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post #1 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Equalizer question

I have an AudioControl C-101 equalizer that I purchased in 2000. I used it with my old Denon AVR3300 receiver and had it connected thru the tape monitor. I just replaced the Denon with a Yamaha RX-V377 which does not have a tape monitor input and I'm thinking that the equalizer will not be able to be used. Since AV products are now transitioning mostly to digital inputs (HDMI), are equalizers a thing of the past?

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post #2 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Five28 View Post

Since AV products are now transitioning mostly to digital inputs (HDMI), are equalizers a thing of the past?
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.

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post #3 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayDunzl View Post
Guess I should have phrased it a bit differently. Are analog equalizers like my AudioControl C-101 still usable with modern AV receivers?

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post #4 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 12:05 PM
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Generally speaking, no. Obsolete in the face of multi-channel Home Theater AVR with similar functionality built-in.
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post #5 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayDunzl View Post
Generally speaking, no. Obsolete in the face of multi-channel Home Theater AVR with similar functionality built-in.
Thanks for that. Looks like I'll be heading over to Ebay with a lightly used EQ.
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post #6 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 12:14 PM
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They sell...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...H_Sold=1&rt=nc
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post #7 of 87 Old 04-20-2015, 12:17 PM
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In principle you could still use your AVC EQ if your receiver has RCA preamp outputs which are used to drive external amps. i.e. if you use your receiver as if it were a pre/pro.

However, as already has been mentioned, most modern AVRs have builtin EQ circuits. They're usually more capable than the AVC's old analog graphic equalizers.
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post #8 of 87 Old 04-21-2015, 07:44 AM
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In principle you could still use your AVC EQ if your receiver has RCA preamp outputs which are used to drive external amps. i.e. if you use your receiver as if it were a pre/pro.
The Yamaha RX-V377 doesn't have preamp outs, nor do any AVRs at that level.
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post #9 of 87 Old 04-21-2015, 07:33 PM
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I had an AudioControl crossover and EQ in my car years ago - very nice equipment.

In general, I dont like or recommend equalization with one obvious exception. The one place that an analog EQ is still very useful even with a modern digital AVR with no tape loop and (almost) no preamp outputs would be between the preamp subwoofer outputs and the powered subwoofers - the part of the audio band that needs equalization the most! And the same audio band that some modern room correction EQs seem to ignore!

Too bad that AudioControl EQ doesn't have more EQ bands below 100Hz - I've never seen anyone use one this way but you could use the two channels to EQ two separate subs.

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post #10 of 87 Old 04-24-2015, 12:43 PM
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can still use that with pretty much any pre-amp... not AVRs though... unless it's a preamp only AVR... which will already have digital EQ built in & you're paying the premium for that processing, so yeah...
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post #11 of 87 Old 04-24-2015, 07:47 PM
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can still use that with pretty much any pre-amp... not AVRs though... unless it's a preamp only AVR... which will already have digital EQ built in & you're paying the premium for that processing, so yeah...
In the Denon line, all AVRs from the X3100W and up have preamp outputs in addition to speaker outputs. You'll find the same in other lines as well.

Strictly speaking, an AVR will always have speaker connections and built-in power amps. The device that works as a preamp only without a power amp built in has been termed a "Pre/pro" for pream/processor. There are relatively few of these in the market, and fairly expensive for what they do. An AVR with preamp outs is often a better deal.

Outboard EQ presents a problem in modern audio and AV systems because there are no more "External Processor Loop" or "Tape Monitor" connections, so we have to insert the EQ between a preamp and a power amp. That means the EQ has to be pretty quiet, and we need external power amps. With the modern 24 bit (theoretical) EQs, noise isn't usually an issue, but the cost of outboard power amps can be the deal breaker. That's why a good AVR with auto EQ like Audyssey XT 32 is so cost effective. The EQ is very high quality, built in, and you don't need a rack full of power amps just to EQ.

Just running a few numbers, a Denon AVR X3100W is about $1000, has preamp outputs. If you wanted to add external EQ, a stack of 8 channels of Behringer FBQ2496 runs $800 for 8 channels, or a miniDSP 10X10 HD is $600, then you need 8 channels of power amp, like the A500 at $100/channel. Now you're in for $2400.

Or, just use the X3100W with Audyssey and it's built in power amps and you're done for $1000.

Of course, there's the used market...
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post #12 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 08:14 AM
 
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Just running a few numbers, a Denon AVR X3100W is about $1000, has preamp outputs. If you wanted to add external EQ, a stack of 8 channels of Behringer FBQ2496 runs $800 for 8 channels, or a miniDSP 10X10 HD is $600, then you need 8 channels of power amp, like the A500 at $100/channel. Now you're in for $2400.

Or, just use the X3100W with Audyssey and it's built in power amps and you're done for $1000.
Those two solutions may appear equiv. on paper and only at marketing spec level. In reality you can get better performance out of a manual EQ (with high-resolution parametric EQ) than you can from automated Audyssey. See this article on some of the reasons why: http://www.**************.com/Librar...alization.html.

Even on paper, show me where I can find the resolution of Audyssey. The Behringer FBQ2496 runs at 24 bits, 96 Khz. What is the equiv. spec in you Audyssey? Is not listed, right? That is because internally they can and do downsample the audio to reduce the burden of Audyssey processing and then upsample back. As the line in the insurance commercial goes, "what you can't see can hurt you!"

If you are going to use Audyssey, be sure to do an AB test to make sure it didn't make things worse. Alas, many AVRs make this hard to do as the option to turn it off and on may not be readily available on the remote, or be in some other obscure place. But do find it, close your eyes and turn it on and off. I routinely do this test and most of the time wind up turning it off.
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post #13 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 09:42 AM
 
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Sounds like another commercial.
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Sounds like another commercial.
It is a recipe for better sound that is published, read by countless AVR manufacturers with none objecting, and is supported by research as listed at the end of article: http://www.**************.com/Librar...alization.html

"References

A Survey Study Of In-Situ Stereo And Multi-Channel Monitoring Conditions, Aki V. Mäkivirta and Christophe Anet, Genelec OY, AES Convention 111, November 2001

The Subjective and Objective Evaluation of Room Correction Products, Sean E. Olive, John Jackson, Allan Devantier, David Hunt, and Sean M. Hess, Harman International R&D Presentation

The Subjective and Objective Evaluation of Room Correction Products, Olive, Sean; Jackson, John; Devantier, Allan; Hunt, David, AES Convention 127, October 2009

A New Draught[draft] Proposal for the Calibration of Sound in Cinema Rooms, Philip Newell, AES Technical Committee paper, January 2012

Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms, Dr. Floyd Toole, 2008 [book]"


There is a second part being published in the new issue of Widescreen Review Magazine with a deeper diving into X-Curve/Cinema Sound and why its target curve wich Audyssey tries to mimic is so wrong.

The message of the article that is solidly supported by research and bias-controlled listening tests is that you need to listen to your system and optimize its target curve, overall frequency response, manually. Fixed mass-market automated system in AVRs falls short of that. Whether it is the really bad curve used for cinema sound, or one in Audyssey. If you insist on using Audyssey, then at least get the Pro kit and follow the advice in the article on how to correct its curve. Then you have a shot at getting proper sound. Otherwise, you are sticking your wet thumb in the air hoping to predict the weather.
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post #15 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 11:31 AM
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The Yamaha RX-V377 doesn't have preamp outs, nor do any AVRs at that level.
You could connect the speaker outputs of the avr to a behringer DI-800 and it will convert them to preamp outs.
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"Persist on Quality Engineering"
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"Persist on Quality Engineering"
More like "Over Engineering"
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post #18 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Those two solutions may appear equiv. on paper and only at marketing spec level. In reality you can get better performance out of a manual EQ (with high-resolution parametric EQ) than you can from automated Audyssey. See this article on some of the reasons why: http://www.**************.com/Librar...alization.html.

Even on paper, show me where I can find the resolution of Audyssey. The Behringer FBQ2496 runs at 24 bits, 96 Khz. What is the equiv. spec in you Audyssey? Is not listed, right? That is because internally they can and do downsample the audio to reduce the burden of Audyssey processing and then upsample back. As the line in the insurance commercial goes, "what you can't see can hurt you!"

If you are going to use Audyssey, be sure to do an AB test to make sure it didn't make things worse. Alas, many AVRs make this hard to do as the option to turn it off and on may not be readily available on the remote, or be in some other obscure place. But do find it, close your eyes and turn it on and off. I routinely do this test and most of the time wind up turning it off.
Interesting article in that link. Thanks for posting it.

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post #19 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 02:37 PM
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Interesting article in that link. Thanks for posting it.
Since he is the author... it can only help to promote his business.
I will agree... it is impressive.
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post #20 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 02:39 PM
 
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Interesting article in that link. Thanks for posting it.
Remember, what's on his website is marketing material for his electronics store.
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Since he is the author... it can only help to promote his business.
The article was originally written for Widescreen Review magazine not Madrona's web site. I put them online after a couple of months so that people don't have to get a subscription to WSR to read it. If the fact that they are on Madrona's web site bothers you, subscribe to WSR and read it there.

That aside, the reason I provide the independent research in all of these articles is for reader to verify what I am saying. Nothing in there is a personal opinion to be taken at face value. To wit, here is Chris Kyriakakis, CTO and founder of Audyssey saying the same thing I did here: http://www.audioholics.com/room-acou...m-eq-interview

"Audioholics: The top frequency for correction is 24kHz, implying that Audyssey is functioning at a 48kHz sample rate. Does this mean that high resolution content (for example 192kHz or 96kHz sample rate PCM) will be downmixed?

Chris Kyriakakis: There are two parts to this answer. A loudspeaker does not reproduce acoustic energy above about 24-30 kHz even if it was in the content (with the exception of super-super tweeters), and a microphone cannot capture acoustic energy above that range. So if there is no information captured then, there is nothing for the filter to do up there.

Now, there is content encoded at higher sampling rates of course. We offer MultEQ at 96 kHz and even higher if needed so that the content can be processed without downsampling, even though the MultEQ filters above 24-30 kHz (adjustable) would be doing absolutely nothing. The issue is that doubling the sampling rate also doubles (roughly) the processing requirements needed. This is true for any kind of digital processing not just MultEQ. The AVR makers would have to add significant cost for more DSP processing and they have chosen not to do that. So they decided to use Audyssey at a max of 48 kHz. From an acoustic point of view this makes perfect sense for the reason I explained above."


You first see the marketing talking point that should I choose to play high resolution audio, the equipment can downsample said files *without anyone telling me* because the someone tried to make the solution cheap as explained in the second part. In other words, the moment that you enable Audyssey, your equipment becomes incapable of playing high resolution audio, no matter how many times you see "192 Khz" plastered on the spec sheet and such. It is all a marketing number that really, and objectively is rendered useless.

Now, if this was documented in the manual and spec sheet for the equipment it would be one thing. But no. It had to come to surface through testing and no manufacture to this day admits such in their documentation and marketing material.

To be sure, Dr. Kyriakakis knows his signal processing but he has succumb to the realities of building mass market products and the cost of goods being king above all else. You guys need to come to terms just the same not keep thinking that everything in audio comes for free. Some things, as he says, do cost money. Not a lot. But a bit more and that is often enough to have it be excluded from mass market products.

Be a smart buyer. Don't fall for marketing specs of "this has EQ too so it must be the same" as the original post said.
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Here is cover page of the WSR issue that the article I wrote came out of (page 44): http://www.widescreenreview.com/flas...7K0NKu-hzpURJw

As I said, to read the actual article you have to subscribe.
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The article was originally written for Widescreen Review magazine not Madrona's web site. I put them online after a couple of months so that people don't have to get a subscription to WSR to read it. If the fact that they are on Madrona's web site bothers you, subscribe to WSR and read it there.
Quote:
[Note: this article is slightly revised version originally published in the Widescreen Review Magazine.
Why the revisions? What were the revisions?
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post #24 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Those two solutions may appear equiv. on paper and only at marketing spec level.
I don't recall anyone saying the two solutions were equivalent.

Quote:
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In reality you can get better performance out of a manual EQ (with high-resolution parametric EQ) than you can from automated Audyssey.
Completely agreed, if your "reality" includes the correct hardware and software to conduct proper and accurate measurements, the knowledge of how to correctly operate the hardware and software, and the understanding of the entire process with which to respond to the results and introduce the right correction. Or if your reality includes bringing in Amir to do it for you.
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Even on paper, show me where I can find the resolution of Audyssey.
Minimum is 24/48, discussed here:
http://www.audioholics.com/room-acou...m-eq-interview
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The Behringer FBQ2496 runs at 24 bits, 96 Khz.
Right. And what rate is the audio? Looking at stats for 2014 BD releases I see less than 7% at 24 bit, none listed at 96Khz, though the data may be incomplete. Found it at: http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Stats.php

So the actual need for 24/96 EQ may be minimal.
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What is the equiv. spec in you Audyssey? Is not listed, right?
24/48...just a little more bit depth and the same sample rate as most of the audio it has to deal with.
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That is because internally they can and do downsample the audio to reduce the burden of Audyssey processing and then upsample back. As the line in the insurance commercial goes, "what you can't see can hurt you!"
And how do we get audio to the FBQ in the first place? Oh yeah, the AVR or Prepros DAC, then the FBQ's ADC, DSP and DAC. Lots of extra conversions. Does that analog re-sampling help anything or introduce more possible degradation? Now where's your 24/96 performance? Now to me, that sounds a lot more like "what you can't see can hurt you!"
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If you are going to use Audyssey, be sure to do an AB test to make sure it didn't make things worse.
...exactly as you would with any EQ, even the golden manual flavor.
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Alas, many AVRs make this hard to do as the option to turn it off and on may not be readily available on the remote, or be in some other obscure place. But do find it, close your eyes and turn it on and off. I routinely do this test and most of the time wind up turning it off.
Yes, the A/B thing is hard to do, however your results are not the same as my experience, but whatever. If it comes I out badly, I'll rerun Audyssey and change a few mic positions, or do more positions. I've never left an installation with Audyssey making things worse, or turned off. And while manual EQ can be better, it takes time, skill, knowledge and patience along with a lot more hardware. Great if you have all of those things, not so great if you can't afford them.
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post #25 of 87 Old 04-25-2015, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
The message of the article that is solidly supported by research and bias-controlled listening tests is that you need to listen to your system and optimize its target curve, overall frequency response, manually. Fixed mass-market automated system in AVRs falls short of that. Whether it is the really bad curve used for cinema sound, or one in Audyssey. If you insist on using Audyssey, then at least get the Pro kit and follow the advice in the article on how to correct its curve. Then you have a shot at getting proper sound. Otherwise, you are sticking your wet thumb in the air hoping to predict the weather.
Bias-controlled listening tests??? Are you kidding me? You think these were "bias-controlled listening tests?" They "taught" their employees what to listen for. Should it be any surprise the "bias-controlled listeners" heard exactly what they were taught to hear... by their EMPLOYER???

They used a single speaker, placed to the left of the LP for the "bias controlled listening tests." Who listens to mono? Who listens to a single, left speaker? How is that POSSIBLY contrived to be a valid test of room correction products that were designed and intended to be "multichannel" room correction systems???

They provided NO INFORMATION on the levels used to listen to the various RC products. If you take a product that is designed to provide flat response at Reference Level, and then you listen to that response at levels well below Reference Level, the "equal loudness curves" will come into play. You're not likely to "prefer" that response to a response that has been optimized for the levels you're actually listening at, and has the equal loudness curves factored in at those levels. Audyssey Dynamic EQ was developed to address exactly this problem, but it hadn't been developed when this test was performed.

They provided NO INFORMATION about how the Audyssey setup was performed. All they showed was a magnitude response graph. It clearly showed the was setup less than optimal. I can achieve MUCH better measured results than that! Furthermore, I don't know how you can even run Audyssey with only one speaker. It won't run. It will give a "speaker error" and not continue. So how the hell did they even perform the Audyssey calibration/EQ with just one speaker in the system?

They provided NO INFORMATION about the skill level of the person running the Audyssey cal/EQ. They stated: "Calibrations for each room correction product performed based on manufacturer's users manual." I can just hear that conversation: Sean O: "Hey Frankie, take this thing to the lab and set it up." Frankie: "Sure thing boss... then muttering, "How the hell does THIS THING work?" Sean O: "Here's the manual. See if you can figure it out." Frankie: "Gotcha boss... then muttering, "Yeah, like I'm gonna do that!"
  • At the time of this test, (2009), Audyssey required their Pro Kit installers to be "factory trained" and "registered" in order to use and sell the product. They wouldn't even sell it to consumers. Was the Harmon tech who performed the Audyssey cal/EQ for this unbiased test "factory trained" by Audyssey, or just some lab tech who had never seen the product before? How thoroughly did he read the manual and understand what it said? How much care was taken to ensure the Audyssey calibration was as optimized as possible?

"...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.

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
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post #26 of 87 Old 04-26-2015, 06:24 AM
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OP, after wading through all of these posts let me provide a quick recap. Outboard graphic equalizers are becoming obselete. While they may still provide some usefulness in an analog 2 channel system, most two channel listeners eschew their use. Those that do not and who have converted to digital input generally prefer to use DSP (digital signal processing) units which are more capable.

They are completely obselete in home theater because modern multichannel processors and AV receivers all have DSP built in.

Your best bet really is to retire the unit and enjoy whatever benefits you might derive from DSP. The huge majority of home theater owners use it.
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Thanks for the reference but it is the same one I provided and unless I am going blind , I can't find where it says the "minimum" is 48 Khz or that the bit depth is 24 bits. He says this: "So they decided to use Audyssey at a max of 48 kHz. " No mention of bit depth at 24 bits or otherwise. And "max of 48 Khz" is a different thing than minimum of 48 Khz.

There are two ways you license audio processing technology to companies. One is to provide a certification stream where the output of the system must be bit exact. In other words, all the accuracy errors must be below the lowest bit of your bit depth. If the system works at 24 bits, then the internal computations better be at higher resolution still, with the final outcome after many computations be 100% precise to 24 bits. Dolby has such a requirement. We had it with WMA licensing in my team at Microsoft.

With this type of certification, unless you run the input files and produce the required output files, you don't get to ship the system. This usually requires far more hardware resources and much smarter people implementing the system. As you can imagine, when you are a consumer electronics vendor and are seeking the logo above all else to match what your competitor has done, you want the ability to take any and all shortcuts. If your DSP is underpowered to run properly at 24 bits, you like to still be able to ship if you output results that were good to 16 bits. With WMA we had to constantly fight this war with our licensees because they want to ship implementations that had noise levels that approached 12 to 13 bits! They would point to MP3 and AAC that had no certification, i.e. you take the spec and do your own implementation and ship it, and ask why we had higher requirements. But higher requirements we did to maintain some level of quality implementation.

Reading Dr. Kyriakakis comments, it is clear that licensing of Audyssey does not come with any certification requirement since the vendor is allowed to do what they want despite the wishes of the company. So for all we know, the internal computations are only good down to 16 bits and maximum sample rate is even lower than 48 KHz. Not saying either is the case but that without certification and requirement for minimum performance then you are subject to implementation variations without any kind of due disclosure.

None of this can be good for consumers. I am sure you agree that as a minimum we would want to be told exactly what the implementation in a specific AVR does not guessing by reading between the words in an interview. Your statement attempts to defend a practice which as a consumer you should never do. Let the manufacturer using that talking point. Nothing good comes out justifying such shortcuts taken by manufacturers and giving us no data whatsoever to allow us to select the best in class implementation.

Quote:
Right. And what rate is the audio? Looking at stats for 2014 BD releases I see less than 7% at 24 bit, none listed at 96Khz, though the data may be incomplete. Found it at: http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Stats.php
That is another talking point . I bought equipment that says it plays 24 bits at 192 Khz. These are the specs for any AVR. You are telling me that it is OK for Audyssey to neuter that spec down to 48 Khz at unknown bit depth because X percentage of content use rates above that??? You can't be serious. Whose side are you on in this? Us the consumers or the manufacture? It is not like I watch all of those BD titles in that list equally as to be subjected to 7% or whatever the number is. Maybe I watch far more of the 7% titles than the rest. To wit, one of our reference music concerts in BD is this excellent album:

John Mayer: Where The Light Is - Live In Los Angeles Sony 2008-07-019.0 VC-1 BD50 TrueHD 5.1 24bit 96kHz

As you see, it is both 24 bits and 96 KHz. It matters not what percentage of total library those tracks are. It matters that I am listening to it and by mere fact of using this AutoEQ system, I am subjected to some resampling algorithm with unknown performance (who knows what shortcuts they took there as far as bit accuracy and filtering).

Quote:
So the actual need for 24/96 EQ may be minimal.
Same is true if you are listening to a talk show on AM radio. But that doesn't determine the choice of equipment I like to use. And let's remember that people use their AVRs not only for movies but also for music. You can't keep minimizing the impact of this. I paid for 24/192 Khz technology, and I like to get the same. Please forgive me for being direct but none of your or their business how much or little of that I use.
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
Bias-controlled listening tests??? Are you kidding me?
Hi Craig. Thanks for your posts and I will address your points below but I am confused as to the nature of them. The topic here was the flexibility that a programmable DSP provides with respect to selection of a target curve, i.e. overall frequency response of the system. It is not about which room correction system is better although that also falls out implicitly. Nothing in your post addressed why a fixed curve in an AVR is a good idea especially when it is generated by Audyssey as I explain in detail in my article and accompanying references. You have provided no research, no comparisons, no blind listening tests of any sort -- peer reviewed or otherwise -- that justifies the counterpoint in this thread. That Audyssey used in an AVR does the job of an external DSP such as the minidsp references where I can easily tailor the overall response.

Whether the room correction technology actually performs the right correction is another argument which again, I will address below but is not part of this specific conversation. I welcome you sharing with us published research that you have that demonstrates the target curve used in Audyssey is a correct one. Until then, I am afraid I have to go by research that does exist that says otherwise.

Quote:
You think these were "bias-controlled listening tests?" They "taught" their employees what to listen for. Should it be any surprise the "bias-controlled listeners" heard exactly what they were taught to hear... by their EMPLOYER???
Once again you are confusing what I say as opinion as opposed to data. I don't have to "think" anything. I have taken the exact same training and participated in similar blind tests of speakers at Harman. You won't have an opportunity for the latter but you can experience the former by clicking on the first link in this google search and reading the WBF thread that Dr. Olive created with a link to their training software: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...software+olive

The training software changes the frequency response of the system and ask you to identify it. It starts off very easy but then progressively gets hard. Expert listeners at Harman are I think required to achieve level 12. With some practice I have achieved around level 6 or so. When taking that same test in the presence of a large group of people at Harman, most of them died off at level 2 or 3. As I said, I got up to level 6 or so. Dr. Olive however easily sailed past that point without even trying. That is what their training brings. Ability to detect what is changed no matter how small.

Your criticism is also formally addressed in other published tests and papers by Harman. You can find the AES paper but here is the online version: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2008/1...f-trained.html

Here are the preference scores for that test:



The "HAR" vertical bar are the scores by the trained listeners. All the rest are the scores by other groups of listeners from hobbyists to dealers and magazine reviewers. While the numerical scores vary -- trained listeners are much harsher when detecting fidelity errors -- the overall rankings of what they prefer in blind listening tests do not vary. They hated the speaker in green and so did every other group by scoring it lower than the other speakers. Within some margin of error they found the speaker in red the best, and so did so did every other group by scoring it highest than the other speakers.

So while your suspicion is justified relative to what would expect to be happening from lay point of view without reading the research, the reality is different. Harman's testing is intended to produce products that sound better than competing products. It makes no sense to have a selection of trained listeners always voting for "their sound" only to have the product fail to produce the same outcome relative to wider population.

I have participated in two different sets of blind tests at Harman and both times I have voted along the lines of their trained listeners. Both times I was in the company of other people and the majority voted the same as me. To be sure, they were outliers who voted differently but most of us have similar preferences it seems in sound reproduced in a room.

Please download the tests and run them. Only then will you know the nature of their testing and training. More in part 2 response.
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post #29 of 87 Old 04-26-2015, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Thanks for the reference but it is the same one I provided and unless I am going blind , I can't find where it says the "minimum" is 48 Khz or that the bit depth is 24 bits. He says this: "So they decided to use Audyssey at a max of 48 kHz. " No mention of bit depth at 24 bits or otherwise. And "max of 48 Khz" is a different thing than minimum of 48 Khz.
So you think there are so many AVRs being made that resample the typical film soundtrack down to something lower than 48KHz, and truncate words down to 16 bits or less?

If you got the intent of the reference, which if you had I'd never have needed to quote it again in the first place, manufacturers set the max, not Audyssey. But does it make any sense that it's also not the minimum? Look at what he said about bandwidth. And then show am a practical DSP that would be useful in an AVR that's still stuck at 16 bits.

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Originally Posted by amirm View Post
There are two ways you license audio processing technology to companies. One is to provide a certification stream where the output of the system must be bit exact. In other words, all the accuracy errors must be below the lowest bit of your bit depth. If the system works at 24 bits, then the internal computations better be at higher resolution still, with the final outcome after many computations be 100% precise to 24 bits. Dolby has such a requirement. We had it with WMA licensing in my team at Microsoft.

With this type of certification, unless you run the input files and produce the required output files, you don't get to ship the system. This usually requires far more hardware resources and much smarter people implementing the system. As you can imagine, when you are a consumer electronics vendor and are seeking the logo above all else to match what your competitor has done, you want the ability to take any and all shortcuts. If your DSP is underpowered to run properly at 24 bits, you like to still be able to ship if you output results that were good to 16 bits. With WMA we had to constantly fight this war with our licensees because they want to ship implementations that had noise levels that approached 12 to 13 bits! They would point to MP3 and AAC that had no certification, i.e. you take the spec and do your own implementation and ship it, and ask why we had higher requirements. But higher requirements we did to maintain some level of quality implementation.

Reading Dr. Kyriakakis comments, it is clear that licensing of Audyssey does not come with any certification requirement since the vendor is allowed to do what they want despite the wishes of the company. So for all we know, the internal computations are only good down to 16 bits and maximum sample rate is even lower than 48 KHz. Not saying either is the case but that without certification and requirement for minimum performance then you are subject to implementation variations without any kind of due disclosure.

None of this can be good for consumers. I am sure you agree that as a minimum we would want to be told exactly what the implementation in a specific AVR does not guessing by reading between the words in an interview. Your statement attempts to defend a practice which as a consumer you should never do. Let the manufacturer using that talking point. Nothing good comes out justifying such shortcuts taken by manufacturers and giving us no data whatsoever to allow us to select the best in class implementation.
You make some good points here, but from the perspective of Microsoft, which is quite different from a tiny start-up trying to make it easy for manufacturers to use their technology. I agree, they blew it though, and now only have the option to deflect the problem at the manufacturers. They've already started to loose out to other dsp loads like Atmos. I do recognize they goofed with certification but I do understand their position, lacking the mass of a Microsoft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

That is another talking point . I bought equipment that says it plays 24 bits at 192 Khz. These are the specs for any AVR. You are telling me that it is OK for Audyssey to neuter that spec down to 48 Khz at unknown bit depth because X percentage of content use rates above that??? You can't be serious. Whose side are you on in this? Us the consumers or the manufacture? It is not like I watch all of those BD titles in that list equally as to be subjected to 7% or whatever the number is. Maybe I watch far more of the 7% titles than the rest.
You missed the point entirely, unless you're the one who searches down the (less then) 7% of releases and watches them just for their high rate audio. And you also know exactly that every step of the production chain was at that same high rate. And doesn't that track sound unmistakabley better because of it all? Get real. Otherwise, if you're the slightest bit like every other movie viewer, you watch for the content. That means you're hearing 16/48 93% of the time, if you watch every new release from 2014.
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

To wit, one of our reference music concerts in BD is this excellent album:

John Mayer: Where The Light Is - Live In Los Angeles Sony 2008-07-019.0 VC-1 BD50 TrueHD 5.1 24bit 96kHz

As you see, it is both 24 bits and 96 KHz.
Fantastic. You found one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
It matters not what percentage of total library those tracks are. It matters that I am listening to it and by mere fact of using this AutoEQ system, I am subjected to some resampling algorithm with unknown performance (who knows what shortcuts they took there as far as bit accuracy and filtering).
I'm actually in agreement here. However, for many, many people, this choice between no EQ and Audysseys horrible downsampled EQ is huge, with EQ winning, whereas the audible difference between 48 and 96 is still under debate, a debate which I will not engage in here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Same is true if you are listening to a talk show on AM radio. But that doesn't determine the choice of equipment I like to use. And let's remember that people use their AVRs not only for movies but also for music. You can't keep minimizing the impact of this. I paid for 24/192 Khz technology, and I like to get the same. Please forgive me for being direct but none of your or their business how much or little of that I use.
AM radio is a terrible example, but does show that content wins over resolution.

I also agree that if you paid for 24/192 you should have the capability. But rather aim my gun at a technology that is useful to most people because it prevents 24/192 from reaching my ears, I acknoledge it is a useful tool that can provide a significant improvement, especially in the absence of native high rate content with questionable audible benefit.
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post #30 of 87 Old 04-26-2015, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
They used a single speaker, placed to the left of the LP for the "bias controlled listening tests." Who listens to mono? Who listens to a single, left speaker? How is that POSSIBLY contrived to be a valid test of room correction products that were designed and intended to be "multichannel" room correction systems???
Not sure why you say this because we all listen to “mono” and do so all the time. When the vocals are playing in a movie, it is only coming out of the center channel. OK, some amount may also be in others but for the most part, it is coming out of that single channel. Yes, if you allow the other channels to play music or whatever, it can mask fidelity errors that may exist in that center channel. It is for that reason then that we want to test in mono. We want to know the truth and not confuse ourselves. Look at the America's Test Kitchen and how they test individual ingredients like rice. They don't put curry on the rice and ask people what it tastes like. They serve the rice bland with just a bit of salt so that the essence of the flavor of each rice is compared.

Likewise, published research which I am happy to quote shows that when it comes to aberration in room correction products, we are more critical with respect to system errors when fewer and fewer speakers are used. Just think whether you can evaluate the performance of a speaker in a quiet room better than a noisy one. I think everyone would agree that the former is better. By the same token, if you want to test an Auto EQ system which independently corrects each channel as are the systems we are talking about here, then it is absolutely proper to test it on one channel. You don’t want to try to add extraneous elements that would reduce the precision of our evaluation in such tests.
Quote:
They provided NO INFORMATION on the levels used to listen to the various RC products.
Of course there is. This is what it says: “The relative loudness was adjusted to within 0.1 dB according to the CRC (Communication Research Center of Canada) ITU loudness meter [23]. The absolute playback level was a controlled variable throughout the test and was approximately 78 dB (B-weighted, slow) averaged across all three programs.”

I don’t know how you could have read this yet say there is “no information” about the playback level used. It is a very clear and simple stipulation that a) levels were matched and b) the average across all the tracks tested was 78 db.

Quote:
If you take a product that is designed to provide flat response at Reference Level, and then you listen to that response at levels well below Reference Level, the "equal loudness curves" will come into play. You're not likely to "prefer" that response to a response that has been optimized for the levels you're actually listening at, and has the equal loudness curves factored in at those levels. Audyssey Dynamic EQ was developed to address exactly this problem, but it hadn't been developed when this test was performed.
This is a common talking point regarding poor performance of Audyssey but alas, it is without merit. 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. You can’t try to justify Audyssey actually degrading the performance of the system over doing nothing as shown in this graph from the research in my article: http://www.**************.com/Librar...alization.html
[img] http://www.**************.com/Library/Room%20Equalization/Olive-Results.jpg[/img]
And say, “oh but you can turn on this other thing to make it sound better.” No sir. If I am using a room eq system, I don’t expect it to sharply reduce the performance of the system over doing nothing as Audyssey did in the right graph (#6).

Now, if Audyssey had made their loudness compensation mandatory then sure, we could talk about that. But that is not the case. You are also going by some theory that having such a feature would have made things better but you have no research data to present.

Audyssey also has other ailments that I explain in the article and shown in this graph:

[img] http://www.**************.com/Library/Room%20Equalization/Olive-Results-Measurements.jpg[/img]

Notice the big trough at 2 Khz. Every bit of research data we have says this is wrong. You should not notch out the response that way. The listeners heard this and indeed punished Audyssey for it and hence my recommendation in the article that if you are going to use Audyssey, get the Pro kit and defeat this misguided approach.

While on this graph, note that another system, the Lyngdorf DPA-I, ranked #3 , well above doing nothing or that of Anthem and Audyssey. So your theory that Harman listeners are somehow biased to only pick the sound of Harman products is invalidated. In blind tests without knowing which is which, they almost ranted the Lyngdorf as good as their own. We can objectively tell why. If you look at the Lyngdorf target response (navy blue), we see that it closely mimics that of Harman products. 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.

Quote:
They provided NO INFORMATION about how the Audyssey setup was performed. All they showed was a magnitude response graph. It clearly showed the was setup less than optimal. I can achieve MUCH better measured results than that! Furthermore, I don't know how you can even run Audyssey with only one speaker. It won't run. It will give a "speaker error" and not continue. So how the hell did they even perform the Audyssey calibration/EQ with just one speaker in the system?
Once again there is plenty of information in the paper and you would get even more if you talked to authors as I have done. Here is the paper:

The instructions and manufacturer’s recommended settings in the user manuals were strictly adhered to in setting up the different room correction products. Each room correction product generally involved a similar set of steps:
(1) A measurement of the main loudspeaker and
the subwoofer was performed to determine the
frequency at which each should be crossed
over. In some cases, the crossover settings
could be manually entered.

(2) The measurement was repeated at several
points in the room as recommended by the
manufacturer: either at the listening seats or
somewhere out in the room to better assess the
sound power response of the loudspeaker.
From this, the optimal time delay and level and
between the subwoofer and main loudspeaker
are determined, as well as the corrective
equalization.

The authors found that several of the room correction
products had difficulty automatically determining the
ideal crossover frequency in step 1. One product chose a
subwoofer crossover at 800 Hz, while another thought
the ideal crossover should be at 40 Hz. In the end, it
required some expert judgment and manual intervention
to force the products to use reasonable settings and set
the crossover to 80 Hz. Several of the products had
instructions that were ambiguous, and could easily be
misinterpreted. Overall, the usability of these room
correction products could be improved so that the user
experience and results are more consistently positive.”


Going back to the start of this discussion, the advantage for Audyssey was stated as its ease of use. Now you are saying that correct application requires having someone like you come over and run it? And what do you mean apply it to one speaker? The correction is applied to all the channels on all the systems. It is that for testing phase, only one channel is listened to.
Quote:
They provided NO INFORMATION about the skill level of the person running the Audyssey cal/EQ. They stated: "Calibrations for each room correction product performed based on manufacturer's users manual." I can just hear that conversation: Sean O: "Hey Frankie, take this thing to the lab and set it up." Frankie: "Sure thing boss... then muttering, "How the hell does THIS THING work?" Sean O: "Here's the manual. See if you can figure it out." Frankie: "Gotcha boss... then muttering, "Yeah, like I'm gonna do that!"
Well, thankfully they did far more than just about any reader of this forum would do in setting up the equipment as described in the paper. Remember, when you publish a competitive paper like this, you absolutely have to be prepared for the other side to find such cheats and come back with their own test and give you a black eye. 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.

You have not shared with us what comparison data you have done of this type to be so sure of the points you are making. I have done so and my experience once again matches the research. To wit, when I founded Madrona Digital, we put in a $110,000 speaker, amplification and Auto EQ system made by Wisdom. The EQ was Audyssey Pro. Try as I might, I could not get Audyssey to produce results better than doing nothing. Yes, on a few tracks I would find it to have an improvement but all I had to change was what I was listening to and I could not stand the results. I reported by dissatisfaction to Wisdom and they sent one of their people over. He spent a full day trying every which way and provided what he thought was an optimized Audyssey correction. I tested it and found the same outcome. It degraded the system performance and we continued to demo the system without Audyssey.

Maybe you know more than a manufacturer who had designed this into their system, me and the researchers who have published the data we are discussing. But the odds are against you . I suggest getting some unbiased listeners, stand behind them and do an AB test and ask them which one they like better. With or without correct. Only then do you have something unbiased to go by.

Quote:
At the time of this test, (2009), Audyssey required their Pro Kit installers to be "factory trained" and "registered" in order to use and sell the product. They wouldn't even sell it to consumers. Was the Harmon tech who performed the Audyssey cal/EQ for this unbiased test "factory trained" by Audyssey, or just some lab tech who had never seen the product before? How thoroughly did he read the manual and understand what it said? How much care was taken to ensure the Audyssey calibration was as optimized as possible?
I addressed this in my sample data with Wisdom above.

Quote:
"...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."
That is your opinion but you have not provided any foundation to back yours. What research have you shown, peer reviewed or otherwise, that Audyssey performs as you say? This is published work and trumps opinion of random posters in forums every day of the week and twice on Sunday . 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. To wit, here is a peer reviewed paper published in the Journal of AES referencing the same work: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=16324

Subjective Preference of Modal Control Methods in Listening Rooms:
The performance of commercially available room correction methods have also been investigated by Olive et al. [17].

[17] S. E. Olive, J. Jackson, A. Devantier, and D. Hunt, “The Subjective and Objective Evaluation of Room Correction Products,” presented at the 127th Convention of the Audio Engineering Society (2009 Oct.), convention paper 7960.”


So no, the work is authoritative and stands on its own two feet. Certainly no Joe forum post can trump it lest it comes with at least the same level of authority and standing in the industry.
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