Originally Posted by rdclark
...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.
Originally Posted by imagic
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.
(Those are just some sunglasses I borrowed until one of you brings mine back.)