DIRAC LIVE PROCESSOR REVIEW

I have been waiting a long time for the new Dirac Room Correction System 3.0. And yes it DOES correct your room's acoustical problems. And trust me, you won't believe what you hear when you are done! 

 

YOU START ME UP

It will take you 2-3 hours or more to get things working the first time, but it's worth the time and effort; that I'll promise you.

I have used Dirac 1.0 for many years, and can't think to live without it. It's much more than a simple bass/mid/treble controller. Much more. So let's get into that in a minute.

So much was my surprise when I got myself a new iMac with the new MacOsX "Big Sur" system controlling it all. Big Sur was not able to control my old Dirac 1.0. Everything else went fine, all my email conversations and stuff were on the new iMac. Roon worked fine - the only exception was that Dirac was not working anymore.

So what to do? I asked Dirac´s very helpful hotline guy Jordan Matthias who is the Dirac Hotline guru who helped me with this.

The learning curve is steeper with the new Dirac. I had to have the hotline on email conversations several times. Again, they (Jordan) responded within 10 minutes every time 😃 

My struggle was that I wanted to load the new Dirac 3.0 - but nothing at all happened. Nothing was going on, nada, nill. I am told that Win10 owners are happier, it works like a charm with that software - I am informed. But Mac users…

The trick and it took me some days to find out, is to buy a software called Audio Hijack for a few Dollars/Euros, and make some kind of virtual cable, see pic below 



This means you load Hijack, and add an application (source), in my case Roon. After that, you make a virtual "output cable" to your active speakers, DAC, or whatever you have connected. It took me some time to figure this out, again the Dirac Hotline was helpful all the time. And after I found out how to do it, it was just easy peasy.

In the Audio Hijack App (we are still speaking MacOsx here) you can add input and output devices' (called Blocks) like the “DiracLiveProcessor“ Plugins, and then you just drag them to your virtual audio chain. If you don't like it you just delete these "Blocks" again. How this works in WIN10 I don't know, I am a Mac man, and when I found out to use the HiJack software, it’s very easy.

And now you come to the fun part, you soon are measuring your listening room. 

You just connect a USB microphone (XTZ from Dirac´s homepage suits and isn't expensive and does the job)

The Dirac system will do some measurements and tell you where to put your mic while they are going on. And please put some foam or the like into your ears, it can get quite loud. 

Everything is very nice and easy to use. You have to go through 12-18 measurements, where the microphone "learns" your room, Room knowledge so to speak 😃 After this process is done, Dirac calculates the data, and you can then adjust the frequency curve to your style and taste. You just add some control points on the frequency curve where you can add or remove some highs or lows. I found out that I had success with withdrawing 3-4 dB around 250 Hz and the same at around 1.1 kHz. And then I also made a rising shelving curve starting from around 2 kHz which gives a little more air to my system. I also added some more low-end, because a flat frequency curve sounds quite dull and without life. So add a little more lows and some more tweaking will do wonders.

As mentioned before you can then save the whole monty in different PreSets. I saved mine as "Computer Chair”, "Big Chair" and "Sofa" and so on. And it's just fantastic to see (or hear!) how the soundstage just clicks into the right place when I move from my computer chair to my listening sofa. It's just as everything in a puzzle gets nicely together, and standing waves are a history. As one of my HiFi colleagues told me: “It's ridiculous how bad things sound when you turn off your Room Correction”.

SOME MUSIC

Sarah McLachlan´s song "I Love You" with its deep bass lines is a good test of what Dirac does. Without room correction, several deep notes are way too loud, others not easy to hear. The same goes with Paula Cole`s song "Tiger". The bass starting at 00:45 goes ultra-deep. With Dirac, it´s precise and consistent. Without Dirac, it's not only the basslines (and these are HUGE bass-lines) but also the artist´s vocal that gets smeared when I turn off Dirac. 

The Danish act Sko/Torp´s song "Familiar Road" is another track that I know well. I played in a rock band with the singer Søren Sko many years ago, so I know his voice quite well - we also shared an apartment and a beer once in a while. His voice is stunning and clear with Dirac turned on. Without Room Correction, it all falls to pieces and it is quite not possible to listen to.

These examples are just some of the 3-400 tracks that I listened to and compared "with" and "without" Dirac. And every single track that I listened to and compared with "before" and "after" it was clear, that Dirac does the trick of removing your listening room, so to speak. And not only the low frequencies are better to listen to, but the whole spectrum also gets a more precise and more holographic image in the sound field, that we HiFi lovers search for all the time. 

I will tell you it's far better to have a cheap HiFi system and a bad room WITH Room Correction than having a multi-million dollar system WITHOUT Dirac. Now I just wait for the Mac version of this fantastic software. In the meantime, I just enjoy music and not my room's limitations and boundaries.

© Kurt Lassen May 2021

PRICE

  • Price: 14 day trial free -> USD 349  
  • Microphone: 100 Euro

Read more:

https://www.dirac.com

https://www.dirac.com/dirac-blog/room-correction-vs-room-eq

https://confluence.dirac.services/display/DLS/Dirac+Live+Support

https://live.dirac.com/pro-audio/