IK Multimedia ARC System vs Acoustic Treatment???
#61
21st February 2008
Old 21st February 2008
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The current issue of Sound on Sound reviews it as well. I'd say they give it a "reasonably favorable review with some qualifications".

I have several bass traps in my room and they have improved things to some extent. Experimenting with speaker positioning and mix position location made a HUGE difference. Beyond these measures, ARC further improves my ability to hear what I'm doing while mixing. It's pretty significant.

As long as one does not have illusions that ARC is a substitute for other measures, I think it is very useful. I doubt that ARC will make a horribly skewed room sound great, but it can make an OK sounding room easier to mix in.

To summarize, first optimize the speaker and mix position placement (free!), then go for broadband absorbtion to the extent that space allows, then, if necessary, ARC is the icing on the cake.

I tried a lot of different combinations of placements etc., and in my experiments ARC sounded best when the room was reasonably good sounding to begin with. The more "work" ARC had to do, the less satisfactory the results.

Is it worth the asking price? I would easily spend that amount to buy a better preamp, compressor, converter, plugin, monitor etc. if it made a similar kind of improvement in my final mixes. As long as one understands what it can and can't do, I think it is a very useful addition.
#62
5th April 2008
Old 5th April 2008
  #62
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I'm using ARC. My room is not very big, about 25 square meters (unfortunately almost square shaped too) and has 6-8 db resonance peaks in the low mids. I'm using Real Traps which certainly help to reduce the standing waves -if I had more of them it would be better I think.

Anyway, my monitors are Mackie HR824s and I'm mixing TV music for action, so there's plenty going on in the low area. I listen pretty close up to the speakers.

Using ARC, the mix opens up completely. I can hear every note of the bassline, whereas without it, everything below 300Hz mushes together.

I'm sold. Of course I could possibly do the same thing with EQ but it would be more work to figure out & set up, and as I had Sampletank the crossgrade deal from IK Multimedia was good too.

RR
#63
5th November 2008
Old 5th November 2008
  #63
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What kind of microphone is included in the ARC package ?
It's an omni ?

For that price, I was thinking maybe the mic isn't that great, anyone have tried the ARC with a more high end measurement mic ??
#64
6th November 2008
Old 6th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleak orange View Post
For that price, I was thinking maybe the mic isn't that great, anyone have tried the ARC with a more high end measurement mic ??
According to the manual, the software is calibrated for that particular mic and using another is not recommended. I have no idea if that is valid or not, but that is what it says.
#65
8th November 2008
Old 8th November 2008
  #65
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after only 2 weeks of using it, arc seems to be my best investment this year. biggest problems for me were a +9db hump at 125hz and a -20db dip at 60hz, both to do with the height of my ceiling. i've done some diy basstrapping (2 floor to ceiling ones and 6 smaller ones on the wall), which improved the room somewhat, but i figured that if i wanted to get rid of the 2 aforementioned problems, i'd need to spend more than 500 euros on expertise and materials. so i went for arc. (and i got it for cheaper as i already had another ik product, and they also gave me csr reverb for free!)

i'm aware that it's not a total solution, that i still can't totally trust my room, but for my budget and the space i have, it seems to be the best solution. before i had no trust in my room (or i wasn't even aware of how bad it was), now i'd say 90% trust. and i know where the quirks are.

as for using another mic... every measurement mic is supposed to be linear, but one man's linear is different from another's. weird as that may seem, just listen to different linear monitor speakers. i can imagine that the arc measurement software internally corrects for the quirks of their mic, thereby effectively turning it into some sort of dongle for their software. another mic might get you 90% of the way though. but it's not about a better mic, it's about the mic best suited to the software.

and just a little last remark about one of the pros here that said that anything below 80hz is not that important because most music hasn't much energy there... what about house, techno and hiphop? it's especially the stuff below 80hz that is important there. i do mainly house and techno and arc does tons of stuff for my mixes. but the funny thing is, if i put it on a rock mix, the sound doesn't change too much.
#66
26th November 2008
Old 26th November 2008
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A question about ARC. Since it's a VST plugin and can only operate within the DAW, how are you guys measuring the room's response with ARC engaged? Is there a way to measure with REW? Or is the only test to import Ethan's test tone into your DAW and compare the response?
#67
17th December 2008
Old 17th December 2008
  #67
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ARC frequency measurements

Because of a 2for1 sale I can pickup ARC for a net of about $250

- my real question is what is the frequency band / resolution?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that it takes about 13 measurements. That's an average of less than 2 / octave.

My room is well trapped with RealTraps and some DIY versions, so it isn't as bad as it was, but I've never measured it.

Also I've done several DIY speaker projects over the last year and it would be nice to get detailed measurements. 13 measurements would not be enough, especiallyfor checking crossover designs.

Does anybody know the specifices of this and if its changeable?
#68
17th December 2008
Old 17th December 2008
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_free69 View Post
I seem to remember reading somewhere that it takes about 13 measurements. That's an average of less than 2 / octave.
By "measurements" they mean different places around the room, not the number of frequencies measured. The Audyssey system uses a sine wave sweep, so it hits all frequencies.

Quote:
My room is well trapped with RealTraps and some DIY versions, so it isn't as bad as it was, but I've never measured it.
ARC is not the best way to measure. Much better is dedicated software:

ETF, Windows, $150

FuzzMeasure, Mac, $150

Room EQ Wizard, Windows and Mac and Linux, Freeware

This article explains how I use ETF, but the principles apply to all such programs.

--Ethan
#69
17th December 2008
Old 17th December 2008
  #69
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I have the Arc system, and agree with Ethan that it is not necessarily a good choice for just measuring your room. Also, if you already have a well treated room you might not see much benefit from it. I have treated my room with DIY bass traps and mid-band absorption panels, and to be honest, I haven't found that my mixes are translating any better when using the Arc plugin. Is anyone who has tried the plugin having different experiences?
#70
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
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Quote:
ARC is not the best way to measure. Much better is dedicated software


--Ethan
Hi Ethan

I was wondering if you've tried measuring a room's response with ARC engaged and, if so, how you went about it.

thx
Jason
#71
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
  #71
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Yes, I did a full test of the Audyssey system, on which ARC is based:

Audyssey Report

--Ethan
#72
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, I did a full test of the Audyssey system, on which ARC is based:

Audyssey Report

--Ethan
Ethan, you open this with "While EQ can be useful to improve the one or two worst modal peaks at very low frequencies, in our opinion it is no substitute for bass traps and other acoustic treatment."

Nobody including iK Multimedia afaIk, claims that it is. They say it helps.

Sometimes how one frames the question shapes the answer. This is not intellectually honest IMHO.
#73
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
By "measurements" they mean different places around the room, not the number of frequencies measured. The Audyssey system uses a sine wave sweep, so it hits all frequencies.



ARC is not the best way to measure. Much better is dedicated software:

ETF, Windows, $150

FuzzMeasure, Mac, $150

Room EQ Wizard, Windows and Mac and Linux, Freeware

This article explains how I use ETF, but the principles apply to all such programs.

--Ethan

Thanks Ethan !
- once again "you da man!"
I downloaded the RoomEQWiz and will start with that.
#74
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
Ethan, you open this with "While EQ can be useful to improve the one or two worst modal peaks at very low frequencies, in our opinion it is no substitute for bass traps and other acoustic treatment."

Nobody including iK Multimedia afaIk, claims that it is. They say it helps.

Sometimes how one frames the question shapes the answer. This is not intellectually honest IMHO.
I hear you Jay, and I agree that it can be helpful. The reason Ethan said that, the reason I agree with what he said, is that people *DO* in fact use this instead of treating the room.

It's the same reason the Army's most basic field manual still instructs the trainee not to place a tourniquet around the victim's neck to stem bleeding from a head wound...because enough soldiers did it that it was deemed a problem.

Frank
#75
18th December 2008
Old 18th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
Nobody including iK Multimedia afaIk, claims that it is. They say it helps.
My report was for the Audyssey on which ARC is based. Audyssey does in fact claim their system can replace acoustic treatment. Not only at bass frequencies, but at mid and high frequencies too.

More to the point, Audyssey (and ARC) claim a lot of things my tests proved false, such as improving the response at most / all locations in a room, and reducing modal ringing.

--Ethan
#76
19th December 2008
Old 19th December 2008
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
Nobody including iK Multimedia afaIk, claims that it is. They say it helps.
I had some further thoughts on this. Whether or not the company outright states that their product replaces acoustic treatment, a lot of people take it that way. I see threads all the time in recording forums and also hi-fi forums asking if room "correction" avoids the need for bass traps. Indeed, the title of this thread is IK Multimedia ARC System vs Acoustic Treatment??? which I read as asking about one versus the other.

Okay, I'm done now.

--Ethan
#77
19th December 2008
Old 19th December 2008
  #77
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To me ARC was the trigger for starting to treat my room. It helped me realise how it shoud sound, and now my goal is to get ARC to do as little as possible, by improving my room step by step. But I will allways use ARC as a second oppinion, cause it really works in terms of creating a mix that translates to the world outside.
#78
28th December 2008
Old 28th December 2008
  #78
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hi did some test...
i routed the output signal(without mic) through my dsp mixer from my soundcard to the input and done the measurement..this turned out
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IK Multimedia ARC System vs Acoustic Treatment???-arc.jpg  
#79
28th December 2008
Old 28th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilldriver View Post
hi did some test...
i routed the output signal through my dsp mixer from my soundcard to the input and done the measurement..this turned out
Not sure I get this.
#80
28th December 2008
Old 28th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilldriver View Post
hi did some test...
i routed the output signal through my dsp mixer from my soundcard to the input and done the measurement..this turned out
Yeah...you messed something up. It looks like it's not seeing any signal at all.

Frank
#81
28th December 2008
Old 28th December 2008
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the programm dont allow doing measure without signal all.. is ok.
i did measure without mic! like in an anechoic chamber and super flat mic

this show why this software works only with the arc mic. if you use a "real" mic which goes linear up to 20khz , all the high freq all cutted.

same happens with a behringer ecm8000 which goes up to 20khz, ik arc alway measures a high boost

why they use a mic that roll off at high freq?

how can this programm make accurate eqing in that range?
#82
28th December 2008
Old 28th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Yes, I did a full test of the Audyssey system, on which ARC is based:

Audyssey Report

--Ethan
I must of missed this post. So I need to run REW on a laptop into my daw. thx.
#83
31st December 2008
Old 31st December 2008
  #83
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Room correction is a valuable tool if its done correctly and you understand what its intended to do.

It doesn't fix problems within the room but it can flatten the frequency response for potentially a more balanced sound. I'd always advocate for physical treatments but if you've got serious room problems you'll need to turn to both.

Also the methods EQ methods talked about here are quite rudimentary. I use a much more advanced form of correction utilising FIR filters and pschoacoustic profiling - what we don't hear isn't despite measurements showing a problem, is ignored and not corrected for.

Its a complex bit of software that creates the filters I use but I've been writing a small guide for users but it will also help immensely to understand just how effective and powerful EQ can be for the casual onlooker:

Click to download the 6Mb PDF:
Acourate Manual.pdf
#84
11th January 2009
Old 11th January 2009
  #84
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I'm going to be getting this soon, I'll post my results when it comes in.
#85
11th January 2009
Old 11th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Exactly. The ARC system is based on Audyssey technology, which I have tested and found lacking (to say the least). Lookie here:

RealTraps - Audyssey Room EQ

--Ethan
Ok like many people have said, clearly a well treated room will be better than an untreated one. I don't think that is the debate here, the debate is whether ARC can make a substantial difference to a room, enough to make it value for money.

For whatever reason many peolpe do not have the time, skill or potential to physically alter their rooms beyond what they have done already so leaving that aside it would be interesting to fully test ARC.

I entirely agree with you Ethan that your waterfall graphs do not show that audussey has made a particular difference to decay times in your test room.

However ARC is apparently an evolution of this technology and as you know they believe their software can have an effect on time based problems in a room.

Are you not interested in testing ARC for yourself rather then simply comapring it to the Audussey technology?

It would seem that many people are hearing a substantial improvemnet in their rooms after using arc.

Do you know anyone with an ARC system you could test?
#86
12th January 2009
Old 12th January 2009
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Originally Posted by renk900 View Post
ARC is apparently an evolution of this technology and as you know they believe their software can have an effect on time based problems in a room.
I'll be glad to believe it too as soon as they show proof with waterfall plots, along the lines of my Audyssey test. The same way companies like mine that sell bass traps show before/after proof. So why is no proof offered for ARC?

Quote:
It would seem that many people are hearing a substantial improvemnet in their rooms after using arc.
Let's say a room is boomy in the range of 200 to 300 Hz, and you add an EQ to the playback chain. Most experienced recording engineers will agree the result sounds less boomy simply because the boomy frequencies have been reduced. Is it as good as reducing the boominess with bass traps? Of course not. But it will subjectively sound "better." Especially to "the unwashed masses" who have never heard the improvement from using real bass traps.

--Ethan
#87
12th January 2009
Old 12th January 2009
  #87
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But I need both!

A room like mine that is 6 meters have a life of it's own at 50 Hz. Trying to trap a wave that low is like trying to stop a 16 wheeler on the highway. I just can't believe that thin panels are able to do that. A 50 Hz wave is 11 meters long! Room treatment is a good thing, but without some additional adjustments of the monitoring you will still be hearing the room, and will still do things to your mix only because of the room.
#88
12th January 2009
Old 12th January 2009
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Originally Posted by Franz View Post
A room like mine that is 6 meters have a life of it's own at 50 Hz. Trying to trap a wave that low is like trying to stop a 16 wheeler on the highway.
Heh, good analogy. Four- or six-inch thick bass traps can definitely make a big improvement as low as 50 Hz, but you need a lot of them. I'm not opposed to using one or two bands of cut-only EQ at frequencies that low, and my Audyssey Report mentions my own use of a one-band EQ at 40 Hz.

What I object to is the claim that ARC reduces ringing because I have seen no evidence of that. In fact, I have evidence that it does not reduce ringing. If the vendor said only that it's a EQ but nicer to use because it adjusts itself I'd have no problem!

Also, the most important bass frequencies for mixing are above 50 Hz. That's where the worst of the peaks and nulls exist, and that's where good bass traps are highly effective.

--Ethan
#89
12th January 2009
Old 12th January 2009
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Yes, it comes with two functions. I only have the EQ part activated. The other function deals with phase correction, and maby that's the part of ARC that is supposed to correct ringing and other problems? It doesn't sound good anyway. But the EQ part has really been a guide to me. And it does not prevent me from building bass traps. As a matter of fact, it inspires me to make my room better. My goal is to make ARC do nothing!
#90
12th January 2009
Old 12th January 2009
  #90
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Franz, can you expand on this, from what I understood it will always apply more than just eq to correct time based problems, the option you are referring to is supposed to increase the sweet spot or something, but in both cases the processing does more than just eq.

Ethan, my programming room has broadband acoustic treatment and when I have tested it the frequency response is bumpy in the low end but nothing crazy, so I am interested in what ARC can do because the price makes sense to me if it works - i'd be interested to see your results if you tested it, do you know anyone that has one you could borrow?

I also work in a film/ TV post-production house with a number of purpose built rooms, one with a dolby license for film, so I know pretty much what a 'perfect' room can sound like if money is no object! I'm not expecting ARC to recreate this but if it can improve imaging and clarity in my programming room then I'd get it no questions - the portability is also a bonus to me.
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