2012 Recommended Components Signal Processors
Meridian 861 with MRC room correction: $18,995 ✩
The MRC’s correction scheme is based on calculating and inserting multiple narrow notch filters for each speaker in each of the 861’s applications (see “Music Surround Components”). In order to reduce the decay time of each strong resonant mode with respect to the average decay time for the room, the notch filters are configured to match the frequency and time parameters of the resonant modes. In addition, the MRC limits the amount of correction to avoid making an audible change in the immediate sound from the speakers. KR’s system gained seamless wraparound imaging and significantly tighter and surprisingly powerful subwoofer performance. “Perhaps the most customizable and effective multichannel room correction system for below 200Hz. I am continuing to discover more about it with each use.” Stereophile’s 2006 “Multichannel Music Component.” (Vol.29 No.7 Read Review Online)
Paradigm Reference PBK: $99
An adaption of the formidable Anthem Room Correction system used in Anthem’s Statement D2 processor, the PBK includes USB cables and a microphone, and will work with up to four Paradigm subwoofers. While easier to use and considerably less expensive than either the SVSound or Audyssey devices, the PBK’s subjective results were “no better or worse,” said Kal. The PBK provided “a huge improvement” in the bass performance of the Paradigm Reference SUB 15, however. “The PBK, the SUB 15’s obvious mate, is a bargain,” KR concluded. (Vol.33 No.1 Read Review Online)
Rives Audio PARC analog parametric equalizer: $4000 ✩
Of this two-channel, three-band parametric equalizer with Parametric Adaptive Room Compensation (PARC), KR said, “the PARC was completely transparent in both the critical midrange and the revealing treble range,” while in the lower midrange and bass, “the PARC was changing the sound, as intended.” Deep male voices were “always firmer, better defined harmonically and spatially, and easier to distinguish musically.” Large and complex passages of music were also improved: “I realized that, although there was no sapping of energy, there was a greatly enhanced facility to hear more of what was going on within the orchestra. PRaT (Pace, Rhythm, and Timing) fans will appreciate what PARC does to delineate the pulse and meter of the music.” One of Stereophile’s 2003 “Joint Accessories.” (Vol.26 No.7 Read Review Online)
Rives Audio sub-PARC: $5000 ✩
The sub-PARC adds a 1200W power amplifier to an analog three-band parametric EQ, making it “eminently suitable for use with a passive subwoofer,” said Kal. It includes RCA and XLR inputs for the left, right, and LFE channels; RCA and XLR output jacks for left, right, and subwoofer; and a pair of speaker terminals. Partnered with the XTZ Room Analyzer, the sub-PARC helped KR achieve a sound that was “clean and tight and powerful.” (Vol.31 No.11 Read Review Online)
Velodyne SMS-1: $499 ✩
This little box is at once an equalizer to be connected between a preamplifier-processor and subwoofer, a test-signal generator to be connected to a pre-pro’s line input, a display device to be connected via composite or S-video to your monitor, and all the interactive computation power needed. KR found that subwoofers benefited from the SMS-1, which linearized and flattened the bass. (Vol.28 No.11 Read Review Online)
DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 bass equalizer: $395 ✩ $$$
The Anti-Mode 8033 is a plug-and-play, DSP-based, single-channel bass equalizer with up to 24 Infinite Impulse Response digital filters. Its tiny chassis is powered by a 9V wall wart and has an RCA input jack and two RCA outputs. Kal noted tighter, cleaner low-end performance. “The DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 is a dandy little device for taking care of the major influences of room modes.” Price includes shipping. (Vol.32 No.1 Read Review Online)
MiniDSP modules, DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0.
SVSound AS-EQ1, Z-Systems rdp-1, both discontinued.