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Caveat Emptor. Reader Bevan Dewar: "I thought I'd offer some feedback on a Konnekt 48 + Pure Music + FabFilter + FuzzMeasure system I just junked my DCX2496 for after reading about it on 6moons. Pure Music is great no question. FabFilter is brilliant. FuzzMeasure looks like it could be too. But together they are proving to be a headache of nightmarish proportions. I managed to get FuzzMeasure half working a few days ago but the complexity of it is such that after unwittingly changing some setting I've been unable to get it to do anything the last day. When I say 'half working', what I got it to do was put out and measure sweeps but unfortunately not outputting through FabFilter, which means any changes in the parametric EQ setting would not show up on the FR graphs so not much use in the end.

"After much googling around I found a fellow who says I need Jackpilot to direct the digital traffic. This is where the nightmare really began. You would think that through trial and error of clicking on tabs (after help files only proved confusing) one would eventually get a win but the number of possible combination are such that I feel I could be here 'til next year without having any joy and I am cutting my losses after two solid days of effort. The real problem going the road less traveled with a multi-way setup is that in this instance Google would seem to suggest that I am the first person to ever use this combination of programs and plug-ins - or at least the first person to become unglued because on the whole web there is not one scrap of useful information for someone in my predicament and nowhere to go for help. Perhaps this email might serve as the best selling point for Spatial yet - get someone else to do it if you can afford to. I've resigned myself to write off the $100 I spent on FuzzMeasure. I'm very happy with the Konnekt 48, Pure Music and Fabfilter though and credit to you for singing their praises. I just think a caveat emptor for people going this route might be warranted.

"If I manage to make it work I'll start writing a 'how to' primer. There is a guy on AudioCircle who is already there and admits to help from mysterious sources. The fact that he hasn't been very forthcoming suggests it might be a headache to explain it though. If I come right I'll publish and let you know. I think a lot of people will go this route in due course. FabFilter has made a huge improvement in the midrange of what I thought were pretty well-measuring speakers to begin with. I wish I'd had it with all the peaky fullrange drivers I've come from. Sadly I suspect the fullrange community who needs it the most will also be the most resistive to this type of thing." 

Curiously enough Clayton would find himself faced with the very same dilemma. That's because this time his familiar pro processor with built-in bidirectional Firewire protocol had been eliminated. While FuzzMeasure did generate and capture test signal via the Centrance USB mic preamp, its data wouldn't import into FabFilter. Attempting to solve this routing issue, Clayton uploaded the SoundFlower software. No joy. A day later he installed JackRouter instead. Armed with AU Lab 2.2 and JackRouter to configure all the send/receive ports of the various software, things four hour later still didn't communicate. Jack didn't route jack.

Assuming that my Firewire DAC2 from Weiss incorporated the necessary two-way communication his fully Apple CoreAudio compliant Apogee processors do, Clayton next asked me to connect it rather than my USB Burson DAC to my iMac via Firewire and mini-to-standard Toslink. Even though FuzzMeasure test signal passed to the amp just fine and got captured by the microphone, step 2—importing that data into FabFilter—failed again. As it turned out the Weiss was incapable of sending signal back to the computer.

At this juncture Clayton proposed to send me his older Apogee Duet. That's a very small very affordable bus-powered and US-made Firewire DAC with the requisite bidirectional functionality. By April 2011 Apogee was about to release the Duet² successor [below]. This incorporates 24/192 USB technology from their $3.690 Symphony I/O to abandon Firewire, then adds 4-channel functionality (2 in/4 out) to accommodate active biamping. Clayton proposed that going forward Spatial's care package for consumer-audio DAC customers might have to consist of the microphone and Centrance microphone preamp I already had, plus a loaner of the Duet² just for the data-capture/calibration session (unless customers preferring it to their DAC would want to acquire the Apogee). To avoid further delays procuring a Duet² right at global launch time, Clayton's older Duet would be a perfectly viable stand-in.

Introductory wrap: Having Clayton accept to vacate his pro-audio comfort zone and accommodate my consumer DAC request with a Spatial treatment whilst accompanying said process with a formal review was risky. Clayton appreciated the broader appeal this would have. He also admitted to being well aware of potential setup problems. It's precisely why Spatial thus far had stayed clear of promoting itself with consumer-audio converters. He was confident that his personnel resources and the latest hardware would prove equal to the task but also self conscious that the inevitably rocky learning curve would become public spectacle. Props to agreeing to do it like this. It should prove more educational for our readers.

This is precisely why traditional dealers don't want to touch this subject. They aren't computer experts. They'd never want to find themselves in a scenario where an already complex software suite doesn't intuitively adapt itself to unknown hardware. This is a new frontier. It requires specialized know-how and a willingness to keep learning rather than being comfortable doing the same old thing ad infinitum.