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XTZ PRO II vs Omnimic - which is better?
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goneten
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#1
26th May 2012
Old 26th May 2012
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XTZ PRO II vs Omnimic - which is better?

Hi guys,

Thinking of buying one of the two measurement packages. For me, I'm looking for acoustical analysis and basic calibration. I like the interface of XTZ and it offers a time alignment feature which Omnimic doesn't (I think).

The one thing that is bugging me and perhaps you can help explain, is the importance of resolution. XTZ Pro offers 1/12 octave resolution in the bass. Is that sufficient for straight analysis for my own information and edification, or is higher resolution required? Does Omnimic offer higher resolution? Again, is higher really necessary for simply analysing the room in the low bass regions? I would like a comprehensive package, measuring high and low response. I just want to know that what I'm "seeing" is an accurate reflection of the room.

I've asked this question on another forum but the topic always gets halted and it goes nowhere, so I'm hoping this thread can clear up any confusion I might have. Anyone use these software packages? What are your thoughts, and why did you choose one over the other?

Your experience and advice would be most appreciated. Thanks.
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26th May 2012
Old 26th May 2012
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Just buy a cheap measurement mic and use REW (it´s free):
REW - Room EQ Wizard Home Page

If you for any reason need even more advanced features, "ARTA" offers unrealistic value for money.
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26th May 2012
Old 26th May 2012
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The reason why I decided against REW is because it's not particularly user-friendly and there is the convenience factor (or lack thereof). The idea of having a bunch of cables lying around is also not something I want to deal with. I need something that I can quickly connect and start measuring.

With REW there are a number of steps needed to get everything to work. You need to get a sound card, get all the cables, mic and preamp, know how to connect it up, set the levels right, and then hope everything works. One quick look on HTS and I see plenty of people having issues simply setting it up, let alone using it for measuring.

So I don't want to bother with all that, hence XTZ or Omnimic. It's simply more convenient. So again, anyone who has used XTZ or Omnimic, please share your experiences. Thanks.
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26th May 2012
Old 26th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post
......The idea of having a bunch of cables lying around is also not something I want to deal with. I need something that I can quickly connect and start measuring.
.......
So "XTZ Pro" and Omnimic are not a solution for your problem, because they are similar to any other software-notebook-USB-audio.card-micpre-mic acoustical measurement system, it is same number of cables, and same connection complexity.

Alesis IO2 Express interface and some cheap measurement microphone, with ARTA software installed on the notebook, seems to be even more functional measurement system.

Good knowledge of measurement software functionality and system interconnection is necessary anyway, whatever (notebook based) acoustical measurement system you have.

Probably only something similar to handheld NTi Audio XL2 analyzer may be near your described needs, but I'm not familiar with it.
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26th May 2012
Old 26th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy
So "XTZ Pro" and Omnimic are not a solution for your problem, because they are similar to any other software-notebook-USB-audio.card-micpre-mic acoustical measurement system, it is same number of cables, and same connection complexity.
No, they are not similar - the entire point of these systems is that they are plug and play. I think you'll agree that REW is not plug and play and I've already expressed my feeling on REW or any other stand-alone software as I'm looking for something which offers convenience. XTZ and Omnimic are two such systems where you plug it in and you start measuring. The sound card does not need to be calibrated, there are no levels to adjust. I'm trying to ascertain which software is more accurate for acoustical analysis.

Please, for those who have used either software, all I ask for is feedback. If no one has used either system then I'll happily ask that this thread be closed.
goneten
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27th May 2012
Old 27th May 2012
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So no one has used this software?
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27th May 2012
Old 27th May 2012
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Deal

Fraid not. REW rules the roost for very good reasons. Not alone is it free, but it is absolutely loaded with useful features.
Strangely perhaps, I regret that it is free. I believe it hampers the development of competing products. e.g. FuzzMeasure has serious operational problems but there has be no update for yonks.
I am delighted to see other players in the field.
I am currently Beta Testing Dirac Live, which seems to be associated with XTZ.
Very plug and play, does a good job. It is not a measurement platform but it includes one.
Dayton seem to be into this subject consistently, so I expect their stuff if good too.
I would require the option of No Smoothing for LF work.

Back to REW. I am rewriting my Primer at the moment. V3 will be very different. Two parts, the first intended to simplify to the bare bones to get people over the initial wall. Part two will be about interrogating the measurements.

If you ignore Calibration and Loopback Correction, you will find it very easy to get REW up and running. On a Mac use the onboard Line I/O. External interface is not necessary and many don't work. This is a Apple/Java issue not REW. But I doubt that a paid for product would remain inoperable in this manner.

DD
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27th May 2012
Old 27th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDan View Post
..........
If you ignore Calibration and Loopback Correction, you will find it very easy to get REW up and running. .....
[Bolded by me]

Excellent point, Dan!!!

Calibration, loopback correction is not needed for basic room acoustic measurements.

Calibration and correction procedures is needed only for precise measurements for audio (electrical) signals (not acoustical measurements) or loudspeaker design (acoustical measurements).
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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I don't get it, I plugged my mic into my computer, opened REW, and ran a test. Quite plug and play, IMO.
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasmira
I don't get it, I plugged my mic into my computer, opened REW, and ran a test. Quite plug and play, IMO.
I've heard plenty of people experiencing 'simple' set up issues with REW and giving up out of frustration.

Problems range from sound card issues, sound card swamping results, not having levels set correctly, a cable issue, not connecting it up correctly and then you have 100+ variables that could give misleading graphs and it's no wonder people give up. I'm sure these issues could be avoided, but not everyone finds REW easy to use as a quick solution.

If you do a search on google, check all the message boards with people who decided not to use REW. I know REW is more powerful than some of these plug and play systems, but for what people need to use them for it caters for 99%. The last 1% need very specific tools that the rest of us most likely will never use.

For me, I just want a program that measures frequency response, includes a waterfall measurement for measuring decay at low frequencies, an SPL meter function and I know XTZ also offers a time alignment feature for speaker and subwoofer which seems pretty cool. I just want to see the before and after of adding treatment, positioning of speakers and subwoofer, tweaking crossovers, etc. I'm not building a speaker, or anything.

If I could simplify cabling, make sure everything worked without experiencing hassles then perhaps I would give REW a try. One quick look on HTS explains it all. That being said, there are plenty of people who don't experience issues, so it could be user error, or hardware malfunctions, or a combination of the two.
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28th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post
......an SPL meter function.....
You really need a proper calibration for this particular functionality.
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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It is already calibrated.
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28th May 2012
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Quote:
Back to REW. I am rewriting my Primer at the moment. V3 will be very different. Two parts, the first intended to simplify to the bare bones to get people over the initial wall. Part two will be about interrogating the measurements.

If you ignore Calibration and Loopback Correction, you will find it very easy to get REW up and running.
I suspect you would be correct if one ignored calibration and loopback correction. I look forward to reading your Primer when it's done. It would be so cool if, some day, John created a plug and play REW measurement system. All the nitty gritty stuff sorted out, just connect it to the amp, press the measure button and you're done. Next ...

I don't have a Mac Pro or anything. Just a HP. But I don't even want to invest in a proper external sound card, then mic + preamp if I'm not confident I'll get the other 10+ steps done properly. Hence the convenience of using a system like Omnimic or XTZ .

XTZ :





I'm interested in the PRO II which includes a far more accurate mic :



This is Omnimic :







Sorry for attaching all the pics, just to give you guys a better look.

Dayton Audio Dayton Audio OmniMic V2

XTZ Room Analyzer II Pro Acoustic Measurement Software Package | Acoustic Frontiers
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28th May 2012
Old 28th May 2012
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Plug and Play

I don't use PCs. Mainly for the reasons you are stating I must say!
By all means buy either of those.
I would chose one with the option of no smoothing and that can export it's IR's.
That way you could incorporate REW later, just for viewing and manipulating the measurements.

DD
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28th May 2012
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Omnimic features an unsmoothed 1/96 octave measurement. XTZ measures at 1/12 octave resolution. Although according to some people if you're just interested in measuring response and seeing the before and after 1/12 octave is perfectly sufficient resolution for that.

After all, I'm not applying EQ filters or anything like that. I just don't like Omnimics interface all that much. That time alignment tool seems nice which Omnimic doesn't have. I have no idea if either software can import IR's.
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28th May 2012
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Features

When viewing LF, the biggest and most important aspect of our activity, we view a very small range. 20-300Hz or less.
I wouldn't want to be restricted to 1/12 smoothing. Modes can sometimes be only a few Hz wide.

I don't know what particular aspect of 'time alignment' is being referred to. But I expect that all of the programs mentioned can do that.
I would probably go with Dayton, due to the probably good mic.

DD
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29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
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Thanks Dan. I think the mic included in the Pro package is also pretty good. They both are. I appreciate your comments and feedback in the thread. Thanks!
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29th May 2012
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Primer

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29th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post
No, they are not similar - the entire point of these systems is that they are plug and play. I think you'll agree that REW is not plug and play and I've already expressed my feeling on REW or any other stand-alone software as I'm looking for something which offers convenience. XTZ and Omnimic are two such systems where you plug it in and you start measuring. The sound card does not need to be calibrated, there are no levels to adjust. I'm trying to ascertain which software is more accurate for acoustical analysis.
i would not consider a measuring system without a loopback as, "accurate for acoustical analysis"
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29th May 2012
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Accurate

The term 'accurate' is a bit like 'not much' or 'enough' etc.
FuzzMeasure insists on a $500 Calibrator, while a quick comparative tweak with a borrowed 'Real' SLM will do the job fine.

The anomalies in intreated rooms are of the order of 30dB.
Very well treated rooms might get into the +/- 10dB window.
I measured the onboard i/o of my iMac.
+0/-0.3dB 10Hz-20KHz.
If I wanted to be picky I could have input the 0.3dB into a Cal file.

Given the magnitudes I consider it perfectly valid to ignore Cal and Loopback.

Including the Loopback Correction may improve timing accuracy with some USB devices, and it is essential for Time Domain Combines in FuzzMeasure.

For most everyday work though, I don't use LBC nor Cal. I regard them as Power User features, and wish the Software Manuals would not trot them out in the early pages. I believe it causes much confusion for beginners. As is obvious from the plethora of questions.

DD
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29th May 2012
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I believe localhost127 think about possibility of measurement system to be tested through loopback connection. Otherwise, I believe that only broken audio card cannot be used for acoustical measurements today.
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29th May 2012
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Ive had the Omnimic since December 2011.

Literally, I loaded the software and plugged in the mic and everything worked instantly.

If you have specific questions about it i will try to answer them.
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29th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by localhost127
i would not consider a measuring system without a loopback as, "accurate for acoustical analysis"
I'm not sure what you mean.
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29th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1961
Ive had the Omnimic since December 2011.

Literally, I loaded the software and plugged in the mic and everything worked instantly.

If you have specific questions about it i will try to answer them.
Thanks for chiming in. Have you ever compared Omnimic to REW or XTZ Pro? If so, why did you choose Omnimic? The one thing which concerns me about Omnimic is the mic calibration. I've seen several members having to send their mics back.

Have these issues been resolved, did it affect you at all with your purchase? Thanks again.
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9th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post
Thanks for chiming in. Have you ever compared Omnimic to REW or XTZ Pro? If so, why did you choose Omnimic? The one thing which concerns me about Omnimic is the mic calibration. I've seen several members having to send their mics back.

Have these issues been resolved, did it affect you at all with your purchase? Thanks again.
The only thing I know about REW is it is a lot harder to use and set up.

Omnimic has some issues with their mics back in 2010 and early 2011. To my knowledge, this is no longer a problem.

I bought mine in December 2011, and got an older model. While the mic was fine, they offered a better calibration method as an offer for those with the older mic. The company offered free calibration and shipping back to re-calibrate mine. As it turns out, they sent me a brand new mic. And the only cost to me was shipping to them. About $7.
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11th June 2012
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One thing I don't understand about Omnimic is the bass decay chart. There is a waterfall chart and a bass decay. What's the difference between both? If I want to add acoustic treatment to see what difference it made in the time domain, wouldn't the waterfall measurement suffice?
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11th June 2012
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Decay

That's a deep question. As it happens boggy made a comment recently which has me pondering the same question. REW has Decay also.
And Sonogram. Boggy recommended some sort of burst thing unique to ARTA.
I suggest you read the Omni manual. I will do same on REW. BTW the REW manual is very good writing on all these matters, not restricted to REW.
Similarly the ARTA manual is great but much much deeper and more technical.
For a simple view though, my limited understanding suggests that Waterfalls show slices which represent energy averaged in the gap since the previous slice. I would regard Decay slices more like still photographs. i.e. The Frequency Response at those particular moments in time.
I would be quite happy to be corrected or illuminated on these matters.
boggy, Jeff, Gernot?

DD
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12th June 2012
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Thanks DanDan. Still don't know, even after reading the manual. Haven't made a decision yet. But with REW, I think what would be cool is if we had a youtube tuturial, from the connection side of things, to setting levels - walking you through every step

Kind of a like REW for dummies. :D
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12th June 2012
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12th June 2012
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Thanks John! I'll take a look.
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