Originally Posted by djbluemax1
Although we're aware that for new users, the "Audyssey killed my bass" comment is often due to not being used to flat bass...
You definitely make a good point that people who have never optimized low frequencies in their room can have the impression that the correct bass performance is not right. Whether it is by use of EQ or acoustic products, reduction of resonances (peaks) in the low frequency response will take away low frequency energy and with it, give the impression of less bass. This is especially felt in movies where the reduction in ringing (notes lasting longer than they should) can reduce what one feels in addition to hears. Hopefully they notice the better performance with tighter low frequency notes.
That said, we have to be careful to not take the lead from Audyssey and/or going by our gut feeling that "flat" response is the correct one. It is not perceptually nor based on research in the field.
Think about our everyday lives. We live in closed environments that don't remotely resemble an anechoic chamber. As such, the sounds that we hear are all benefiting from "room gain," i.e. exaggeration of low frequencies. Let's agree that it doesn't get higher fidelity than hearing those sounds as is. Recording them, then taking out the effects of the room gain when we play them by flattening the response will therefore degrade from our memory of what the real sound is like.
Here is a set of published measurements performed on a number of "room eq" systems with the overall double blind subjective listening test results overlaid on them:
The dashed black line in the middle is the room response with no EQ. We see the room gain in the form of that peak around 50 Hz. Notice the system in the bottom in teal which did exactly what you said: flat response in bass. Now notice the winning systems at the top. None of them used flat response. They had a tilting curve where the bass output was distinctly higher than the frequencies higher than them. We see clear correlation between doing that and subjective scores and verbal feedback from listeners. This was across 6 listeners and the outcome was consistent across all of them. Here is the break down on per frequency basis:
We see that they indeed voted RC6 and RC5 that aimed for flat response as having too little bass. Again these are trained listeners and not newbies.
Net, net, the goal as you use REW to optimize your system should be to get a *smooth* response, not *flat*.
We crave more low frequencies than flat response gives us. The more precise way to say what you are saying then is that we like to see a smooth response
, not flat.
Stepping up a few levels, we should keep in mind that correlation between acoustic measurements and what we like can range from very good to absolutely dreadful. While low frequency measurements are in the "very good" range of that spectrum, there can be surprises like above.
Again, you made a good point regarding correct bass and hopefully I did not take away from it by expanding the point