The official "Theta" thread - Page 238 - AVS Forum
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post #7111 of 7280 Old 06-20-2014, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by stevekale View Post
Look at section 3.4.1 of the document/guide I linked to above. Right in the middle of the screen, under the sofa (or chair) is a blue drop down menu allowing you to select the view. For me the software opened in oblique view which makes the different orientations immediately apparent. The top view and frontal views (combined) make it even clearer.
I don't recall seeing the pics with the three different views for each calibration option in the Dirac manual.
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post #7112 of 7280 Old 06-20-2014, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post
I don't recall seeing the pics with the three different views for each calibration option in the Dirac manual.
I just checked the manual again and those pictures aren't there. There is a note to "Use the view selector (R) to better localize the microphone
positions" but the pictures in the miniDSP guide don't appear in the actual Dirac manual (link below)

In any event, thanks to those here who pointed it out, very curious to see how it effects my sound after re-doing the measurements.

http://shop.dirac.se/images/file/Dir...ual_v1_0_4.pdf
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post #7113 of 7280 Old 06-20-2014, 10:31 AM
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Pg 16

"Use the view selector R to better localise the microphone positions"

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post #7114 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Armand07 View Post
With Dirac enabled I get a feeling of being immersed in surround in a way I have never been before.
That aspect is something I first noticed with Lindorff room correction. I believe it uses a similar approach to Dirac. I have tried the older approaches but none of them really IMO gives that effect. In fact, it was that aspect that really peaked my interest in room correction. I remember thinking that room correction had finally matured. The Harmon Study revealed what I had said for years about the older correction approaches.

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post #7115 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post
I admit that with solid six figures invested in a system, thousands of $$$ in stuff with no verifiable impact on sound quality ("just to be on the safe side"), it seems outright silly to skimp on a mic. May be I'll reconsider and get an earthworks after all.
I am not referring to you when I say what I am about to say. Often I am baffled why so many in the hobby will spend thousands on cables but balk at 2k worth of room treatments or a mic that cost less than a single power cord in their system.


I can see why some would not want to spend so much for a mic which may well be only used a few times. At least with the power cords, they do get to use them daily. With this in mind, it seems reasonable to actually hire someone equipped with an Earthworks M50 to do the calibration if that calibration could be done for less than the cost of the M50.

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post #7116 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post
I am not referring to you when I say what I am about to say. Often I am baffled why so many in the hobby will spend thousands on cables but balk at 2k worth of room treatments or a mic that cost less than a single power cord in their system.


I can see why some would not want to spend so much for a mic which may well be only used a few times. At least with the power cords, they do get to use them daily. With this in mind, it seems reasonable to actually hire someone equipped with an Earthworks M50 to do the calibration if that calibration could be done for less than the cost of the M50.
Fair points. Keep in mind though that I was not deterred by having to spend a few hundred bucks for a mic. I was about to pull the trigger on an M30 on eBay, when I read a Dirac representative saying there is no benefit to using the expensive mic. I'll probably get an M30 anyway so I can sleep in peace.
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post #7117 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post
With this in mind, it seems reasonable to actually hire someone equipped with an Earthworks M50 to do the calibration if that calibration could be done for less than the cost of the M50.
BD, of course. Especially when the person with the most experience on this forum (Carl) and Theta itself tell us it makes a difference. Any procedure that requires a calibrating instrument is only as good as the accuracy of the calibrating instrument - this is basic scientific fact. "We," well some of us anyway :-), spend so much on cables, power cords, etc., that arguably cannot be measured to be different, or even listening-tested to be different, why the resistance to something that demonstrably measured better?

That said, I don't blame Theta for supplying the cheaper mic - diminishing return and not including allows people to decide for themselves. My approach will be that once I have saved enough money for the upgrade , if the Dirac test drive turns out to be incredibly good, the very next step, once things are settled and adjustments made, is to get/rent the M30/M50.

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post #7118 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post
Fair points. Keep in mind though that I was not deterred by having to spend a few hundred bucks for a mic. I was about to pull the trigger on an M30 on eBay, when I read a Dirac representative saying there is no benefit to using the expensive mic. I'll probably get an M30 anyway so I can sleep in peace.

Regards, Can
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post #7119 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cannga View Post
BD, of course. Especially when the person with the most experience on this forum (Carl) and Theta itself tells us it makes a difference. Any procedure that requires a calibrating instrument is only as good as the accuracy of the calibrating instrument - this is basic scientific fact. "We" also spend so much on cables, power cords, etc., that arguably cannot be measured to be different, or even listening-tested to be different, why the resistance to something that demonstrably measured better?

That said, I don't blame Theta for supplying the cheaper mic - diminishing return and not including allows people to decide for themselves. My approach will be that once I have saved enough money for the upgrade , if the Dirac test drive turns out to be incredibly good, the very next step, once things are settled and adjustments made, is to get/rent the M30/M50.
You know years ago, when I was investigating different surround processors, many were converting everything to digital upon input. At that time, IMO, there was a clear superiority of the non-converted analog signals with a true analog bypass. Also during that period many processors advertised "pure analog" bypass.


I don't really believe that just converting analog to digital was the culprit. When I first heard the Tag pre-pro, I formed a different hypothesis. That was it was not the digital to analog conversion that was causing the problem but rather the sample rate at which it was done. The Tag was one of the first to do analog to digital at 24/96k. With that processor, analog still sounded great when converted to digital. There was, and is now, a debate for some, not myself, whether one can hear a difference between 24/48 and 24/96. Since that time however, I have only accepted analog to digital done at least at 24/96. If 24/96 is not possible then I do analog bypass for analog signals.


So what's my point? The umik-1 does analog to digital at 24/48. Perhaps it does not matter for a measurement mic? Needless, I would keep all analog to digital conversion at 24/96. That means a usb mic pre that can do A/D at that rate. It is that simple for me.

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post #7120 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post
Fair points. Keep in mind though that I was not deterred by having to spend a few hundred bucks for a mic. I was about to pull the trigger on an M30 on eBay, when I read a Dirac representative saying there is no benefit to using the expensive mic. I'll probably get an M30 anyway so I can sleep in peace.
But once again we are getting back to the "more money must = a better product or result". More than one expert person here including more than one manufacture has already stated that the quality of the microphone is not that critical in the overall calibration. Reason being there are so many much larger unavoidable errors in the room correction process, any error produced by the mic is irrelevant to the final calibration.

This is exactly what keep the high end audio products industry in business. - FUD sold to those with non technical backgrounds*!

*This is not meant as an insult. A distinguished doctor, lawyer, or finance master is certainly no fool. It's just that there are charlatans in this business that take advantage of this.

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post #7121 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post
But once again we are getting back to the "more money must = a better product or result". More than one expert person here including more than one manufacture has already stated that the quality of the microphone is not that critical in the overall calibration. Reason being there are so many much larger unavoidable errors in the room correction process, any error produced by the mic is irrelevant to the final calibration.

This is exactly what keep the high end audio products industry in business. - FUD sold to those with non technical backgrounds*!

*This is not meant as an insult. A distinguished doctor, lawyer, or finance master is certainly no fool. It's just that there are charlatans in this business that take advantage of this.
You're probably right, but no one is taking advantage of anyone. Audiophiles know the variables and make their own decisions about what to buy. More than a few are engineers with technical backgrounds.
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post #7122 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 01:17 PM
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You're probably right, but no one is taking advantage of anyone. Audiophiles know the variables and make their own decisions about what to buy. More than a few are engineers with technical backgrounds.
That's quite true. But I'll bet the engineering audiophiles would just use the supplied mic unless of course they wanted the better mic for other purposes such as DIY speaker cabinet design.

Peace of mind works both ways. Consider that using an unsupported mic, no matter how much better it seems, may actually build am inferior calibration based on some untested attribute the software developer did not account for. Unless you clearly understand the working of room calibration, you won't know.

Let's assume two different mics produce different audible results after the calibration process. Which one is correct?

Months ago when I first saw the Theta calibration mic kit I laughed knowing it was the same Chinese OEM mic many vendors use including MiniDSP. I didn't want to stir the pot then but I knew this would instill FUD in the high end crowd when discovered.

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post #7123 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post
Months ago when I first saw the Theta calibration mic kit I laughed knowing it was the same Chinese OEM mic many vendors use including MiniDSP. I didn't want to stir the pot then but I knew this would instill FUD in the high end crowd when discovered.
If you really want a laugh, take a look at what Krell is providing as the mic for its calibration system.

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post #7124 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 03:08 PM
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Peace of mind works both ways. Consider that using an unsupported mic, no matter how much better it seems, may actually build am inferior calibration based on some untested attribute the software developer did not account for. Unless you clearly understand the working of room calibration, you won't know.
When in doubt, I always err on the side of spending more money. Now that the seeds of doubt have been planted in my brain, I have no option but to buy the expensive mic for peace of mind. I'm also cheap and in no hurry (I already have a good mic), so I'll probably wait until one show up for cheap and scoop it up, compare calibrations with the two mics, and resell the earthworks with a profit if I can't hear a difference between calibrations.
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post #7125 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 03:26 PM
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Dunno why, Eric. As Ethan Winer's mic comparison shows, what little variation there is in competent mic's is in the high frequencies. What difference whether or not the measured FR is a dB or two off when the user will subjectively tailor the curve by ear anyway?
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post #7126 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 03:38 PM
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Dunno why, Eric. As Ethan Winer's mic comparison shows, what little variation there is in competent mic's is in the high frequencies. What difference whether or not the measured FR is a dB or two off when the user will subjectively tailor the curve by ear anyway?
I dont just dismiss everything that is hard to rationalize, or just outright implausible in audio. This hobby to me is at least 50% voodoo. I'll give it a try at some point, load Dirac standard filter 1 based on mic 1 calibration and filter 2 based on mic 2 and decide if I hear a difference and more importantly if have a preference. My strong expectation is I won't, but I'm always open to persuasion.

Of course, even if I have a presence, it could very well be due to random variance in mic positioning during calibration....

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post #7127 of 7280 Old 06-21-2014, 03:55 PM
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I'll give it a try at some point, load Dirac standard filter 1 based on mic 1 calibration and filter 2 based on mic 2 and decide if I hear a difference and more importantly if have a preference. My strong expectation is I won't
That would be my strong expectation, as well. Any small differences in the filter sets should be transparent to the listener.
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post #7128 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 08:53 AM
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Let's assume two different mics produce different audible results after the calibration process. Which one is correct?

Fair enough Glimmie, my answer: the one that sounds better to my ears.

Implicit in my post about trying the M30/M50 were I to get it, is the mandatory comparison listening tests subsequently. Eventually I would expect different reports from different people, for some it would be "total bs, no difference," for others "your have not lived until you heard the M50." It would then be up to individual to decide for himself what makes it worth it: the sound, the feel-good feeling, whatever.

Starting with my automatic watch, I would admit a few things I have I bought simply because it makes me feel good. To me, especially for audio it would be important to be honest with myself and recognize whether the difference is real or supra-tentorial (in your head), but really, whatever that makes one happy, real or not, goes.

Regards, Can
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post #7129 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cannga View Post
Implicit in my post about trying the M30/M50 were I to get it, is the mandatory comparison listening tests subsequently. Eventually I would expect different reports from different people, for some it would be "total bs, no difference," for others "your have not lived until you heard the M50." It would then be up to individual to decide for himself what makes it worth it: the sound, the feel-good feeling, whatever.
Trust me, we can have all the audio luminaries on the forum do double blind shootouts between calibrations done with different caliber mics and we would not be one iota closer to reaching consensus on the issue at hand (i.e. does using the better/more expensive mic result in audibly better calibration results). Welcome to the world of audiophile voodoo.
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post #7130 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 09:09 AM
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Dunno why, Eric. As Ethan Winer's mic comparison shows, what little variation there is in competent mic's is in the high frequencies. What difference whether or not the measured FR is a dB or two off when the user will subjectively tailor the curve by ear anyway?
Excellent point that I have been thinking about too; no, really I have , related to correction above and below transition frequency. If you approach room correction as a two part process: yes to room correction below transition frequency, and no room correction, only equalizer-style broad shaping of curve above transition frequency, then the quality of mic in high frequency becomes irrelevant. I have no doubt this will be done by some audiophiles here - limit room correction to low frequency only.

OTOH, assuming you use the cheap mic, set the system up to your liking, enjoy the sound greatly. Then... what if you try the expensive mic and hear a difference?

Bottom line IMHO: Mic-gate is like cable-gate; there will not be a correct answer for everyone (no right or wrong). Keep an open mind to what the pro's are saying, test for your own, and if you like it, for whatever reason, even if cosmetic, keep it.

Regards, Can
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post #7131 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by cannga View Post
Excellent point that I have been thinking about too; no, really I have , related to correction above and below transition frequency. If you approach room correction as a two part process: yes to room correction below transition frequency, and no room correction, only equalizer-style broad shaping of curve above transition frequency, then the quality of mic in high frequency becomes irrelevant. I have no doubt this will be done by some audiophiles here - limit room correction to low frequency only.
Can, even if you run correction full-frequency, once you dial in the target curve by ear, the only difference between mic A and mic B will be found in the filter set applied. A very simplistic example:

Let's say that, during Dirac calibration, mic A measures a gain of +1dB @ 10kHz, and mic B measures +2dB @ 10kHz. Let's also say that your target curve wants a gain of 0dB @ 10kHz. With mic A, the filter @ 10KHz will be -1dB, with mic B, -2dB. Either way your target curve is achieved and you shouldn't hear any difference.
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Can, even if you run correction full-frequency, once you dial in the target curve by ear, the only difference between mic A and mic B will be found in the filter set applied. A very simplistic example:

Let's say that, during Dirac calibration, mic A measures a gain of +1dB @ 10kHz, and mic B measures +2dB @ 10kHz. Let's also say that your target curve wants a gain of 0dB @ 10kHz. With mic A, the filter @ 10KHz will be -1dB, with mic B, -2dB. Either way your target curve is achieved and you shouldn't hear any difference.
This would be the case if variance between actual and measured response was constant across the frequency band, which is not the case. If the "bad mic" is +/- 2db across the band, it could be -2db off at one point and _+2db are another. So if you tried to create a flat curve based on measurement with this mic, it would in actually be far less "flat" the if you tried to do this with a mic that measures say +/- 0.5 db. Of course, if we assume the calibration file of the cheap mic takes care of this variance, this is all moot and you would have similar accuracy again.
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post #7133 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
If you really want a laugh, take a look at what Krell is providing as the mic for its calibration system.
I was about to bring this one up. I am glad you beat me to it. But we both know the results are subpar because of that mic, regardless of calibration file.

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post #7134 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 11:16 AM
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So if you tried to create a flat curve based on measurement with this mic, it would in actually be far less "flat" the if you tried to do this with a mic that measures say +/- 0.5 db.
Eric, it would not. The filter values will be different, but the end result should be the same, within the capabilities of the RC algorithm. Think about it.....

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Of course, if we assume the calibration file of the cheap mic takes care of this variance, this is all moot and you would have similar accuracy again.
I have an inquiry into Ethan to find out if cal files were used in his years-ago comparison, or if the data is raw, i.e. no cal files applied.

Look, I have no dog in this fight, but do I think folks are making a mountain out of a molehill worrying about audible differences between a $100 and a $1,000 mic.
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post #7135 of 7280 Old 06-22-2014, 11:32 AM
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Fair enough Glimmie, my answer: the one that sounds better to my ears.
Well actually IMO, that is the correct answer.

These are home reproduction systems. In the end who cares if the calibration is correct if it doesn't sound right to YOU. Now in a pro environment that doesn't work at all because you must adhere to standards to the benefit of all users. But in a home system, you have the privilege to tailor the sound to your liking.

By all means I am for room correction. I am waiting for the multi channel MiniDSP Dirac myself. But after the system does it's thing, it's perfectly OK to tweak the cal to your liking.

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Originally Posted by cannga View Post
Fair enough Glimmie, my answer: the one that sounds better to my ears.

Starting with my automatic watch, I would admit a few things I have I bought simply because it makes me feel good. To me, especially for audio it would be important to be honest with myself and recognize whether the difference is real or supra-tentorial (in your head), but really, whatever that makes one happy, real or not, goes.
Wait until they start selling "tweaked" automatic watches on Audiogon. Modded so that you can adjust the watch, one per each arm, and affect the frequencies heard by that ear!

Just in case you think I am serious - I'm not.

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post #7137 of 7280 Old 06-23-2014, 06:29 AM
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This conversation gets more hilarious by the minute. Next you guys will be arguing over the conditions and competency under which the mic was calibrated because surely that matters most as the whole point of the mic "calibration" is to provide the means for adjusting its native response so that the package of the two is a flat response... The UMIK mic is calibrated. Assuming its calibration has been done well under rigorous conditions, the real and only question is whether the calibration was done in a manner consistent with the way it will be used. (My only doubt about the UMIK-1 mic is that it would appear that the calibration file normally provided is for horizontal on axis orientation - think about the way the sensor in the unit receives high frequencies in that orientation versus vertical/diffuse - although Theta tell us the mics they supply are calibrated for vertical/diffuse orientation which would be good indeed and it is not at all in the realm of the impossible that Theta requested and received diffuse-orientation calibrations to be done because that is indeed the manner in which the mic is expected to be used in a multichannel setup such as the CB IV is intended to provide.)

How many if you have used colour management on your computer or, for example, digital photographs? Guess what, the ICC profile embedded in a photo helps map the image from one response/stimulus space to another. This is what the calibration file does. If, for example, in a vertical orientation the mic has less sensitivity to high frequencies because the sensor is partially shielded by the tip of the mic body, the "calibration file" (it isn't actually a calibration but rather a profile of the mic's stimulus/response behaviour) will record this behaviour and use of this file by the software allows for proper compensation to be applied. What matters is not so much the underlying stimulus/response behaviour (except in so far as it is consistent) but whether the mic has been properly profiled.

Oh and then remember multiple sweeps are averaged, modelled across 9 locations, and - on top of all that - I will bet you that there is a significant degree of smoothing going on to generate the filters.....

If your mic is natively -2dB in its underlying response at frequency x, if it's been well profiled then the profile will allow the DL software to compensate for this -2dB by adding to 2dB at that frequency when recording the sweeps. Of course frequency x may just end up being averaged with 1/24th octave smoothing. Oh, and then from one "calibration" to the next you may not have placed the mic in exactly the same place or oriented it in the precise manner in which case the measurements from a single mic (whatever quality) will be different.

I would bet that when presented with two calibration filters in Dirac Live you would be unable to accurately tell me which one was done with which mic when both mics have been properly calibrated.

One last piece of food for thought: if you like one calibration versus another that doesn't tell you whether the calibration you like was done better than the one you liked less. It just may well be that you like some of the things calibration was otherwise intended to fix (and because you implemented the calibration poorly these artifacts remained). What's much more interesting is to understand a bit more about what you like - relating your preferences back to measurements and seeking new measurements should the ones you've done not explain what you hear). Maybe, for example, you like the base boost your room modes provide and don't like it when DL attempts to correct for this. Maybe correcting these things is not for you and so you shouldn't fork out for DL at all. Then you won't have to fret about whether the mic has been properly profiled.

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post #7138 of 7280 Old 06-23-2014, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
Wait until they start selling "tweaked" automatic watches on Audiogon. Modded so that you can adjust the watch, one per each arm, and affect the frequencies heard by that ear!

Just in case you think I am serious - I'm not.
Steve B, you would think what your wrote is just a joke. But... are you (or anyone) here old enough to remember the Tice clock?

Was it Sam Tellig who was the guilty party?

Regards, Can
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post #7139 of 7280 Old 06-23-2014, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cannga View Post
Steve B, you would think what your wrote is just a joke. But... are you (or anyone) here old enough to remember the Tice clock?

Was it Sam Tellig who was the guilty party?
I remember the Tice clock very well, though didn't try it myself. In fact, it was a tweak discussed at the Tweaks forum here at AVS quite a bit back in the early 2000's. Yes, I am that OLD! (three weeks to hip replacement, counting down!)

But you had to plug the Tice clock into a wall outlet on the same circuit as your stereo gear.
We're jokin' here about wearing a watch to change the sonics to the ear on the same side.
Who knows? Someday it may be a reality, an adjustable "HALO" watch (do you watch the Sci-Fi
Channel show "Continuom" which has a "HALO" watch for health, etc purposes)!

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post #7140 of 7280 Old 06-23-2014, 07:20 PM
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A very simplistic example:
Let's say that, during Dirac calibration, mic A measures a gain of +1dB @ 10kHz, and mic B measures +2dB @ 10kHz. Let's also say that your target curve wants a gain of 0dB @ 10kHz.
1. With mic A, the filter @ 10KHz will be -1dB,
2. With mic B, -2dB.
3.
Either way your target curve is achieved and you shouldn't hear any difference.


RUR, thanks. Real (not argumentative type :-)) question: I've looked at your explanation many times, and I am not clear on the math. This is not about whether I could hear it, strictly the measurement process; would like to make sure I am not missing something.

Let's assume B is the more accurate mic, and measures a boost at 10 kHz of 2 dB as you mentioned.
A, the inaccurate mic, measures only a 1 dB boost, inaccurately.

1. I am with you here, -1dB is applied to input signal. But... I would add erroneously because it was based on the inaccurate measurement. It should have been -2.
2. I am with you here, -2dB is applied to input signal.
3. Lost you here: yes, Dirac processor will tell you target curve *is* achieved in 1, but in reality, it was not. -1 dB is applied to input signal, whereas -2 dB is needed, no? On paper the target curve is achieved, but in reality, isn't it still 1dB too high?
Look at it another way, 1 and 2 are different curves with different amount of cut, and therefore cannot both be right, no?

Regards, Can
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Last edited by cannga; 06-23-2014 at 07:47 PM.
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