I calibrated the Dirac Live within an Arcam AVR 850 as part of a very interesting system that featured custom DIY speakers for the front three array and the rear channels with 3 REL Acoustics subwoofers, Pioneer Blu Ray Player, Pioneer Kuro TV and Cyrus Streamer. The Arcam AVR is new in the customers system replacing a mighty Pioneer Sussano LX91 AV Receiver.

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There was a lot of work to do for this calibration mostly due to the fact the customer had only just received the Arcam AVR850 and was still in the process of setting it up and running his cabling etc. I checked over all the cabling, updated the firmware on the Arcam to the latest version. The first part of the calibration was setting the front Left and Right speakers in the best place for stereo listening combined with about 4 hours of subwoofer placement testing to try and find the best spot for 3 subwoofers in the customer huge listening room. See the photo below huge is an understatement. The subwoofers had to be placed in visually acceptable locations but also to create the required foundation to underpin the sound of the system. I used Dirac to take all these measurements and then tested the best combinations of subwoofer phase and volume.

Many hours later I was ready to start taking the Dirac Live full measurements using the latest 2.4 version.

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I focused the majority of my Calibration time and attention on the systems 2 channel or music performance because this is critically important to the customer.  He is a very experienced listener who has a particular taste in what he likes, for this I set the calibration to an acceptable level and then asked the customer to sit and listen to music and feedback to me what he felt he liked and what he might like to be changed or tweaked.  This was an interesting process as it focused on 2 separate areas bass and mid range clarity.  I showed the customer how I was changing the sound in Dirac from how it used to be to how I felt it could be improved again using Dirac’s amazing ability to alter the frequency response of the sound you hear without any negative effects.  Through a period of listening the customer moved on his preference a little to create a wonderfully balanced musical presentation I dare say one he is very proud of having built the speakers himself.

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Following the focus on the systems musical performance I used what I had learned and incorporated it into the setup for home cinema performance. There was some tweaking needed as always on the centre and rear speakers but as the customer is blessed with an abundance of space the overall movie sound stage clarity and separation was truly excellent.

I think most importantly about the performance of this system is that it didn’t feel like you was watching a movie or listening to music with a system lost in a huge room, really quite the opposite. Not having boundaries close to the speakers helped them to create a sound with less tension and an openness very rarely enjoyed due to the constraints of most small rooms but the system still felt very intimate in its presentation.

The customer has put in years of work and huge attentions to detail to his property and he was involved in the calibration a lot also, but after many hours of work and good chat I hope he can rest and enjoy the fruits of all the labour with some great music and movie thrills.