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IK Multimedia ARC System vs Acoustic Treatment???
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AlexRoudos
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#1
28th October 2007
Old 28th October 2007
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IK Multimedia ARC System vs Acoustic Treatment???

Honestly i don't really know what to think about it, but i'd really like to hear Ethan's and Glenn's opinions on this.

To me it seems just fake. Whatever correction it applies through its MultEQ, the room is still there with all its flaws re-affecting again the "corrected" sound of the room.

Maybe i'm missing something here but it doesn't make any sense to me.

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28th October 2007
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There is no substitute for proper acoustic treatment.
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28th October 2007
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Its not really saying this is a substitute for proper room acoustics. Its saying that it can help untreated and treated rooms even more. Do the research you might be surprised.

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28th October 2007
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Well, I certainly won't be buying one any time soon. There was a thread over at SoS about this very thing:

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29th October 2007
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Agreed. I'd say get the room good before you even put ANY gear in it.
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29th October 2007
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I'll bet it works great on a properly treated room.
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29th October 2007
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29th October 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexRoudos View Post
To me it seems just fake. Whatever correction it applies through its MultEQ, the room is still there with all its flaws re-affecting again the "corrected" sound of the room.
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

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29th October 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexRoudos View Post
Honestly i don't really know what to think about it, but i'd really like to hear Ethan's and Glenn's opinions on this.

To me it seems just fake. Whatever correction it applies through its MultEQ, the room is still there with all its flaws re-affecting again the "corrected" sound of the room.

Maybe i'm missing something here but it doesn't make any sense to me.

IK Multimedia
Yea the whole EQ thing seems to be the NEW thing for home theaters, but really it will only bring you false help. Sure you can flatten everything like a pan cake but the ringing (think of this as reverb) is still going to be there and that causes as much if not more harm in the room.
I tell guys all the time, treat the room and "IF" you think you need something like you listed then go for it. 99% of the time the person after treating is so happy that they don't use anything like what you listed.
One other problems with EQing is, what yea going to do about the nulls?

Glenn
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13th November 2007
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Okay, someone had to jump. I just did and ordered this. Even if it doesn't live up to what I think it should do, there are some room analysis and features that could be very helpful. Also, it's more than just a frequency thing. My room is well treated, but not a pro studio.... it sounds very good but not great. I've done my best to get rid of this 125 Hz thing going on, but can't seem to shake it and it drives me a little nuts cause it makes everything sound a little boxy (even with Barefoot monitors). So, maybe this will do the trick. With the crossgrade price, it was $389. I don't know when it will be here but I'll provide a report when it gets here.

j
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13th November 2007
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Welcome to the 125Hz club!

Please report your results!
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13th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetener View Post
Welcome to the 125Hz club!

Please report your results!

HA!!!!!! I hate this club..... it's the only club you spend tons of money to try and get out of, but no matter what you do, you're stuck.
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13th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtGarceau View Post
I don't know my ass from my elbow when it comes to acoustics, but I probably wouldn't EQ a room until after it was treated properly. Even then I'd probably only use it to even out areas that need a little more help that the treatment didn't fix.
I agree.... I talked to the guy from IK and he said a very poor room would see a marked difference. A well treated, professional room would see less of a difference, of course. I'm going for that 10% and a fix for the 125 Hz problem. I've listened to so many acousticians and spent so much money having them all tell me something different to do and I'm just sick of it. If this works, it'll be the best $400 I've ever spent. I would never hope that this could be a fix for a room that sounds like ass, but maybe for a room that is 80 - 90% there, it can get it closer to 100% and knock down that 125 hz.

I also asked him if there was a way to strap it on the main output for your computer, not just the mix buss of your DAW. He said that on a mac, there's an AU thing that can go on your main core audio out. Only problem was, he didn't know what the program was that could do that. This is important to me cause I ref. itunes music while listening and would def. want to be hearing the ref. files run through ARC as well. So, if anyone knows of a way to do this that doesn't use something like Soundflower which would route itunes into your daw, that would be great. I'm looking for some way to just strap this thing onto the core audio output.
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13th November 2007
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In my case I could just use it on the (physical) output busses of my Soundscape mixer where you can insert VSTs anywhere.
The only problem (regardless where you put the plugin) is the latency during tracking. Anybody knows the latency of this plugin?
#15
14th November 2007
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There's probably significant latency.

I've never tried the Audyssey system, but I have experimented with a free system which uses similar technology:

DRC: Digital Room Correction

Read the "documentation" page to learn more than you ever wanted to know...

I have been experimenting with this for a couple of years now. Combining this type of electronic treatment with a highly diffuse room yields fantastic results across a wide range of listening positions. It's like wearing headphones except that the image is in front of you, and the bass has impact.

Currently there is a problem when trying to "simplify" the system for use by an untrained consumer. If you hide too many parameters, the system can't be optimized for the room. The DRC system has a couple of hundred parameters, not counting the uncountable variables you have when measuring, processing, and convolving through the impulse files. We're still in the "early days" for this kind of system.

And yes, I _do_ sell acoustic treatments. I view electronic room correction as just another tool, along with room layout, acoustical treatment, and EQ. That said, I've never actually used this in a customer's room. But I expect to someday.

-Ben Loftis
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14th November 2007
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2 milliseconds of latency.
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14th November 2007
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Unfortunatelly I've heard ARC, go for room treatment!
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15th November 2007
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the members of 125Hz club should buy more rockwool (or OC)


whenever I put more of the rockwool in my room, the freq. response gets flatter. But other thing and as important as the absorbtion is where you place your monitors and where do you listen. 10cm could mean huge difference, I've mooved my speakers around for days and finally I got the position "right". At some places it sounded very weird. So if there is some room try to do a "day of rearangin".
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15th November 2007
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whenever I put more of the rockwool in my room, the freq. response gets flatter.
Exactly. It's impossible to make any room perfectly flat, but the more bass traps you have, the closer you'll get. It really is that simple. And no EQ or DSP box is as effective as bass traps.

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15th November 2007
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I'd have to disagree. Rockwool/703 is not a panacea.

The decay time of the bass gets shorter ... this is good
The decay time of the highs becomes even shorter than the bass ... this is bad
The nulls in the room become shallower ... this is good
The "Q" of the nulls change... they become wider, and easier to perceive... this is bad
The comb filtering from early reflections goes away... this is good
The remaining reflective spots become even more noticeable... this is bad

Overall the effect is positive, but not overwhelmingly so. And you could spend $thousands, and lose dozens of useful cubic feet before the room modes are reasonably tamed.

Most "bass trap" products have reduced absorption in the high frequencies, so they must recognize some of the fallacy of "absorbing everything".

One thing is sure: Rockwool/703 is easy to come by. But "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

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15th November 2007
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Ben,

I wholeheartedly agree. I've been there and done that. Spent thousands of dollars and many hours chasing my tail. The way you just said it makes a lot of sense to me. I guess I've never walked into a Russ Berger or John Storyk designed studio where all they did was bass traps. It doesn't make sense to me that bass traps are the end all solution as Ethan describes. And, I know from personal experience that it doesn't work for everyone.

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16th November 2007
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oh... rockwool is just a material, you can cover it with cloth (wideband absorbtion) or with perforated scheets (low-midrange absorbtion)... it is there to fill the poly-difuser panels... so it really depends on what you're going to do with the material.

If you know what you're doing DIY acoustics could be very cheap (compared to gear prices), very effective and nice to look at ;-).
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16th November 2007
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...
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16th November 2007
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Wow, tough crowd.

Guys (Ben and Jay):

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
The decay time of the highs becomes even shorter than the bass ... this is bad ... they must recognize some of the fallacy of "absorbing everything".
Yes, and this is a huge advantage of RealTraps compared to foam and plain rigid fiberglass. Starting with our very first MiniTrap model, a controlled, lesser amount of absorption at higher frequencies was part of the design. I have 43 panels in my 25 by 16 living room home theater, and it is absolutely not too dead. Yet the bass is as tight and flat as you can imagine.

Quote:
The "Q" of the nulls change... they become wider, and easier to perceive... this is bad
Not so. The peaks become wider which is good. And some nulls may appear to get wider, but only because the nulls are less deep and the adjacent peaks changed shape. I have never observed bass traps removing null energy either at the null center or on either side - the energy is always increased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayman View Post
I guess I've never walked into a Russ Berger or John Storyk designed studio where all they did was bass traps.
Just to be clear, the rooms those guys design have much larger budgets than most of my customers. We also do rooms where cost is no object, and in those rooms I specify diffusion as well as bass trapping. But the majority of people here cannot afford that, and in most cases they are retrofitting an existing room that was never meant to be a control room. Also, good absorption costs a lot less than good diffusion, so for most folks absorption is the more practical choice.

I stand by my contention that you cannot have too much bass trapping in a room. At least not a room the size most folks here have. You simply cannot make any small room perfectly flat, so the more bass traps you add, the closer you'll get. I assume you've heard of Fran Manzella, yes? He does very high-end rooms and also smaller rooms. Go to his forum at ProRec and read through some of the posts where he talks about the extensive bass trapping he always uses. You'll also find dozens of posts where I happened to reply first and suggested extensive bass trapping to someone, followed by Fran posting later to agree with me.

--Ethan
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17th November 2007
Old 17th November 2007
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Hi Ethan,

You said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Not so. The peaks become wider which is good. And some nulls may appear to get wider, but only because the nulls are less deep and the adjacent peaks changed shape. I have never observed bass traps removing null energy either at the null center or on either side - the energy is always increased.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this point. A resonant system, when damped, "spreads" the energy over a wider spectrum ( My math is a little rusty but I do have a degree in engineering, and I remember that much ). A "null" of course, is not really a lack of energy but instead an overlap of pressure waves at different phases that sum to null. So when you lower the Q of the room I'd expect the "nulls" to get wider because the underlying resonaces are getting wider. Because I've always had this concept in my head, I've tended to "see" this phenomenon when I'm tuning a room.

Maybe there is a study somewhere which would change my thinking. A quick google provides this chart: Untitled Document which would seem to agree with my view. Nevertheless I think we can agree that lower Q means less resonance and therefore a shorter decay time which is a good thing.

Where we don't agree is whether bass traps are the ultimate solution for all room problems but I don't think we can have an objective discussion about that.

Best Regards,
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17th November 2007
Old 17th November 2007
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Ben,

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
So when you lower the Q of the room I'd expect the "nulls" to get wider because the underlying resonaces are getting wider.
Yes, but the peaks are also coming down in level! So the net result for both the peaks and the nulls is a response that's closer to flat.

Quote:
Where we don't agree is whether bass traps are the ultimate solution for all room problems but I don't think we can have an objective discussion about that.
I never said "bass traps are the ultimate solution for all room problems." But of course we can have a useful discussion!

I'll go first:

In your opinion, how skewed a response is acceptable, and how much ringing is acceptable? If we can agree initially that the ideal goal is perfectly flat with no modal ringing - just as we expect from every other piece of "gear" in the playback system - how else would you improve the response and ringing if not with bass traps?

Now look at the two LF waterfall graphs below. The top one is the RealTraps "lab" room empty, and below that is the same room with a bunch of bass traps. The graphs are not normalized as are some of the graphs I've posted in the past, so in this case you can easily see exactly what has changed. Now, where do you see a null becoming worse, or wider losing more content, after adding traps? If anything, the null below the 92 Hz marker has become narrower, no?

--Ethan


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17th November 2007
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You are showing the spectral decay. The ringing is less, as expected. A steady-state measurement might show a sharp null becoming a wider trough, or might not in this case.

Seeing the volume of Ethan's posts, I'm guessing that I won't get the last word in. So I'll say one last thing (on topic) and bow out:

Electronic correction is not worthless. If you're willing to hold your head in a vise, you can get excellent sound for the cost and aesthetic impact of software. With some room treatment, and careful tweaking of the software, you can achieve really good sound across a wide listening area.

-Ben Loftis
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#28
18th November 2007
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excuse side noise

What Matoucha said sounds reasonable to me.
Looks like one got to know where he wants broadband or mid to low absorbtion.

... Makes me wonder how corner bass traps covered with perforated resopal sheets might be working out ...

Besides, in sight of hopefully building a studio soon:
Is there a way to find out how to proportion a great sounding, mid-sized live room without having to shell out ridiculous amounts to some guys who use some computer programs to make you a drawing and material suggestions?

- Especially as with too many success isnĀ“t even guaranteed, despite their royal bills.

I know that for control rooms there meanwhile exists reliable guideline, and that live rooms are harder to calculate, but maybe there is reliable guidance to be had too. (?)

Anyone knows?

Ruphus
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#29
18th November 2007
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The corner traps are good with just a fabric finish, you also want to get rid of the right angle reflection (it reflects the sound in exactly the same direction as it comes in).

Other places that sould be as absorbtive as possible are those of the first reflections... so there use the fabric again.

But the rest is a matter of equalizing the room. You can do it by adding stuff until it is right or too much and then go back. A good solution for taming HF absorbtion are those perforated panels with big circles sawed off. If the perforation percentage is high enough (over 20%) than it barely behaves as helmholtz and it is more like fabric stuff that doesn't eat so much of the highs.

I'm no acoustic pro, I've just read some stuff and tried to put it in action. And so far I'm happy with what I've made.


There is one point I'd like to make. I saw the price of this IK software. For the price, I can make 20 panels (size 60x100cm) and that is enough to make even mid sized room quite nice sounding. Don't even make me count how much raw rockwool you can buy for that kind of money... wait it is around 30 packs, that makes 90m2 of 10cm thick absorbant...
NLP
#30
18th November 2007
Old 18th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLoftis View Post
You are showing the spectral decay. The ringing is less, as expected. A steady-state measurement might show a sharp null becoming a wider trough, or might not in this case.

Seeing the volume of Ethan's posts, I'm guessing that I won't get the last word in. So I'll say one last thing (on topic) and bow out:

Electronic correction is not worthless. If you're willing to hold your head in a vise, you can get excellent sound for the cost and aesthetic impact of software. With some room treatment, and careful tweaking of the software, you can achieve really good sound across a wide listening area.

-Ben Loftis
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...maybe you should read some serious books about acoustics (Beranek, Cox&DAntonio,...)
electronic correction can be just a little additional help.
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