Gizza

A laughable improvement

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Super Wammer

Well, despite reading comments on here about the benefits of in-room EQ, room measurements, etc. it has taken until now for me to shell out on the Minidsp Umik-1 digital microphone, necessary for making the required measurements.

For many months, I had already been using a Minidsp 4x2HD, configured as a crossover for my 4 x EAR 509 II monoblocs, Quad ESL63/ Gradient SW63 woofer system but I wasn't doing any further equalization to correct for any in-room anomalies, as I thought my system sounded very good and that the room was probably good, too. 

Well, as I'd built up a little extra money in my bank account, I thought I'd take a punt and spend the £109 for the microphone. A quick install of the free REW software on the laptop, a handful of room frequency sweeps , some reading to get some understanding of what REW was doing and the processing of the correction file into my Minidsp 2x4HD and I am pretty gobsmacked.

The sweeps highlighted, amongst other things, quite a lift in the 200-300hz region and dips in the sub-110hz region(from memory, anyway). With the correction applied, it's so much better to listen to. Bass is tighter, easier to follow and as a result, detail in the mids and highs is now easier to hear. I'm just simply getting more enjoyment from the music.

I didn't spend a great deal of time with the sweeps etc. and fully intend to do some more but putting more time and effort into it. However, for now, I just want to sit and play my music and enjoy the new experience. Once I'm used to the new sound I will find sone time to do further work, including trying out the trial version of Dirac Live.

For anyone that has a minidsp unit and hasn't yet got hold of a mic to run some room measurements/correction, I unreservedly recommend that you do so. As has been stated many times by people that have done this, the interaction between the loudspeakers and the room is key and you can obtain a big improvement for a relatively small expenditure by working in this area.

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Have a go with the free trial Dirac Live and see what that does for you...I suspect that it will persuade you to upgrade your 2x4HD to a DDRC-24 (software/firmware upgrade). The improvement is not trivial from my experience.

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Super Wammer
50 minutes ago, Tony_J said:

Have a go with the free trial Dirac Live and see what that does for you...I suspect that it will persuade you to upgrade your 2x4HD to a DDRC-24 (software/firmware upgrade). The improvement is not trivial from my experience.

I definitely will, Tony, once I've become accustomed to the current 'sound' as again, it's quite a cheap upgrade if I can hear that it's another improvement.

I am also trying to decide how to best integrate my 2 x Rel subs into the mix as I don't have enough outputs on my 2x4HD. The ouput to my Gradient woofers cuts off sharply at 30Hz, so I can't tap off that to the Rels. I'm thinking I could buy the cheaper minidsp 2x4 which would at least allow me to equalise the sub-30Hz frequencies being produced by the Rels.

I just can't see a way of getting the time delay optimised if having to use 2 seperate minidsp units, even if I had  two 2x4HD units running Dirac Live.

A Dirac Live unit with at least 6 outputs is going to be too expensive for me.

At present,  I'm going straight from the SB Touch's RCA out to the Rels and using the Rel's internal 30hz cutoff. I may actually try running the output from the minidsp to the Gradients without cutting off at 30hz, thereby allowing the frequencies below this to get through. I can then use a twin rca adaptor to feed the Gradients AND the Rels from that output, run the frequency sweep and thereby equalise right down to 16hz or so.

We will see whether the Gradients perform any worse by allowing sub-30hz frequencies to them. If not, then the job should be a good 'un!

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There is a potential solution around cascading dsp units. If you use the cheaper 2x4 to generate the crossover between the Gradients and the Rels, and drive it off the low frequency outputs of the 2x4HD, you can use the HD to crossover between the Gradients and the '63s. 

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Can you explain exactly what the Minidsp 4x2HD is and what it does? How does room correction actually happen? I take it this only works for digital sources?

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, JD68 said:

Can you explain exactly what the Minidsp 4x2HD is and what it does? How does room correction actually happen? I take it this only works for digital sources?

See their website here:

https://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4-hd

The 2x4HD has analogue, optical, and USB inputs for stereo input and 4 analogue outputs. In short, you can use it to create a digital active crossover and create filters that will add equalization to the active crossover. The filters can be used simply to correct the performance of the drivers, or to also correct the overall performance of the speakers in a room. In either case, you would measure the frequency response of the speakers and generate filters appropriately.  There are various software tools around that can help with this - REW is one, Dirac is another. I currently use both at different stages in the process of creating a crossover.

The cheaper 2x4 (not HD) just has analogue inputs and outputs.

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Super Wammer
2 hours ago, JD68 said:

Can you explain exactly what the Minidsp 4x2HD is and what it does? How does room correction actually happen? I take it this only works for digital sources?

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 

Forgive me if you know this...

Digital and analogue sources are fine but there are more important aspects of your system if you were to consider this; it is an active crossover so won't work with your average integrated amp and commercially available passive or active speakers. You need your sources going into a pre-amp and to feed that into the MiniDSP (or related model) and to feed the outputs from that into the power amps feeding each pair of treble/mid/bass drivers ie. an active system.

Edited by TheFlash
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Super Wammer
2 hours ago, Tony_J said:

There is a potential solution around cascading dsp units. If you use the cheaper 2x4 to generate the crossover between the Gradients and the Rels, and drive it off the low frequency outputs of the 2x4HD, you can use the HD to crossover between the Gradients and the '63s. 

Very clever, thanks Tony. That way, all frequencies are being output from the Dirac Live software with time delay correction on , with the sub-110hz signals then being merely routed to the relevant subs.

It's going to be interesting to hear the results from Dirac Live.

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2 minutes ago, Gizza said:

Very clever, thanks Tony. That way, all frequencies are being output from the Dirac Live software with time delay correction on , with the sub-110hz signals then being merely routed to the relevant subs.

It's going to be interesting to hear the results from Dirac Live.

Exactly so.

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Hi, as a newbie here, I would love to ask a couple of questions on this.

Basically I want to use a Bluesound Node 2i (or similar) to drive my active speakers and sub woofer setup. I kind of get what the Minidsp does and I am quite sure that, with the mic and suitable software, I will be quite capable of getting some very decent results. However, for a couple of reasons, I want to keep the everyday control of the system as simple as possible.

I can see how I could use the basic Minidsp between the Bluesound out and the line level speaker in, and I assume, not affect the volume control that I have with the Bluesound app.

However the Minidsp would be the Dac driving my system, would that be better/worse than the dac in the Bluesound and would another a>d/d>a set of conversions be an issue? I can avoid that by using the Minidsp HD and connecting digitally but will that still allow control of volume from the Bluesound app?

It is important to keep the functionality as simple as possible, this is a family setup so controlling everything from a single app is essential, any thoughts?

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Thanks for the info. Think it makes more sense now. I am using an Audionote integrated now so it won't work with my set up. It has got me interested though!

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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22 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

Hi, as a newbie here, I would love to ask a couple of questions on this.

Basically I want to use a Bluesound Node 2i (or similar) to drive my active speakers and sub woofer setup. I kind of get what the Minidsp does and I am quite sure that, with the mic and suitable software, I will be quite capable of getting some very decent results. However, for a couple of reasons, I want to keep the everyday control of the system as simple as possible.

I can see how I could use the basic Minidsp between the Bluesound out and the line level speaker in, and I assume, not affect the volume control that I have with the Bluesound app.

However the Minidsp would be the Dac driving my system, would that be better/worse than the dac in the Bluesound and would another a>d/d>a set of conversions be an issue? I can avoid that by using the Minidsp HD and connecting digitally but will that still allow control of volume from the Bluesound app?

It is important to keep the functionality as simple as possible, this is a family setup so controlling everything from a single app is essential, any thoughts?

You will probably be more successful if you start a new thread.

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Super Wammer
19 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

Hi, as a newbie here, I would love to ask a couple of questions on this.

Basically I want to use a Bluesound Node 2i (or similar) to drive my active speakers and sub woofer setup. I kind of get what the Minidsp does and I am quite sure that, with the mic and suitable software, I will be quite capable of getting some very decent results. However, for a couple of reasons, I want to keep the everyday control of the system as simple as possible.

I can see how I could use the basic Minidsp between the Bluesound out and the line level speaker in, and I assume, not affect the volume control that I have with the Bluesound app.

However the Minidsp would be the Dac driving my system, would that be better/worse than the dac in the Bluesound and would another a>d/d>a set of conversions be an issue? I can avoid that by using the Minidsp HD and connecting digitally but will that still allow control of volume from the Bluesound app?

It is important to keep the functionality as simple as possible, this is a family setup so controlling everything from a single app is essential, any thoughts?

Hi Dave, I was previously going from my Squeezebox Touch streamer to my £4000+ Audio Synthesis Dac , then into my Minidsp unit. I recently tried feeding directly from the toslink in my streamer into the toslink on the minidsp and to my ears, it is an improvement. I can only think that each time A/D or D/A conversion takes place, there is some degradation, so I think you would do best to connect digitally.

As for volume control, I just leave the volume on the minidsp set to full and use the digital volume control on the streamer. In my system, the digital volume control of the SB Touch is usually at 45% or higher, so wouldn't really compromise the sound quality.

I'm assuming that the volume control of the Bluesound is similarly fine.

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17 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

Hi, as a newbie here, I would love to ask a couple of questions on this.

Basically I want to use a Bluesound Node 2i (or similar) to drive my active speakers and sub woofer setup. I kind of get what the Minidsp does and I am quite sure that, with the mic and suitable software, I will be quite capable of getting some very decent results. However, for a couple of reasons, I want to keep the everyday control of the system as simple as possible.

I can see how I could use the basic Minidsp between the Bluesound out and the line level speaker in, and I assume, not affect the volume control that I have with the Bluesound app.

However the Minidsp would be the Dac driving my system, would that be better/worse than the dac in the Bluesound and would another a>d/d>a set of conversions be an issue? I can avoid that by using the Minidsp HD and connecting digitally but will that still allow control of volume from the Bluesound app?

It is important to keep the functionality as simple as possible, this is a family setup so controlling everything from a single app is essential, any thoughts?

I'm not familiar with the Bluesound kit other than from a brief scan of their website just now, but it seems to be functionally similar to the setup I have here which uses a Squeezebox Touch as the streamer. I have used the SBT's optical output directly into the 2X4HD, and also used the SBT's analogue outputs into the analogue inputs of the 2X4HD; switching between them, my ears don't detect any audible difference. Either way (analogue or optical input), I can control the volume via the SBT, and most of the time that is exactly what I do. So once the 2X4HD is configured for your application, it is "fit and forget" - in fact they suggest that you leave it permanently switched on - its power consumption is minimal. So I believe in your proposed setup you would be able to do the same and control everything via the Bluesound app and basically not need to know about the existence of the 2X4HD once it is set up and working. However, a neat feature of the 2X4HD is that you can load it up with up to 4 different configurations and use its remote to switch between them - for example, if you wanted extra bass punch for playing heavy rock you could use one profile for that, another for classical,...etc.

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Super Wammer
7 hours ago, MGTOW said:

Hi, as a newbie here, I would love to ask a couple of questions on this.

Basically I want to use a Bluesound Node 2i (or similar) to drive my active speakers and sub woofer setup. I kind of get what the Minidsp does and I am quite sure that, with the mic and suitable software, I will be quite capable of getting some very decent results. However, for a couple of reasons, I want to keep the everyday control of the system as simple as possible.

I can see how I could use the basic Minidsp between the Bluesound out and the line level speaker in, and I assume, not affect the volume control that I have with the Bluesound app.

However the Minidsp would be the Dac driving my system, would that be better/worse than the dac in the Bluesound and would another a>d/d>a set of conversions be an issue? I can avoid that by using the Minidsp HD and connecting digitally but will that still allow control of volume from the Bluesound app?

It is important to keep the functionality as simple as possible, this is a family setup so controlling everything from a single app is essential, any thoughts?

I’ve seen other responses but let me ask the Noddy question: do your active speakers have built-in crossovers? If yes, the DSP replaces these crossovers, so there is a bit of speaker surgery and soldering to do. See my earlier post. 

If the DSP remains relevant/of interest, a new thread is the way to go.

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