When I first heard of IK Multimedia’s ARC system I was really leery of it for the claims and what people like GIK Acoustics have taught us about acoustics. Well after I tried it I can’t say it doesn’t work! IK Multimedia’s ARC system is based on Audyssey MultEQ technology. To make it simple it takes a complex EQ to flatten out any problem frequencies in your room. It comes with a professional measurement microphone to help measure the problematic frequencies in the room.
When I first got my order in the mail I installed the software and set up the mic. The way it works is you take the mic and test different parts of your room. You want to measure as many positions as possible in your room. Particularly around the listening area. After you take the measurements you name your profile and select a speaker icon for it, which is really useful if you have more than one set of speakers. After you finish setting up a profile you open your DAW and insert the ARC VST or RTAS on the master bus and select profile. That is it. Really simple, quick and easy to set up.
Now in my room I have some bass traps set up in all for corners as well as 4 against each wall. Without them I will say that I have some serious ringing issues and with them it helps even it out. At first I loaded up a track I had been working on the day before and heard a slight difference in the bass response. It seemed tighter and clearer. I will admit I was surprised. After that I tried some classics, first with “Rich Girl” Hall & Oates. There wasn’t much low end here which is where most of my problems seemed to be but it did make the mids a bit clearer. For the second song I choose Jay-Z’s “Venus Vs. Mars” which has a lot more low end than “Rich Girl”. Again it tightened up the bass noticeably and made it clearer to listen to. Mids and highs were normal which surprised me a bit. I thought that it would still try and EQ them and make them sound weird but it sounded great.
It is really easy and straightforward in use. The manual does a excellent job of explaining any questions that may arise and also goes through step by step how to measure your room correctly. Some of the things I liked were how nice it looked. IK Multimedia has always done an awesome job with their GUI’s and make them intuitive to use, ARC is no exception. With two charts showing both left and right speaker readings with the before, after and the target EQ curves and selectable speaker icons it is a great looking and sounding plug in.
IK Multimedia’s ARC actually surprised me. It works if used correctly and can help out a bad sounding room and make it sound better than before. I will say this, it is not a replacement for acoustic treatment but used along with or even in situations where there is none and you can not set any up it can help make that situation better. It certainly helped make mine better!