Audyssey killing my HT sound?

ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
I've been using that cardboard tripod that Marantz includes with their receivers. It's okay for the Audyssey mic, but I beat the hell out of it with the Umik.
That cardboard “Tower of Dhoom” can suck my left big toe :oops: and few other body parts while it’s at it. :eek:
Ya, I went there.:p
For the cost, D&M could easily pony up for something useful.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
That cardboard “Tower of Dhoom” can suck my left big toe :oops: and few other body parts while it’s at it. :eek:
Ya, I went there.:p
For the cost, D&M could easily pony up for something useful.
That cardboard thing really, really sucks. It's very 3rd grade. If Denon included a real tripod with how many they would purchase they'd probably get them for 5 bucks each.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
That cardboard thing really, really sucks. It's very 3rd grade. If Denon included a real tripod with how many they would purchase they'd probably get them for 5 bucks each.
OK... I AM being a wee bit harsh. To be fair, I DO firmly believe in being green and lean as a business, and that is a fairly clever way of delivering a mic-stand experience for people that MAY only use it once, and put it away. Forever.
No different really than what Nintendo did with their very cool cardboard kit. ;)

...


...

Ya. Still sucks though. ;)
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
OK... I AM being a wee bit harsh. To be fair, I DO firmly believe in being green and lean as a business, and that is a fairly clever way of delivering a mic-stand experience for people that MAY only use it once, and put it away. Forever.
No different really than what Nintendo did with their very cool cardboard kit. ;)

...


...

Ya. Still sucks though. ;)
And I know Anthem does include a real deal tripod and that costs triple Denon receivers. In the end of you are serious about your HT you'll go get a real tripod for 15 bucks or less like we all did. No biggie in the end.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
OK, breaking this into two parts, first talking about the bass region of the curve, which is the biggest problem with XT32: Very simply a curve allowing for a rise in response in the bass region as some of the higher end room EQ systems do (or can do).

When you place a common speaker that measures flat anechoically into a common room, you will get room gain at lower frequencies giving you an in-room response that rises at lower frequencies. This is normal and "sounds flat" to listeners. It's what you expect to hear. Of course depending upon the room, listening position, where it's placed, etc, it's likely to be uneven without EQ so there is likely plenty of room to improve, but when you EQ all of that gain out of the speaker to give it a flat in-room response, it sounds like you've "sucked the bass out" of the speaker to listeners...because you have.

So I think Audyssey could be improved a bunch (especially for those who don't want to mess with the App) by simply having another (or better yet, several from which to choose) target curve that reflects this. Something on the order of the preferred room curves found by this study:

View attachment 31046

In the Olive study mentioned earlier, you can see the room EQ systems that were most preferred all had a substantial rise in response at lower frequencies:

View attachment 31047

As you can see next, curves that have a substantial rise at lower frequencies "sound flat" to listeners, curves that actually are flat in-room sound like the bass has been sucked out:

View attachment 31048

I believe that's the #1 reason so many users feel the need to crank up the sub level 3-6 db after running Audyssey. That's a poor band-aid, however. This causes a large overlap in the crossover region (expanding the "region") which can cause integration issues, and if you have good speakers there's a pretty good chance that at 100, 120, 150 hz, etc, your speakers sound better than your sub does (individual setup dependent, of course).

So while cranking the sub up a few db might restore the overall balance, it's just "not the same." This, I believe, is why so many who actually use and like Audyssey for movies will still switch to "Pure" mode stereo when listening to music--their big towers sound much better when the bass is restored to them, even if they don't extend quite as low, and their subs which were designed to hit the lowest extension they can from the smallest box possible just don't sound as good playing the mid-bass, upper mid-bass, localizable frequencies.

I believe the best of both worlds (easily obtainable for the average guy, at least) is when the speakers and the subs are both EQ'd to the same curve with this rise, so the bass is restored to the main speakers, the crossover crosses over where you set it and both the subs and speakers contribute to the rise--preventing the subs from drowning out the speakers at much higher frequencies than they should for your particular setup.

Luckily this can be done with XT32 and the App but it would get many users who won't go through the effort a lot closer more easily if Audyssey simply had a couple different target curves to choose from that weren't "flat bass."

The second part--the midrange/high frequencies of the curve, gets a bit more complicated. Two different speakers that both measure flat anechoically on-axis, can give very different in-room responses depending upon their directivity (even assuming both speakers have good, smooth, directivity curves--leaving out speakers with "problems" for now). That's what I meant with the "curve appropriate for the speaker" portion.

That's not Audyssey-specific, but more of a comment of Room EQ systems in general. If you mismatch a speaker's expected room curve you'd derive from anechoic measurements significantly, you can really mess up the sound. This is one reason why many say it's a safer bet to limit the correction to the lower frequencies only. A full JBL Sythesis system has the advantage of detailed anechoic data for the speakers being used by the EQ algorithm. Short of that you need to make educated guesses.

An example that should be easy to follow, is a speaker with relatively narrow controlled directivity over a certain frequency. Even if it's flat anechoically, the in-room response will show a large drop in output in the mid-high frequencies since room reflections are limited. Since we tend to key in on the direct sound, the speakers don't "sound like" they're lacking output in the range and may sound quite flat, but room EQ software will see that big drop in the room response and "flatten it out." That can make the speakers sound forward/bright/lacking bass, etc.

If you start watching this interview of Paul Hales at 44:00 (I'd suggest watching the whole thing if this stuff interests you) he explains this pretty well:


And that's just one example of how EQing full range can cause issues. I was just saying that a test where the target room curve was a huge mis-match to the speaker would make for a poor test of the EQ (provided the curve is adjustable, as it is with XT32/App and higher end correction systems).
Imo just because more people like bass with room gain doesn't make it right. Much more people prefer rock and pop music too than people who prefer classical. It should be better to EQ it to flat and then people can make manual adjustments to suit their taste.

If a speaker has flat response in an anechoic chamber, it will likely behave similarly in a large concert hall. In room response is going to differ a lot in different rooms, that one reason to EQ to begin with.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
OK, breaking this into two parts, first talking about the bass region of the curve, which is the biggest problem with XT32: Very simply a curve allowing for a rise in response in the bass region as some of the higher end room EQ systems do (or can do).

When you place a common speaker that measures flat anechoically into a common room, you will get room gain at lower frequencies giving you an in-room response that rises at lower frequencies. This is normal and "sounds flat" to listeners. It's what you expect to hear. Of course depending upon the room, listening position, where it's placed, etc, it's likely to be uneven without EQ so there is likely plenty of room to improve, but when you EQ all of that gain out of the speaker to give it a flat in-room response, it sounds like you've "sucked the bass out" of the speaker to listeners...because you have.

So I think Audyssey could be improved a bunch (especially for those who don't want to mess with the App) by simply having another (or better yet, several from which to choose) target curve that reflects this. Something on the order of the preferred room curves found by this study:

View attachment 31046

In the Olive study mentioned earlier, you can see the room EQ systems that were most preferred all had a substantial rise in response at lower frequencies:

View attachment 31047

As you can see next, curves that have a substantial rise at lower frequencies "sound flat" to listeners, curves that actually are flat in-room sound like the bass has been sucked out:

View attachment 31048

I believe that's the #1 reason so many users feel the need to crank up the sub level 3-6 db after running Audyssey. That's a poor band-aid, however. This causes a large overlap in the crossover region (expanding the "region") which can cause integration issues, and if you have good speakers there's a pretty good chance that at 100, 120, 150 hz, etc, your speakers sound better than your sub does (individual setup dependent, of course).

So while cranking the sub up a few db might restore the overall balance, it's just "not the same." This, I believe, is why so many who actually use and like Audyssey for movies will still switch to "Pure" mode stereo when listening to music--their big towers sound much better when the bass is restored to them, even if they don't extend quite as low, and their subs which were designed to hit the lowest extension they can from the smallest box possible just don't sound as good playing the mid-bass, upper mid-bass, localizable frequencies.

I believe the best of both worlds (easily obtainable for the average guy, at least) is when the speakers and the subs are both EQ'd to the same curve with this rise, so the bass is restored to the main speakers, the crossover crosses over where you set it and both the subs and speakers contribute to the rise--preventing the subs from drowning out the speakers at much higher frequencies than they should for your particular setup.

Luckily this can be done with XT32 and the App but it would get many users who won't go through the effort a lot closer more easily if Audyssey simply had a couple different target curves to choose from that weren't "flat bass."

The second part--the midrange/high frequencies of the curve, gets a bit more complicated. Two different speakers that both measure flat anechoically on-axis, can give very different in-room responses depending upon their directivity (even assuming both speakers have good, smooth, directivity curves--leaving out speakers with "problems" for now). That's what I meant with the "curve appropriate for the speaker" portion.

That's not Audyssey-specific, but more of a comment of Room EQ systems in general. If you mismatch a speaker's expected room curve you'd derive from anechoic measurements significantly, you can really mess up the sound. This is one reason why many say it's a safer bet to limit the correction to the lower frequencies only. A full JBL Sythesis system has the advantage of detailed anechoic data for the speakers being used by the EQ algorithm. Short of that you need to make educated guesses.

An example that should be easy to follow, is a speaker with relatively narrow controlled directivity over a certain frequency. Even if it's flat anechoically, the in-room response will show a large drop in output in the mid-high frequencies since room reflections are limited. Since we tend to key in on the direct sound, the speakers don't "sound like" they're lacking output in the range and may sound quite flat, but room EQ software will see that big drop in the room response and "flatten it out." That can make the speakers sound forward/bright/lacking bass, etc.

If you start watching this interview of Paul Hales at 44:00 (I'd suggest watching the whole thing if this stuff interests you) he explains this pretty well:


And that's just one example of how EQing full range can cause issues. I was just saying that a test where the target room curve was a huge mis-match to the speaker would make for a poor test of the EQ (provided the curve is adjustable, as it is with XT32/App and higher end correction systems).
Wow! Thank you for taking the time!
There's a lot to unpack and I want to come back and watch the rest of the video, but there's a lot of great info their and it really helps me with my conceptual model of speakers with differing levels of directivity and room EQ!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Imo just because more people like bass with room gain doesn't make it right. Much more people prefer rock and pop music too than people who prefer classical. It should be better to EQ it to flat and then people can make manual adjustments to suit their taste.

If a speaker has flat response in an anechoic chamber, it will likely behave similarly in a large concert hall. In room response is going to differ a lot in different rooms, that one reason to EQ to begin with.
I did not read his post as wanting to eliminate the option of a flat response, but rather to add a response with some extra bass. Personally, I think I am inclined towards flat (for music), but I certainly know people who would consider flat bass response to have a deficit of bass. I do believe the best of both worlds would be to have a handful of curves to choose from and you could pick the one that sounded best to you, then EQ from there!
Also, prior to the new D&M app, Audyssey and manual EQ have been mutually exclusive (unless I have missed something), which is why people have been using the sub level as the only control to use for EQ'ing after Audyssey.

I do like what was said in the video about measuring the speaker from one meter then at the LP to get a sense of how the direct sound compared with the direct+reflected sound as a way of establishing the directivity of the speaker so you would have some idea how much influence and at what frequency reflected sound would have on the Audyssey corrections. It makes sense that for a speaker like the BMR with great polar response, Audyssey could reduce the mids and highs, taking the life out of them, and a very highly directive speaker could cause Audyssey to increase mids and highs to result in an extremely bright sound. For these extreme situations, it makes sense that what Audyssey measures as flat would not agree with our perception of what is flat.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
I like what Audyssey did with the sub in my system. It's just right for me but I could see some would not. Some people who like more bass, and to just shake the room at every turn I could then fiddling around and turning the sub settings up higher. It's just about right for me.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I did not read his post as wanting to eliminate the option of a flat response, but rather to add a response with some extra bass. Personally, I think I am inclined towards flat (for music), but I certainly know people who would consider flat bass response to have a deficit of bass. I do believe the best of both worlds would be to have a handful of curves to choose from and you could pick the one that sounded best to you, then EQ from there!
Also, prior to the new D&M app, Audyssey and manual EQ have been mutually exclusive (unless I have missed something), which is why people have been using the sub level as the only control to use for EQ'ing after Audyssey.

I do like what was said in the video about measuring the speaker from one meter then at the LP to get a sense of how the direct sound compared with the direct+reflected sound as a way of establishing the directivity of the speaker so you would have some idea how much influence and at what frequency reflected sound would have on the Audyssey corrections. It makes sense that for a speaker like the BMR with great polar response, Audyssey could reduce the mids and highs, taking the life out of them, and a very highly directive speaker could cause Audyssey to increase mids and highs to result in an extremely bright sound. For these extreme situations, it makes sense that what Audyssey measures as flat would not agree with our perception of what is flat.
I use live concert in large halls or outdoor as reference so flat should be I what I would perceive. In small venues, live would be flat but whether I would prefer no EQ in my room or not, there is no answer because there is no reference point any more.

In that Harman study it showed more people prefer non flat, but a ramp up towards the low end. My point is that it is like finding out more people prefer heavy metal to symphonies, it is expected anyway.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I use live concert in large halls or outdoor as reference so flat should be I what I would perceive. In small venues, live would be flat but whether I would prefer no EQ in my room or not, there is no answer because there is no reference point any more.

In that Harman study it showed more people prefer non flat, but a ramp up towards the low end. My point is that it is like finding out more people prefer heavy metal to symphonies, it is expected anyway.
I would appreciate your thoughts on the video (starting at 40 minutes and about the next 15 minutes to keep it short).
This is more about mids and highs, not bass.
As I understand it, the case being made is that our perception distinguishes between direct vs reflected sound while a RoomEQ/mic system will not. Accordingly, a speaker like the BMR in an acoustically live room is going to present a lot of reflection and measure as having too much mids and highs. Consequently, the RoomEQ would attenuate these frequencies ... or "suck the life out of the sound" as some people have described their experience with RoomEQ!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I think most
I would appreciate your thoughts on the video (starting at 40 minutes and about the next 15 minutes to keep it short).
This is more about mids and highs, not bass.
As I understand it, the case being made is that our perception distinguishes between direct vs reflected sound while a RoomEQ/mic system will not. Accordingly, a speaker like the BMR in an acoustically live room is going to present a lot of reflection and measure as having too much mids and highs. Consequently, the RoomEQ would attenuate these frequencies ... or "suck the life out of the sound" as some people have described their experience with RoomEQ!
I've read it at least a couple of times before already. That's perhaps one PhD's proposition, and he really did not categorically deny the validity of such EQ, not strongly anyway. Their study also made quite a few points, among those are the one you are referring to now, and another is Jon AA's about the flat bass.

Other PhDs, one being Anthem's, cited that the measured data above the room transition point were not very reliable so the "corrected" result may not be valid, but it may.. I only EQ to about 500 Hz iirc. To me, the $20 app is a must for that reason alone, and the other big plus is the ability to change the target curve.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Look guys, I haven't really read through this thread, only skimmed it, since I don't have time to read every post here. But, even in total ignorance, I am going to blurt this out anyway: the only worthwhile room correction is that which restricts itself to the region below the room's transition frequency. Good speakers with sensible placement can't be helped by room correction, at least above the transition frequency. They can only be hurt. Audyssey is a band-aid for bad speakers. If you have decent speakers, don't use room correction above the transition frequency. If you can't restrict the room correction to below transition frequencies, don't use it (unless your speakers suck).
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
Look guys, I haven't really read through this thread, only skimmed it, since I don't have time to read every post here. But, even in total ignorance, I am going to blurt this out anyway: the only worthwhile room correction is that which restricts itself to the region below the room's transition frequency. Good speakers with sensible placement can't be helped by room correction, at least above the transition frequency. They can only be hurt. Audyssey is a band-aid for bad speakers. If you have decent speakers, don't use room correction above the transition frequency. If you can't restrict the room correction to below transition frequencies, don't use it (unless your speakers suck).
I could not disagree with that more. I have good speakers, not crap and it helped in mind a lot.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Look guys, I haven't really read through this thread, only skimmed it, since I don't have time to read every post here. But, even in total ignorance, I am going to blurt this out anyway: the only worthwhile room correction is that which restricts itself to the region below the room's transition frequency. Good speakers with sensible placement can't be helped by room correction, at least above the transition frequency. They can only be hurt. Audyssey is a band-aid for bad speakers. If you have decent speakers, don't use room correction above the transition frequency. If you can't restrict the room correction to below transition frequencies, don't use it (unless your speakers suck).
Thanks for this!
I have read several comments from you on the topic, but this is the first place where I have noticed you address RoomEQ from an overall perspective. I was thinking you were on-board with the camp that says "no way. no how" and appreciate that you are open to using it for bass (because that aligns with my experience:D:p)!
For me the bass is a no brainer. My experiences have varied with using XT32 on higher frequencies which is one reason Jon AA's comments/links piqued my interest. I wish I had kept a record of which situations I liked vs disliked to see if there is a correlation to directivity!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Look guys, I haven't really read through this thread, only skimmed it, since I don't have time to read every post here. But, even in total ignorance, I am going to blurt this out anyway: the only worthwhile room correction is that which restricts itself to the region below the room's transition frequency. Good speakers with sensible placement can't be helped by room correction, at least above the transition frequency. They can only be hurt. Audyssey is a band-aid for bad speakers. If you have decent speakers, don't use room correction above the transition frequency. If you can't restrict the room correction to below transition frequencies, don't use it (unless your speakers suck).
I tend to agree with you on that, but try telling that to at least 3 PhDs, Audyssey's being just one. I am not saying just because they have a relevant doctor's degree they are right about this, but then the same applies to Dr. Toole as well. The only point that seems to have consensus on is that EQing above the RT frequency could be hit or miss because the data collected may not be reliable, that is if understood them right.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
I could not disagree with that more. I have good speakers, not crap and it helped in mind a lot.
Maybe your speakers aren't as good as you think? Maybe you are just experiencing a placebo effect? Do you have before and after measurements of the room corrected difference?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks for this!
I have read several comments from you on the topic, but this is the first place where I have noticed you address RoomEQ from an overall perspective. I was thinking you were on-board with the camp that says "no way. no how" and appreciate that you are open to using it for bass (because that aligns with my experience:D:p)!
For me the bass is a no brainer. My experiences have varied with using XT32 on higher frequencies which is one reason!
Agreed, even XT wasn't too bad for the low frequencies. Shady knows his stuff, just about the only thing I don't agree with him to certain extent is the Audyssey thing. Even the old XT without the app could be helpful overall if LR bypass is used.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I've read it at least a couple of times before already. That's perhaps one PhD's proposition, and he really did not categorically deny the validity of such EQ, not strongly anyway.
My interpretation was that he was using Audyssey Pro to set up HT's for clients. It seemed that he always used Audyssey, but then used the knowledge gained from a 1m (on-axis) measurement compared to a LP (with reflections) measurement to anticipate how to best EQ after Audyssey.
I assume Audyssey Pro affords the kind of flexibility that the new app does!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Maybe your speakers aren't as good as you think? Maybe you are just experiencing a placebo effect? Do you have before and after measurements of the room corrected difference?
Would you reject the possibility that some problematic room situations might benefit from RoomEQ?
I definitely benefited from it full range in the last specific case I applied it, but it was a temporary situation where I had one speaker 7' away and the other 10' away, so the benefit may have simply come from getting tehe distance/delay adjusted rather than RoomEQ.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
Maybe your speakers aren't as good as you think? Maybe you are just experiencing a placebo effect? Do you have before and after measurements of the room corrected difference?
Oh Lord here we go. I have ears, I hated the sound before I ran Audyssey wrong and it's great now that I ran it correctly with a real tripod.
I know what sounds good and what doesn't.
 
newsletter

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top