Room correction software

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I have moved my gear into a dedicated room in my new house, got some bass-traps in the corners and some foam panels where reflections hit the walls. It is OK, but not a vast improvement on previous untreated rooms I have had my gear in (although to be fair, I wasn't expecting miracles).

 The room is pretty small and having more professional room treatment to effectively handle low end problem frequencies is not really an option from a cost or space perspective (some build up around 65-70hz when a C-C# is played). I have been looking at room correction software and wanted to ask if anyone had used either this:

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/arc2/

Or something similar. The IK product seems to have good reviews, just wanted to see if there was any real-world experience of this or similar products.

Thanks!

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Comments

  • domforrdomforr Frets: 163
    Hi, I've used the ARC2 correction software in my untreated room, so I have some experience of using it for recording and mixing. My take on it is that it does offer some improvement and certainly removed some of the low end muffle which is a good thing. Having said that, I think that you need to have a realistic idea of what it can and can't do. It can offer improvements to the sound in untreated room, but it won't transform it into a professional recording facility. If you use it with this in mind I think it's a useful tool. Think of it as 10-15% improvement on your listening environment.

    After I'd finished recording a full album I then sent it off to a mastering engineer to get some feedback. He said the mixes were pretty good considering, but that there was quite a lot of muddiness around 200khz. I think the ARC 2 probably improved what I was hearing but it obviously didn't create a completely flat/transparent listening environment, which is why I would imagine there was a bit of overcompensation on my part in that area when mixing. 
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    It can only alter the EQ, not the physical properties of the room.  In theory this will still help a bit but decay time will still be a factor for frequencies.

    If you have a build up at 65-70hz my guess is it's likely the decay time at that frequency is also longer.  When there's enough discrepancy it makes it hard to make judgements, as some frequencies are actually lasting longer in your room.  Room treatment can help with this, but with a small room it's always some kind of compromise.  Also if your walls are made from brick that makes it even harder to get the low end control, as brick will reflect low frequencies.

    You can test your setup with Room EQ Wizard, which is free software but requires you to have an appropriate mic.  https://www.roomeqwizard.com/

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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 19
    Thanks for the comments guys, I'm aware that this wouldn't be a magic bullet; the stuff about decay time is interesting, I didn't know that this was a factor. I'll have to read up what it is and how it comes into play with what I am hearing. The walls aren't brick as it is a new build, so I guess I have that going for me... I'll look into that roomeqwizard and how much a mic will cost. 

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  • colourofsoundcolourofsound Frets: 300
    I've played with Sonarworks room correction software before and I feel like its a bit of a fad. A room is not really correctable by software; you'll be moving when you mix, you'll bring things in and out of the room, and this all effects how the room is going to sound.

    Also, i can't see how applying EQ to 'fix' the room doesn't just cause extra problems as a result. If the room correction software does any boosts, then those could cause issues.

    All of the testimonials they have from Sound on Sound and professional studio engineers will be from experiences of using the software in rooms already very well treated. I think that correction software can probably illeviate very minor problems and be used to get a room to a sweet spot; but thats all.

    The only application of correction software I would trust is to do with headphones; headphones are a reliable and repeatable environment and I've enjoyed Sonarworks headphone correction software previously.

    In summary, there's no substitution for treating your room as best you can and then learning its flaws. Reviewing your mixes on different playback systems in different rooms, in combination with mixing at low volumes, is your best bet.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2658
    @Domforr I think you meant 200 Hz rather than 200 KHz. Even bats might not hear 200 KHz...
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • domforrdomforr Frets: 163
    I write music for bats :). Yes, thanks for correcting.
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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 19
    I was wondering how effective the products are in real life, to be fair, the things I am hearing are nothing I haven't worked around before in the past. I may as well take the funds I had earmarked for this and buy a new mic for vocals!

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  • domforrdomforr Frets: 163
    Your call. As I said I did find it helpful within reason and as long as expectations were realistic. 

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17882
    edited March 19
    I use Sonarworks.
    You need to use a decent and flat mic to ring out the room but otherwise it works brilliantly, even in my quite well acoustically treated room I was able to deal with a room mode at around 100hz.
    You have to remember to disengage it when you come to do your final bounce.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    edited March 19
    @octatonic ;;

    Are you finding you run the correction fully on, or do you run a lower mix level?  And are you using that all the time or just periodically?

    I have the headphone plugin and find that anything over about half sounds like a completely different pair of headphones. 

    I haven't tried the full version yet, but I'm a bit concerned that it'll be pumping additional low end on my monitors though I guess at lower listening levels that isn't really a big deal.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17882
    @octatonic ;;

    Are you finding you run the correction fully on, or do you run a lower mix level?  And are you using that all the time or just periodically?

    I have the headphone plugin and find that anything over about half sounds like a completely different pair of headphones. 

    I haven't tried the full version yet, but I'm a bit concerned that it'll be pumping additional low end on my monitors though I guess at lower listening levels that isn't really a big deal.
    I have it on whenever I am tracking and mixing.
    I don't mix that loud or use headphones though- this is through my Dynaudio monitors in 2:1.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    Thanks.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for the next time it goes on sale and demo it.  
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    Hah, and as of today it’s on sale! How’s that for timing.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17882
    Hah, and as of today it’s on sale! How’s that for timing.
    Nice.

    Check out Audio Deluxe for deals too.
    They are usually a bit cheaper than going direct: https://www.audiodeluxe.com/search/site/sonarworks
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    octatonic said:
    Hah, and as of today it’s on sale! How’s that for timing.
    Nice.

    Check out Audio Deluxe for deals too.
    They are usually a bit cheaper than going direct: https://www.audiodeluxe.com/search/site/sonarworks
    Cheers yeah it was an Audio Deluxe email I got with the sale notification.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    So some thoughts on this.

    TLDR - Buy the proper mic.  I started off using a Dayton EMM-6 which I already owned, but I wasn't convinced the high end was correct.

    So at the weekend I got the Sonarworks XREF20 mic.  It's pretty much the same thing but the crucial difference is it comes with two calibration files, one for 0 degrees, and one for 30 degrees - which is the one Sonarworks is expecting.

    There was a noticeable difference in the highs, both in terms of the graph but more crucially to my ear... with the Dayton mic it was suggesting a correction curve that was a bit bright for my liking.  There is a tilt function, but ideally you want to start from the most accurate point to begin with and using the Sonarworks mic yields a more pleasing high end.  I couldn't really hear any difference in the low end between the profiles generated by the two different mics.

    Overall I'm really impressed with the difference it makes.  My room is pretty well treated with fairly even decay over the frequency response of my speakers, but as with many home rooms the balance in the low end isn't as good as it could be.  The improvement from Sonarworks is quite obvious and to my ear an improvement.

    I'd definitely recommend spending on acoustic treatment first, getting your room as good as you can and your decay times under control... but once you've done as much as you feasibly can in your room then Sonarworks is totally worth a look IMO. 
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17882

    I'd definitely recommend spending on acoustic treatment first, getting your room as good as you can and your decay times under control... but once you've done as much as you feasibly can in your room then Sonarworks is totally worth a look IMO. 
    I'm going to suggest something else.
    Start with Sonarworks, get a reading of your room without acoustic treatment and then you should have an idea of what problems exist in the room before you start experimenting with acoustic treatment.
    It might lead to different choices.

    In my case, once I had the Kii's in my new room I found I had a bigger issue at 100hz than I first thought.

    Moving the desk and speaker stands forward by 1m, towards the middle of the room, greatly improved things.
    I could then deploy acoustic treatment (mostly bass trapping and some diffusions products) as needed.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6901
    edited June 26
    Well that's pretty much what I did with Room EQ Wizard and the Dayton EMM-6 mic I got.  I used that to help me plan what treatment to put in.

    I would recommend buying the Sonarworks XREF20 mic because it comes with 0 degree and 30 degree calibration files, and costs about the same as the Dayton EMM-6 anyway.  When you come to use Sonarworks it is expecting the 30 degree file, but you can use it with other measurement software in the meantime if you don't start out with a license for it.

    I'd recommend doing your measurements with Room EQ Wizard over Sonarworks to begin with because Sonarworks won't tell you anything about decay time, and the graphs you get with Room EQ Wizard are more detailed and can be zoomed in on etc.  

    Room EQ Wizard is donationware, so it costs nothing to give it a try.  https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17882
    Well that's pretty much what I did with Room EQ Wizard and the Dayton EMM-6 mic I got.  I used that to help me plan what treatment to put in.

    I would recommend buying the Sonarworks XREF20 mic because it comes with 0 degree and 30 degree calibration files, and costs about the same as the Dayton EMM-6 anyway.  When you come to use Sonarworks it is expecting the 30 degree file, but you can use it with other measurement software in the meantime if you don't start out with a license for it.

    I'd recommend doing your measurements with Room EQ Wizard over Sonarworks to begin with because Sonarworks won't tell you anything about decay time, and the graphs you get with Room EQ Wizard are more detailed and can be zoomed in on etc.  

    Room EQ Wizard is donationware, so it costs nothing to give it a try.  https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
    Yup, I've been using Sonarworks for a while now.
    Like you I tried doing it without their own mic but it is much better with it.
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