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Multi-Source Room Equalization: Reducing Room Resonances

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Room equalization traditionally has been implemented as a single correction filter applied to all the channels in the audio system. Having more sources reproducing the same monophonic low-frequency signal in a room has the benefit of not exciting certain room modes, but it does not remove other strong room resonances. This paper explores the concept of using some of the loudspeakers as sources, while others are effectively sinks of acoustic energy, so that as acoustic signals cross the listening area, they flow preferentially from sources to sinks. This approach resists the buildup of room resonances, so that modal peaks and antimodal dips are reduced in level, leaving a more uniform low-frequency response. Impulse responses in several real rooms were measured with a number of loudspeaker positions and a small collection of observer positions. These were used to study the effect of source and sink assignment, and the derivation of an appropriate signal delay and response to optimize the room behaviour. Particular studies are made of a common 5.0 speaker setup, and a stereo configuration with two or more standard subwoofers. A measurable room parameter is defined which quantifies the deleterious effects of low-frequency room resonances, supported by a specific room equalization philosophy. Results are encouraging but not striking. Signal modification needs to be considered.

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