Disc Session Concept

 

The term Disc Session is defined as that period of time or the activity during which the user is working to make Adjustments that will improve (Tune Up) the Sonic Performance of a particular Target Disc or Import Disc. In Stereo Workstation terminology a Target Disc can be an actual CD or DVD playing from a computer drive. A Target Disc can also be any designated directory on the Hard Drive that has Music files (MP3s, WAVs, WMAs, FLACs, etc.). An Import Disc is a special set of directories on the Hard Drive that you create using the Stereo Workstation Import function and the Music files are always WAVs.

Stereo Workstation Software has been extensively tested in actual home listening environments, in large rooms and in small rooms, for many years during which a Disc Session Guideline has been developed to help you efficiently find settings for optimal Sonic Performance. Although each Disc has unique equalization requirements there is a common approach that has proven effective. This Disc Session Guideline can be split up according to eight key Sonic Performance problems or annoyances that seem to exist, to a certain extent, on all CD/DVDs and Music files. The Disc Session Guideline defines the main "Work" that you will be doing with Stereo Workstation Software.

The following image shows a picture of an annotated Stereo Workstation Main Display screen showing a Track Adjustment. This will be used as a reference for the Disc Session Guideline discussions that follow.


Calm Down That Harsh Upper Midrange

The first and primary complaint about CD/DVDs or Music files is that they are harsh sounding, or that they have an upper mid-range glare, or that they are too strident. Related complaints, although from a different perspective, are that the Music is too "Up Front", or "In Your Face", or that the image simply lacks depth. All these complaints can mostly or totally be corrected by drawing an attenuation dip on the Track Adjustment in the 1 kHz to the 5 kHz frequency range as illustrated in the above image. The exact width of the attenuation and the depth of the attenuation will be highly dependent on the requirements of the particular CD/DVD, and note that it has rarely been the case that a boost was actually needed in this frequency range. It is quite a satisfying experience to get this part of the Adjustment set right for the first time and to hear the Music without the glare and consequently to see that in your face image drop back to where it should be.


Smooth Out The Treble

The second Sonic Performance problem that may exist is that the Music lacks treble, or that the Music has a dull sound, or that it is veiled. Conversely, the Music may have too much treble, or it may be too bright; and similar to upper mid-rang glare the highs may be described as being up front or disjointed from the rest of the Music. These difficulties are all fixed by either drawing in some high frequency boost or attenuation in the range above 5 kHz on the Track Adjustment, as shown in the above image, for some treble boost. The width of the boost or attenuation is again dependent on the particular requirements of the CD/DVD or Music file being worked on. Also note that sometimes an apparent lack of highs in Music is caused by excessive bass or upper bass and can be fixed by attenuating a low frequency band.


Get Control Of The Bass

The third Sonic Performance problem exhibited by some CD/DVDs or Music files is at the other end of the spectrum and is that the Music lacks bass, or that the Music has a thin sound, or that the Music has no impact. Of course there is a converse to this also, and the Music can have too much bass, or the Music can be boomy, resulting in an up front annoying kind of bass. The fix is to draw some bass boost or some bass attenuation in the frequency range under 80 Hz on the Track Adjustment, and the above image shows a typical situation for bass boost. Note that many systems just do not have the ability to produce the lowest bass frequencies at real levels. If your system is unable to rattle the windows (or something else in the room) at 20Hz to 30Hz then you probably need Sub Woofers.


Clean Up That Muddy Upper Bass

The fourth Sonic Performance problem that may be present is that the upper bass is muddy, or that the Music is veiled or that the Music is somehow not clear enough. These problems are usually corrected by the application of some attenuation in the 80Hz to 200Hz frequency range on the Track Adjustment, as shown in the above image. Note that many hours of listening has shown that there is almost never a need to boost this frequency range.


Fix The Fullness

The fifth Sonic Performance issue concerns the frequency range from 200 Hz to 2 kHz and is associated with the fullness of the Music, especially vocals, but is also related to the overall apparent loudness of the Music. This range of frequencies on the Track Adjustment shown in the above image is probably the best behaved and might need some slight attenuation if it needs any adjustment at all. Only rarely will this frequency range need a boost and if it does it probably indicates that the Volume should be adjusted higher instead.


Eliminate Excessive Subsonic Energies

The sixth Sonic Performance problem is one of Subsonic control. Some CD/DVDs or Music files are recorded with an excess of Subsonic energy that although below the threshold of human hearing does cause indirect problems in the audible range. Excessive Subsonic energy in the Music can cause your low frequency drivers to make large slow excursions into their non-linear operating regions causing distorted low frequency response in the audible ranges. In general, if you see your woofer cones bouncing around then you probably need some Subsonic Attenuation


Get The Volume Right

The seventh Sonic Performance problem relates to the issue of volume. It is a fact of life that there can be large volume differences between CD/DVDs and Music files because some Music is just simply recorded louder than others. The real annoyance, however, is that there are significant track to track volume differences and this is especially true for CD/DVDs that are collections of Music from various artists. With the Stereo Workstation the Volume for each Track can be set independently to completely eliminate this aggravation.


Control The Loud Versus Soft Parts

The eighth Sonic Performance difficulty is a non-linear effect involving slow moving dynamic range changes. The effect is manifest in the situation where the louder parts of the Music are just too loud even though the softer and moderate level parts seem fine. An initial reflex is to just lower the overall volume. But this might cause the softer parts of the Music to be annoyingly soft. Quite often a little more upper mid-range attenuation takes care of this problem. However, listening tests have shown that there is sometimes no good way to reconcile the louder parts of the Music with the softer parts by equalization alone. The Adaptive Volume feature was invented to fully solve this problem.

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