Once upon a time and long before digital signal processing audiophiles had to work really hard to get the best sound from their systems. They would experiment with placement of their speakers and seats moving these all around their rooms. Sometimes they would move them just fractions of an inch striving to get the best they could from their systems. They would also buy and distribute diffusers, bass traps and echo-busting components throughout their listening spaces. Some might even dabble in the black art of equalization, oh my! Many times this quest would become an unhealthy obsession for the afflicted with little hope for relief.

The fact of the matter is that the equipment you use is only part of the sound quality equation. Your room plays an equal role in the audio playback chain. (Many believe your room is actually the greater contributor to this delicate interplay.) But nowadays we do have DSP. It comes to the rescue in the form of automated room correction.

I just did a quick accounting and off the top of my head I was able to count no less than 14 options on the consumer market. These range from Anthem Room Correction to YPAO (Yamaha). Each of the 14 I thought about works in a different way. So this raises the questions of which one is right for you? Can one of them help your situation better than the others? What do they cost? Can I do it myself? Do I still need room treatments? These are all very good questions!


  • Piero Gabucci

    It would be interesting to see a qualitative comparison of what each can and cannot do. Not quite a showdown but more of a spreadsheet.

  • Chris Eberle

    I’ve managed to try a few different flavors of room correction over the years. Audyssey is certainly the most pervasive and I’ve heard it from Onkyo, Integra and NAD components. They’re not the same by any stretch. Integra, which is the one I use currently does a nice job of managing bass without taking the transparency away from the high frequencies.

    My favorite so far however has been Anthem. I enjoyed it for almost a year when I had a Statement D2V processor on loan in 2009. If I replaced my processor today it would have to be at least an Anthem receiver with ARC.

  • Jay Haider

    Even better, measurements of what each one actually does in a room.

  • Jim Clements

    I think we all agree that Audyssey is the most prominent system on the market but others are rising up.

    Trinnov in particular is coming out with some new product launches. I will be requesting either Trinnov’s own brand or possibly the JBL Synthesis version of the new SSP when it becomes available. I want to do a thorough rundown on it as part of an exhaustive review.

    Another brand that has impressed me in live demos and at trade shows is the (two-channel) DEQX. This is another brand that I would like to review as it works to correct group delays in a fashion perhaps more refined than Dirac Live.

    So I want to put together a matrix that compares the best systems out there. I think this should include Audyssey, Dirac Live, ARC, Trinnov and DEQX. Please weigh in if you want others included so I can cover all the main ones that are of interest.

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    I got a chance to hear a demo of Diac’s Unison correction system at both the last two CES shows and found it pretty impressive. There was talk of Emotiva possibly porting it to the XMC-1 at some future time and also have it available in their next gen flagship processor. I’d be real curious to find out how that fares in a home environment as I believe it was originally designed for automotive applications.

  • Brian

    “I believe the better one’s loudspeakers are, the more important to the sound of the system good room correction becomes.”

    By its very nature “room correction” ends up being “speaker correction” whether it wants to be or not. As such, it is for people with lousy speakers that it manifests the most dramatic improvements… leading to erroneous misconceptions that the system erased the room’s acoustics when what it really did, or did more of, is eq the speaker.

    I still recall the first Audessey sessions we attended at CES so many years ago. The system was demoed on several different speaker arrays: a paper-cup sounding HTIB (Panasonic I believe), a set of half decent PSBs, and the M&K S150 suite….well, we didn’t actually get around to the M&Ks because, by Audessey’s own admission, there wasn’t much to hear in A/B’ing those as they already sounded awesome without Audessey whereas flipping the switch on the Panasonic got the oohs and ahhhs from the panel of listeners.

    Thats not to say its pointless to apply something like ARC to categorically good speakers, but it can easily be demonstrated that there is “less to do” if starting with good speakers (and acoustics) in the first place.

  • John Johnson

    In my tests of receivers and SSP’s, I applied room correction, but in all cases, I did not like the effect of the room correction, so to me, room correction software has a way to go yet. It sounded harsh. My current reference SSP has room correction, but I have turned it off. Have any of you experienced this?

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    I’ve not used the Emotiva and it’s Dirac system before but I’ve been using Audyssey XT32 in my HT for a while and I like it with both movies and music. It’s on constantly. I felt the same way when I used ARC in that room as well. Room correction though, has never worked to my liking in my studio space with my 2.2 channel setup. When I tried both Audyssey and ARC in that room to see if my stereo reproduction improved, both systems just made everything sound flat and lifeless. Two very different rooms, two very different results.

  • Jay Haider

    Your reference speakers are open baffle dipole line arrays, right?

  • Jared Crandall

    Speakers can be flat in an anacoic chamber but not be in a room…not the speakers’ fault