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Dirac Releases "Dirac Live" Room Correction Suite

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Dirac Live Releases New Room Correction Suite

Dirac Live Releases New Room Correction Suite

Summary

  • Product Name: Dirac Live Room Correction System
  • Manufacturer: Dirac
  • Review Date: December 26, 2012 06:10
  • MSRP: $849
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

If you use a computer as the main source in your home theater or stereo system, then listen up. Dirac has released a new room correction system called “Dirac Live” and it’s aimed at everyone seeking the best performance possible out of a computer.

Dirac Live is a feature rich room correction system that is supposed to help you achieve the best sound possible by measuring and accounting for frequency response and impulse response issues. Unlike most room correction systems that use an outboard piece of gear, so every source in your system has room correction applied, Dirac Live only works when using your computer as a source.  

"The Dirac Live Room Correction Suite has been tailored to the growing number of consumers who are using their computer as an audio source... We have leveraged the processing power of the home computer, enabling each user to optimize their listening experience based on their existing speakers and environment. Our goal has been to offer a better sound quality upgrade than any other HiFi component can provide at the same price."

- Dr. Mathias Johanzzon, CEO at Dirac.

The software works on both PC and Mac, and is split into two distinct pieces, a live calibration tool and an audio processor. The calibration tool guides you through microphone placement and measurement steps, and then the audio processor handles all of the, well, processing. The software suite supports multiple measurement positions in order to weed out any single-position anomalies and focus on consistent acoustic issues found across multiple measurement locations.  It also supports up to 8 channel of audio and up to 24 bit resolution at 96Khz sampling rate, so you are fine to use it for Blu-ray playback. One of the big reasons Dirac is so proud of this system is that not only does it help achieve a flat frequency response, but also corrects time domain issues.  Ensuring that the sound from each speaker hits both of your ears at the same time and decays quickly (but not too fast) is critical to proper stereo imaging and overall clarity. This system uses a look-ahead buffer to modify each track to make sure each individual frequency arrives at your ear at the same time. Overall, this is a pretty cool system, but there is only so much an active solution can do so this isn't a substitute for passive room treatments.

We are sure that Dirac Live will be a great addition to some studios and home theaters, but the market penetration is likely to be pretty small. The system itself sounds neat, but much of the correction it offers can be done in a receiver or with an outboard processor of some sort. And for $849 plus the cost of a microphone, the price is pretty steep for a casual listener. We think this product will be most applicable in recording studios, but for the hardcore HTPC user it might also be a great option instead of buying outboard equipment.

For more information visit Dirac Research.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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Recent Forum Posts:

mbryd37 posts on September 24, 2013 21:53
I'd love to hear their sound bars.



Bevan posts on September 24, 2013 17:13
wgscott, post: 987313
I'm currently playing with a trial version of Dirac and Fuzzmeasure3.

Hi WG, I'm curious if you're finding Dirac offers something worth the price over Fabfilter?

Cheers
B
wgscott posts on September 08, 2013 15:00
There is now a version for stereo for about $500.

My main gripe, apart from the cost ($500 is still a lot for me) is you can't use the output to make an AU plugin. I'd prefer that to their obligatory convolver.

I'm currently playing with a trial version of Dirac and Fuzzmeasure3.

I used this in the Makefile to compile drc on OS X. Now I need to try to figure out how to use it:

# Compiler
CC=clang


# Standard optimization settings
# Tested also on Mac OS X
CFLAGS=-O3 -msse -I.
DavidW posts on December 31, 2012 16:36
For the more adventurous and cost conscious …

For those of you who are a bit more adventurous and cost conscious, there are open source programs that can perform digital room correction using a PC that are available on SourceForge:

DRC: Digital Room Correction

Convolver — a convolution plug-in

The first program linked will generate digital FIR filters based on room response measurements. The second link is to a convolution program which will implement FIR filters in real time as a DSP plugin to Windows Media Player.

Obviously, these programs are likely not to be as polished or user friendly as commercial products, but that is not always the case. However, for the technically inclined, it is quite possible that they may have greater functionality and flexibility.

I have not tried any of this myself yet, but I have wanted to for a number of years and I would love to hear about anyone who does try it and what kind of results they were able to get. It has always seemed like a fun audio DIY project.


David
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