Surround Receivers

Is Dirac Live Bass Control A Worthy Upgrade?

To little fanfare (except in audiophile and Reddit forums), Dirac Live Bass Control is now available on select Denon/Marantz, Onkyo/Integra, and Pioneer Elite AV receivers. Finally, you can get the BEST control over your system and dial it in perfectly. Or can you? But is it as simple as it sounds? So, today, we ask, is Dirac Live Bass Control a worthy upgrade? Let’s discuss!

What Is Dirac Live?

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Dirac Live is room correction software. This software allows users to measure their room at multiple positions and apply EQ to deal with irregularities caused by room shape/design and speaker layout. While that all sounds great, the software can only do so much with untreated and oddly shaped rooms.

Dirac Live is one of many room correction software options available today. But in the past, Audyssey reigned supreme, and Dirac was a niche option used mostly for professional setups. But in 2021, Onkyo and Pioneer started to offer Dirac Live on several AV receiver models, bringing Dirac to the masses!

Thus started the hype and fervor that Dirac Live was the new King of room correction software and that all must have it! In fact, the demand became so large that Denon and Marantz receivers started to carry both Audyssey and Dirac Live. Albeit at a pay-to-play option for Dirac.

What Is Dirac Live Bass Control?

I don’t want to sound simplistic, but Dirac Live Bass Control gives you more finite control over your bass. Basically, it gives you time alignment over your subwoofers to “ensure” your subwoofers blend perfectly with your LCR. It’s a lot like Audyessy’s multi-sub optimization but at an additional cost (Audyssey’s comes included with MultEQ XT32). Or you can set up your subs as a mono-sub (like we suggest) and EQ that.

How Do I Get Dirac Live Bass Control?

The first step is to get your wallet out and get ready to abuse it. Dirac Live Bass control is currently available on the Marantz AV10, Cinema 40, and Cinema 10. Denon offers it in the AVR-A1H, AVR-X4800H and AVR-X3800H. Onkyo offers it only on their flagship TX-R70. Rounding out the group are the Integra DRX-8.4 and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX805. What will that cost you? The cheapest of the group is the Denon AVR-X3800H, $1699, with the Marantz AV10 setting you back $6999!

The second step is to get a Dirac Live license. Good news! If you buy the Onkyo/Integra/Pioneer, you already have a Dirac Live license. If you go Marantz or Denon, you shell out $259 for Dirac Live Limited Bandwidth. But we know that you aren’t going to do that, so you bought the full bandwidth version for $349.

Lastly, you must purchase the Dirac Live Bass Control license, which will cost you $349. But let’s be real: you have dual (or more) subwoofers, so you are getting the Dirac Live Bass Control For Multiple Subwoofers. Hand over another $499.

A bit of quick math tells me that $1699 (cheapest Denon)+$349 (Dirac Live)+499 (Bass Control)=$2547! That’s a lot of moolah to get Dirac Live/Bass Control. Plus, you need a Mac or PC to run it on and a calibrated mic like the UMIK-1 ($100).

Our Take

To answer my previous question, is Dirac Live Bass Control a worthy upgrade? For the price-to-performance ratio, no. I have real-world experience with Audyssey and Dirac Live, and there is virtually no difference. And yes, I know that I will get comments from Audiophiles with lots of gear and 40 years of experience telling me I am full of it. Well, my wallet is…full of money.

If you want to get the most out of your Audyssey system, follow our guide to setting up dual subwoofers. But if you absolutely have to spend money, head over to Cross Spectrum Labs, grab a calibrated UMIK-1 and then grab a Mini-DSP 2X4 and tune away.

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