washing machines, for example, in the eighties. (I had to do a lot with programming and implementing control technology in the lab)
 
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The world is not simple. My speakers are not simple. An amp is quite a marvel. So is the internet, my fiber optic connection and the spotify app, the three band 5G wifi and the optical connection from my Chromecast.

Why should I draw the line at DSP and room correction software that improves the sound so drastically that I can never go back?
 

MAB

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I still remember the hype surrounding fuzzy logic in control technology. It was invented in the mid-sixties and used in washing machines, for example, in the eighties. (I had to do a lot with programming and implementing control technology in my job)
Yes, it got to be a buzz-word here in the '80s. Minolta made a big deal about this in their "Only in the eye of Minolta" campaign. The term seemed more of a hype-craze for marketing, and the real innovation was microprocessor automation and control. I still use a Nikon F3 for fun, but I do appreciate my more modern Nikon gear because of the automation, control, and DSP. Cameras have really benefitted from DSP, focus-tracking for instance. It doesn't take the fun out of the F3, and I love the feel in the hand, but I can do things with the modern gear I never could with that old analog camera.
 

levimax

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I have some near full range speakers and 2 subs in an imperfect room. I went through the REW / Rephase learning curve to create FIR filters for room / speaker correction and crossover correction and sub integration. I am happy with the result but was alway curious about what DIRAC could do. Right now DIRAC has a 30% off sale so I downloaded the trial and took the 9 measurements and generated a filter. It didn't take long and really not much of a learning curve. I then checked the DIRAC results vs my filter using REW and RTA and the DIRAC filter both looked better and sounded better. I am probably going to buy the software now. I have absolutely no affiliation with DIRAC or any other company in the audio world.

To me this experience indicates that modern automatic room correction programs are the easiest and simplest way to get the most out of your system whatever it is. Just dropping some speakers and subs in a room and hooking them up and hoping for the best or moving them around until they seem to sound better really is "driving blind" and is not simple at all.
 

pkane

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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 :)
Internet has little to do with digital controllers that are nearly everywhere now. The spin cycle is controlled by them, just as are the anti-lock brakes, and even a servo-based drive in an analog turntable.
 
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Cote Dazur

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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?
Yes, like you, I do not partake into measuring with a microphone and software in order to use an other software to “adjust” the sound. I favour speaker and seating position placement in a dedicated room using 2 speakers. I have nothing against other methods, it is just my choice.

Is simplicity still a virtue in the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology?
Not sure if it is simpler, as it still require time, patience, dedication. It is just a different approach.

I listen mostly to stereo recordings, with the occasional mono recording, because the music I like was/is recorded and produced that way. All I need to make the magic happen in my world (room) is a source, an amplifier, 2 speakers, a comfortable chair ( comfortable is a key element, not discussed enough) carefully placed in a dedicated room. With that, my ears and brain do not need graphs, software, microphone assistance.
Is stereo perfect? Not in a million years, but no less perfect than other alternatives tooted here. Many feel the need for extra this, extra that, 2.1, 5.1, 7.2.2 and more, DSP assit. Good for them, I just hope they enjoy their music session as much as I do mine.
 

IAtaman

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I still remember the hype surrounding fuzzy logic in control technology. It was invented in the mid-sixties and used in washing machines, for example, in the eighties. (I had to do a lot with programming and implementing control technology in the lab)
My graduation thesis from the uni was on "Applications of fuzzy logic in industrial control systems". It was ages ago, all of that is a bit fuzzy by now.
 

Mean & Green

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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?
I also enjoy simplicity. I’m not even a lover of software driven music playback, although I do stream on my network player I favour physical media. Much more straightforward in my opinion.

The reasons for this are I have no patience or tolerance for the occasions when software updates introduce either worse features or bugs. This has lead me to be hesitant to go down the route of implementing room measuring hardware and software and DSP.

I have seen on other audio groups various users of DIRAC complaining it doesn’t work with their pre amps subwoofer outputs, so only their main speakers are being EQed which seems like a major flaw to me. Perhaps some issues are a combination of various hardware and software combinations, but as I said I have no patience for such quirks.

I’ve read mixed opinions from people using room correction. For some there generally hasn’t really been an improved listening experience. However I do also know plenty have had good experiences with such implementation, but I just don’t feel inclined to mess about to find out what it does or doesn’t do.

Maybe I’m a luddite, but I just find the move to everything being computerised today a pain in the ass. To implement DSP I need a microphone to measure and a laptop with the software. My computer is a desktop based iMac upstairs there‘s no way of using it to measure and use the required software with my main system which is downstairs unless an iPad can be used to perform such measurements of the room I’m just not equipped.

Then I need to rig up some kind of DSP device with my system either though tape monitor loop or the pre out/main in of my integrated amplifier which requires yet another mains socket to be utilised, more shelf space and more cabling. It just doesn’t appeal.

I have taken care with set up in my living room which is where my main system resides. Careful speaker placement away from corners, a well integrated active subwoofer to take care of a null caused by the alcove where the door is.

My only ‘room treatments’ are heavy curtains, a blanket over the rear of the leather sofa at the listening position to reduce comb filtering, various canvases on the walls including the wall behind me, scattering of objects on the coffee table to reduce reflections, a rug on the hard floor, a packed IKEA Kalax full of CDs and LPs and that’s about it. It’s a living space not a recording studio, I think it can be too tempting to take things too far as an audiophile. I’m sure my speakers in room response could measure better than it does, but it’s not bad enough to subjectively sound unpleasant. Using headphones takes the room out of the equation and I use that as a reference for bass accuracy. I think I’ve got the speakers pretty well dialled in.

I will also add that I’ve used my system in a few houses over the years as I was renting for a long while before finally buying a place with my wife and I’m very well aware of how different rooms sound. The acoustic effects are massive, but I’ve currently got my audio system the best it‘s ever been and I’m the most satisfied I’ve ever been with it.
 

fpitas

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From my perspective, such a brute force approach to problem solving is just -- inelegant.
The explanation I've received is that such designs are very maneuverable compared to conventional (stable) designs. For the military, being maneuverable is quite important.
 

Bridges

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There's no simple, or correct, answer - as always.

I suspect that the OP's system sounds good in his room. So why not just keep life simple and enjoy the music.

Not all systems and rooms are like this. If there are obvious problems; booming bass, nulls, muffled vocals, distortion then judicious DSP should bring an improvement.

Some speakers have audible shortcomings. Replacements are expensive, a little correction is cheap.

If you just like tinkering, then measurements and corrections are part of the enjoyment. Same goes for the joy of learning.

Luddites won't go near this stuff.
Audiophools won't accept that digital corruption can ever help (purity of the signal path).

Enjoy the music
I like muffled vocals, it reminds me of live concerts where le band is usually too loud. I have a very simple system quadri-amplified no EQ.
 
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I like muffled vocals, it reminds me of live concerts where le band is usually too loud. I have a very simple system quadri-amplified no EQ.
I would say that you should listen to live recordings to get the live feeling. It's probably not the intention that a studio mix should sound like it's recorded in a stadium or on a field.. ;)
 

RosalieTheDog

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I find some DSP necessary for the base and integrating a 2.1 system.

However, there are downsides.
1) Audiophilia nervosa and the temptation to remeasure, play with curves, ...
2) To me it is a hassle, living in a city in a condominium. I think I have a quiet moment: a neighbour's baby starts crying, visitors appear in the hallway, an ambulance passes by, etc.
3) You find a quiet moment? You have to deal with the software. Today, my minidsp wouldn't connect to the PC through USB. Who knows why: a windows update bricked a driver, a problem with a USB cable, etc etc.
 

Purité Audio

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I also enjoy simplicity. I’m not even a lover of software driven music playback, although I do stream on my network player I favour physical media. Much more straightforward in my opinion.

The reasons for this are I have no patience or tolerance for the occasions when software updates introduce either worse features or bugs. This has lead me to be hesitant to go down the route of implementing room measuring hardware and software and DSP.

I have seen on other audio groups various users of DIRAC complaining it doesn’t work with their pre amps subwoofer outputs, so only their main speakers are being EQed which seems like a major flaw to me. Perhaps some issues are a combination of various hardware and software combinations, but as I said I have no patience for such quirks.

I’ve read mixed opinions from people using room correction. For some there generally hasn’t really been an improved listening experience. However I do also know plenty have had good experiences with such implementation, but I just don’t feel inclined to mess about to find out what it does or doesn’t do.

Maybe I’m a luddite, but I just find the move to everything being computerised today a pain in the ass. To implement DSP I need a microphone to measure and a laptop with the software. My computer is a desktop based iMac upstairs there‘s no way of using it to measure and use the required software with my main system which is downstairs unless an iPad can be used to perform such measurements of the room I’m just not equipped.

Then I need to rig up some kind of DSP device with my system either though tape monitor loop or the pre out/main in of my integrated amplifier which requires yet another mains socket to be utilised, more shelf space and more cabling. It just doesn’t appeal.

I have taken care with set up in my living room which is where my main system resides. Careful speaker placement away from corners, a well integrated active subwoofer to take care of a null caused by the alcove where the door is.

My only ‘room treatments’ are heavy curtains, a blanket over the rear of the leather sofa at the listening position to reduce comb filtering, various canvases on the walls including the wall behind me, scattering of objects on the coffee table to reduce reflections, a rug on the hard floor, a packed IKEA Kalax full of CDs and LPs and that’s about it. It’s a living space not a recording studio, I think it can be too tempting to take things too far as an audiophile. I’m sure my speakers in room response could measure better than it does, but it’s not bad enough to subjectively sound unpleasant. Using headphones takes the room out of the equation and I use that as a reference for bass accuracy. I think I’ve got the speakers pretty well dialled in.

I will also add that I’ve used my system in a few houses over the years as I was renting for a long while before finally buying a place with my wife and I’m very well aware of how different rooms sound. The acoustic effects are massive, but I’ve currently got my audio system the best it‘s ever been and I’m the most satisfied I’ve ever been with it.
How did you know the subwoofer cured the null?
The majority of listeners in my limited experience have never acoustically measured not even with the introduction of a subwoofer or to determine which positioning ( from the limited number available) might provide the flattest response.
I would advise everyone to acoustically measure seeing exactly what you are hearing is revealing.
Keith
 

mhardy6647

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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.
The F-104 (e.g.) was notoriously unflyable. I certainly did NOT mean to suggest that various kinds of both fly by wire and extensive s/w control of aircraft debuted with the B-2. I only meant to imply that the approach has been taken (may have been taken) to illogical extremes in recent years/decades.
I believe that hifi is on the precipice of similarly illogical extremes (e.g., Dolby Atmos).

I would consider the Hafler "Dynaquad" hack to be a much more elegant solution to the "problem" of ambience recovery than super-multi-channel recording and reproduction (e.g.).

I realize that there are those, perhaps even many, who'll disagree.
But Atmos configurations (7.1.4, e.g., based on a quick googlin') suggest to me that hifi is perilously close to jumping the shark.

1700940320763.png
 

wwenze

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Speaking of control and correction, don't forget to forgo negative feedback.
 

fpitas

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Mean & Green

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How did you know the subwoofer cured the null?
Because the sound went from lacking bass, to having bass in the listening position.

The only measurements I can perform are with sine wave sweeps and pink noise measured via a phone app. Far from ideal and not reliable, but I used that as a rough starting point for crossover frequency and sub volume level.

The final tweaks were performed by ear over a period of weeks listening to music I was extremely familiar with during normal listing sessions to make final tweaks to levels. Again not ideal, but the final result is a sub that doesn’t draw attention to itself, can’t be located by ear and the overall sound has depth and punch without being overbearing across all source material.

No doubt with the correct equipment it could be measured and improved, but at the end of the day the room is always going to be the limiting factor.
 
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