Once you have paid careful attention to your mains supply, interconnect cables and equipment support, it is all too easy to overlook one of the biggest influences in the audio chain – the listening room itself. There are a variety of different issues to consider, ranging from reverberations, rattles and other unwanted sounds that can influence the performance of your room. Spurious noises are relatively easy to identify and deal with, but when it comes to room parameters, it’s helpful to have some specialised equipment to identify problems so they can be addressed effectively. 

Room parameters include the natural peaks and troughs in sound caused by the room’s Eigentones or standing waves or how it responds to resonances and impulses. Effective treatments can include bass traps to absorb room resonances, correct placement of your loudspeakers, and your own listening position, but it can be very difficult to decide what will be effective if you don’t already know the performance characteristics of your listening room. 

The Room Analyzer 2 Pro is a complete system for analysing and calibrating your audio setup. It includes a specialised measurement microphone, audio and PC interface unit, downloadable software, long cables and adapters, microphone support tripod and a robust case. 

The microphone connects to a USB audio unit via a 4m XLR cable. A 5m XLR-to-RCA phono cable connects the audio unit to your hi-fi, and a phono Y adapter is included to enable the mono signal to feed both channels. The audio unit is fitted with a 3m USB cable for connecting PC or laptop. After downloading and installing the latest version of the software from the manufacture’s website, I simply connect up the microphone to the audio unit input, the USB lead to my PC and the audio output to a spare input on my hi-fi. The software recognises the hardware and I’m ready to go.

Sound quality
Running the tests involves placing the microphone on the supplied tripod at my usual listening height and position and clicking on the Measure button. A Room Mode Measurement box pops up on the screen and I make a single measurement. Finally, I click the Measure button in the Room Mode Measurement box and a number of sine wave frequency sweeps, covering the entire audio spectrum, sound through my speakers. It takes about 10 seconds. For a more accurate measurement, you can choose to use the average of three positions for the microphone – one to the left in the room and some distance from the wall, one with the microphone in the listening position, and one with the microphone to the right of the room and close to the loudspeakers.

After the window closes, the results from my measurements are displayed – the frequency response in the main window and the room reverberation time in a smaller one to the right. The program suggests values that can be used with an equaliser to compensate for room resonances. You can select any or all of three different curves: the measured response as a blue curve, the room modes plus equaliser settings as a green curve  and the result as a white curve. In my case, the frequency response shows a 10dB peak at 31.5Hz, which corresponds to a room Eigentone. 

Other measurements show eight room modes for my room, as well as a complete frequency response curve across the whole audio spectrum. In addition, a waterfall diagram (in both 2D and 3D) shows a colour spectrum with frequency, amplitude and time data. These measurements help you treat your room in terms of reverberation time in the bass region. They can be undertaken using DSP, a parametric equaliser and/or other types of acoustic treatments, such as baffles. There are more advanced analysis functions that can be performed, but this covers the basics that you will need to effectively treat your room.

Overall, this is a superb piece of kit that is very easy to use and, given its high quality, very reasonably priced. It is very much recommended for any serious audio enthusiast. NR

DETAILS
Product: XTZ Room Analyzer 2 Pro
Price: £225
Type: Room acoustic measurement system
Website: xtzsound.co.uk
Read the full review in June issue 437