Creating a system you love shouldn't be difficult. The Acoustic Frontiers blog is here to help.
"A properly implemented subwoofer (or two) is at least as beneficial to stereo playback systems as it is to home theaters. Placing the Left and Right speakers for best stereo imaging rarely delivers ultimate bass response at the listening position, no matter how well those speakers can reproduce low frequencies. One or more subwoofers avoid this compromise... EQ enables further tweaking of the low frequency modes to achieve the best overall system performance."
Above about 300Hz EQ is correcting speaker response and for this you need to measure nearfield, so they are nearly but not quite there in our opinion. They are trying to correct for reflection from boundaries in their midrange correction but, in our mind, they should not even attempt to do this. Far better and more effective is to use passive acoustic treatments to deal with reflections. To trick the Harman algorithm what you should do if you want to try out their speaker correction is to do ignore Harman's instructions to do the midrange correction measurement farfield. You should do both the midrange and high end measurement nearfield for best results. For more about our opinions on room correction read our detailed primer on room correction and the two articles explaining our functional criteria for a room correction products here and here. The amp also picked up a really good review in the UK magazine Hi-Fi Choice a while back where it was lauded for its high current delivery.
The CP-800 has an asynchronous USB port, for connection to a music server. Aside - we love music servers and have been using them nearly exclusively for music playback for 7 years now, way before the mainstream audio community picked up on them. We even DIY'd our own USB to SPDIF converter back in the days before you could buy them off the shelf! It has bass management, although I am not sure if it allows for stereo subs or sums the bass in both channels to mono and what crossover choices there are. The room correction capability provided is in the form of 5 bands of user programmable parametric EQ. Whilst you can get VERY good results with parametric EQ you need to have some form of a acoustic measurement system to tell you where to put the filters. We have sold quite a few XTZ Room Analyzers to Classe SSP-800 users. The XTZ unit measures your room and automatically suggests EQ filters. What's more it has a simulation mode to allow you to see what the response would look like with different combinations of filter frequencies, bandwidths and Qs. Two very cool products, I hope you will agree! What do you think of inclusion of things like bass management and room correction into audiophile two channel products? Do you know of any other products that do a similar thing? Let me know via the comments below!
Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers