Re: Audyssey Announces Dynamic Volume
You both are essentially right, and therefore also both a bit off.
Room correction is something I have been playing with for years now, first with my Meridian 861v4, which I must admit was not a very user friendly way to correct a room, to multiple receivers (and the new Denon pre/pro which I haven't yet opened but will do immediately when I go home in a few weeks!) with Audyssey (a few different versions), and have also had the joy of using the new Anthem Statement D2 with Anthem's Room Correction (review forthcoming) based on Canada's National Research Council's ideal room acoustic response, and I can say that room correction is one of the best new technologies to hit the HT business in years, maybe even decades!
This is not to discredit treating the room itself. Since the primary trouble comes from the room itself, a poorly treated room, or a totally untreated room will place significantly more stress on the room correction system, adding more potential for error and distortion.
In an ideal world, we all would have our rooms treated as best as possible, THEN also use room correction. This way the demands on the room correction could be minimized, and you could obtain the maximum sonic benefit with the least alteration of the audio signal. I agree with fitz that this often isn't possible, for numerous reasons, architecture, WAF, space etc all limit what we can do.
Even in my home where the wife allows me total free rein of the multiple stereo systems in the home, I must admit, my rooms could be better, because they weren't built as perfect anechoic chambers, they will never be one! That said, good speaker placement (thanks for tolerating them so far into the room sometimes Judith!) does help maximize performance, but the room is still a huge factor. The room correction software out there helps to 'make the best of it' for what we each face.
This is why I feel it is such an important advance in HT. When I was turning on and off the Anthem ARC in my reference rig, it was amazing how much better the balance from front to back was, and this from a system that has identical front and rear speakers (I am still using the Def Tech Mythos ST's for all four). I have a pretty good idea how to work a speaker into a room, but must admit I wasn't ready for how much better the ARC made the rears match the fronts! Now, if an experienced audio and HT geek like me can be awed by this, I imagine those who, as fritz says put their speakers where they look good will be pushed so much closer to the ideal sound we all are striving for that they will reap HUGE benefits from room correction, making their audio experience better than it would ever have been without such a system.
So you can see my feelings, first, try to maximize what you can, speaker placement, component synergy and room acoustics. THEN use the room correction software.
Ken Taraszka, MD