Adjust the DSP settings to reflect the Audeze pre-settings

I believe this feature would be best served if you showed the DSP tweaks made on the DSP displays (i.e. equalizer). I totally expected to see the adjustments but was puzzled when I didn’t see them.

I have the Audeze LCD-XC being fed thru a Brooklyn DAC using balanced cables. In the limited listening I’ve done with the new settings the one immediate change is a much warmer presentation with the Audeze presets enabled. To a lesser extent I feel there is a little more boom in the mid-bass, but I really need to do more listening to be sure.

One negative is that I’m hearing more low level distortion. I can’t tell at this time if the settings are causing the distortion or if the settings are emphasizing the distortion. I’m guessing it is the latter because some recordings were totally absent of the distortion, but others were blatantly obvious, so much so that I preferred listening w/o the presets enabled. More listening is required to make a determination where the distortion is coming from.

Did I mention it would be REAL NICE if you displayed the tweaks made in the DSP pages. The lack of displaying these feels to me to be such a big oversight that I am wondering if Audeze demanded that the tweaks not be shown.

The DSP presets are in the form of Convolution filters (Impulse response), so it cannot be shown in a parametric EQ form. The FIR form gives us precise control over both phase and frequency response and we can also guarantee the same behavior on multiple platforms.

Regarding distortion, applying DSP can lead to clipping at times, there is even a thread about it here, the best way to deal with this is to add headroom. Start with -3dB. XC are very efficient so you will not loose much of the headroom of your amp if you reduce the gain on the DSP.

If distortion is the only factor keeping you from using the preset, I am fairly confident that changing the headroom would work. The drivers themselves are very low distortion and respond linearly to any cahnges introduced by the presets.

KMan - thank you for the explanation. I played with the Headroom settings in Roon - with & without. More importantly I did a lot of listening to different material.

I am pretty confident that the Roon Audeze setting is not the cause of distortion but rather the distortion is there in the source. However when the material does have distortion I feel the Audeze presets emphasizes the distortion. Is this the fault of the preset? I don’t think so, the noise is already there.

I listened to Miles Davis Kind of Blue, So What (DSD-64). The horns distort quite a bit at the beginning minute and again during the last 90 seconds. Without the preset the distortion is very much there, but with the preset it is too much there. However, the overall effect of the preset is definitely superior than without, but with an already noisy source and the noise at the wrong place, I’m better off without it engaged.

Listened to other material where there is no noise and it sounds great, better than without. The headphone effect (stage at your ears and above your head, rather than in front of you) fades away and there is definitely more a feeling of being closer to there than sitting in your living room. Also there is more snap in the drums and bass notes (you can hear the plucking of bass strings on Sympathy For Devil (Beggars Banquet - 176.4/24). Santana’s transition from Black Magic Woman to Oye Como Va (Abraxas DSD64) the percussions just jump out and sound more full with than without.

Hats off. The magic works.

1 Like

Think I need to add some more opinion here.

Yes everything I said about better Bass and Drums, more presence and better stage depth. But there definitely is a dip in the higher frequencies. The air around the singer is gone and in some cases soft singing backup singers totally disappear.

On Jack Straw (Grateful Dead, Cornell’77, 192/24) Garcia singing soft backup to Weir’s totally disappears from the recording when the preset is engaged. I listened to it several times and it is almost like a ghost appears when I disable the preset. You really don’t notice what’s missing until you turn it off.

Norah Jones’ rasp in her voice disappears on Don’t Know Why (Come Away with Me 192/24). The air around her is gone. This is not a good thing.

I still think the overall effect has a lot of pluses. It is enjoyable, sounds really good overall, but then there is that little bit missing at the top. I’ll probably forever play with it back and forth trying to determine what I prefer. Am I hearing something with it off that I don’t with it on? Am I hearing something with it on that I don’t hear with it off? The answer is Yes and Yes.

Thanks for the feedback. I will have to check those tracks with my reference system and compare it to the presets to see what is missing or if the phase response of the presets can be improved,

Please try the linear filters and let me know what you think.

KMan sorry it has taken so long to respond, but I’ve been listening and listening trying to understand the differences.

First my equipment again, Audeze LCD-XC headphones connected via custom balanced cables into Mytek Brooklyn DAC.

I listened to both filter types - Audeze Low Latency and Audeze Linear. I played with the Dry-Wet settings A LOT. First impression, the range of differences on the Linear filter between 0 and 100% is far greater than the difference I heard when comparing 0 and 100% on the Low Latency. In my opinion the Audeze Linear at 0% sounds like the Audeze filter is disabled while with the Low Latency I feel I’m still hearing a slight difference between the filter enabled and disabled.

For this exercise I focused on differences between 0 and 100%. Although I did play with the filters at 50% I thought for the purposes here it just muddies the waters here.

With the filters engaged at 0% the location of the voices are located inside my head slightly behind my ears. At 100% the voices move to just in front of the top of my forehead. I felt that was the same for both filters, possibly the Low Latency slightly more forward than the Linear - though it is close. The bass guitars seemed to follow the voices there too but more still in my head rather than in front of my forehead. Overall I prefer that forward presentation than behind my ears. I found the rest of the instruments pretty much remained where they were without the filters.

With the filters engaged there is a vail placed on the music. The air around the instruments is gone. The snap of a bass string and the stick hitting a snare drum is gone. It feels as though the top and bottom frequencies have been rolled off slightly. In some recordings this actually worked out in a positive manner. For example Avett Brothers “I and Love and You” benefited because the recording had a lot of harshness on the top, the filter removed it in a very positive way. Beck’s Morning Phase benefited too in my opinion.

I listened to many recordings, back and forth, trying both filters, trying them at 0 and 100 (also at 50). Overall in my humble opinion I prefer the filters at zero (i.e. off) than at 100 except for recordings that were harsh at the highs. I do like the relocation of the voices but really miss the air around the instruments, the raspiness of Norah Jone’s voice, the snap as the bass string is plucked, the tapping of the drum stick.

I think it needs to be listened at the 50% settings to see if there is a happy middle. That’s for another week.

Music listened to over and over for this:

Norah Jones - Come Away with Me (192/24)
Muddy Waters - Folk Singer (192/24)
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - Alone & Acoustic (44/16)
The Avett Bros - I and Love and You (96/24)
Grateful Dead - Cornell May 1977 (192/24)
Beck - Morning Phase (96/24)
Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet (DSD 64)
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (DSD 64)
Santana - Abraxax (DSD 64)

There were lots of others, but a track here and there on each.

Thanks for your detailed feedback.

As you may have already found, at 0% the presets are not engaged and the signal just passes through.

When the presets are engaged at 100%, both the low latency and the linear filters should produce exactly the same tonal change, any perceived difference is terms of transparency and clarity directly as a result of linear phase response.

From your feedback it looks like you do not like the change in the treble response that much, setting it at 50% may be a good compromise.

KMan - I’ll run through another detailed listening session (soonish), comparing 0-50% (off to middle) and let you know what I find.

This distortion is on the original recording. It must be on the master tapes because it is not only on the SACD version (which is a remix by the way) but on the mono version and on the older pre-remix CD version. My TT is currently down or I’d check the vinyl version, but I’ll bet its there too.

@KMan I have some LCD-4z’s coming to me soon. Yay me :slight_smile: Should I use the LCD-4 preset for these? There is not a LCD-4z specific preset in Roon currently.

Yes we will add presets for LCD-4Z and LCD2C Closed within the next 2-3 weeks. Till then, LCD-4 preset would be the closest.

Sounds good, thanks!

BTW, can Roon EQ be used also with an Audeze preset? Or, is this not recommended?

Yes you can use both together.

1 Like

I like it at 0 - I thought the most accurate reproduction was let the sound pass through? Am I incorrect with my presumption. Btw the headphones produce beautiful reproduction and with Roon I have notice both the flexibility and improvements in sound quality.

Does the DSP engine for Audeze headphones require upgraded Nucleus+ hardware, or do they work with Nucleus?

At the moment I am listening to a 24/88 album with the Audeze LCD-4z, and my regular Nucleus shows a processing factor of 94x, which means I am using about 1% of the CPU.

1 Like

I recently picked up a set of Audeze LCD-X, and I really like how the headphone presets work. Are any of the other major headphone manufacturers game to work with Roon on this? Sennheiser, HiFiMan, Mr. Speakers? I plan on being at a meet this Saturday in LA where the Mr. Speakers manufacturer will be present. I plan on asking him the same question.

@brian

We’ve approached some others, and would love to do more, but we haven’t found anyone else interested. The main issue seems to be that headphone manufacturers aren’t used to creating DSP for their products and don’t have the right staff/expertise to create the presets + stand behind them. Some also think of the idea that their products need correction as a touchy subject. Audeze is very progressive in their attitudes towards DSP and its role, so they were a natural fit for this sort of thing.

3 Likes