As some of you may have noticed, things are happening with Dirac Live. We announced a brand new mobile version (for Android and iOS) at Cedia back in September, and in December we announced a new version of the PC based calibration tools (for Windows and OS X). So far so good. But we haven’t really said much about the hows and the whys, and what it all means for existing customers. Thus, the following was written with the intent of clearing up as many questions as possible.
It’s hard not to write something after returning from an event like CES, which leaves you with so many inputs and impressions, it nearly blows your mind. The entire place is so packed with innovations and ideas, it's like the entire world’s waited all year just to reveal what they've been busy hatching up in the seclusion of their basement.
This year I returned to home audio after over a decade working in other industries and I was shocked to find that very little had changed since I’d been away. Generally speaking, progress has been relatively slow. In the 90s there was almost no home install and people tried their best to create a good listening environment, sometimes with a good result, sometimes not. But last month I discovered a very different picture of progress. I attended the CEDIA expo for home technology in Dallas and it was undeniable that technology is finally catching up with the imaginations of the people. Here are a few examples...
The two weakest components of a HiFi system are typically the loudspeaker and the room the music is playing in— the second of which is most often overlooked. Even if you’ve invested in a best-in-class HiFi system, the listening room can still have a tremendous effect on the overall sound experience. Both a sound system’s frequency response* and impulse response** are profoundly altered by everything from standing wave patterns to wall reflections.
When you’re listening to music and something feels off, it can usually be attributed to at least one of two factors. Either something is out of key— for instance, an instrument isn’t tuned properly or a singer can’t sing. Or someone is missing a beat. If each musician in an orchestra were to play at their own tempo it would sound differently than intended, and likely pretty bad. The first of these factors is a question of frequency for a single sinusoid (does each note sound like it should?). The second is a property of time (does each note arrive when it should?).
As a former HI FI and car stereo dealer I know people spend a lot of money trying to get the perfect sound. To be honest I haven’t looked into the business so much since the 90’s, but after a few months back in the segment, and a few exhibitions later, I see that little has changed since then. People are still spending just as much money on cables, contacting, racks, and turntable weights as ever.