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audiowarrior

What's the best way to battle ear fatigue?

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1 hour ago, audiowarrior said:

 


Hey guys,

1. I already have Audyssey MultEQ XT32 Reference set. Is Audyssey Flat better for movies and music?

2. Just curious, what does 'rolling off high frequencies' even mean in terms of sound? I still get the klipsch quality sound right?


3. Should I turn Dynamic EQ Off?

 

dynamic eq makes things more lively at lower volumes, most people prefer it on.  

 

rolling off the top end can in fact kill the klipsch sound if you get too aggressive with it.  Audyssey pro is bad about this.  It's more comfortable but it doesn't seem to consider the character of the speaker very well, it just kind of neuters them.  

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2 hours ago, audiowarrior said:

 

1. I already have Audyssey MultEQ XT32 Reference set. Is Audyssey Flat better for movies and music?

 

Typically FLAT is better for movies.  I have the same MultEQ XT32 as you do, Marantz 6011. 

2. Just curious, what does 'rolling off high frequencies' even mean in terms of sound? I still get the klipsch quality sound right?

 

Correct you still get the Klipsch sound.  I'm not sure of the exact roll-off point.  It's so easy to change you might try it both ways and see what you think.  I can't tell much difference.

 

2 hours ago, audiowarrior said:


3. Should I turn Dynamic EQ Off?

As @MetropolisLakeOutfitters Cory said, most people like it ON.  It's the Dynamic Volume most people don't like because it compresses the sound.  I like Dynamic Volume for watching TV at low volume, it gives you a more full sound.  FYI if you choose Dynamic Volume it enables Dynamic EQ automatically.

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..dup post

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I'm not familiar with the OP's speakers, so I can't say if they are inherently bright.

 

However, I have owned (and since sold) speakers that I thought were excessively bright and fatiguing (some Klipsch and some from other brands), even in rooms that have a decent amount of absorption.

 

I'd say don't be afraid to try some treble control reduction and/or EQ.

 

Assuming you ran the Audyssey calibration, for starters, you can try Audyssey "Reference" (which applies some HF roll-off EQ) and play with DEQ on/off.  You can also further adjust the treble control if needed.

 

 

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When setting the volume level for movies or TV shows, one way to get the “right” volume level is to adjust it so that when people in the show are talking normally, it sounds like a normal conversation level to you, or maybe a little louder if your guests are commenting among themselves.  With that level setting, the louder events, like explosions and engine sounds, will be as loud as the director intended, not louder or quieter.

 

Some years ago, I was watching a movie (I forget the title), when the protagonist walked into a disco.  As soon as he was in the door, the music was really loud, but that did sound realistic, and then when he walked out, the dialogue levels were still just where they should be.  Luckily, the whole movie was not recorded at full disco level, which Heritage speakers have no problem reproducing.

 

People sometimes find that setting the volume a bit low, in order to keep the loudest sounds at non-neighbour-disturbing levels, means that the dialogue is hard to make out.  In that case, bump up the volume of the centre channel by a dB or two. Another option is to experiment with Dynamic EQ, and see whether On or Off suits your listening situation better at any particular time.  Purists may grumble that it compresses the sound, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed.  It’s worth checking out, especially if you like to watch TV late into the evening.  The way it works is that it compresses the dynamic range of the soundtrack, so that loud sounds are reduced in volume, while quieter sounds, like talking, remain at the same level.  That way, you can watch an action movie with the dialogue being loud enough to hear easily, while the louder sounds don’t keep the whole house (and maybe the neighbour’s house) awake.

 

You may find that if people are drinking, or are just very enthusiastic, there may be some “volume creep”, as the listeners request gradually higher and higher volume, to overcome their louder and louder voices as the evening wears on, and your ears wear as well.  Just remember that as the captain of a ship is the one who decides on the ship’s course, the owner of the sound system is the one who sets the volume level, with little or no argument.  Mutiny in the viewing room is not tolerated.  You have to live with your family and neighbours.  Your guests don’t.

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On 5/1/2019 at 6:50 PM, MetropolisLakeOutfitters said:

EQ helps, a house curve in general where you slope down the top end and/or a little notch around 3-5 khz helps quite a bit.  Audyssey pro and the new user definable curves in the audyssey consumer has these options for a reason.  

 

 

Schitt loki is perfect for an easy fix. Setpoints on eq perfect for fixing harshness just like tubes tame the high end a fuzz.   You can even use SS and it sounds great. Just  turn down 2hz and 8hz down to where the sizzle is gone but the magic is still there. set 20hz and 400hz flat or a fuzz to the plus side. Your problems will be solved. To my 55 year old ears it sounds so much better with the loki on. 

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  • Use either Ausyssey Flat or Audyssey Reference, whichever sounds best in your room.  From the sound of what you are saying, though, you would probably prefer Audyssey Reference.  It rolls off the treble to - 2dB at 10K Hz to -6 dB at 20K Hz.  That is a pretty gentle roll-off, and is recommended for rooms without a lot of absorption and diffusion.  Audyssey Reference also puts in "midrange compensation," a small dip at about 2K Hz which does a fairly good job of reducing midrange harshness, which is often what people mean when they say "too bright."  Above that, at about 3.5K to about 8K is what the industry sometimes calls "presence," and many people like it, in moderation.  In the 1970s, I think, some manufactures started adding a third tone control to the usual bass and treble, and called it a "presence" control.  Paul W. Klipsch wryly suggested they add an "absence" control.   The man had a sense of humor.
  • Did you use all 8 microphone positions when setting up Audyssey?

Order of tasks:

  1. Read up on absorption and diffusion, and install some, particularly at any spot where a reflection from a speaker will hit a wall or floor and then bounce into your ears. If you can't use regular absorbers because of appearance, putting wall hangings in front of them -- tapestries, modern or medieval, can help.  Here are instructions, but the mirror must be flat against a wall or other surface, not being held out in space as in the picture!  https://www.primacoustic.com/acoustic-panel-placement-the-mirror-trick/
  2. Use absorption minimally.  Some throw rugs on the floor, and some cheap absorbers at the first reflection points on the walls will probably do the trick.  Don't create an over-dead room!
  3. Make sure your subwoofer is in the best place for good, strong bass.  Google "SUB CRAWL"
  4. Run Audyssey again.  It takes a while. Read this first It is better than any manual: "Audyssey FAQ Linked Here"
  5. This is very important: AFTER running Audyssey, turn the subwoofer up a bit.  People I know have used a boost of 3 dB to 7 or 8 dB.  Carefull!!  Make sure your subwoofer is a good hardy one that can take it.  This does two things for you 1) It restores the bass balance you are used to.  Audyssey will remove any bass peaks, and as peaks Audyssey is right to do that.  After you get a nice smooth bass curve, the result may sound bass shy.  Turning up the sub will evenly and smoothly put some of the bass back, without jagged peaks. Don't turn up the sub BEFORE running Audyssey, or Audyssey will just turn it back down.  2) By having  the bass a little stronger, say 5 dB louder, your Main Volume can be 5 dB lower, with the same amount of bass punch and growl.  This keeps harsh midrange out of your ears.  This whole section is Preference v.s. Reference.  Almost everyone has a Preference for some bass boost and a little treble cut (not too much, to preserve Klipsch detail!), as seen in the following target graphs.

Harman preferred curve with test audiences

image.png.ac12af60e0885918fb579368a197849a.pngimage.png.103acff55b59a08622429cef26f31227.png

Both of these cut off more treble than I need to in my treated room. 

 

As others have said, set the main volume level for realistic dialogue level, by ear.  THX recommends a maximum loudness of 5 dB below Reference Level for Home Theater, due to the small size of most home rooms producing more early reflections, which make the brain think the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) is higher that either a meter or the Ausyssey mechanism would measure.  An SPL meter and the Audyssey measurement are both correct; X dB is X dB, but the near, perhaps hard walls make a given SPL sound louder, and unpleasant -- fatiguing -- therefore cut it by 5 dB (or more; most people cut it by 10 or 15 dB).  So, set the volume by ear, with dialogue, and consider -5 to be your maximum on Blu-ray movies.  Some DVDs are mastered lower.  The music Industry has no loudness standards, so, for music, adjust by ear. 

 

Let us know how it goes!

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Give us a few pics of the room. Theres no speaker now or ever that is immune to room flaws. Few pics will give us something we can say is or isn't. Instead every thing is just a guess. 

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I have a different approach...since you are using a Denon with DynEQ on, your Surrounds will be boosted by the DynEQ. Lowering them a bit might help with that.

Apart from trying that, there is an easy way to see whether your Speakers just have a fatiguing sound. Of you can, order a pair of Elac UniFi UB5 and use them as Mains. You should be able to order them and send them back if you don't like them. They are pretty much the least fatiguing Speakers I know.

If your problem goes away with those, then it's the Speakers.

 

I am currently trying the other way, ordered some Klipsch RP Speakers to replace my Elacs because I want more dynamics and efficiency. Once they arrive I will see whether they are OK for me,since I also have sensitive ears...

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On 4/29/2019 at 4:12 PM, SWL said:


Ethan Winer, GIK Acoustics, ATS Acoustics and many others offer free advice. You'll really want to follow through on this. It's worth it if hi-fidelity means anything to you.emoji4.png

 

 

But wait. Wasn't it Paul Klipsch who said "There is no such thing as hi-fidelity. Either it has fidelity or it doesn't." 😎

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On 5/2/2019 at 7:46 PM, MetropolisLakeOutfitters said:

 

dynamic eq makes things more lively at lower volumes, most people prefer it on.  

 

rolling off the top end can in fact kill the klipsch sound if you get too aggressive with it.  Audyssey pro is bad about this.  It's more comfortable but it doesn't seem to consider the character of the speaker very well, it just kind of neuters them.  

I am not a fan of Audyssey and it made things sound un-natural in my environment. A DBX Driverack Pro worked much better and far better yet a Xilica xp. Yeah room EQ  can make a ton of difference.

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On 5/7/2019 at 10:55 AM, adam2434 said:

I'm not familiar with the OP's speakers, so I can't say if they are inherently bright.

 

However, I have owned (and since sold) speakers that I thought were excessively bright and fatiguing (some Klipsch and some from other brands), even in rooms that have a decent amount of absorption.

 

I'd say don't be afraid to try some treble control reduction and/or EQ.

 

Assuming you ran the Audyssey calibration, for starters, you can try Audyssey "Reference" (which applies some HF roll-off EQ) and play with DEQ on/off.  You can also further adjust the treble control if needed.

 

 

And sometimes we rediscover that many speaker makers used to add L=Pads to tweak the tweeter to suit personal taste. I am in the camp that shrill on La Scalas for instance, once you have recapped the crossovers, that the K-77 tweeter is the biggest offender. New tweeters being more efficient may need to be dialed down with L-Pads but the ear peircing stuff goes away.

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On 5/24/2019 at 8:49 PM, garyrc said:

Harman preferred curve with test audiences

image.png.ac12af60e0885918fb579368a197849a.pngimage.png.103acff55b59a08622429cef26f31227.png

Both of these cut off more treble than I need to in my treated room. 

There are points that I believe need to be said about these typical "room curves":

 

First, just about everything that I've read about room curves fails to mention the reverberation times (RTs) for the listening room under consideration.  Remember that these curves show RT as a function of frequency, not a single value as a lot of people seem to want to collapse the conversation down to (which is the same problem as talking about "loudspeaker impedance", which is always a function of frequency and not just one single value, and can vary within the listening bands by more than an order of magnitude). 

 

Second and perhaps most importantly, these room curves all assume that you're using the same type of direct radiating loudspeakers having the same issues with directivity vs. frequency around the most sensitive listening band of the human hearing system (1-7 kHz).  These type of loudspeakers splash their higher frequency energy around the room unevenly vs. frequency and generally more freely in the upper registers than what is actually desired. The better the Klipsch loudspeaker type used in-room, the better and more consistent the directivity in this critical band (1-7 kHz), which also happens to be the exact region where most "room curves" are making their most visible changes from flat on-axis response. 

 

Third, I've recently found that the phase response of the loudspeakers (i.e., phase vs. frequency) has a lot to do with how they sound and how much "room curve" they need in order to not sound harsh.  Generally, the flatter the overall phase response of the loudspeaker in-room (including near-field reflections from the room), the smoother the sound and the less the need to "compensate" for the room and loudspeaker deficiencies in reproduction.

 

Fourth, we now know that popular music (...basically every genre besides classical, orchestral, opera, chamber, and perhaps jazz...) typically boosts the higher frequencies and attenuates the lower frequencies, as shown by the deviations from the red line in the bottom figure, below.  All you're really doing by introducing a "room curve" to your typical stereo system is to partially offset this mastering tendency:

 

Ave Dynamic Range by Genre.PNG

Heavy Spectrum vs EC 268-1 from Chapman.PNG

 

So when you say that you're using a "room curve", you also have to state (in the same breath) what genres of music that you're listening to, the degree of control of early reflections in your listening room, and the directivity and phase response performance of the loudspeakers that you're using.

 

Generally, I recommend fixing the room acoustics issues (usually near field reflectors), loudspeaker directivity and phase response issues, and then de-master the recordings having the most egregious mastering EQ loaded into them.  Then flat loudspeaker response on-axis is the best choice, and the stated harshness problems just disappear.

 

Chris

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On 6/18/2019 at 12:08 AM, Heritage_Head said:

giphy.gif?cid=790b76115d08636c31782f4e63

Are you telling me Bill Nye listens to klipsch? 

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3 hours ago, dtr20 said:

Are you telling me Bill Nye listens to klipsch? 

Ahh looks like it 👍

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11 hours ago, Chris A said:

There are points that I believe need to be said about these typical "room curves":

 

First, just about everything that I've read about room curves fails to mention the reverberation times (RTs) for the listening room under consideration.  Remember that these curves show RT as a function of frequency, not a single value as a lot of people seem to want to collapse the conversation down to (which is the same problem as talking about "loudspeaker impedance", which is always a function of frequency and not just one single value, and can vary within the listening bands by more than an order of magnitude). 

 

Second and perhaps most importantly, these room curves all assume that you're using the same type of direct radiating loudspeakers having the same issues with directivity vs. frequency around the most sensitive listening band of the human hearing system (1-7 kHz).  These type of loudspeakers splash their higher frequency energy around the room unevenly vs. frequency and generally more freely in the upper registers than what is actually desired. The better the Klipsch loudspeaker type used in-room, the better and more consistent the directivity in this critical band (1-7 kHz), which also happens to be the exact region where most "room curves" are making their most visible changes from flat on-axis response. 

 

Third, I've recently found that the phase response of the loudspeakers (i.e., phase vs. frequency) has a lot to do with how they sound and how much "room curve" they need in order to not sound harsh.  Generally, the flatter the overall phase response of the loudspeaker in-room (including near-field reflections from the room), the smoother the sound and the less the need to "compensate" for the room and loudspeaker deficiencies in reproduction.

 

Fourth, we now know that popular music (...basically every genre besides classical, orchestral, opera, chamber, and perhaps jazz...) typically boosts the higher frequencies and attenuates the lower frequencies, as shown by the deviations from the red line in the bottom figure, below.  All you're really doing by introducing a "room curve" to your typical stereo system is to partially offset this mastering tendency:

 

Ave Dynamic Range by Genre.PNGHeavy Spectrum vs EC 268-1 from Chapman.PNG

 

So when you say that you're using a "room curve", you also have to state (in the same breath) what genres of music that you're listening to, the degree of control of early reflections in your listening room, and the directivity and phase response performance of the loudspeakers that you're using.

 

Generally, I recommend fixing the room acoustics issues (usually near field reflectors), loudspeaker directivity and phase response issues, and then de-master the recordings having the most egregious mastering EQ loaded into them.  Then flat loudspeaker response on-axis is the best choice, and the stated harshness problems just disappear.

 

Chris

 

First, I agree, I didn't see any RT figures for the Harman/JBL room curves (although I may have missed them).

 

Second, You're right, I don't remember Harman specifying the model/type of speakers used.  Since the better/modern JBL(Harman) use horn loaded midrange and tweeters, but (mysteriously) direct radiating bass,image.png.0d1e78c4ab4b270f8a0949b7b11fcf76.png I would think the 1K to 7K range you mention would be horn loaded, therefore only splash the walls minimally unevenly, with less mid/treble energy reaching the walls than with dome tweeters, etc.  Is that a safe assumption?.

 

Third, I don't know much about the phase response of my speakers/room except that there are absorbers and difussors, a thick rug and a high ceiling, and my Khorns have the well known lack of time alignment.    

 

Fourth,  as it happens, I listen to mostly classical/orchestral, and sometimes opera, chamber, and  jazz... It seems that these recordings, too, typically have boosted higher frequencies and attenuated lower frequencies, but perhaps less so than for hard rock, heavy metal, and heavy other

 

I believe I am, as you say, using a "room curve,"  to partially offsett the mastering tendency to cut bass; the treble is acceptable with what the room treatments and Audyssey Flat does in my room (+/- 2.2 dB 700 Hz to 15K Hz; without Audyssey Flat, it was +/- 4 .25 dB).  This room curve works pretty well for most of my CDs and SACDs.  The overall effect tends to be milder than the red demastering curve( Figure 7) you posted, with 0 = -20 dB.  Hopefully, I read the red curve correctly.

 

Hz          Red                    My room curve

              Demastering     as measured

              curve                  in room (REW)

                                          -- with this, my

                                          room sounds "flat,"

                                          with most CD/SACDs

1,250        0                                 0

 

160           + 9.5                          +9

 

80             +12.5                         +9

 

40             +15                            + 11

 

23             +17                            - 8 dB

 

 

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Thanks for the reply, Gary.  That red curve that I drew on top of the 1996 Chapman JAES article Programme Material Analysis, was done freehand and was notional to illustrate what a typical mixdown track would likely look like before mastering EQ was applied for the genre of music noted.  I reposted that figure here for illustrative purposes only for those that might not not be aware of the degree of EQ and that it changes between different types of music genres.  That mastering EQ is neither subtle nor "hi-fi", but rather is typical for all genres in stereo format. 

 

The problem, of course, is that the the dotted black curve in the figure represents a statistical least squares error fit to the ~29 hours of "heavy" music genre tracks.  There are significant variances from track-to-track (and album-to-album) within the genre, so that pre-EQing loudspeakers to compensate for mastering EQ will frequently be significantly less than optimal, i.e., one size fits all EQ doesn't really work all that well.   I've found that it's usually much more successful to correct the music tracks individually (for each music genre), and then set the loudspeaker frequency and phase response to be flat. 

 

Your comment about the Harman direct radiating bass below horn-loaded midrange and tweeters does present a curious dichotomy in Harman's thinking about its loudspeakers--and in fact I find a lot of rationalization, i.e., trying to talk to themselves out of using horn-loaded bass. (referring to the discussion on Lipshitz and Vanderkooy).

 

There is a way to achieve flatter phase response out of your loudspeakers, but generally it will require a DSP crossover to take out the time delays inherent in multiple-horn-aperture loudspeakers such as the Klipschorn. We've talked about this subject in the past, so I'll leave that discussion as is, since it is probably even farther away from the OP's intent.  If there is any interest in that subject, I'll be happy to discuss it more.  I've been listening to the difference in the Jubilees and the other three surround loudspeakers (center MEH and surround ESS AMT-1/Belles) after discovering Danley-style crossover approaches over the past few weeks.  All I can say is that all my views on demastering and using flattening EQ and phase via use of different crossover filter approaches has been significantly affected.

 

Chris

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