ARC 2.0 - take the room out of your recordings

I recently got the ARC 2 system to get better monitoring via speakers in a difficult room where acoustic treatment is not an option. It made quite a difference on the monitoring and now I think I am able to mix also using speakers and don’t have to rely on headphones solely.

Then I figured I might want to try and use it the other way around too, i.e. in recording. What I did was to measure the recording room at a few spots where I usually record vocals and acoustic guitars. I used only one speaker for these measurements. This way I should be able to use the ARC as the first plug-in on the channels recorded at these spots to even out the eq curve caused by the room.

This is just a hint for those who have ARC. I am not sure whether this is a good practice or not as I just made the measurements and have not really recorded any new stuff using these settings. I tried the new settings on a few old tracks and I think there might be some potential in this approach.

Hi,

You would need totally Dry signal, without any reflection, to make it work. Otherwise the acoustic of your real will be mixed with the ARC room.

This is how I reasoned it: ARC corrects the signal coming out of speakers according to room characteristics based on measurements. Why couldn’t this process be used in reverse, i.e. applied to an incoming signal?

If the signal was dry, there would not be any need for ARC.

Even if you buy into this idea (which I don’t personally)…

The problem I see is that ARC is measuring the acoustics based upon sound generated by your speakers but the source that you are recording (vocals, guitar etc.) will be in a different position in the room and therefore the ARC measurements will not be appropriate.

I agree that this may not work in practice but I did place the speaker at two different spots where I typically record vocals and acoustic guitar in order to measure these specific spots. Well, just an idea which I thought I’d share.

I use Arc too. My concern about trying this would be introducing colouration from the monitor whether by its ability to reproduce all frequencies perfectly or by its angle in the room, which would not reflect in all directions like an acoustic source. This would introduce a lot of processing variables before the mic even picked it up and might defeat using an good/expensive well positioned mic.

Well, need to do some more experimenting with this concept. The good thing is that no harm is done because the recorded signal is only processed afterwards and the ARC plug-in can easily be removed if the results are better without it.

I’ve been using the ARC system for a few years now and have monkey’d around with it quite a bit, in terms of mic placement when recording the test tones. I think that’s the secret with this thing. You have to tweak the test, mix, then reference the mix in the real world until you get it right.
Took me a few months. My room is only 9x16, but I have some nice acoustic fixes and some off-angle walls and ceiling, all that helps a bit. The room is “pretty good” but still has that “small room bass” sound. The ARC system was like an icing on the cake thing after all else was done acousticly.
What I ended up with, after all this meddling around, was Genelec 1031s and Logitech x230s on the console, and krk rocket 6s on the other wall for “far-field reference” so to speak.
I took the measurements with the Geny’s and the Logi’s. The best measturement was with the Geny’s, 14 measurement possitions, all highly measured with a laser measure (cheap at Home Depot) and some measurement spots in “slightly custom” places. Also my measurement field was more circular than the eliptical one in the manual/diagram.
Now, during mixes, the Logi’s are truest “real world example” of ballance/lows, the Geny’s are really best at high-def mid’s sculpting and the krk’s tell me the true highs/lows ballance. Ultimately, the Logitechs are the final albiter of what things will sound like on the half-dozen other stereo’s I reference on outside the studio. Before ARC I had to reference and make notes about 4-5 times to get it right. Now it’s one set of note and that is mostly ballances/reduced ear-squinting on some things, but not freq/sonics issues as before.
At the end of the day, if things sound fine on the Logitechs, they will sound fine everywhere, including the Bose in the Pathfinder… that’s when I know the mix in read to ship without losing any sleep about it.

Final analysis: The ARC system gives me a truer look at the bottom end of the spectrum - I can finally trust my ears and feel confident in my decisions without having to second guess what my lyin’-environment is telling me.
So that’s my $0.02CAN. Your mileage may vary.

ARC is not only correcting your acoustics but also your speakers, in one and the same measurement…So, not a good idea imho…

My assumption is that using a good quality studio monitor will reproduce the test signal well enough and the correction curve is more about the room characteristics than the speaker’s.

Well, this may not be for everyone. I am just sharing this idea for those who are willing to experiment. Try it yourself if you have the ARC software - there’s nothing to lose (except the time it takes).

you’re right about producing the test signal correctly. I run the test at the max allowable levels, which requires gun-range headset when doing it. It really does correct for the room, rather than the speakers, when done this way. The 1031s are pretty go-to, real-world speakers that you’ll find in many studios and really make a difference when using this system.