Dirac Live for Studio is a great software for tackling the acoustic reproduction in a studio or living room. Certainly the attic room and semi-professional studios can use a little attention, and you can only do that with the right and good software.
Dirac is not new to the audio world. It has been used in the automotive industry for some time, Bentley, BMW, Volvo and Rolls-Royce use this software, although this software is slightly different from the version for your studio or living room. Dirac works closely with Harman, as well. The software dates back to 2011, so it’s time for a 2.0 version, which we tested. The new Dirac Live includes improved usability with an updated, modern user interface with a simplified installation procedure.
Dirac Live 2.0 features a newly developed phase correction algorithm for improved stereo reproduction. Where the previous version of Dirac Live measured the phase of each stereo speaker individually, this new version also analyzes speakers in pairs, ensuring that the pair’s phase responses are matched.
Let’s measure! We have received a USB microphone from Dirac, which makes measuring a lot easier, and you do not have a separate measuring microphone. What you do need is a DAW, you need to download and install the plug-in and the accompanying Dirac software. You also need a separate audio interface to hear the test tones.
You use Dirac in two steps: first you measure, and then you can create filters. YOU measure several places, and the software tells you exactly what and how to do it. It couldn’t be simpler. During the measurement you will hear a series of test tones through each speaker. With a surround setup, it can be a collection of speakers with very different sensitivities, so you must first find a volume level that is suitable for all speakers before measuring.
This is not necessary in the studio, but if you measure your living room, you can even choose to measure more or more focused, so that in the first case you always get a good result when you listen to music with several people. In total there are thirteen measuring points, less is also allowed, but then the measurement is not accurate. The tip is also to take the time for this, and possibly to do it multiple times, and possibly to do multiple multiples. The distance is not crucial according to the manual, but I have noticed that you have to keep the distance between the monitors and the microphone the same for an even better result. A microphone stand is best to use for this. After measuring you can set your filters. The software shows the frequency display graphically, and also as impulse response. Dirac optimizes the impulse response itself, so you can’t adjust that, and the frequency curve can.
You can adjust the target curve, which is quite complex in the case of surround. You have to know yourself what the best filters are for you, and you have to do this per speaker. To create filters yourself you also need good hearing, because the software does a lot, but not everything. In my studio setup, adjusting filters was hardly necessary. I noticed I was bothered by some humming low of the back wall, which is a glass case. After the measurement, and even some theater, this hum was gone, and I could even sit a bit further away from my monitors.
I also measured the monitors at my workplace, which are PSIs. They are actually a little too low, and I also noticed that after measuring. It even sounded a little less. By bringing them to the right height, and measuring them well, I notice that even more definition comes from the monitors. And no, that does not come from your monitor, but that does the correction of the software with your space. I have tested a number of different correction software applications in the past, but Dirac really stands out for me. As far as I am concerned, this is the best solution for measuring and correcting your space.
You certainly need some knowledge of audio, and how your room sounds, and no it is not the solution if you have a room with very bad acoustics. Software is not the solution to all your problems, but if your space is already fine and you need some fine tuning, or you don’t have the budget to adjust it perfectly: Dirac is the software to purchase!, but if your space is already fine and you need some fine tuning, or you don’t have the budget to adjust it perfectly you deserve your space anyway correction: Dirac is the software to purchase!