miniDSP 2x4 Digital Signal Processor Reviewed

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miniDSP 2x4 Digital Signal Processor Reviewed

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miniDSP_2x4_digital_signal_processor_review.jpgHigh Points
• For an equalization solution, the miniDSP is about as compact and easy to use as they come, provided you're willing to do a bit of program installation and know how to use software such as Room EQ Wizard.
• Because of its two-input and four-output configuration (other configurations are also available), the miniDSP 2x4 will allow you to run and EQ up to four subwoofers in your system, even if your AV preamp or receiver only has one or two subwoofer outs.
• The miniDSP's plug-in or app-based interface is rather ingenious and allows it to change easily to your needs, as well as making it virtually future-proof.
• The various apps or plug-in GUIs are very clearly and intelligently laid out, making the need for in-depth instruction somewhat null and void. However, miniDSP and its designers have clearly aimed the product at the enthusiast with a DIY spirit and a fairly robust working knowledge of topics such as EQ, crossovers, etc.

Low Points
• I didn't like that there was no onboard way of indicating whether or not the upload had taken affect. Something as simple as a red/green LED would've been appreciated.
• I didn't like that the plug-in I used for subwoofer equalization rounded up to the nearest whole frequency value and, as was the case with Q and Gain, the nearest half value. There are options available out there that cost about the same as the miniDSP and that interface with REW, and yet don't do this. Is the PEQ 21 plug-in better than nothing or even better than some onboard EQs that are all the rage among subwoofers these days? Yes, absolutely. It just isn't as good as my reference.
• While miniDSP claims their products interface seamlessly with REW, I didn't find this to be the case, as I continually had to manually enter my REW figures into the PEQ 21 plug-in, instead of simply importing an already saved file. Hopefully this is just a temporary bug that has an easy solution. Regardless, I was always able to manually enter in my filters and achieve suitable results and performance that way, so it's not like you're going to be left out in the cold.

Competition and Comparison
I'm just starting to dive into the concept of outboard and/or specialty subwoofer equalization, so my experience with comparable products is somewhat limited. This said, I have no qualms about suggesting that the miniDSP and its PEQ 21 plug-in are every bit as good as, if not better and more flexible than, the low-end EQ you'll achieve through Audyssey. Now, is it as automatic as Audyssey? No, but if you're one to get your hands dirty, as they say, then the miniDSP may be worthwhile. For me, it still falls a bit short of the performance of my Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro, which for roughly the same money is a bit more robust and easier to use as a subwoofer EQ. Then again, you can't upload other plug-ins to the Behringer, making the miniDSP far more flexible, not to mention compact. Since I was only evaluating the miniDSP as a subwoofer equalization device, I feel it comes in second place to my Behringer. However, as a broader equalization/tuning tool, it takes the cake, for I feel as if I've only barely scratched the surface of what it can do.

For more on these topics, as well as subwoofers in general, please check out Home Theater Review's Subwoofer Review page.

Conclusion
The miniDSP is one of those rare finds that I'm coming across more and more these days since the advent of our forum, in that it's a product that does more than one would expect, given its modest asking price of just over $100. Granted, I demoed it to only a small fraction of its true potential. The miniDSP is a more or less like a Swiss Army knife for home theater and two-channel enthusiasts. As a subwoofer EQ, it's quite good, though I have encountered better; as a somewhat future-proof speaker system "tuning fork," it may have no equal. If you fancy yourself a DIY'er with an adventurous spirit, the miniDSP and its host of download-friendly plug-ins are ready and waiting.

Additional Resources
• Read subwoofer reviews from Home Theater Review.
• Visit HomeTheaterEquipment.com to discover more gear like the miniDSP.
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HTR Product Rating for miniDSP 2x4 Digital Signal Processor

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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