I’m new to this forum and this is my first time posting. I first became interested in DEQX (most likely the PreMate) as a way to properly integrate a subwoofer in my 2-channel system. The extra benefits of timing and frequency correction interest me as well. I’d greatly appreciate any advice or commentary on the following items, especially from those who have used DEQX products. If I could get a response to ANY one of these items on my list, I’d be happy.
SIDENOTE ABOUT MY SYSTEM
· Auralic Aries to stream local files and Tidal (Mostly 16bit/44.1khz)
· Cambridge Azur 851N. This is my streamer/DAC, but I recently picked up the Aries to handle the streaming part since it is Roon Ready and allows me to upgrade to a better DAC in the future (likely the PreMate).
· Audio Research DSi200 integrated amp. The current plan is to replace this with the PreMate and a new separate power amp. This unit has no lines out for separate preamp or subwoofer, which is my only disappointment with this component.
· REL T7 subwoofer. Again, the ARC has no line out for a sub so I connect the REL to the ARC via speaker terminals. Therefore, I’m running my speakers full range and blending the sub in at around 80Hz, which overlaps with the speakers…not ideal. I fully intend to upgrade to a JL Audio E-sub or Fathom; one sub to start with, and perhaps a second when funds allow.
· Revel F208 speakers
1. Many in this forum have mentioned how burdensome it is to haul your speakers and other necessary playback components outside for measurement. I agree this is a pretty significant barrier. I wonder if its possible for DEQX to adopt the same strategy that Devialet employs with their Speaker Active Matching (SAM) technology by taking the speaker measurements for you and publishing the results online for download. DEQX could do this by acquiring various speaker models in their own lab or simply giving speaker manufacturers the opportunity to do it themselves. Perhaps there are barriers to this approach, but it seems to me the best alternative to the current approach.
2. Has anyone experienced problems with taking speaker measurements outdoors due to noise from birds, cars, etc.?
3. Some of you have commented on the sound quality of the DEQX as preamp, which is helpful, but I’m curious about its basic functionality. Do DEQX owners find the volume control offers fine enough adjustments? This is an important factor for me in choosing a preamp. Before I acquired my ARC integrated amp (103 attenuation steps), I used my Cambridge DAC’s volume control (30 steps) and found the volume adjustments too large. I found it difficult to get just the right volume and it drove me mad. Interestingly, the DEQX manual says the volume adjustments range from 1db steps at louder levels, to as much as 6db steps at lower levels. I have heard of any other digital volume controls operating this way. How do you feel about it?
4. Also on the topic of volume controls, I personally feel DEQX could make their products more attractive as preamps if the front panel included a numerical volume display. Seeing a number helps me quickly find a known volume level that works in certain situations. I’m aware that the LED light turns various colors to signify certain ranges of volume, but I feel this isn’t optimal. I’m curious how others feel.
5. I haven’t seen anyone mention considerations around speaker ports when integrating a subwoofer. I know “Soundoctor” (JL Audio expert) insists that output from the port should be considered as part of the equation and that sub integration is better when dealing with sealed box speakers and sealed box subs. Are there any decision points in the DEQX calibration process related to speaker ports? I’m wondering if I should use the foam plugs provided with my Revel F208s, thereby blocking their output, diminishing the lowest frequency response of the speakers, and blending in the sub at a higher frequency to compensate.
6. JL Audio Fathom subwoofers come equipped with an on-board, automated DSP EQ function called Digital Automatic Room Optimization (DARO). If I used a Fathom sub, how should I handle this DARO functionality? Perhaps I could tell DEQX not to adjust frequencies below the sub crossover point? Or perhaps I could handle all low frequency EQ with DEQX and turn DARO off? I assume it would be a mess to have both technologies employed at the same time.
7. Perhaps this will make audiophiles cringe, but when I’m not doing critical listening in my sweet spot chair, I sometimes listen casually to the side on my couch or at the dinner table (we have an open living room/kitchen/dining area). In light of that, I’m curious how DEQX might affect off-axis listening. I don’t see the speaker correction doing any harm, but the room correction is another story. Since room correction is based on measurements taken from the listening position, has anyone noticed anything highly irregular when listening outside of the sweet spot? This isn’t a huge deal. I’m just curious. I suppose if I find I don’t like what I hear off-axis, I could just create a profile with no room correction and use that when needed.
8. Here’s the obligatory MQA rant…I hate to be that guy prattling on about a technology that has hardly even arrived yet, but it would be great if DEQX could offer MQA playback. My understanding is that MQA is integral to the DAC chip so this can’t be implemented to existing units in the field…not without sending the unit back for upgrading. Even then, perhaps it is not feasible. If it is, I’m sure there would be some willing customers. If anybody has heard anything about DEQX incorporating MQA, please share.
9. To enable full MQA playback, one could always add a separate MQA-capable DAC downstream from the DEQX, but I don’t think that would work in a system using the DEQX’s analog sub out because you are no longer using the DEQX to control volume of sub and mains at once. Right?
10. Having read through this forum and assessing my own skills, I’m fairly certain I would need to rely on DEQXpert service to get my system calibrated. According to the website, online DEQXpert installation service is now USD$399 and “manages all of these processes on-line, where you help set up the measurements, play music when all is done, adjudicate results and set any preferences. DEQXpert can also provide you with one on one software tutoring.” Can anyone describe his or her experience with this service? I’m wondering how much time the service tech spends with you and if it met your needs. I mean…you don’t get unlimited time so the handholding must stop at some point!
11. Does anyone know if DEQXpert service is available to those who buy used DEQX products? Buying used would be easier on my bank account, but of course it is probably wise to buy from an authorized dealer and rest easy knowing I have warranty coverage and additional support. I’m in Portland, OR so the closest dealer would be Acoustic Frontiers in CA. I’m quite impressed with Nyal Mellor there.