Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

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Machinesworking
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Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Machinesworking » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:29 am

So, my recording, mixing and mastering studio is also my bedroom. It's in a basement with low ceilings. I have basic Aurolex foam 3" wedges that I got for a steal on the walls and carpet on the floor. rolls of leftover padding for the carpet in the corners etc. The room is pretty dead of slap back from what I can tell.

You can get a decent mic ( Test done here: http://www.realtraps.com/art_microphones.htm ) and use the freeware Room EQ Wizard from here: http://www.hometheatershack.com/roomeq/ this requires some studying for those of us who didn't get a degree in sound analysis, but it's fully functional and should tell you exactly what's wrong with your room, then it's up to you to spend the hours to fix the room. The Cost of the mic is roughly $70 at this point, and whatever you need in terms of treatment. The other method which doesn't exclude using the previous one as well! is to get the ARC system from IK Multimedia. Right now it's much cheaper than ever before, at $199, and it includes the mic. http://www.ikmultimedia.com/arc/moreinfo/moreinfo1.php (it's the same price at audiomidi.com right now and they don't charge shipping so..)

I'm on a budget, I blew some money on Concert Strings 2 but it seems to me that the ARC system coupled with using Room EQ Wizard and using the ARC plug in only as a bandage until you can isolate room issues seems like the way to go, but if the Room EQ Wizard and reference mic is not going to drive me nuts trying to make sure I'm getting it right etc. it's about $120 cheaper. Anyway thanks for reading if you got all the way through, and maybe some of you didn't know ARC had come down about 80% in price. :)

fishmonkey
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:30 am

IMO the ARC stuff is a band-aid measure, as you can't really EQ most acoustic problems away. at best with EQ you will end up with a tiny listening zone that is kinda okay, but move your head a little and it all goes to shit again...

Samaritan Sound
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Samaritan Sound » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:52 am

You can also pick up an SPL meter pretty cheap. That combined with either Ethan's test tones CD or the free Minirator applet will tell you exactly what's wrong.

twisted-space
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by twisted-space » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:56 am

KVR thread about ARC, http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... hlight=arc

And http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... hlight=arc.

People that actually use it seem to think it can help.

For what it's worth I've just ordered the crossgrade (as I own t-racks 3 comp & eq).

Machinesworking
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Machinesworking » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:56 pm

Been reading up more and more on it VS Room EQ Wizard:

Decided that although it's going to take more work on my part, going with a $40 calibration mic, and an SPL meter app for the iphone plus Room EQ Wizard is going to be cheaper and give me a better understanding of what's wrong with my room. IMO the thing with this method is to not get too caught up in details and lose sight of the idea which is getting a decent room out of what's essentially a composing studio with all the issues of hard surfaces and crammed space that entails.

The thing that had me thinking about getting ARC is that most of the people plugging REQW are mastering engineers with not clutter in their studio, and a tuned room they paid good money to tune. Reality is if I get even close to a decent tuning out of this, I can then learn the room, hard surfaces, irregularities and all.

Plus is snowing for the next few days, I have plenty of time to dick around with this!

fishmonkey
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:01 am

ARC might be of some benefit if your room is already well-tamed.

Machinesworking
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Machinesworking » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:17 am

fishmonkey wrote:ARC might be of some benefit if your room is already well-tamed.
Well the big reason to use it is that it might just take into account irregularities in your composing studio: hardware synths, guitars, over sized monitors, drumsets etc. but I'm willing to bet that I can get the same results with REQW right now, because the one thing I think holds true with the naysayers on this product is it's not going to be able to deal with ringing and nulls that well, plus this guy is inspiring for sure.


Paying $43 for the mic alone and using the decible meter on my iphone plus REQW is going to give me as the end user more detailed information on what's going on in the room. If not then I'm out 23$ as I could sell the mic for that I'm sure. and the sale on ARC goes on until the 31st so I basically have two weeks to learn and test my room, then add more acoustic treatment if necessary.

Machinesworking
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Machinesworking » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:20 am

OK those of us on OSX using firewire soundcards be warned!
Room EQ Wizard does not work with firewire sound cards under OSX!!
There's an acknowledged bug with Java applications and Core Audio in OSX, and the REQW developer has no ability to fix it or isn't going to.

I have Kore 1 and Rig Kontrol, both USB soundcards, but neither with a mic pre, and I'm not sure how accurate of a measurement of my room I would get running the RME pres through the Rig Kontrol etc. ? There is a suite like Room EQ Wizard on OSX but the guy charges $150 for it..... This reminds me of the bad old days of using Macs in the late 90's to 2k era where most software for macs was 25 to 40% higher in price than Windows! It's not so much that someone wants to charge for their time etc, but that a comparable even more features version is available and well tested for free in Windows. :evil:

So, to do the measurements yourself you need a non tube based mic pre and a USB sound card on OSX, along with an SPL meter and measurement mic, or you have to buy the OSX software for $150. It's not any wonder that ARC does well considering. So as it stands I'm going to mess around with setting up the RME Fireface 800 as a mice pre for the reference mic and using one of the NI USB audio cards here, but I think I would have chosen to just get ARC and apply the band aid method / messed around with fixing mechanically what I could discern from the read out etc.

twisted-space
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by twisted-space » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:11 pm

You should be fine using your fireface as a pre, patch the mic in direct to an output in patchmix, and run it into your NI interface.

My copy of Arc arrived yesterday, I ran a quick set of 12 measurements (the minimum) and have been listening to all sorts through it. I've got a bit more time at the weekend so I'll run a more complete analysis, however...

Very impressed so far.

My office come studio is half of a completely untreated living/dining room. I have Alesis M1 Active MK2's on sorbathane pads, on my desk, which is up against one wall. Without ARC I had both ports on the monitors blocked, and had to use an eq (in my interface) to try and tidy the bass up some.

With Arc on and the ports unplugged, I'm getting nice tight bass and a much better stereo image. The sound seems much more 3d and detailed and there's no boom or boxiness.

I haven't tried it for writing/mixing yet (I'm supposed to be working), just listening to commercial stuff.

The mic seems to be decent quality as well. It's chinese made, but it seems solid, and sounds ok.

I wouldn't have bought it at full price, but with the crossgrade and current discount I got it for £120, the mic's gotta be at least £40 so I'm pretty chuffed, all in all.

Machinesworking
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Re: Room testing/treatment-ARC or Room EQ Wizard+reference mic?

Post by Machinesworking » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:39 am

Cool info, I still might buy ARC, but here's the run down on Room EQ Wizard on Macs:

OSX has poor Java support, I get the impression that Java has not a stitch of support for audio hardware drivers. In OSX there is no support in Java for multiple audio out in Java.
That means no Firewire audio cards and no more than two in two out USB cards. Basically out of the three possible audio devices in my studio only the Rig Kontrol meets this specification. I'm using the RME as a preamp only, it's patch bay allows a direct patch out of the preamp. With that in mind, REQW is up and running. Took a while to get levels set correctly but I've already made some improvements to the sound by seeing what's going on in the 20hz to 500hz range. So yeah, it's a bit of work on OSX considering Apples disinterest in Java, but it's working, and free.

Even if I do get ARC it's going to be nice to check waterfalls in REQW to see what I can do treatment wise to make it work as little as possible. 8)

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