TAS just reviewed DRC205 and R Greene gave it a rave.
However read the hifi-news review - see link and it would seem that it is very much a mid fi product.
anyone actually heard it??
In the context of professional reviews it still amazes me how on the one hand a product gets a rave, and on the other hand, it goes to the grave.....
Some times the fish smell a little rotten no matter how fresh the catch.....
Happy Turkey Day All...
anyone on this unit? I'm really interested....
Based in large part on the TAS review and on a demonstration by the retailer here in Denver, I purchased a DRC-205 this weekend. I am using it with the following equipment:
Speakers: Magnepan MG-12
Amplifier: PS Audio GCC-100
CD Player: Marantz SA-11 S1
Conditioner: Equi=Tech Son of Q. Jr.
With the unit "engaged," tonal balance in my 22' D X 17' W X 12' H listening room is dramatically changed. String bass is far more prominent and forceful, as are the lower registers of male and female voices and acoustic guitars. An audiophile friend who owns a very expensive set of Krell Speakers and an equally expensive Krell amplifier was very impressed.
I also hear much more ambient information. This has been especially true for my classical recordings, which are now rendered with much more information about the performance venue. Image specificity is significantly improved as well.
I was very nervous about digital artifacts, since this is something to which I am fairly sensitive. To date, I have not heard anything I would attribute to the D/A or A/D conversion. Of course the 24/96 word length/sampling rate offers considerably more resolution that the 16/44 redbook format. It is also worth noting that in spite of the addition of another analog stage, this unit has not increased my noise floor perceptibly.
I chose this unit in preference to the Lyngdorf because it allows the user to define custom response curves, a feature I might use if I decide that the current presentation is too warm or romantic. That said, the Lyngdorf an outstanding product which may use a more sophisticated room correction algorithm.
I can't account for the divergent reviews. It's possible that the unit receiving the "MidFi" rating was defective or that the reviewer is especially sensitive to the signal components modified by the room correction process. It's also possible that when the novelty of what the Copland does wears off, I'll hear more flaws.
That said, it's worth pointing out that a lot of hi end equipment is rendered functionally MidFi or worse by room interactions. That might explain some of the truly dissapointing exhibits I saw this year at RMAF. If room correction provides a net gain, it's worth considering. No amount of room treatment will render smooth frequency response to this extent. If anyone is interested I can provide updates as I continue listening.
Thank you for your response. I ordered my DRC 205 tonight. I look forward to it...
thanks for this Wazmoh.
I take it from the comments here you have used the pre-set BBC voicing??
How easy was the room measuring with the microphone and how is the quality??.
I have just spent the weekend demoing the Lyngdorf RP-1. Very easy to measure as I measured at the listening position and 10 measures around the room.
the system works well, however the voicing re-sets do not work for me. All of the pre set voicing's keep the treble flat out past 20k. That does not happen with tweeters in general when listening in a room, so it tends to add a layer of brightness in the upper octaves.
There is no user correction available. Lyngdorf have admitted that for the more advance listener, more voicing curves are required. they will not be offering user changeble curves. Lyndgdorf also don't offer the classic BBC curve that the Copland has.
My issue is that I have a 4-5db gain in the mid treble of 1k to 2.5k and that is fatiguing as well as making the music sound thin.
the Lyngdorf removed the mid treble gain, however due to the fact that the treblle does not roll off, it still sounds bright, just a litttle higher up in frequency.
Could you let me know how it goes and how easy/hard it is to use the PC and create your own curves??
I am using the flat setting. I found the BBC curve a little warm for my tastes. I'll report back as soon as I've tried creating a custom setting.
" I am using the flat setting. I found the BBC curve a little warm for my tastes. I'll report back as soon as I've tried creating a custom setting"
Does the manual have what the flat and BBC curve settings look like?? Or can you plug your PC in and print out or email the curve settings to myself??
Don't worry, I got a copy of the manual and it has the curves inside it. very nice
Let us know how the custom curves sound and whether it is difficult or not.
I got my DRC-205 hooked up and on the "A1" setting I did the room calibration. My question is, what would the bypass selection be? I am wanting to know what it would sound like if I toggle between the corrected and the non-corrected. I've looked through the manual but there doesn't seem to be an explanation.
so, you DRC owners what setting does your ears like best? A1, A2, A3, A4 (hope not), P1 or P2?
I like A1 & A2 currently....
Update: PC Interface
Working with the Copland PC interface was both intriguing and instructive. The display consists of a logarithmic graph of frequency (X) and amplitude (Y) overlaid with three sets (left and right channel) of curves: The first set represents room response, the second represents room correction applied and the third represents the net (corrected) response. A line through 0 db represents the target.
In my system, the display showed a room having very uneven response. Above 1 kHz, there were several broad excursions having peaks and troughs of ~6 db above and below center. These the DRC corrected easily, yielding a net response that was within +/- 2 db.
Below 1000 Hz, there were two severe but narrow dips, the first being 10 db at a center frequency of 170 HZ and the second being 15 db (!) at a center frequency of 65 Hz. Since Copland does not recommend filters with a gain above 6db, I spent some time experimenting with speaker placement to see whether I could ameliorate the problem before adding more compensation.
Based on my reading, the likely culprit was either floor reflections or reflections from the rear wall. Tipping the speakers back ~5 degrees from vertical helped slightly, Toeing the speakers in smoothed response above 1000 HZ but aggravated both of the lower modes. Toeing the speakers out had the opposite effect.
Moving the speakers further from the front wall reduced the mode at 65 HZ but made the mode at 170 Hz worse, suggesting that much of the room interaction was coming from the wall behind my listening position. Some basic math suggested that reflections at both frequencies would be out of phase by nearly 150 degrees at my speakers. Given the wavelengths involved, the speakers would need to have been 6 or more into the room before the effects were reduced significantly. I settled on a position slightly inboard and forward of the original location with ~ 10 degrees of toe-in.
I now had 2 narrow, 10-12 db modes to remove. Copland allows the user to define 5 filters of varying configurations and Quality (Q) factors. Beginning with the default (A1) curve, I created a pair of peak filters having higher than recommended Q and gain that were centered at each mode. Although the contours of the response curve were very similar between channels, the amplitude was not. Because adjustments are applied to both channels, I had to settle for a final curve in which the right and left channels straddled center.
The PC interface permits the user to try curves before committing them. It also allows the user to switch among each of the filters. That said, if a filter is not saved before switching, it is lost. Configuring the filters was very easy, and the results were very audible. At the end of the session, I preferred my custom settings to the default by a slight margin.
Thanks for all the great reading and results. I found after listening to the factory curves that A1 was the best for me. I played around with the "custom" curves but found in my room I was VERY limited in terms of moving the speakers to correct one problem. In turn, I would create a worse problem which was audible. I went back to my standard A1 and love this thing. Every once in a while I listen to A4 (uncorrected) and wonder how I used to like that sound.
I wonder how the Behringer ULTRACURVE PRO DEQ2496 compares to the Copland unit?
It is certainly cheaper and has a lot more functions, however is it audiophile quality?
This is a very intriguing thread. I used to have a Rives Parc, which helped with some bass problems, but tended to depress the dynamics of the rest of the signal. I am starting to research different room correction systems, although for my application, I want the correction entirely in the digital domain, prior to my DAC. There are starting to be a lot of choices out there, but the learning curve seems very steep. The Lyngdorf seems to be very advanced, but as one poster said, there is no provision for user adjustability. The DEQX seems to have it all, but the manual is over 200 pages, and of course there is no dealer in my area. In any case, the Copland highlights what I think is a very positive trend.
I know it's different but I use a Behringer Ultraddrive 2496 in my system before the DRC-205. I use this as my crossover between my electrostats and subwoofer. It works perfect for that. I am going to try the Ashly 3.24 next. It has MUCH better quality parts in it.
The Ashly 3.24 is new to me and very interesting. It appears the output delays are OK for typical subwoofer locations, but the manual doesn't say anything about maintaining phase linearity in the crossover filters.
Is there a US distributor or outlet for this product? My searching only turns up the Canadian site or Copland's home in Denmark. I confess, for the price and ease of set up, this is a most intriguing product. Do most of you place it before/after the preamp (assuming you haved separate pre and don't have a tape loop).
I bought mine from Dave Tyree at Heirloom Audio in Denver. You can reach him at:
Because of noise/distortion concerns, Copland does not recommend placement between the amplifier and preamplifier. You can use the tape loop or insert it between a source and input (clumsy, I know). I am using the latter configuration until I find a suitable integrated amplifier having a tape loop.
I read this in the TAS review under technical : Stereo RCA input, 1 V nom. Stereo RCA output, 1 V nom. "
If its to go between pre/power amp it needs to be better than that. Anyone have more detailed specs including input and output impedance. I would need to put it between CDP and passive linestage as I passivly bi-amp from the output of the passive linestage.
This is one of the reasons Copland does not want the unit connected between the amplifier and preamplifier. It is equivalent to a line level device (such as a CD player) and does not have the voltage swing of an active preamplifier.
The input/output voltage of 1 volt nominal indicates unity gain. Input/output impedance is not given, although it would not be difficult to determine. Typical values are 47 K ohm or more at the input and 1 K ohm or less at the output. My manual states maximum output as being 2.4 volts.
Unless your passive preamplifier uses an autoformer, it does not have voltage gain, meaning that whatever voltage is produced by your line source must be sufficient to drive the power amplifier. Typical line level sources, such as CD players, have outputs that fall between 1 and 2 volts.
Is it possible that your power amplifier is unusually sensitive? If so, you might be able to insert the DRC between your passive preamplifier and amplifier (assuming suitable impedances). Hope this helps!
Thanks for the reply. I can't put it between the passive and amp because I also passivly bi-amp(using the bi-wireable speakers x-ver) and have two amps. I could put it between CDP(my only source these days) and passive. My CDP has a 2.4V output at 50 ohms and my amps are both 100K input impedance and need 1.5 volts for full output. I'd have top find a dealer with in home demo or a good return policy.
I just ordered one today from my local dealer. The owner of the store claimed it worked great and he purchased one for himself. His shop specializes in tubed gear and he stated the DRC205 was very transparent and once accustomed to having it in the system you would not want to go without. I also noted on the divertech website the price has already increased to 2995.00. I'll report my impressions when I receive the unit.
A question for you guys that already have one, since the filter is set from just one microphone position, has it improved or degraded sound from other listening spots? I have my prime spot and two other chairs/sofa that I sometimes use. The useful listening areas all suffer from a 63hz suckout so I'm hoping the correction I apply from my prime spot will improve the sound overall. Have you found that to be the case?
Is the maximum boost you can apply to any one band limited to 6db or is that just the recommended amount to not exceed?
Has anyone run the setup twice to see if the filter setting is repeatable or maybe slightly different?
Thanks all. Since I don't have a tape loop in my pre this is looking more problematic since I listen to both vinyl and digital. Can the Copland only handle one input?
Inputs, Mic. Position and Filter Configuration
Hi Oscar44 and rhljazz,
The Copland has only a single input. However, you could use an input switch such as you might find in an inexpensive passive preamplifier. The volume control would be easy to bypass. I feel your pain. Now that I've decided to keep the Copland, I'm replacing my otherwise satisfactory PS Audio GCC-100.
When I first saw the DRC205 a RMAF, I asked whether the unit limited listeners to a single position. The representative answered that the improvement was audible over a wide area. This has certainly been my experience.
The maximum gain/attenuation for any filter is +/- 6db. That said, this can be applied in addition to the automatic setting which forms the basis for custom curves. I am using two filters (see earlier post) which have more than the recommended gain and Q without ill effect. Of course, since this falls outside the manufacturer's specifications, the usual caveats apply.
Wazmoh, I have the DRC205 connected to my system (Musical Fidelity XRayV3 into DRC205 into Bel Canto S300ui integrated amp) I have tried hooking up to three different computers 1 laptop and 2 desktops all with window XP. I cannot get the computer to connect up with the DRC205. I have tried installing the drivers but the computer never sees the proper files. According to the instructions I should see the installation wizard ask for the "EVAL232 Board USB Serial" software to install the file "ftdiunin.exe" but the computer never shows this. And then the computer is supposed to show installing the "USB Serial Converter" with the file "FTLand.dll". Did your installation go as the instruction show or did you do something different to get the DRC205 to connect to your computer.
What does the DRC205 retail for?
Bigcahuna2000, I have the same problem. I received my DRC205 on Saturday. During installation of the software, right before the "finalize" screen it comes up with a page stating something to the effect of USB driver not found. The Copland software installed on my laptop (windows 98) but I have no communication with the DRC205. The instruction page showed a diagram about trying different com ports but that was not successful for me either. Perhaps there is a software problem or internal problem with a certain batch. I don't know the serial number of mine without going home and looking. Of course the store I purchased it from is closed as everyone went to CES.
So far, I prefer the basic flat filter. The bass definition is much improved. It has a range of brightness through the lower treble/upper mids that I would like to alter but can't, due to the computer problem.
jla, the current retail is 2995.00.
The installation was somewhat clunky and counterintuitive. As I recall, the software needed a USB driver and some sort of serial port emulator. I was able to install the program on an older Dell XP Pro-based laptop without undue difficulty.
I am not terribly surprised that it does not work on a Windows 98 platform. Was the DRC connected when you installed the software? The manual is very emphatic on this point. It may be worth uninstalling the utility and trying again.
Wazmoh, I do believe I had the DRC connected when I installed the program but I will try the "un-install" and attempt to install it again and see what happens. The manual states it is Windows 98 compatable, but who knows.
Another quibble, the instructions for making the microphone measurements are severly lacking with regards to orientation. They say to position the mic at your listening position at ear level and that's it. When I first made the measurement, I had the mic facing forward and that was wrong. The mic doesn't appear to be an omni but it must be. I ran the measurement again holding the mic vertically and obtained far better results.
Wazmoh, I used a somewhat older laptop with XP Pro with the software installed. Then I connected the DRC205 and it displays a message that it cannot connect to a USB device. Here is where the computer is supposed to show "New Hardware connected to...." and then you can load the drivers for the USB to Serial conversion drivers. But when I point it to the CD drive to the "i386" directory for the "drivers" it displays that there is no appropriate files for the system to install. I believe the computer is looking for an *****.inf type file to load the drivers with, but there is no ****.inf designated file on that whole installation CD. This is extremely frustrating because I purchased the unit from Divertech since I did not know of any distributors in the U.S. at the time. They are of absolutely no help, and Copland has no email addresses listed on their website. I also tried using the latest drivers from FTDI.com but they do not work either. Thank you for any help you can think of.
That is frustrating! I have a busy schedule for the next few days but I will try to repeat the installation and take some notes. I'll also get in touch with my local rep and see whether he has any ideas.
I borrowed a laptop from my dealer and finally got to see what my room graph looked like. It is very interesting to see how the individual channels measure differently. I made my own P1 curve last night which will require a couple of days of listening to fully assess. I plan to make a P2 curve also so I have some variation to play with. I think the bass balance from the flat A1 curve is fine but it needs to be dialed in differently for the mids and treble. This is an exciting tool to learn and use.
It has been a steep learning curve so far. The flat frequency response into the room in the treble freqencies does not sound right. Looking at the in-room frequency graphs of the more highly regarded speakers measured by Stereophile, all show a decreasing response in the top end, usually ending up around -5 to -10 db at 10000 hz. The thing to remember, when adjusting the filters is that you are manipulating the measured room response and not the speaker response.
My basic setting for P1 after 6 days of trial and error has resulted in using the "shelving high" filter set at 4000 hz with the level set at -3.0 db and a Q of .6. The other filter I used was the "low pass" filter set to 12500 hz with a Q of .5. I left the bass and midrange frequencies set to flat. So far this has resulted in the most natural balance. With this setting, I have a -7 db point at 10000 hz for an in-room setting.
The supplied manual isn't very helpful with instructions at "how to" achieve an acceptable in-room response. Perhaps some other users can relate their experience as well.
I have heard demonstrations of the Lyngdorf and Copland units at the RMAF and CES. The improvements were quite audible. I just have great pause to run analog signal through an A to D and then back again. The magic of audio reproduction is just so fragile that I just cannot bring myself to buy either unit.
Tbg, I know what you mean. I still have reservations about another box and cables in the signal path. However, most of my listening is using cd as a source so I figured another D/A conversion in the chain would not be sacrilige. Right now I have the DRC205 installed between my backup preamp (Manley Shrimp) which doesn't have a tape monitor loop, and the Linn Numerik DAC. The Manley does not have the resolution of my VAC Renaissance so if and when it ever returns from VAC I will have a better understanding of any signal degradation. Right now, I would say it is minimal. The VAC has a tape monitor loop so it would be easy to switch the DRC205 totally out of the system if signal purity was deemed paramount.
Amy more updates on pro's and con's of this device??
I sure wish I could specify the range I wanted to change. It would really be useful if you could set parameters to cover a frequency range like the bass, say 200hz down. I am not thrilled with what it does through the mids and treble. The gundry dip filter sounds artificial. I've heard speakers that are engineered that way and this filter does not produce that effect to my ears. I still find it educational. Factory support is non existent which is another problem.
This morning I received a response from Copland to my question of microphone orientaion during analysis. The instruction manual is not clear as to how the mic is to be oriented during the analysis measurement. I assumed it to be an omni mic and held it in the verticle position. Copland states it should be held/placed so the mic is pointed directly at the stereo center of the speaker system. I will repeat my measurements using this setup and report on the difference.
I have a Tact 2.2 XP and interestingly have the same issues regarding what the unit does in the midrange on up. I have been nagging Tact about putting in a frequency correction cutoff for some time, and they supposedly have actually put that in a software update coming soon. Like what you mentioned, the correction in the bass (up to about 400Hz or so) seems very good, and the unit is consistent with the measurements in this range, but above that, it does some weird stuff. I also can't get very consistent measurements when I take them at different times. The corrected response seems kind of hollow to me. What does the corrected response sound like to you?
Smeyers, I find that the corrected response does have a hollow sound. I think the problem is due to the extended flat response at the top end that does not have a balancing increase at the bottom end. One of the filters I made slopes the top end response to closely approximate the curves depicted in Stereophiles more favorable speaker reviews and measurements. I left the rest of the spectrum untouched. I think this curve sounds better than the totally flat curve and does not have the hollow sound. Most of the highly rated speakers have a decreasing "in room" response at the top. Those that do not, have an elevated/exaggerated bottom end to compensate for the extension at the top.
I used the DRC205 quite a bit this weekend measuring results for different speaker positions. New speakers are sometimes difficult to get just right. I also hooked up the REL sub and found the curves from the DRC205 made setting the crossover to the sub very easy. I don't have a lot of hours on it and one set of cables (Nordost Blue Heaven) were new and not broken in. The remainder of my cabling is Audio Magic so the difference in cabling may have some effect also. I'm planning to use the DRC205 more and see if it opens up a bit and becomes more transparent. I will also experiment a bit more with another different filter and hear what happens.
I've owned the DRC 205 now for several months. I do think it is quite an incredible piece of audio tech. It won me over inside the dealer's shop when he switched a Bryston BCD-1 on a Macintosh amp to a pair of 3A speakers. What went from a small, somewhat lifeless soundstage caught between the speakers, to a grand, room filling, slamming soundscape that defied the speakers entirely. And it was still musical! In fact even more so! One of the attributes I find lovely to this piece is it really brings out what the bass response SHOULD be a la anachoic chamber. Really full, vibrant, and fully linear top to bottom frequency. If i were to fault this device I'd have to say it does sometimes quash some of the depth of the soundstaging or maybe a bit of super detailed transients you'd find coming out of a top end expensive player. This is a picky faulting and one that seems to change if I reset the mic placement. I'm sure it's also what my old DAC does vs the newer DAC's in the Copland. But it's not bad for it. Just different. But for it's price point ($3000) it will match up quite fairly and symbiotically to equipment in the same ball park or lower and really make your system shine fantastic. And I've found myself constantly wanting to recallibrate the signal everytime I move or change anything to the point of obssessiveness. And let's face it, in this hobby I don't need anything more to obsess about. Although that can be half the fun! I can say it has done very nicely for just getting more into the music, no if's-ands-or-but's. Purists need not apply as there is always something that can be disected and discredited via numbers, and (I am a victim here too) pure anal overanalysis . Music lovers though "all aboard". Great: yes indeed. Perfect: what is?
I can also say whole-heartedly: put a Virtual Dynamics power cable on it to get some great energy from it and use it on A1 (flat). Using Acoustic Zen Matrix II IC's and they're excellent!