Gizza

In praise of the MiniDsp

Recommended Posts

Super Wammer

After considering a purchase of a Minidsp unit for a while, I recently bought a Minidsp 2x4HD unit from Luke (insider9) of this parish. It was purchased mainly to act as an active crossover to my Quad ESL63 and Gradient SW63 subwoofer combo. Gradient supply an active crossover with the subs and although it works quite well, you do lose some of the immediacy of the Quads. Another option that I tried, following a well known tweak from the internet, was to use the Gradient crossover to the subs but to use a single in-line capacitor in circuit to each of the Quads. This opened up the sound from the Quads but the overall sound was less seamless - you could hear that each channel was coming from 2 separate units. I therefore went back to using the Gradient crossover, but knew that greater transparency/immediacy should be possible.

Enter the Minidsp unit. Despite being a novice in things dsp, after reading the setup notes, I was able to configure the software to set the crossover frequency of a nominal 110hz and create left and right outputs to the Quads and again to the subs. I was able to choose the crossover type that allows a 6db per octave boost on the subs (required due to them being open baffle dipoles). I then read that the Gradient crossover has a sharp reduction in output below 28hz, as the subs are not flat below this frequency. After a further bit of reading I found that I could set something called a low-step filter in a tab called 'parametric equalizer' on the output to the subs, to achieve this.

The Minidsp is doing what I hoped it would do - greater immediacy with a seamlessness between the Quads and the Gradient. As has been said before, a great strength is to be able to try different settings on the fly e.g different crossover points/frequencies, different output levels on the subs. There is also the facility to store different configurations in four different presets. I have also been able to store functions such as volume up/down, presets 1 to 4, on my Sony TV remote. That has enabled me to hear the difference, the touch of a button, between using a crossover point of 110hz, 115hz, 120hz etc. It also gives me the ability to have 2 presets which are identical apart from one being in positive phase, the other in inverted phase (for those who, like me, hear the difference from one recording to another). I can therefore switch from positive to inverse phase and vice versa, at the touch of a button.

In summary, a very worthwhile purchase and I can also look forward to a future purchase of a Umik-1 microphone and using the free REW software to carry out room correction or even buy the Dirac software.

Oh, one last thing to mention was the excellent transaction with Luke, yet another example of a fine, trustworthy Wammer. It was a real pleasure to do business with him.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Dealer

They make excellent products, you can use the 2x4 to 'correct' your room as well of course,

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

Yes and FIR filtering with the HD version 😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to hear Gary! It was a pleasure to deal with you also.

I think Minidsp hit the sweet spot with 2x4HD as it really does a lot for the money with lots of connectivity. On top of which like you said, it can be upgraded to Dirac Live which is excellent indeed. The difference it made to my setup was significant and I do miss it. In all fairness I haven't been listening to music half as much since. Luckily my new Minidsp solution landed tonight at Stansted so it shouldn't take long now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am surprised more people haven't gone down the DSP route,like many bass traps etc are a no go for me,I just don't have the room to accommodate them.

Another Wammer came round with his laptop loaded with the Dirac software,so we set it up for my system,the difference wasn't subtle.I went for the 22A,it's simple enough to set up,but microphone positioning is quite critical,you can define whatever response you like and store 4 different files on the unit and many more on your laptop and simply import them to the DSP unit,but in 3 different systems I have heard with Dirac,the default setting seems the best.

Pictures show my room before and after.

Before.PNG

After.PNG

Edited by GJO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
10 hours ago, insider9 said:

Great to hear Gary! It was a pleasure to deal with you also.

I think Minidsp hit the sweet spot with 2x4HD as it really does a lot for the money with lots of connectivity. On top of which like you said, it can be upgraded to Dirac Live which is excellent indeed. The difference it made to my setup was significant and I do miss it. In all fairness I haven't been listening to music half as much since. Luckily my new Minidsp solution landed tonight at Stansted so it shouldn't take long now.

Yes, I also think the 2x4 HD is their sweet spot. Great to hear that delivery of your replacement solution is imminent, Luke! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
17 minutes ago, GJO said:

Am surprised more people haven't gone down the DSP route,like many bass traps etc are a no go for me,I just don't have the room to accommodate them.

Another Wammer came round with his laptop loaded with the Dirac software,so we set it up for my system,the difference wasn't subtle.I went for the 22A,it's simple enough to set up,but microphone positioning is quite critical,you can define whatever response you like and store 4 different files on the unit and many more on your laptop and simply import them to the DSP unit,but in 3 different systems I have heard with Dirac,the default setting seems the best.

Pictures show my room before and after.

Before.PNG

After.PNG

Wow, that's a significant change, Graham. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used just about every MiniDSP product.. amazing value for money

however with my new vivid audio G1 Spirits ..dirac worked well (below 150hz)  but just having the box inline with no processing , robbed the system of magic..I deleted it and use ROON's inbuilt parametric to take out a few peaks with much better effect

On my older G1's .. the DDRC 22 running dirac worked brilliantly .. better than without it

If you view the 2x4hd's as a multi input , dac, adc , dsp unit , remote volume etc ..you can use it a a stand alone pre.. and at $205 .. its mickey mouse money for what it does.

Bear in mind , with the DIRAC solution aboard that you will need a -6 to -10db reduction in the digital signal to avoid digital clipping when it boosts 

Edited by Rodney Gold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since getting mine at least 2 other Wammers have purchased the same unit as mine,pity it's gone up by 30% over the last 2 years,the whole deal now comes to 1K.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary, Dirac Live offers a free trial. I believe it's two weeks. If you want to have a go and can use a PC as a source give it a go. Connectivity wise 2x4 HD can accept usb signal so you can connect virtually any PC to it. You will of course need a measurement mic. If you're happy with what it gives you you can then upgrade your 2x4 HD to DDRC-24 for $245 directly from Minidsp website in a way of a firmware upgrade. That was my plan but I underestimated number of channels I need.

One additional thing I'd suggest is to get a mic stand. Dirac needs 9 measurements all in different places. The more accurate these are the better.

I cello taped the mini tripod that came with Umik-1 to a camera tripod so you can use alternatives as well.

11 minutes ago, Rodney Gold said:

If you view the 2x4hd's as a multi input , dac, adc , dsp unit , remote volume etc ..you can use it a a stand alone pre.. and at $205 .. its mickey mouse money for what it does.

Absolutely agree!

In regards to Roon. I don't know if you're aware but Roon can works with convolution filters so you could be using FIR as well as or instead of PEQ. You would need to design the filters which is harder to do than using Dirac Live but well worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I was thinking of trying the convolution engine..but its a lot more convoluted than using Dirac or AcourateDRC... DIRAC wont convert my DDRC 22 's license to a puter based one .. I would have to buy DIRAC again and sell the DDRC + its dirac license

I know there are freebie FIR generators out there .. fiddled with BruteFir etc..you need to be a rocket scientist...

Correction should be kept to under 300-500hz.. Ive tried a lot of full frequency correction devices and software and still prefer physical for over 300 hz or so .. tho with most non dedicated rooms and WAF , a Dirac solution is amazing before/after.. tweak to taste with target curve ..

I have fiddled with all the scenarios .. 1 measurement , chair , sofa etc.. each gives different results..its all a taste based thing anyway (target curve)

Be realistic in expectations your 1970's DJ speakers stacked atop each other in your bathroom aint gonna sound like the Abbey Rd studio control room...

I bought a cheap mic boom from our local pro audio supply store .15 quid I think...

After hearing the loss thru the DDRC box in bypass I have decided everything must be done in the puter .. and sent wirelessly to my amps. No boxes , no cables

My amps are devialets and are a one box solution...

Analog presents a problem for the purist as it has to get chopped up into digital to also benefit from DRC..something most analog guys dont want..

Adding a coax digital input would have been a good idea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

Interesting reading your comments Graham, Luke and Rodney. I may have to wait a while before I can purchase a mic. I know it probably appears from my kit list that I may be comfortably off, but it took me over 38 years of saving upgrading and 2nd hand purchases to get to where I am. I also worked my way up in IT to earn a decent wage then after being made redundant in 2009, I decided to move into something that I really enjoyed, which I've done but am now on minimum wage, so purchases are few and between and carefully considered 😊.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, GJO said:

Am surprised more people haven't gone down the DSP route,like many bass traps etc are a no go for me,I just don't have the room to accommodate them.

Another Wammer came round with his laptop loaded with the Dirac software,so we set it up for my system,the difference wasn't subtle.I went for the 22A,it's simple enough to set up,but microphone positioning is quite critical,you can define whatever response you like and store 4 different files on the unit and many more on your laptop and simply import them to the DSP unit,but in 3 different systems I have heard with Dirac,the default setting seems the best.

Pictures show my room before and after.

Before.PNG

After.PNG

Hi Graham

That looks really impressive - have you ever done a before and after scan using REW to see if what DIRAC claims is reality, or is the 'after' claim a bit better than reality?

I'd love to try out DIRAC, but as I don't use a computer as a source (I use Vortexbox) with a modified SB Classic, I'd really need a DDRC-22D to do it justice (all in the digital domain).  I don't suppose anyone's got one going spare that I could borrow or buy - sadly I can't afford the new price!

Cheers. Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chap who came around with his laptop had tried REW Roon etc and settled on Dirac for his Apple based system,we did load a file he made with REW,but we preferred Dirac.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, BilliumB said:

I'd love to try out DIRAC, but as I don't use a computer as a source (I use Vortexbox) with a modified SB Classic, I'd really need a DDRC-22D to do it justice (all in the digital domain).

Bill, 2x4 HD discussed here can be upgraded to Dirac Live as a form of a firmware upgrade. This turns it into DDRC-24 at a cost of $245. 

13 hours ago, BilliumB said:

That looks really impressive - have you ever done a before and after scan using REW to see if what DIRAC claims is reality, or is the 'after' claim a bit better than reality?

Yes, I have. The graphs looked suspiciously flat to me. Important things to consider, graphs shown are only a prediction, they use 1/8 smoothing, they're also averaged for 9 points in space as opposed to one. Especially that last one makes the outright comparison more difficult.

In terms of measurements my findings were that Dirac is over optimistic. At times differences were large and could be as high as double digits in terms of dB extremes. I have been comparing to fixed spot REW measurement though. The great gains were in decay times though as shown in REW waterfall.

In terms of listening the irregularities in measurements didn't matter to me much as it just sounded significantly better with Dirac than without. The level of clarity was excellent, imaging improved, there was more air around instruments and greater separation. What surprised me was differences I didn't expect the amp I then used sounded faster post Dirac at a slight cost to it's superb timbral quality.

Overall Dirac Live is a great solution and definitely worth it but ultimately not for me. I like to tinker a little bit too much and Dirac was too automated for me :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.