Originally Posted by Dave Carr
Not trying to labor this, but an RTA is a very narrow focus device that doesn't seem to hit all of the critical issues all of the time. You may achieve more even frequency response, but have added in other distortions that negate any benefit. Typically, systems that have been setup using RTAs end up with smoothed over transient response and squashed dynamics. This may be exceptable for some, but it is not for me. To each his own.
The use of an EQ is not required when using an RTA. You seem to be referring to the two interchangeably. The RTA is only a measuring device and is not a permanent part of the signal chain, and therefor it cannot affect things like transients and dynamics. And just to be clear, when I refer to an RTA, I use the term loosely. The software available these days is much more sophisticated than an RTA. RTA is just simpler to say.
In regards to EQ, all but the rare purist recordings have already been EQ'd and processed in a variety of ways during mastering, so the damage (if you wish to call it that) has already been done well before you even place the CD in your player. But that is a topic for another thread.
In the end, I'm not here to argue the merits of taking a purist / subjective approach to setting up your system vs. a more modern approach that includes the use of sound analysis tools and room EQ. I was only trying to point that you can still be a purist and use sound analysis tools to help you find the optimal position for your speakers and listening position much more quickly than doing it by ear alone (listening is still required to verify that you like the sound that measures well).
There's been more than a few times that I've placed my speakers where they sound best with the particular music tracks I've selected for the set-up, only to find that when I play a new piece of music there's a "hot note" in the bass that I didn't hear before, for example. Trying to rectify the problem by ear alone can be maddening, not to mention time consuming. Sound analysis tools show you the potential issues; you can chose or chose not to act on them. One thing is certain though, even if you like your bass a little ripe, or a little lean, no one likes peaky response and using sound analysis tools lets you see if you are sitting in a room null, or if your speaker position is causing a bass peak, or vice versa.
I've said my peace, and now I'll leave it up to the individual as to which approach they wish to take.