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Revisiting Room EQ options in 2022 (2.2 setup)

taserface

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Hello-

Long time lurker, revisiting a topic I haven't looked into in a few years... options for Room EQ (I think I need all digital solution here, given my constraints below).

I have a 2.2 stereo setup in a not so friendly room for audio (wood floors, large/uneven/open floorplan, windows on both sides of the room, etc). I previously used REW+foobar and was okay with the results (filled my need, but certainly didn't feel optimized and didn't like that spotify didn't honor the filter... IIRC I ran into issues getting it to work OS wide and/or didn't pay for the software to use the filter across Windows). Anyway, that computer just died, so I am starting with a partially clean slate and wanted to see what my options are these days. IIRC, at the time, Dirac didn't have a PC option that was supported/not retired (but I am interested in going that route now).

Here are my constraints:
- I want to use my existing DAC / pre-amp / amp and don't want to pay for something that dupes these features (EDIT: I should have said dupes these components, EG: DRC integrated with an amp, etc)... especially the DAC.
- I don't want to introduce unnecessary D/A A/D conversions.
- I prefer something that is more or less "on par" with the rest of the system (component details below).

Specific Components:
Sierra-2EX speakers, 2 x RSL Speedwoofers, Chord 2Qute DAC, Emotiva BasX PT-100, Emotiva BasX A-300

I am leaning towards PC -> Dirac Live software -> DAC -> pre -> amp -> speakers and calling it good, but wanted to find out if there are other options I should be considering here. I would consider this about a $550 investment ($200 "value" for semi-dedicated replacement laptop + $350 for Dirac).

+I have some crappy inline high pass crossovers at like 100hz for the speakers... bonus points for something that would let me remove these from the setup (guessing this may not be easy (or possible) to accommodate while keeping my existing gear in the mix and avoiding an extra A/D hop).

I am willing to pay more (dedicated hardware) or invest in tinkering (rpi), if there are compelling benefits over managing via software/PC... but not sure I would want to drop $900 on something like the SHD studio, etc.

Thanks for any tips/guidance/considerations!
 
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Kuppenbender

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I know it’s not what you asked for, but unless your Chord 2Qute DAC is borrowed or much valued family heirloom, I’d sell it and buy a miniDSP Flex with Dirac Live.

Alternatively, if you have too much money, keep the 2Qute and get the miniDSP Flex Digital version.
 
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taserface

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I know it’s not what you asked for, but unless your Chord 2Qute DAC is borrowed or much valued family heirloom, I’d sell it and buy a miniDSP Flex with Dirac Live.

Alternatively, if you have too much money, keep the 2Qute and get the miniDSP Flex Digital version.
Thanks-I have some built in bias/assumptions from the last time I looked into this and I am guessing this flex version is relatively new, so I am good with any alternative suggestions. More info/options, the better, at this stage.

I own the DAC and I know not everyone is a fan of Chord, but I just haven't heard any comparably priced DACs that I prefer. I know I like the DAC and would be hesitant to move forward with a plan that revolves around selling it (and I'm not sure how much luck I'd have getting fair value for it). It looks like the flex+dirac is about $700. Is there anything to be gained with the flex over using a PC in this case?

Too many constraints. Sorry!
Heh, I thought three constraints was reasonable (and it's more like 2 and a half, I think :)).
 

Rednaxela

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I don’t know what not duping features means, but I understand it’s not an additional constraint, fine.

Anyway, replace your preamp and your inline HPFs with an SHD (not Studio) and put it upstream of your Chord if you must keep it. Otherwise take out the Chord as well and perhaps sell it. [Edit: …and then consider a Flex indeed.]

There, I said it. Constraints ignored but bonus points won! :)
 
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FrantzM

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@taserface

Welcome and these past few days , we have had quite a number of new people. here. Again, welcome. Here is the thing: All good DACs, that is any DAC that has a SINAD superior to 80 dB and that can output at least 2 Volts on its line output sound the same. You may like the Chord and may have come to ASR convinced that there are vast differences between DACs. The sobering, yet liberating truth is: They sound the same. It takes a while to digest this, after all these reviewers from the usual magazines and websites , did tell you they heard "vast" differences, but all these reviewers, some of them not so well intentioned , confronted with level matched, blind comparisons between the DACs don't, can't hear any differences, same for you , BTW... thus you are on the right path trying to use DRC in your system, if well applied, it will make a substantial difference... Real night and day.

On that I would urge to read and try to understand post #2 from @Kuppenbender . A miniDSP Flex, could be the ticket for what you are trying to accomplish, past of ocurse the hurdles of fully understanding the unit, its limitations and what you are trying to accomplish. Correctly applied DRC is spectacular, as with many tools, it requires some knowledge to apply properly.
Also if you are serious and want to learn from the site, there are websites where you can test yourself to see if you are able to discern 6th generation of AD to DA conversions. it can be humbling, most people have failed...

Or you can go ahead , buy Dirac, although DLBC is , IMHO , a mandatory add-on. that will raise the cost a bit higher. Now you may (will?) need a a DAC with multiple output for crossover purposes , you know, to send the bass to the Subs and the rest to the mains, total of at least 4 channels... Run Dirac Live and Dirac Live Bass Control with the PC..., Or you keep the Chord and buy a different DAC for the bass but you run the real and measurable, risk of having your DACs drifting with time, meaning since they are running on different clocks, even if it were another 2Cute... , and ... this can be random, thus the need for a multiple input and output DAC with one clock for all output, although ..Not sure Chord makes those...

The best solution for what you want to do is the miniDSP Flex, I don't know if it runs DLBC though.


Peace.
 
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taserface

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Thanks for the reply. I am definitely out of touch, but I'm not entirely new here... lurking off and on for 4-5 years (I've referred to many reviews from amirm over the years, etc).

I haven't A/B'd DACs in a few years and have never done it with my current speakers... and perhaps I'm completely delusional :D, but I would swear I could discern differences in presentation, etc, between DACs I had tested previously that met that baseline criteria (SINAD >=80db, >=2v output) on HQ headphones (not on all songs, for certain, but for a collection of songs I have used for testing).

That said, I can acknowledge that this personal sentiment perhaps would not stand up to a blind test... however... now I'm curious :).

@taserface

The best solution for what you want to do is the miniDSP Flex, I don't know if it runs DLBC though.

^ Per another post on here, it looks like the flex may not support DLBC: "Dirac bass control is not part of the Dirac firmware for the 2x4 HD or Flex". If DBLC is arguably a mandatory add on and it's not supported by the flex version, is there another product that should be considered here?

(+FWIW, while I am leaning towards Dirac, I am definitely open to other DRC offerings, etc.)

I don’t know what not duping features means

Edited, but I probably should have said "not duping components I already have... ideally".
 
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Katji

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I previously used REW+foobar and was okay with the results (filled my need, but certainly didn't feel optimized and didn't like that spotify didn't honor the filter... IIRC I ran into issues getting it to work OS wide and/or didn't pay for the software to use the filter across Windows).
foobar2000/fubar is an audio player application program, with various/bunch of add-on plug-ins e.g. EQ, so too is Spotify is too so far i know, or via a general web browser. You could have used Equalizer APO with the REW data; it works at a system level. so to speak. APO = Audio Processing Object. supersedes the standard Windows APO.
 
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taserface

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foobar2000/fubar is an audio player application program, with various/bunch of add-on plug-ins e.g. EQ, so too is Spotify is too so far i know, or via a general web browser. You could have used Equalizer APO with the REW data; it works at a system level. so to speak. APO = Audio Processing Object. supersedes the standard Windows APO.
Ahh, yeah, I recognize the UI from Equalizer APO and something along those lines was required for it to work outside foobar, OS wide. I did go down that path and I forget where I ditched that, but IIRC, there was some charge for like $99 involved somewhere in that workflow (from the plugin, not from Equalizer APO, I think). IIRC, there was some beeping every few seconds for trying it for free... and I think there was something involved with booting windows to allow unsigned drivers (every time) that I was turned off by. It's been a few years, though.... so the details are all a bit murky now.
 

Beershaun

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+I have some crappy inline high pass crossovers at like 100hz for the speakers... bonus points for something that would let me remove these from the setup (guessing this may not be easy (or possible) to accommodate while keeping my existing gear in the mix and avoiding an extra A/D hop).


Thanks for any tips/guidance/considerations!
It looks like your Emotiva Bassx pt-1 has high pass outputs.

Outputs​

  • 1 pair - stereo full range main outputs.
  • 1 pair - stereo high-pass outputs; with fixed 90 Hz Linkwitz-Riley high-pass filter.
  • 1 - subwoofer output; with fixed 90 Hz Linkwitz-Riley low-pass filter.
  • 1 - high performance stereo headphone output
So you could use dirac on your PC upstream of your pre amp, then use the preamp DAC and crossovers and boom you have what you need and don't need to pay anything! What do I win?
 
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taserface

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It looks like your Emotiva Bassx pt-1 has high pass outputs.

Outputs​

  • 1 pair - stereo full range main outputs.
  • 1 pair - stereo high-pass outputs; with fixed 90 Hz Linkwitz-Riley high-pass filter.
  • 1 - subwoofer output; with fixed 90 Hz Linkwitz-Riley low-pass filter.
  • 1 - high performance stereo headphone output
So you could use dirac on your PC upstream of your pre amp, then use the preamp DAC and crossovers and boom you have what you need and don't need to pay anything! What do I win?
:) -- unfortunately, I have the older PT-100 and not the PT-1. PT-100 doesn't have the xover output, so unfortunately, no prizes can be awarded yet ;).

(the pre would be the easiest for me to part with, though...)
 
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Beershaun

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Well I have to agree with all the others, the MiniDSP Flex is your solution all in one box including a nice streaming endpoint. No PC needed.
 

Willem

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DSP eq is most useful for the lowest frequencies. Given that you use subwoofers, why not consider using multi Sub Optimizer with a minidsp 2x4HD? And for a really good result, add another two subwoofers?
 

axbarker

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Most interesting. Thank you for mentioning this.
I am using a 4x10 MiniDSP to compensate and integrate 4 subs with my main speakers. I dont DSP my main floor standers. Great results but takes time to methodically integrate each sub. Helps being SVS subs so you can do it all from the listening position.
 
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