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Room correction for a newbie

Unclevanya

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#1
I have been into audio for almost 40 years. I have swung up and down on the pendulum but right now for many years I have lacked a nice speaker based system to listen to - I have several more casual systems but nothing is setup to allow me to go somewhere and just listen except for a small nearfield system in my home office.

I have some gear that I want to reuse at least to start and some new gear as well.

Stage 1 of the effort is to put something fairly unobtrusive and simple into our existing Living Room space and test the waters with a new pair of floor standing speakers that actually have some WAF per my wife. The speakers are a used pair of Aliante Linea PF Pinafarina : https://stereonomono.blogspot.com/2010/02/aliante-linea-pf-aliante-linea-pf.html These are a 6th order dual bandpass bass design both of the ports for this and the midbass face forward making placement a little less tricky. My plan is to have them against the wall for super casual listening and then move them out when I want to really listen. I realize this complicates room correction - is there a unit that can have switchable profiles that you can swab between?



For this stage 1 - I am interested in putting something together with room correction to help with the poor location of the listening position. I purchased a Paradigm PW Link but despite the poor performance characteristics I'm wondering if the PW Amp would have been smarter. I am trying to figure out what to pair with the PW Link. In another stage in a more dedicated room I might pair it with my Adcom GFP-565 and Rotel RB-980bx but at this time I need to stay small.

See attached JPG for room layout. The tiny spot labeled Amp is where the gear needs to fit. It's maybe 12-15" wide and as deep with some wiggle room. The half wide components like the Yamaha WCA-50 and the Klipsch Powergate and even the PW Amp all seem like possible ways to make this work. But the source will need to be either bluetooth or one of the streaming apps and something like Tidal or Qobuz for simplicity for this phase.

I also have a pair of QLN monitors (7' kevlar woofers and 1" domes) that are rear ported. Surprisingly deep playing they supposedly get down into the low 40's. with a -3db. These are stand mounted and I've owned them a long time. They are giant killers. My QLN model was made by another company (same design and designer slightly different parts) and most closely resembles this: https://qln.se/discontinued-models/one/ but has a different frame around the woofer and a different tweeter mounting. There were no grills ever on this model. The rear porting makes placement a bit wonky and again this is why room correction appeals.

Long term I have a 7 deep, 12 wide by 10 high room that may be my main listening area and new home office. I would have to empty the room from what is there now and that isn't going to be a quick process. That room is challenging to say the least but for now I am focused on the larger room. Ironically the smaller room will have considerably more flexibility in space for gear like amps and preamps and cd players etc. Also WAF will be a non-issue.

Finally I have considered something like the DSPeaker's line of room correction appliances as well. This would be more costly and would require some type of dedicated amp. I saw in the good amps under $1000 thread a parasound half width power amp that didn't look bad and had good measurements but placing a power amp and another bit of equipment like the DSPeaker device would still require something to feed music to it - a bluetooth unit external to it would I suppose work but streaming higher quality would be better if possible.

So any thoughts about stage 1? What would you put in as the amplification and how would you implement room correction?
 

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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #2
Oh and I have considered a rolling chair to put farther into the room away from the rear wall as an additional solution. This may require keeping the speakers closer to the wall to give enough room which again points to room correction.
 

Hipper

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#3
Firstly you need to understand why you need room correction. Have a look here to start with:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?forums/speakers-headphones-and-room-acoustics.9/

Basically the room, and its contents, and speakers interact to give you the sound you hear. This is particularly noticeable but harder to understand in the bass area. More easily understood is how the higher frequencies reflect of walls etc.. Getting the bass right is the key.

Progress can be made in a number of ways - positioning of speakers and listening chair, room treatment (e.g. bass traps), using subwoofers, and EQ/DSP. Not all of these are practical especially for a multi-purpose room.

In your case, as you seem to be able to move the speakers, and perhaps chair, around a bit, this is where you should start - positioning. It won't solve everything but it will help.

Can you use subwoofers - up to four perhaps? I don't know much about this but others on here do.

Presumably you can't use bass traps as they are large and ugly but you might be able to use absorbent panels on side walls for example, as they are smaller and can be decorative, or they can be put in place for listening and stored when not in use (by the way that coffee table may well be a source of unwanted reflections).

The ideal is to measure what is going on in your room as you make these adjustments. Many on here (including me) use Room EQ Wizard (REW).

Then there is EQ/DSP. These usual come with some measuring ability. They can be separate units, such as the ones you mention, or MiniDSP, DEQX. Then there is Lyngdorf who make an amp with DSP software onboard. There is also software if you listen using a computer - JRiver playback software includes DSP.
 

raindance

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#4
I've not tried every product out there, but I've tried mini DSP with REW filters and the DSpeaker antimode 2.0. Both suffered from serious headroom issues and sounded unnatural at best. Especially the DSpeaker unit. I then got rid of room eq and added bass traps and multiple subs to my room with limited success.

Honestly, the best results I've had so far were using a humble Marantz NR series receiver and letting Audyssey do it's thing. I'm feeding a large Parasound power amp driving Magnepan .7 speakers. I have a single Final Sound sealed sub. The results are musical and the bass integration at the listening position is decent. I cross over the mains at 60Hz so that the primary room mode at 45Hz is not excited by the Maggies and let Audyssey correct the sub. Zero headroom issues - meaning very loud mastered CD's don't clip - plus it doesn't have huge insertion loss or step down the corrected area (no leanness).

Just my 2c worth :)
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. I'm aware the primary focus is bass. I ran some room simulations based only on dimensions, the couch is predicted to have some humps in the bass. The bookshelves are filled full and the other wall has windows but not much curtain mostly wood blinds.

Traps and wall treatments are a non-starter.

I'm surprised to hear the dspeaker 2 unit failed in that way, reviews have been glowing.

I'm not expecting miracles, this first room is on the border of the best dimension ratios but still falls outside it. Principle goal is to reduce room related bass overemphasis.

No room for a sub. Not in this room, both due to size and complexity.

Coffee table laden with books and other absorbing materials. Not much flat surface. But I could slide it more out of the way when listening.

Thanks also for the links, I plan to read the room correction threads.
 

Krunok

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#6
I've not tried every product out there, but I've tried mini DSP with REW filters and the DSpeaker antimode 2.0. Both suffered from serious headroom issues and sounded unnatural at best. Especially the DSpeaker unit. I then got rid of room eq and added bass traps and multiple subs to my room with limited success.

Honestly, the best results I've had so far were using a humble Marantz NR series receiver and letting Audyssey do it's thing. I'm feeding a large Parasound power amp driving Magnepan .7 speakers. I have a single Final Sound sealed sub. The results are musical and the bass integration at the listening position is decent. I cross over the mains at 60Hz so that the primary room mode at 45Hz is not excited by the Maggies and let Audyssey correct the sub. Zero headroom issues - meaning very loud mastered CD's don't clip - plus it doesn't have huge insertion loss or step down the corrected area (no leanness).

Just my 2c worth :)
Let's clear this confusion: to avod clipping EQ filters either need to be created with 0 gain or if they have gain then convolution engine must be configured to attenuate signal for the same ammount of dB which equals max gain of EQ filters. This logic applies generally, so it is valid for any filters and any convolution engine.

This also means that if your filters have gain (meaning some dips were boosted) you will loose equal ammount of headroom. That doesn't mean cliiping will occur but instead your max SPL will be lower for the boosted ammount.

To conclude - if you are getting clipping after applying EQ filters this means boost in your filters is not matched with attenuation in your convolution engine.
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #7
Also just to focus things. I'm looking for a solution to 1) amplification and 2) room correction that also allows for streaming either Bluetooth or other (wifi) and doesn't make the system sound terrible. Room correction is negotiable as a not absolute requirement but I have a pw link on the way already so I'm interested in something I can integrate with it if that is rational. Space is at a premium and it should have some waf.
 

AudioJester

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#9
I went down this path and bought a measuring mic and Mitch Barnett's book.

Can be lots of fun, as well as learning new things and improving your "sound".

There are also services now that can build convolution filters for you based on your measurements.
https://accuratesound.ca/
https://www.homeaudiofidelity.com

I think Mitcho (accuarte sound) also advises on room layout and treatment. Thierry (HAF) has bought some innovative ideas to DSP for home use.
 

raindance

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#10
Let's clear this confusion: to avod clipping EQ filters either need to be created with 0 gain or if they have gain then convolution engine must be configured to attenuate signal for the same ammount of dB which equals max gain of EQ filters. This logic applies generally, so it is valid for any filters and any convolution engine.

This also means that if your filters have gain (meaning some dips were boosted) you will loose equal ammount of headroom. That doesn't mean cliiping will occur but instead your max SPL will be lower for the boosted ammount.

To conclude - if you are getting clipping after applying EQ filters this means boost in your filters is not matched with attenuation in your convolution engine.
There were no filters with gain. Only peaks were reduced.
 

raindance

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#12
If that was the case than fliter couldn't cause "serious headroom issues".
I don't want to argue with you. The mini DSP was 2 volts in 1 volt out. Huge issue. The DSpeaker was just awful. Auto setup resulted in clipping on loud recordings. Trimming the DSP input to alleviate clipping resulted in too much insertion loss.

I'm out of this conversation.
 

Krunok

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#13
I don't want to argue with you. The mini DSP was 2 volts in 1 volt out. Huge issue. The DSpeaker was just awful. Auto setup resulted in clipping on loud recordings. Trimming the DSP input to alleviate clipping resulted in too much insertion loss.

I'm out of this conversation.
IIRC @RayDunzl is using it for a long time to EQ his SWs and never complained about it. Maybe you didn't read manual carefully.. ;)

Btw, I'm not trying to argue with you but merely trying to provide arguments that miniDSP was not the problem and that you probably misconfigured it. Unless of course your particular device was faulty, but in that case it again isn't a "headroom" issue.
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #14
IIRC @RayDunzl is using it for a long time to EQ his SWs and never complained about it. Maybe you didn't read manual carefully.. ;)

Btw, I'm not trying to argue with you but merely trying to provide arguments that miniDSP was not the problem and that you probably misconfigured it. Unless of course your particular device was faulty, but in that case it again isn't a "headroom" issue.
There are two versions of the dspeaker antinode 2.0 - the older version had a low voltage limit on input and output signals. There were configurations where the output of a source or preamp could clip the input side of the unit pretty easily from what I read. I wonder if that was the problem? The unit I am looking at buying is the revised unit - oddly they didn't change the name/model number - supposedly the newer version is less likely to clip.

The manual also calls out that options like "house sound" can result in clipping the input of an amp downstream because that option increases signal in the bass rather than just pulling down problem areas.


Quoted from the manual:
• 2012 edition:
◦ Input Sensitivity RCA: 1.6 / 3.25 Vrms, XLR: 1.3 / 2.6 Vrms
◦ Output Voltage RCA: 1.65 Vrms (max), XLR: 3.25 Vrms (max)

• 2013 edition:
◦ Input Sensitivity RCA: 2.5 / 5.0 Vrms, XLR: 3.9 / 7.9 Vrms
◦ Output Voltage RCA: 7.2 Vrms (max), XLR: 14.4 Vrms (max)
 
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#15
Having your listening spot by the wall is a bad idea as wall reflections will be approximately same power as direct sound, expect some bad interference resulting uneven spectral response just because of that.
 

tw99

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#16
There are two versions of the dspeaker antinode 2.0 - the older version had a low voltage limit on input and output signals. There were configurations where the output of a source or preamp could clip the input side of the unit pretty easily from what I read. I wonder if that was the problem? The unit I am looking at buying is the revised unit - oddly they didn't change the name/model number - supposedly the newer version is less likely to clip.

The manual also calls out that options like "house sound" can result in clipping the input of an amp downstream because that option increases signal in the bass rather than just pulling down problem areas.


Quoted from the manual:
• 2012 edition:
◦ Input Sensitivity RCA: 1.6 / 3.25 Vrms, XLR: 1.3 / 2.6 Vrms
◦ Output Voltage RCA: 1.65 Vrms (max), XLR: 3.25 Vrms (max)

• 2013 edition:
◦ Input Sensitivity RCA: 2.5 / 5.0 Vrms, XLR: 3.9 / 7.9 Vrms
◦ Output Voltage RCA: 7.2 Vrms (max), XLR: 14.4 Vrms (max)
I've been using an Antimode 2.0 for a number of years, it's now acting as both pre-amp and DAC in my system. I like the combination of features it offers, and the sound quality seems fine to me. It will automatically add headroom to accommodate any automatic room correction setup that it's created. You also have the ability to increase the headroom to account for any other manual filters you create.

FWIW there is a technical review on another forum that does suggest the Antimode 2.0 implementation has some limitations, and I'm sure it would measure a lot worse than the state of the art DACs of today. But I'm happy with mine and don't see any need to upgrade it - I can hardly listen to my system with it disengaged now, because it's so good at fixing bass boom.

The only real world issue I'm aware of is that it can create a bit of hiss, depending on settings, which might be an issue if you have very sensitive speakers. In my system it's not a problem.
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #17
UPDATE:
I have eliminated a number of device options.

At this point the main contenders are:
Yamaha WXA-50
NAD D3020 v2
TEAC Ai-301 da

Feeding one of these will be the PW Link gateway. So Play-Fi input or direct USB or CD digital input will flow into the PW Link, room correction will be applied, then digital output will flow into one of the above DAC inputs. The speakers are 6 ohm and 90db efficient.

I would like to also have high resolution bluetooth but my current phone does not support aptx hd or even aptx so Play-Fi seems like a way around this. (my testing with it so far seems reliable knock on wood!) The only way around this seems to be to add a Bluetooth aptx hd transmitting device to my phone - not terribly convenient...

The NAD is available for nearly $170 less than the Yamaha. The Teac runs about $100 cheaper than the Yamaha.
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #18
Update: I bought an Open Box NAD for $100 off the going rate with full warranty. I then stumbled into a Yamaha wxa-50 for even less used. Added a square trade warranty.

The musiccast software is far more reliable and functional than the PlayFi software used by the Paradigm Link. The overall sound of the NAD is good but not as good as the Yamaha in unscientific non-blind listening. This was true with all sources. I have not yet tried the room correction. I do think the native musiccast using Tidal 16/44.1k sounded better than the PlayFi feeding either amp over Toslink from Amazon Music (showed up as pcm 48k in the musiccast app.)

Next I'll test room correction via the Paradigm into both amps.
 

Hipper

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#19
The DSP/EQ type of equipment can deal with bass issues reasonably well but can't do much with side wall and other reflections.

You say that room treatment is out but you can get the sort of thin side wall panels with art covers. GIK for example do this:

https://gikacoustics.co.uk/product-category/acoustic-art-panels/
 
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Unclevanya

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Thread Starter #20
The DSP/EQ type of equipment can deal with bass issues reasonably well but can't do much with side wall and other reflections.

You say that room treatment is out but you can get the sort of thin side wall panels with art covers. GIK for example do this:

https://gikacoustics.co.uk/product-category/acoustic-art-panels/
The left side is without any wall surface available, the bookcase and corner cupboard cover 90%. The right side has two large windows and only a small area of wall between them which already houses some original artwork.
 
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