In your experience will room correction level the playing field between speakers?

Mike Rivers

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"Room correction" is a bit of a misnomer. You correct a room using a sledgehammer. Using a room correction program or black box adjusts the frequency response and time delay of the signal feeding the speakers so that it will be correct at one point in the room. If you have a decent room to start with, you can get a reasonably large good listening area. In a bad room, you can't get very far from the sweet spot to get the benefit of your "corrections."
 

Blueshound

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Hi. I never comment here, but thought I'd chime in briefly on this. I'm a (now mostly retired) industry guy who has been the lead consultant for numerous private theaters and listening rooms. I'm also a lifetime audio-fool, and have retained a keen interest in particular in 2 channel music reproduction.

If you indicated what the rest of your system is, I missed it, however the relative ability of the chain before the speakers is also a major factor in the degree of transparency of reproduction you can expect. The ultimate "spoiler", of course, is the environment into which the speakers have to work. There is simply no substitute for a bad room. You can make it somewhat less objectionable through room treatment, and to a lesser degree, modest EQ, however you have to be careful with over-correction. You are essentially dealing with two distinct characteristics of reproduction, linear e.g. frequency response as measured however you deem it possible or appropriate, and non-linear e.g time, impulse response, dynamic contrast including micro-contrast. Room treatments and / or EQ will deal primarily with linear characteristics, and may alter your perception of non-linear characteristics, but doesn't do much to address those, which tend to be more inherent in the equipment chain.

The fact that you seem to hear little difference between the two (rather different) speakers in question suggests that your listening room (and possibly to a lesser degree) your equipment chain overall is masking important qualitative differences. Many of the comments that have come before me are correct. Also note that leaning heavily on EQ may have a detrimental effect on non-linear qualities, e.g. phase, timing, etc.

Also, you absolutely cannot critically evaluate two pairs of such speakers in any reasonable space with both pairs present in the room, and certainly not side by side. It's a lot more effort to move speaker pairs in and out, but it makes a difference.

Brian
 

highstream

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I share bvocal's view. I have a living room that's not well shaped for audio and tried the MiniDSP. I found it dulled the sound. After getting a local audio shop to help with speaker placement -- ATC SCM19A actives -- I've gradually added corner pieces (bass trap and tall book shelf). They made a noticeable difference. I've yet to deal with other reflections, but can hear them. Unlike your attic, which sounds dedicated, my concern is how to improve the audio quality while maintaining my living room instead of turning it into a studio.
 

tesseract

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@bvocal,

The B&W 600 Series do not have the greatest off-axis response and I consider first reflection absorption mandatory.

Dipoles show nulls to the side walls. The disparate room radiation patterns (plus the rear output of the dipole) will sound radically different from each other, of course.
 

Bebbetufs

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Also, you absolutely cannot critically evaluate two pairs of such speakers in any reasonable space with both pairs present in the room, and certainly not side by side. It's a lot more effort to move speaker pairs in and out, but it makes a difference.

Brian
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I find what you say interesting because my experience is the opposite. I was aware of the resonnanse issue, and I've seen the room response measurments from the fronts change when moving the sub around, so I know the sound from the playing speaker is affected by objects in its proximity.

After faffing about for a week with the focalst to get them their absolute best in my room with no other front speakers present, and without DRC and then carfully calibrating them (they sounded slightly better after calibration) I discovered I could hear absolutely no meaningful difference in sound with the B&Ws returned to the room and placed right next to them. I did this to justify keeping the Focals.

The thing is that after calibration I just can't hear a meaningful difference, so I reluctantly returned the Focals.

According to my ears (I'm practically deaf above 14K) so there may be differences I can't hear. The Focal sounded good. Good soundstage, but little depth. They sounded slightly better with DRC.
The B&Ws sounded muddy, but reasonable after toing them in a lot. Off axis respons must be quite bad like @tesseract pointed out. However. After calibration they sounded like the Focal. My DM604s2 sound better now then they ever did without DRC and better than my brand new LS50 (uncalibrated). Now I need to repeat the placement and calibration process with the LS50s and report back if they too end up sounding the same.
 
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Bebbetufs

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That would explain both why the speakers are difficult to distinguish once DIRAC'd and also why your soundstage is lacking.
cheers
In your experience, do speakers retain their "flavour" once calibrated, or is this an assumption on your part that they should? I'm asking to learn. Others find that DRC may dull the sound. Is this the reason it masks the traits of the speakers?
 

tesseract

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@Bebbetufs,

There is very little content or energy above 12 kHz, so you are still able to enjoy 99% of the music.

I'd say above 4-6 kHz, B&W and Focal have more in common than below that. They both seem to have an upward tilt in that region.
 

ddude003

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Forgive me for stating the obvious... To me the Focal Aria 926 and the B&W604s2's look like the same exact speaker and the specs are pretty close to the same... Prices are pretty close too... So, why would you expect them to sound different, especially if they have been automagically EQed to the same odd shaped room? It would be interesting to see what REW thinks of the room and those two sets of speakers before and after DRC...

Toss a pair of ESL's in there and hear the difference... Ducks and runs away... :cool:
 
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AJ Soundfield

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In your experience, do speakers retain their "flavour" once calibrated, or is this an assumption on your part that they should?
All my responses are based on science, I'm not an audiophile. In particular, AES paper 1871
If you don't have AES membership, here is a bit of a summary: https://www.inner-magazines.com/audiophilia/an-icon/
Basically, 2 speakers EQ'd for approximately the same response on axis, in an anechoic chamber, will be difficult to distinguish. Similar to the scenario being described by OP and what I responded to in quotes.
Others find that DRC may dull the sound. Is this the reason it masks the traits of the speakers?
I can't really speak for the anecdotes of others, nor do I use any form of so called DRC. It certainly can't be the DSP itself. More likely particular issues of over correction, or maybe a once bright speaker being tamed. That's mere speculation.
Dr Floyd Toole has devoted entire lectures on why "DRC" isn't such a great idea. But facts will never change beliefs and some folks like easy "solutions", so I suppose there is reason for its popularity.

cheers,
 

Bebbetufs

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Forgive me for stating the obvious... To me the Focal Aria 926 and the B&W604s2's look like the same exact speaker and the specs are pretty close to the same... Prices are pretty close too... So, why would you expect them to sound different, especially if they have been automagically EQed to the same odd shaped room? It would be interesting to see what REW thinks of the room and those two sets of speakers before and after DRC...

Toss a pair of ESL's in there and hear the difference... Ducks and runs away... :cool:
I hear you. I don't know, I just wanted better sound and thought perhaps after 20 years of "development" the Focal were better. I also thought the same amount would get me more for the money today.

I Would love to try a pair of ESL, but I checked and they are too tall. They will not fit under the roof. Also, would they not be even more thrown off by the assymmetry between L and R front wall and corner?
 

Bebbetufs

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@AJ Soundfield. Thank you for the information on the EQed speakers. DRC has definitely improved my system. Would you expect to be able to impove the sound beyond what DRC has given me in my living room, or would you consider the room too unsuitable?

I'm enjoying this thread, I want to learn more, though I admint I'm looking for easy, affordable, estetically acceptable solutions :)
 
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AJ Soundfield

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@AJ Soundfield. DRC has definitely improved my system. Without rebuilding my living room, would you expect to be able to impove the sound beyond what DRC has given me? I'm definitely getting that book. I'm definitely looking for easy solutions :)
I believe you, given the speakers and room, DRC helped make things less worse. With other speakers the results may have been worse. You'll see when you get the book. In the meanwhile, it just occurred to me from your diagram "colour" spelling, you are on the other side of pond, so many solutions here may not exist there, or at least for reasonable cost. Unless you can find a pair of used Gradient Revolutions for the cost of the Focals et al. Outside that, maybe a small pair of Maggies...but once again, you're "there" not here, so availability of __ is in question.
 

AJ Soundfield

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You're right, I am in Europe! Thanks. I'll take a look online.
For sound, you want a speaker that operates something like this https://kimmosaunisto.net/KS-1804/KS-1804mk2.html
With that type of polar radiation pattern, i.e. highly directional near full bandwidth, with less sound power at LF as well.
KS-1804mk2_DP2_175cm_6ms_hor.png

They obviously, cannot "look" like the audiophile speakers you've bought so far.
Unless looks is priority #1. Then, good luck in that room ;-).

cheers
 

Bebbetufs

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Cheers. I appreciate all the input. The bass is well controlled, in terms of ringing, here now due to all the dampening I have put in. I also have full control of the crossovers and have turned the subs almost off. You are spot on regarding bass. The lower corners of the room focus a lot of energy. The speaker is intrigueing, but it is not for my living room :) Sound is more important than looks, but my room is too small. A speaker like that will totally dominate it.

I'm currently listening to the LS50s. They have not been properly placed in the room, and they have not been calibrated. I need to buy stands and remove the floorstanders before I can fine tune them. So far I like them most of the time. They seem more fincky than the B&Ws when it comes to recordings. I find some albums sound "phase shifty", boxy and off on some tracks. I just dropped listening to Hunky Dory by Bowie. It seemed. Perhaps this is what audiophiles call revealing?

I agree with the premise that more directional is better. The reflections one the LF are angled into the floor and most don't reach my ears.. The right wall is vertical and throws RF reflections directly at me. This is more evident with the ls50s than the B&Ws. I belive the better controlled (leaner) mid range does not mask that a the mid bass booming off the wall as much as the B&Ws. I will try more/thicker dampening on the right, but I doubt I will be able to get low enough in frequenzy to make a big difference.
 
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