Bass Control vs ART... I'm actually sticking with Bass Control!

Todd Anderson

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@JStewart hinted that he'd like to start a conversation about this, so let's do it!

Recently, I integrated Ascendo's 32" infrasonic sub into an array that includes four SVS SB16 Ultra Subs. You can see the rest of my speakers in my equipment drop-down. Matt Trinklein of Storm and Geoffrey Heinzel of Ascendo helped remotely integrate the system. It was quite an interesting process that took about 7 or 8 hours. Full disclosure: Matt and Geoffrey's realtime conversation was a bit above my paygrade at times, so I won't waste anyone's time attempting to discuss all of the issues we dealt with. But, the 2-cent topline breakdown is that we had phase issues to tackle with all 5 subs before diving into the world of Dirac. Weirdly, nearfield measurements had two SVS subs notably out of phase as compared to two of the other SVS subs... which was a real head-scratcher... but Geoffrey stepped in and worked some magic and got everything aligned as best he could... the DSP controls on the 32" blow away what's available on the SVS subs and much of the work he performed was through remote operation of the 32".

Matt setup a bunch of different Dirac presets for me to play with, including 3 or 4 ART profiles and several Bass Control profiles. I then created more profiles on my own time, validating results with REW measurements. Like a bonehead, I've deleted my final day's worth of REW measurements. At least, I can't find them.

The end results of my room look something like this... with the low end not quite as hot as you're seeing:


Screenshot 2024-07-05 at 10.06.26 AM.png


That's with Dirac Live + Bass Control, 1/6 smoothing


Now, just to step back for a moment. I've heard ART in action in 3 different settings. I've always been very impressed with the results. The best way to describe it is: you still have the bass punch, but it's tighter. Essentially, it uses other speakers in the room to acoustically control decay time. Matt Trinklein tells me that 98% of storm customers end up choosing ART as their preferred bass management system, with a few outliers preferring bass control.

For whatever reason (and it could be that the ART presets I was using needed more tweaking), but ART presets I measured introduced some significant nulls into the equation and they were definitely audible to the ear. Decay times were definitely improved... but the resulting playback wasn't nearly as smooth and full-breadth as what Bass Control gives me.

At this point, I've heard lots of amazing home theater systems set up by industry pros, and I'm super happy with the results in my room. So, I'm not complaining. But I am a bit surprised that ART didn't yield better results for me. I wish I had the measurement files... but, at this point I can't fathom digging all of the gear out and running them again. Perhaps when I free up some time this fall.

@Sonnie, what's been your experience? @JStewart, are you running Bass Control?
 

JStewart

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@JStewart hinted that he'd like to start a conversation about this, so let's do it!

Recently, I integrated Ascendo's 32" infrasonic sub into an array that includes four SVS SB16 Ultra Subs. You can see the rest of my speakers in my equipment drop-down. Matt Trinklein of Storm and Geoffrey Heinzel of Ascendo helped remotely integrate the system. It was quite an interesting process that took about 7 or 8 hours. Full disclosure: Matt and Geoffrey's realtime conversation was a bit above my paygrade at times, so I won't waste anyone's time attempting to discuss all of the issues we dealt with. But, the 2-cent topline breakdown is that we had phase issues to tackle with all 5 subs before diving into the world of Dirac. Weirdly, nearfield measurements had two SVS subs notably out of phase as compared to two of the other SVS subs... which was a real head-scratcher... but Geoffrey stepped in and worked some magic and got everything aligned as best he could... the DSP controls on the 32" blow away what's available on the SVS subs and much of the work he performed was through remote operation of the 32".

Matt setup a bunch of different Dirac presets for me to play with, including 3 or 4 ART profiles and several Bass Control profiles. I then created more profiles on my own time, validating results with REW measurements. Like a bonehead, I've deleted my final day's worth of REW measurements. At least, I can't find them.

The end results of my room look something like this... with the low end not quite as hot as you're seeing:


View attachment 72041

That's with Dirac Live + Bass Control, 1/6 smoothing


Now, just to step back for a moment. I've heard ART in action in 3 different settings. I've always been very impressed with the results. The best way to describe it is: you still have the bass punch, but it's tighter. Essentially, it uses other speakers in the room to acoustically control decay time. Matt Trinklein tells me that 98% of storm customers end up choosing ART as their preferred bass management system, with a few outliers preferring bass control.

For whatever reason (and it could be that the ART presets I was using needed more tweaking), but ART presets I measured introduced some significant nulls into the equation and they were definitely audible to the ear. Decay times were definitely improved... but the resulting playback wasn't nearly as smooth and full-breadth as what Bass Control gives me.

At this point, I've heard lots of amazing home theater systems set up by industry pros, and I'm super happy with the results in my room. So, I'm not complaining. But I am a bit surprised that ART didn't yield better results for me. I wish I had the measurement files... but, at this point I can't fathom digging all of the gear out and running them again. Perhaps when I free up some time this fall.

@Sonnie, what's been your experience? @JStewart, are you running Bass Control?

Hey Todd. Yes, I’m using bass control and have heard only positive things about ART results vs bass control, so it surprised me to read your findings were different. Typically cited are decreased decay times as you mentioned.

Your low end response looks great and if ART introduced nulls to it then it’s easy to see why you stayed with bass control.

Given Matt’s comments the chances of preferring ART are quite high, do when/if it becomes available for the HTP-1 I’ll give it a go.
 

Todd Anderson

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For whatever reason, ART was audibly anemic for me. As Matt built the presets, we didn't have the luxury of looking at REW measurements for each as he built them. So, I guess it's possible we could have made adjustments to eliminate nulls. But, as it stands Bass Control is sounding really good.
 

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You gave me an idea, at least... to try BC with my current setup.

I made this statement in another thread (referring to DLART): I don't think I'd be qualified to say what would work best short of suggesting I know it sounds better than DLBC in my room, which has always sounded very good.

However, that may not be so because that comparison was with a completely different setup and different subs. What I was referring to in that comment was back when my MK3 had to be replaced, and I connected my HTP-1 back into the system. DLBC could not get me to what I was experiencing with DLART. I have not attempted DLBC with my most recent and complete JTR/RTJ setup.

ART does much more than improve decay. It allows speakers to support other speakers; in my case, it does a very good job. I can turn off my two main LFE subs and my main speakers, play some music, and I am able to hear what the other six subs are playing to support the speakers—weird and interesting. These other subs are not just faintly supporting my two main LFE subs and other speakers; in some cases, they move more than the main LFE subs. The Monitoring tab in the computer IP app also shows the other speakers' output when listening to two-channel music.

These measurements are for subs only. It is not easy to get an accurate measurement since I'm moving the mic around where my head would be during the 9 measurements I take (tightly focused). For these measurements, I only measured the first mic location (dead center of my head). What I have measured does not seem to be a very drastic reduction in decay.

Pre-Dirac x 8 subs...

1718575374968-png.png



Post-Dirac LFE response with two main subs and the 6 support subs. I did not have time when I was doing this to look at correcting the area below 20Hz with the LF adjustment on the JTR subs, but I think bumping that up slightly would fix it, not that it really needs fixing.

1718575308928-png.png
 

JStewart

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You gave me an idea, at least... to try BC with my current setup.

I made this statement in another thread (referring to DLART): I don't think I'd be qualified to say what would work best short of suggesting I know it sounds better than DLBC in my room, which has always sounded very good.

However, that may not be so because that comparison was with a completely different setup and different subs. What I was referring to in that comment was back when my MK3 had to be replaced, and I connected my HTP-1 back into the system. DLBC could not get me to what I was experiencing with DLART. I have not attempted DLBC with my most recent and complete JTR/RTJ setup.

ART does much more than improve decay. It allows speakers to support other speakers; in my case, it does a very good job. I can turn off my two main LFE subs and my main speakers, play some music, and I am able to hear what the other six subs are playing to support the speakers—weird and interesting. These other subs are not just faintly supporting my two main LFE subs and other speakers; in some cases, they move more than the main LFE subs. The Monitoring tab in the computer IP app also shows the other speakers' output when listening to two-channel music.

These measurements are for subs only. It is not easy to get an accurate measurement since I'm moving the mic around where my head would be during the 9 measurements I take (tightly focused). For these measurements, I only measured the first mic location (dead center of my head). What I have measured does not seem to be a very drastic reduction in decay.

Pre-Dirac x 8 subs...

View attachment 72054


Post-Dirac LFE response with two main subs and the 6 support subs. I did not have time when I was doing this to look at correcting the area below 20Hz with the LF adjustment on the JTR subs, but I think bumping that up slightly would fix it, not that it really needs fixing.

View attachment 72055
From reading there is an infra bass bypass for below 20Hz. Guessing you have it enabled for your subwoofer group or for other capable subs that serve only as support?
If not then perhaps of no consequence. Your subwoofer response is already impressive.
 

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From reading there is an infra bass bypass for below 20Hz. Guessing you have it enabled for your subwoofer group or for other capable subs that serve only as support?
If not then perhaps of no consequence. Your subwoofer response is already impressive.
Yep... if I did not check those boxes to allow -20Hz... you wouldn't even see what you see. Dirac pretty much brick walls it.
 

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My bass is considerably hotter than yours, Todd. If your DLBC bass is not as hot as the one above (which is not that hot), you are taming the bass fairly low. The above is nothing close to the Harman curve, nor does it have much of any resemblance to a house curve.
 

Todd Anderson

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Are you sure you're not perceiving a low reverberation time as anemic? Maybe a target curve with more bass boost could fix that.

Good question and I *think* the answer is no... though, I need to revist. There was at least one notable null. I think that may have been a big contributor.
 

Todd Anderson

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My bass is considerably hotter than yours, Todd. If your DLBC bass is not as hot as the one above (which is not that hot), you are taming the bass fairly low. The above is nothing close to the Harman curve, nor does it have much of any resemblance to a house curve.

Hmmm... I think my low end is running about 10dB hotter than mid/highs. I thought that was fairly aggressive?
 

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Hmmm... I think my low end is running about 10dB hotter than mid/highs. I thought that was fairly aggressive?
In the graph you show about 10dB, but you said it wasn't quite that hot. I'm probably closer to 15dB, but I like it a little hotter than most.
 

Todd Anderson

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I was looking at the graph, thinking it was showing more like +12 to +13...

I guess more tweaking is needed!
 

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I hope to have an M66 in for evaluation later this year. I believe that as of now, it has LBC but not ART. These posts are helpful as background material. Thanks for posting your impressions, Todd!
 
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