Thanks to Sonnie, I had the opportunity to order the Audyssey MultEQ Pro Calibration Kit. I was very reluctant to order it because I wasn't sure just exactly how valuable it would be as a tool. Part of my early frustration was that it seemed like there wasn't much information about it publicly available, even though it's available for purchase to end-users. Some dealers might give you a break, and some want/demand full MSRP.
I have an Onkyo PR-SC886P preamp w/an Emotiva UPA-7. Most of my speakers are currently Polk. I had read that there were problems with the early 1.1 firmware on the Onkyo 886, so thanks to some other forum members I was able to get it successfully upgraded before attempting to calibrate.
To use the kit, you have to register on the Audyssey Installer site (http://installer.audyssey.com
) with the serial number that's included with the kit. Audyssey actually includes the serial on the box the kit comes in, the mic, the preamp, and the CD. Strangely, my CD had a mismatched serial which was different from the serial that was shared by all the other components. I contacted Auddysey and the answer I received was that it was probably just mistake during kit assembly. It would have been more of a problem (as the CD contains the mic calibration), but Audyssey allows you to download mic calibration files for any serial number.
The kit actually contains a wealth of toys:
A nice zipper/handle bag to carry everything in
MultEQ Pro Application Setup CD and Setup Guide
Calibrated Preamplifier w/power adapter
Calibrated Microphone (APM-1)
Microphone Stand (A nice Samson adjustable boom stand)
Mini-XLR to RCA Adapter
Mini-XLR to XLR-Female
Mini-XLR to XLR-Male
Three Mini-XLR Cables (I believe 25')
USB to RS232 Serial Cable
10 ft. USB Cable
The next post has pictures of the kit.
I'll offer my brief thoughts:
1. Zipper bag: Cool, adds a touch of professionalism for installers
2. Calibrated preamp: Simple enough Preamp. Has an external power supply, two mini-XLR connectors and a power LED. I actually like the simplicity, because there are no knobs or anything to screw up.
3. Calibrated microphone: Small but seems well built. It's metal with a mini-XLR connector. Audyssey includes an calibration file, but unfortunately it's in a proprietary encrypted format that can only be used with the Audyssey software. Cross Spectrum Labs can calibrate it, if desired, if you want to use it for other programs.
4. Microphone stand: Nice Samson boom mic. Adjustable, seems solid.
5. The included adapters: The miniXLR-RCA is used to connect the preamp out on my 886. The other ones (I believe) are used with other AVRs and Audyssey standalone products. I like the mini-XLR to XLR-Female because that allows me to use the same cabling and preamp with my calibrated EMM-6 for other purposes.
6. Mini-XLR cables: Nice that there are 3. 1 for Mic, 1 for preamp-AVR, and 1 extra for whatever.
7. USB to RS232 cable: It works. Requires the supplied drivers on the CD, wish it was longer. I had to use a RS-232 extension cable that I had kicking around because the USB->RS232 cable is relatively short.
8. Gooseneck adapter: There is a flexible gooseneck to hold the mic. My one gripe is that I wish it was stiffer. It felt like any time I bumped anything the adapter would flex.
I have some pictures of the bag/gear which I'll upload later.
Prior to calibration, you need to purchase a license (via the site) that's model specific. You then create a key (for that license) that's specific to the device. You can always generate new keys for later calibrations, but license is always tied to that single device. After the license is purchased (but prior to creating key) you can change the license type to another model.
Basic run through:
1. Mount the mic on the stand
2. Run a mini-XLR cable from the mic to the preamp
3. Connect the preamp to the AVR. In my case, I wanted to know ahead of time how to cable it. On the Onkyo PR-SC886P you connect the pre-amp out to the LEFT input of AUX 1 on the back of the 886. My minor gripe is that the 886 has a *front* Aux2 input, so not sure why it must be plugged into the back.
4. Connect RS-232 port on 886 via the serial->USB adapter to laptop
5. Install, Launch the Multi-EQ Pro software
6. Select the brand of the device
7. Enter key from website
8. Enter customer info, etc.
9. Start measurements. I believe that you can take up to 16, if I remember correctly. After each position, it takes 3-4 minutes to transfer from the AVR to the laptop. You CAN however, save each position, and later load it which I thought was very cool.
Transferring responses from the 886 to the laptop (From measurement)
Measuring Position 3
Measuring Position 4 (Note: You can continue after barebones 3 measurements)
Calculating filters/crossovers after all measurements are complete
Detection Results w/crossovers and distance
Target Sound Options (Picking a curve)
Target Curve Designer (You can assign a different curve to every single channel!, I thought it was cool)
Target Curve Editor (Note the limit of 3db on the filters, unfortunately)
Writing the filters from the laptop to the 886:
I went through 3 measurements last night, and that's about as far as I got - so no real comments as far as improved performance.
I have to say though, that if you're looking for a step up from the cheapie mic that's included, I think that this kit is excellent! The software is pretty much idiot proof, it's easy to cable it, and it's mostly just a matter of investing the time to do measurements to make it work. Any cons that I see with the kit are really relatively trivial.
Part of why I wanted to play with it was because you can select a target curve and then tweak it. I wish that you could edit more than -/+ 3db, but I understand since the purpose of Audyssey is to get it closer to flat, rather than color the response.
Questions and comments are welcome!