Is Auto Room EQ and Setup In A/V Receivers Useful?
Since the dawn of the HiFi age, audiophiles have loved to tweak the sound of their audio systems. Some do it with cables, while others employ more aggressive measures. It started with bass and treble tone controls, along with loudness switches to boost bass at lower listening levels. However, there are no free lunches. Anytime you boost, you require more amplifier power. Boosting too much can lead to amplifier clipping and damaging your speakers.
As time progressed, our technologies advanced and we've come up with more sophisticated tone controls such as Graphic and Parametric Equalizers to offer more finely tuned adjustments. These days, EQ is being done in the digital domain to eliminate phase or group delay issues associated with crude analog tone controls. A/V receiver manufacturers and companies such as Audyssey, Trinnov, and Dirac have also developed their own EQ systems that measure your room response with a microphone to further tune your system.
Auto Room EQ systems usually attempt to do the following:
- Identify speakers in your system (ie. Left/Right Front, Center, Left/Right Surrounds, Subwoofer)
- Identify speaker phase
- Identify speaker size and crossover points
- Adjust levels and delays of each speaker
There are many flavors of Room EQ available today including Yamaha's YPAO, Pioneer's MCACC, Audyssey MultEQ which is used exclusively on Denon/Marantz products, and Anthem's ARC system to name just a few. Are these systems equal? Can we really have a push the red button Star Trek solution to sonic nirvana like these Auto EQ systems claim to provide?
Should we be doing full frequency correction or bass correction only?
Watch our Youtube Video to find out.
Is Auto Room EQ and Setup in AV Receivers Useful?
Useful is a relative term. It's always better to have an option than to not. That being said, one should NOT take the results of a Push the Red Button solution as infallible. Auto-calibration is a good starting point, but care must be taken to interpret results and manually customize as needed. Room EQ can be a useful tool in your bag of tricks, but it's necessity at higher than the rooms transition frequency (200-300Hz for small room acoustics) seems a bit more nebulous, especially if you already have a high quality speaker system in a room with good acoustics.
We hope this short article and video sparks a debate on our forum. Let us know what your favorite Room EQ system is, and the results you were able to achieve.