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Disclaimer

Dirac Research AB cannot be held responsible for the improper use of configuration of the Dirac Live® software, or for any damage that might occur due to improper use or configuration. This manual is intended to provide a guide for proper use of the software, but possibilities for use are such that no manual can be considered exhaustive for every scenario. Therefore, in addition to reading and understanding the material contained in this guide, we encourage you to utilize caution when using the Dirac Live® software, as misconfiguration, especially with regard to output gains or boost, can produce signals that may damage your audio system or hearing.

The Dirac Live® Product

Dirac Live® is a room acoustic solution that enables users to measure and optimize their sound systems to their preferences and reduces sound colorations introduced by the room. Dirac Live® has two features: room correction, included with every software package, and bass control, an add-on feature available as separate purchase. This Quick Start Guide will walk you through setup and use of the bundled room correction feature.

Initial Setup

System requirements

Dirac Live® 3 requires a Windows or macOS computer with the following minimum specification

Windows

  1. Microsoft Windows 10
  2. Intel i3 or equivalent
  3. 2GB RAM

Mac

  1. macOS 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina, or later
  2. Intel i3 or equivalent
  3. 2GB RAM

Network settings

Both the Dirac Live® 3 application and the Dirac Live®-supported hardware need to be connected to the same network to facilitate communication. The Dirac Live® 3 application also requires access to the internet to access the license server and run certain calculations.

Firewall

Configure your firewall to allow connections from the Dirac Live® 3 application.

  • macOS: In "System Preferences" → "Security & Privacy," make sure that "Allow incoming connections" is set for Dirac Live® 3.

  • Windows 10: In "Windows Defender Firewall" → "Allowed apps," enable access for diraclive.exe on the current network type (Private or Public).

If you are using Kaspersky, please see the following guide: Troubleshooting: Problems with Kaspersky (Windows)

Initial Microphone & Speaker Setup

Before starting with the room calibration, you must have a calibration microphone and ensure it is configured properly.

Microphone

Dirac Live® 3 requires an omnidirectional calibration microphone with an associated calibration file. We suggest the miniDSP UMIK-1 microphone due to its ease of use and universal drivers. Please note that the measurement microphone is not included in the Dirac Live® Room Correction software purchase.

Where should I connect the microphone?

If the Dirac Live®-enabled device comes with a calibration microphone, we recommend connecting the included calibration microphone to the device and not the computer, as the calibration file is fetched from the device. The included microphone, or an approved third-party microphone, can also be connected to the computer if the Hi-Fi device is placed far away from the listening area—but in this case it becomes crucial to use the associated calibration file for the microphone.

Microphone Access

If the calibration microphone is connected to the computer, the Dirac Live® 3 application needs to access the microphone to do the measurement.

Windows

  1. Go to "Sound Settings."
  2. Under "Related Settings," select "Sound Control Panel."
  3. Select the microphone you want to use for the calibration.
  4. Click "Properties" and then choose the Advanced tab.
  5. Make sure that both checkboxes under "Exclusive Mode" are selected.
  6. If visible, uncheck the box under "Enable audio enhancements."

Ensure the checkbox for "Enable audio enhancements" is unchecked.

Mac

  1. Go "System Preferences" → "Security and Privacy."
  2. Under the "Privacy" tab, select "Microphone" and check the box next to Dirac Live® 3.

Dirac Live® 3 Calibration Guide

Installing the software

Download the latest version of Dirac Live® 3.x.x from https://live.dirac.com/download/ and save it to a suitable location.
Double-click on "DiracLive v3.x.x Setup Windows.exe" on Windows or unzip the "DiracLive-v3.x.x-Setup-Darwin.zip" on Mac and follow the steps in the installer.
After installation, make sure your device is connected to the same local network as your computer. Your computer also needs to be connected to the internet for licensing purposes.

Dirac Live® account

On the first screen that shows up after launching Dirac Live® 3, you will enter your account details. Depending on the manufacturer, your Dirac Live® 3-enabled device may or may not include feature license(s) by default. If you bought a feature from our webstore, you will need to enter your account details in the application to use it.

Select Device

Next, the Dirac Live® 3 application will scan your network for all compatible devices. Make certain your device and the computer are connected to the same network and have full network access. All found devices will be listed as an option that can be clicked on.

If you have trouble with device discovery, see: Troubleshooting: No Devices Found

Common user interface items

Once you have selected a device, you will enter the Select Recording Device page, which starts the calibration procedure. This section describes the function of the common user interface items available during the whole calibration process. 

Menu button

The menu is found by pressing the Menu button in the left upper corner. The menu includes some standard user features such as saving and loading projects, application themes, languages, etc.

Auto-save

After each measurement is taken, the project is auto-saved. The auto-saved project can be found in:

Windows

  • %userprofile%\Dirac\projects\autosave

Mac

  • <User>/Dirac/projects/autosave

Help text

If you get stuck and don't know what to do during the application, you can always press the help button  . Pressing the help button will give you the necessary information on how to proceed with your calibration.

Notifications

Dirac Live® 3 uses different types of notifications to keep the user updated about changes or errors.Yellow indicates an error. Green indicates that a procedure was successful. Black and blue are general notifications.

Sidebar

The sidebar presents general information about the connected device, such as manufacturer, logo, model, and system name. The filter available on the unit can be seen under "Filters." The sidebar can be minimized by pressing the section between the sidebar and the rest of the page.
Note: Depending on your device, changing the configuration may clear the filter list or switch to a configuration-specific filter list. You should never change device configuration while performing a room correction.

Navigation bar & buttons

At the bottom of the page, you will find two buttons for navigating forward or backward in the application.

The navigation bar at the top of the page shows where you are in the application. You may also navigate directly to a page you have visited previously by pressing one of the black circles.

Select Recording Device

After you have selected a device, you will need to select a microphone to record the stimulus, or test tones, played by your device. All microphones connected to your computer and your device will be listed on the "Select Recording Device" page.

  • The microphones over the "Local System" section will show all microphones connected to your computer.
  • The microphone connected to your device will be shown over the device logo.
  • A selected microphone will have a thin border surrounding it.

Select the microphone that you wish to use for measurements—usually the one you connected during setup. Click the bottom of the microphone's box to load the relevant calibration file. Selecting "No calibration" after clicking the context menu bypasses any compensations to the raw input stream and is not recommended.  Make sure that the microphone calibration file is created for 90-degree measurements. 

After choosing the calibration microphone and loading a calibration file, you want to proceed to the "Volume Calibration" page by pressing the navigation button in the lower right corner. 

Volume Calibration

Since the filter design algorithm requires that the speakers be measured with a moderate sound pressure level and a noise level as low as possible, it is crucial to do a level calibration of the system before measurement. The microphone should first be positioned in the center of the listening area. This is the "sweet spot." 

  1. Set the Mic gain to 100%, which is the point between the red and blue areas.
  2. The "Master output" level must be set to a low volume in order to avoid damage to your ears or speakers. If it is not already set to a low volume, drag the magnitude indicator to the lower part of the slider.
  3. Press the play button beneath the speaker located furthest to the left. The speaker should now play a stimulus in the form of a pink noise or, if the speaker is a subwoofer, short sine sweeps. If you cannot hear the stimulus, slowly raise the "Master output" level until you hear it.
  4. Repeat this procedure for all speakers. If there is no noise playing from one or more speakers, make sure that your device is configured to the correct speaker configuration and that your speakers are connected to the device. Ensure that the device's firmware is also properly recognizing each speaker.
  5. After you have confirmed that all speakers play stimulus, then play the stimulus from the furthest left speaker again. Ensure the sound pressure indicator indicates sound being played.
  6. Adjust the Master Output to a comfortable or slightly louder-than-normal listening level for Measurement and then proceed.

    1. If you receive a Signal-to-Noise Ratio error during Measurement, you will need to increase Master Output or decrease Mic Gain at the Volume Calibration stage.

    2. If you receive a Clipping error during Measurement, you will need to decrease Master Output at the Volume Calibration stage.

Remember that volume of the stimulus should never hurt your ears. There is a lock on the Master output slider for safety reasons. However, if you need to raise the volume into the red zone and are positive that your system can handle it, press the red lock that appears above the slider. You should now be able to drag the slider into the red area.

Select Arrangement

In the "Select Arrangement" view, select the arrangement that best matches the arrangement to be measured. The variations we offer act as a guide to positioning the microphone. The core difference between the arrangements is the number of measurement points that are allowed.
The first measurement should always be taken in the center of the listening region, in the desired sweet spot, as this will be used for aligning levels and delay between speakers.
An arrangement can be chosen from the arrangement menu. In the arrangement menu, the home section has three different arrangements: Tightly focused imaging, Focused imaging, and Wide imaging, which provide 9, 13, and 17 measurement points, respectively.

Tightly focused imaging

This measurement arrangement represents a well-defined listening area from which the listener rarely moves.

Note: The tighter the measurements are placed, the more extreme the correction.

Focused imaging

The measurement arrangement represents a listening area with one well-defined listening position that should still accommodate a degree of flexibility. Select this arrangement if the listening area is a two or three-seat sofa.

Wide imaging

This measurement arrangement represents a larger listening area for multiple listeners. This setting works for both corner sofas and for listening areas that are distributed across two or more sofas.

Tip: It is recommended to spread out measurement points evenly across the whole listening area. However, for the "Wide" and "Focused" listening arrangements, measurements can be taken more densely at a specific position to emphasize it more strongly. 

Measurement Procedure

Ensure there is a clear line of sight between the microphone and speakers, no background noise (TV, air conditioning, construction work, etc.) while doing the measurements, and remember to keep the microphone perfectly still, using a stand or similar. A sweep will be played through each speaker, and a final sweep will be played through the first speaker again.

  1. The first measurement should always be taken in the center of the listening region, in the commonest listening position or "sweet spot," as this will align levels and delays between speakers. 
  2. Press the measure button to collect a set of measurements. This will play a sweep in each speaker and one final sweep in the first speaker again.
  3. Press the timer to select a delay between 2-15 seconds before the measurement start. This will give you time to get out of the listening area, or to lower your laptop lid if it interferes with line-of-sight.
  4. Move the microphone to the next indicated position and press "Measure." Repeat this procedure for all measurement points or until you have spanned the whole seating area. Tip: Hover over a measurement point to get a help text on where the point should be positioned.
  5. Proceed to the filter design page after all recommended positions have been measured.
  6. Your project will now be auto-saved.

Potential problems and workarounds during measurement: 

  • Clipping: If the output level is too high during measurement, the signal will clip, and the measurement will be terminated. Return to Volume Calibration to reduce the gain of the corresponding speaker or master volume of the system. 
  • Low SNR (signal-to-noise ratio): If the level is too low during measurement, it is difficult for the application to discern signal and background noise. Return to Volume Calibration to increase the gain of the corresponding speaker or master volume of the system. See more here: Troubleshooting: Low Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)

Filter Design

With the measurement done, we have all the information to correct for any distortion in the system. The filter design page shows each speaker's averages frequency response before & after Dirac Live® has been applied. The frequency response itself shows how much energy the speaker can produce for a certain frequency. For example, in the figure below, the room resonance has caused a 10 dB energy boost at 60 Hz and 5-10 dB attenuation above 100 Hz. A sharp peak like this at 60 Hz will amplify some bass notes more than others making the bass reproduction of the system uneven. The valley above 100 Hz will reduce the feeling of warmth of the system. These are distortions that Dirac Live® 3 will correct.

Tip: You can zoom in and out by using the wheel on the mouse. 

Speaker groups

Speakers with similar physical attributes are automatically grouped. Speakers within a group will have the same target curve and, in turn, also have a similar frequency response. If you want individual target curves for the speakers within a group, you can separate the speakers by dragging a speaker from within a group to the empty area shown in the figure below.

Target curve

The target curve is a tool to edit the frequency response of a speaker or a group of speakers. Dirac Live® 3 will construct a mixed-phase filter to make the systems frequency response mirror the target curve. Dirac Live® 3 will automatically generate suggested target curve(s) and resulting filters intended to make the sound image in your room as even as possible. These curves can be adjusted to your preferences.

The target curve can be modified (and emphasis on a particular frequency increased or decreased) by dragging the control point.

Control points can be added by right-clicking on the target curve and select "Add control point." A control point can also be deleted by right-clicking on it and pressing "Delete control point."

At any time, you can load the default or custom target curve from the menu in the upper left corner. Choose between loading the target curve to a specific group or all groups.

Tip: A small change to the target curve can dramatically change the perceived sound quality. It is therefore recommended to edit the target curve with care and awareness.

You can play around with some different target curves by exporting different filters to your device and finding the one you prefer. Save your project often to give yourself the latitude to make adjustments without committing to any potential negative side-effects.

If you experience phase issues from an exported filter, you may have measured too few measurement points or measured in too small an area. You can always go back to the Measure page and re-measure points or measure more.

The default target curve often attenuates the bass response of the room. Many users prefer to amplify the bass region to mirror the room's natural response. This can be done by adding a 6 dB bump under 100 Hz, as shown below.

Curtains

Curtains can be used to restrict the area that is going to be corrected. The light grey area on the curtain's right is going to be corrected in contrast to the dark grey area left of the curtain, which will not be corrected. Hovering over the curtain will highlight it in light blue. The curtain can be dragged by pressing the left mouse button over the curtain. The dashed line is the detected lower cutoff frequency for the speaker. It is not recommended to drag the curtain below this point since the speaker is not designed to produce energy at these low frequencies.

Snapshot

Take snapshot function will create a snapshot of the current state – if a change is made to a target curve, it is possible to switch between snapshots without saving/load projects.

Impulse response view

The impulse response illustrates the precision and distinctness of the sound before and after Dirac Live® 3 compensation. Each speaker's impulse response can be seen by pressing the "Impulse response" tab in the upper left corner.

In the figure below, we can study the drivers' misalignment in the speaker, where the energy is spread out over time. After Dirac Live® correction, the impulse response's energy is well defined over a small period, making the sound sharper and more detailed.

Filter export 

The last step of the process is exporting the filter generated by Dirac Live® 3 for a live listening test. Select a slot and save under the desired name (there may be an auto-generated name, which can be replaced). When the export is complete, the application will return to the Filter Design view. Do not forget to save your project before closing the application.