|Audyssey Sound Equalizer|
|Home Theater Accessories Acoustics, EQ & Room Tuning|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Sunday, 01 July 2007|
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Movies And Music
Starting with Norah Jones’ latest album, Not Too Late (Blue Note Records), the sound the Audyssey EQ freed my system into producing was, for lack of a better word, stunning. Norah’s vocals were clearer, more accurate and full of detail with the Audyssey EQ in my system. The resulting sounds stemming from the simple drum kit on up were jaw-dropping. Bass lines, especially double bass, firmed up considerably, resulting in an increase in audible definition. The whole spectrum sounded as if it had been dusted off and polished. The midrange was sublime and warm, without any signs of bloat. Everything within the soundstage snapped into supreme focus. Even when playing back “Wish I Could” through my Meridian in-walls, the soundstage width and depth was truly impressive. Another nice benefit, due largely to the Audyssey’s multi-position calibration, was the fact that the soundstage was much more accommodating of multiple listeners. Friends commented that the overall coherence changed very little as they moved right to left on my sofa. No longer, it seems, are audiophiles forced to keep their head in the proverbial vise in the sweet spot of the room.
Moving onto multi-channel music, I opted for something a bit harder and went with the DVD-Audio version of Core from Stone Temple Pilots (Atlantic). While not usually revered for its multi-channel mastering and quality, the DVD-A version of Core proved more than eye-opening, with the Audyssey EQ. Again, vocals gained in clarity tenfold and the same held true for the band’s raging guitars and driving drums. The bass overall was more tightly controlled and rife with definition, so that I felt I was hearing the whole album for the first time. The band’s dynamics improved from merely fast-paced to explosive. All of the band’s grit and rawness, especially Scott Weiland’s vocals, were preserved without becoming excessive or harsh. Seriously, the Audyssey EQ simply works and does absolutely nothing objectionable to the sound itself. It is the only product of its kind I have auditioned that seemingly has no audible drawbacks when it comes to stereo or multi-channel music.
Next, I fired up my DVD Audio disc of Santana’s Supernatural (Arista). This is an album that needs no introduction, especially the Rob Thomas duet “Smooth.” Again, with the Audyssey EQ in tow, the entire musical presentation improved dramatically. The higher frequencies, especially Santana’s own guitar, were crystal clear and more resolute then I had previously experienced with the higher-resolution format. Rob Thomas’ vocals were, pardon my pun, smooth and inviting. The bongo drums had a little extra zest to them, which came in the form of air, reverberation and extension into the room. Everything became more palpable and three-dimensional across the board. I skipped back to another Santana duet, “Put Your Lights On” with Everlast. While I don’t particularly like the sound of Everlast’s voice, I did like what I was hearing with the Audyssey EQ. If I may be frank, to me, Everlast sounds like a man straining on the toilet while sucking back a pack of Marlboros. With the Audyssey EQ in my system, I got all of that and more. Everlast’s voice is truly gritty and, without making it overtly harsh, the Audyssey EQ did little to mask what I loathe, which I found to be an incredibly good thing. The Audyssey EQ can and will make your system better as it pertains to your room. However, it cannot make your system or the music being played back better, which I find to be incredibly useful for those with reference systems and/or reviewers like myself who try to give every piece of new gear a fair shake.
I ended my evaluation with director Edward Zwick’s latest epic, Blood Diamond, on DVD starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Warner Home Video). Blood Diamond is one of those films that stays with you long after you turn it off; it’s beautifully executed from start to finish and sheds a much-needed light on some problems facing the global community as it pertains to the continuing struggles in Africa. None of the film’s meaning or impact was lost when played back with the Audyssey EQ in my system. In fact, as impressed as I was with the Audyssey EQ’s musical performance, I was absolutely floored by what this little silver box can do for movies. Dialogue, even during complex actions scenes featuring manic gunfire and roaring helicopters, was not only easily discernable, but also carried with it appropriate weight and scale. The actors no longer sounded as though there were a microphone between them and the listeners. Action sequences, like the climatic onslaught at the RUF camp, were almost aurally overwhelming with the Audyssey EQ for every single element, from the strafing of the sands to the rustle of the leaves, was brought to life in ways that began to trick the mind into thinking a lot of the action taking place was actually happening in the living room. Don’t believe me? One only has to press the on/off toggle on the Audyssey EQ’s faceplate to hear what I’m talking about. In terms of overall performance, forget about it. Everything, and I mean everything, is more defined, more spacious, more dimensional and overall more real when the Audyssey EQ is fired up. It’s simply magical what the Audyssey EQ can do.