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Universal EQ for ASIO and WDM?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Universal EQ for ASIO and WDM?

I'm currently applying a system-wide EQ using EQ APO, fed into by room measurements from REW. I'm looking to move away from my poor onboard audio to something of greater quality but am also looking to keep latency at a minimum when using DAWs. Of course however, using ASIO would mean my system EQ being bypassed thus losing my room corrections and bass management (my room is also adequately treated).

I'm thinking the only way to have a universal EQ and meet these requirements would be to add any DSP after the computer stage of the signal. I understand that Dirac Live may be able to accomplish this, though that would seem to incur a disproportional cost in relation to my requirements.

I'm wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this? Would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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You can certainly combine Equalizer APO with some plugin at ASIO apps.
For example EQ APO can also host other VST plugins.. that way you can have use some VST EQ.. like free ReaEQ from https://www.reaper.fm/reaplugs/
or of course Fabfilter, Crave EQ.. depending on what you have.
And manually recreate your compensation filters from REW there. Then you can load the same plugin in your DAW and Equalizer APO.
If you use some other ASIO apps.. Say players like foobar2000, Jriver then those can load also the same VST plugins.

Michal
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Thanks for your response. That's interesting that EQ APO supports VST plugins, I'll have to have a play around with that.

I'd say this solution seems a bit hacky and doesn't address (architecturally at least) the universal/system-wide EQ. I'm not sure if there exist any VST plugins which enable channel routing, but as mentioned I also use EQ APO for bass management (routing the LR channels to the sub channel and applying a suitable crossover) so I'm unsure how I'd address that part of it.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audo View Post
Thanks for your response. That's interesting that EQ APO supports VST plugins, I'll have to have a play around with that.

I'd say this solution seems a bit hacky and doesn't address (architecturally at least) the universal/system-wide EQ. I'm not sure if there exist any VST plugins which enable channel routing, but as mentioned I also use EQ APO for bass management (routing the LR channels to the sub channel and applying a suitable crossover) so I'm unsure how I'd address that part of it.
Yes, to some extent, it's bit hacky, but can work quite well for certain use cases.. I have that at home computer for headphone EQ and crossfeed.. system sounds goes through Equalizer APO, DAW and Foobar host both plugins natively.

I'm not aware of any global solution for all kind of apps at Windows.. on Mac OS there is Audio Hijack, which can also host AU plugin chains..
Sonarworks has own virtual WDM driver for generic apps, for DAWs and ASIO apps you need to insert plugin version (at least both instances are automatically synchronized). However compared to custom plugin chains you're significantly limited to their correction (which I don't particularly like), there is no crossfeed etc.

However with subwoofer redirection and crossover it's even bit trickier. In case of WDM apps, you can do that with Equalizer APO of course. But for DAWs that entirely depends on its particular capabilities..
Reaper is super flexible and it has separate monitoring FX chain, where you can achieve that and you don't need to worry about bypassing of that during audio export, it's completely separate from main audio master bus.
I believe (haven't see last versions), that also you can do that as well in Cubase Pro and Nuendo with their Control Room feature, which is also separate from main audio path.
For other DAWs you can also achieve that of course, but you'd need to create some additional output buses routed to particular interface hardware outputs. Also it will essentially bypass DAW master section, so you'd have to create some additional bus, where you'll use all master bus effects.. and of course, you can't forget to bypass those output buses, when you'll be exporting your audio.. You can of course prepare some project templates, but it's very far from elegant.

Honestly I also think, it will be nice if some vendor implement those features into some (relatively affordable) audio interface.
You can find quite few ones with various DSP effects for tracking like console like EQs, dynamics, verbs or so.. but you hardly find any interface with precise EQs, convolver, crossfeed, delays for surround or bass management.
Of course all of those can be added at external solution, but it's often much more expensive than whole audio interface.
Actually the closest solution for integration with existing audio interfaces is
miniDSP SHD (their first model with decent balanced converters)
https://www.minidsp.com/products/str...-hd-series/shd
or miniDSP SHD studio model with digital only I/Os.

Michal
Old 1 day ago
  #5
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Having to configure any DAW(s) to the extent mentioned would seem very fiddly, but could work after a template is generated. ReaFIR and ReaEQ do look interesting and if you can import measurements from REW that would make it even better, though unfortunately it doesn't appear possible to do so.

Having an external solution would seem like the better approach given the existing possibilities. It could conduct speaker distance measurements and corrections and all of that business. The SHD looks pretty solid and performs well in tests, the only major snag is the amount of output channels isn't enough for 5.1. The DDRC-88A has additional channels though so depending on its quality in comparison to the SHD it could be a potential candidate, but would lose some of the features of the SHD.

With regards to latency, external DSP processing I believe would incur a delay of a few milliseconds I believe but that's something that would just have to be accepted I think.

Short of ordering directly from miniDSP, the availability of these devices seems to be an issue.

It seems that my requirement for 5.1 audio is a hindrance on finding a solution within a sensible price point. The only reason I have that requirement is that I sometimes play games on my PC so having rear channels provides a better experience. Even then the rear channel doesn't need to be perfect to the degree of the front and sub channels, just enough that I hear decent audio. I don't particularly need a separate sub channel as I can just use DSP to send frequencies below each speaker's roll-off to the sub.

Overall there doesn't seem to be a perfect solution to this; seems I have some more thinking to do!

Thanks for your advice on this matter.

Last edited by Audo; 1 day ago at 11:19 AM.. Reason: Added content.
Old 1 day ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audo View Post
ReaFIR and ReaEQ do look interesting and if you can import measurements from REW that would make it even better, though unfortunately it doesn't appear possible to do so.
ReaFIR isn't really suitable for such tasks, it's rather for some basic restoration and corrective stuff on audio material then as overal room EQ.
And yes, for ReaEQ you'd need to enter filters manually and translate Q to bandwidth figures.. but that was just an example of VST EQ plugin loadable in Equalizer APO, you can use whatever plugin you want of course.

Quote:
Having an external solution would seem like the better approach given the existing possibilities. It could conduct speaker distance measurements and corrections and all of that business. The SHD looks pretty solid and performs well in tests, the only major snag is the amount of output channels isn't enough for 5.1. The DDRC-88A has additional channels though so depending on its quality in comparison to the SHD it could be a potential candidate, but would lose some of the features of the SHD.
Surround sound is another can of worms of course Suitable device for that it's even more complicated and naturally also expensive. With regards to DDRC-88A, I'm not sure whether I'd like to use something with only analog inputs.. and rely on additional A/D conversion there. But of course it always needs to be evaluated in complete context and whether addition of desired processing outweigh possible deterioration with subpar conversion.
For example vast majority of home AVRs does exactly that for analog inputs, unless you employ some kind of "source direct" analog mode without any processing/conversion and lot of times, it's really significant difference IME.
That SHD just seemed like step into right direction with pretty good D/A conversion and digital inputs even with network streaming option. Of course there is also additional process in the path.. and that's asynchronous SRC, because engine always works at fixed rate (it think 48k), but if it's well implemented, it can be much better than some roundtrip through A/D chips and D/A at your audio interface.

Quote:
With regards to latency, external DSP processing I believe would incur a delay of a few milliseconds I believe but that's something that would just have to be accepted I think.
Hmm.. that also depends on particular processing. I can imagine, that standard minimum phase EQs and crossovers together with handling of digital inputs might have lower than 1ms latency including output D/A.
But some more sophisticated processing with phase compensation requires some time, not exactly because of its increased computing demands, but because of its operating principle. If you need precision at low frequencies, you must use longer FFT, which also presents longer inherent delay. So it's not uncommon, that such option easily adds 20-100 ms depending how far you want to go.. (that's btw., also reason why some system has that kind of switch between low latency and precise mode.. like Kii three or some room calibration processors).

Quote:
It seems that my requirement for 5.1 audio is a hindrance on finding a solution within a sensible price point. The only reason I have that requirement is that I sometimes play games on my PC so having rear channels provides a better experience. Even then the rear channel doesn't need to be perfect to the degree of the front and sub channels, just enough that I hear decent audio. I don't particularly need a separate sub channel as I can just use DSP to send frequencies below each speaker's roll-off to the sub.

Overall there doesn't seem to be a perfect solution to this; seems I have some more thinking to do!
Yes, there's no perfect and affordable solution and as I've said, with surround sound it can really be pretty complex and I/O count demanding thing. There are certainly some good processors with lot of useful features.. but it's aimed for professional studios.. say like Intonato 24 from JBL

Anyway speaking of software solutions, Dirac seems to be updating their native processing (as plugin) product range, adding bass management there..
https://www.dirac.com/dirac-live-bas...nt-beta-signup
https://live.dirac.com/pro-audio/
Not that, it's exactly what you're doing now with EQ APO with standard EQ, crossovers and also I don't know about its attributes like processing latency etc., but it can be possibly interesting product in future.

Quote:
Thanks for your advice on this matter.
You're welcome.

Michal
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