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post #31 of 87 Old 04-26-2015, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
"...solidly supported research"???? Really? The only research they quoted was their own. There was ZERO, peer-reviewed science to validate their testing methodologies... only their own internal unsubstantiated and un-duplicated "research." IOW, we're asked to blindly accept as validated fact that using a single speaker... placed off center, to the left front... is a valid way to perform a bias-controlled, double-blind listening test on multi-channel RC systems.... because Harmon's own internal research says it's a valid way to do it... and no one else has ever verified that???? We're asked to blindly accept that "training" the listeners to hear what we want them to hear makes them "unbiased"... because Harmon's own internal research says it does... and no one else has ever verified that??? C'mon... color me more than skeptical.
Yes, I have verified that. I have tested and compared a ton of these systems. I have them in my own home. Just a couple of days ago I tested the Pioneer MACC or whatever it is called and had to run it off too as it degraded things over doing nothing. I have the better performing system used in that article and even using it manually I am able to improve system performance without degrading it. I get there with full control. I am able to turn any filter on and and off and hear its results. Here is the user interface in my DSP system again from my article:

[img]http://www.**************.com/Library/Room%20Equalization/JBL-Synthesis-Target-Curve.png[/img]

You see that white curve at the bottom with points on it? That is the correction being applied. I can instantly do an AB test and see if the specific correction at that frequency is subjectively better or not. I close my eyes and go back and forth. Only then do I decide if I am going to leave that correction in there or not. Where do I get such a UI in my AVR with Audyssey? You can't of course because such a thing does not remotely exists.

Now look at the graphs above it. There are three of them. One is dashed lines that is kind of hard to see. That is the target response the system wanted to achieve. The faded green was the system performance without EQ. The dark/bold green is what it achieved once it applied the correction. At a glance, I can see how close it managed to get to the target graph. Which is darn good seeing how you can't hardly see the dashed target line.

Where would I find that in Audyssey? It is not there, right? It doesn't want you to know how close it got. It is the difference between professional tools and consumer.

Quote:
Bottom line, this is a 6 year old study that used a version of Audyssey that has long since been superseded. At the time, it was nothing more than a marketing attempt, manipulated to discredit their competitors, primarily Audyssey, and to make their own product look the best. It is now a completely outdated study and the technology has been superseded by current technology, (XT32, Dynamic EQ), and knowledge base, (well-documented users guides and FAQ's on these and other fora, etc.) Yet you continue to use this study to proclaim current versions of Audyssey are still no better than "no EQ"???

Give it a rest already.

Craig
Sorry, no. The only bottom line is that you are defending the manufacturer and product you use. I get why you do it but I am unmoved by your emotional rant when it is not accompanied with anything substantive as I have been showing. Those talking points may work on random forum members but has no place when you are arguing with me. I know all of your talking points and the holes in them as I have shown. I recommend that you actually use the competing products and compare them to what you have. Only then can you even being to have an informed opinion. That is my bottom line .
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post #32 of 87 Old 04-26-2015, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RayDunzl View Post
No, they're Digital now.

Example:

http://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-series/nanoavr-hd

On the other hand, most AVR have similar functions built-in.
and, we had these for a while- still available.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AudioControl...item339f96f2b1
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post #33 of 87 Old 04-27-2015, 06:45 AM
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Audyssey Pro (extra-cost option) allows you to tweak target curves, as does Dirac. MCACC lets you go back in and tweak the EQ settings and I did that in my setup but used an external (stand-alone) system to measure the results. The various miniDSP systems allow the same so there are actually a number of alternatives but it requires some technical ability and learning to utilize any of these. It is certainly possible to get "worse" results using any room correction scheme, but I suspect the majority of listeners are better off using them since the room/speaker interaction dominates the frequency response for most of us and room correction likely helps most of the time compared to do nothing, which is the alternative many have. Few have the resources, knowledge, and experience to tweak the response on their own. Few of us have or can afford the high-end solutions, and likely fewer have the technical expertise of someone like Amir who can correlate filter response (amplitude, bandwidth/Q) to what is heard. An interface like ARCOS does allow anyone to try filters using a simple visual interface and see their impact. It would be great if it would trickle down to other systems. Competition can be good.

That said I have very little experience with Audyssey so can't say how many people find their system sounds worse after running it (or anything else). Most people don't like the sound of a flat system, and of course any given target curve is going to have people who like it or don't. There are so many variables in systems and rooms, then throw in preferences, and developing a standardized target curve is probably a crap shoot. For that matter, a system that has a nice top end that sizzles to a 40 year old probably sounds harsh to a 20 year old. And so forth.

I thought the Harmon studies were reported in the AES Journal? Not real sure, let my membership lapse some time ago... In any event, of course any manufacturer publishing something is going to try to make their own system shine, but that alone does not invalidate the results. As is usual with marketing, the trick is to figure out the good stuff. I still think cable plots showing the vast improvement offered by certain brands without showing axis units is among the worst...

This is not an argument anyone is going to "win" but a better goal might be to see what options are available and how they can help or hurt. It'd be interesting to see uncorrected vs. corrected responses for a variety of compensation systems used in a variety of rooms and listener's audio systems similar to what Amir showed earlier.
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post #34 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
...I have very little experience with Audyssey so can't say how many people find their system sounds worse after running it (or anything else).
They don't. There's just one or two Audyssey haters around here, and a really badly done report by Harmon. The reality is it works just fine most of the time, and when it doesn't a few minor adjustments in measurement technique is all that's required to make it work. And yes, before I get shot at again, manual EQ can be better, but only with a degree of expertise and equipment sophistication that is well beyond the reach of the average guy. Audyssey isn't evil, and it's not perfect either. But it does work and in general is a preferred improvement.
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Most people don't like the sound of a flat system, and of course any given target curve is going to have people who like it or don't.
Smooth and uncolored is a well known and acknowledged preference of just about everyone. The target may change a bit for variations in acoustics that can, in some conditions, cause "flat" to sound too bright, but it always starts with flat.
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
There are so many variables in systems and rooms, then throw in preferences, and developing a standardized target curve is probably a crap shoot.
IMHO, the "correct" target curve would be correct for everyone. Our conditioning is "life", and there is very little variance in average exposure to sound around us, including the unaided human voice. That should result in a very consistent base line of conditioning, and thus a neutral and balanced target curve should be a good fit for all. There will, however, be a need for some variation in system EQ due to inconsistent monitor environments used particularly in older music, in other words, stuff produced on some crazy monitor target curve won't be right without correction. Otherwise, well tuned production monitor systems should land on the same target as everything else.

What I have found is that "preference" is based on acclimation, or becoming accustomed to what is actually an anomalous response curve. Take it away, make it smooth and flat-ish, and the result may not be initially preferred because of the existing adaptation, which make it "different". However, if I encourage the listener to give the equalized version a few days, they will then accommodate to that, and the old unequalized curve will sound wrong. Now, that sounds like a back and forth, what's right today is wrong tomorrow scenario, but what happens is once the listener has acclimated to the flatter, smoother curve, they begin to recognize the curve elsewhere, and also what's wrong with bad systems more easily. Additionally, acclimation to a flat uncolored curve takes far less time than acclimating to a boomy, zingy, showy, splashy curve, something that I'd like to attribute to the fact that smooth/flat curves match "life", and so are easy to acclimate to.

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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
For that matter, a system that has a nice top end that sizzles to a 40 year old probably sounds harsh to a 20 year old. And so forth.
Again, that could be more attributable to program material differing in it's production target curve. I still think that the old "we all hear differently" argument is bunk. We all are in the "world", hearing the same general stimulus. Barring noise extremes or temporary hearing adaptation, research seems to show there is significant consistent preference for the same target curve across a wide demographic.
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post #35 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 06:33 AM
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I think experience and musical taste also play into the sound people prefer. The guy listening to an orchestra has a very different "life" experience than the guy at a rock concert or small jazz club, and so forth. Different worlds, and people prefer what they are used to hearing. The other factor that upsets the apple cart is the recording and mix -- I have a lot of CDs that seem to vary widely in frequency response, from obnoxiously bright to "flat" to boomy.

FWIW, my system is as flat as I can get it.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #36 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
I think experience and musical taste also play into the sound people prefer. The guy listening to an orchestra has a very different "life" experience than the guy at a rock concert or small jazz club, and so forth. Different worlds, and people prefer what they are used to hearing.
I've wrestled with that idea too. But in reality, unless the guy lives in a jazz club, that exposure is momentary as far as life goes, with the greatest percentage of acoustic stimulus being the same as the orchestra concert goer.

There are definite EQ differences in recordings! No question, but they exist outside of what we are attempting to do with a target curve, and technically should not be addressed that way. What I keep wishing for is an equalizer I can use, beyond bass and treble, to sort those differences out while maintaining room cal. So far, no joy on any AVR for that one.
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post #37 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 07:44 AM
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Hmmm... The exposure may be "momentary", but it defines the (his) expectations for the (his) musical experience at home. He wants it to sound like the jazz club (or whatever); that is the sound (stimulus) he heard, expects, and wants to match, and it may bear no resemblance to the rest of the acoustical stimuli in his life. I understand your argument, have had the same one with myself for decades, but am not sure it applies to this situation. I used to help set up systems for a living (a long time ago, in a gal*** oops, it was this galaxy! but long before audio DSPs and HT arrived) and many times that meant adjusting the EQ for the sound the consumer expected based on his/her musical tastes and preferences. Most of the time it followed the cliche' of lifting the bass a goodly amount and dropping the highs just a little.

I have a (mostly*) flat system, but my desire in a target curve is one that makes most of my music sound the way I like it, and that all too often means tweaking EQ. Some AVRs allow you to tweak EQ settings (my Pio does, most Audyssey systems do not, and some like Dirac allow you to tweak the curve but there may not be sufficient memories to easily swap among various curves). But, it is inordinately painful in many cases and I don't want to fiddle with presets and loading curves for every other CD or record. I have on more than one occasion wished for a simple bass/mid/treble set of up/down controls on my remote just to provide some general EQ. It would not be perfect but most of the time more than "good enough". Heck, I've even had the occasional guilty lust for a decent "loudness" button... As it is, I leave it flat and enjoy the well-recorded and mixed music the most.

FWIWFM - Don

* I did roll off the HF a bit starting around 15 kHz as I can't hear that high anymore and figured I'd save the tweeters (and the dog).

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post #38 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 03:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
They don't. There's just one or two Audyssey haters around here, and a really badly done report by Harmon.
Audyssey haters? I have been around this watering hole for a long time and I have yet to see an "Audyssey hater." On the contrary, the reason the arguments get created is that a handful of prolific posters have blind love for Audyssey and will stomp on anyone who dares to say otherwise. The constant in all of them are the following:

1. Little to no experience with any other system. With no reference point, they think this is the best that can be.

2. Have built a persona on the forum as an Audyssey expert. They have clocked literally thousands of posts on the topic and as such, the notion that this is not a performant system, will mean they will be out of a "job."

3. They have never or hardly studied the science at any depth, including the mentioned "harman report." They are not open to any explanation of science and technology. I have written literally books on this topic, but they don't want to hear it. The article I wrote actually came from one of these arguments where the person who is the author of Audyssey FAQ kept saying X-curve is right and Audyssey following it, righteous.

4. They run with marketing talking points of Audyssey as if they work there. Heck, I don't think the company does as much defending as the proponents on the forum do! I mean look at this target curve selection in Audyssey (PRO) from my article:

[img]http://www.**************.com/Library/Room%20Equalization/Auddessy-Pro-Target-Curves.png[/img]

Look at those dips in every target they have built-in. Tell me if you want to dispute any of this: who on this earth would design a speaker, and leave the response pointed up in mid-range as to have Audyssey correct it? Don't you think they would design the speaker to sound right without Audyssey in that region? I mean it would be awfully stupid to assume everyone would 100% use Audyssey with it as to correct that anomaly. Common sense is parked outside of the door in these discussions so that is what we get.

Here is the reality and there is no getting around it. Automatic EQ systems are like powerful drugs to cure a disease. They deal with room resonances which is a good thing. But they also can have serious side effects. Depending on what you are bothered by, a faulty Auto EQ system may still very much improve your experience. Taking away low frequency resonances which they all do to some degree is very important. That may be enough to get you to not notice what damage has been done to the overall response, that dip, etc.

On the other hand, they can have side effects and until you understand the nature of them, you are ill equipped to hand out advice as to efficacy of the system.

5. They convince themselves that the bad sound they hear, is the right one. Here is one from Audyssey FAQ:

f)5. Since I ran Audyssey everything sounds great - but where has my bass gone?

[...]

If you are listening at reference levels or have Dynamic EQ engaged and are still unhappy with your bass, chances are, if your calibration followed the FAQ recommendations, it hasn't gone anywhere. What you are now hearing is flat, 'reference' bass and this can take some time to get used to.


Again, as I explained in my article, there is no such reference. The bass is anemic because Audyssey uses a flat target curve for bass to mid-frequencies and that perceptually does not sound right.

The purpose of our systems is to create enjoyment. It is not make us bend over backward to adapt to it. If the system sounds bad after you ran Audyssey, then it is bad. Telling people to keep listening to get used to it is just wrong advice. Well designed systems sound superb and better as soon as you turn on the correction. Imagine someone designing a half a million dollar theater for a high-end client and expecting them to keep listening to it until it sounds good to them! Won't happen. Neither will Audyssey find its way into any high-end theater.

Harman "report" being wrong? No. Their conclusions match much of published research. See this post I wrote extensively outline this: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-aud...l#post23172292.

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The reality is it works just fine most of the time, and when it doesn't a few minor adjustments in measurement technique is all that's required to make it work.
Nope. Unless you have the Pro kit, you cannot change the target response. You cannot fix the dip. You cannot optimize multiple subs independently. You may be able to convince yourself that you have a better system than where you started but you are far from declaring it "working."

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post #39 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 03:23 PM
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Fun stuff!
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post #40 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Audyssey haters? I have been around this watering hole for a long time and I have yet to see an "Audyssey hater."
...and yet...

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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Look at those dips in every target they have built-in. Tell me if you want to dispute any of this: who on this earth would design a speaker, and leave the response pointed up in mid-range as to have Audyssey correct it? Don't you think they would design the speaker to sound right without Audyssey in that region? I mean it would be awfully stupid to assume everyone would 100% use Audyssey with it as to correct that anomaly. Common sense is parked outside of the door in these discussions so that is what we get.

Here is the reality and there is no getting around it. Automatic EQ systems are like powerful drugs to cure a disease. They deal with room resonances which is a good thing. But they also can have serious side effects.

<snip!>

Neither will Audyssey find its way into any high-end theater.
...and....
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Unless you have the Pro kit, you cannot change the target response. You cannot fix the dip. You cannot optimize multiple subs independently. You may be able to convince yourself that you have a better system than where you started but you are far from declaring it "working."
Yeah, no Audyssey haters here.

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Fun stuff!
Right. Fun. That's what it is. And the real fun is, he doesn't even get why the evil dip is there.

Ok, ready? Now duck and cover!
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post #41 of 87 Old 04-28-2015, 11:52 PM
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And the real fun is, he doesn't even get why the evil dip is there.
Why is it there?

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post #42 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 08:00 AM
 
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And the real fun is, he doesn't even get why the evil dip is there.
I know why it is there. I explained that it is completely misguided. And have done so before a number of times such as this thread, https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-aud...l#post22723642, in response to the poster taking the same stance as you:

"I am slightly amazed that you can hang out on these boards and not have caught one of the probably dozens of discussions of Audyssey's implementation of the BBC dip in its correction routine. It's a choice they made based on their own research, essentially in accord with the BBC's research that led to a similar dip in, say, the LS3/5a. "

As I respond there, you need to read this other thread before believing such fish stories: http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/ind...howtopic=75195

In there, you see our own member Ethan asking about the history of this midrange dip:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan
Anyway, I learned the other day that this "dirty little secret" of the speaker industry actually has a name - the Gundry Dip, also called the BBC Dip apparently related to some early BBC research.

I'm trying to learn more about the origin of this intentional dip, but all I get from Google is links to people discussing it in audio forums. I'm trying to find something more authoritative. Does anyone know where I can read more about this?
Wouldn't you know it, we get a response from Dr. Olive whose study we have been discussing here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by solive

Neither I nor Floyd Toole had never heard about the Gundry dip until about 2 months ago when an audio reviewer used the term in an email to us. Many poorly designed 2-way loudspeakers already have dips in the sound power response in the cross-over range 1-3 kHz where the directivity of the woofer is too high compare to the directivity of the tweeter at those frequencies. As a result, this produces a notch in the sound power response of the loudspeaker, usually followed by a peak. Depending on the bandwidth and depth of the notch, it is the peak that is often heard as sounding objectionable (harshness, hardness or excessive brightness). The extent to which this a problem depends on whether you are sitting on or off axis, and the reflectivity of the room. Some room correction products, by default, have a dip in their target curve in an attempt to compensate for this sound power problem, essentially trying to second guess whether or not the loudspeaker is well-designed. As I've shown in a recent AES paper - this doesn't always lead to good results.

You can see this notch/peak in the BBC frequency graphs of the LS3. I also wonder, if people are not hearing distortion when these small loudspeakers are overdriven.

Cheers
Sean
This must be an amazing discovery that two of our industry luminaries had never heard of it, nor had Ethan. Fortunately clarity comes in the form of this post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GagHalfrunt
Reviving this a touch, I found this from the F.A.Q. on the Harbeth website

Quote:
There is much myth, folklore and misunderstanding about this subject.

The 'BBC dip' is (was) a shallow shelf-down in the acoustic output of some BBC-designed speaker system of the 1960s-1980s in the 1kHz to 4kHz region. The LS3/5a does not have this effect, neither in the 15 ohm nor 11 ohm, both of which are in fact slightly lifted in that region.

According to Harbeth's founder, who worked at the BBC during the time that this psychoacoustic effect was being explored, the primary benefit this little dip gave was in masking of defects in the early plastic cone drive units available in the 1960's
.
Leading to this remarkable post from son of the man himself:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken G
Well, of course having found this, I have to jump in. My father, Dick Gundry, who spent almost all his working life in the BBC and was for many years responsible for maintaining technical standards in BBC Radio (which have sadly gone down since his retirement in about 1971), and who was known behind his back as golden ears, would not have been pleased to have his name attached to a deliberate departure from a flat frequency response in loudspeakers. Has anyone any idea on how this term arose? It must have been much more recent than 1971.
So if this is the secret you are alluding too, I am afraid it only serves to dig the hole deeper.

Here is the company's own statement now: https://audyssey.zendesk.com/entries...e-Compensation

"Midrange Compensation
Chris Kyriakakis January 21, 2011
Midrange compensation is an intentional dip in the 2 kHz region where the vast majority of tweeter-to-midrange crossovers are. In that region the tweeter is at the low end of its range and the midrange at the high end of its range and the directivity of the speaker goes through major changes. We found that if that region is equalized to flat, the change in direct to reflected ratio that happens because of the directivity variations causes voices to sound harsh (among other things). So, we have this implemented in the Audyssey target curve. With MultEQ Pro you can choose to turn it off, but we don't recommend it. This notion was observed 40 years ago by BBC speaker designers in their studio monitors. They designed their speakers with this "BBC dip" intentionally in the speaker response."


Now you know more than they do . That this was folklore and pure audio junk science that one needs to stick a dip in the midrange to make speakers sound good. Sadly Dr. Kyriakakis goes on to repeatedly state in the comments section that in every speaker he has heard, this dip provided a benefit. This in my book means that there is nothing I can trust in his listening abilities given that every bit of audio research tells us this is wrong. Dr. Olive touches on this and I can shower you with as much as you can take and then some .

As I said in my article, if you are going to use Audyssey, be sure to turn this off.
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post #43 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 10:50 AM
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Just uncheck "midrange compensation".
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post #44 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 11:52 AM
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Just uncheck "midrange compensation".
Short and sweet! Good suggestion.
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post #45 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
I know why it is there. I explained that it is completely misguided. And have done so before a number of times such as this thread, https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-aud...l#post22723642, in response to the poster taking the same stance as you:

"I am slightly amazed that you can hang out on these boards and not have caught one of the probably dozens of discussions of Audyssey's implementation of the BBC dip in its correction routine. It's a choice they made based on their own research, essentially in accord with the BBC's research that led to a similar dip in, say, the LS3/5a. "
Ah, so you DO know! Well, that's better than just broadly "hating".

But, predictably, you haven't missed the opportunity to be condescending, demeaning and insulting in your reply. Too bad too. You might have gained some respect, but for that.

But at least you knew. I guess that's something.

FWIW (obviously, not much!), I've always turned the mid comp on or off as required.
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post #46 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 01:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
...and yet...
...and....
Yeah, no Audyssey haters here.
A wise man gave me a life long lesson when I was very young: "if you can't criticize something, you don't know it well enough!" When I explain what doesn't work in Audyssey, it is a reflection of that, and not some emotional need to be in love or hate for it. I have a ton of gear with Audyssey in it and would be more than pleased if it worked. Alas it just doesn't for me so I studied the issues with it and am sharing those here. I have provided extensive back up including published reports. That you don't want to accept them is an issue for yourself to sort out than anything to do with me.

Let me know if a real technical discussion is in our future instead of this kind of talk....
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post #47 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 02:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
FWIW (obviously, not much!), I've always turned the mid comp on or off as required.
Required by what?

And didn't you say this? "The reality is it works just fine most of the time, and when it doesn't a few minor adjustments in measurement technique is all that's required to make it work."

Turning this on and off goes beyond "minor adjustments in measurement technique," right?

Aren't there hundreds of thousands if not millions of AVR that don't let you defeat this feature?
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post #48 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 02:05 PM
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Based on the opening post and a few of the initial recommendations, there was no need for a knock down, drag out "technical discussion" (debate?) yet again.

When I was younger... a wise woman gave me a short life lesson: Sometimes the less said is better.
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post #49 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Required by what?
Uh...the specific speaker?
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
And didn't you say this? "The reality is it works just fine most of the time, and when it doesn't a few minor adjustments in measurement technique is all that's required to make it work."
Yes, I said that. Point?
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Turning this on and off goes beyond "minor adjustments in measurement technique," right?
It's not a measurement technique at all, its a tuning tool. Point?
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Aren't there hundreds of thousands if not millions of AVR that don't let you defeat this feature?
Yes. And there are just about as many badly done cheap speakers that actually do sound better with the mid comp on. You know, the cheap junk, like less than $2500 for the whole bunch of them, though that's rough generalization, not a figure of merit. Pretty sure they aren't in your world, though, you seem pretty far up in the stratosphere.

Ever run Audyssey, Pro or not, on a really good room with really flat speakers and not hear any change at all? Yeah, it happens. But you'd have to expose yourself to many...and I mean many...different installations to notice that.

So, you hate Audyssey for your high end theaters, but can't see your way clear to admit it may be a useful tool for the unwashed masses who can't afford flat speakers, you and your vast knowledge, room treatment, or even a room?
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post #50 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 05:34 PM
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post #51 of 87 Old 04-29-2015, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
A wise man gave me a life long lesson when I was very young: "if you can't criticize something, you don't know it well enough!" When I explain what doesn't work in Audyssey, it is a reflection of that, and not some emotional need to be in love or hate for it.
I'm not "in love" with Audyssey. It's a tool. I use it like a tool. I know what it does well, and I know what it doesn't do well. Nonetheless, I've always been able to make it work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
I have a ton of gear with Audyssey in it and would be more than pleased if it worked. Alas it just doesn't for me so I studied the issues with it and am sharing those here. I have provided extensive back up including published reports. That you don't want to accept them is an issue for yourself to sort out than anything to do with me.
I can't speak to your level of technical expertise. Nor can I speak to your willingness to try to get the tool to do its' job optimally. I can however speak to my own experiences with Audyssey.

Here are some examples of the successes I've had with it:

My own system:

Bass Response, (subs only w 80 Hz crossover):



My speakers and subs:


DM's Post Audyssey Response, (Submersives):



CL's Post Audyssey:



MC's system:

Subs only w 80 Hz Crossover:



Speakers and Subs:



DM's Prior System



NR's System:



JH's System:



Here's a system where I had to add a parametric EQ to flatten a HUGE 40 Hz peak, pre-Audyssey:

Pre-Audyssey:



Post Audyssey subs plus speakers, (80 Hz crossover):



To ALL of these systems, I add Dynamic EQ, which does the following:



ALL of these systems sounded BETTER post Audyssey, and every one of these system owners PREFERRED the post-Audyssey sound. In fact, they were all thrilled with the improvement in sound quality. I have never had anyone not prefer the post-Audyssey sound, and I have probably measured and tweaked 25 or more systems.

This is why I question the skill level of the person who ran the Audyssey calibration/EQ for the Harman comparison test. I'm not the least bit surprised that nobody liked or preferred the Audyssey in that test. It's a terrible result. But it's clearly not representative of the potential results that can be acheived with Audyssey.

Is Audyssey going to be as good, or as flexible or adjustable as your $20,000 JBL system? Obviously not. In fact, if your system isn't significantly better, you spent a LOT of money for nothing. But that doesn't mean that Audyssey is "worse than no EQ." It's only worse than no EQ if it's setup badly, and not optimized.

Craig
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"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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A wise man gave me a life long lesson when I was very young: "if you can't criticize something, you don't know it well enough!"
So if one does criticize, then he / she knows well enough? Got it.
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So if one does criticize, then he / she knows well enough? Got it.
No. I didn't say it was a two-way function.
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No. I didn't say it was a two-way function.
And the other "way" was? Or did that "wise man" tell you at all?
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post #55 of 87 Old 04-30-2015, 11:09 AM
 
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I'm not "in love" with Audyssey. It's a tool. I use it like a tool. I know what it does well, and I know what it doesn't do well.
Thank you for the detailed response Craig. I now see the source of the confusion. The situation is not as you see it. Please see below.

Quote:
I can't speak to your level of technical expertise. Nor can I speak to your willingness to try to get the tool to do its' job optimally.
Audyssey is aimed at the mass market. The thesis of the original post was that it is easier to use than an EQ. This means setting up the mic, running the automated system and expecting it to work. If you are doing more than this, then you are adding complexity that takes away from the very notion of this system and how it is used by its buyers. But this is not important in the context of this response to you as I the reason for disagreement is a misunderstanding of the data and underlying causes. Please see below.
Quote:
I can however speak to my own experiences with Audyssey. Here are some examples of the successes I've had with it: My own system: Bass Response, (subs only w 80 Hz crossover):
I can't see these graphs. But I do see the attachments. All of them, in addition to the results you post of others show the bass response to 250 Hz. Those are improper measurements to use in this conversation. I have explaining two problems with Audyssey:

1. Midrange dip. This is happening in the region of 1 to 4 Khz. Clearly this is not visible in a frequency response which only extends to 250 Hz.

2. The slope of the target curve. For obvious reasons, this graph must span the full frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 Khz. Again, stopping at 250 Hz gives us no idea at all what the achieved target response is.

What you do show is the benefit of an Auto EQ system in taming resonances (peaks) that occur in low frequencies. I already explained that this is a benefit of Audyssey as it is of just about any other Auto EQ system. Neither I, nor Harman has criticized this aspect of the system. So not sure why you would post a dozen measurements, all showing how you have smoothed the response in bass region. This is to be expected and is good.

The bad is that some baggage came with it in the form of #1 and #2 . Please see more below.

Quote:
ALL of these systems sounded BETTER post Audyssey, and every one of these system owners PREFERRED the post-Audyssey sound. In fact, they were all thrilled with the improvement in sound quality. I have never had anyone not prefer the post-Audyssey sound, and I have probably measured and tweaked 25 or more systems.
You say you don't know what my skill set is. I am going to turn that around and say I don't know what critical your listening abilities are either. What I do know is my own and that of Harman trained listeners. We all seem to be adept at hearing frequency response anomalies. To wit, I have taken their double blind speaker tests and in both cases, my outcome was the same as their trained listeners.

The word “blind” is key here. Since you don’t state otherwise, I am assuming all of your tests were sighted. It is abundantly easy to convince yourself you are doing some good when performing sighted tests when in reality you are not. No, just because the differences are “big,” it does not mean placebo takes a vacation. Time for a little story .

I was teaching my two sons how EQ works. I would set up a filter and then with a checkbox in the UI, I could turn it on and off to show the effect. I did this a couple of times but on the next try, when I asked my children if they could hear the difference as I toggled the checkbox, they gave me that reluctant nod of “we can’t hear it but we are too polite/afraid to say otherwise so we are going to pretend you are right.” Noticing that, I look at the UI and I see that when I thought I had the checkbox on, it was really off! So all the improvements I thought I was hearing was not there at all! Of course subsequent to this knowledge, I could now hear that it had made no difference.

So unless you can come back and show how your testing has been blind, I am afraid I can’t put much weight on testing which included a huge fan of the technology no less. I can get 100 cable believers to all say they are hearing night and day difference in two identical cables. That kind of data point doesn’t counter the results of blind tests where such bias could not be introduced.

Importantly these testers need to be exposed to something better than Audyssey. Only then do they have a proper reference of what great sound is.
Quote:
This is why I question the skill level of the person who ran the Audyssey calibration/EQ for the Harman comparison test. I'm not the least bit surprised that nobody liked or preferred the Audyssey in that test. It's a terrible result. But it's clearly not representative of the potential results that can be acheived with Audyssey.
You say the Harman results are “terrible.” I don’t know how you can say that when everything their research shows is embedded in the design of Audyssey. I updated the graph to make this clear:

The Harman test has two parts: 1) a double blind listening test and 2) objective measurements trying to correlate system performance with the listening tests. The latter does not lie. It is what the system is doing. And that is shown in the above graph.

On the left of the graph I have annotated the two problems with Audyssey and drawn an arrow to its frequency response which is the teal colored graph at the bottom. The dip is there as shown by the circle. And the flat response is my eyeball average shown in that flat line.

Now here is the key thing: both of these are by design. The midrange compensation as they call it is there as they say it is. And the flat response is there if you look at the target curve it attempts to achieve. Given this, there is no way that outcome is wrong. Audyssey is doing what it is supposed to and as such, there is no operator error. Let me repeat: Audyssey is doing what it is supposed to. The tests are 100% valid as far as operating the system.

So the worry then turns to what the listeners heard. There, the test is not what you think it is. They did not ask listeners, “here is Audyssey on and now off; which is better?” They played all of those systems in a random manner using a computer. The trained listener then judged in his mind which sounded more real to them. The no EQ test was just one of the stimulus unbenounced to the listeners. Ratings were then assigned to each system by the listeners, again not knowing which is which. The no EQ system garnered certain score that was below the best performing systems since we know the room interactions deter from performance of the system and by fixing them properly, we can improve the sound (Harman proves this in another research paper). This was demonstrated with two Harman implementations (#1 and #2 ) and one third-party (#3).

Audyssey and Anthem ARC as a whole garnered scores that were lower than straight wire control. They just did. In the opinion of *every* listener in that test, they overall experience was inferior to doing nothing. You can’t dispute this outcome. They scored without knowing which is which and in balance, they thought using these two systems made the experience worse.

Detailed results shows strong disdain for the midrange performance and bass. We have talked at length why these two occurred and therefore, there should be no objection to this outcome. If you screw up the midrange of a speaker then people are going to cry foul. Likewise, bass is very important to listeners with respect to fidelity. Make it anemic (subjectively) and listener preference goes down.

Yes, the peaks were taken out of the low frequencies. Notice how the Audyssey line in Teal is more flat than dashed line which was no EQ. This, it did. Just like you have seen in the measurements of your system and that of other vocal fans of Audyssey. But with it as I noted, came some baggage such as keeping a rather flat response and introducing a dip in mid frequencies which proved offensive to listeners.

Now, it should be said that critical listeners are much more ruthless when it comes to audio artifacts. I am trained in audio compression and even slightest amount of it can make it unbearable to me to listen to it. Take US DBS radio: XM. It has so much compression artifacts that I can’t listen to it even though I like the content they have. With some 25 million users, clearly this is not nearly as much of a problem for them. So maybe if Harman had you or the other 25 people you mentioned that their scores would be higher. That doesn’t change the objective facts that Audyssey introduces errors in the system. The errors exist and we have found them fair and square. We use trained listeners so that we can find and fix these problems and not stick our head in the sand by having non-critical listeners tell us it is all fine.
Quote:
Is Audyssey going to be as good, or as flexible or adjustable as your $20,000 JBL system? Obviously not. In fact, if your system isn't significantly better, you spent a LOT of money for nothing. But that doesn't mean that Audyssey is "worse than no EQ." It's only worse than no EQ if it's setup badly, and not optimized.
I hope you now agree that the outcome was correct and Audyssey did what it was designed to do. There is a reason that in so many years, not one study has been published to dispute its results. There are things that are wrong with the system and the research found them subjectively and objectively.

As to comparison to JBL, that is not in discussion. What is in discussion is use of low cost EQ systems. There, I can outperform Audyssey easily with just a bit of work and possibly much less than you are doing Audyssey . Everyone can learn to do the same and get the bonus of really understanding room acoustics. Nothing is more educational than pulling a peak down in bass frequencies and turning that on and off and listening to the results. Or changing the overall frequency response. No amount of screwing around with Audyssey gives you that. Not even close.

If Audyssey was doing its job then sure, I am as lazy as the next guy and would use it. But it just doesn’t. As such let’s not give advice to people to ditch an EQ and get an AVR with Audyssey.
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post #56 of 87 Old 04-30-2015, 11:46 AM
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So if one does criticize, then he / she knows well enough? Got it.
Spkr, 'If A then B' does not imply 'If B then A'. It does imply 'Not B then not A', but that isn't what you were saying. This is a matter of elementary logic.
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post #57 of 87 Old 04-30-2015, 11:59 AM
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Equalizer question

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post #58 of 87 Old 05-01-2015, 03:56 AM
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Amir, while I generally agree with your claims, I have some issues with these:

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Loudness compensation is an orthogonal enhancement that can be applied to any system. As such, it is not a feature of a room EQ system to be tested...

...Now, if Audyssey had made their loudness compensation mandatory then sure, we could talk about that. But that is not the case...
Sorry, this is a logical fallacy that ignores the psychoacoustic importance of equal loudness curves and I am surprised you have made such statement given your otherwise spot-on statements.

You appear to be saying that we can ignore equal loudness curves and their effect upon perception of the room EQ because Harman ignored it. That is circular reasoning.

This argument is just logically wrong, unless you are telling me that trained listeners can internally compensate the perceptual effects of non-reference level listening by turning on loudness compensation inside their heads somehow.

Audyssey was not complete feature set at the time of publication and today DEQ is in fact a 'requirement' for the room EQ to function to specification across all listening levels.

This is a separate issue from the volume-knob-dependent level boost to surround channels in DEQ (similar to THX Loudness Plus) that is arguably a marketing gimmick to keep customers from complaining that they cannot hear the (usually quiet ambiance) surround channels contributing much at all when listening at very low levels. That surround level boost is another 'feature' that should be defeatable or at least adjustable, so I have cranked my surrounds down 2dB to correct my preferred listening level with DEQ.

I did read the Harman study, or at least the parts of it that are accessible to me, and saw nothing whatsoever about what the actual SPL was for the testing or whether any loudness compensation was used, so I assume no loudness compensation with the volume set to something like -15dB or so. Since they only used 3 music programs that presumably had no inherent standardized reference level there was probably no calibrated reference level anywhere in the setup beyond what the room EQ was using for calibration.

The 'perceived response' graph of Audyssey clearly indicates a sawtooth-shaped midrange bump that looks suspiciously like an inverted equal loudness contour.

Following this line of reasoning on this study to its ultimate redux, at reference level the expectation is that the bass boost of the 'preferred' would be perceived as wrong, but the study I saw made no mention of listening level at all. This omission is grounds to suspect the whole study as biased or flawed in some fundamental fashion and the possibility of all these experts getting it so obviously wrong looks to me like a big fat black eye on the industry as a whole that I am frankly surprised you are so willing to gloss over given your penchant for detail.

Do you have any info that addresses this criticism of the study besides dismissing it as irrelevant?

Quote:
While on this graph, note that another system, the Lyngdorf DPA-I, ranked #3 , well above doing nothing or that of Anthem and Audyssey...

...The two that deviated where the Anthem and Audyssey (pink and teal) and rated worse than doing nothing. So we have objective results matching our subjective results. This is powerful.
Why would a flawed study have any power at all? If equal loudness contours were totally ignored then such apples-to-oranges comparison would of course unfairly punish 'measured flat' curves compared to 'perceptually flatter' curves, or at the very least confuse the issue, especially if no loudness compensation at all was used and no accouting was made of absolute DBs in the room.

I am just not getting your point. Maybe if the study at least addressed equal loudness contours in passing and explained that lack of such may have biased the result I could give them the benefit of the doubt but the writeup I saw said nothing whatsoever about it.

It seems to me that the study was aimed at a very specialized and narrow market segment: wealthy audiophiles with dedicated listening rooms that are large enough and acoustically isolated enough to allow listening at a fixed level with a tailored house curve that sounds perceptually flat at average comfortable listening levels. If they at least acknowledged this limitation of applicability somewhere in the study I would say OK fine they covered all the bases but they did no such thing. This omission of a critical caveat makes me suspect the study was at least equal parts marketing and research if not pure marketing.

Quote:
The correction is applied to all the channels on all the systems. It is that for testing phase, only one channel is listened to.
This is another shortcoming of the study. Who is to say that these automated systems did equally good job of EQing all the speakers in the room across all listening positions? I raised this objection on AVS before and so far no one has justified why no multichannel listening tests were done and no multichannel measurements were provided. I know it would have made the study more complicated but the whole point is that the use of just a single speaker of a single type in a single room location in a single room with just 3 predefined music programs smacks of cherry-picking the test conditions.

Quote:
...As you well know, no counter test or counterpoint argument has been presented since. If such easy fixes existed to make Audyssey better, it would have been used to counter these results but there has not been any.
WARNING: the following is example only so people PLEASE do not run off topic with a political argument or accuse me of doing so!

We might as well say that because Hillary slams Bernie in all her (yet to appear) negative advertising for the Democratic presidential primary election that means that her claims are valid because he lacks the resources to smear her back and will not do so on principle.

Audyssey does not have the market penetration or capitalization of Harman and cannot afford to engage in such back-and-forth volleys of studies with highly trained listeners and given their approach to marketing it seems Audyssey is disinclined to do so anyway on principle or maybe because such studies are totally irrelevant to their target market. It is again comparing apples to oranges.

Quote:
Remember, Dr. Olive who spearheaded this testing is the outgoing president of Audio Engineering Society. We are not talking about a drunk who showed up one day at the conference and decided to publish some paper. His reputation is at stake if he produced bad work. His work is respected in the industry....

...Certainly no Joe forum post can trump it lest it comes with at least the same level of authority and standing in the industry.
Another political example, sorry but it is all I can think of...

President George W. Bush was leader of the free world. He was arguably the worst president in US history IMO, vacationing through the NSA warning of the worst terrorist attack on US soil... (much disappointment edited for brevity).

We might as well ignore all his warts for the sake of his credentials if your argument has any validity.

Arguing from authority is the essence of hubris. Just because someone has impeccable pedigree does not make their waste smell better. I am just pointing out that in at least two technical aspects the Harman study fails skeptical scrutiny and all claims based upon this study need some qualification or they start to look prejudicial.

Finally, there are some criticisms of Audyssey that I am surprised you have not raised.

One is the lack of subwoofer EQ and the frankly anemic sattelite EQ in the 2EQ algorithm. This version of Audyssey is indeed basically worthless. If anything, they should have just applied EQ to the subwoofer and left the satellites alone if they needed to make such drastic compromise since the room modes muddying up the bass are among the most pernicious of room distortions. It is obvious that the cheap subwoofers that tend to accompany such low budget receivers could also benefit from EQ much more than the cheap satellites too.

Another is the use of two discrete rolloffs in the treble of the 'reference' curve as opposed to a smooth rolloff with higher complexity filter such as Harman used. Like the 48KHz limitation and the lack of any substantive effect from 2EQ, the smoothness of the curve in Audyssey has been compromised due to lack of processing power in the average consumer grade receiver. Of all the negative aspects of Audyssey, the lumpy treble rolloff of the 'reference' curve is the most annoying to me.

A third is the total lack of any optional nearfield speaker measurements. It almost seems a foregone conclusion that without such measurements the system has no hope of achieving a perceptually flat response, since combined on-axis and ambient off-axis information gets mixed together in the measurements at or near the 'sweet spot' and there is no way for Audyssey to separate the two. That combined response tends to cause perceived brightness because the direct speaker output gets treble boosted to 'correct' for the relatively duller off-axis component that has inherently decreasing dispersion in the treble.

Human hearing can distinguish direct from reflected treble and hears the brightness as emanating directly from the speaker while perceiving the duller reflected sound as an independent and distinct component. A simple mono microphone with comparatively simple analytical capability in the algorithm cannot make such distinction as readily if at all.

Harman's ski-slope EQ with treble attenuation would be more correct in the 'precedence' domain but even their algorithm took no nearfield measurements that I am aware of and as such is merely an approximation that might or might not work well with any given speaker.

If anything is responsible for the dissatisfaction with Audyssey, I suspect it is these aspects that dominate and at least the third is common to all room EQ I know of. The surround boost of DEQ is a strong fourth contender.

Regarding the midrange dip I suspect that the average listener cannot even detect it without a test signal that specifically calls attention to it. I know that my ability to fine-tune graphic EQ is not so hot and has deteriorated with age. Anyway it can be defeated completely with the 'flat' or 'music' setting in the consumer version of Audyssey.

Lastly, I just wanted to point out that the 'brightness' that results from precedence effect when combining on-axis treble with off-axis treble in the calibration measurement is highly dependent on the acoustics of the room and the dispersion of the speaker. Very dead rooms with broadband absorbers will tend to attenuate the off-axis component substantially and reduce the brightness of the 'flat' Audyssey curve. That attenuation of reflections in a dead room should also make the perceived response of Audyssey in a dead room more resemble the perceived Harman curve in a room with ambient response from reflections.

Likewise, a speaker with omnidirectional radiation pattern will also have less tendency to EQ with a bright on-axis response. Taking these speaker and room effects into account demonstrates that the use of a single listening environment with a single speaker for the study calls the general applicability of the results into question.
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post #59 of 87 Old 05-01-2015, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
I did read the Harman study, or at least the parts of it that are accessible to me, and saw nothing whatsoever about what the actual SPL was for the testing or whether any loudness compensation was used, so I assume no loudness compensation with the volume set to something like -15dB or so. Since they only used 3 music programs that presumably had no inherent standardized reference level there was probably no calibrated reference level anywhere in the setup beyond what the room EQ was using for calibration.
Suppose you were designing a room correction system. Some of the things you have to take into consideration are:

1) you don't know what volume level listeners will be using at home
2) you don't know whether the optional DEQ feature will be on or off
3) you don't know whether they will be listening to movies or music
4) you don't know how many speakers will be used for playback

With that in mind, what would your default target curve look like? Measured flat or something else?

Sanjay
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post #60 of 87 Old 05-01-2015, 11:09 AM
 
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Spkr, 'If A then B' does not imply 'If B then A'. It does imply 'Not B then not A', but that isn't what you were saying. This is a matter of elementary logic.
Looks like you haven't dealt with Amir much. Logic is whatever supports his narrative of the moment is.
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