How do I verify - or debunk - the claims of The Upgrade Company? - Page 52 - AVS Forum
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post #1531 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 05:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

It can't be said enough but Craig's measurements, both before and after, are both informative and nothing short of stunning. Even if you 'upgraded' all those capacitors and somehow found a way to absolutely eliminate any and all RFI, there's nothing and I do mean nothing that equipment could do which would ameliorate the problems that exist in the room. Further, the 'upgrades' that are performed will never make whatever it is you bought approach state of the art. In order to do that, and the term state of the art remains to be defined, it's not internal RFI per se that needs to be addressed. Rather, it might be something more along the lines of circuit design and more thoughtful design with the goal of minimizing things like signal bleed from one circuit into another. Kind of like cross-talk. DS can't do that. Only the manufacturer can and even then it remains to be seen or heard whether a four figure Meridian can audibly best something in the lower three figures.

When a room is bad, making informed subjective assessments is severely compromised. Small movements in one's head can result in audible consequences simply because of the great non-uniformity in the soundfield.

I'm sure there's some rationalization why none of that is true or doesn't matter to those who believe the mods improve the sound.
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post #1532 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post

I was another of the three that heard the modded 5508 owner's system. Well, it was impressive looking and the $20k each (!) left and right speakers were amazing looking - IIRC some sort of horn on top of a large squarish cabinet ... reminiscent of the Altec Voice Of The Theater, but on steroids. But when he fired it up, the image was 1" deep and with no room correction/EQ it was lumpy on the low end. And being lumpy at the low end, the overhang obscured everything.

At that moment, I knew what he considered good and I came off the fence that there was any chance at all that the modded gear had made one whit of difference in his system.

Jeff

That really says everything I need to know, Jeff. If the listener cannot realise that the room is the single most important system component and cannot recognise the problems his room is causing, let alone take steps to correct them, then why on earth should I believe him if he says that he can hear "substantial improvements" between a stock AVR and a modified one? He can't hear the lumpy low end response, or how it affects all the other frequencies but he *can* hear a difference between this capacitor and that, or this wire and that? Forgive me for my skepticism.

$40,000 dollar speakers? What's the point if they are in such a poor room? Why do people persist in believing that their AVR is more important in determining SQ than the room itself? Why will people spend 40k on a pair of speakers but not spend a tenth of that on trying to improve the room, or at least to electronically EQ it as best they can? Why do people believe that a subtle difference between this BD player or that, between this amp or that, is going to matter one whit if the room is as bad as you suggest this one was?

It comes back to my constant refrain in this thread: if the differences are so small that they allow all of this discussion as to whether they actually exist or not, then the manufacturer has not fulfilled his promise. And if the room is not recognised as the most important part of the system, and the one where real differences in SQ can be made, then there really is no purpose in worrying about tiny differences between item A and item B.

I think a lot of people are 'gear worshippers'. They love having the latest and shiniest AVR or amp, or the most amazing-looking set of speakers, or interconnects that look as if they rightly belong on the deck of the Enterprise, but they cannot see that the un-sexy room is where the big gains are found, or lost.

Craig's graphs and account above say it all really.
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post #1533 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

That really says everything I need to know, Jeff. If the listener cannot realise that the room is the single most important system component and cannot recognise the problems his room is causing, let alone take steps to correct them, then why on earth should I believe him if he says that he can hear "substantial improvements" between a stock AVR and a modified one? He can't hear the lumpy low end response, or how it affects all the other frequencies but he *can* hear a difference between this capacitor and that, or this wire and that? Forgive me for my skepticism.

$40,000 dollar speakers? What's the point if they are in such a poor room? Why do people persist in believing that their AVR is more important in determining SQ than the room itself? Why will people spend 40k on a pair of speakers but not spend a tenth of that on trying to improve the room, or at least to electronically EQ it as best they can? Why do people believe that a subtle difference between this BD player or that, between this amp or that, is going to matter one whit if the room is as bad as you suggest this one was?

It comes back to my constant refrain in this thread: if the differences are so small that they allow all of this discussion as to whether they actually exist or not, then the manufacturer has not fulfilled his promise. And if the room is not recognised as the most important part of the system, and the one where real differences in SQ can be made, then there really is no purpose in worrying about tiny differences between item A and item B.

I think a lot of people are 'gear worshippers'. They love having the latest and shiniest AVR or amp, or the most amazing-looking set of speakers, or interconnects that look as if they rightly belong on the deck of the Enterprise, but they cannot see that the un-sexy room is where the big gains are found, or lost.

Craig's graphs and account above say it all really.


Excellent!

Except this: "then the manufacturer has not fulfilled his promise." Would it be better to say the modifier?

And thanks to Craig for his posts. Very enlightening. I guess you do that professionally? I have my trusty RadShack db meter, but what equipment might a hobbyist with a tight budget use to evaluate performance in more detail? Can I get a mic and a PC with some software to do an evaluation for a reasonable price?

I am upgrading my Denon 4800 soon to a 4311 probably, but would like to focus on improvements to the room as well.
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post #1534 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post


$40,000 dollar speakers? What's the point if they are in such a poor room?

They are beautiful, one-of-a-kind prototypes built just for him.
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post #1535 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by txmxer View Post


And thanks to Craig for his posts. Very enlightening. I guess you do that professionally? I have my trusty RadShack db meter, but what equipment might a hobbyist with a tight budget use to evaluate performance in more detail? Can I get a mic and a PC with some software to do an evaluation for a reasonable price?

When Craig is not here, Keith is the Omnimic expert and can give you some pointers.

http://www.daytonaudio.com/index.php...nt-system.html
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post #1536 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by welwynnick View Post

I think you're getting a bit carried away with the attack mode there. The whole point of this thread is that a TUC customer DID support a comparison of stock vs modified. Granted, it took a long time to get off the ground, and he had reservations about the way the test was done, but it did happen. Rich has been encouraging other prospective users to hear his gear, and has been offering such auditions and comparisons for years. He even offered his equipment to a friendly, well-known, reviewer. I've been doing the same in the UK. I've been hauling my kit all over the country and leaving it with other people to hear for themselves. People like Rich, Dave and myself are very confident about our TUC equipment, and are definitely not trying to keep it to ourselves.

Nick

I suggested soon after the abx test was done that what was needed was for someone to measure the preouts of the modded unit with an analyser such as REW(or better yet an analyser designed for this purpose). That idea went over like a fart in church which tells me the owner of the modded unit doesn't have any real interest in knowing the truth about these mods. And if you haven't done that yet with your modded units I have to call you out as well.
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post #1537 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by txmxer View Post

And thanks to Craig for his posts. Very enlightening. I guess you do that professionally? I have my trusty RadShack db meter, but what equipment might a hobbyist with a tight budget use to evaluate performance in more detail? Can I get a mic and a PC with some software to do an evaluation for a reasonable price?

I'm not Keith, but I've owned an Omnimic (and an XTZ) since release. Both have positives and negatives, but I prefer the Omnimic. It can be had for $298 with free shipping. Install the software into a laptop/PC, connect the mic cable, and you're in business. Easy to use and there are multiple user threads, including a lengthy one here at AVS in the DIY forum.
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post #1538 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

I suggested soon after the abx test was done that what was needed was for someone to measure the preouts of the modded unit with an analyser such as REW. That idea went over like a fart in church which tells me the owner of the modded unit doesn't have any real interest in knowing the truth about these mods. And if you haven't done that yet with your modded units I have to call you out as well.

I didn't come equipped to measure either the sound or the signal. I was just happy to get to compare the stock and modded units with my ears. I really do have doubts though that Rich would have allowed any electrical measurements.

But you miss the point; he already knows the truth and any test that doesn't reveal it isn't being performed incorrectly or is somehow flawed.

Jeff
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post #1539 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:36 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out why there is such a hard on for this company.The way I read it has been extensively discussed to death.I really feel like there must be some other motive in play.Please prove me wrong by going after all the other kooky claims out there.

How about cable companies and their wild claims? There is such a long list of potential scammers why is SO much energy being focused on this ONE company? This thread and all the yakking can still run while these others are being put to the test, yes? It just looks like something personal instead of getting to the truth about audio as a whole, please prove me wrong.
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post #1540 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:38 AM
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That Omnimic is awesome...looks like I need to make room in the budget!!!

Thanks
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post #1541 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post


I didn't come equipped to measure either the sound or the signal. I was just happy to get to compare the stock and modded units with my ears. I really do have doubts though that Rich would have allowed any electrical measurements.

But you miss the point; he already knows the truth and any test that doesn't reveal it isn't being performed incorrectly or is somehow flawed.

Jeff

Yes, I know you weren't prepared. I was just commenting on the fact that it's ALWAYS a listening test. Never a measuring test.
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post #1542 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Elmo C View Post

I'm still trying to figure out why there is such a hard on for this company.The way I read it has been extensively discussed to death.I really feel like there must be some other motive in play.Please prove me wrong by going after all the other kooky claims out there.

How about cable companies and their wild claims? There is such a long list of potential scammers why is SO much energy being focused on this ONE company? This thread and all the yakking can still run while these others are being put to the test, yes? It just looks like something personal instead of getting to the truth about audio as a whole, please prove me wrong.

Here, enjoy this thread if the current one bothers you:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1399801

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post #1543 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmo C View Post

I'm still trying to figure out why there is such a hard on for this company.The way I read it has been extensively discussed to death.I really feel like there must be some other motive in play.Please prove me wrong by going after all the other kooky claims out there.

How about cable companies and their wild claims? There is such a long list of potential scammers why is SO much energy being focused on this ONE company? This thread and all the yakking can still run while these others are being put to the test, yes? It just looks like something personal instead of getting to the truth about audio as a whole, please prove me wrong.

Interconnects? Been done many times - search the forum.
Power cords? Ditto
Amplifiers? Ditto
DAC's? Ditto
CD Players? Ditto
Various kooky tweaks? Ditto
Other mod companies? Ditto

You are, of course, welcome to start a thread on anything I've missed as there are always folks happy to participate. This thread is about TUC.
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post #1544 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by txmxer View Post

That Omnimic is awesome...looks like I need to make room in the budget!!!

Thanks

Just so you know, there are cheaper alternatives to consider providing full functionality:

Room Equalization Wizard "REW" (free)
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/downloads-area/

Calibrated Mic (Behringer or Dayton) $85
http://www.cross-spectrum.com/measur...behringer.html

Art Dual USB Pre USB (dual channel Preamp) $69-$99
http://www.amazon.com/ART-USB-Dual-C.../dp/B002KEAT78

Misc cables $20
Total= $174-$204 range

When I bought the Art is was going for $49 so was a no brainer at that time.
A bit more involved with set-up.
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post #1545 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elmo C View Post

I'm still trying to figure out why there is such a hard on for this company.

I just checked and that is not the case at all.
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The way I read it has been extensively discussed to death.

This is an enthusiasts' forum; that's what goes on in places like this.
Quote:


I really feel like there must be some other motive in play.

Nope, just trying to make our experiences known for the benefit of others considering buying from TUC.
Quote:


Please prove me wrong by going after all the other kooky claims out there.

Well now, life is w-a-y too short to do that.

Quote:


How about cable companies and their wild claims? There is such a long list of potential scammers why is SO much energy being focused on this ONE company?

See just above.
Quote:


This thread and all the yakking can still run while these others are being put to the test, yes? It just looks like something personal instead of getting to the truth about audio as a whole, please prove me wrong.

We don't have to prove anything. TUC needs to support their incredible claims. And they could start by releasing the data from the tests that they claim to have conducted.

Jeff
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post #1546 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:24 AM
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Just so you know, there are cheaper alternatives to consider providing full functionality

Floyd, there's no question that REW provides more functionality and far more flexibility, but....
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A bit more involved with set-up.

is IMHO more than a bit of an understatement. I've had all the constituent parts for ~two years and I still haven't begun. I'd like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, but every time I think about setting it up and read the owners manual, I take two aspirin and lay down until the urge passes. One of these days I'll have to bite that particular bullet, but it ain't today.
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post #1547 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

That really says everything I need to know, Jeff. If the listener cannot realise that the room is the single most important system component and cannot recognise the problems his room is causing, let alone take steps to correct them, then why on earth should I believe him if he says that he can hear "substantial improvements" between a stock AVR and a modified one? He can't hear the lumpy low end response, or how it affects all the other frequencies but he *can* hear a difference between this capacitor and that, or this wire and that? Forgive me for my skepticism.

$40,000 dollar speakers? What's the point if they are in such a poor room? Why do people persist in believing that their AVR is more important in determining SQ than the room itself? Why will people spend 40k on a pair of speakers but not spend a tenth of that on trying to improve the room, or at least to electronically EQ it as best they can? Why do people believe that a subtle difference between this BD player or that, between this amp or that, is going to matter one whit if the room is as bad as you suggest this one was?

It comes back to my constant refrain in this thread: if the differences are so small that they allow all of this discussion as to whether they actually exist or not, then the manufacturer has not fulfilled his promise. And if the room is not recognised as the most important part of the system, and the one where real differences in SQ can be made, then there really is no purpose in worrying about tiny differences between item A and item B.

I think a lot of people are 'gear worshippers'. They love having the latest and shiniest AVR or amp, or the most amazing-looking set of speakers, or interconnects that look as if they rightly belong on the deck of the Enterprise, but they cannot see that the un-sexy room is where the big gains are found, or lost.

Craig's graphs and account above say it all really.

To be fair, Keith, the owner had already done some significant acoustic treatments in his room. He had worked with a highly regarded acoustics expert on the acoustic treatment design and install. He also volunteered that the treatments were the single biggest improvement he had made in his system. Nonetheless, he still had some significant remaining problems, which room correction certainly helped.

(The biggest problem in his system, (IMO), is his listening position. His system fires across the short axis of the room, and the LP is stuck directly against the back wall. That arrangement will be an acoustics nightmare virtually every single time. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to rearrange his room so the system fires into the long axis of the room, but that would improve things significantly, (again... IMO.))

After seeing the measurements, he had some further work done in consultation with the acoustics expert. I have not been back to see/hear/measure the results.

Craig

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Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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post #1548 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Floyd, there's no question that REW provides more functionality and far more flexibility, but....

is IMHO more than a bit of an understatement. I've had all the constituent parts for ~two years and I still haven't begun. I'd like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, but every time I think about setting it up and read the owners manual, I take two aspirin and lay down until the urge passes. One of these days I'll have to bite that particular bullet, but it ain't today.

Almost spit my coffee out on that one. A lot of truth there, although its not quite as difficult as it might seem . One thing is for sure though, Omnimic is magnitudes easier to use. A monkey could be taking measurements within 5 min of receiving it. Not as much functionality as REW but pretty much has everything most folks will need.
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post #1549 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Floyd, there's no question that REW provides more functionality and far more flexibility, but....

is IMHO more than a bit of an understatement. I've had all the constituent parts for ~two years and I still haven't begun. I'd like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, but every time I think about setting it up and read the owners manual, I take two aspirin and lay down until the urge passes. One of these days I'll have to bite that particular bullet, but it ain't today.

Same here. For me, the biggest benefit of the OmniMic as my first serious measurement tool (beyond the iconic RS meter) was the simplicity of the setup and operation. It eliminated most of the concerns I had that I might make a mistake in the setup, and allowed me to focus on learning more about the measurements and how to utilize them to quickly make improvements.
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There is a new version of XTZ with more functionality and a better, more tightly calibrated mic:
http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/Aco...er-II-Pro.html

It retains the ease of use of the standard version, but it adds some extra features.

REW remains a more full-feaatured product, but the set up, particularly the mic calibration process, remains an impediment to many users. The pre-calibrated mic in systems like XTZ and Omnimic eliminate that step and hugely simplify the process.

Craig

Lombardi said it:
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post #1551 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

There is a new version of XTZ with more functionality and a better, more tightly calibrated mic:
http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/Aco...er-II-Pro.html

It retains the ease of use of the standard version, but it adds some extra features.

REW remains a more full-feaatured product, but the set up, particularly the mic calibration process, remains an impediment to many users. The pre-calibrated mic in systems like XTZ and Omnimic eliminate that step and hugely simplify the process.

Craig

Should we conduct an A/B test between Omnimic, XTZ and/or REW? That would be another thread, but I think many would find a thorough comparison/review valuable.
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post #1552 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Elmo C View Post

I'm still trying to figure out why there is such a hard on for this company.The way I read it has been extensively discussed to death.I really feel like there must be some other motive in play.Please prove me wrong by going after all the other kooky claims out there.

How about cable companies and their wild claims? There is such a long list of potential scammers why is SO much energy being focused on this ONE company? This thread and all the yakking can still run while these others are being put to the test, yes? It just looks like something personal instead of getting to the truth about audio as a whole, please prove me wrong.

The title of this thread says it all.

Why the attempt at deflection, Elmo C? Why would you expect anyone to "prove me wrong"?

I'm not inviting you to leave, it's not in my makeup nor is it in my power, but you are certainly free to leave this thread if you wish, just as you're welcome to stick around. I, for one, hope you stay.

Cheers,
SB
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post #1553 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fotto View Post

Just so you know, there are cheaper alternatives to consider providing full functionality:

Room Equalization Wizard "REW" (free)
http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/downloads-area/

Calibrated Mic (Behringer or Dayton) $85
http://www.cross-spectrum.com/measur...behringer.html

Art Dual USB Pre USB (dual channel Preamp) $69-$99
http://www.amazon.com/ART-USB-Dual-C.../dp/B002KEAT78

Misc cables $20
Total= $174-$204 range

When I bought the Art is was going for $49 so was a no brainer at that time.
A bit more involved with set-up.

There is also a native OSX solution to take audio measurements, FuzzMeasure Pro. It's very cheap, especially when one considers the prices asked for audio placebos. It's also easy to use. (I use it with the same hardware you suggested, a Cross-Spectrum Labs calibrated EMM-6 and an Art Dual Pre.)

Not sure how calibration files are added to REW, as one has to acquiesce to the picayune rules of a religious fanatic to gain access to the forum hosting it and I refuse to do that, but for FuzzMeasure it's quite simple: window - microphone calibrations -> plus icon (file location).

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post #1554 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

REW remains a more full-feaatured product, but the set up, particularly the mic calibration process, remains an impediment to many users. The pre-calibrated mic in systems like XTZ and Omnimic eliminate that step and hugely simplify the process.

Craig

Maybe you are referring to the sound card calibration process vs. the mic? You just load the mic cal file in preferences tab. The card cal was the hardest thing to comprehend but once though it, the process makes sense.

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Not sure how calibration files are added to REW, as one has to acquiesce to the picayune rules of a religious fanatic to gain access to the forum hosting it and I refuse to do that, but for FuzzMeasure it's quite simple: window - microphone calibrations -> plus icon (file location).

If you ever get at it, you just browse to the cal file and load it here. REW will remember it and load each time you open REW.



Can't help you though with the forum rules.
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post #1555 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 09:57 AM
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Yeah, the forum rules there will pretty much ensure that I won't be posting there, even though I'm pretty unlikely to break them even without thinking about it. That being said, I thought it was worth agreeing to restricting how I would post to gain the information I needed. I can follow the rules by simply not posting at all.

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post #1556 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 10:32 AM
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post #1557 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

Almost spit my coffee out on that one. A lot of truth there, although its not quite as difficult as it might seem . One thing is for sure though, Omnimic is magnitudes easier to use. A monkey could be taking measurements within 5 min of receiving it. Not as much functionality as REW but pretty much has everything most folks will need.

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post #1558 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Steady, Jeff... people will start to believe you LOL!

Feeling any pressure?
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post #1559 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post

Should we conduct an A/B test between Omnimic, XTZ and/or REW? That would be another thread, but I think many would find a thorough comparison/review valuable.

That would be an interesting comparison.

I have the capability and parts to run REW but if I haven't used it for 6 months I have to re-learn it. All the extra set-up and not knowing if I set-it up correctly is also worry some.

Been debating whether the Omni-mic or XTZ is the way to go as they are both much quicker to set-up and measure. The Omni-mic is cheaper by about $70 over the XTZ because I have to pay tax here in CA. I am hoping someone who owns or has used both can chime in and give there opinion.

"Half the world is looking for Jesus, and the other half is looking for more bass..."
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post #1560 of 1596 Old 04-26-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mjaudio View Post

That would be an interesting comparison.

I have the capability and parts to run REW but if I haven't used it for 6 months I have to re-learn it.

It's like speech. Use it or lose it.

I'll see if I can interest Craig is a get together for the purposes of planning a comparison. But like you I will need to relearn REW.

Jeff
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