What Bass Mgmt. & Room EQ Scheme For Me?
Though still a newbie to bass management, and even
more so computer controlled room eq, I don’t think that products like DEQX,
Hapi and some other popular schemes would offer me enough of what I’d prefer or
even basically need. Either their DACs have been said not to sound as good as
many other standalones or they don’t have the connectivity I may need.
I have a passively crossed two way speaker system.
Knowing the designers as I do, I don't think these speakers suffer much group
delay. The sealed midwoofers acoustically roll off soon below 70Hz. I want to
build a pair of passive subs for below the midwoofers. Those subs will have
paper cones and may be either sealed or dual driver H or W-frame or slot-loaded
open baffle subs. Though this system's for music only, if I go with OB subs they may not have quite the desired bass
extension, so I would want to blend my pair Rythmik 12" sealed servo subs
below them. In any case, I also want to use the Rythmik subs since 3 or 4
subs-particularly in my small 14 ft x 19 room-should yield a flatter low
frequency response, as Earl Geddes and JBL have long independently concluded.
My Rythmik subs have true balanced inputs which is
fortunate since for proper placement they will likely require cables of about
laptop (or desktop) is my music server. While I'm sure there are some decent sounding desktop cards today, standalone
DACs world likely offer a much lower noise environment for the DAC’s clock than
inside a desktop chassis, along with more room for much better circuitry. And
I'd prefer to use my laptop rather than my desktop.
My plan was to purchase a respectable sounding DAC
(e.g. Exasound, Bryston, PS Audio), use its balanced outs to feed the Rythmik
subs and wye-connect the unbalanced outputs to feed my mains amp and the amp
driving the passive subs.
The Rythmik plate amps have LP filters at two
slopes, phase, level, along with EQ if needed. But plate amps being what they
typically are, I want to use the Rythmiks for below an upgraded Bryston stereo
power amp driving the passive subs. That way the plate amps won't color the
sound of my 300B SE tube amps driving my mains.
But how then do I get the same control
functionality for the passive subs as in the Rythmik sub plate amps-and do so
while keeping signal processing and signal path length to a minimum for best
Page 28 here says that I could feed digital audio
from my laptop to this via USB.
And many standalone excellent DACs have USB. Then
the Dspeaker Dual Core's RCA outputs connect to the amps driving the passive
subs. Plus with this arrangement only one digital conversation needs to occur.
And Dspeaker's electronics probably sound good enough to do room eq at least for
below my midwoofers, where most room resonances are strongest anyway.
kills that plan is that the digital audio received by Dspeaker and the system’s
main DAC from my laptop via USB would need to be clocked simultaneously. But
Dspeaker has no clock input, nor do any of these boxes with digital inputs. https://www.minidsp.com/products/opendrc-series/summary-table
And except for a few (e.g. Antelope) most DACs don't either. Even if they did
have clock inputs, a good clock generator may cost as much or more than a ~ $4K
DAC. Or am I wrong and would the Dspeaker Dual Core do exactly what I want without
an external clock?
Then I thought of Merging Technologies' Windows
compatible Hapi box, as suggested here and elsewhere. Used by the mastering house
that digitizes classical analog recordings sold at stores like hdtracks.com,
the quality of its optional DAC is probably nearly as good as its optional A/D
converter. And its output connectivity should work for me. https://vintageking.com/merging-technologies-hapi
But it’s only available as an 8-channel box and contains no DACs. And ALL 8 DACs
are all on one board. Thus, with the box, the board and breakout cables I'd be
paying for twice as many DAC channels as I need. Plus, it has no USB input, and
an AES3 desktop (or laptop?) card to output digital audio to it via my pc would
cost at least another $400.
ARRRGGGHHHH!!! I can’t believe that
after all these years the computer audiophile market still leaves most of us
having to dance that accursed A/D, D/A two-step with this http://www.dspeaker.com/en/products/anti-mode-8033.shtml or one of these analog input boxes. https://www.minidsp.com/product/opendrc-series/summary-table
Be that as it may, with Dspeaker or miniDSP AD/DA
almost everything’s in the box and the software might be bundled tightly enough
with the hardware making it relatively easy to use. But the only real
consolation is that I'd be using either one for bass management and
for room eq ONLY below my midwoofers. That way its two-fold digital
conversions won't spoil what's feeding and pushing my main speakers.
However. even consenting to use either of these
two clunky A/DD/A boxes, I still can't determine which one has the better
converters and which might give me the shorter and cleaner sounding signal
path, while meeting at least most of my functionality goals.
Or which other A/DD/A box might be a better
sounding and/or functional choice?
But how compatible would those presumably better
sounding AD/DA models be with what kind of bass management software and “user
friendly” room eq software for home use discussed here?
Speaking of software, DIRAC subwoofer management
apparently is licensed or is otherwise compatible with miniDSP. It seems easy
enough to learn. https://www.minidsp.com/applications/home-theater-tuning/multi-sub-optimization-with-the-ddrc-88a
. But as most of you probably know, another compatible alternative to use with
miniDSP boxes is http://www.audiovero.de/en/acouratedrc.php
But I’m doubtful if I could scale Acourate’s learning curve well
enough. And REW also looks a little scary https://www.minidsp.com/applications/auto-eq-with-rew
without a lot of help from here at this thread and places like here. https://www.avnirvana.com/forums/official-rew-room-eq-wizard-support-forum.10/
Unless there's a better sounding hardware solution
for my situation than DEQX and most of the above hardware? Or, technically, how
important is that considered to be by most here for bass management and for
doing room eq only below 70Hz?