Friday, February 13, 2009

How to Make Your Speakers Dead

IK multimedia ARC with Audyssey technology. It is a software/mic package plugin that I was able to try it out today. ARC attempts to flatten all of the natural forming room frequency spikes with software EQ processing.

It really makes it super flat. Too flat.

I don't quite buy into it. There is absolutely no way I would listen to music with it on full time. It seems to suck the life out of most recordings. The processing removes a good deal of bass and you lose that feeling that the sound is in the room with you. It feels like the music is being kept behind a screen door or metal fence, where you can peer in to see the ugliness if you get close enough with a flashlight. I felt the color of my music change to grey.

Its possible I did not set it up perfectly. But I don't really care.

The system does have some uses.


1. I was able to isolate some "hidden" sounds in the stereo image I could normally not hear at all, and fix them before I started the mastering process. It was like looking at all the bugs in my recording
2. The stereo width field felt more true allowing me to properly pan sounds
3. Adjusting the relative sound levels of tracks was slightly easier.
4. Its a completely different experience


1. Feels soul-less.
2. Not for daily playback.

Overall I can 100% recommend it for trouble shooting your mixes like some kind of swiss army knife. It will make your mixing go faster. You won't have to take your music from system to system to compare. I do recommend trying it out. It is not the end all and be all of sound fixes.

On the flipside, using a a couple regular EQs on my receiever, and taking tedious frequency snapshots in the application Fuzzmeasure, until the signal looked "more flat" I was able to get a much more enjoyable, crisp, sound without out all the deadening effects of ARC.

I will probably try to use ARC again, but only as an occasional reference.

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