Why do so many audiophiles hate equalizers? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 08:34 AM
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In one word - coloration
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post #62 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Brap View Post

In one word - coloration

Is that adding coloration or removing coloration?


Equalizers originally got their name from the fact that they can make coloration go away, or equalize a system.

From a theoretical viewpoint, many coloration producing situations in audio have a characteristic called Minimum Phase. That means that their frequency response and phase are related by the Hilbert Transform. OK, so much for the pedantry! ;-)

The rule of minimum phase equalizers is that if you equalize a minimum phase coloration with a minimum phase equalizer and get either the frequency response or the phase right, the other one is automatically right as well.

Minimum phase colorations are common in speaker drivers, amplifiers, etc.
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post #63 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 09:18 AM
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Fully agree with all your statements. I am just not a fan of messing with what is on the source itself. I slight bias in pre-amp tone controls is all I care to do, if any. Now running sound boards at church with live performance is another story to help with the room, dynamics, etc, etc.
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post #64 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
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I am just not a fan of messing with what is on the source itself.
Why not? Your room is already doing that, and you may as well participate.
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post #65 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Brap View Post

I am just not a fan of messing with what is on the source itself... ...Now running sound boards at church with live performance is another story to help with the room, dynamics, etc, etc.

But you are also listening in a room. Your room is also altering the sound.

Unless of course you have frequency response measurements of your room to show your speaker and listening position placements give a very smooth response without PEQ?
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post #66 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 11:14 AM
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Nope -- don't have that but I do have 3 sets of speakers that I compare / contrast with vinyl, ACD, etc. I really don't want to add anymore confusion to the plate!!smile.gif
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post #67 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Nope -- don't have that but I do have 3 sets of speakers that I compare / contrast with vinyl, ACD, etc. I really don't want to add anymore confusion to the plate!!smile.gif

All of which means nothing. You really have no idea whatsoever unless you get a frequency response measurement of your room. By doing so allows you to eliminate confusion by getting straight to the point.
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post #68 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 11:46 AM
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Kiwi -- thanks for your comments. The room I am listening in is not very desirable at this point to do what you suggest. It's a basement that has "live" walls and concrete floor -- for now. Once this is designed, constructed and built, I may take up your suggestion but do not really plan on getting excited about an EQ. Have set-up one system in a "softer" room and indeed there is a huge difference. Previous homes had a custom built room, dimensionally correct for sound and listening placement, sand filled walls to extend the low end of Klipschorns and input from various audiophiles, like yourself prior to construction. Once completed, they had several sessions listening and without EQ, found the experience very enjoyable.
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post #69 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Fully agree with all your statements. I am just not a fan of messing with what is on the source itself.

I'm not a fan of having a worse sounding audio system than I need to have.
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I slight bias in pre-amp tone controls is all I care to do, if any. Now running sound boards at church with live performance is another story to help with the room, dynamics, etc, etc.

You have got the correct picture of what is involved with gettting good sound at church, why not a little practical application of that at home?

Kiwi2 is trying to give you good advice...
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post #70 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 12:20 PM
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Duly noted and thanks!smile.gif
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post #71 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Previous homes had a custom built room, dimensionally correct for sound and listening placement, sand filled walls to extend the low end of Klipschorns and input from various audiophiles, like yourself prior to construction. Once completed, they had several sessions listening and without EQ, found the experience very enjoyable.

Did you see the variations in frequency response of different studios posted earlier in this thread? No doubt they all had "experts" with years of experience in the industry and didn't need no stinking measurements either because they "knew how to design a room" rolleyes.gif

Many are going away from the idea of a theoretical ideal room and placement because the reality of the finished room still ends up being a bit different. Measurements and adjustments afterwards are still needed.

Whatever room you are in measure the results and then you'll know for sure. If you are +/- 3dB 20hz to 20k... then fine you probably won't need EQ. Otherwise correctly applied PEQ can make things sound better yet.
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post #72 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Once completed, they had several sessions listening and without EQ, found the experience very enjoyable.

BTW... out of interest... was any frequency response measurements ever taken of the room to help in its evaluation?
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post #73 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 01:58 PM
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Its been a few years but I seem to recall a Behringer (sp?) microphone and a Sheffield labs test disc at 1khz intervals.
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post #74 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Its been a few years but I seem to recall a Behringer (sp?) microphone and a Sheffield labs test disc at 1khz intervals.

Well that's another one of the advancements of the last few years. Not long ago you had to spend an awful lot of money just for a 1/3 octave real time analyser. These days you can be measuring your room at 1/24 octave with only a $100 investment.

That combined with PEQ (not just crude EQ) can become a very powerful tool. Of course this isn't neglecting good speaker and listening position placement that gets you as smooth as possible response for a start... but merely the icing on the cake as a finishing touch.

But applying EQ (let alone PEQ) without any idea of the frequency response in the first place is very much a stab in the dark... other than just ending up with something that sounds acceptable to you.
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post #75 of 111 Old 01-31-2014, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brap View Post

Have set-up one system in a "softer" room and indeed there is a huge difference.
There is a difference because EVERY room is an equalizer. The question is whether you want to get rid of the room's unwanted contributions and hear more of what is in the source itself. From your comments, it seems you are OK with hearing more of the room's colourations rather than hearing more of the source.
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The room I am listening in is not very desirable at this point to do what you suggest. It's a basement that has "live" walls and concrete floor -- for now. Once this is designed, constructed and built, I may take up your suggestion but do not really plan on getting excited about an EQ.

Sanjay
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post #76 of 111 Old 02-01-2014, 11:46 AM
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I've taken a few measurements of my room this morning to illustrate the difference between working with a 10 band EQ vs a much more flexible PEQ.

First is my room as is with no EQ or PEQ...


Here we have an 18dB variation between 55hz and 77hz. That's nearly a 20dB swing!

Even without measurements someone may notice the hot 55hz as "a bit too much bass" and turn to EQ for an adjustment. The 10 band EQ I have available has a slider at 60hz so I will turn that down some...



It has indeed fixed the hot 55hz but has made the low 77hz cented region much worse. And the trouble if doing this by ear is that you may not realise you have such a large low region. People tend to notice big peaks in the response but tend not to notice large dips in the response if going by ear.

So with the aid of measurements I can turn to PEQ (green trace) and bring down that 55hz in a narrower band and also push up 77hz. (the next adjustment band in EQ was 170hz)



The result is a much smoother and more even frequency response. And of course the ultimate test is a listening test. I can certainly say that while listening to music and turning the PEQ on or off at the touch of a button... that my system certainly sounds better with it engaged. Everything sounds warmer and more full with more body and at the same time bass is richer with less overpowering and subtracting boom.

PEQ trace by itself...

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post #77 of 111 Old 02-01-2014, 11:50 AM
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BTW... here is what those exact same measurements look like at 1/3 octave...

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post #78 of 111 Old 02-01-2014, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

I've taken a few measurements of my room this morning to illustrate the difference between working with a 10 band EQ vs a much more flexible PEQ.

First is my room as is with no EQ or PEQ...


Here we have an 18dB variation between 55hz and 77hz. That's nearly a 20dB swing!

Even without measurements someone may notice the hot 55hz as "a bit too much bass" and turn to EQ for an adjustment. The 10 band EQ I have available has a slider at 60hz so I will turn that down some...



It has indeed fixed the hot 55hz but has made the low 77hz cented region much worse. And the trouble if doing this by ear is that you may not realise you have such a large low region. People tend to notice big peaks in the response but tend not to notice large dips in the response if going by ear.

So with the aid of measurements I can turn to PEQ (green trace) and bring down that 55hz in a narrower band and also push up 77hz. (the next adjustment band in EQ was 170hz)



The result is a much smoother and more even frequency response. And of course the ultimate test is a listening test. I can certainly say that while listening to music and turning the PEQ on or off at the touch of a button... that my system certainly sounds better with it engaged. Everything sounds warmer and more full with more body and at the same time bass is richer with less overpowering and subtracting boom.

PEQ trace by itself...


I know it's pretty impressive when you hear a flat system.

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post #79 of 111 Old 02-02-2014, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Most EQs are graphics and are of limited use to surgically change the FR to flat (or whatever). Parametrics are better for this, but harder to use and it's better to use measurement in conjunction to get the desired result.

Most 'audiophiles' won't use EQ and/or measurement because it doesn't agree with their religious beliefs.

Sound advice followed by a little smack down on the a philes!!!!!!

Maybe it comes down to personal preference..... Not religion.

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post #80 of 111 Old 02-03-2014, 06:18 AM
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Kiwi -- My interest has sparked thanks to your posts, charts, etc. Now, please give me a recommendation on a decent PEQ -- not too expensive. FYI -- ST-70 mod amp (35W), 2A3 PP @ 12W, Paradigm Studio 10 V5 with the ST-70 and Klipsch Forte's with the 2A3.
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post #81 of 111 Old 02-03-2014, 08:07 AM
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I use the PEQ in JRiver.
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post #82 of 111 Old 02-06-2014, 09:46 PM
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A few points:

Equalizers ALONE are NOWHERE NEAR as good as building a custom built room for music listening. A decent balance of good diffusion particularly for first reflections coupled with absorption of bass frequencies with bass traps makes an obvious difference. In my first "above garage" theater, simply buying a bunch of cheap Auralex foam corner bass traps made an immediate and impressive difference in bass acoustics no matter what else I did with my single subwoofer. This was my first indication that room acoustics aren't "voodoo".

The listening position itself makes a massive difference depending on what room modes you are sitting in... likewise the speakers positions make a massive difference in soundstage.

bass frequency range in particular sounds GREAT when linear and you MUST eliminate as many nulls in the listening positions and predominantly kill bass peaks with equalizers. Multiple subwoofers with equalization options makes a much bigger difference in many cases for bass room correction than an equalizer with a single sub.

EQ/Audyssey/Dirac/Trinnov... whatever... are not a substitute for poor a room. I have heard people say: "room correction will work best in an untreated room". Trust me: A turd is still a turd. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A PROPER ROOM. I am not trying to be an elitist here, but to take your "hobby" to the next level, you have no choice but to do some construction for the absolute best results. You may have a sufficient room by luck alone... however the odds of this are VERY low. More than likely your definition of sufficient hasn't been modified by sitting in a truly amazing room.

There is a reason why even symphony/concert halls, airport lobbies, and even restaurants have room treatments. EQ salesmen are not being deceptive but visiting the websites of software companies like DIRAC provide ZERO assistance when it comes to suggesting room treatments based on their room analysis software.

I WISH these software provided you with these additional suggestions in a user friendly way. Simple suggestions like: "move your subwoofer, the location sucks"... or "hey dude you are sitting in a major null, move that couch a bit and retest the response." The typical user is not going to have the knowledge to easily fix problems encountered with room interactions.

Equalizers always kill the purity of the original signal so targeted EQ for bass regions may be all that you want to do.

After hovering in AVS for a good part of the last decade I have built a GREAT room with GREAT speakers and expended a ton of time and money doing so but enjoyed every minute of it. Even still I keep looking for more options for "fine tuning" and improvement. Almost like the recording is somehow going to be larger than life... or better than life... if I try something different. The fun in this hobby is clearly the journey since perfection does't exist and is obviously unknowable and unattainable even if perfection did exist.

Out listening room is our Zen garden. Meaningless and meaningful at the same time.

Blazar!
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post #83 of 111 Old 02-06-2014, 10:14 PM
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I agree with much of what you posted about the room, however the OP and discussion is about the prejudice against EQ, not room acoustic design.
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Equalizers always kill the purity of the original signal
What a load of rubbish.
EQ is most usefully applied above the Schroeder frequency.
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post #84 of 111 Old 02-06-2014, 10:24 PM
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I agree with much of what you posted about the room, however the OP and discussion is about the prejudice against EQ, not room acoustic design.
What a load of rubbish.
EQ is most usefully applied above the Schroeder frequency.

Well to be fair... That the original signal is being affected is a issue many "audiophiles" have. I didn't actually mean to say that there is not practical application of EQ.

It's also not clear to me that most are applying EQ above the schroeder frequency as you are suggesting.

What bothers me about EQ is the perception that it is a cure all for acoustics issues. Some folks have gotten into the "room correction" software craze to the point of skipping a lot of other basics. It is simply a lot easier to market software and EQ products as a "quick fix".

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post #85 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

What bothers me about EQ is the perception that it is a cure all for acoustics issues. Some folks have gotten into the "room correction" software craze to the point of skipping a lot of other basics. It is simply a lot easier to market software and EQ products as a "quick fix".

I agree completely and have never been a fan of automated room correction myself. Even the most highly rated systems out there seem to give a different result with each run. So you have to ask yourself...???

This is why I have gone more the route of measuring the room for myself and applying PEQ manually. This has very quickly taught me the importance of speaker and listening position placement. And nothing but nothing still beats a good room.

You only have to look at some of the train wrecks that get posted in these forums to realise a lot of people here have not grasped the most basic fundamentals of the room and probably are relying too much on automated room correction to fix all their mistakes.

Ironically they like to make fun of those 'silly audiophiles that don't understand the science'... yet at least in more audiophile orientated forums you see a much greater ratio of better looking laid out rooms.
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post #86 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

What bothers me about EQ is the perception that it is a cure all for acoustics issues. Some folks have gotten into the "room correction" software craze to the point of skipping a lot of other basics. It is simply a lot easier to market software and EQ products as a "quick fix".

My view is that calling Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO or any other such took "Room Correction" is a horrible disservice to the world of audio. Many of the bad things that rooms do can't possibly be corrected at a single point in the system. Acoustical problems need acoustical, not electrical solutions.

Frankly, we don't know for sure if or what they correct without a lot of individual investigation.

They do a lot of different things, such as setting crossover frequencies and time delays, as well as adjusting frequency response.

Their real function on the best day of their lives is to make an attempt to optimize the overall system performance at a single point in the AVR with a fairly broad brush.

That all said, I don't see a need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Possibly the most valuable service they provide is their initial system check out function. Detecting crossed, misrouted, and possibly shorted speaker wires is a huge benefit and at the least they seem to be very effective and positive at doing that.
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post #87 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

They do a lot of different things, such as setting crossover frequencies and time delays, as well as adjusting frequency response.

With results that typically end up all over the map as well. Speakers being set as large, very high crossover points, very low crossover points... usual things people need to correct for themselves after an auto calibration. Speaker distances are easy enough to set for yourself if you have a tape measure or laser rangefinder.

And then not really knowing how much EQ has been applied with the automated calibration. Has it tried to apply a +10dB boost to try and fix a particularly deep null? Myself, I would rather know precisely what EQ is being applied.
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post #88 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

With results that typically end up all over the map as well. Speakers being set as large, very high crossover points, very low crossover points... usual things people need to correct for themselves after an auto calibration. Speaker distances are easy enough to set for yourself if you have a tape measure or laser rangefinder.

And then not really knowing how much EQ has been applied with the automated calibration. Has it tried to apply a +10dB boost to try and fix a particularly deep null? Myself, I would rather know precisely what EQ is being applied.

I'm in total agreement with you... I personally would love an easy to use system that gives you pre and post curves, and auto/manual equilization all in the same package.

A simple setup is great for those that just want to "plug n play" and then a more intensive setup for those of us that are gearheads.

A step further, it would be nice if the system provided suggestions to amateur users about how to adjust their environment, speakers positions, sitting position, absorption/diffusion materials. Perhaps it is "too complicated" to create a true algorithm?

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post #89 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

Well to be fair... That the original signal is being affected is a issue many "audiophiles" have.
Audiophiles have lots of imaginary "ïssues" but that doesn't mean they need wasting time on.
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It's also not clear to me that most are applying EQ above the schroeder frequency as you are suggesting.
I didn't say most were, I said it's where it's best applied.
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What bothers me about EQ is the perception that it is a cure all for acoustics issues. Some folks have gotten into the "room correction" software craze to the point of skipping a lot of other basics. It is simply a lot easier to market software and EQ products as a "quick fix".
Most people, even enthusiast, understand very little of how electronics and acoustics work and have no idea how to remedy them (this is true for many other fields as well) so they apply the given remedy, eg Audyssey and are by and large happy with the improvement it brings because in many case it does actually bring some improvement. Railing against AV enthusiasts for not applying large an often visually intrusive acoustic treatments into what is often a shared room is a waste of energy because of other competing requirements, eg aesthetics or the wishes of other members of the household. Even those with a dedicated room may face similar issues, especially when they don't have the budget to have the room professionally designed or the time/ability/desire to learn how to do it themselves. Some people like myself and (I think) you have complete freedom to do whatever we want to do to our rooms, but that is rare.
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post #90 of 111 Old 02-07-2014, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

And then not really knowing how much EQ has been applied with the automated calibration. Has it tried to apply a +10dB boost to try and fix a particularly deep null? Myself, I would rather know precisely what EQ is being applied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

I'm in total agreement with you... I personally would love an easy to use system that gives you pre and post curves, and auto/manual equilization all in the same package.

A simple setup is great for those that just want to "plug n play" and then a more intensive setup for those of us that are gearheads.

It does exist, but at a steep price - for now. Pretty sure Dirac Live also provides this sort of flexibility, but even in its least expensive, HTPC software form it's ~$800.
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