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AudiocRavings, by Wayne Myers:
5 - Another Dirac Live Success Story

Distracted and Confused

Visiting Dennis Young - Tesseract - a few weeks ago, he was demonstrating his first Dirac Live calibration using his new Emotiva XSP-1 Gen 2 Differential Reference Preamp. I sat down and listened, switching back and forth a number of times between the Dirac Live setting and the two user-programmable settings, one of which was unmodified.

And I got confused. Blame it on lack of sleep. Blame it on the loads of always-interesting, always-distracting, always-fun conversation Dennis and I always have when we get together - I am embarrassed to admit the number of turns we have missed while traveling to audio shows together because my navigation efforts were distracted by great conversation. Blame it on... who knows why, I just got confused. I could not keep it straight in my head which was the Dirac Live setting.

So, a couple of weeks later, I went back for another listen. After a short listen and about three repeat explanations of which setting was which, I finally got it straight. And at that point, I also understood why I had been so confused.

The Dirac Live setting sounded so much better than the others that it was almost hard to believe that it could be making that much difference. The imaging went from broad to sharply defined. The soundstage became distinct and detailed, cohesive and lifelike. High-frequency (HF) response was lifted and extended, with no sacrifice in clarity. Dennis's listening room presents a number of acoustical challenges, which he has been valiantly taming for some time, with great success, I might add. The room, with his Vapor Audio Sundog (Black) speakers really sounds very good with the changes he has made.

An example of Dirac Live impulse correction.

Contrast and Clarity

Nothing points out an improvement like a good old A-B switching opportunity. As good as Dennis's room sounds, the Dirac Live setting made such an improvement, with no downside, that it took me some time and effort to adjust to the idea. With that A-B switching comparison to point out the contrast, and time for it all to sink into my brain, clarity finally returned. Indeed, the Dirac Live calibration had transformed the room's sound, and the result was knockout great, perhaps the best example I have heard yet of what Dirac Live can accomplish in a room.

Don't Look Back

The experience is a testament to the power of Dirac Live (DL) to improve a system's sound. Another testament to the power of DL is the number of long-time experts and adherents to that other AVR-based room correction package who have converted. One of them said he was completely sold after his first DL calibration, and has never looked back.

Customizable target curves make
tailoring freqency response a breeze.

In Perspective

Is DL the ultimate audio room cure-all? No. Remember the following:

It is true that:
  • Getting a successful DL calibration is, relatively speaking (compared to that other technology), so easy that you almost cannot get it wrong.
  • Every first DL calibration I have heard in a room has given excellent, downright impressive, results.
  • Dirac Live and superb soundstage and imaging (SS&I) results go hand in hand. Great SS&I are what DL was designed for.
  • With its customizable target curves, DL can easily suit any listener's personal taste.
  • In every room where I have heard it, there has also been significant attention to acoustical treatment. I will never say that room treatment is unimportant. I will also never say not to give DL a try under whatever your current conditions might be. Just remember that the two complement each other, both together are probably-always better than either alone.

On-screen directions guide the calibration process
every step of the way.

Being Spoiled Is Fun

I know I have become a bit of a broken record when it comes to Dirac Live. I make no apologies for it. It works. There is little to no downside or sacrifice in applying it. Except that it is spoiling its users for easy great sound. And except for loss of pride for long-time hand-tuners. Those of us who have hand-tuned and tuned and tuned our systems for the best sound without room correction have had to swallow our pride and admit that DL is better. And easier. We are starting to get lazy. Now instead of spending hours fine-tuning our systems, we run DL and sit back and listen and laugh and enjoy.

'Nuff Said

And when we walk into another's home theater and it doesn't quite sound right to us, our first question is: "Do you have Dirac Live? Doesn't sound like it." Which is the other DL downside. Being a little annoying about it. That part does deserve a small apology. Sorry. There, 'nuff said.

Welcome to AudiocRavings, my blog of audio-related thoughts, musings, ideas, discoveries, suggestions, rants, and ramblings. With luck, a portion will be somewhat useful to someone somewhere somehow.

Wayne Myers

Premium Member
5,822 Posts
I had the same positive reaction when I switched to Dirac. I was really questioning what i was hearing as it was not what I was used to after years of my Denon setups, or my previous rooms where I tuned with only acoustic panels by ear. It is like you stepped into another league of sound.
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