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Upgrading the RC on X3800H - opinions/comparison of available options?

KT88

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In the spirit of the holiday season, with the current deals on both Dirac Live and MultiEQ-X, I’m once more considering my options and whether or not they are worth the effort. I have a Denon X3800H operating a 5.2 system (no plans for Atmos in the foreseeable future), which is used exclusively for home-theater (movies). With the included Audissey tools I have tried multiple different configurations over the past months with the mobile app. I won’t say it sounds perfect, I still keep working on it, and I have points I’d like to improve (mostly in bass and in speech from center channel, perhaps also in imaging).

I’m now considering upgrading to either:
  • Dirac Live (Full BW, I can always limit it in SW after experimentations) - currently ~245$ (or ~175$ for limited BW)
  • Audissey MultiEq-X for the PC for greater manual control and flexibility - currently ~150%
I’ve looked for comparisons online, and found limited relevant data for my specific use case. There are opinions going both ways as to which is preferable and which would give the best results. The comparison is made more difficult due to the fact I have 2 subs, which need to be aligned, and for the moment DLBC isn’t available for the Denon (and will cost 499$ for multi-subs which is a bit con in my view).

Therefore, I’m looking to get more opinions from people who have experience with these options, preferably with more than 1 sub.
  • What would give the best results - Dirac Live/Audissey MultiEq-X?
  • Is any of these 2 options even worth the extra cost compared to Audissey with limited Multi-Eq mobile app or the improvement will be limited/under-whelming?
  • Is it best to save the money for the moment, and only upgrade next year once DLBC is available for the Denon X3800H despite the hefty cost?
 

ban25

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I've used both Audyssey MultEQ-X and Dirac Live / DLBC, so let me give you some of the pros and cons of each:

Audyssey MultEQ-X

Pros:

- Lower cost than Dirac
- Good integration with D+M products, including exclusive features like Headroom Expansion
- Solid FR correction, matches Dirac Live IMO if you're willing to learn it
- Solid PEQ filter designer
- SubEQ included up to 4 subwoofers
- Ability to import filters from REW (very cool!)
- Doesn't require a UMIK-1 (Lower cost again)
Cons:
- Defaults to enable MRC and "Theatrical" roll-off filters, you have to delete these from the filter panel each time you run a calibration
- Requires custom microphone connected to the AVR, this makes it difficult to validate results using REW since you have to use a 2nd microphone to do so
- Windows only (and poor UX: looks like they handed Visual Studio 2005 to a couple interns at USC one summer to write the thing)
- Limited to two presets on D+M products and a little wonky switching between them (really a D+M problem moreso than Audyssey)
- Exclusive to Massimo / D+M, limited investment and addressable market and it shows, not sure how much longer it will be around...

Dirac Live

Pros:

- Solid FR and IR correction
- State of the art, highly expandable (DLBC: Bass Management, ART: Anti-resonance, room-decay)
- Calibrates via UMIK-1 USB mic on your PC/Mac, which makes doing the A/B comparison with REW instantaneous -- just alt-tab between the two apps
- 3 different calibration scenarios based on room-size / seating position
- High quality versions available for both Mac and Windows
- Class-leading UX, professional software that's relatively easy to use, but is still very powerful
- Active development (currently on v3.7.3, released today)
- Available for lots of hardware (AVRs, integrated amps, PC/Mac), meaning that if you invest the time to learn it, you can put that know-how to use across many devices
Cons:
- Higher cost. Buying DL+DLBC+ART might cost you more than a sale-price X3800H.
- It's not a con relative to Audyssey, but I'm going to put it here because it bugs me: No post-correction measurement option -- I'd like the ability to see the actual corrected FR, not just estimated (again, same for MultiEQ-X)

So there you go. I guess I could summarize by saying that while Dirac Live is more future-proof, Audyssey MultiEQ-X can deliver equally good results. The ability to import filters from REW is a great feature for advanced users. Where Dirac starts to pull away is with DLBC and (soon) ART. Also, I imagine if you have a Mac only household, MultiEQ-X is going to be a non-starter.
 
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KT88

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Thanks for the inputs.
I should note I already have a umik1 and use it with REW and Dirac Live on the miniDSP for the other system I have for 2ch, so thats not a con for my specific case.
Also have both PC and Mac, so this is also not a show stopper.

DLBC when available for the Denon would bump the cost to >800$ which is a steep premium over MultiEqX. So if it is possible to get similar results at the cost of some more effort in manual calibration, seems like a completely reasonable trade off.

Any other opinions from others who have experience with the different options is highly aapreciated.
 
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KT88

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I'd like to bump this with a small update, in case anyone is having similar thoughts with these receivers.

I've ended up not taking advantage of the black friday discounts on any of these, as I was under the impression none of them would really give me what I want and will just end up as being wasted money until next year when black friday deals will allow getting the full DLBC option at discount once available.
Then, a few days ago, I've received an update from Dirac via email that the DLBC option is now available on the X3800H, and its on a sale with 30% off for a limited time with this launch. I've decided this is as good of a time as any to get this option.

I've finally made the first run of calibration using this on the X3800H, with the full bass control option and 3 different target curves (Dirac "new" recommended, Harman target, and Harman target +4dB at lower frequencies).
So far, based on a limited time spent listening to the results, I think its noticeably better to my ears. With Audyssey it took quite a bit of effort and trial/error to get to results I was happy with, with DynamicEQ, Midrange Compensation, manual curve editing, increasing sub level, and other trials. With Dirac so far I would define it as being more transparent and easy to achieve good results. The results from the first calibration are already sounding good to my ears. The surround effect is also more convincing, suddenly the sound are easier to place at their appropriate source around me, instead of just "its coming from the side/rear" I've felt with Audyssey. The bass is more coherent, in the past I've had to play quite a bit with sub level/target curves to find a good compromise between good bass, and "too much" bass, this seems to be much better now.

So to sum this up, based on the limited experience with the DLBC option compared to Audyssey XT32 over the past few days, on my system, and to my ears, DLBC wins. Despite the extra cost, its worth it, especially at 30% off as it goes for at the moment.
 

Randyman...

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Thanks for looping back on this. I just picked up a X3800H, and got the FW update yesterday. I haven't played with the MultEQ App yet - and I really want to (came from a X4000 w/o app compatibility and was always switching to Graphic EQ to tweak the VERY CRUDE EQ, and no ability to tweak the sub - so MiniDSP was added) - but the 30% deal and reading so many positives about Dirac (Especially DLBC) - I'm tempted to purchase the full+DLBC license for $560 right now :) My one desire to hesitate is we might see a Full+DLBC+ART combo sale soon-ish (fingers crossed!).

EDIT - Well - You pushed me over the ledge! Full+DLBC purchased!
 
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KT88

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I think you will enjoy it, and will find its worth the cost, at least based on my limited experience with it so far.
Honestly, the promise for Dirac support was one of the reasons I bought the X3800H right when it launched. Otherwise I would have gone for the X3700 which I could have gotten for noticeably less, and is quite similar in other regards.

For what its worth, I understood that ART will not be available on the X3800/4800, but rather only on the flagship model. The horse power it takes behind the scenes seems to be too much for these models to handle if I understand correctly. Perhaps I will be proven wrong at some point though :)
 

HarmonicTHD

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I think you will enjoy it, and will find its worth the cost, at least based on my limited experience with it so far.
Honestly, the promise for Dirac support was one of the reasons I bought the X3800H right when it launched. Otherwise I would have gone for the X3700 which I could have gotten for noticeably less, and is quite similar in other regards.

For what its worth, I understood that ART will not be available on the X3800/4800, but rather only on the flagship model. The horse power it takes behind the scenes seems to be too much for these models to handle if I understand correctly. Perhaps I will be proven wrong at some point though :)
According to this ART will be available for X3800 etc... However, I dont know how reliable the source is and I believe it when I see it.

 
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KT88

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Interesting, thanks for the pointer. I did see different information in the past, glad to see it’s going to be available after all.
 

phn

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Thanks for the discussion, in particular the MultEQ-X / DL+DLBC comparison, subscribing to thread.

I pulled the trigger on MultEQ-X with BF discount, have been quite happy how it allows access to Audyssey internals. I was intrigued with the 30% discount on the DL+DLBC bundle, but thinking I will wait out til ART is introduced, and how people find it working with X3800H.
 
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KT88

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Judging from the prices of the different options/upgrades, adding full BW over limited 500Hz is almost the same price as going full BW to begin with. Similarly, adding DLBC at a later stage is marginally more expensive than getting it with the base license to begin with. If ART license will follow a similar line, no reason to wait with the DLBC option for ART to be available
 
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phn

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True. I guess I will find out, they do offer the discount for the full bandwidth DL + DLBC bundle, so hopefully at the time of ART launch there's a discounted full bundle, too.
 

ban25

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True. I guess I will find out, they do offer the discount for the full bandwidth DL + DLBC bundle, so hopefully at the time of ART launch there's a discounted full bundle, too.
ART is Dirac's flagship offering, currently only available for a $12,000 processor. It also requires both DL and DLBC licenses, if you have subwoofers. I would not count on a discount being available if ART is introduced for D+M in April. There will of course be another discount on Black Friday 2024, if you're ok to wait that long.
 

phn

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ART is Dirac's flagship offering, currently only available for a $12,000 processor. It also requires both DL and DLBC licenses, if you have subwoofers. I would not count on a discount being available if ART is introduced for D+M in April. There will of course be another discount on Black Friday 2024, if you're ok to wait that long.
I've got a 5.1.0 setup and having just purchased the MultEQ-X I might indeed wait until BF24. Let us see what the ART launch brings on, if anything.
 
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