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Dirac Live

The miniDSP SHD Studio implements stereo Dirac Live correction. That is, there are two channels of Dirac Live correction. After stereo Dirac Live correction, the audio signal is routed to the four output channels for processing such as parametric EQ and crossovers.

Dirac Live overview

Dirac Live uses from 9 to 17 measurements made at different locations in your listening room to calculate correction filters for your speakers (and integrated subwoofer if you have one). You will take these measurements using the miniDSP processor, the Dirac Live application running on your computer, and a miniDSP UMIK-1 or UMIK-2 measurement microphone.

Info

This software runs on Windows 10 or later and macOS 10.14 Mojave or later. Other versions of Windows or macOS/OS X are not supported.

Install or upgrade Dirac Live

In addition to miniDSP Device Console, you will need to separately install the Dirac Live software from Dirac Research.

Tip

If you have previously installed Dirac Live, check that your installed version is up to date, especially if you run into issues. You can see the list of versions in the changelog.

Download the Dirac Live application for your platform from the Dirac Research download page. On macOS, double-click on the diraclive-latest.zip download if your browser did not unzip it.

Double-click on the downloaded installer to run it. It will be named diraclive-latest.exe on Windows and DiracLive v3.x.y Setup Darwin on macOS (the version number x.y will change as updates are issued). We strongly recommend that you accept the default installation settings.

Do not run the application from the installer, as it must be started with the Start Calibration button in Device Console.

Download your microphone calibration files

Each UMIK-1 and UMIK-2 measurement microphone is individually calibrated to ensure accuracy. To download the unique calibration files for your microphone, go to the UMIK-1 page or the UMIK-2 page. Enter your microphone's serial number. It is in the form xxx-yyyy and labelled on the microphone.

Two calibration files are downloaded:

  • The regular or "on axis" calibration file will be saved to the computer with a name that is the same as the serial number e.g. "7001870.txt". This is the one that you should use when pointing the microphone towards the speakers.

  • The second calibration file has "_90deg" in the name e.g. "7001870_90deg.txt." This corrects the frequency response when the microphone is oriented at 90 degrees to the sound source, such as when pointing the microphone towards the ceiling.

Connections for Dirac Live calibration

The diagram below shows typical connections for acoustic measurement with the Dirac Live application. Usually, you do not need to change any of the audio connections, as the Dirac Live test signals are generated inside the miniDSP processor.

  1. Connect the supplied USB cable (type A to type B) from the miniDSP SHD Studio to a USB port on the computer.

  2. Connect the supplied USB cable (type A to mini type B or type C, depending on version) from the UMIK-1 or UMIK-2 to a USB port on the computer.

System connections for a stereo Dirac Live system

System connections for a stereo Dirac Live system

Place the UMIK-1 microphone into a microphone stand and position the computer and cabling so that there is enough freedom of movement to move the microphone into the needed locations. A small tripod stand is supplied with the UMIK-1, but a larger stand with boom arm can be used if desired. If necessary, a USB extension (up to a total USB cable length of 5 meters) can be used. In larger spaces, an active USB repeater may be needed.

  • For stereo systems, we generally recommend that the microphone be pointed between the speakers and the "0 degree" calibration file used. However, many of our customers point the microphone at the ceiling and use the "90 degree" calibration file. Feel free to try it both ways.

Loudspeaker and microphone positioning

Prior to performing acoustic measurements, optimize your loudspeaker and listening positions. Start with the recommendations of the manufacturer of your loudspeakers. Loudspeakers designed for home hifi use typically perform best away from the walls, whereas speakers designed for studio use may be designed for use closer to walls or other surfaces. With Dirac Live, you have more freedom with loudspeaker placement, but the best result will still be achieved if optimal loudspeaker placement is used together with Dirac Live.

System connections for a stereo Dirac Live system

Speaker and microphone positioning for stereo Dirac Live

You should also experiment with toe-in – many loudspeakers benefit from pointing directly at the listening position or even slightly in front. The listening position should be away from the rear wall, as placing the listening chair or sofa right against the wall will result in increased early reflections and changes in timbre.

The first measurement must be taken at the exact center of the listening area, so that Dirac Live can set the levels and delays of each speaker. While this will usually place the microphone an equal distance from both speakers, Dirac Live will adjust in cases where it is not. Additional measurements are taken at other positions around the listening area and at different heights from the floor. All measurement positions should have acoustic "line of sight" – that is, the direct signal from the speaker to the microphone should not be obstructed by furniture or other objects.

Check your preset

If you have used the miniDSP Device Console to set up routing, crossovers or parametric EQ on the output channels, check that you have the correct preset selected before starting Dirac Live. This is because the Dirac Live test signal originates in the Dirac Live blocks and therefore passes through the routing matrix and the output channel processing. Refer to the diagram in the Signal Flow Overview page to refresh your memory if needed.

For example, suppose that you have set up preset 2 with routing and crossovers for a subwoofer. Before starting Dirac Live with the START CALIBRATION button, select preset 2 from within the miniDSP Device Console or with the remote control.

Windows

Double-check the following items before starting the Dirac Live application.

UMIK-1 plugged in

If you haven't plugged in your UMIK-1 yet, plug it in now.

Tip

Be sure to plug in the UMIK-1 before starting Dirac Live.

Check that UMIK-1 is set as the default recording device

Open the Windows Control Panel and select the Sound pane then the Recording tab. Check that the UMIK-1 is set as the default recording device. If it is not, then click on it and then on the Set Default button.

Set default windows recording device

Dirac Live has access to the microphone

Open the Windows Settings and select Security, then Privacy then Microphone. Check that "Allow apps to access your microphone" is turned on.

Allow apps to access your microphone

Allow apps to access your microphone

Scroll down and check that "Allow desktop apps to access your microphone" is also turned on, and that DiracLive.exe is listed with the applications that are allowed to access the microphone:

Allow desktop apps to access your microphone

macOS users

Enable file sharing for device discovery

To enable device discovery, open System Preferences and then go to Sharing. Enable File Sharing as shown at right.

macOS: Enable file sharing for device discovery

Notes:

a) This step is not always necessary and may depend on your Mac's configuration or home network setup.

b) You can turn File Sharing off again after you have completed your calibrations.

UMIK-1 plugged in

If you haven't plugged in your UMIK-1 yet, plug it in now.

Tip

Be sure to plug in the UMIK-1 before starting Dirac Live.

Grant microphone access

The heightened security in recent versions of macOS can cause some difficulties with the Dirac Live application accessing the UMIK-1. The Dirac Live application should request microphone access when it first runs. A dialog like this will appear:

macOS: Dirac Live requests microphone access

When it does, click OK. You can confirm that access has been granted by opening System Preferences, then going to the Security&Privacy pane, selecting the Privacy tab, then clicking on Microphone at the left:

macOS: grant Dirac Live microphone access in System Preferences

The application "Dirac Live" should appear here. You will typically have additional applications to which you have given microphone access.