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Discussion Starter #1
Why Equalize?

Introduction

You have spent a lot of money for your home theater system and have purchased excellent components. You have had them installed in your home theater room, yet you feel you don't have the sound quality that you expected. Why? In all likelihood the problem is the room itself. Like fingerprints, each room is different. No two rooms are alike and each has it’s own characteristics.

There are reflections caused by sound bouncing off of walls, ceilings, and floors. There are doors and windows, which act as reflectors, and furniture that will absorb and reflect sound. All of these effects color the sound. A good example of room problems is the feedback effect that we have all experienced in a listening hall when the microphone was being set up. You heard the whistling of the room resonating before the microphone was turned down. The same effect occurs in your listening room.

What you want to do is to listen to the movies and have them sound to you the way the maker of the movie intended. The following paragraphs give you some of the highlights showing what can be done to improve your listening experience.


The problem is the room.

There are many things that effect sound in any room including: The hardness of the walls, the angle of the sound when it strikes the walls, the pitch, the distance from the loudspeaker, the location of the listener, and the interaction of all of these sound waves. In addition to reflections, there are pitch selective absorbers like drapes, carpets and furniture, which also have their effect on what is heard.

Many of these can be improved to some degree by treating the walls, ceilings, floors etc. In some cases this is difficult or impossible; and in every case, it's not enough. Wall reflections can be improved somewhat by hanging absorbers and dispersers. Floor reflections by carpets; and ceilings by hanging acoustic absorbers. Adding drapes can also help control reflections off of windows.

All of these treatments can be used to improve sound quality, but may not allow decorating the room to your taste. Doing this treatment properly is an expensive process requiring knowledgeable people using expensive test equipment, and still won't really be right, just better.


How can the room be fixed?

Fortunately, in addition to the architectural treatments outlined above, there are also electronic systems that can offer very improved audio performance to fix many if not all of these room problems. These electronic systems are called equalizers. Equalizers have been used for professional applications for over 50 years. All high quality movie installations use equalizers to fix problems associated with the theater acoustics. Almost all professional sound installations use equalizers to fix acoustic problems. In the same manner as professional systems, equalizers can be used to make significant improvements in the performance of your home theater by installing suitable equipment. The word suitable is important because there are several types of equalizers manufactured, which operate differently.


Equalization what is it?

Equalization is the process of changing the strength of the sound in bands (slices) of audio frequencies so they are equal; thus the name. There are two fundamental types of equalizers Graphic and Parametric. Graphic equalizers break up the sound into a number of fixed bands. Depending on the system this can be as few as two or three or as many as 30 or more. Parametric equalizers have variable frequency bands, normally one, two or three, and try to correct for the worst offenders within the frequency range. Both systems have their place in audio systems depending on the problem being addressed. In general parametric equalizers cost less than graphic. This is because they need less hardware but are also much more limited in the amount of correction they can perform. Graphic equalizers, though more expensive, have much more capability to correct for numerous issues.


Why you want Neptune Audio's neptuneEQ

The neptuneEQ™ provides the best sound quality available because it is designed specifically for the high-end home theater, using the best components money can buy. It is the only equalizer on the market that does automatic room correction for an entire 7.1 channel home theater installation in a single unit, using state of the art digital signal processing, with no external computer.

The neptuneEQ™ does room equalization using a thirty band graphic equalizer system. It corrects the entire frequency range by splitting it into thirty 1/3-octave bands per channel, plus twenty more for the subwoofer channel for a total of 230 bands! Then correcting for audio imbalances between these bands.


Powerful yet simple.

The neptuneEQ™ system has built in functions to perform fully automatic room equalization. The processor in the unit generates a series of test signals that are then directed to each of the loudspeakers one at a time. A calibrated microphone (provided with each neptuneEQ™) conveys the reflected sound back to the processor, which then compensates for the room's acoustic effects by adjusting each of the 30 EQ bands, making the room response uniform. And you can do all this with the simple press of a button (well, OK, maybe a little more than simply pressing a button).

In addition to the automatic EQ function there are manual controls available to modify the sound for individual preferences.
To perform the same functions with competing products, you would have to connect specialized test and measurement equipment along with hours from a skilled technician to set up these units. It is costly and still wouldn't give you the quality that can be provided with the neptuneEQ™.
 

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One might ask the same about the antimode :whistling:
Hehe, well sure - but I don't own an AV receiver with audyssey (I have a Pioneer), thus I need antimode - which is slightly cheaper than neptune. :)

I wasn't trying to be cheeky, I was just curious. I was under the impression that the audyssey-enabled AV receivers had quite advanced EQs nowadays. 512 band EQ + additional EQ for the low end or something like that? I was just wondering what neptune does better and why. :)

I guess the obvious difference is that you may actually manually adjust neptune?.., which you can't with audessey (partly why I went with pioneer) or antimode.
 

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Well I dont know enough about the Neptune device to answer your question. In respect of Audyssey, it uses twice the resolution for the sub channel as is does for the speakers and while you cant alter what Audyssey does, you can still tweak the sub channel in the same way you can on your Pioneer to apply house curves etc :T.

Hopefully someone will help you with the Neptune device shortly.

Cheers
 

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Well I dont know enough about the Neptune device to answer your question. In respect of Audyssey, it uses twice the resolution for the sub channel as is does for the speakers and while you cant alter what Audyssey does, you can still tweak the sub channel in the same way you can on your Pioneer to apply house curves etc :T.

Hopefully someone will help you with the Neptune device shortly.

Cheers
I browsed a bit around on audyssey.com but couldn't find any information on manually adjusting the EQ (or whatever) for the subwoofer channel to adjust the tonal curve. Do you happen to have any reference to where I could read about that?
 

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I browsed a bit around on audyssey.com but couldn't find any information on manually adjusting the EQ (or whatever) for the subwoofer channel to adjust the tonal curve. Do you happen to have any reference to where I could read about that?
Not possible except with the AudysseyPro kit/software.
 

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Elite Shackster
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I browsed a bit around on audyssey.com but couldn't find any information on manually adjusting the EQ (or whatever) for the subwoofer channel to adjust the tonal curve. Do you happen to have any reference to where I could read about that?
You cant alter what Audyssey does (which I did say), but after it has done its room tuning, and based on what I can do on my Onkyo 875, I can still increase or decrease the sub trim level, tweak the crossover and adjust the bass tone of the subwoofer for increased or decreased bass. There is still a fair bit I can adjust once Audyssey is complete to give the effect of adding house curves etc.

I feel we are falling off topic a little bit though. Perhaps better to open a thread or get involved with Kals debate.

Cheers
 

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You cant alter what Audyssey does (which I did say), but after it has done its room tuning, and based on what I can do on my Onkyo 875, I can still increase or decrease the sub trim level, tweak the crossover and adjust the bass tone of the subwoofer for increased or decreased bass. There is still a fair bit I can adjust once Audyssey is complete to give the effect of adding house curves etc.

I feel we are falling off topic a little bit though. Perhaps better to open a thread or get involved with Kals debate.

Cheers
Yeah, okay. But you can't actually adjust the EQ for the subwoofer channel. But I can see that the options you have available may enable you to adjust the system to a housecurveish curve depending on your system and response I guess.

So, to end the audyssey discussion on a positive note for Neptune (which this thread was really about), I conclude that you have far more manual capabilities on the Neptune system than you have on a regular AVReceiver with Audyssey or similar. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for asking, Hybris.

To answer your question (kind of), we created the neptuneEQ to be a user friendly "anyone can do it" room correction unit with complete manual control. I'm a bit of a control freak, so manual control is important to me. I would never want to put something in my system that said "trust me, I know what I'm doing". From the outset, the goal with the neptuneEQ was to provide a single unit that is powerful enough to take the reins and perform all of the automatic adjustments necessary for a great sounding system that anyone who can program a VCR timer (sorry about the obsolete reference, but it's what sticks in my mind) can use, but flexible enough for a pro (or a more technical user) to manually fiddle with to his hearts content, all the while using the best quality components money can buy.

Getting back to your question, I don't deny that the Audyssey which is built into a receiver is powerful and can do much of what the neptuneEQ can do. Our unit was designed to go with high end separates and perform the tasks it was designed for, thus allowing people who have great gear to keep it and greatly improve their sound. Many people would rather not go out and replace their high end separates with a receiver. Also, the neptuneEQ actually adds the necessary delays, level alterations as well as the equalizations and crossover, rather than simply specifying them (that is compared to Audyssey's stand-alone unit, rather than a built-in receiver unit).

We feel our neptuneEQ can create the best room correction money can buy at this time, but of course we might be slightly biased. Be that as it may, it's certainly the most user friendly, flexible, and least obtrusive room correction device that can be added into a very high end system, so that's what we bring to the table.

Did I mention it ships complete? Mics and all?

Ken
 

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Thank you for your answer.

The manual control bit certainly is very compelling, and I also get the fact that audio purists wouldn't want to put an AV receiver into their signal chain. :)
Audiophiles in general pay far too little attention to room acoustics and the option of correcting it both physically and with EQ.
 

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Thank you for your answer.

The manual control bit certainly is very compelling, and I also get the fact that audio purists wouldn't want to put an AV receiver into their signal chain. :)
Audiophiles in general pay far too little attention to room acoustics and the option of correcting it both physically and with EQ.
Let's take a step back. While it is true that audiophiles, in general, pay too little attention to room acoustics and that most would not want an AVR in their signal chain, use of the NeptuneEQ, fine as it is in all ways, means the insertion of an additional cycle of A/D and D/A in the signal chain. I doubt if "audio purists" would welcome this compared, say, to a high-end preamp/processor with room EQ built into its DSP.

There are many ways to do these things. The hard part is to find the best way for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for your answer.

The manual control bit certainly is very compelling, and I also get the fact that audio purists wouldn't want to put an AV receiver into their signal chain. :)
Audiophiles in general pay far too little attention to room acoustics and the option of correcting it both physically and with EQ.
I totally agree. One of the things that sticks with me when talking to several audiophiles in an earlier life (as an installer) was how they wouldn't go digital, use any equalization (including bass boost), or use a subwoofer. Times have changed, and most seem willing to at least incorporate subs into their systems as well as go digital. Adding EQ is still a taboo to many I have spoken with, but room treatment isn't.

Personally, I like digital. The specs usually speak for themselves, but to my ears (and knowing what I know about it), the response, distortion and noise levels are all so much better than analog, I would never go back; but I respect other people's opinions. While I remember hearing CDs of LPs I used to own and thought the LPs sounded better (the bass sounded better), I knew the reason was that digital was more accurate, especially after running response curves using test discs and records. It took me time to "train" my ears that the difference I was hearing was lower distortion and flatter response. Now, LPs sound very distorted to my ears (especially toward the end of a side)

So, I opine that it's just a matter of time before more people accept automatic room correction as a necessity. I believe it, as well as acoustic treatment, vastly improve sound quality; and just as digital has all but taken over, word of mouth and people experiencing other people's corrected rooms will spread the word. Just think how much better sound systems are now compared to that of even the 70s. These days, a noise level of -90db is almost considered bad!

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Let's take a step back. While it is true that audiophiles, in general, pay too little attention to room acoustics and that most would not want an AVR in their signal chain, use of the NeptuneEQ, fine as it is in all ways, means the insertion of an additional cycle of A/D and D/A in the signal chain. I doubt if "audio purists" would welcome this compared, say, to a high-end preamp/processor with room EQ built into its DSP.

There are many ways to do these things. The hard part is to find the best way for you.
I agree and respect your thoughts on this Kal, but I must mention that the extra A/D and D/A are extremely subtle, and differences in different manufacturer's algorithms are much less so.

While keeping a signal digital throughout the process is desirable, unfortunately the ability to do so using certain chosen high end processors and amplifiers isn't practical at this time. Therefore the choice is either buy a receiver or pre-pro which contains the desired room correction product (if it exists), or suffer the (what I believe) negligible effects of the extra A/D-D/A. Surely you would concede that being able to choose a pre-pro by it's other merits is better than having to limit oneself to what's available with a certain room correction unit?

As you say, there are many ways of achieving the ends desired. Everybody has their value systems. We knew the extra conversions would bother some, and some people simply will never be swayed (one conversion with a S/N ratio of -110db and distortion of 0.002% is ok, two is unacceptable), we made sure we have great specs, so those extra conversions are not audible. IMO, the difference in sound between the neptuneEQ and the competition is far greater than the extra conversions (and by that, of course I believe ours sounds better :sn:).

Ken
 

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Ah, never really considered where in the chain this thing was supposed to be, I assumed it had digital inputs (and possibly outputs), but I understand now that it is supposed to be put into the chain after the preamlifier (which of course makes sense assuming you have several sources).

I guess the next logical step would be that the preamps (or high end receivers) had digital pre out, and the neptuneEQ and similar products had a digital input as well. That way you could do with only one DA-conversion.

I guess the benefits of the improved frequency response far outweighs the potential loss in audio quality from the extra conversion, but I see that this would scare away some of the purists.
 

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I agree and respect your thoughts on this Kal, but I must mention that the extra A/D and D/A are extremely subtle, and differences in different manufacturer's algorithms are much less so.
I do agree with you. My point was that posing the "audiophile" or "purist" argument is like wielding a double-pointed spear; it can be used in both directions.
 
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