Does Auto Room Correction Do More Good or Harm? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Does Auto Room Correction Do More Good or Harm?
In general, it does more good than harm 299 46.43%
In general, it does more harm than good 52 8.07%
In general, it does more good only in the bass frequencies 31 4.81%
It depends on the room-correction system; some work better than others 123 19.10%
It depends on the room 33 5.12%
It depends on the speakers and their placement 17 2.64%
I don't have enough experience to say 89 13.82%
Voters: 644. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Automatic room correction is widely available in AV receivers and preamp/processors. In some cases, it's licensed technology from companies like Audyssey and Trinnov, while in other cases, it's a proprietary system, such as Pioneer's MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration), Yamaha's YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer), and Anthem's ARC (Anthem Room Correction). These systems measure the acoustic characteristics of a room with a microphone by playing test tones from the speakers, then they apply equalization and other digital signal processing to compensate for any measured problems.

 

The question is, does auto room correction improve the sound of an audio system, or does it actually do more harm than good? What is your experience with it?
 

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post #2 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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I'd say it depends on the room because I have had my Home Theater set up in two different rooms. The longer room I had it in made the calibration sound like the sound was too far behind me or too far in front of me.

Now I have it in a second room that is pretty much equal length on all sides of the walls. This is what makes it sounds the best to me.
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post #3 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 05:52 PM
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My experience with Room Perfect (in the Mcintosh MX151) has been extremely positive. Far better results vs no room correction at all and notably better vs other room correction devices I've used in my current room.

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post #4 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 07:07 PM
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I've had experience with Yamaha's YPAO (via a RX-V1900 AVR), and Audyssey's MultXQ32 w/SubEQ (via currently the Marantz AV8801), and I like both.
My room is tall with sloped ceilings, open on one side, partially open toward the front left/top, and with odd dimensions otherwise.
I think these room correction software versions tame (for lack of a better word) some otherwise nasty rooms dips and peaks at many different frequencies. Yamaha's YPAO I think is underrated actually, in the shadow of Audyssey...


I'm still experimenting with Audyssey though as I've only had it for five months.

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post #5 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 08:56 PM
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I'm a fan of both Audyssey and MCACC, and have used (or experienced the results of using) both in a variety of rooms and with a variety of systems.

"In general," as the question phrases it, these systems are reliable for moving a system that is reasonably well configured for the room it's in closer to neutral response.

Often, I find, the issue is that the user doesn't actually *want* neutral response. They want something they can only imagine, and describe with words like "kick-ass" or "analytical" or "three dimensional" or something, but whatever it is, it's not the same as what's on the recording. They want their system to make the music or the movie sound somehow better. Worse, they want that same indefinable something from every source, no matter how those sources differ in they way they are recorded and mixed.

Automatic room correction can help remove the influence of the room on the sound, and can help smooth out interactions between speakers and rooms that compromise neutral response. If that's not what you want, however, you'll probably be disappointed.

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post #6 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 09:03 PM
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As I'm new to room correction and prior to it relied on good speaker placement, room treatments and proper seating distance and a whole host of other sometimes what could be considered tweaks ( using different speaker delay times, rather than the actual distance). I must say Audyssey Multi eq xt32 sub eq on my Marantz 8801 has thought this old dog a few new tricks and it required less than all the effort I listed above to produce positive end results, is it perfect ? no , but here's a case of where the pro's heavily out weigh the con's. It's an option I'm glad to have and it only adds to my enjoyment although if you go about it as though it were a robot vacuum cleaner expecting to turn it on and it will take care of things itself , your wrong like all things in audio and video you get out of it what you put into it, get the right tools and give it a couple of runs and you just might be amazed by the end result wink.gif
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post #7 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdclark View Post

I'm a fan of both Audyssey and MCACC, and have used (or experienced the results of using) both in a variety of rooms and with a variety of systems.

"In general," as the question phrases it, these systems are reliable for moving a system that is reasonably well configured for the room it's in closer to neutral response.

Often, I find, the issue is that the user doesn't actually *want* neutral response. They want something they can only imagine, and describe with words like "kick-ass" or "analytical" or "three dimensional" or something, but whatever it is, it's not the same as what's on the recording. They want their system to make the music or the movie sound somehow better. Worse, they want that same indefinable something from every source, no matter how those sources differ in they way they are recorded and mixed.

Automatic room correction can help remove the influence of the room on the sound, and can help smooth out interactions between speakers and rooms that compromise neutral response. If that's not what you want, however, you'll probably be disappointed.

What is "same as what's on the recording" defined as? If it's live, the venue exerts undue influence. If it's a studio recording, it's a concoction to begin with and there is no such thing as "neutral," per se. There are plenty of other influences at the recording level, like choice of mics and compressors. It's hard to pin down how one could even make such a thing as a "neutral" recording. Many audio enthusiasts bemoan the state of modern production. Well, "back in the day" there was no room correction, and music managed to "kick ass."

If "neutral response" really was the ultimate goal, a pair of near-field studio monitors and some foam would do the trick. Enjoying Hi-Fi is enjoyable exactly because you can go beyond the rather dry and unexciting speakers and headphones that are often used for mastering.

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post #8 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 09:34 PM
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i get better results with a sound meter, tape measure, and manual equalization. If you don't know how to set up crossover frequencies, speaker size, etc then of course its better but I prefer to manual setup.
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post #9 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golferbradbest View Post

i get better results with a sound meter, tape measure, and manual equalization. If you don't know how to set up crossover frequencies, speaker size, etc then of course its better but I prefer to manual setup.

Same here for me. I get better results just doing everything manually myself but I have only used one room correction system and that is EmoQ2. I know it works fine for a lot of users but it just has not worked out for me so far. I use analog for music and movies.
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post #10 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golferbradbest View Post

i get better results with a sound meter, tape measure, and manual equalization. If you don't know how to set up crossover frequencies, speaker size, etc then of course its better but I prefer to manual setup.

Me too, and I keep the EQ restricted to the bass region. Manually EQ'd bass via outboard DSP is as much signal-mangling as I'm going to allow, and most of that is to compensate for roll-off. I deal with room modes and standing-waves by implementing four separate subwoofers.

I do understand that sometimes pragmatism wins out over the "technical ideal," and in those cases room correction might be the logical best option. But, I view it as being just like "stability control" in a sports car. Non-professional drivers will post consistently better times with "correction," and so will some pros as well. The very best-of-the-best will view it as an impediment to absolute maximum performance.

Going with the car analogy, I view EQing just the bass as being like "launch control," which is similar to stability control, except a lot more fun.

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post #11 of 372 Old 07-26-2013, 10:33 PM
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Audyssey has always worked "magic" for me.

The problem here is that "we (so called audiophiliacs) have been doing the audio equivalent of "calibrating" our video displays by eyeball for so long ... decades in fact ... that most folks don't really know (or care) what "neutral" really sounds like ... just crank them bass and treble knobs up to 11 and rock on! wink.gif

Just keep trying different speakers randomly until something sounds "really awesome" in your room ... Still doesn't sound quite right? Then try applying room "treatments" randomly until it does ... You'll get there eventually dude! ... wink.gif

Honestly ... I can't go into the audio sections of the forum any more ... just can't do it ... for the sake of my health, sanity and well-being. biggrin.gif

Sarcasm aside, some "auto room correction systems" are more "equal" than others ... and then again, some aren't worth even trying.
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post #12 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 02:49 AM
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Room correction is a tool. I think it's more useful in multi channel where you have interfering/ colliding sound fields. Rooms that were OK in two channel can become difficult once you're dealing with 5.1 and 7.1 systems. If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated room for your audio/ video adventures, you may not need it as much as most of us you have shall we say, multipurpose rooms.

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post #13 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 02:51 AM
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[quote name="HDTVChallenged" url="/t/1483347/ Honestly ... I can't go into the audio sections of the forum any more ... just can't do it ... for the sake of my health, sanity and well-being. biggrin.gif [/quote]
I know what ya mean.

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post #14 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdclark View Post


Often, I find, the issue is that the user doesn't actually *want* neutral response. They want something they can only imagine, and describe with words like "kick-ass" or "analytical" or "three dimensional" or something, but whatever it is, it's not the same as what's on the recording. They want their system to make the music or the movie sound somehow better. Worse, they want that same indefinable something from every source, no matter how those sources differ in they way they are recorded and mixed.

Automatic room correction can help remove the influence of the room on the sound, and can help smooth out interactions between speakers and rooms that compromise neutral response. If that's not what you want, however, you'll probably be disappointed.


I agree with your point here. One big benefit I found with Room Perfect is once your room has been measured and corrected, you can apply several of your own custom target curves which you can engage based on source material. In addition to neutral, I personally have 3 different movie and a couple of music targets curves I like to use.

Here's one I currently use for movies. I have 3 versions of this curve which differ slightly in target bass response.


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post #15 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVChallenged View Post

Audyssey has always worked "magic" for me.

The problem here is that "we (so called audiophiliacs) have been doing the audio equivalent of "calibrating" our video displays by eyeball for so long ... decades in fact ... that most folks don't really know (or care) what "neutral" really sounds like ... just crank them bass and treble knobs up to 11 and rock on! wink.gif

Just keep trying different speakers randomly until something sounds "really awesome" in your room ... Still doesn't sound quite right? Then try applying room "treatments" randomly until it does ... You'll get there eventually dude! ... wink.gif

Honestly ... I can't go into the audio sections of the forum any more ... just can't do it ... for the sake of my health, sanity and well-being. biggrin.gif

Sarcasm aside, some "auto room correction systems" are more "equal" than others ... and then again, some aren't worth even trying.

I don't think anybody knows what "neutral" sounds like, least of all musicians and recording engineers. "Neutral" is simply not a goal in on the production side of things. Making the music sound good—to the majority of listeners—is usually the goal. Music doesn't get mixed-down in anechoic chambers.

Funny how folks bemoan the state of modern music and all the processing and artifice that goes into it, yet believe that room correction represents the "neutral" sound while the unprocessed recording is viewed as "colored."
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post #16 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 06:12 AM
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Well the Audyssey stuff is pretty cool, and it has worked wonders for me though sometimes i do prefer sometimes not to use it and i do like my treble and bass to be full and not to tell me i can't use it, and sometimes it's better to just hear a film and music without additions.
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post #17 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I don't think anybody knows what "neutral" sounds like, least of all musicians and recording engineers. "Neutral" is simply not a goal in music-making. It's pretty much marketing B.S.

I think he's referring to mostly a flat frequency response as a baseline. Not how the music is made.

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post #18 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

I think he's referring to mostly a flat frequency response as a baseline. Not how the music is made.

Indeed, a "flat" stereo is a "neutral" stereo! But altering the signal to try and achieve "flat" in the high frequencies is a foolish endeavor. The length of the sound waves themselves prevent any meaningful room correction from being possible in the highs.

Also, unless the speakers themselves have perfect response, room correction is going to wind up EQing those speakers as well, to achieve that "flat" response. Room correction should only take away the room-related secondary reflection and tertiary reflection anomalies, leaving the original response curve of the speaker alone. And, it's meaningless for high frequencies, where simple EQ—or even just an attenuator on the tweeter—is a better solution.

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post #19 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Indeed, a "flat" stereo is a "neutral" stereo! But altering the signal to try and achieve "flat" in the high frequencies is a foolish endeavor. The length of the sound waves themselves prevent any meaningful room correction from being possible in the highs.

Also, unless the speakers themselves have perfect response, room correction is going to wind up EQing those speakers as well, to achieve that "flat" response. Room correction should only take away the room-related secondary reflection and tertiary reflection anomalies, leaving the original response curve of the speaker alone. And, it's meaningless for high frequencies, where simple EQ of even just an attenuator on the tweeter is a better solution.

Comes down to the room correction device and how it handles correction. Room Perfect claims to retain the character of the speakers and just addresses room issues. To me, this made perfect sense for proper correction and the end result speaks for itself. I couldn't be happier.
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post #20 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 07:42 AM
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There is data on the CD, LP etc.. Ideally you want a faithfull representation of that data on your system and, a faithfull representation of your system in y0ur room. So you need decent quality 'neutral (minimal coloring) system, that hasn't lost its ability to sound ''alive'' and ''musical'', and propper room acoustics, to get close to that ideal situation. <-seems to me smile.gif

Lots of music would suck on such a system. Phil Spector comes to mind, who's main production goal was to let his music sound good on cheap radios. Folks would hear his stuff on those cheap radios, rush to the store and buy his music..

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post #21 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdanderson View Post

Same here for me. I get better results just doing everything manually myself but I have only used on room correction system and that is EmoQ2. I know it works fine for a lot of users but it just has not worked out for me so far. I use analog for music and movies.

Same here, I like setting my own up. It onlyb takes a couple minutes, and I feel it's more present sounding. Of course room treaments used and eq. No room in a home is ready for sound, unless built that way.
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post #22 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

Comes down to the Room Correction device and how it handles correction. Room Perfect claims to retain the character of the speakers and just addresses room issues. To me, this made perfect sense for proper correction and the end result speaks for itself. I couldn't be happier.

Indeed, without near-field speaker measurements—or a speaker performance database—I think it would be impossible for a room correction system to do its job properly, or rather without "neutralizing" a well-designed pair of speakers.

Due to the overwhelming response in favor of room correction, I am willing to spend the next couple of hours performing the most diligent calibration I possibly can. It's going to be with MCACC, and I still have my settings from my previous calibration—so I'll be able to compare. I'm willing to try again, and I'll take a good look at the main MCACC thread to see how I can improve my results.

Also, I can't believe that nobody voted for "It depends on the speakers and their placement," to me that's one of the most relevant factors. But, it's obviously not how I voted either, since it's still at zero. eek.gif

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post #23 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 09:11 AM
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Room Perfect in the 151 is outstanding, very different than Audyssey Pro XT32 - very.

This is the first time I've really felt a cinematic experience in the home. And the approach to disconnect the room calibration from target curves is great, as one can apply different curves based on the content age and mix (so applying a heavier bass curve works well with Star Wars, but is overkill for today's modern mixes)
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post #24 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdclark View Post

...Often, I find, the issue is that the user doesn't actually *want* neutral response. They want something they can only imagine, and describe with words like "kick-ass" or "analytical" or "three dimensional" or something, but whatever it is, it's not the same as what's on the recording. They want their system to make the music or the movie sound somehow better. Worse, they want that same indefinable something from every source, no matter how those sources differ in they way they are recorded and mixed.
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What is "same as what's on the recording" defined as? If it's live, the venue exerts undue influence. If it's a studio recording, it's a concoction to begin with and there is no such thing as "neutral," per se. There are plenty of other influences at the recording level, like choice of mics and compressors. It's hard to pin down how one could even make such a thing as a "neutral" recording ... If "neutral response" really was the ultimate goal, a pair of near-field studio monitors and some foam would do the trick.

To Scott's question, I think auto room correction is generally useful. I pretty much think of it as another set of ears saying, what do you think of these settings? I've never run a correction (or series of corrections) and felt like everything had been automatically dialed in just right. But I've almost always found the results interesting, or useful, or both, so I like having it as a tool.

To the quotes above, I think RD and Mark both make great points, and make them well.

At times, I set purposeful sail for the mythical Island of Audio Neutrality. I swear I've been there before -- in fact, next time you get there, grab my sunglasses for me, I left them on the beach last time.

But at other times, I intentionally bend audio in ways that have nothing to do with neutral, and do it with glee. Maybe there's a bass line or effect I want to bring out in ways that would have irritated anyone involved in creating the original track. Or another time, maybe there's a singer or effect in another frequency range that I want to bring forward, again in a way that is plainly unbalanced and non-neutral. So it goes.

What a blast that our home audio equipment let's us chase both destinations now with so many different tools at our disposal. cool.gif

(Those are just some sunglasses I borrowed until one of you brings mine back.)

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post #25 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 09:56 AM
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LOL .... {shaking head}

IMHO, the fact that this poll question has to be asked at all is more than ample evidence of the problem(s) in the audiophilliac world. The root cause of which being that everybody seems to think "they can do it better" than the machine ... no standards, no rules ... just more pointless discussions to follow in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

All I can say is thank the universe for Joe Kane (et al) who bravely stepped into the growing chaos in the video industry and helped create actual standards and methods ...

PS: I suspect I'm going to have to exit this thread very soon ... for the sake of my sanity. wink.gif

PPS: For those who (correctly) point out that the audio(record) industry has never been big on having "standardized" mixing booths (or standardized anything ... except maybe the RIAA curve for vinyl,) things aren't quite so bleak in the movie/home-video industry, in fact, I think Dolby and THX insist upon these kind of things ... but then again what do I know? biggrin.gif
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post #26 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HDTVChallenged View Post

LOL .... {shaking head}

IMHO, the fact that this poll question has to be asked at all is more than ample evidence of the problem(s) in the audiophilliac world. The root cause of which being that everybody seems to think "they can do it better" than the machine ... no standards, no rules ... just more pointless discussions to follow in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

All I can say is thank the universe for Joe Kane (et al) who bravely stepped into the growing chaos in the video industry and helped create actual standards and methods ...

PS: I suspect I'm going to have to exit this thread very soon ... for the sake of my sanity. wink.gif

Last I checked, when it comes to HDTVs almost all get displayed in stores in some sort of "vivid mode" and none come pre-calibrated. Furthermore, HDTVS do not self-calibrate (except for Bang & Olufsen's Beovision) so perhaps the "audiophiliac" world is actually ahead of the curve?

I think that a $3500 plasma ought to come with a colorimeter, just as AVRs come with a Mic. Because I certainly do use the auto setup on my AVR for setting distances and levels, and having to pay hundreds for a "pro calibration" is silly when the whole process really could be (mostly) automated with a TV as well.

And yes, Joe Kane is awesome and his forward-looking suggestions for UHDTV/4K standards are worth paying attention to.

Find out more about Mark Henninger at www.imagicdigital.com
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post #27 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 10:13 AM
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Audyssey works rather well actually. I'd like to hear from the folks who voted that it does more harm than good, but didn't bother to say why.
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post #28 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 10:23 AM
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I have a denon 2112. When I used audyssey it boosted both the highs and the lows and made it impossible to listen to anything.

After many calibrations I finally turned it off and now my receiver sounds much better.

I consider my main speakers to be a bit on the bright side (Infinity) and my sub (HSU VTF2-mkII) is more than capable of producing bass without any boosting.
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post #29 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golferbradbest View Post

i get better results with a sound meter, tape measure, and manual equalization. If you don't know how to set up crossover frequencies, speaker size, etc then of course its better but I prefer to manual setup.

This echoes my sentiment exactly. My only room correction experience was with my Pioneer VSX-1123K's MCACC, and I hated it. Prior to that, having my old Onkyo (pre HDMI days) running on stereo, or even all channel stereo was top notch for music, and movies sound excellent. I even tried a low end Denon (1518??) and it sounded just as good as the Onkyo, if not better, but with poor power handling for loud scenes in movies. The Pio's MCACC totally ruined the sound image, and after days of fiddling, trying full auto, semi auto, and manual, I just could not get music to sound as focused as it was with the other receivers. Instead of having a well defined image with proper instrument and vocals placement, it always just sounded like sound was either "everywhere" at once, or it just sounded like sound was coming directly from my two Pioneer towers. The speakers just would not properly "disappear" and let the music do its thing. Even adding an Oppo 103 didn't help, sad to say, so I'm back to the Onkyo while I decide on a proper pre-pro to upgrade to.
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post #30 of 372 Old 07-27-2013, 11:18 AM
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It helps the avr improve audio acoustics
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