AV NIRVANA Speaker Evaluation Event - Tower Speakers $1200 or Less (Results)

Matthew J Poes

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Of course, and in the future I hope that makes its way into electronics that are more accessible to consumers, such as AVRs. That will probably be when I get my hands on it.

I was just replying to tesseract's issue with Dirac's low bass levels.

The other way Audyssey dealt with that issue was with Dynamic EQ, which altered the curve based on output levels, in line with Fletcher Munson.
I understand Eric. Dirac is becoming more and more available all the time. It's not available in NAD's receivers (some of which are priced very competitively) as well as Arcam (not so cheap but very good). Lexicon is also going to be offering Dirac on their newly launched receivers.
I have Audyssey MultEQ XT in my system as well as Dirac through my laptop. I actually bought my receiver with Audyssey after having been a beta tester for Dirac Live. I was blown away by Dirac and wanted it in my system but at the time the only option for that was computer software. This wasn't convenient for me at the time. I bought the Onkyo thinking for sure that Audyssey would give me the same benefit. I was very disappointed in what I got by comparison. It wasn't just the house curve it applied, but also the overall effect. It wasn't that big an improvement over nothing. Dirac isn't perfect but it's by far my favorite room correction software right now. Enough so that I seek it out. It's the only corrective software I've used that can equal or better what I can do manually.
Dennis can fix his problems with a new curve that provides that bombastic bass he seeks. I think Dennis has mentioned trouble creating new curves. That is one problem many people report. Dirac is not quite as simple to use as Audyssey and some have trouble getting curves loaded. I have even set up some of the NAD units for a local audio shop because of troubles they had. Dirac is working on this with the development of the new app and software updates.
 

Eric SVL

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I understand Eric. Dirac is becoming more and more available all the time. It's not available in NAD's receivers (some of which are priced very competitively) as well as Arcam (not so cheap but very good). Lexicon is also going to be offering Dirac on their newly launched receivers.
I have Audyssey MultEQ XT in my system as well as Dirac through my laptop. I actually bought my receiver with Audyssey after having been a beta tester for Dirac Live. I was blown away by Dirac and wanted it in my system but at the time the only option for that was computer software. This wasn't convenient for me at the time. I bought the Onkyo thinking for sure that Audyssey would give me the same benefit. I was very disappointed in what I got by comparison. It wasn't just the house curve it applied, but also the overall effect. It wasn't that big an improvement over nothing. Dirac isn't perfect but it's by far my favorite room correction software right now. Enough so that I seek it out. It's the only corrective software I've used that can equal or better what I can do manually.
Dennis can fix his problems with a new curve that provides that bombastic bass he seeks. I think Dennis has mentioned trouble creating new curves. That is one problem many people report. Dirac is not quite as simple to use as Audyssey and some have trouble getting curves loaded. I have even set up some of the NAD units for a local audio shop because of troubles they had. Dirac is working on this with the development of the new app and software updates.
Have you heard XT32 + Sub EQ? It is a significant step up from MultEQ XT. At any rate, it is the best thing I have access to at the moment.

I'd like to try Dirac, but I would only do so on the PC, and the price is steep for that. The HT would need to be changed over to a PC-based setup and I'm not sure I'm willing to do that, at least not at this time, because it would add complexity, and only the PC output would have room correction. The Playstation, etc, would not. I would also need to buy/build a 2nd PC just for that purpose as well as It is these reasons that have me concluding that Dirac is still out of reach for me and will be until it can replace an Audyssey-equipped AVR solution.
 
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Sonnie

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I love the ability to make my own house curve when setting up Dirac... shaping it just like I want it. Absolutely no worries at all with DL being bass shy.
 

Todd Anderson

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Dirac’s house curve adjustment is completely different. It isn’t just raising the bass of the subwoofer. It ensures more seamless integration. My point was that where as Audyssey locked you into their chosen response curve, you could do just about anything you wanted with the response shape in Dirac. A great deal more flexibility.
Audyssey App allows you to set your own target curve
 

Matthew J Poes

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Have you heard XT32 + Sub EQ? It is a significant step up from MultEQ XT. At any rate, it is the best thing I have access to at the moment.

I'd like to try Dirac, but I would only do so on the PC, and the price is steep for that. The HT would need to be changed over to a PC-based setup and I'm not sure I'm willing to do that, at least not at this time, because it would add complexity, and only the PC output would have room correction. The Playstation, etc, would not. I would also need to buy/build a 2nd PC just for that purpose as well as It is these reasons that have me concluding that Dirac is still out of reach for me and will be until it can replace an Audyssey-equipped AVR solution.
I have experienced XT32. It certainly was a good step up. DIRAC is worth hearing but don’t let my comments make you feel like what you have is somehow less. For most, any room correction is a step up from nothing. Audyssey has always been one of the better options.
 

tesseract

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But unlike Audyssey, Dirac gives you full control over the bass. You can make it as hot as you want.
I do not think the XMC-1 allows this. I just use my manual preset or goose the subwoofer level a bit from the remote.
 

Eric SVL

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Audyssey App allows you to set your own target curve
Looks interesting, but is it worth $20? I'll do some research today.

EDIT: does not work with my X4000 :(
 
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bkeeler10

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I do not think the XMC-1 allows this. I just use my manual preset or goose the subwoofer level a bit from the remote.
I believe Matthew is referencing the fact that you can create your own target curve. I don't think you can do that with the version of Dirac that comes with the XMC-1, but if you do the $99 upgrade to full Dirac, you have full flexibility to create whatever target curve you want and Dirac will oblige (for better or worse :T).

This is all IIRC and I could be wrong - I've never actually done it . . .
 

Sonnie

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You have to do the upgrade to Dirac Full with the NAD in order to have control. I can't imagine using Dirac any other way that full anyway. I don't want to pop the best popcorn in the universe and not be able to eat it... it just as well be a can of sardines.
 

tesseract

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Been a while since I bought the XMC-1, and basically have been enjoying it with Dirac as is. I did buy Full, now that I think about it and will dig into it and figure out what is needed.
 

Jeff Popkin

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I purchased JBL Studio 590s from Harman Audio as I managed to get 20% off the sale price. That was $800 delivered. Original budget was about $1,000 for my entire system. I almost purchased for $600 a set of Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 55 speakers and an Onkyo receiver. In retrospect, I probably should have stuck with that plan as saved a lot of money! I do not regret returning KEF Q350s (6.5" bookshelf speaker) and optional speaker grills I had previously purchased from Magnolia. The 590s only cost me just a little more than the Q350s.

I have ended up using MiniDSP's DDRC-24, which makes bass management, a term I was not really familiar with a couple months ago, easy. The MiniDSP DDRC-24 is being used as my pre-amp and DAC and an Emotiva A-300 as my amplifier. Having thrown aside my original budget, I now am running two SVS SB2000 subwoofers in a stereo configuration (not summed). What attracted me to the 590's was wanting my music to sound more "live". I now have a 2.2 system used for 60% music, 40% home theater.

Experience with Dirac Live and my set-ups
- On the Q350s the clarity was night and day. Without the Dirac Live, the speakers just did not come to life.
-On the 590s, Dirac makes the sound stage feel even more 3 dimensional and accurate. Noting that the 590s sound good even with the Dirac off. The better the recording, the better Dirac seems to work. However, with some music, such as Elvis singing Love Me Tender via Tidal, his voice sounds fuller, sounds more live with Dirac off. Or to be it another way, Dirac made the song sound too clean, almost like it lost some of the atmosphere in the recording studio. It can sometimes be like applying too much unsharpen mask in Photoshop--the image is sharper, but you loose some of the details by defining the edges. However, I do prefer it on most of the time. It comes just short of being awesome, and is instead "just" very good.
-On the 590s, I also experienced DIRAC boosting the low end all the way down to 26hz. Truth be told, I thought is sounded okay, but was no comparison to using a subwoofer in the lower ranges.
-I found that when integrating my subs, 80hz with a steep 36db roll off as a crossover (low for the subs/high for the speakers) made the sound stage feel shallower. They sound much better crossed over at 55hz with a 24db roll of.
--On the 590s, when I set them up, I had read somewhere that horn drivers can sound bright if aimed directly at the ears. I did in fact experience mids/highs (not actually sure which one) that made my ears strain/hurt. My solution ended up being moving my speakers about 10 feet apart to better accommodate sitting about 12 feet away. They are toed in and aimed at the back wall about 16 feet away. They do not cross in from of me, but behind me. Very loud volumes still can feel piercing to my ears, but I am not sure if that is the speaker's fault!?
-On the 590s, they images very well particularly if you are centered between them. Even a foot away from the speakers, centered, imaging is excellent. I have not tested it, but from my experience, I cannot imagine crossing the 590s in front of the listener to be ideal. I have heard of this method being employed on some of the newer Klipsch speaker such as the RP-280 that some think are bright, but I am not sure this would apply successfully to the 590s.
-On the 590s, it can feel like the performers are actually in the room with me. Takes my breath away and stirs emotions at times. I recall that the Q350s had a great sound, but I would say that the 590s are like a great artist. A great artist will paint a better picture with lower quality paints than an amateur with high quality paints. Sometimes, particularly with some classical music, I think the Q350 may have had nicer paints (in certain frequencies), but the 590s create more beautiful paintings. However, a songs like Nora Jones' Come Away with Me or Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah are hypnotizing and truly highlight where the 590s shine- it is hard for me to imagine those songs sounding much better on any system. I didn't think I even liked jazz, but keep on finding myself enjoying it on the 590s. For home theater, the 590 sound like you are at the cinema. They just have "that" sound. Even with the speakers 10 feet apart, there is no need for a center channel. Voices seem to come straight out of the TV. The three dimensional sound of the 590 along with the dual subs creates excellent atmosphere and impact.
-A notable difference between the Q350s and the 590s: when I walked into the open kitchen out of the main listening room, the 590s make it sound like there was a band playing the the next room, where the Q350s just sounded like music playing form another room, far less pleasant from a distance. Just an observation I thought worth sharing.
-I found it nearly impossible to make my subs sound right without using Dirac. I am no sound engineer. Glad that Dirac has a wizard style interface that pretty much anyone can work through. Dirac and the bass management built into the DDRC-24 makes my speakers and subwoofers work seamlessly--nuff said.
 
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tesseract

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Sounds like the 590 is a winner in your home, Jeff, thanks for sharing.

We also found that a hard toe-in was a bit too much and backed off of that, as well.
 

Eric SVL

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I have a similar experience with my horn-loaded compression drivers. My recommendation would be to taper off the highs a bit with Dirac.
 
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