Are Room Correction Systems Worth It?

Are things like ARC and Sonarworks room correction systems worth the money if you don’t have a good room/good treatment?

Hi Mercedes,

I haven’t try them all to be honest, but they never gave me a very good impression.

Digital room corrections really helps getting a flat frequency response, but not always in a good way. It changes a lot the signature of your speakers, correcting the frequency response and the phase curve, which is not something very desirable when you have speakers you are very used to.
Moreover, it really focuses on a sweet spot and the rest of the room can get worst than without the correction.

I’m not saying it doesn’t worth it, but I’m convinced it won’t replace a good treatment. I’m sure it can be interesting if you can find a good balance with a minimum of room treatment. I would say the best compromise if you can’t afford a very good acoustic, is to go as far as possible with treatment, and to do the extra miles with a room correction system cleverly set up.

The most important after all is to know well the sound of your speakers in your room whether perfectly balanced or not.


not sure about worth the money - they are not cheap. They do make corrections, but (for me) I would always opt to try and make simple basic room architectural and acoustic corrections FIRST (see the earlier reply that i gave…

a. No excuse for non symmetry - around a room acoustic centerline about the x axis (front to back).
b. make sure you have fully identified your room programming - i.e. what are you trying to accomplish in your room. I like the Buckminster Fuller term - “bare maximum”
c. Try not to then place your “sweet spot” (prime listening position) in the center of the y axis - get in front of the room center or behind - depending on exact layout. that location will b e a null in the y axis.
d. do NOT over dampen your room. Use broadband absorption (velocity absorbers (i.e. foam, fiberglass, carpet, etc.) only where you need it - i.e. first reflection side wall would be a good starting place. Remember, every Sabine of absorption you are adding in the mid frequency range (while not accomplishing anything at low frequencies) is contributing to creating a RT60 response that is unbalanced.
e. introduce some diffusion on the rear surface.
f. make sure nothing is rattling (no brainer)y
g. if there is run-away" low frequency" response - try to introduce some targeted “low frequency only” absorption. If you do not have software to help you or you cannot get some advice, go to the corners - this is where pressure build-up is usually the highest (rule of thumb).
h. Try for ear level monitoring - avoiding console reflections (which of course create unwanted comb filtering (usually effecting speech frequencies
g. Try to avoid putting near field monitors directly on a console bridge - again that often (not always) but often causes comb filtering. Push them back about one foot on speaker stands.