Discuss Audyssey MultEQ FAQ and Setup Guide in the Home Theater - Audio / Video forum. Audyssey MultEQ FAQ and Setup Guide
by Wayne Myers
1 - Introduction
Audyssey MultEQ is a room- and speaker-tuning ...
Audyssey MultEQ is a room- and speaker-tuning technology that is built into many Audio-Video Receivers. It is designed to be simple to use with minimal special knowledge, and it is a powerful tool that has smoothed out the sound of many a home theater system. But getting good results with Audyssey MultEQ does take some careful attention to detail. And it is possible to get marginal or even poor results in some situations. The purpose of this Guide is to help users maximize their chance of having a frustration-free, successful Audyssey MultEQ tuning experience.
This User Guide is organized in the following sections (click to jump there now):
Note: A lot of the technical detail is hidden in "spoiler" panes to help make this Guide a smoother read for the general Audyssey MultEQ user. Watch for the "DO NOT OPEN... DO NOT CLICK THIS BUTTON" messages and click the "Show" button if you want access to that detail. There are five hidden technical detail panes, one each in Sections 1, 2, 3, & 6, and two in Section 5, starting with...
Abbreviations & Terminology:
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AMEQ = Audyssey MultEQ; it is commonly referred to as "Audyssey," but the Audyssey company also makes a number of other audio technology products, so we will refer to it by its proper name, MultEQ or Audyssey MultEQ (AMEQ)
the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence = the sequence of steps built into your AVR to run the AMEQ automated process; you will run this sequence as part of the bigger Room EQ Process, maybe several times
AV = audio-video
AVR = audio-video receiver
DRC = digital room correction, correction of speaker and acoustical frequency response deficiencies (and phase response, with some products, including AMEQ) by software which analyzes those deficiencies then applies digital filtering to correct them
FR = frequency response or tonal quality
the Guide = this set of documents
HT = home theater
HTS = Home Theater Shack
IC = Image Clarity or imaging; I will rarely mention this
LFE = low-frequency effects channel that sends sound to your subwoofer(s)
LP = Listening Position or seat (see PLP)
LR = listening room
MM = a calibrated measurement microphone for verification of results with REW, NOT the AMEQ Setup Mic
Outlier = An outlier, in statistics terminology, is a data point that for some reason lies outside the normal range of data points. In our case, assuming you have a number of listening positions (LPs) grouped together that sound very similar, the "outlier" is the LP, probably in another part of the room, that sounds markedly different from the other normal LPs.
PLP = Primary Listening Position or seat, the best/main seat in the HT or LR (see LP)
PLPC = Center-of-Head point at the PLP; for safety reasons, only do work at the PLPC when the listener's head is not there
REW = Room EQ Wizard, the free audio analysis software package from HTS
the Room EQ Process = our recommended step-by-step process for getting good results with AMEQ; it involves running the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence
Setup Mic = the AMEQ Setup Mic that came with your AVR for Audyssey MultEQ setup, NOT a calrated measurement mic
2 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and General Information about Audyssey MultEQ
Accessories You Will Need
The Setup Mic
Running the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence
Audyssey MultEQ Versions
What is Audyssey MultEQ and where do I find it?
Audyssey MultEQ (AMEQ) is Digital Room Correction (DRC) software that comes built into many audio-video receivers (AVRs) for Home Theater and Stereo audio systems. Its purpose is to make frequency response and time delay adjustments to optimize the performance of the sound system. The software is designed and supplied by Audyssey Laboratories, a California-based U.S. company.
How does Audyssey MultEQ work?
MultEQ plays a series of sounds through each speaker and measures the result at your listening position(s) using a special microphone supplied with your receiver. It then calculates and stores frequency-dependent correction factors to optimize the frequency response of your system. It also stores timing correction factors so signals traveling from speakers different distances away all reach the listening position at the same time. Plus it manages crossover frequencies for your subwoofer and for bi-amplified speaker systems.
While the exact algorithms are proprietary, in principle AMEQ goes through a process of averaging the measurements for each speaker and determining the frequency and time response adjustments that will optimize audio system performance based on that average. Those settings are stored in the AVR's memory and are always at the ready when the AVR is turned on for use.
Is Audyssey MultEQ easy to use?
Because it is built into the AVR, there is no need to make any connections to run Audyssey MultEQ other than plugging in the Setup Mic, a single connection into the front of the AVR. All controls are menu driven, selected by operating five buttons on the AVR remote.
How do I know if my system will benefit from using Audyssey MultEQ?
Most audio systems will benefit from AMEQ, some more than others. Exceptions are top-performance systems made up of high-end speakers in rooms with excellent acoustics needing little or no correction. At the other end of the scale are systems with poor speakers and/or poor acoustics. The best candidates for benefiting from Audyssey MultEQ are systems with good speakers in rooms with fairly good acoustics, needing a moderate amount of fine tuning.
Can Audyssey MultEQ correct the acoustical shortcomings of my room?
AMEQ can not change the acoustical properties of a room, nor can any DRC program. It can attempt to compensate for some types of acoustical shortcomings, sometimes very effectively. Highly reflective rooms or rooms with irregular layouts are often beyond being helped substantially by any DRC software, including Audyssey MultEQ. This is not to say that the software lacks in capability, but rather that the complexities of many room acoustical problems simply cannot be addressed in this way. Where serious acoustical problems exist, it is always best to address them with acoustical treatments before attempting to correct with AMEQ.
Can Audyssey MultEQ correct the shortcomings of my speakers?
Where moderate frequency and/or phase response irregularities in speakers are the main problems being addressed, Audyssey MultEQ can be very effective in providing correction.
Does Audyssey MultEQ (like other DRC systems) accomplish its correction primarily through attenuation with minimal frequency band amplification?
Yes. There are two reasons. Human hearing is less sensitive to dips in frequency response than to peaks. And dips in response are often due to acoustical wave cancellation, uncorrectable by any kind of equalization boost.
Don't some audio experts say that "Equalizing speakers above 250 Hz is a bad idea?"
Yes, there are those who make blanket statements like that. In my view, it is a matter of relativity. If you were to compare your Audyssey-MultEQ-corrected system to one where acoustics were treated and the room and speakers (probably more expensive than what you have now) were carefully matched, you would probably agree that the "other" setup sounds better. For "everyday people," AND for many fairly serious audiophiles who want an easy way to tune their system a bit without going overboard, Audyssey MultEQ can give very satisfying improvement. (Watch out for absolute blanket statements like the one above. Blanket statements tend to be smothering. And tend to ignore the fact that there are tradeoffs in every set of decisions.)
Just what is Audyssey MultEQ adjusting for?
There are many factors that contribute to the sound of a Home Theater or Stereo sound system. No speaker or room is perfect, and every combination of speakers, room, and layout will sound different. DRC software attempts to overcome these combined imperfections for the listener. The goal of DRC software like Audyssey MultEQ is to make the frequency response, and - with some DRC solutions, including AMEQ - the time/phase response at the Listening Position (LP) match what it would be if the speaker and room imperfectons did not exist. Of course, this can never be accomplished perfectly.
What types of speakers work best with Audyssey MultEQ?
It is recommended that the front and surround speakers have matched characteristics and that all have well-controlled frequency response down to 80 Hz, the recommended LFE crossover frequency for the Dolby Digital and DTS families of surround processors.
Can I choose a powered or unpowered subwoofer to use with MultEQ?
You may use either a powered (active, with its own built-in power amp) sub or an unpowered (passive, powered by the AVR's power amp) sub. Active subwoofers are by far the most common, as the amplifier characteristics can be matched to the transducer's. It is recommended that the subwoofer have well-controlled frequency response up to 80 Hz, the recommended LFE crossover frequency for the Dolby Digital and DTS families of surround processors.
I am thinking about purchasing a new AVR. What is the advantage of purchasing one with Audyssey MultEQ included?
DRC capability with low cost and high ease of use.
Which version of Audyssey MultEQ should I look for?
At least MultEQ XT, and get MultEQ XT32 if you can possibly afford to. As the table below shows, XT32 has 4x the number of filter points for subwoofer frequencies as XT, and 32x the number of filter points for frequencies above that. When you see an equalized AMEQ plot that is really flattened out, it is usually from a system with XT32. My measurements for this study were all done on an Onkyo TX-NR1009 with Audyssey MultEQ XT, and it was easy to see at times that some extra "flattening power" would have given better subwoofer results (more filter points will not change the effects of relative acoustical values, discussed in the How Audyssey MultEQ Works section below).
If Audyssey MultEQ is not built into my AVR, can it be added? Or can I run it on a computer or some other audio processing hardware external to my AVR?
No. AMEQ is only available built into AVRs as sold, it cannot be added later or run on any kind of external hardware.
Will Audyssey MultEQ make an AVR more expensive?
Yes, there are licensing fees that must be paid by the AVR manufacturer to Audyssey Labs. Audyssey MultEQ technology is an advanced feature and, like all features, will add to the cost of an AVR. AMEQ usually comes on more capable AVR models, so it is difficult to separate out its cost. An educated guess would be $30 to $50 added to the price of receivers costing $500 and up.
Does Audyssey MultEQ add distortion or negatively affect the sound performance or power consumption or heat dissipation or reliability of the AVR in any way?
In pure theoretical terms, yes, but probably not in any measurable way. The perfectionist Audiophile will sometimes insist on an absolute minimum of circuitry and no digital processing in the signal chain to keep the signal unchanged from the source signal. AMEQ can always be deactivated if needed and turned back on again at will, although the modern AVR usually has some digital signal processing at work. Distortion added by the DSP calculations involved is kept extremely low - well below the limits of audibility according to blind listening tests, although some discerning listeners will claim otherwise, and we will not get into those arguments here. The additional power consumption and heat dissipation from running with AMEQ active will be negligible compared to that from other circuits in a modern AVR. Today's AVRs are also extremely reliable. Adding AMEQ will make use of circuitry and processors that already exist and will not measurably affect AVR reliability.
Can Audyssey MultEQ be used with surround processors like Dolby Digital or DTS?
Yes, AMEQ is compatible with all surround processors.
What if I add more satellite speakers or an additional sub in the future?
Then you must re-run the Room EQ process. Each time it is run, it checks all the outputs on the receiver for available speakers and includes all that are connected.
What if I change the speaker position or rearrange furniture or add curtains or a throw rug?
It is recommended that MultEQ be re-run when any significant change is made to the layout of the room or furnishings, including carpeting, rugs, drapes, blinds, windows, tapestries, and wall hangings, especially if the acoustical "hardness" of a surface area changes (hanging a picture with a glass covering on a painted plaster wall is probably OK, but hanging a large, thick tapestry on that wall would warrant re-running AMEQ). Small knick knacks are OK. If it is the size of a lamp or bigger, re-run AMEQ.
Some of your recommendations are different from what I have seen on other web sites. Why is that, and why should I trust your recommendations over others?
There are a few differences, yes. The reasons for them are well explained and are backed up with data and listening tests. If someone can prove any of these findings incorrect, I will gladly make the appropriate changes.
It has been suggested that this Guide puts too much emphasis on Setup Mic Patterns. If you get good results using the guidelines given elsewhere, then you fall into that group that does not need to emphasize them further. But if you are having trouble getting good results with AMEQ, or would like to try to get better results than you have, then the Setup Mic Pattern is the one and only variable you have to work with to influence the result of AMEQ's tuning, other than treating or re-arranging your room, and focusing on it amounts to emphasizing precisely that which you must in order to get acceptable results.
Accessories You Will Need
What accessories or other equipment will I need before I can start running Audyssey MultEQ?
Here are some items that will come in handy. Click on the links to see representative items.
Bosch DLR130K Digital Distance Measurer - OPTIONAL. Some measurements can be a little tricky to make accurately, and a laser distance meter can make them a lot easier. If you do much with speaker setup and audio measurements, you will find one invaluable. I like this model.
Quartet Classic Comfort MP2703GQ Laser Pointer. This can really help with speaker alignment, especially if you are trying different speaker locations or angles. Put a piece of tape or an adhesive dot on a wall or piece of furniture to line up on. Then if a speaker gets bumped or moved after you found that perfect listening angle, the laser pointer can be used for a quick alignment check and correction. Be sure you get a quality model that has the laser beam straight on the axis of the body of the pointer. Place it on a flat surface, push the on button, and roll it back and forth through 3/4 of a turn without releasing the on switch. The laser beam pointing at a distant (>10 ft) wall should not move up or down more than 1/2 inch - if it does, the beam is not aligned properly. A metal pushbutton switch is also a good feature. Switch failure is the most common failure point for laser pointers. The model listed does not have a metal switch, but I had one of these that lasted 12 years.
Galaxy CM-140 Sound Level Meter from Cross Spectrum Labs - OPTIONAL. If you also have a calibrated measurement mic, the Verified model will be sufficient. If this will be your main frequency response measurement instrument, get the Verified+ ("Verified Plus") model with full frequency response calibration. Get this model directly trough Cross Spectrum Labs, a reputable firm with excellent customer service which works closely with Home Theater Shack forum members. The Verified+ version is not cheap at $140 plus shipping, but comes with frequency response calibration so you can verify low-frequency response through the subwoofer range using downloadable test tones. But before you buy an SPL meter, consider this:
For less money you can buy a calibrated microphone. That along with an existing laptop and Room EQ Wizard (free) can get you into making serious measurements, but the complexity factor can be downright scary.
The SPL meter with its calibration chart and some downloaded test tones is an extremely simple combination for taking measurements.
On Stage Stands MS7701 Tripod Boom Microphone Stand. This is for the Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic. The mounting thread on the microphohe is 1/4 in, made for a camera stand. I prefer the versatility of a mic stand, which requires adapters listed below. Start with a full-sized mic stand with a boom. A low-profile stand (next) can be handy as well.
DR Pro DR256 MS1500BK Low Profile Mic Boom Stand - OPTIONAL. In tight situations, sometimes it just fits better.
Giottos MH1004-320 Swivel-Head Adapter, 3/8 in female base, 1/4 in male head; a swivel head makes it easy to always have the ANEQ Setup Mic pointing straight up as it is supposed to; you will need the next item along with this.
AKG KM216 Thread Adapter, 5/8 in female to 3/8 in male; you will need the previous item along with this.
On Stage Stands QK2B Quick Release Mic Clip Adapter; if you have more than one mic stand you should have one of these per stand.
Tape or adhesive dots.
Favorite test tracks:
Several music tracks that you are familiar with that are even (the same instruments, vocals, and mix throughout), full-range (includes solid bass tones, high frequencies like cymbals, all tones in between, played and mixed evenly throughout), and a single female vocalist recorded cleanly and simply.
A favorite movie test track.
The Setup Mic
What is special about the Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic?
Every AVR that comes with Audyssey MultEQ build in has a Setup Microphone supplied. This is the microphone to use for all Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence runs with that AVR. That microphone has been selected for its frequency response characteristics, and there is a complementary correction curve programmed into the AVR for that microphone model.
Over the years, there have been several models of the AMEQ Setup Mic supplied with AVRs that contain AMEQ technology. The different Setup Mic models have different frequency response characteristics, so the Setup Mic supplied with one AVR might or might not work properly with another model AVR, even from the same manufacturer.
There are no model numbers or serial numbers or markings to differentiate these Setup Mic models, and different models sometimes look exactly the same in design and color. Some AMEQ-capable AVRs had the Setup Mics produced by the AVR manufacturer and some have been made by Audyssey Labs. Audyssey Labs has produced two different Setup Mic models, identical in appearance but with different frequency response characteristics. Since 2007, all AMEQ Setup Mics from Audyssey Labs have been the second of these two models, all with the same frequency response. Each microphone is tested by Audyssey Labs to match the reference curve within +/- 2 dB over the usable frequency range.
What this boils down to is: only use the Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic that was supplied with your AVR. Don't borrow one from a buddy unless it came with an identical model AVR. If you have to replace your Setup Mic, only use one that comes either from the AVR manufacturer or from Audyssey Labs specifically for that model AVR.
There are other sources on the web that sell AMEQ Setup Mics. It is not recommended that you trust them. Counterfeit Setup Mics have been identified that look perfect but perform horribly. Bottom line, only use the Setup Mic that came with the AVR or a replacement from the manufacturer or from Audyssey specifically for your AVR model.
If you have two different AVRs with AMEQ Setup Mics, better mark them first thing so you do not mix them up. They might be different models.
The Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic is also unique in that it has a 2-conductor 1/8 inch connector (tip, sleeve) rather than the typical 3-conductor 1/8 inch connector (tip, ring, sleeve) like most computer microphones.
Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic Models:
ACM1 - first by Audyssey
ACM1H - follow-up, replaces ACM1, different calibration curve, 2007 and after
ACM1HB - black color
APM1 - professional model, comes with Pro Kits
Running the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence
Should I run the standard receiver setup process first?
There is no reason to do so, as Audyssey MultEQ replaces those values with its own. The AMEQ-calculated values should always be used, with a few exceptions that follow.
What is the purpose of the MultEQ Quick Start sequence?
This routine calculates speaker frequency ranges, the crossover frequencies for transitioning from each speaker to the LFE channel, the distances from each speaker to the Primary Listening Position (PLP), and the channel levels. Then those values are stored in your AVR's speaker setup settings for use by other AVR programs. If you are getting ready to run the complete MultEQ correction process, this will all be done anyway, so there is no reason to run MultEQ Quick Start first.
Is it possible that running MultEQ could damage my speakers?
No, even though the levels may seem loud, they are low enough in power that your speakers are completely safe, less than one watt.
How many listening positions will MultEQ allow to be analyzed?
This depends on the version. See the comparison chart below.
What is the advantage of analyzing multiple listening positions?
Especially in home theater settings, where a number of viewers may be watching together, the MultEQ averaging process finds a "happy medium" setting that allows all viewers to benefit from the equalization process to some extent (see the next topic).
Is there any disadvantage to averaging multiple viewer locations?
The process determines an equalization setting that is a compromise across the listening locations. As a compromise, no averaged location will sound as good as one location will with an "ideal" setting. The exception would be a well-treated room with minimum variation across the listening positions. I suggest that you first run MultEQ for a single ideal listening location to hear it "the best it can be," then determine the amount of averaging that is right for your room. A detailed process follows.
Can any of Audyssey MultEQ's frequency response tuning settings be adjusted or fine-tuned by hand?
Only with the Pro Installation Kit using an external computer.
What is the difference between the target curves that can be selected at the end of the Analysis and Setup Sequence?
The Music, or Flat, target curve has a very flat frequency response. The Movie, or Reference, target curve has attenuated high frequencies for the reverberant characteristics of typical rooms. The Music target curve usually works best in highly-treated rooms.
Can Audyssey MultEQ be used in a way that improves Image Clarity, or imaging, at the same time that it is improving frequency response, or are the two goals mutually exclusive?
It is possible to achieve both good Image Clarity and good frequency response using AMEQ. This will be discussed in later sections.
Is Image Clarity worth even considering in a Home Theater system?
As long as there are sounds that come from in between pairs of speakers, yes it is.
All this sounds way too complex for me. Can I just hire someone to do the room tuning for me?
Yes, there are many Audyssey MultEQ Authorized Installers around the U.S. and around the world. Visit the Audyssey Labs web site to locate one.
I tried Audyssey MultEQ when I first set up my AVR and it did not help. What did I do wrong?
There are many possible reasons a user might get results that do not seem to help or that might even sound worse than without, especially after a quickly done setup by a first-time user. Do not assume that AMEQ is a lost cause without reading through our Usage Guidelines and following our Room EQ Process in the following sections. Even Audyssey MultEQ's advanced design can be easily undone through simple user errors or oversights. Attention to surprisingly small details can make a huge difference in your results.
What are the most common reasons for an Audyssey MultEQ user to get unsatisfactory results?
In order of most to least likely:
A poorly chosen Setup Mic Pattern.
Imprecise Setup Mic placement.
Poor room acoustics and/or room layout.
Poor speakers or speakers that are a poor choice for the listening room and layout.
Other electronic or signal processing problems.
Once the MultEQ values have been stored, is it always active?
MultEQ can easily be switched off or on using your remote.
Can I change the speaker setup values after the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence has been run?
A number of AVR values can be changed. Speaker Size and Speaker Crossover values affect the way that low frequencies are handled by your system. Level settings for each speaker can be adjusted. This is discussed in Section 7. Subwoofer distance setting can be changed if it is found to fix a frequency response smoothness problem at the LFE crossover frequency.
One value that is occasionally incorrect is the distance setting for the left- or right-front speaker or for the center channel speaker - they are set in 1/2 foot increments and I found that one front speaker setting might be off by 1/2 foot every 5th or 6th time through. The L, C, R settings might be 8 ft, 8 ft, and 7.5 ft, for example, or 8 ft, 7.5 ft, and 7.5 ft (C slightly closer than L & R is fairly common, but L and R should always match). When this happens, the Image Clarity is totally non-existent. These values should be checked every time AMEQ is run, and if one of the values is not correct, AMEQ should be run again.
Can I use Audyssey MultEQ with other types of equalization?
You always have the option to tailor the sound to your liking after completing the Room EQ Process. You may like more bass or less treble and you can use other AVR controls along with AMEQ or an external equalization processor. Be sure that other filters and equalization are turned off when running the Analysis and Setup Sequence, because it may not automatically deactivate them (depending on the AVR model). You can turn them back on later. There is an exception to this guideline for advanced users where an external notch filter is used to tame one or two particularly annoying frequency response peaks that AMEQ has trouble controlling on its own - that filtering is left active through the Room EQ Process. This is a useful technique with low-frequency peaks from room modes and requires precision measurement equipment to do properly.
Is it possible to store multiple versions of Audyssey MultEQ's settings for comparison or for different listening situations?
Only with the Audyssey MultEQ Professional Installation Kit, which will work with either MultEQ XT32 or MultEQ XT. Also, some advanced AVR models allow configuration to be done from a computer over one's local network. Those configuration options often allow for saving and re-loading AMEQ settings - this is a feature worth watching for if you think you might end up playing with AMEQ very much. Otherwise, only the last stored set of values is available. The complete Setup Sequence must be run any time a change is desired, and previous results are lost. Because of this, it is wise to carefully measure and write down your speaker locations and angles, your furniture locations, and the Setup Mic Pattern positions used each time you run an AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence, so you can repeat those results in the future.
Is it true that in order to get really great performance with Audyssey MultEQ the user needs to be able to make precision audio system measurements with a calibrated microphone and computer?
This is always an option, but AMEQ was designed to make it unneccessary. The majority of "fairly picky" users probably do this and will insist that it is necessary. But good performance is possible without it. Subwoofer frequencies can be a bit problematic. See the following topic...
Is it true that it can be difficult to get the subwoofer bass levels right with Audyssey MultEQ, and get the low-frequency response sounding even?
This is often the case. One challenge that Audyssey MultEQ has difficulty with is "notching out" sharp low-frequency peaks effectively. MultEQ XT32 has greater filter resolution for subwoofer frequencies, but can still have this problem. These sharp low-frequency peaks result from standing waves between parallel walls or between floor and ceiling. The type of filtering used simply does not handle sharp low-frequency peaks that well, so those peaks might only be partially corrected by AMEQ and the resulting sound can be boomy at one or two frequencies while the overall level for the bass seems low. What is called for here is a high-Q parametric band-attenuating filter carefully tuned to each of those frequency peaks. This requires additional filtering hardware or software in the signal chain before AMEQ is applied. Further explanation of this phenomenon can be found in this Denon receiver review, in the paragraph Is Audyssey all you need in your system for equalization?
Getting even bass response is a difficult task in setting up an audio system, even for a powerful program like AMEQ. The first challenge is placement of the subwoofer(s) in the room for good response at the PLP and hopefully as many other Listening Positions as possible. Even after achieving that through trial and error with detailed measurements (special equipment is required for this), including smooth integration with my left, right, and center speakers, AMEQ sometimes managed to turn that into a more uneven result with a serious dip at the LFE crossover frequency, requiring subwoofer distance (delay) or phase setting adjustment to compensate. In my experience, getting really even subwoofer response through the crossover frequency without some way of measuring the result is next to impossible. But - in keeping with the pushbutton simplicity approach that many users insist upon - following setup guidelines and letting AMEQ do the rest will usually give pretty good results.
How do I get started making precision audio measurements so I can optimize my sound even further?
You will need a calibrated microphone, possibly an audio interface (depending on the microphone), a computer, and an audio analysis software package. Plus a lot of time and patience if this is all new to you. This is a big step involving expense and a learning curve. The Audyssey MultEQ Pro Installation Kit is one way to get the calibrated mic and audio interface covered, along with access to AMEQ's inner workings that cannot be achieved otherwise. Other mic and interface options abound. Either way, you will need a good audio analysis package. Home Theater Shack offers one of the best audio analysis software packages available - Room EQ Wizard (REW) - at no charge - simply by registering as a forum user - also at no charge. The Room EQ Wizard Forum and the built-in Help files give the guidance you need to get set up and started, all beyond the scope of these articles.
Audyssey MultEQ Versions
What are the differences between the versions of Audyssey MultEQ?
Filter Resolution (satellites)
Filter Resolution (subwoofer)
Number of Measurement Positions
Adaptive Low Frequency Correction
Crossover, Polarity, Delays, Levels
* Up to 32 measurement positions with MultEQ Pro.
The exact number of filter points available is not published by Audyssey. The Filter Resolution numbers in this table are multipliers, giving only relative indications of filter points available.
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Note: There is debate among audio experts about the sensitivity of human hearing to slight phase shifts caused by room correction filtering. Some claim it makes little or no difference and is completely inaudible. Others claim that the result can be audible, specially with signals that have fast attack times, like a sharp cymbal crash or handclap or gunshot or explosion, or that Image Clarity is affected even with minute timing differences between speakers. For the purpose of this explanation, it is understood that the designers of the Audyssey MultEQ system and products believe that the phase shift can be audible and that phase correction is important as part of the room and speaker tuning process.
What do the terms "frequency domain" and "time domain" mean?
As they relate to filtering and room correction, frequency domain refers to corrections of the gain of the system at different frequencies, making changes to the frequency response. Time domain refers to the timing and phase of the different frequency components of the signal. Depending on the filtering approach that is used, it is possible for the filter to cause different frequency components to be shifted relative to each other by the filtering process.
Do different room correction systems address the frequency and time characteristics of the audio signal differently?
All filters, by their nature, have an effect on the phase and timing of the different frequency components of the audio signal. Some filters use the simplest approach to frequency correction without regard to effect on the phase and timing of the signal. That type of filtering is referred to as minimum phase filtering. It is often chosen because its implementation uses minimum Digital Signal Processing (DSP) overhead and can be processed quickly with minimum overall delay of the audio signal. In signal processing terms you will hear these types of filters referred to as Infinite Impulse Response (IIR) filters.
Filter types with corrections taking place in both the time and frequency domains together are able to accomplish frequency response correction while preserving the phase and timing characteristics of the signal, and can even correct for phase and timing problems that have been introduced elsewhere in the sound system. These types of filters can involve more DSP overhead and can introduce slightly longer delays in the audio signal path. In signal processing terms you will hear these types of filters referred to as Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filters.
How does the Audyssey MultEQ approach to room correction address frequency and time correction?
The design is proprietary, but it appears that Audyssey's MultEQ room correction uses FIR filters so frequency response corrections are accomplished with minimal phase and time distortion.
Does MultEQ correction take a lot of processing overhead?
The Audyssey MultEQ approach to room correction carefully determines the number of filtering points needed, prioritizing where the latest amount of frequency correction is called for. The MultEQ system has been finely tuned to choose just the number of filter points necessary, to set them at the right frequencies, and to accomplish time and frequency correction with minimal signal processing overhead.
Does MultEQ correction create long signal delays, and will I hear them or notice that audio and video are out of sync?
The slight time delays introduced are automatically compensated for. Audio and video signals are always kept precisely synchronized.
The exact algorithms used by Audyssey MultEQ are proprietary. The following descriptions are accurate in principle.
Listening Positions With Similar Tonalities
This first diagram shows the frequency response measurement curves at the Yellow, Red, and Blue seat positions with sound coming from Speaker A. At 2 Khz, the Yellow seat measurement point is 1 dB "hotter" than at the Red Listening Position, which is 2 dB hotter than at the Blue seat - small differences but nice for visualization purposes.
It is vital to remember that these relationships are acoustically fixed. Audyssey MultEQ can do nothing to change those relationships at that frequency (regardless of the number of filter points available, as in AMEQ XT32 vs. XT), nor can any electronic device or technology. If gain at that frequency is cut by 4 dB, it will be cut by 4 dB at every point in the room. The only way to change those relationships is acoustically, by moving or changing walls or speakers or furniture, adding acoustic treatment materials - making physical changes to the listening room.
Next we can see what the result would be if AMEQ correction was calculated with a measurement from the Blue seat only. The FR at the Blue seat would end up flat and the Yellow and Red FR curves would change by the same amount in dB terms, in some cases possibly ending up closer to flat and in some cases getting worse.
With AMEQ calculating an average of these FR curves, AMEQ can determine a correction curve to flatten that average line. The result is far more useful. Even with those fixed relationships, the Range and Variance for those curves is limited. This is what Audyssey MultEQ does well, what it was really designed for, to tighten up a FR curve family for LPs that are fairly similar.
At the same time, AMEQ has been working in the time domain to minimize time delay variations across these frequencies. While the effects of this are less audible with one speaker running, they are important to Image Clarity between speaker pairs - more on this in later sections.
So we see that AMEQ does its job well when dealing with LPs that are similar in tonality. When there is more variation in tonality among LPs, the result is not so nice.
The "Outlier" Listening Position
This diagram shows the uncorrected FR curves with the Blue seat as an outlier at low frequencies, being very dissimilar from the other seats. An outlier in statistical terminology is a data point that for some reason lies outside the "normal" range of data points. In our case, assuming you have a number of listening positions (LPs) grouped together that sound very similar, the outlier is the LP that sounds markedly different from the other "normal" LPs.
The corrected curves above show how the bass suffers at the Yellow and Red seats for the sake of improvement at LP Blue.
Purposely excluding the Blue seat from the averaging process.
The Blue seat in this scenario is wisely left empty, or removed, or left as the last seat for the unappreciative or low-priority listener.
Verification With Measured Signals
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As verification that the above theory holds true, these measurements show uncorrected FR curves from 3 points in a room -
- their average (red) and the kind of correction (purple) that you would expect AMEQ to apply -
- the ideal curves we could hope for with correction applied -
- the actual measured curves after AMEQ analysis and correction (compare to the "expected" results above; they come pretty close; here having more filter points available - XT32 vs. XT - would have given a flatter average value below 300 Hz) -
- and a comparison of the before (red) and after (blue) average values - the blue curve being admirably close to flat through most of the range (low frequencies are corrected more by Audyssey MultEQ when more LPs are included in the analysis).
As expected, the acoustically-fixed relationships between the curves hold true, allowing for measurement repeatability.i am a prisoner in here!
Room and speaker setup is a major topic in itself. Here are some basic points that are particularly important to your success with Audyssey MultEQ.
Front Speakers should be equally spaced across the front of the listening area. Arrangement and spacing should be left-right symmetrical.
Front Speakers should be an equal distance from the center of the front row of seats, from the Primary Listening Position (PLP) if there is a center seat. Sometimes the center speaker is slightly closer or farther because of physical constraints. The Left and Right main speakers should ALWAYS be equidistant from the center of the front seating row.
Front Speakers should be at least 1 foot from any wall, 2 feet is better, and at least 3 feet from any corner. This usually improves the soundstage and Image Clarity, or imaging, delivered by the main speakers. Some speakers are designed to be wall-mounted and can perform quite well there, although that arrangement will generally not be great for soundstage or imaging. Two feet from the wall is minimum if they are a rear-ported design. Locating your front speakers too close to the wall will tend to give you boomy, muddy bass and a general lack of clarity.
As a starting point, the positions of the front-left and front-right speakers should form an equilateral triangle with the PLP as the third corner, and the speakers should point straight at the PLP with the tweeters at ear level (Basic Configuration). For optimum cinema perspective, you want to stay close to this in a home theater setup. This is a rule waiting to be broken, however. Where music listening is a priority and a premium is placed on soundstage and laser-sharp Image Clarity, the left and right mains will often end up wider apart and angled outward from pointing at the ears (Wide Configuration). Go too far and the soundstage falls apart. Go just far enough and it floats in space. Audyssey MultEQ will make up for the slight high-frequency loss from the outward speaker angle. Speakers with midrange and tweeter horn drivers designed for controlled dispersion will need less of an outward angle to achieve the effect.
Surround speakers can be stand- or wall-mounted, and should be at or above ear level. Dolby specifies that surround speakers used during cinema mixing should be at least 2 feet above the ear level of the mixing engineer, so higher is better, but not closer than 2 feet from the ceiling. Distance from the PLP is not as critical, as timing differences will be compensated for by AMEQ.
All seating should be at least 2 feet from any wall.
No seats should be at the exact center of the room, where standing wave room modes tend to be at their worst.
"Doubling up" the main speakers is usually of little to no benefit, and in fact will more often be the cause of serious degradation in sound quality because of phase interactions. Doubling up subwoofers is quite another matter, and is usually beneficial to LFE sound, depending on subwoofer placement.
Because of the long wavelengths and the omnidirectional nature of low-frequency sound, there is some flexibility with subwoofer placement. The best starting point is the front of the room even with the front Left & Right speakers, at least 1 foot from any wall, 2 feet is better, and at least 3 feet from any corner. You can always experiment with your subwoofer placement and phase setting, although you should re-run the Room EQ Process after every change to hear the result with AMEQ's correction in place. At the same time, remember that our hearing at those frequencies is not very sensitive or accurate. At best you might be able to catch a super-boomy frequency peak or a null where a certain test tone seems to disappear; do not expect to hear subtleties. In other words, do not spend a lot of time trying to fine-tune your subwoofer placement by ear; be happy if you find a spot that seems free from major annoyances.
"Help me help you." Frustrated pro athletic agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) at one point in the movie begs his sole client, the often uncooperative Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), "Help me help you." Let's act like we are on the same side here.
Audyssey MultEQ wants to help you, but it needs you to help it help you. It is designed to be one-button simple - actually five buttons on your AVR remote, still pretty simple to use - but is totally dependent on the input you give it.
It is better to have mostly GREAT-sounding Listening Positions (LPs) and one or two that are not so great than it is to have all Listening Positions sounding equally bad.
Here are Home Theater Shack's general guidelines for Audyssey MultEQ use:
All mic positions in an Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence should be points where a listener's head and ears are likely to end up, where a listener might actually be hearing sound. To include measurement points at any other location for any reason is completely useless (one of those annoying absolute blanket statements we talked about earlier - but this one is TRUE! - with one exception). At best it is a waste of a data point and at worst it will make all real Listening Positions sound worse for no reason.
The only exception I will suggest is when there is no centered PLP seat. Then the Setup Mic pattern might include points between those seats at the center line between the front L and front R speakers (more on this below).
Always give the sound at the Primary Listening Position (PLP) top priority, and make sure the sound is GOOD there. Reasons:
When there is only one listener, this is where s/he will sit.
This will usually be your seat, you should treat yourself to the best sound possible.
If the sound at the PLP is bad, most likely all Listening Positions sound bad. If the sound at the PLP is great, you will ofen find that all of the LPs sound pretty good. There are exceptions to this, but it will hold true for many listening rooms due to the typical close proximity of seats to one another and the similarity of furniture used.
The first measurement point in a Setup Mic Pattern should always be at Center-of-Head location at the PLP (PLPC) (except as discussed below with the no centered PLP seat exception}. This is because Audyssey MultEQ sets speaker distance and timing information using this first measurement point.
When dealing with the no centered PLP seat exception, you have the option of centering any tightly-grouped first points of the Setup Mic Pattern relative to the front speakers, which places them between seats, or of centering those points relative to the back of the chosen PLP seat, which places them at the center of a seat but off-center relative to the front speakers. I prefer to center relative to the front speakers, preserving overall symmetry of sound levels in the room. But centering relative to the PLP seat works well, too, although the left-right sound balance will be skewed toward the PLP and relative speaker levels might be harder to manage.
Still dealing with the no centered PLP seat exception, if you center relative to the speakers and there is a gap between high seat backs, stretch a hand towel or folded pillow case between the two seat backs to give surface continuity across that gap (either material is quite reflective at the frequencies we care about). If there are "wings" that jut forward from high seat backs, then locate the points on the vertical center plane (the plane which non-destructively splits the left and right sides of the listener's head) in front of the wings and move the other points to the "normal" back area. This is illustrated in Section 7, pattern 101B.
While the first measurement point sets speaker distance and timing information, all the measurement points contribute to the alignment of phase information that affects Soundstage and Image Clarity. The Setup Mic Patterns which amphasize Image Clarity therefore will have a number of additional measurement points which fall on the vertical center plane at the PLP. It is critical that these points fall exactly on that plane in order to contribute effectively to Image Clarity. There is some flexibility in locating those points vertically and forward or backward (NOT the first measurement point, though, it must be at PLPC), and that flexibility can be used where there is a high seat back, for instance, to smooth out the effects of reflections off the seat back while still reinforcing strong Image Clarity.
A Listening Position is the point where the center of the listener's head would be. Especially at the PLP, always use the center of head location, not beside or in front of or above it - this strongly affects Audyssey MultEQ's ability to deliver good Image Clarity (details follow). This point will be affected by furniture design and construction as they affect where the listener's head will be positioned. Of course, it is valid to include analysis points a few inches left, right, forward, up, or down to allow for positioning variation if the sound tonality at those points is not dramatically different from the sound at the center of that area. If the sound at an LP has a big, annoying peak in the midrange frequencies when you lean forward six inches, you will only end up with a duller sound elsewhere by including that point in the analysis. Better to leave out that point and remember not to lean forward.
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You clicked! Great! It gets lonely in here! >>>>> For a time I experimented with Setup Mic patterns that did not include center-of-head measurement points. Image Clarity was always horrible. It turns out that, even though sound waves are never detected by any mechanism at the center of our heads, it is critical to have that point represented in the Setup Mic pattern since it is exactly equidistant from the L and R main speakers, and Audyssey MultEQ needs that reference point in its analysis in order to properly fine tune the phase relationships of the speakers - especially the Left, Center, and Right front channels - for strong Image Clarity. This is not intuitively obvious until you see what a huge difference it makes. There is test data to support this in a later section. Really.
With high-backed furniture, keep the Setup Mic Pattern at the LP head location. This is a controversial topic, with details below. In summary, those variations are exactly what you want AMEQ incorporating into its averaging process to have the LP sound as good as possible. Moving the Setup Mic Pattern two feet above the seat beck to a point where there is less local variation might or might not give a good-sounding result at the LP. I might very well create a good sounding spot "up there" while leaving the actual LP with a disappointing result.
Incorporate the offending local variation at the LP by varying the distances from the seat back to the measurement points. This is the variation that AMEQ is meant to handle, why have it correcting for anything else?
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The arguements against doing this are that
the reflections off the seat back cause more frequency response variation than usual in that area - this is true, and
trying to have AMEQ correct for those variations will leave other parts of the room sounding worse - so what?
The argument for doing this is that, even with reflections, the area in front of the seat beck is the most representaive of the actual LP.
Here is one way of looking at it, using actual frequency response measurements with actual furniture.
My comfy listening chair for 2-channel listening has a high, flat, fabric-covered back that is almost as high as the back of my head, a very typical recliner design. Measurements taken at ear level at distances in front of the seat back of 3 inches, 6 inches, 9 inches, and 12 inches (plus the average of the four in basic black), look like this:
This is quite a bit of variation, and you can hear that variation as you move your head forward from the regular listening position. This amount of acoustical variatiton is a fixed acoustical realty resulting from having the high seat back (partly just from having the chair), and from other measurements I have takem around furniture I can say the variation seen here is fairly typical. It gets somewhat better with a lower seat back, but any furniture creates reflections. Unless we want to do our listening standing up, a certain amount of this just has to be put up with. Audyssey MultEQ cannot eliminate the variation, nor can any kind of DRC. It can only flatten out the average of the variation, depending on where we place the setup mic measurement points.
Here is the average frequency response difference relative to that at the PLP, you get by moving the Setup Mic Pattern twenety-four inches higher, as is commonly recommended:
So our choice is either to locate the Setup Mic Pattern 24 inches above the top of the seat back and have Audyssey NultEQ's correction turn the sound at the LP from this:
which gives us a great-sounding spot 24 inches above our heads, a sort of acoustical Nirvana to aspire to from our compromised LP below, or locate the Setup Mic Pattern at the LP, and have AMEQ's ccorrection turn the sound at the LP into this:
Hmmm. The second alternative gets my vote!
Part of the arguement against this approach is that it makes other parts of the room sound worse. Which takes us back to questions of priority. Don't you want your PLP to sound as good as possible? And how many households have more than one really discriminating listener? This approach gives you the opportunity of having a great-sounding PLP and allows you to prioritize from there.
If you have a calibrated MM, then you can easily choose a higher-placed Setup Mic Pattern and verify that it gives a desirablre result: a better balance of correction between the PLP and other LPs, or perhaps a preferred type or amount of correction at the LPs. Without the luxury of a calibrated MM and Room EQ Wizard for analysis, I continue to recommend the approach in this Guide.
Sometimes it is suggested to move furniture several feet out of the way when running the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence. With a sofa, this can change the acoustics of your room enough that I would not recommend it. With a single chair, you can probably get away with it. And the results can be effective if it is easy to do. But it is a lot of trouble for some furniture pieces and prohibitive for others, and the result is usually not that much better that it becomes worth much extra work. When you put the piece of furniture back in place, the reflections which change the sound come back. So it is generally better to leave the chair there and carefully determine where the LP center-of-head location will be in that chair.
Focus AMEQ's power on optimizing like-sounding seats, those whose tonality seems about the same as the PLP.
Outlier seats, or LPs that sound very different from the PLP, should not be included in the analysis. This goes against the natural inclination to include all LPs, usually based on the misconception that AMEQ will somehow be able to make them all sound better. As illustrated earlier, AMEQ is stuck working with the acoustical properties of the room, which fixes the relationships between different points in the room at a given frequency. The result: a bad-sounding seat can only be made to sound better by making all the good-sounding seats sound worse. Better to know your outliers and leave them out of the analysis.
It is true that the averaging process minimizes the outlier effect if only one of eight measurement points sounds far different from the rest. Then it will only have a small overall effect. This saves you if you inadvertently include one outlier in the analysis. But if you have four seats that are different enough from the PLP to be considered outliers - the result will most likely be bad news. Better to know your outliers and leave them out of the analysis.
It is good to understand how differently the various parts of your home theater or listening room sound. It is NOT good to include analysis points with widely varying tonal characters. I am beginning to sound like a broken record at this point, but that is because this is the single biggest reason why users fail to get good results with Audyssey MultEQ. Understanding those variations helps you decide what parts of the room not to sit in, NOT what parts of the room to try to improve with AMEQ.
Check the speaker distance settings in your AVR's speaker setup menus after EVERY AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence run. AMEQ determines these settings anew every time it is run. It is usually pretty accurate in setting those distances, but made errors in those calculations every 7th or 8th time during my experiments. The main thing to watch for is matching values for the left and right main speakers and the correct value for the center speaker relative to them. If one value is off at all - the settings go in 1/2 foot increments - Image Clarity will be horrible and frequency response at the mains/sub crossover point can suffer. Do not just correct the value, as the AMEQ correction has been completed using that value. It is better to re-run the analysis.
Always use all available analysis data slots. The Pro kit allows more - always use at least eight. AMEQ correction, especially at low frequencies, is more aggressive as more analysis points are included. If you are using the Pro Installer Kit with more thab eight measurement points, start with the 8-point Basic Setup Mic Pattern at the PLP and add points from there.
If your seating arrangement has rows of odd-numbered seats, always include the center seat for each row, assuming this complies with the other Guidelines. This will help strengthen Image Clarity while contributing to frequency response performance.
When focusing on Image Clarity, the center of the 8-point PLP pattern should be equidistant from the Left and Right front main speakers. If your seating arrangement does not have a center PLP seat, place that mic pattern where it would go if a seat were located there. Even better, if the chairs can be easily moved, temporarily change the PLP row arrangement so there is a chair at that position for the analysis, then reset the seats afterward.
Several LPs along a sofa, or several chairs of identical design side-by-side - assuming they are away from walls and away from the center of the room (length- & width-wise) - are likely to have very similar frequency response characteristics. While this normally defines precisely the kinds of LP measurement points to include in the AMEQ analysis, you can also sometimes allow one such point to represent the sofa or the row of chairs and free up measurement points for other LPs.
Do not try to make Audyssey MultEQ do too much. This is the last time I will say it. Maybe. If your listening room or home theater has a lot of variation of sound tonalities - frequency response - across the listening positions, either fix the room - treat the acoustics - or limit the LPs to areas of minimum tonal variation, do not try to make AMEQ eliminate that variation. It will fail and you will not be happy with the results. Instead, let AMEQ do what it does well: feed it input for LPs of similar tonality and it will make them all sound better - flatter frequency response - together. This might make outlier seats sound worse, but such is life in the real world of acoustics and audio systems.
If the results after AMEQ seem weak in the bass, or too "hot" at high frequencies, do not be afraid to use your AVR's tone or other available frequency response tuning controls to boost or cut the sound to your liking. If you do this, Always deactivate those settings any time you run the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence, then turn them back on later. AMEQ might do this automatically for you and it might not, depending on the AVR. If it is not deactivated when you run Setup, AMEQ will try to compensate for those settings and must use part of its corrective power doing so, then you will have to boost or cut even more and... well, you will end up with a mess. Just shut them off when you run AMEQ Setup. The exception to this rule is for advanced users who use notch-type parametric EQ to tame a particularly offensive frequency-response peak before running AMEQ to make its job easier. In that case, the EQ should be left active through the AMEQ analysis. Of course, this requires advanced equipment and know-how beyond the scope of this article.
Turn off all other audio processing when you are evaluting the results of the Room Tuning Process. They can mask and make it difficult to hear what AMEQ has accomplished. When you are happy with what AMEQ has accomplished, then you can turn them back on. You might find you do not need to.
Always point the AMEQ Setup Mic straight up toward the ceiling.
Subwoofer crossover frequency should be set to maximum (high) setting, phase should be set to zero. Unless your experiments have convinced you that you will get a better result with a different phase setting.
6 - Good and Bad Setup Mic Patterns - Priorities and Tradeoffs
This section contains technical detail on Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic placement patterns and how well they perform. It is intended to illustrate the kinds of choices to be made in the Room EQ process and the tradeoffs involved. This is background information. The Setup Mic Placement Guidelines contain all the information you need to get great results.
What is a good Audyssey MultEQ mic pattern? The following tests were run to find out and to act as illustrations. Some of them worked well, some of them poorly. Each is graded and explanations are given as to why it succeeds or fails.
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Uh-oh, you clicked the button. Now you have to read all this stuff. Grab a drink, sit back, and relax. This is going to take awhile.
How these tests and assessments were completed:
The Audyssey MultEQ process was run for the mic pattern shown. All measurements shown were with AMEQ XT. Some of the measurement curves would have come out flatter with the extra filter resolution of XT32 - it would have given flatter average values, but would not have reduced the acoustically-fixed differences between measurement locations.
Frequency Response plots were measured at the center of head position for each Listening Position or seat in the seating configuration. FR was measured for the front-left and front-right speakers for each chair or LP, so there are 2 FR curves for each LP.
A listening test was conducted that included all of the LPs for frequency response and Image Clarity.
The FR curves were put together on a group plot as shown. Each group plot was graded Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor, based on the listening test and on the flatness and minimum variance of the curves making up the plot. Here one might be tempted to look at the average of those curves as a measure of success. The problem in doing so is that the average frequency response curve probably does not actually exist anywhere in the room. It does not represent what any individual listener will be exposed to. The group plot shown shows clearly the variations among the LPs, a more meaningful indication of sound quality for a HT or LR.
Image Clarity was graded Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor based on the listening test. Image diameter was pinpoint, 1 to 3 inches, 3 to 6 inches, 6 to 12 inches, or greater than 12 inches in diameter, respectively.
FR group plot showing poor overall sound quality for a Home Theater.
FR group plot showing good overall sound quality for a Home Theater.
Without special measurement equipment, you will not be able to see plots like this. They are included here to show that the recommended approaches really do work.
The common approach is to distribute Setup Mic measurement points among all possible LPs with the hope they will all somehow be made to sound better by the Audyssey MultEQ correction process. Where all LPs have a similar tonality, or similar FR curves, this approach can be successful in making them all sound pretty good, not necessarily better or more even at all LPs, but <i>statistically</i> flatter and more even overall, with most of the worst case frequency points tamed for most LPs. In a room with similar tonality across the LPs, the result will usually be heard as an improvement, although it is possible for one or two LPs to sound slightly worse.
Where there are one or more outlier LPs that sound drastically different from the rest, you can get improvement for those "boomy bass" (or dull, or sizzling hot treble or whatever) outlier seats through the AMEQ process, but the other seats, remaining true to their acoustically-determined relationships, will always suffer. Remember the difference that weighting makes: one outlier will make little difference, three makes a big difference. Two groups of four seats with drastically different tonalities in the averaging only guarantees that none will sound good.
A Few Words About Home Theater Audio and Image Clarity:
Image Clarity, or imaging, is the ability of an audio system to deliver sounds that appear between a pair of speakers with the same pinpoint clarity of location that you would expect of a sound coming from one speaker alone.
So a voice or footsteps or the rattle of a noisy moving toy in Toy Story 3 (released on BluRay with an excellent 7.1 mix), played on a 7.1 system tuned for Image Clarity, will be localized with pinpoint clarity at the front-left speaker and will remain that way as it moves through the scene toward the center speaker. With no attention given to Image Clarity tuning, that same sound on the same system evolves from a pinpoint at the front-left speaker to a 3-foot blob in between and back to a pinpoint at the center speaker.
Image Clarity is not normally given high priority in Home Theater audio, but it is easily attainable. When we get to the Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic Placement Guidelines, we will discuss it in detail as an available audio performance option, how to experience it, and what the tradeoffs are in giving it priority. Actual results will be limited by your room and your speakers.
There are several reasons why Image Clarity gets ignored.
All those speakers. Any Home Theater system is 5.1 at a minimum, many are 7.1, and more ambitious systems are moving toward 9.1 and up. With Dolby Atmos systems boasting up to 64 audio channels, the future promises systems and mixes where every sound has an individual speaker to play from. Home theater owners are already thinking in these terms.
The expectation level is low. With no attention given to Image Clarity, it usually ends up fair to poor, even with powerful tools like Audyssey MultEQ. This is not a shortcoming of the AMEQ technology, it is entirely a function of the information it is given to work with through mic placement choices.
Many HT users have not experienced it and have little appreciation for how it can advance the Home Theater audio experience.
Reasons to consider giving Image Clarity higher priority:
We are a long way from having a speaker for every sound source or direction. Every 7.1 DVD or BlyRay mix contains a wealth of sounds coming from between the speakers. It will be that way for many years.
It can dramatically enhance the HT audio experience.
It can be easily attained with most systems with minimal sacrifice in other performance areas.
That is the last I will mention it.
Wide Room Configuration for Home Theater or Music - Wide 1
Case 1 - Mic Pattern: Wide1A
This is a minimalist mic pattern to see the bare minimum of input needed for AMEQ to do a good job. It works quite well for the PLP and nearby seats.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Very Good
Some versions of AMEQ only allow 3 points to be taken. If chosen carefully, the results can be very effective.
Three Listening Positions along a sofa are likely to be very consistent in tonal quality, or frequency response, as long as the sofa is away from walls and speakers and is centered on the speakers. The same should apply to identical chairs in a row.
Image Clarity is good at all three LPs, a solid point about 2 inches in diameter, although the image position shifts somewhat with LP. This shifting of image position is normal for off-center seats. The image position still comes from between the two source speakers, but is shifted toward the speaker the LP is closer to.
The 6-inch width of the pattern reflects the 6-inch width considered to be standard for the average human head.
Case 2 - Mic Pattern: Wide1B
I was curious how the Image Clarity would be affected by increasing the width of this simple pattern, and was surprised how much it suffered even from that small change.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Good
Image Clarity is noticeably softer, about 4 to 5 inches in diameter, still good at all three LPs.
Other qualities - same as Case 1
Case 3 - Mic Pattern: Wide1C
This pattern is missing the PLPC point. A point in the center of the pattern turns out to be absolutely necessary for decent Image Clarity. Even this tight grouping around the PLP head position does not allow Audyssey MultEQ to properly focus on the time and phase relationships between channels.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Fair
Image Clarity is very soft, close to a foot in diameter.
Other qualities - same as Case 1
Case 4 - Mic Pattern: Wide1D
Here we have followed the commonly-seen advice to move the AMEQ Setup Mic location one foot above the back of the sofa, in this case also one foot above the PLP. The measured plots taken later for our viewing are from back down at actual LP head height, where listening takes place. The difference in height makes a big difference for frequency response. The resulting FR dip sounds boxy with its big low-midrange dip, and variance is worse through the frequency spectrum.
The lesson: the AMEQ Setup Mic location should ALWAYS be where a listener's ears could end up. Any other location, even a mere foot away, can feed Audyssey MultEQ information that is meaningless in achieving good sound, and could lead the analysis seriously astray. That said, listeners might sit slightly forward or slump down, and are not all the same height when seated, so incorporating real LP position variations is important. Left/right position changes make little difference along a sofa, are more important in an armchair.
Experiments show that when you get close to surfaces, even 3 inches can make a big difference at mid and high frequencies. Sounds rough, but these are the realities of room acoustics. Pick those measurement points with care.
Frequency Response - Fair, Image Clarity - Very Good
Always use actual LP locations for AMEQ Setup Mic positions. Give AMEQ meaningful data to work with.
Case 5 - Mic Pattern: Wide1E
This pattern is also grouped around the PLPC location, but all are 6 inches away from it. Seems logical. The result is still solid for FR, abysmally bad for Image Clarity. In a stereo listening test, the image of a centered vocalist completely spread out, filling the entire area between the speakers.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Poor
Image Clarity is nonexistent, the worst I have heard it, even though two of the measurement points are centered left-to-right relative to the speakers. That essential PLPC point is sorely missed with this pattern.
Case 6 - Mic Pattern: Wide1F
The sofa is removed during AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence and returned for the measured plots shown.`The original three-point pattern from Case 1 is used again. Removing furniture removes disturbances during the analysys, but they will all return when the furniture is back in place. While still good, the FR peak at 1 KHz is slightly worse at all seats than Case 1 with the sofa in place throughout. I never saw significant overall improvement in results from removing furniture for the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence, and it may have made results slightly worse.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Very Good
Removing furniture during the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence does not seem to help, and may give results that are slightly worse.
Case 7 - Mic Pattern: Wide1G
This pattern shows that Audyssey MultEQ's effect on bass frequencies increases with the number of analysis points. FR performance is the as good as I ever saw for a multiple LP configuration. But the effectiveness in getting IC results is dissipated, giving poor results - a 2-foot, different-for-every-note undulating blob - although not as bad as Case 5. The benefits of balancing FR and IC priorities is becoming evident.
Frequency Response - Very Good, Image Clarity - Poor
Using more AMEQ analysis points gives more aggressive bass correction.
More center-oriented points are needed for IC performance as the size of the pattern increases.
Case 8 - Mic Pattern: Wide1H
This pattern accomplishes a lot. All priorities are well balanced, FR performance is unmatched, and IC performance is stellar - a vocalist between speakers is localized with pinpoint precision and clarity.
Frequency Response - Very Good, Image Clarity - Excellent
Four points on the left-right-dividing vertical plane, including one at PLP center, provide strong cues for AMEQ to provide top-notch Image Clarity.
Three of those four also provide information in the up-down and forward directions for LP position variation for the sofa.
Left and right ear positions contribute more to strong IC.
Left and right seats are also represented.
Priorities are nicely balanced: six analysis points contribute to Image Clarity, five points represent left-right variations along the sofa, three points contribute to up-down and front-back variations (this could be five points if the left and right LP points were varied slightly) up or forward relative to other Setup Mic locations), the PLP is represented by six points, and all eight AMEQ analysis points represent all three seats, due to the natural consistency of tonality along the length of the sofa.
AMEQ bass correction is maximized.
Wide Room Configuration for Home Theater - Wide 2
Case 9 - Mic Pattern: Wide2A
The wider seating arrangement presents challenges for good speaker coverage. FR variations will be greater at the outer seats. This configuration uses an earlier mic pattern but adds the outer seats to performance analysis. As previously discussed, Audyssey MultEQ can do nothing to change the relationships between SPL levels around the room at a given frequency, it can only minimize overall variance, and when the wide variations of outlier LPs are included, AMEQ will usually end up making some seats sound worse while trying to make others sound better.
Frequency Response - Fair, Image Clarity - Excellent
FR variations are much greater at LPs well away from the primary seating area.
Resulting FR range and variance values are greater.
Giving higher AMEQ analysis priority to end chairs (more Setup Mic positions) would cause the sound at the sofa LPs to suffer.
Time to consider which seats to include in any performance evaluaiton or listening tests.
Case 10 - Mic Pattern: Wide2B
The natural inclination to include the end chairs in the AMEQ analysis brings little improvement to those positions and increases the range of variations through the critical mid frequencies. Giving higher analysis priority to the end chair LPs (more analysis points) would cause the sound along the sofa to suffer even more.
Frequency Response - Fair, Image Clarity - Excellent
Including the two end chairs in the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence increases overall range and variance amounts.
Time to consider which seats to include in any performance evaluation or listening tests.
Case 11 - Mic Pattern: Wide2C
This configuration ends up the same as Case #8. The end chairs are ignored as outliers in the Audyssey MultEQ analysis and in the performance tests and measurements.
Frequency Response - Very Good, Image Clarity - Excellent
Ignoring the outlier seats optimizes performance at the central LPs.
Long Room Configuration for Home Theater - Long 1
Case 12 - Mic Pattern: Long1A
The longer room with more rows of seats is typical of serious Home Theater installations. Often the room has been completely refurbished with HT in mind, including acoustical treatments. In this test case, the same room as before was used, only with the audio system and furniture oriented for the long HT layout as shown.
For the first configuration there are three rows of seats with the sofa as the middle row, well back from the center line of the room. Expected trouble points: the rear chairs are too close to the back wall and the front chairs too close the the front speakers. The Setup Mic pattern should give good results for the sofa seats, but will make no corrections to help the sound at the front or rear chairs.
Frequency Response - Poor, Image Clarity - Excellent
FR is well controlled along the sofa.
Image Clarity gets high priority in the analysis.
Wide variations in frequency response at chair positions relative to the sofa. Front chairs are too close to the front speakers, rear chairs are too close to the back wall.
Case 13 - Mic Pattern: Long1B
This test is expected to not perform very well. There is to much acoustical variation from row to row. Including all of the LPs in the analysis will make the performance along the sofa LPs worse while benefitting the chair LPs very little.
Frequency Response - Poor, Image Clarity - Fair
Frequency Response performance suffers at the sofa LPs. Compare the "L1B - sofa only" group plot to those for Case 8 (Wide1A) and Case 11 (Wide2C).
FR performance remains rough at the front and rear chair positions.
Image Clarity receives less emphasis, is worse.
Case 14 - Mic Pattern: Long1C
The front chairs are changed to smaller, semi-portable chairs and reduced in priority, not included in the AMEQ analysis or in the performance measurements. Their sound performance was very uneven anyway.
The sofa and rear chairs can move forward (still keeping tbe sofa LPs behind the center line of the room). The rear chair FR performance should improve away from the back wall, where the bass was terribly boomy.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Excellent
Frequency response performance among the five remaining seats is much improved.
Image Clarity is given emphasis.
FR performance along the sofa LPs is well controlled even with only the center LP in the analysis, due to the natural FR consistency at those LPs.
Case 15 - Stereo Near Field
Stereo near field setup, speakers 36 inches from the PLP, which is a high-backed chair. Two runs were completed, one with the chair in place for AMEQ analysis, and the other with the chair removed for AMED analysis. Measurements were made for left and right speakers at 3 inches and 6 inches from the chair back relative to the point where the back of the listener's head contacts the chair.
Frequency Response - Good, Image Clarity - Excellent
Removing the chair for AMEQ analysis made frequency response performance slightly flatter.
center of head line (back-to-front) - critical: 3 points
center of head line (ear-to-ear) - critical: 3 points
center of head and each ear represented
center of head plane (divides left and right): 4 points
up/down variation: 3 planes
forward/back variation - critical: 4 planes
left/right variation: 5 planes
Mic pattern, relative to the point where the back of the listener's head contacts the chair:
7 - The Room EQ Process and Recommended Mic Patterns
The Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence (part of the Room EQ Process below)
Here is how the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence runs on most AVRs. This is the MultEQ XT version. The wording or order might differ a little, but this will be typical of a recent model AVR. If you mess up the sequence, just unplug the Setup Mic, wait a few seconds, plug it back in, and start over.
Note: Before running Audyssey MultEQ, be sure the subwoofer's controls are set with the crossover frequency at its highest value and the phase setting at zero degrees (unless your experiments have convinced you that you will get a better result with a different phase setting). Your AVR's volume setting does not matter, AMEQ will set its own volume level.
Plug in the Audyssey MultEQ Setup Mic.
Speakers Type (Front): Normal or BiAMP - use the L & R arrow buttons on the AVR remote to navigate - select Normal and press the Enter button (BiAMP setup is not covered in this Guide).
Place the Setup Mic at the first measurement location.
SW Level: nn dB - the subwoofer will now play a pink noise signal. Adjust the subwoofer volume control until the readout on the AVR says 75 dB, then press Enter
Quick Start - do not run it. Arrow down to MultEQ or MultEQ XT or MultEQ XT32, depending on which you have, and press Enter. Quick Start is for setting up speaker distances and crossover points for use by another Listening Mode application. Its work will all be redone anyway when you run the full AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence.
Set Mic at 1st - with the Setup Mic at the first measurement location (details in the Room EQ Process below) and press Enter; AMEQ will start to play test sweeps. It will try to play sweeps through every possible speaker output, to detect what speakers you have in use. The subwoofer will always be the last one played.
Set Mic at 2nd - do so and press Enter; AMEQ will play sweeps through the speakers it now knows you have hooked up to your AVR.
Set Mic at 3rd - do so and press Enter: more sweeps.
[Enter]: Next - at this point you could arrow down to Finish and use only 3 measurement points, but we will press Enter and go to...
Set Mic at 4th - do so and press Enter; more sweeps.
...Enter, set 5th, Enter.
...Enter, set 6th, Enter.
...Enter, set 7th, Enter.
...Enter, set 8th, Enter.
Calculating... - just wait...
SP Config - press Enter to save your measurements. You can arrow down to Cancel if you need to.
Audyssey: Movie or Music or Off. The settings have been saved, but at this point you can arrow L or R to select the Movie or Music target curve setting or have AMEQ set Off. Always leave it on Movie or Music so you can evaluate the results of the sequence run.
Then arrow down to Dynamic EQ, arrow R to set if Off so you can evaluate the new AMEQ settings without any other processing taking place. You can turn it back on later.
Then arrow down to Dynamic Volume, arrow R to set it Off.
Press Enter when you are done.
Unplug the Setup Mic.
The Room EQ Process (includes the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence above)
Trust your ears. This process assumes no special measurement and analysis equipment. Reduce your variables. Make sure each step gives good results before moving on.
For Audyssey MultEQ XT or XT32 in a home theater or larger music listening room, proceed with the Room EQ Process as follows.
2EO Setup Mic Pattern - for Audyssey MultEQ 2EO Systems (3 measurement points). Use at the PLP for all situations including near-field monitoring.
All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches left
3 inches right
Near-Field Monitoring Setup Mic Patterns. All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches left
3 inches right
1 inch forward
1 inch forward & 3 inches down
2 inches forward & 6 inches left & 3 inches up
2 inches forward & 6 inches right & 3 inches up
3 inches forward
The forward dimensions can optionally be expanded forward from PLPC by multiplying x 1.5 (PLPC, 1.5, 3, 4.5)
8-Point Basic Setup Mic Pattern - MultEQ XT32, MultEQ XT, MultEQ (6 pts). Use for step 2 of this Process. All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches forward
3 inches up
3 inches up & 3 inches forward
3 inches left
3 inches right
6 inches left
6 inches right
For Near-Field Monitor situations, use the appropriate pattern below. For AVRs with Audyssey MultEQ 2EO, there is only one recommended pattern, concentrated at the PLP.
Run the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence (above) with the Base Setup Mic Pattern (6 or 8 point version). This will show you the best possible sound you can get with AMEQ at your primary listening position.
Give it a good listen at the PLP with your chosen test tracks. It should sound very good, if not amazing. Frequency response should be very flat, very even and natural. Image Clarity should be pinpoint accurate. Audyssey MultEQ should easily give you great results at this point. If not, there is a problem. Double check your work and try it again. Remember to check the AVR speaker setup distance settings. If the Image Clarity seems out of whack, one of those settings is usually to blame.
Take time to get this step sounding really good before proceeding. If you do not, you are pretty much guaranteed unsatisfactory results in later steps.
Remember that a flattened frequency response might not sound as good as a "hyped" frequency response at first listen. If it seems less dramatic, let it sink in for a bit. Many listeners find a flatter FR to sound boring at first, but with time it ends up sounding more natural and truthful, allowing the sound or music to speak for itself.
If you are not getting good results, consider the following:
Be sure you have determined the Setup Mic position accurately. Its first position is center of head for the PLP. Measure carefully. I use a laser distance meter to accomplish this. A buddy with a tape measure will do fine. Remember the typical head is 6 in wide ear to ear. The distance from ear to back of head is about 3 in, and from ear center to top of head about 6 in. Verify AVR speaker setup distance numbers are accurate and match for L, C, & R speakers. Re-check speaker setup. If the sub frequencies sound wrong, your subwoofer settings or positioning could be to blame.
If you simply cannot get good results here, your room acoustics might be to blame, and proceeding with the next steps will probably not help much. Post your situation in the Home Theater Shack Home Audio Acoustics Forum for suggestions if you think this might be the case.
Listen at your other Listening PositionS. For each one, how does it sound relative to your PLP? About the same? Minor differences are to be expected. "It seems a little different, but I can't quite tell [/i]what[/i] that difference is." These LPs can be considered for inclusion in the AMEQ analysis.
Some seats might sound very different, boomy or dull or different in a way that really stands out. Plan on leaving them out of the analysis.
Exclude the LP from the upcoming AMEQ analysis Setup Mic pattern if it:
has a sound different enough from the PLP that really stands out (previous step)
is closer than 2 feet to a wall
is closer than 2 feet to the center point of the room (length- & width-wise)
is closer to the front speakers than 2/3 the distance from the PLP to the speakers
is well away from the main grouping of seats around the PLP
in a room that is not well treated acoustically, is more than one row of seats away from the PLP row
Having heard your system at its best at the PLP, decide how you want to prioritize your sound:
Best Image Clarity and good frequency response coverage (Setup Mic patterns 101 and 102)
Fair-to-good Image Clarity and more emphasis on frequency response coverage (Setup Mic patterns 103 and 104)
All emphasis on frequency response coverage (Setup Mic patterns 105 and 106)
Choose one of the Recommended Setup Mic Patterns below, or design your own using the Guidelines above.
Run the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence using that mic pattern.
Listen again using your test tracks. All of the LPs that you chose as Setup Mic analysis points should sound very good, as should other LPs in the "good zone" (not including the outlier LPs) that might not have been included in the Setup Mic pattern. The outlier LPs might sound better and they might sound worse.
If your "good zone" LPs do not all sound good to you, run the same pattern a second time with care to make sure you did everything right. If you still do not get expected results, you probably need to reduce the range of LPs included in your Setup Mic pattern. Go back to step 7 and pick a simpler or tighter pattern or simply remove the most probable trouble-causing measurement points from the pattern you used before - including instead points more toward the center of the pattern. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking you need to add more widely-spaced measurement points to get better results.
If you desire to make changes to your AVR's Speaker Setup values, this would be the time to do so.
SPEAKER SIZES: After the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence is finished, the Speaker Size settings have generally been set at Large or Full Band by AMEQ and your AVR. This means that no low-frequency content from you front, center, or surround channels will be directed to your subwoofer channel with home theater sound. (It may be redirected with stereo or multichannel music material, depending on the AVR.) Your subwoofer will always be receiving whatever signal is in the LFE track of the movie or recording you are playing. The material on that track will go only to the sub, nowhere else. If you wish to have your subwoofer(s) do the "heavy lifting," handling all the low-frequency content from the other channels as is often recommended, then you must change Speaker Size to Small for all the speakers in your system from which you want to have LF sound re-directed to the subwoofer. Now your subwoofer channel will be playing a combination of whatever is on the recording's LFE track plus whatever content is below the Crossover Frequency point set for the various speakers in your system (see the following items). As previously mentioned, with stereo or multichannel music the rules are not as clearly defined as with cinema sound, so with some AVRs, sound below the Crossover Frequency might be directed to your subwoofer even with Speaker Size set to Large or Full Range with music sources.
Always adjust the Crossover Frequencies in left/right-symmetrical pairs or sets for identical speaker types.
The crossover value should not be adjusted downward because AMEQ's equalization extends only the the value it determined as the -3 dB rolloff point for each speaker. That -3 dB point is normally where you find the Crossover Frequency set after the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence finishes.
The crossover value can be adjusted upward. If you go above 80 Hz, sounds start to become directional and you might hear the shift in direction between the speaker and the subwoofer where a sound is near that crossover frequency. Some say that directionality starts at even lower frequencies (60 to 80 Hz) if the subwoofer is beside and close to the LP.
It is OK to have different Crossover Frequency settings for different sized speakers. For instance, the Left and Right main speakers might be set at 60 Hz, a somewhat smaller Center speaker at 80 Hz and small satellite speakers at 120 Hz. But remember the previous point about directionality of sounds above 80 Hz.
An option if you have small satellite/surround speakers, say with a 150 Hz LF rolloff point, is to leave them set for Full Band or Large. Then no content below 150 Hz will be sent to the subwoofer from that channel and "questionable directionality" sounds will be avoided - usually with minimal impact. The amount of lower-frequency content normally mixed to surround channels is small anyway, and a missing LF portion of a sound is ganerally less destracting than that sound coming from the wrong direction.
Note that with the low-pass filter setting for the LFE channel set to its normal 120 Hz (see below), your subwoofer will not be playing sounds above 120 Hz anyway, so there can be a frequency gap between 120 Hz and the Crossover Frequency for the smaller speakers. Do not try to adjust the Crossover Frequencies for those speakers downward to close the gap. You are stuck with it.
Also note that the high-paas and low-pass filters we are talking about are nowhere near infinitely sharp, so there are some sounds beyond the cutoff frequencies that will be getting through.
When you make a Crossover Frequency change, listen for changes in the sound of your system. Your AVR's technology is designed to handle this shift gracefully and without significant change in the overall sound at those frequencies. But if AMEQ had any trouble equalizing the subwoofer or the low-frequency range of larger front speakers, they might not mesh the same at all settings, and this shift could cause a change in your low-frequency response. If you hear a change, you will have to decide which setting you like best. Of course, if you have a calibrated measurement mic and Room EQ Wizard, this would be the time to make measurements and determine the settings for the flattest response.
SUBWOOFER LOW-PASS FILTER FREQUENCY (the knob on your subwoofer): Always leave your subwoorer's low-pass filter setting set at its highest value.
LFE CHANNEL LOW-PASS FILTER FREQUENCY: Normaly leave the low-pass filter for the LFE channel set at its maximum, almost always 120 Hz. Optionally, with small surround speakers you can use this control as another way to help eliminate "questionable direction" sounds by moving it down to 80 Hz, but remember that you will be losing LFE content in that range by doing so. Another tradeoff here will be some loss of content between 80 Hz and the surround speaker's LF rolloff point, usually very little for most movie and music mixes, but you might want to experiment with some favorite movies to be sure. Again, a missing LF portion of a sound is usually seen as less destracting than that sound coming from the wrong direction.
A GOOD COMBINATION: Assuming larger surrounds, set all speaker Crossover Frequencies to 80 Hz, all Speaker Sizes to Small, and leave the rest alone.
SPEAKER LEVELS: A value can be changed if you find the need, but if the level seems off by more than 1 or 2 dB, there is probably something wrong in the way the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence was completed, and it should be done over.
SPEAKER DISTANCES: Since small changes in these values can have a major effect on frequency response at crossover frequencies and on relative phase response between channels affecting Soundstage and Image Clarity, it is not recommended that these values be changed. If there is a Speaker Distance setting problem, re-run the AMEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence paying special attention to the symmetry of your Setup Mic Pattern.
SUBWOOFER DISTANCE: The possible exception to the guideline just stated is the subwoofer distance. If a certain distance setting has been found to give the smoothest low-frequency response and crossover transition, that distance setting can be set now. It generally takes careful measurements with a calibrated M-Mic to know if this is the case.
When you are happy with your results, be sure to carefully document your final Setup Mic pattern and mic position measurements, speaker positions and angles, and furniture locations, all measured down to the inch, because you will need that information if you want to reproduce that sound in the future. If you own the Pro Installer Kit or have an AVR that allows saving AMEQ settings via its advanced network setup capabilities, this would be a good time to back up those settings.
Enjoy your system!
Recommended Setup Mic Patterns
101, 101B, 102 - Best Image Clarity and good frequency response coverage. All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches forward
3 inches up
3 up & 3 forward
3 inches left
3 inches right
plus points for 2 other LPs (except 6-point MultEQ)
For 101B, first four points are relative to the high seat back "wings," the rest are relative to the seat back
103, 104 - Fair-to-good Image Clarity and more emphasis on frequency response coverage. All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches forward
3 inches up
3 up & 3 forward
plus points for 4 other LPs (2 for 6-point MultEQ)
105, 106 - All emphasis on frequency response coverage. All dimensions are relative to PLP Center (PLPC):
3 inches forward
plus points for 6 other LPs (4 for 6-point MultEQ)
Getting Help With Audyssey MultEQ:
If you find you need help running Audyssey MultEQ, come to the Audio Processing Forum at Home Theater Shack, register as a forum member, and post your question. There are experienced users who will be glad to assist you.
Getting Help With Subwoofer Performance:
Taming the low frequencies in a listening room is often a challenge even for seasoned professionals. Audyssey MultEQ's powerful algorithms gave variable results in my tests, sometimes excellent, usually with at least one major null - even after I had carefully located the subwoofer to work well with the main speakers.
Other than following basic guidelines for subwoofer placement, there is little one can do without getting into detailed room measurements with a calibrated microphone and software analysis tools. If you decide to get serious about your bass response, go to the Room EQ Wizard Forum and the SPL Meters, Mics, Calibration, Sound Cards Forum for guidance on how to get started. Once you have registered as a HTS member you can post your questions and get loads of helpful friendly advice. And you can download the top-rated Room EQ Wizard analysis and EQ tool for free!
Getting Help With Room Acoustics:
If your room acoustics are getting you down and you are not sure how to attack them, check out the Home Audio Acoustics Forum and post your questions for expert advice.
The topic Some of your recommendations are different from what I have seen on other web sites. Why is that, and why should I trust your recommendations over others? under "General FAQ" has been expanded.
Links have been added to representative products under "Accessories You Will Need."
Corrections have been made to the topic Is it true that it can be difficult to get the subwoofer bass levels right with Audyssey MultEQ? This topic has been moved to the "Getting Results" subsection and combined with the previous topic The low frequencies from my subwoofer seem uneven... The new topic is: Is it true that it can be difficult to get the subwoofer bass levels right with Audyssey MultEQ, and get the low-frequency response sounding even?
Corrections have been made to the topic Can I change the speaker setup values after the Audyssey MultEQ Analysis and Setup Sequence has been run? under "Getting Results," concerning the appropriateness of making those changes. Details are in Section 7.