How completely does Audyssey eliminate speaker and room charecteristics from the equation? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 3200 ft^3 room with a 7.1 setup consisting of a bunch of mid-level speakers shackled to a venerable Onkyo TX-SR875. The speakers are more or less in the positions recommended by the Dolby Labs guys for a 7.1 setup, and they are far enough from the wall so that their ports are unimpeded. Everything is connected via monoprice 12AWG CL2 speaker wire. My listening position is around 38% of the room's length from my television. I have painstakingly configured the TX-SR875, running Audyssey Dynamic EQ using the microphone positions from the FAQ, using a boom arm, and with everything else in the house turned off and the cats kicked out. I cleaned up the config after running the eq setup, setting the fronts to small, confirming their distances, and making sure that the level on my powered subwoofer did not fall outside of what Audyssey can equalize.

My setup sounds great and everything is solid. Even my wife likes it.

Now riddle me this: If I went though the same procedure with a different but comparable brand and model set of mid-range speakers (with somewhat different sizes and combinations of cones, different crossover points, different firing angles, etc.), or a different but comparable powered subwoofer, or a different receiver that also features Audyssey, how much of a difference can there really be in the resulting system? If it sounds different, is not listener bias the most likely factor? Assuming that the system is not physically failing to operate correctly at my listening levels, would not most upgrading after that point be about futureproofing and being a hobbyist more than about gaining access to a superior experience? Would this not be doubly true for an even more granular dynamic equalization system such as Audyssey MultEQ XT32?

Now I understand that certain upgrades will absolutely change the quality of any system. Adding another subwoofer and improving speaker positioning are two good examples of things that no dynamic eq can do for you. Nevertheless I am really starting to wonder if any two mid-range speaker sets are going to turn out much different once they have been homogenized.

It seems like there is a lot of mythology surrounding speaker selection, and as someone who is curious, willing to follow directions, and somewhat skeptical, I would love to hear from the experts around here what their experiences have been in this regard, what the math/science is behind dynamic eq's ability to take equipment and room characteristics out of the equation, and exactly how well dynamic eq works compared to classic manual equalization techniques and hardware.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-05-2013, 12:20 PM
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"How completely does Audyssey eliminate speaker and room charecteristics from the equation?"


With regard to the negative influences of the room, .. ie acoustic distortion,.. it does relatively poorly.

However, it is generally an outstanding step in the right direction.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-05-2013, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkedelen View Post

...Now riddle me this: If I went though the same procedure with a different but comparable brand and model set of mid-range speakers (with somewhat different sizes and combinations of cones, different crossover points, different firing angles, etc.), or a different but comparable powered subwoofer, or a different receiver that also features Audyssey, how much of a difference can there really be in the resulting system? If it sounds different, is not listener bias the most likely factor?...

Electronics can be made to sound almost identical. However each transducer (speakers) has a unique timbre and can NEVER be made to sound the same. This has no effect on objective room accuracy but instead on subjective taste.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 09:48 AM
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There are very few rooms that are "bass perfect". After years and years in this hobby I've found getting it right is the foundation for good audio, the clean blank canvas for audio to paint on so to speak.

There's no doubt in my mind that a combination of placement, passive treatments and digital room correction is the way to achieve that, and where the room corrections like Audyssey come into play in a big way is helping to get the bass right. I also think there's a value to moving up the Audyssey product line.

Audyssey isn't going to eliminate room characteristics, since those can vary by as much as 30db but it will help within its' range, which I think is +/- 3db at any frequency. Over the years and variety of room corrections I've tried I don't believe I've run across that changed the speakers' inherent characteristics. As a subjective example, when I went from the Sig 4 V1's to the Sig 8 v.3's with the beryllium tweeters, I was able to pick up the difference in the tweeters and imaging characteristics using the same EQ.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 03:36 PM
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One thing that you do not seem to understand is that different front speakers can require totally different placements before they can work correctly. This is mainly due to their porting (front, rear, or none....and how high the ports are). There are other factors with some designs, but usually this is the main one.

Some speakers require placement relatively close to a rear wall, while some need to be as much as 3 feet out. This is always important, but it is much more critical in certain designs (and carpeting and rear wall materials matter too).

BEFORE attempting ANY room correction, anyone who knows ANYTHING about setup will get the front speakers placed so they are working properly in the room. This must be done with only the front speakers operating, and it must be done very painstakingly.

THIS IS JOB #1, AND IF YOU DON'T DO IT PROPERLY FIRST,NOTHING WILL EVER BE OPTIMIZED!!!

ROOM CORRECTION SOFTWARE WILL NEVER MAKE UP FOR IMPROPERLY PLACED MAIN SPEAKERS!

A lot of people think that room correction software is a magic solution to anything that is wrong with the setup or the placement of the speakers or the room...wrong!

It can help make things better, IF due diligence is done in accomplishing the basic setup in the first place.

I would estimate that 80% of home theater systems are an acoustic mess, because most people do not understand the need to carefully set up the front speakers by themselves before even connecting the rest of the speakers or running that "magic" software program.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

ROOM CORRECTION SOFTWARE WILL NEVER MAKE UP FOR IMPROPERLY PLACED MAIN SPEAKERS!

Room correction software will never accomplish what treating the room properly will.


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post #7 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 05:09 PM
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Room correction software will never accomplish what treating the room properly will.

No, but it will still help. The "magic bullet" is a combination as I mentioned above.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-11-2013, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkedelen View Post


Now riddle me this: If I went though the same procedure with a different but comparable brand and model set of mid-range speakers (with somewhat different sizes and combinations of cones, different crossover points, different firing angles, etc.), or a different but comparable powered subwoofer, or a different receiver that also features Audyssey, how much of a difference can there really be in the resulting system?

Audyssey can't fix broken speakers and there is no guarantee that all your driver and crossover tweeking will work equally well.

What Audyssey will do is tend to move whatever you have towards some kind of "good as this mess can get" golden mean.
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If it sounds different, is not listener bias the most likely factor?

It has been shown that listener bias is very strong in loudspeaker evaluations. Check the Harman web site and blogs for the details.

http://seanolive.blogspot.com/
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Assuming that the system is not physically failing to operate correctly at my listening levels, would not most upgrading after that point be about futureproofing and being a hobbyist more than about gaining access to a superior experience? Would this not be doubly true for an even more granular dynamic equalization system such as Audyssey MultEQ XT32?

All this talk about speakers, listeners and equalization ignores a big part of the sound quality picture which is room acoustics. Is it possible to make a system sound so good that all you want to do is listen to it and enjoy its sound? That depends on your personality which is not really part of this discussion.
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Now I understand that certain upgrades will absolutely change the quality of any system. Adding another subwoofer and improving speaker positioning are two good examples of things that no dynamic eq can do for you. Nevertheless I am really starting to wonder if any two mid-range speaker sets are going to turn out much different once they have been homogenized.

Like I said, if you apply Audyssey to two different systems it will try to bring their sound towards the same tone quality.
Quote:
It seems like there is a lot of mythology surrounding speaker selection, and as someone who is curious, willing to follow directions, and somewhat skeptical, I would love to hear from the experts around here what their experiences have been in this regard, what the math/science is behind dynamic eq's ability to take equipment and room characteristics out of the equation, and exactly how well dynamic eq works compared to classic manual equalization techniques and hardware.

There are two important orthogonal dimensions of speaker performance that dynamic eq really can't touch and that is nonlinear distortion and directiivity. Dynamic eq can help them to not be over represented in the final sound.

No amount of eq can fix a bad room, bad placement, bad nonlinear distortion, or inappropriate directiivity.

An interesting challenge would be to see what Aydyssey did to a pair of Bose 901s... ;-)
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