Automatic Room Correction is better than the alternative.

Was reading a great post by Floyd Toole. I love the man. We both have experience in motion picture sound, though his is far more advanced than mine, he’s got an actual degree and follows scientific processes but we seem to have reached the same conclusions, his via rigorous science and evaluation, mine by ad hoc experiences.

The one place where I think I currently disagree with him is in the use of automatic room equalization. The key here is "automatic." We are 100% in sync in terms of the value of EQ in general. Here’s what he wrote last March:
I have one of those all-singing-dancing-highly-advertised-elaborately-mathematical processors. It took manual intervention to restore the inherent excellence of my neutral loudspeakers after "room EQ". This is a work in progress. One definitely needs mathematics and DSP skills, but one also needs the acoustical and psychoacoustic knowledge to provide the necessary guidance and discipline. In some of the systems it is evident that the latter elements are deficient. The profit motive is obvious though. Note that most of the room EQ algorithms come from companies that do not make loudspeakers.

He’s not wrong, but he is wrong.

What I mean is, all of his observations are correct, but damn, Sir, you and I are geeks with shelves full of measurement gear and calibrated microphones. For the average (not audiophile) receiver buyer, who wants multiple speakers and/or a subwoofer, ARC is a huge step forward in performance quality and ease of use.

Do I use it? Hell no. I do all my EQ by hand. Do I recommend my own process to anyone? Hell no, it’s a pain in the ass.

In general though, again, we are in agreement: You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. That is, the neutrality of the speaker to begin with, and good room acoustics are starting points. The use of ARC to make all speakers sound alike is a loser’s bargain.

Showing 1 response by mikelavigne

further, i think there is the stereo case, and multi-speaker movie sound track case. one is trying to be real, the other has a different agenda.

we can relate our own live music experiences to stereo listening and determine reasonable room set-up decisions.

with movie sound-tracks we have no reference. especially when we get beyond 5.1, into the Dolby Atmos area and beyond. multi-speaker surround sound music listening is such a small niche it’s hardly worth talking about.

i’ve had my speaker designer set up my speakers in my dedicated 2-channel listening room using measurements. then i fixed my room issues and i re-did it by ear. could not be happier. super low distortion.

in my separate dedicated Home Theater with 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos i did use the AVM-60 dsp program. seems fine for movies. would not allow dsp within 10 miles of my dedicated 2 channel room. no digitizing my signal path there where i’m trying for suspension of disbelief. movies need the visuals to fill in the sonic blank spaces.