I want to get into DRC and have read the big thread on here about it, and also a Roon blog on it (DRC for less than $100). The outcome I’m after is to measure and correct the three the Roon endpoints that I have in my home using convolution filters in Roon.
I’m trying to put together a list of everything that I will need. Here’s my list so far:
- Computer (Windows or Mac)
- Software (e.g. REW)
- USB audio device
- Measuring microphone
- Interconnect cables
(1) and (2) are fine to understand for me. It’s (3) to (5) that I’m unclear on. The USB audio device that I’m considering is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd gen). This connects to my computer via USB. For the measuring mic I’ll need an XLR cable connecting the mic to the Focusrite.
How does the audio system play tones sent by REW? It’s the connection to my audio system that I’m unclear about.
Connect the line level output of the Focusrite to a line level input on the amplifier. Select that input on the endpoint amplifier (turn volume down first!).
For the microphone go with a USB one like miniDSP UMIK-1 rather than a XLR one that will then need phantom power and a mic preamp to work (this is what the Focusrite Scarlett is often used/suggested for). Will make your life so much easier. You can then simply plug the USB microphone directly into a USB port on your laptop to take measurements.
As for the audio output from your laptop (which provides the test signal to your setup).
Does your amplifier or DAC have a USB or optical input? if so you may be able to hook your laptop up to it directly, either via USB or a 3.5mm MiniTosLink to TosLink cable (some laptops like Mac’s have a dual purpose 3.5mm audio output that can pass both a analog or digital signal).
Failing that, if your laptop has a standard 3.5mm analog output you can just hook it up to your amp using a stereo 3.5mm to RCA cable. Even if you eventually want to buy an external USB DAC/Soundcard (like the Focusrite) I’d start simple and just use a 3.5mm to RCA cable till you get your head around taking measurements — the process will be near identical regales of wether you use a USB DAC or the laptops analog output and depending on your laptop you may find the built in analog output is fine for your measurement needs.
My laptop is a bit rubbish. I generally only use it for firmware updates for things like headsets where a Windows 10 machine is required. It does have a headphone out. I live in the UK where things are extremely hard to get hold of (since Brexit) and the UMIL-1 is extremely expensive. Ironically, a Scarlett Solo + Sonarworks SoundID reference mic works out around the same price as one UMIK-1.
I’d save the test signal to a file, import it into Roon and then play it on repeat to measure for example with pink noise for the moving mic procedure…
To do that:
- select Generator in REW
- select the desired test signal and set parameters accordingly
- select save to file
- select channels and format
- save wav file
A miniDSP UMIC1 USB microphone is sufficient for the task and comes with a calibration file to be used with REW.
I’d been typing my post while you posted, so missed that…
How many £ are we talking for the UMIC1 in the United Brexit?
UMIK-1 is 125 GBP = 172 USD = 147 Euro
Prices vary depending on the outlet. I’ve seen prices up to 160GBP. Importing might not be cheaper as there’d be customs duty to pay. Life was so much cheaper and simpler before…
I would recommend contacting homeaudiofidelity.com who can help you to take acoustic measurements of your room, and will develop filters for you which you can load into Roon. As long as you have a computer the only hardware you’ll need is a USB mic such as the UMIK-1.
Getting a pro to do this for you is likely to give better results than a DIY approach if this is all new to you.
I’ve a umik you can borrow for the price of postage if you want.
Thanks for the offer, that’s very kind of you. I’ve got some equipment on order which should arrive in about a week so I’ll see how it goes with that.
I’m mostly interested in the learning experience with regards to DRC.
It’s fun, but give yourself time. Initial results may not be great, but keep learning and experimenting. You’ll get there. Take measurements of your system after applying your filters and save the results so that you can track your progress.
I cannot emphasise enough how such good advice this is.
To be honest people trying to do this stuff themselves strikes me like people trying to do a triple bypass on a loved one after a few internet tutorials. For a few dollars more let the experts do it.
I am trying to do DRC for my B&W 804s where the AV system is upstairs and down the hall from the speakers. Can I hook up my laptop to a Project Pre Box S2 Digital to a Parasound amp into the 804s and the UMIK1 Mic to the laptop? I also don’t understand how to set up a calibration file. Your help is greatly appreciated.