This powerful amp brings high‑tech Dirac room optimisation DSP to your favourite passive monitors.
Back in May 2018, we published a feature about choosing a power amplifier to use with passive monitors. With its very healthy 120W‑per‑channel output power, state‑of‑the‑art distortion and noise specs, and compact dimensions, the miniDSP SHD Power appears to be well suited to the role. But this is rather more than ‘just’ an amplifier: it’s a Dirac Live room/monitor acoustic optimisation host and generously featured audio streamer too. The audio streaming functions of the SHD Power are primarily aimed at consumer audio, so I’ll cover them in the ‘Streaming’ box later, but the inclusion of Dirac Live processing makes the SHD Power a very interesting studio option.
I wrote about the Studio edition of the Dirac Live software last year, and was impressed with its performance and abilities (see http://sosm.ag/dirac-live-studio). Dirac Live is unusual among its acoustic optimisation competitors, such as Sonarworks Reference 4 and IK Multimedia ARC, in that it manipulates audio in both the time and frequency domains. It is thus able to flatten not only the frequency response of the monitor and room, it is also able to tighten up the system’s time‑domain behaviour, so that its response to impulses is less smeared.
Nothing is perfect, however, and a disappointment for me was that it operates only as a DAW plug‑in — there is no software standalone version through which the entire audio output of a computer can be routed. This meant that my monitoring could only benefit from Dirac Live optimisation when the audio source was a DAW (in my case,...