If you've ever wondered if you can use Dirac Live with the miniDSP EARS and your headphones... yes, you can! This short app note decribes how to do this. Note that this works only with Dirac Live 2. Note also that this is an experimental idea – Dirac Live is a room correction algorithm, but miniDSP users have asked about this specific topic. A big thank you to miniDSP forum member Jussi Hoffrén for leading the way!

What you'll need:

  • A miniDSP EARS headphone measurement jig.

  • A miniDSP Dirac Live processor that supports Dirac Live 2, such as the DDRC-24, SHD Studio (with built-in headphone amplifier) or SHD.

  • A computer with the correct miniDSP plugin and Dirac Live 2 installed.

  • A pair of headphones (of course) and a headphone amplifier.

The reason you will need Dirac Live 2 (not "Dirac Live 1") is because Dirac Live 1 won't recognize EARS as a microphone.

Note: the method described here does the Dirac Live calibration using only the left side of the headphones. So you will need well-matched headphones. Or, you can use parametric EQ in the output channels to make the right side measure the same as the left side.

The procedure [Top]

We will assume that you are familiar with using the Dirac Live calibration procedure on your processor. For brevity, the following paragraphs don't describe the whole procedure, just some specific points of interest.

In the DDRC-24 or SHD plugin, set up the routing matrix to direct both channels to the left side of the headphones. Like this:

Routing matrix for Dirac Live measurement with miniDSP EARS

In the Dirac Live app, load the EARS calibration file for the left channel. We suggest using the HEQ calibration file.

Load EARS calibration file into Dirac Live

Run several Dirac Live measurements. Move the headphones around on the EARS each time to try and get some variation in the measurements.

Remember that the HEQ calibration file effectively has some bass boost built into it. So start by making the target curve flat in the bass region. Also, completely flattening out the dips in the measured headphone response may not always sound good, so adjust the target curve accordingly. For example:

Example target curve for Dirac Live with miniDSP EARS

Generate the correction filters and download them to the processor. Quit the Dirac Live app and open the plugin again to set the routing back to the normal stereo configuration:

Routing matrix for Dirac Live listening with miniDSP EARS

Now sit back and have a listen! You can adjust the sound to taste by:

  1. Adjusting the target curve and downloading new filters, or

  2. Tweaking the parametric EQ on the output channels. For example, a shelving filter can be used to adjust the amount of treble (and a similar thing can be done for the bass):

    Tweaking response with shelving filter for Dirac Live with miniDSP EARS

Wrapping up [Top]

Don't forget that you can load up to four different filter sets into the Dirac Live processor and switch between them. Have fun! Let us know how you go in our forum if you try this experimental method.