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Author Topic: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?  (Read 4702 times)

rphilbeck

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Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« on: November 10, 2006, 10:30:00 am »

I was just reading up on these JBL monitors that apparently calibrate themselves to your specific room to compensate for inadequacies in bass freq. control.  I think the concept is very interesting.

Any users, or thoughts?  How realistic is this claim?  Do you suppose we'll be seeing bass traps in the museum real soon?  

http://www.jblpro.com/lsr/

-Robert
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Teddy G.

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2006, 12:25:40 pm »

This is one of those "cans of worms", one hates to open(Unless fishing, of course.).


Does it "work"? Yes.

Does it "WORK"! No.

Similar methods have been used for years, but always as a compromise to try to make-up for "poor" room qualities(ALL rooms have SOME poor qualities), and only recently, with the advent of "teeny-tiny-computer technology" actually built-into the speakers.((Would you get off the keyboard cat! And QUIT BITING MY FINGERS! OOOUUUCCCHHH!!!))

Still best to build a good room and do only minimal "tweaking" of the rest of the system -- preferably v-e-r-y knowledgeable "tweaking" by educated tweakers.


The JBL's will not make your "sow's ear room" into a "silk purse room", no matter how many flashing lights - sorry...


TG
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2006, 01:38:21 pm »

RPhilbeck wrote on Fri, 10 November 2006 10:30

How realistic is this claim? Do you suppose we'll be seeing bass traps in the museum real soon?


I agree with Teddy, but I'll go even farther and claim bullshit. Below is an excerpt from my Acoustics FAQ that explains the many limitations of trying to use EQ to counter room acoustics problems.

--Ethan

Quote:

Another common misconception is that equalization can be used to counter the effects of acoustic problems. But since every location in the room responds differently, no single EQ curve can give a flat response everywhere. Over a physical span of just a few inches the frequency response can vary significantly. Even if you aim to correct the response only where you sit, there's a bigger problem: It's impossible to counter very large cancellations. If acoustic interference causes a 25 dB dip at 60 Hz, adding that much boost with an equalizer to compensate will reduce the available volume (headroom) by the same amount. Such an extreme boost will increase low frequency distortion in the loudspeakers too. And at other room locations where 60 Hz is already too loud, applying EQ boost will make the problem much worse. Even if EQ could successfully raise a null, the large high-Q boost needed will create electrical ringing at that frequency. Likewise, EQ cut to reduce a peak will not reduce the peak's acoustic ringing. EQ cannot always help at higher frequencies either. If a room has ringing tones that continue after the sound source stops, EQ might make the ringing a little softer but it will still be present. However, equalization can help a little to tame low frequency peaks (only) caused by natural room resonance, as opposed to peaks and nulls due to acoustic interference, if used in moderation.

franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2006, 12:32:59 am »

JBL and Genelec as well as some other are into the active correction in monitor systems. It's an eq with an analyser, typically all in DSP and of course, there is some merit to all of this... Will it "Fix" any room problems?? Of course not..

Is it useful at low frequencies where they provide the eq?? That is the question.. I will be setting up a couple of studios with the new Genelec systems soon. I will report on results.
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wwittman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2006, 08:48:25 pm »

Not to criticise you acoustic boffins who OBVIOUSLY know more than i do about this, but still...

MOST of the world's great control rooms had (and have) EQ on the monitors.

In particular, in a small home studio where the mixer really MAY sit in only one relatively fixed position, monitor EQ CAN help a lot.

but mostly, in my expereince, EQ is the trade off you make at the end, AFTER you've done some reaosnable acoustic treatment,
in other words, it may be much more expensive to try to fix the last few remaining problems than to try a LITTLE EQ to help sort them out.

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William Wittman
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Yannick Willox

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2006, 01:21:24 am »

I don't think we're talking about a little EQ here.

BTW, what would that digital EQ do if the room needs +12 dB at 43 Hz and -7 at say 35 Hz ? Would they EQ the inital soundwave as well ?
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2006, 02:02:33 pm »

William,

> Not to criticise you acoustic boffins who OBVIOUSLY know more than i do about this <

Shocked Surprised Twisted Evil Very Happy

But seriously folks...

> MOST of the world's great control rooms had (and have) EQ on the monitors. <

I thought control room EQ went out of fashion about 20 years ago. Either way, there's a huge difference between using EQ in a 35 by 45 foot professional control room and trying to do the same in the bedroom size home studios JBL is targetting those speakers to. EQ in a large room can be useful to compensate for a lack of monitor flatness. But not so much for room issues. And not at all in a small room.

> In particular, in a small home studio where the mixer really MAY sit in only one relatively fixed position, monitor EQ CAN help a lot. <

Ay, there's the rub. The response can vary at low frequencies just a few inches away. So it's not even possible to EQ the "sweet spot" flat for both ears at the same time. And No, I'm not kidding! I'll be glad to post some graphs as proof if you'd like to see them. Just as important, as I explained above, EQ does nothing for modal ringing, and that's just as damaging as the peaks and nulls. Indeed, nulls are usually the worst problem, and EQ can't help that either.

Not to be argumentative or anything! Very Happy

--Ethan

Teddy G.

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2006, 06:08:18 pm »

One place where EQ "helps" is in live situations in "unknown" venues.

The touring group can't do a thing about how their gear sounds in "this or that" hall, so, they do the best they can, they EQ out the worst stuff until they can turn "what's left" up loud. Doesn't have to sound good(And, generally, it doesn't.), just loud. I guess this is a "help"?

A good recording space should not be an "unknown" venue, nor does it have to be(Most venues shouldn't either, but that's another story - BETTER DESIGN/MORE BASS TRAPS!). Spend your EQ money on room treatmment(Can you even get a decent pair of Whites, anymore, anyhow..?).

TG
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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2006, 10:38:58 pm »

we've drifted off topic a little, but as we're discussing Room EQ for monitors systems I'll stick in my 2 cents..

1. It can be helpful to flatten and smooth "to taste" overall monitor response..

2. It can be helpful when used as Cuts or notches for smoothing Low Freq response in the mix position.

3. New DSP controllers in multi-way systems can help calibrate time alignment at crossover points, based in listening distance, etc...

It Can't:

4. Get you back that 16dB hole at 60Hz!!
5. Make your old high distortion monitors sound better at high levels.
6. Compensate for some monitors apparent varying response at different levels, which most likely (in larger monitors) is based on distortion levels rising dramatically above certain SPL levels...
7. Fix a BAD ROOM!!
8. Replace the functionality of proper bass trapping
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mike chafee

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2006, 09:54:26 am »

franman wrote on Fri, 17 November 2006 22:38

we've drifted off topic a little, but as we're discussing Room EQ for monitors systems I'll stick in my 2 cents..

1. It can be helpful to flatten and smooth "to taste" overall monitor response..

2. It can be helpful when used as Cuts or notches for smoothing Low Freq response in the mix position.

3. New DSP controllers in multi-way systems can help calibrate time alignment at crossover points, based in listening distance, etc...

It Can't:

4. Get you back that 16dB hole at 60Hz!!
5. Make your old high distortion monitors sound better at high levels.
6. Compensate for some monitors apparent varying response at different levels, which most likely (in larger monitors) is based on distortion levels rising dramatically above certain SPL levels...
7. Fix a BAD ROOM!!
8. Replace the functionality of proper bass trapping



Dead on.

There is no substitute for practical experience, and here are my observations after setting up several Genelec dsp systems.

Optimization of room acoustics, listening position, speaker configuration and positioning is paramount.

The ability to modify the amount of the program's correction is critical.

An engineer who has adapted to his space can object to too much bass correction, and the Genelec program lets you alter the correction to taste.

Tonality can also be addressed by applying unused notch and shelving filters to give the engineer his preference. Crossover frequencies can be selected in 5HZ increments. The difference in bass integration can be staggering.

A variable high pass filter at 20hZ can be engaged, and further cleans up bass in small rooms which become pressure zones below the lowest modal frequency.

This process can take a long time, but if you know what you are doing the results can be exceptional.

Mike Chafee
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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2006, 03:30:45 pm »

Thanks for the in field observations Mike... As I said we'll be putting a couple of systems in new rooms in coming months... I'm looking forward to playing with the system..
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maikol

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2006, 12:31:34 pm »

Hi to everybody,

Yeah as a lot of people said, those DSPs won't correct the big problems of a room.

I went with the acoustic treatments first, trying to build everything myself based on what i found on the web, and this way it is pretty cheap (just a high amount of time...which is something quite expensive i realized later!).


But, my lack of full knowledge with room acoustics ended with a pretty usable room, but with a few remaining problems (the most problematic being a 3-4 dB boost around 85Hz).

As i had already too much delay in the building process, i decided to first try to work with the room as it was, playing with monitor placement.


But i could not find a way.


So i tried a unit from Tact Audio, which is aimed at the audiophile market. It was one of the first all digital  preamp to include "room correction" features.

I was hoping just to remove theses few problems with it, but when i heard the result after having set up the correction (that was a bit cumbersome due to their far-from-perfect set-up software), i quite fell of my chair!

This thing also aligns the speakers in the time domain (the correction being more of a FFT impulse and some small delays, not just a parametric/graphic EQ).

The stereo image/depth was also way more stable, and of course, the low end problem had disappeared.


Another thing that i found very useful is the fact that you can set several presets, ans just recall them with the remote controller. That way i did a correction for the sofa behind the mixing position, which while not giving a result as good as what i got at the console, is much much better than without the correction.


But i doubt that would be usable if i'd done no treatments before...
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wwittman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2006, 11:13:11 pm »

franman wrote on Fri, 17 November 2006 22:38

5. Make your old high distortion monitors sound better at high levels.
6. Compensate for some monitors apparent varying response at different levels, which most likely (in larger monitors) is based on distortion levels rising dramatically above certain SPL levels...



so out of curiosity... what big, loud monitors DO you recommend or spec in your designs?


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William Wittman
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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2006, 11:30:53 pm »

Walt,

Why the Griffin G1 In-wall studio monitors of course... follow links in my sig file.. These are the only monitors we really like (has something to do with the fact that we build them and listen to them all the time I think!)) Twisted Evil  Very Happy  Laughing  Cool
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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2006, 11:31:56 pm »

wwittman wrote on Mon, 04 December 2006 23:13

franman wrote on Fri, 17 November 2006 22:38

5. Make your old high distortion monitors sound better at high levels.
6. Compensate for some monitors apparent varying response at different levels, which most likely (in larger monitors) is based on distortion levels rising dramatically above certain SPL levels...



so out of curiosity... what big, loud monitors DO you recommend or spec in your designs?





wanna arrange a demo??
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wwittman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2006, 08:14:15 pm »

well, I'm not building a studio anytime soon!

but I'd love to hear them..

are they happy working in the 100-110 range?

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William Wittman
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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2006, 12:08:57 am »

Our three way systems are happy in those ranges... I have a G1.5 (15") and a G1 system (18") in the office.... we can also head out to Barber Shop  for a morning sometime.. Let me know if you're serious... we can arrange something pretty easy...
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Consul

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2006, 11:42:28 am »

That looks like a pair of Seas Excel drivers in those Griffins. Wink

As for me, I can't hope to afford really hot monitoring, so I'm stuck either getting something used but decent, or trying to design my own system. I've been exploring the second option lately. If you want to know what I have in mind, I'll see if I can outline it.

Part of my problem is the small room size I'm stuck with.
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Darren Landrum

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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2006, 08:24:41 pm »

Yep.. we love the Seas Excel driver. Great sounding component... as far as power handling, however, it is the weak link in all of our systems.... Woofers and tweeters will provide higher SPL than the two Excels but that the price for using the "best" drivers we can find sometimes...
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Consul

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2006, 12:07:13 pm »

I'm taking a serious look at the 7" Excels in my own monitoring situation. I'm thinking MTM in a sealed box with a Qtc around .8 or so. At least, that's what I got out of Vance Dickason's book concerning what I want. I still need to investigate. It's going to be a big box. I haven't selected a tweeter yet.

I'm also seriously considering building a computer just to act as a DSP-based crossover system. It would make the system very flexible, and as an IT guy, it's within my comfort zone.  Wink  I have a small room, which I plan to treat quite liberally, so I intend to avoid all of that "digital room correction" stuff that comes along with computer-based crossovers.

Sorry for hijacking the thread.  Embarassed
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Darren Landrum

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franman

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2006, 07:58:53 pm »

it's all good Darren.. start a new thread for us when you get your project underway.. okay?... using the PC for a crossover is a great idea... Lars does it with Sound Easy for a lot of our development and experiments in the office...
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Consul

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Re: Monitors That Calibrate Themselves to your Room?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2006, 08:34:35 pm »

Thanks! I might even start that thread in the next few days, depending on where I end up by then. I know I won't be able to start building until the spring, but I'm determined to have a plan drawn out by then.
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Darren Landrum

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