Room Acoustic Software

It has been a while since CARA came out and became known to Audiogon. I am wondering if anyone has used this product or any other room acoustic software that could comment on your take on the features and use, necessary computer power, and your satisfaction of the output.
Our company sells the CARA software, so I likely have a biased opinion. However, we do this because we feel it represents the best value and the most flexibility of any software simulation package of it's kind. The other package, which we do not sell, that is also very good is the RPG package. It is limited to rectangular rooms, which in mind is a pretty severe limitation. However, on the plus side, the calculations are much faster and it's a bit easier to use.

As to the CARA which I am very familiar with. It is incredibly flexible. We have a database of literally hundreds of materials and speakers. You can do virtually anything with it from slopped ceilings to non parallel walls, diffusors, really everything.

As to computer power. The CARA is a major number cruncher and when you make a complex room with a lot of detail it can take a long time to run, even days on a pretty fast computer. However, the trick is to start with basic designs, which can take maybe 10 minutes to do full calculations and then expand on them to perfect the room.

As I said we sell this software and it can be purchased on our website at
There's not much to add to Rives comments, so this is mainly to register my satisfaction with the product, its features and overall performance.

As for the power necessary to run it, my computer is an AMD Athlon 850 with 384 megs of RAM. Most computations can be run in the background while I peruse AudioGon. The most complex models take overnight to complete.
I was just considering this stuff, as it looks like I'm stuck in my "temporary" room for much longer than I had originally planned. I have an all-MartinLogan speaker system and I note that there isn't much in the way of ML's in the CARA library. Is that reasonably easy for me to overcome?

I guess my biggest question is "how does one use it?" I don't speak the acoustic language well, and I am hoping that the software speaks "human" in some way that mere mortals can understand. This isn't too clear from the web page. The problem really is that I don't know precisely what it does, so I don't have a mental picture of how I'd apply it. Do I use it to achieve a particular type of surface? etc.

I have fast computers, but I am confused about the input requirements. I believe that my IBM Thinkpad T30 has the required line-level input - does anyone know?
It sounds as if you expect to input a signal into CARA and that isn't how it's used. Instead, a room is modeled in the CARA CAD portion of the application, including walls, speaker and listening positions, plus special reflective surfaces like carpets, wall hanging, etc.

Once completed that model is run through a processor called CARA Calc. This engine does all the computations for both numerical and graphical output.

Certain of CARA Calcs outputs can be viewed as 2D or 3D charts. Some of the latter can also be viewed as video based on, for example, time. For this they use a third piece of software, so CARA is really three applications that all work together fairly seamlessly.

If a model of your speaker(s) is not included in the library that comes with the product take a look on Elac's site. They have a listing of models created by endusers that have been "tweaked" by Elac's staff. If the speaker needed is not available anywhere it is not that hard to model it using CARA's loudspeaker editor.

FWIW, I am fairly computer literate and have used a variety of applications in my years. Until CARA I had never used a CAD package of any sort and it wasn't difficult to figure out. The help files are very complete and should be referenced at all steps as they point out most of the pitfalls.

Hope that helps.
I think our site might have the answer regarding this. There is a page for computer requirements for ETF and BARE software. These software packages are for actual acoustical measurements and require a line level input (or USB if you use the pro version of the test kits).

CARA is room simulation software. It does not take any actual acoustical measurements of the room. So you do not need line level inputs. If you are looking for room measurement software (mics and cabling for computer as well), we sell this too. The only requirement for CARA is that you have a PC based (or emulator) to run the software on. The faster the better because it does do a lot of number crunching.

I hope that helps, but if you have more questions, feel free to give us a call 800-959-6553