Originally Posted by HerbHHH
So what do I make of this experience? Was it just a bad measurement? Or are some of these issues to be expected with the Realiser?
If it was a bad measurement - what was the likely problem? How difficult is it to get "good" measurements?
Any thoughts appreciated - I really wanted to like the Realiser but this demo was quite underwhelming.
Hard to say exactly what could account for each and every one of your problems, but the "skill of the calibrator" could certainly contribute greatly. The proper placement of the two microphones in your ears is THE most crucial factor when doing either PRIR or HPEQ calibration. If they are in too far, or misaligned/rotated, then the resulting sound that "they hear" will not provide an accurate representation of what your own ears hear. If the microphones are jostled a bit, or move when the headphones get put over them for the brief HPEQ calibration process, again the results will be impaired. It's like similar non-optimal results from knocking your prescription eyeglasses out of alignment, or sitting on them, or even worse trying to borrow someone else's prescription eyeglasses and think you will be able to see properly. You have similar non-optimal performance from the Realiser when you just try to use someone else's PRIR!
Also, although it takes somewhat longer, my own personal method of doing a PRIR is to do (a) long sweep of 12 seconds through each speaker vs. short sweep of 4 seconds, and (b) number of repetitions 4 vs. just 1 just to minimize the effect of involuntary body movements and other things which might get picked up in the microphones, with the results averaged out by the Realiser. That's a total required time of 12x longer to create the PRIR, but my own feeling is that is will probably produce a "more accurate result" (though that may be a bit placebo effect).
Also, I can say that while the entry-level Stax headphone system is "acceptable" in providing what SVS requires, it cannot compare to the high-end Stax systems in just being a high-quality headphone system. The better the headphone system, the better EVERYTHING sounds... including trying to duplicate a high-end speaker system through the Realiser. And I'm not just talking about loudness or "tonal quality" (although inevitably the brain handles sound with "louder seems better"), I'm talking about the ability to do what is needed to accomplish in analog form what the digital signal processing in the Realiser/PRIR/HPEQ system is trying to accomplish which also has a "spatial relationship of sound direction" aspect to it.
Bottom line, there could be a number of factors which contributed to your less-than-satisfying demonstration experience but I would "blame" the calibrator probably in microphone placement in your ears, since you say the actual sound in the room was very high-end and wonderful. Your lofty expectations of being able to have the Realiser be able to duplicate EXACTLY all of the audio and spatial direction cues your own ears/brain pick up when listening to real speakers, well these are probably well-founded although this is obviously still just a process of trying to "simulate" multi-directional sound via DSP and just two L/R stereo headphones. And of course listening to anything through headphones is not going to move huge air masses against your body like big speakers will for experiencing low-frequency sound the same way. After all, it is fundamentally "headphone sound", not speakers, and the fundamental differences are obvious. And if it was simply the entry-level Stax headphone system being used for the demo, well that too is a factor even for just listening to 2-channel stereo sound "straight through".
The Realiser does an amazing job of making that all happen, though a better headphone delivery system side of the process certainly adds to the illusion quality. But at the core, the PRIR/HPEQ is really the most critical component.
Maybe give it a second try, given these new insights?
Edited by dsperber - 3/19/13 at 12:06pm