Audyssey Dynamic EQ On or Off – Which Sounds Best?
Online you’ll find people that swear by Audyssey Dynamic EQ. They say it is a game changer. That it should always be enabled. But there are those that disagree. They say it made things sound worse. They can’t both be correct? So, what sounds best, Audyssey Dynamic EQ On or Off? Let’s discuss.
What Does Dynamic EQ Do?
Before we can delve into whether Audyssey Dynamic EQ on or off makes your system sound best, we have to review what it does. Dynamic EQ is Audyssey’s “Curves of Equal Loudness” solution. For a full discussion, follow this link. As a reminder, Dynamic EQ is designed to maintain bass when you turn your volume below reference level. Since reference level is VERY loud, most of us usually have our volume lower (it will usually appear as a negative number on your AV receiver’s readout).
We don’t hear bass as well as we do higher frequencies. When we lower the volume, the bass will sound like it is getting quieter in relation to the other sounds. Audyssey Dynamic EQ will adjust the volume of the bass up in order for it to sound (to our ears) the same volume.
Why Do Some People Love Audyssey Dynamic EQ While Others Think it Sounds Horrible?
The answer to this question is fairly easy. It is room acoustics. Getting even bass in your room is not easy. It usually takes some sort of room correction or EQ along with carefully placing sound-absorbing panels around your space. Even if you’ve done all that, it is not uncommon for your room to create areas where your bass will be much louder (or softer) than it should be.
In a room where someone is sitting in one of these bass boost areas, Audyssey Dynamic EQ will be nearly unbearable. They are turning the volume down but the bass still sounds too loud! They’ll say that Dynamic EQ made their bass “bloated” and “overbearing” or other such. Because, in their room, it did.
If you are sitting in an area where the bass is even, then Audyssey Dynamic EQ is great. You can lower your volume and the mix of bass, midrange, and treble all stays the same. This is exactly what you wanted (and Audyssey promised). For these people, Dynamic EQ is the bee’s knees.
What About You?
Should you use Dynamic EQ? Well, if you have an AV receiver with it available, it costs nothing to try it out. More importantly, you may wonder why you do or don’t like it. The easy way to test is to download some sweeps from AudioCheck.net and run them through your system. You can also find some on YouTube. Either way, run them and listen for big increases in volume in the bass. If you hear them from your seat, then Dynamic EQ might not be to your liking (or you might love it if you are a bass-head).
If Audyssey Dynamic EQ sounds like something you’d want to work well in your theater, then it is time to start addressing your room acoustics. Make yourself some acoustic panels, maybe buy some with movie posters printed on them, and hang them in your theater. If you are dealing with a large room, you may want to consider moving to smaller, enclosed room. The more uniform you can make your room response, the better Dynamic EQ will work.