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By Gilad Tiefenbrun
Tech that removes the effects of your room from the sound of your music system is de rigueur at the moment, and rightly so. Avoid environmental influence and you’re on the road to a better experience. But solutions that use a microphone to measure and adjust are far from delivering on what they promise. Here’s why we dropped the mic.
If you spend a lot of time listening to music, you’ll have noticed there’s a sweet spot, a place in your room where the speakers’ output aligns to deliver the best possible sound. You may even have treated your room in attempt to reduce the effects of highly reflective or absorbent surfaces. It’s a pain, but distortion from poor speaker positioning and the room’s construction will mask the music you want to hear.
So we’ve come up with something better. Rather than change the space to suit the sound, make the sound fit the space.
It isn’t magic, but it sounds awfully like it.
We started with a simple question: how can you quickly and easily remove the distorting effects of any given room? And like many simple questions, the answer is pretty simple too. You need a way to build an acoustic model of the room and then tune the sound – before it comes out of the speakers.
The answer may be simple, but as we discovered it’s simple like a duck swimming is simple: it might look easy on the surface but those little legs need to do a lot of work under the water.
Making an accurate, reliable and useful acoustic model of a room is complicated.
We’re not the only ones offering room correction solutions. You may have seen demonstrations of others: wire in a microphone, or install an app, and move round the room taking measurements at certain points with the hi-fi system working out the rest.
Looks easy and all very scientific doesn’t it? Sadly, the reality is a big let-down.
To begin with there’s the fundamental problem of separating what the microphone picks up from the speakers, from sound that’s actually being reflected at it from the walls, ceiling and floor.
Next, a mic only measures the sound where it’s placed, so it’s an unreliable method of solving all of a room’s problems, regardless of how many measurements are taken at various locations.
Add to this the varying quality of the microphone being used, and the inherent difficulty of calibrating one, and you’ve got a host of variables and endless niggles that will just never be ironed out.
There must be a better way, we thought. We were right.
Enter the room dimensions into our on-screen tool—running on any computer or laptop—along with the construction type and any features, such as windows and doors that will affect the sound. Select your make and model of speakers, enter their location and where you’ll be sitting, and Space Optimisation will do the rest.
First, it creates an exceptionally detailed acoustic model of the room, then taking account of the specific characteristics of your speakers, it identifies exactly how to deliver the best sound to you. The resulting correction profile is stored inside the Linn DS network music player, and applied to any music that you play.
What if you can’t have your speakers set up in that perfect spot? Sometimes the layout of your room, or the realities of family life just take preference over pinpoint speaker placement.
Space Optimisation can deal with that too.
The acoustic model takes into account your chosen practical position for your speakers, and emulates the sound that you would have heard in the ideal location.
So unlike microphone-based correction systems, Space Optimisation ensures you get great sound no matter where you want the speakers to be in the room.
Not only that, Space Optimisation removes just the nasty effects of the room by isolating the problem frequencies, ensuring the character of your carefully chosen hi-fi system is preserved intact.
No specialist knowledge is required to use Space Optimisation. You don’t need to know the acoustic properties of brick and plaster walls, or the effect of a sprung floor, suspended ceiling or bay window. You just need to tell the tool that they’re there, and it automatically makes the necessary adjustments to the model and to your hi-fi system.
All the expertise is in the technology, and that means you benefit from every single room we’ve ever modelled and every speaker we’ve ever analysed. Not only that, but as we model ever more spaces, and the technology improves, the results get ever more accurate, along with the sound of your system.
By considering the room as a key part of your system rather than something separate, Space Optimisation delivers the optimal sound that doesn’t have you rearranging the furniture, dressing the walls or shuffling speakers into the middle of the room.
As we said earlier, it isn’t magic, but it sounds awfully like it. Book a demonstration with a Linn Specialist and experience it for yourself.