Need Recommendation - Spectrum Analyzer

So, I’ve had my RTi A9 speakers for almost a year now, and I really love them. My Parasound 2250 v.2 amp drives them with authority. For movies and TV, I let my Denon AVR-X3300W receiver handle the equalization / tone controls. But for music, I loop the sound through an ART EQ355 Dual 31-Band Equalizer. This EQ covers the entire audible spectrum (lowest slider covers the 20Hz band, and the highest slider is for the 20,000Hz band). This equalizer gives me amazing, pin-point control over the sound.

As I’ve listened to more and more music on my A9’s, I’ve made slight adjustments along the way to the equalization curve, and gradually, I’ve been getting the A9’s “dialed in” and sounding the way I like. I will admit to being less than scientific about how I’ve done it – I use the process of trial and error, until the speakers sound “right” to my ear. I play a wide variety of music and listen for anything that sticks out, or that is maybe a little underrepresented, and keep adjusting until I like what I hear.

So far, this unorthodox method of tuning has worked… mostly. I have everything from the mid-range all the way up to the top end sorted out beautifully. Vocals really “pop” and there is just enough cymbal and highhat in the music to let you know those things are there, but it’s not tinny or fatiguing; when I crank them up to impossibly high volume levels, the tweeters don’t burn my ears.

The problem I’m having is on the low end. I’ve been chasing the perfect (tight) bass “whump” that I really love, and it’s been eluding me. My process of trial and error isn’t getting me the result I want on the bottom end.

It’s time to get more scientific about it, and use some gear to get it sorted out. I think what I need here is a spectrum analyzer – not one of the cheap ones you see on low-Dollar equalizers – but rather something with a good microphone on it, that will display (in real time) the actual output from my speakers, broken into the same 31 frequency bands as I have on my equalizer. There is one part of the lower register that is just broadcasting too loudly – I ‘m getting too much bass, in one specific frequency band, and I can’t seem to isolate it. But with a good spectrum analyzer, I’ll know it when I see it – whatever is “booming” will reveal itself on the spectrum display, and I can go to work adjusting in that particular frequency band, to tamp it down.

I don’t want to spend a fortune on this piece of gear, as I only plan to use it once. As soon as I get this little bass issue resolved, I won’t be touching the equalizer. So, I don’t need a device that “lives” in my listening room permanently. Is there a reasonably affordable device out there, to do what I’m wanting to do here? Can I RENT something like that? What have people tried? How well did it work? What devices should I avoid? Recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Answers

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,209
    Regarding experimentation, have you still noticed this happening when the ART EQ355 is NOT hooked up?
    NJKinMPLS wrote: »
    There is one part of the lower register that is just broadcasting too loudly – I ‘m getting too much bass, in one specific frequency band, and I can’t seem to isolate it.

    Got Dayens?
  • NJKinMPLSNJKinMPLS Posts: 9
    edited June 11
    No, I don't hear it when I bypass the equalizer. The sound is flat and featureless without it. (I run a slightly modified version of the "V" curve, where highs and lows are pushed up. Without the equalizer engaged, the speakers never get down into the range where I'm having the problem.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,209
    Just for clarification, I meant physically not hooked up. Unplugged and sitting on the table. Not simply using the bypass button.
    NJKinMPLS wrote: »
    No, I don't hear it when I bypass the equalizer. The sound is flat and featureless without it. (I have a like a slightly modified version of the "V" curve, where highs and lows are pushed up. Without the equalizer engaged, the speakers never get down into the range where I'm having the problem.

    Got Dayens?
  • NJKinMPLSNJKinMPLS Posts: 9
    I will gave that a try, and see if it changes things.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,209
    Cool, let us know. I'm just trying to start troubleshooting from the very top/beginning (within reason) and go from there.
    NJKinMPLS wrote: »
    I will gave that a try, and see if it changes things.

    Got Dayens?
  • NJKinMPLSNJKinMPLS Posts: 9
    Okey dokey – I disconnected the external equalizer from the system.

    The cable is now running from the RCA “Audio Out” jacks on my CD changer, directly into the “CD” input on the back of my receiver. I don’t hear the “boominess” in that particular slice of the bass anymore. But I don’t hear much in the way of bass at all now.

    As stated previously, without the external equalizer, the sound is pretty mushy and featureless. Using only the rudimentary tone controls on the receiver (which consist of Treble and Bass levels, along with an on-screen “virtual” equalizer), I can’t get the speakers to go down into the range where I’m experiencing the problem.

    The virtual equalizer on my Denon AVR only has 9 total bands – the lowest of which is for the 63Hz band. That is useless, for fine-tuning the bottom end of the A9’s. WTH, Denon? I guess Denon assumes everybody will be running a subwoofer or two, so why bother with anything south of 63Hz on their virtual equalizer. I don’t run subs. Never have, never will. I like my bass nice and tight. Besides, the RTI A9’s “Don’t need no stinkin’ subwoofers!” :smiley: I’m knee-deep in bass with the A9’s – I actually need to rein them IN a bit, in certain (yet to be identified) frequency bands, which I now know sit below the 63Hz mark.

    The maximum level of boost on Denon’s virtual equalizer is a disappointing +6db (but I can use it to CUT frequency bands by as much as -20db). My external equalizer has the “traditional” 12db of cut / boost. I don’t do a whole lot of cutting to shape the sound. I start with all of the sliders in their neutral “0” position, and I only boost where I think things sound a little flat. For the finishing touch, I will do tiny bits of cutting here and there, in the midrange, but nothing too drastic. (I attached a "before" photo, so you can see where / how I was adjusting.)

    Again, with 31 total bands (and the bottom slider controlling the 20Hz band), I am able to use the external equalizer to get waaaaaaaay down in there, and contour the bottom end of these speakers. I’ve almost got it perfect.

    Disconnecting the external equalizer didn’t really solve the problem, it just prevents me from being able to duplicate it. But disconnecting the external equalizer wasn’t an exercise in futility – I figured out that the “problem frequency" band is below 63Hz. So, what’s the next step here? How do I zero in on the frequency band that is just a little too abundant? I really appreciate the help here!

    3irt1bybjffu.jpg

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,209
    What genre of music and/or specific songs are you noticing this abnormal bass peak?

    I would just run the CDP directly into the receiver as you have, and then put the receiver into a mode like "Pure Direct/Source Direct/Music Optimizer, etc" and bypass any and all tone/EQ controls that are being applied by the Denon.

    Then you will know that you are passing the frequencies uncolored from the source, through the receiver, and onto the amplifier. Kindof like taking the "less is more" approach. You want the least amount of processing being applied, so you can hopefully get a baseline for what the actual music "sounds like" before things alter the signal.
    Got Dayens?
  • NJKinMPLSNJKinMPLS Posts: 9
    My musical taste runs the gamut – but mostly what I listen to on the big A9’s is rock and classic rock.

    One of my favorite CD’s on these speakers is Train’s debut album (“Meet Virginia” “Idaho” “Rat” “Swaying” etc.). All tracks sound amazing, as I have it equalized right now. With this combo of speakers and amp, the sound pressure levels hit the point where you can truly “feel” the music. The deep (but tight) “whump” of the kick drum, that resonates in your chest cavity, is what I just love.

    When I play Chris Isaac’s “Forever Blue” CD, it is heavy on the bass, across the board, but that’s how it was recorded – it doesn’t seem to bother or distract. Counting Crows “August and Everything After” CD sounds really good too, as I’ve got things currently equalized.

    Where I am running into the issue is on Lindsay Buckingham’s “Out of the Cradle” CD. For years and years, that was my “go to” demo CD, to really highlight my sound system. I’ve used external equalizers for the last 30 years or so, to adjust for sub-optimal speaker placement / oddly shaped rooms, and speakers that needed a little “help” in certain frequency ranges, to achieve a sound I liked.

    I know that when I have the equalization JUST right, Lindsay Buckingham’s "Out of the Cradle" CD simply dazzles and amazes even the most critical listeners. The bass is huge - but impossibly tight. The highs glisten and shimmer, but aren't harsh. It’s a massive amount of sound hitting you, from the very top of the range to the very bottom of it – but with everything in perfect proportion. Nothing overpowers. When you have it equalized just right, THAT’S how it sounds.

    I’ve been fiddling with the bottom end for weeks now, and I can’t quite get it dialed in. Songs like “Don’t Look Down” and “Surrender the Rain” just get a little boomy with the bass (where they never did on my older, less capable sound systems). That’s what I’m trying to identify, and fix.
  • FestYboyFestYboy Posts: 2,521
    Y'all are making this harder than it has to be. Get your phone and borrow another. Put a signal generator on one and use an RTA or dB app on the other if you need to "see" it. Otherwise the signal generator will display the frequency and you can use your ears.
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