Dirac Live Bass Control And HEOS Updates For Denon & Marantz!
Denon & Marantz Dirac Live Bass Control
The latest home theater products from Denon and Marantz are some of the best we’ve seen from these legendary brands, both of which have reputations for cramming in every possible feature that home theater consumers could want. And this current generation of receivers and processors can boast some killer features never before available on Denon and Marantz gear. The top models from both brands offer 4 independently-adjustable subwoofer outputs, LFE routing to the main channels with active subwoofer channels present, and the option to add Dirac Live room correction (for a fee). These features offer potentially huge performance gains. But until now, dialing in those 4 subwoofer outputs could be tricky because Dirac’s add-on Dirac Live Bass Control system was not available for Denon and Marantz products. As I write this in mid-December 2023, however, Dirac Live Bass Control is now officially available for seven mid-range and high-end Denon and Marantz units. The list includes the Denon AVR-A1H, AVR-X3800H, AVR-X4800H, AVR-X6800H, as well as the Marantz AV 10, Cinema 40, and the Cinema 50. An over-the-air software update will allow customers to purchase a license and activate Dirac Live Bass Control.
Dirac Live Bass Control promises exceptional low-frequency control for single-sub and multi-sub audio systems. Bass Control aggregates measurement and location data from each subwoofer, determines how a system’s bass is distributed throughout the room, identifies inconsistencies in the low-frequency response, and compensates to distribute bass evenly throughout the room. It also corrects for the time alignment of subwoofers with the main speakers, and helps determine crossover points. Because of the powerful processing involved, Dirac Live Bass Control allows the user greater flexibility in the physical placement of subwoofers, making room setup much easier. Like Dirac Live Room Correction, Bass Control began as an exclusive feature for really high-end gear. Just a year ago, the least expensive AVR with Dirac Live Bass Control for multiple subs was, to the best of my knowledge, the $4,700 Arcam AVR21 — and that AVR only has 2 independent subwoofer outputs. Having multi-sub Dirac Live Bass Control and 4 subwoofer outputs on a $1,700 unit like the Denon AVR-X3800H would have been unimaginable not long ago. And with Bass Control on board, users should be able to achieve the kind of smooth and evenly-distributed bass that’s extremely challenging to get through manual tuning alone.
This addition of Dirac Live Bass Control to Denon and Marantz products comes less than a year after Dirac Live Room Correction launched on the Masimo-owned brands last March. Dirac’s Rikard Hellerfelt says this expansion is a testament to Dirac’s desire to continue pushing the boundaries of home theater audio while making the company’s advancements available to more and more consumers.
The integration of Dirac Live Room Correction into Denon and Marantz units was a significant step forward in both deepening Dirac’s market penetration and elevating product performance for each brand’s large and loyal customer base. Now, we’re going even further by making high-quality bass accessible to everyone from professional integrators and audiophiles to the broader consumer market. This is an important moment for our teams and the industry as a whole.
— Rikard Hellerfelt, Dirac’s VP of Consumer & E-commerce
Dirac Live Bass Control: The Downsides
We’re fans of Dirac Live Room Correction and Dirac Live Bass Control, but there are a couple of potential downsides to consider. As Chief Audioholic Gene DellaSala noted in a recent article about the launch ofgear, we’ve seen some products (from Audio Control and Arcam) that automatically place a high-pass filter on the main channels when Dirac Live Bass Control is active. That means you can’t set these channels to “large” or run them full-range. We have put in a request to Dirac to update DLBC to accommodate full-range support of the main speakers for users that want to take advantage full advantage of the low frequency bass output of very large capable tower speakers. We plan to discuss this in our up coming livestream this Wednesday, December 20, 2023 with Marantz to see the status of this request.
done some investigating and it appears to be a limitation of DLBC that Dirac
has yet to resolve. We presume this will also be the case with DLBC
implementation on (other brands) as well. Be mindful of this IF you wish to run
your main L/R speakers full-range simultaneously with your powered subwoofers
while using DLBC. This won't affect most users as we usually recommend bass managing ALL speakers as few people run true full-range towers capable of playing back LFE bass content.
Gene DellaSala, President, Audioholics
The only other downside to adding Dirac Live Bass Control to Denon and Marantz products is the cost; this performance boost doesn’t come cheap.
Here is some useful pricing information:
- Dirac Live Bass Control Single Subwoofer: $349
- Dirac Live Bass Control Multi Subwoofer: $499
- Upgrade from Single to Multi: $169
The above pricing for Bass Control assumes that you’ve already paid for the standard Dirac Live Room Correction software for your Denon and Marantz gear. Dirac Live Room Correction is included for free with certain gear from other brands (such as Arcam, Onkyo, Pioneer Elite, Integra, NAD, and StormAudio), but you’ll have to pay to use it on compatible Denon and Marantz products. Pricing is as follows:
- Dirac Live Room Correction Limited Bandwidth (up to 500Hz): $259
- Dirac Live Room Correction Full Bandwidth: $349
- Upgrade from Limited Bandwidth to Full Bandwidth: $99
If you don’t already have Dirac Live Room Correction installed on your Denon or Marantz unit, and you want to add both standard Room Correction and Bass Control all at once, Dirac offers bundle pricing.
- Bundle Offer Single (Room Correction Full Bandwidth + Bass Control Single Subwoofer): $649
- Bundle Offer Multi (Room Correction Full Bandwidth + Bass Control Multi Subwoofer): $799
If those prices are slightly out of reach, I have some good news. As of time of writing, Dirac is offering a limited-time discount of 30% off of Bass Control and Bundle Offers for Denon and Marantz gear. Use discount code 30BCDM23 to get the reduced pricing.
Dirac Live download links:
The HEOS wireless and streaming audio platform has evolved and improved significantly since Denon launched it in 2014. Parent company Masimo continues to invest in its development, and there are now some significant visual and functional updates to announce. The updated HEOS app “places music front and center, making it easier than ever to access your favorite tunes, radio stations, and podcasts, the moment you open the app,” according to Masimo. “This update is the result of customer feedback and our unwavering commitment to reliability, connectivity, and providing our users with a plethora of quality music streaming options.” HEOS works with a number of speakers and soundbars, along with Denon and Marantz AVRs and network amplifiers. Users can connect up to 64 devices on a single network for whole-home audio. Here’s a summary of the latest updates:
First, there’s a revamped user interface with a “fresh, user-friendly design that not only makes navigation more intuitive but also provides a sleek and modern interface,” according to Masimo. The old home screen has been replaced, and a new “Now Playing” display at the bottom of the screen makes it easier to keep track of your currently-playing music as you navigate the streamlined app. Masimo says that the new home screen “serves as your personalized music hub, offering instant access to your recently-played tracks, favorite music, and preferred music service content.” You can make your own HEOS playlists, mixing and matching media from various streaming platforms. A new Universal Music Search function takes the hassle out of searching for music across multiple platforms. You can search your personal libraries and all of your streaming services simultaneously. Masimo promises further improvements to functionality, including “improved device accessibility, rock-solid wireless surround technology, enhanced login security, uninterrupted playback, streamlined in-app controls, flawless audio synchronization, and seamless in-app messaging, among various other aspects.”
We’ll be interested to see whether the modernized user interface and more intuitive navigation offered in the new HEOS app will lift the platform into the upper echelon of wireless streaming audio, alongside the likes of BluOS and Roon. Either way, it looks like HEOS users will enjoy an improved experience. The addition of Dirac Live Bass Control — along with those 4 independent subwoofer outputs — makes the current crop of AV gear from Denon and Marantz more appealing than ever, and Dirac has already stated that future models from the brands will also benefit from the Swedish company’s audio wizardry. At this point, the most immediate question on my mind is about. At launch, that next-gen technology was exclusive to the super-high-end gear from StormAudio. But as Dirac ART becomes available on other brands, Denon and Marantz owners have to be wondering when it might eventually arrive on flagship pieces like the Denon AVR-A1H and Marantz AV 10. Stay tuned as we follow this developing story, and feel free to share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.