October 27, 2017 at 7:22 am #11466
I have been using the EA101eq for over a year now and I have to say, that it quite a nice and small amp.
I was always interested in how good the auto-EQ feature is and how closely it compares to manual eq.
So, I did a few tests to see what this auto-EQ feature is capable of.
First picture you see, is the frequency response of my complete system. I´m using Kef iQ30 speakers and a SVS SB 2000 subwoofer.
The speakers where crossed over at 80hz to the subwoofer with the Elac auto-blend. Other than that, no EQ correction took place.
The frequency response was measured from 10hz to 20khz with a measurement mic at the listening position. All graphs are smoothed with 12/octave smoothing.
As you can see, the uncorrected room response is quite bumpy. It got a heavy spike at around 54 hertz and a serious dip around 250 hertz.
I know this is bad, but I have to live with this room for now. I´m also completely aware that no eq in the world can fix this room completely.
But you can certainly improve the frequency response of my room with an eq.
This is what it looks like after auto-EQ correction with the EA101eq:
At first glance, it does look a bit nicer. And I have to admit, it does sound a bit better than my uncorrected room.
The auto-EQ feature took care of the heavy resonance at 54 hertz in my room. For my taste, it cut a little too deep, so the resulting frequency response is still quite wavy.
And as you can see, the auto-EQ feature also tried to boost around 100 to 200 hertz, as I do have a dip in my uncorrected response around this area.
Somehow it manages to overshoot and pushes the 100 to 200 range nearly 6db louder than anything else in the frequency graph.
This sounds is very distracting and does not sound good at all.
Next problem with the auto-EQ is, that it only corrects up to 200 hertz. The big dip in my room sadly is at 250 hertz, so the auto-EQ will not correct it.
Is it possible to do better with manual EQ?
This is my room response equalized manually. For that I used Equalizer APO on my PC. And this is the resulting room response:
I think I did a much better job at correcting the frequency response in my room.
The dip at 250 hertz is not as deep anymore, the heavy resonance at 54 hertz is tamed nicely and the overall response is much flatter. And I could perfect it even more if I would tinker around with my manual correction curve for a little longer.
After all this testing, I also gave my room a listen.
The uncorrected room is not nice to listen in. The dip around 250 hertz is less obvious, as the graph might suggest. But it still lacks mid bass. And the huge spike in the deep bass range is very irritating and shakes and rumbles the room when a note hits this low.
The corrected response with the auto-EQ feature is better, but not great. It did an ok job at reducing the resonance at 54hz. But it did poorly at 100 to 200hz and did nothing at my 250hz problem frequency.
So, the deep bass was smoother with the auto-EQ, but I was quickly annoyed by the boost in the lower mids. This made everything sound extremely nasally.
The corrected response with the manual EQ sounded just as I hoped it would sound. Sure, it does not correct the room completely, but it made a huge, huge difference in comparison to the uncorrected and auto-EQ responses.
It sounds smooth and linear. Well as linear, as this room gets 😉
My uncorrected room is a worst-case scenario and sounds bad.
The auto-EQ feature makes things a little bit better, but can also introduce more problems.
My manually corrected room response sounds pretty good and is miles ahead of the uncorrected or auto-EQ response.
In the end, I could never get the auto-EQ feature to work as advertised. That´s very sad, because this was the feature which made me buy the amp in the first place 🙁
Suggestions to ELAC:
Let the user change the auto-EQ curve. In my case I would just tone down the 100 to 200 hertz range a bit and then the result of the auto-EQ would be half way decent.
Better yet, give the user the flexibility to dial in a manual EQ correction curve via the app. A 10-band equalizer with q controls will do the trick.
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