Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #11 of 94 Old 03-29-15, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

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All this work is for naught if you don't secure your head in a plumb level vice.
You've seen the vice I have installed at my listening chair. Doesn't hurt a bit!

Your point, of course, is that some people don't like that restriction. They can have all the flexibility they want, they just won't have as nice a soundstage & imaging. I think it's nice we get to choose.
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post #12 of 94 Old 03-29-15, 09:11 AM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

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Flavio, although we do not always see 100% eye-to-eye in these matters, I always look forward to hearing from you and discussing them with you in the forum. Thanks for your involvement.
I'm the one who has to thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain our point of view...

please understand that some readers may not read the graphs and evaluate the test conditions... they will only jump to the conclusions and because you tests are authoritative and independent those may unwillingly lead them to think that they would get the same results by using both "out of the box" products (while you correctly qualified your statements with "under the chosen conditions")

Only by reading your valuable test in detail they would realize that while it is possible to force Dirac Live to get results that are similar (but not equal) to Audyssey XT32 the opposite is not possible... and what you actually got out of the box from Dirac Live vs.Audyssey (and your measurements prove it) is a better frequency response because of the better target, a better impulse response because of the phase correction and a better bass response unless the subwoofers were additionally manually corrected by an expert like Sammy (and may be some REW measurements).

I know I'm biased but I think I had to outline the above, thanks for your understanding
Flavio

Warning: I may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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post #13 of 94 Old 03-29-15, 11:05 AM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

Wayne,
Great Review. Thanks for the effort!
I very much like the test conditions you chose. I find SPL response to be an overriding factor to the sound quality with a given speaker-room setup; changes are easily detected. Your methodology allowed you to test if there are other strong contributors due to the differences in the algorithms used.

The Dirac EQ provides a significant level of phase correction and thus the impulse and step response will look more ideal. Many indicate that phase correction very helpful, but I have not been able to tell any difference with program material. My hearing falls below normal standards however and I have no opinion on what others can hear. Your results were interesting to me.

[A bit off subject but, with a PC, Foobar and headphones it is relatively easy to ABX the impact of phase correction alone. It might be interesting to post a few excerpts of music with both a control version and one a with lots of phase rotation. We could poll to see how many people can reliably tell the difference using ABX testing. headphones have relatively low phase rotation as they are typically a single driver for the whole range so the control file is the low phase rotation and a rePhase filtered file can be created with any amount of additional phase rotation we choose. I can probably set up test samples if there is interest. Probably this has already been done somewhere, but I don't have a link.]

I agree that the SS&I is more a product of the speaker design and room setup. I find there are several important factors in speaker design and room setup that impact SS&I and the overall sound quality. These are factors that cannot be corrected with EQ.

EQ can adjust the SPL response to a target curve and in many cases improve the sound quality significantly. As both systems recommend, averages around the LP are important to help avoid over correction for local reflections. The Dirac system provides much more flexibility in choosing a target curve and appears to be significantly more capable of accurately achieving the target. The miniDSP DDRC-22D appears to finally provide the Dirac option at a more attractive price point.
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post #14 of 94 Old 03-29-15, 05:23 PM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

Thank You Wayne and Sonnie, the instructions and results are of tremendous value to us all. I am of the version that does not have a exceedingly perfect room, so no amount of laser pointing accuracy between both speakers and the LP will make all well. These products you mention really are of huge help to me and I cant wait to get a proper microphone and go at this myself. I have been living on the cheap of late and rely on the Audyssey in my Denon to make it all work. Never the less when I can afford the proper microphone for my computer, I will give more tests a go.

Good Listening

Jack

"For those who believe no proof is needed for those who don't believe no proof is possible"
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post #15 of 94 Old 03-30-15, 09:36 AM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

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Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

Introduction
Test Approach, Equipment, and Environment; Abbreviations
Difficult Decisions: What To Compare and How
The Setup Mic Pattern
The Setup Process
Fine Tuning and Results
Subwoofers and Bass Correction
Impulse Response
Conclusions
Okay, now I'm a Wayne-fan and I'd like to add myself to your list of admirers for this report. Your technical and listening prowess are impressive. And so are your keen writing skills. I'm not just talking about grammar, sentence structure, or punctuation--which are all there in spades. I'm talking about your organizational flow and clear communication of a technical topic for the novice and experienced enthusiast alike. Bravo!!

And consider the huge task with which you were faced--not unlike a System Engineer's project cycle:
  • Define project concept and scope
  • Gather relevant information
  • Specify requirements
  • Set up tests
  • Conduct tests
  • Detect and solve issues/problems
  • Repeat tests until issue-free
  • Peer-test results
  • Draw conclusions based on supporting evidence
  • Prepare report
  • Release

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Our troubles were largely the nature of the often unruly digital audio system beast, of working under pressure when tired, of some quirky bad fortune, all of which I am already laughing about. With experience, much of this would go more smoothly. That said, that beast sometimes just likes to bite! Note also that the final listening was done during afternoon hours after a break and a good nap when ears and brain were fresh.
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This is all reported to remind the potential user of the many ways that such an effort can be thrown off track, and the many ways that a user evaluation can have something go awry in the setup process, erroneously leading them to conclude that a product is unacceptable.
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At this point I have to confess that all the other evaluators were gone before we had a working comparison, and it was only Sonnie and me completing this work. I had really hoped to have those other fine sets of ears to help out with this comparison. But I am still confident in our results.
How can you not love this: Full disclosure of both personal and technical caveats!
And how about this: Extreme patience and perseverance in the face of technical debug!
And last but not least: Logical debug skill and sound (haha) scientific methodology!

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post #16 of 94 Old 03-30-15, 10:21 AM
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Nice Lou!
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post #17 of 94 Old 03-30-15, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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BlueRockinLou,

You are too kind. Thank you.
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post #18 of 94 Old 03-31-15, 09:47 AM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

You're welcome!
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post #19 of 94 Old 03-31-15, 09:59 AM
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

Thanks for your hard work on this, gentlemen. Very interesting that the results are basically indistinguishable to the ear, assuming a similar target curve. I guess this is a sign that both systems are capable equalizers, which isn't surprising given the years of R&D that went into both systems. I suppose it is surprising that the better time domain performance of Dirac did not seem to give any audible benefits in this particular situation.

The question in my mind now (which is clearly beyond the scope of your stated goals for this project) is whether there are significant differences when you do the calibration as recommended by each company. I think you've already established that doing so would compromise the primary goal of optimum SS&I. But which system, set up as recommended, takes away less from this primary goal. And it would be interesting to compare the two set up as recommended, and also set them both up as recommended by Audyssey, and then set them both up as recommended by Dirac (same mic positions). And of course, which system provides the better compromise in achieving good (not perfect) FR and subjective sound quality across multiple listening positions.

I love the idea of Dirac because of its flexibility in choosing how the system is EQ'd. That alone makes me gravitate toward it. I know that MultEQ Pro is supposed to be able to do the same thing, but I understand the curve editor in it is crude and difficult to use.

Starting to ramble here, and I'm sure all these ideas and questions have occurred to you as you pondered how best to do this comparison. I think you've done everything possible to eliminate variables and keep the playing field even. Bravo!
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post #20 of 94 Old 03-31-15, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audyssey XT32 vs. Dirac Live Listening Comparison

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...it would be interesting to compare the two set up as recommended, and also set them both up as recommended by Audyssey, and then set them both up as recommended by Dirac (same mic positions). And of course, which system provides the better compromise in achieving good (not perfect) FR and subjective sound quality across multiple listening positions.
I had hoped to address this, too, but there was just too much stuff to get into our few-hour-exercise. A matter for future consideration.
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