Looking for Room Measurement / Speaker Setup Software

I’ve gotten to the point where I am happy with the equipment I have (PS Audio Digital / VPI Super Scoutmaster Reference, NAT Preamp, Maker Audio Amp, Hansen Prince speakers), but I know the speakers could be better optimized. The setup is in a crappy room (too open, with a big couch) but it still sounds really good. Not great though.

Can anyone recommend software / hardware that I can by to measure frequency response at my listening position that I can use to adjust speaker placement? If I need separate hardware above & beyond my laptop that’s fine, though obviously something that works with the laptop’s hardware is more economical. I’m guessing we’re talking a good USB mic and some software but I have no idea what to get.


Ian     Palm Beach County, Florida
ihmeyers writes:
 maybe moving the speakers a few inches can make a difference. ...


As far as an EQ Preamp, I had a DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0. While it certainly adjusted the room response it degraded SQ. I had no idea how much until I tried it with/without in my system. Maybe it was the extra cables involved but it was anything but transparent with my equipment.

The second one is good to see, it shows you're listening. Lots of guys maybe most who go wandering down this road get so caught up in the numbers they forget or don't even notice they've shot themselves in the foot when it comes to sound quality. There's more to sound quality than frequency response. Most of the stuff we are able to measure is at best gross and often times misleading. Like chasing flat response at the expense of transparency, ease, detail, etc.

Forest for the trees.

What you will find with your room software, I predict will be a replay of what you found with the EQ. It will at best help you tweak a bit flatter response. Only in this case instead of losing transparency you will lose something else. Not sure what exactly you will have to find that out for yourself. But it will be something.

Probably imaging. Tweaking speakers for imaging is a game of millimeters. Actually make that millimeter. That's about how precise they need to be for precise imaging. 

What you will find, I can just about guarantee, is any move big enough to be heard as a benefit you either already did or at least certainly could have done. Well I mean if you can hear it, then try, wind up same place minus the cost of the software. So really all any software can do is a) save a little time and b) maybe get you closer but on a graph not anything you could hear. Because if you could hear it you could do it. So back to time. And money.

Meanwhile what if the software says move the speakers a few inches closer to a side wall? To get let's say 2dB flatter response. Which could be. Well moving closer to the side wall moved the first side wall reflection closer in time meaning either smeared imaging or more absorption needed, either way a loss for a gain.

Honestly probably never will understand why guys put so much faith in these things. On the bright side, keep this in mind, keep your ears and eyes open like you did with the EQ and you will learn from the experience, which is the main thing after all.

what am I connecting the RCA cables to? I assumed the software will read the levels/freq data the mic ’hears’ and generate a graph of room response.
Connect to your preamp one of the line level input, if you decided to use umik-1 with REW for acoustic measurement, please read the link below to get started:
BTW, the REW software is free and come with built-in RTA, IME, it is a great learning tool to have.

I’m a big fan of REW software.  I agree with others that there is a learning curve so, to get the most out of it requires some time and effort on your part.  I enjoyed the learning process and the SQ of my system benefited from the effort.

Audiogon is not the right forum to discuss measurements.   AVNirvana (where you get the REW software) is a good place to ask “how to” and "what does it mean" questions.  Gearslutz (pro audio) is a good place to read about acoustic problems and solutions.  They generally don’t answer questions from the 2 channel hobby crowd but every question you can think of has already been asked.  Search the forum.

You want a smooth frequency graph but I find the distortion graphs and the time domain stuff (ETC) more useful.  Finding solutions in the time domain helps resolve problems in the frequency domain.   Of late, I’ve been trying to lower the T30 values per Floyd Toole’s recommendations.

Lots of info in these books:  “Sound Reproduction” by Floyd Toole.  “Master Handbook of Acoustics” by F. Alton Everest and Ken C. Pohlmann.

The trouble with measurement software, is, you still have to move the speaker. It won’t tell you where the right place is, it just lets you measure several places.

One of the best ways to find the ideal location for a speaker is to swap it with your chair.

Walk around the room until the bass sounds best, and mark it with tape. Put your speaker there. :) If you are using REW or OmniMic, same applies. Walk around potential speaker locations until you locate the best curve.

Also, if you don’t have any, bass traps can really improve your options.
Jim Smith's book Get Better Sound is very helpful for getting the speakers and listening seat positions correct.