Auto Room Equalization?

What do you currently think of Automatic Room Equalization, Audssey, for Home Theater and Stereo uses?

I use it and love it. As close to a flat response in the specific room is what it provides.
I was thinking about it, but decided I wanted my speakers to reflect their sonic 'signature'.
I would first address sound issues with room correction.
Just my 2 cents...
And I really have to wonder if all of the color and personality of some very special speakers and tube amps are getting some very unwanted distortion from "room coloring and personification"? How is that unique equipment personality preserved in an always imperfect listening environment?

BTW, I aim for flat response plus a bit extra on the low end. The music I listen to starts off with a mostly digital production and lands at my speakers in analog.
Hey Bob, that signature is crucial, no doubt. Maybe the Auto EQ is really crucial in oddly shaped listening environments. Vaulted ceilings, hallways, staircases, side rooms . . . I have them all in my primary space . . . a nightmare! A smaller and more enclosed environment does, hopefully, save that designed sound of the equipment. Thanks for your thoughts.
As close to a flat response in the specific room is what it provides.

My understanding is that equalizing to flat response at the listening position is generally undesirable, and will generally result in excessive brightness. For example, the following statement is provided in the manual for the DEQX HDP-5 which I use in my system, which among many other things provides a very flexible and manually adjustable room correction function:

Room measurements typically exhibit a downward “tilt” from low bass to high treble of 6 up to 15 dB. This is caused by a number of factors including reduced dispersion and greater absorption in the room at high frequencies. Do not attempt to EQ your room measurement completely flat – that will most likely sound overly bright.

Also, when I purchased the DEQX the extremely knowledgeable dealer I purchased it from (Nyal Mellor of advised me to not mess very much with the natural high frequency rolloff of my speakers. He said that despite not having much if any knowledge of my particular speakers.

How is that unique equipment personality preserved in an always imperfect listening environment?

A factor in that may be that our hearing mechanisms give greater emphasis to first arriving sounds than to later arriving instances of the same sound. Probably not for the entire frequency spectrum, depending on the amount of delay, but at least for significant parts of it given typical in-room delays between direct vs. reflected arrival times.

-- Al

Frequency response is but one item on a very long list of things we can hear. My impression is its like megapixels. Megapixels don't matter. Or rather, so many things matter so much more that how many megapixels a camera has is simply not relevant to taking good pictures. Frequency response is exactly like this. Only people with a rather cursory knowledge put much stock in either.

The only thing worse I guess would be automatic room correction. To continue the camera metaphor, that would be like buying the latest greatest most megapixel'd camera you can find, then shooting everything on Auto.

A little knowledge, etc, etc.
Mc, I think you have some misconceptions and confused analogies, similes and metaphors. Frequency and Amplutide  IS Audio and  IS Paramount, no squeaking out of that one. Pixel resolution is like a bit rate on digital audio and the higher you get, the better you can sound, this is important, very. You talk about taking a good picture, and that is a metaphor for source material, not projection of sound. You speak a much bit of untruth and bad comparison and very much off topic. However, Thanks for the input.
Mc, please back up your statements with something solid. A straight discussion of the topic. Bring knowledge and elucidate the crowd.
Quite the contrary, its precisely on topic. In case you forgot, the question you asked is: 
What do you currently think of Automatic Room Equalization

Well, that is what I think. Its based on not only very solid understanding but also extensive personal experience. 

Here's another example, perfectly on topic and precise and measurable as can be: the Fletcher Munson curve.

What this means in simple English is we human beings are not meters.

What you said, 
Frequency and Amplutide IS Audio and IS Paramount, no squeaking out of that one.

Is bull hockey. It only makes sense in the imaginary world of molecules moving back and forth. Here in the real world of human beings trying to enjoy music it makes no sense at all. For proof look no further than the above curves. What they show quite clearly is you can test and equalize to your hearts content, automatically or manually, and all you will ever be is chasing your tail. Because the minute you change the volume it all goes to hell. Which, guess what? Its music! The volume is always changing!

But you go ahead and chase your tail. When you fall down all dizzy and throwing up don't blame me.
EQ alone is crap.

EQ + Room acoustics can be magical.

Manual EQ is better than Auto Correction. Plus, I suspect that in the end the microphone just doesn’t interpret our systems the way our ears do...and it might not really matter what measurement parameter you care to talk about: frequency, time, phase, dynamics, distortion, etc, etc...our ears will just hear things differently. Not saying that there’s no insight to gain from that, just that the idea and the act of simply attempting to defer to the mike in the long run is folly. Our ears will always have the final say.

What I don’t like about Auto Correction also is that the algorithm used is necessarily stupid. It doesn’t know much about your room or even much about its acoustics and nothing at all about the abilities of your system. Its decisions about which frequencies should be boosted and which should be cut are all carried out blindly to what your system’s response in fact may or may not be capable of. Many systems are at least fairly efficient at reproducing mids or highs, but, as Al rightly alludes to above, many comparatively struggle with bass efficiency - in any room. That can be attributable to a lot of different things like: woofer efficiency at lower frequencies, setup position, amp type and design, power treatments, wiring and much more...and no, whether or not your speaker or gear says it’s rated to such-and-such frequency at +or- whatever has nothing at all to do with it. But, the problem is that stupid algorithm doesn’t know how to apply any "cut-only" strategy in order to flatten, IME. It only knows how to misapply the EQ (boost and cut), no matter who made the algorithm or how whiz-bang it’s said to be.

Note that it’s far more common, IMO and FWIW, that Most systems have Much more trouble with bass efficiency (again, in Any room) compared to the rest of the spectrum than don’t. Even with like 70 or 80% of the subs out there. My point with that is that some systems, despite what their owners may feel they understand about them, may not have yet evolved to the point of being in possession of enough efficiency across the board to have the reserve of bass energy it might take to more successfully apply a cut-only strategy to not only tame the response through the low end, but still audibly have proper amp and speaker headroom at all volume levels after it’s done. Remember: EQ itself is just a command - your system has to be up the task of answering it...and preferably, it should be a little **more** than up to that task, not just adequately so...certainly if you're going to use it to boost, that is.

With Auto Correction, you get flattened response whether your system sounds better with it or not. You might can tweak it some, but it’s still a tweak on EQ that’s been that point you’re putting a bandaid on a bandaid.

Personally, for myself I prefer straight, digital, parametric, Manual chaser. But, even for manual EQ, the more efficient in the bass I can make my system to begin with, the better the EQ results will sound to the ear. (Old EQ axiom: you can’t boost what isn’t there).

My two cents.



Yes, I did end up murdering what I stated that Al said in his post above about typical systems being rather less efficient to our ears in the bass. Al in fact, of course, was Not saying that at all (although I am). Sorry Al.

But, the quote he made of the DEQX manual I would lump in with what I said above about microphones not hearing things the way we do.
I think Audyssey allows for a cut-only approach if you dial it in, but I'm not really aware if there are many others with that capability. I haven't looked at them all, but I'm not so far aware of others that do.
One thing to keep in mind is that the goals of each ARC are not universally agreed to. That is, different vendors probably use different curves and as a result, they do not produce universally great results.

I agree that doing it myself yields the best results from what I’ve heard, but not everyone can or has the right gear to, not to mention, it’s a PITA.

The curves I’ve seen from JL subs are very close to what I’d use, but wow, talk about expensive.

Right now, based on reviews, I’d seriously listen to Dirac and Anthem.

Again though, room treatment helps EQ work better, and solves issues EQ alone cannot. You can actually greatly reduce bass nulls, a problem impossible to fix with EQ alone.


Yes, I agree with you Erik 100%, EQ is only one tool in the box!

I do know I had a Behringer unit in my system about a decade ago. For many weeks I played around with the Auto Correction function when I got it...and played around...and around... I could only get results that I had to tweak mightily...even when I ignored the bass and tried it from 200 Hz the end I had to walk away from Auto Correction with it.

But, honestly, I think it was just the overall state of my system and room at the time, not really the Behringer's fault. Since that time, my system's overall performance level has grown by leaps and bounds. Every component in my system has changed hands. I bet if I put it back in my system now that I'd likely get a Whole lot closer to a satisfactory result, and comparatively right off the bat, I think.

But, even my manual EQ has gotten far easier to dial in, so I myself don't feel like I'm missing too much with Auto anyway. But, yes Auto can definitely save you about a decade's worth or so of trying to get fully acclimated to using a manual, parametric EQ that has 14 fully adjustable and fully overlapping bands per/ch, I can tell you that!

But, I'd say that the better your system performs and is dialed into the room quite apart from EQ, the better your system will benefit from EQ, whether manual or Auto - and you wouldn't have to twist my arm that that would most definitely include room treatments.

I did not like Audessey. I eventually ended up with Room Equalizer Wizard or REW  (a free audio analysis program)+ a calibrated mike from UMike and load it all on a laptop and measure. The end result was far better. Audessey did weird things with my music and I never could get it to sound natural. Audessey is as simple as you can get and works OK for enough people that they can claim it as an advantage and it is better than nothing. I had an Integra 50.4 with it and I parked it until I sold it off as I never could get it like I wanted. Currently it is REW for analysis of what I have to work with and a Xilia xp3060 to make it all right.
  Audessey was my attempt to do things the easy way but it did not allow me to know what was wrong. It imposed it's canned idea of what was right on me and I did not happen to like those results. As other posters are saying good sound is far more than room EQ alone. Good sound can happen right out of the box but great sound requires work.
From several things I've read, people seem to be much happier with Dirac than Audessey in general.

From what I have seen of the target curves, Diract is closer to what I'd use. So is JL's sub curve.

I think Dirac has trial software you can use on your PC for a limited period of time too.

hate 'em all.they all screwup in varying ways.
manual setup with ears, spl meter and test disc.