Personal view: I’d get REW (or XTZ) ahead of Pro.
IDK if XTZ is better than REW or v-v or indeed if they are evenly matched. A big benefit of REW is that it is a) free and b) is very well supported in the thread Jerry and I linked you to, as well as by the author on the HTS site.
IIRC, Kal Rubinson uses or has used XTZ and Kal is no slouch in these matters, so if XTZ satisfies him, then I am sure it is good. But my money would be on REW for the reasons given.
Agreed. Add that XTZ will also generate filter settings.
Because of our different time zones, you've already had good replies from the other guys. Yes, two different things. Which you want first depends on what you want to do most - measure or optimise. As I said before, I’d go for measuring first. Then you will know exactly what your room is doing with your speakers and subs - this may lead you into wanting Pro, or possibly other solutions such as treatments or PEQ. XT32 is really, really good - Pro is an incremental upgrade, not a 'night and day' difference. But optimising speaker and sub placement and adding treatments really can be a 'night and day' difference. That's the way I'd do it anyway (having experienced doing it the other way around and getting Pro before REW).
That is a really tough question to answer and different people will give you different opinions. Personally, I would trust the Audyssey mic and software more than the RS SPL meter. I have compared my RS meter with the SPL function in REW and I find that this shows me that Audyssey is pretty accurate, when using a calibrated mic to do the test with. Also remember that the Audyssey mic has a calibration file inside the AVR it is used with - this isn't as accurate as an individual mic cal, like my REW mic, but it is going to better than no cal at all, which is what you have with the RS meter. I think the RS meter is good for comparative readings (ensuring all channels read the same) but not so good for absolute readings.
I have been led to believe (BICBW) that the Bluray definition of 'near field' isn't the same as the 'standard' definition as used in mixing suites etc. By this I mean, I believe they use the term 'near field' more generally when referring to a soundtrack that has been mastered for home use. Whichever, I agree that in the absence of a clear understanding of what they mean, or if they actually have remastered for a listening distance of 3-4ft, the result may not necessarily translate.
It's what we call in the UK a 'bugger's muddle' I think. Some distributors and studios give us BDs with the cinema release, some with a special 'home mix' and some with what they call a 'near field mix' and we usually have no real idea of what we are getting. Some studios such as Disney and Sony often remix for home use I believe. New Line Cinema, so I understand, always does. But in the absence of them telling us exactly what they mean, we are left in limbo. It makes it very difficult to know if we should be using Dynamic EQ at all, or RE-EQ if using THX. I guess we have to let our ears decide, but most people want 'set and forget' settings, not to have to be resetting their AVR for different discs. I think the studios could help by telling us exactly how they have mixed the discs, or at least give us a 'theatrical' 5.1 mix alongside the 'home mix'.
Only today I read an article by Lora Hirschberg where she states categorically that she mixed two different versions of The Dark Knight, for example,. She states clearly that what you get on the BD is not what you got in the cinema and that one of the differences is that the 'home' mix has less dynamic range "to cater for home theatre users" (I paraphrase). So when playing TDK do we need Dynamic EQ or RE-EQ to bring the mix back to suitability for less than Reference level listening, or do we need the Audyssey flat or movie curve because we are listening in a small room, and these factors have already been taken into account in the mix? Or what?
This messing with the DR is very evident on the Bourne Legacy BD. There are two mixes there:
You will already have noted that to get the lossless codec you have to choose the mix that has been futzed with (in a way they don't describe other than the bits in quotes above). I have listened to both mixes and by far the most satisfying is the straight 5.1 DD mix, even in its lossy codec form. It is very apparent on the 7.1 mix that the DR has been neutered. I refer to the R1 release - R2 may well be different of course, as seems often to be the case. I have other discs where I prefer the DD 5.1 to the DTS-HD MA version too but these discs do not indicate if there is a special 'home' mix or not. I think it is fairly certain that if you are watching a New Line Cinema release that you are listening to a remix for home use.
Again, time differences have overtaken me and you have received good replies, which I agree with. Your understanding is the same as mine. You may just have a preference for really, really overboosted bass (which is fine of course) and this is why you prefer LFE+Main to a bass managed result.
100% agreed. The last thing we need is a 'lowest common denominator' mix designed to sound good on 2 inch TV speakers.
Sometimes, but not often. See my rant above ;)
Good article, Max. Thanks for the link. The author's observations on RE-EQ were specially interesting to me.
It's a great shame if the movie studios decide to go the way of mp3s and so on. Makes the purchase and careful setting up of HT systems almost pointless if they go that route. The Lowest Common Denominator method...