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 Restoration Road

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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2093
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Restoration Road   Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:47 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

Sonic’s system is on the restoration road……Janis W-1 subwoofer, Rotel amp and X-30 crossover are back. Found very quickly that the 50Hz crossover frequency for the main system sounded more natural with weight, not boom.





The system looks like this – been here before……I’ll experiment with the best distance for the Janis W-1 from the corner for most even bass with the most extension.





This one is sightly new – the midrange projection and ambient field is better with the FS-DRTs placed forward this way. This is one of the good learnings that came out of my detour into I hoped was a simpler system.





I been listening a lot again and realized how pleasant my sound actually is in this configuration. As for the floor bounce (see “Bouncing Off The Floor”), I discovered that the planars are fine in this respect just as theory predicts for a line source. The placement of DRTs on the floor ahead of the Magneplanars just hardened the midrange and treble and made the speakers obvious as the physical sources of the sound.

Musick tonight -- John Coltrane Quartet -- Coltrane (Impluse), J S Bach Well- Tempered Clavier Book 1 (Koopman/Erato). Very nice.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:06 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

My system has been settling over the last near-two weeks and the sound has stabilized and improved to the point where Sonic can push forward again.

Sonic made three tunes that showed much promise.

1. Finally, a successful platform for the V-DAC.

Zonees know I had tried all sorts of things to support the V-DAC PCB without success -- from MW boards with Harmonic Springs to a form of spring platform and even AAB1x1 cones. None worked well enough to be retained, some made the sound worse with the musical tonal balance shifted up in pitch along with a loss of bass foundation.

I chanced on some spare balsa pieces from Michael which I had sprayed on some cherry finish. The finish on some bits had faded from sunlight. Sonic joined the pieces with epoxy to create a platform. When tapping the dried platform with a fingernail, I heard a complex transient that was rich in harmonics and was a musical note.

Sonic put it under the V-DAC PCB:





2. Then the balsa piece was supported with four Space Cones facing with their points up:





After a couple of hours of playing music I found the soundstage had expanded in width – the instruments in a recorded orchestra were still in roughly the same places that is from a little outside of one speakers to a bit beyond the other speaker but the shell of sound had grown immensely to more than double the width of my 14 foot room. The apparent field of depth also went from just ahead of the speaker plane to beyond the front wall, that is >10 ft. And better too, the images/around the speaker positions and at the margins of the instrumental stage had grown in size and dimensionality.

Sonic is choosing words as carefully as I can to describe the effect – as I sit and listen to a recording of an orchestra, looking towards the rack and FS-PZCs, my ears tell me the sound is coming a space much wider and deeper in size than the physical dimensions of the room my speakers are playing in. The subjective volume for a given pre-amp setting is also louder by quite a bit.

I am surprised – balsa finished DIY with a spraycan wood stain with Space Cones pointing up can make changes as large as this?

I’ll next try a more central spot on the rack and see what happens.

3. More Space Cones pointing up….I had four more on hand so Sonic did this:





I put the tips of the cones where the blu ray player’s rubber feet were attached before being removed by me.

The sound improved in detail and seemed to augment the strengths of the balsa/Space Cones set up under the V-DAC. The Sony blu ray player is stable and the occasional slight vibrations from playing CDs is gone. Troublesome CDs that caused serious transport vibrations are gone quiet. The player is now so quiet that you cannot tell if a CD is spinning by putting your hand on it!

I’ll try pieces of the special wood from Michael under the Space Cones and see what happens. Also centering the V-DAC/balsa/Space Cones assembly on the rack may be good for tuning. Must get my room acoustic just a little bit drier but this could be programme dependent, meaning that what is just right for one recording could be too reverberant or dry for another.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:39 pm

Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic made a useful discovery this week – my system after restoration is sounding better than it ever has but greedy Sonic tried to improve things with some more tweaks. I placed Echotunes on the ceiling above the listening chair and over the equipment rack, also placed a straw mat on the floor between the speakers like so:





But in all these three tunes singly or in combination, the room seem to be less resonant on the “BOO!” best but became more hard and shifted up in frequency (more midrangy) and a hard, bright sound recoil from between the FS-DRTs (see the pix) just below the window blinds became very noticeable.

Without the mat or the Echotunes on the ceiling this hard resonance isn’t there. The musick with the mat and/or the Echotunes on the ceiling was projected, rather mechanical in sound but came forward as far as the speaker plane and not further. It was like looking at the musicians through a glass window.

Removing the mat and the Echotunes, I regained the big sound that is wider than the width, length and height of my room.

Michael, can you explain what is going on here?

Am listening to Messe’s pieces for two celli, Art Pepper and the Rhythm Section, David Munrow’s Montiverdi’s Contemporaries, Wes Montgomery Live in London.

Very satisfying musick! My system may not be all the Tune can be, however it appears to have reached the fully optimized point after which I need to make a major change of state to move to another (hopefully higher level). The last time I tried was with the simplified system and no subwoofer system but it failed and am now back to an earlier setting. Michael what do you think I need to do to engineer a breakout?

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:28 am


Hi Zonees

Sonic is finding that the overhang on the "BOO!" is getting to me. I have also found that playing a piece of music -- like a loud orchestral passage -- and hitting the Pause button on my CD player remote shows noticeable overhang. The musick stops and then the room stops. This surely cannot be right or the intention of the Tune.

Got to deal with this as a high priority item before Sonic can advance the system in any other way. Now the fine line is how to control this overhang and not getting a dead sound or destroying the imaging. Was listening to Elgar's Cello Concerto (Du Pre, EMI) and Michael Haydn Quartets and Quintets -- l'Archibudelli/Bylsma on Sony and clearly some action needs to be taken to cut that ring. It is coming from the front of the room where the window glass is.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:08 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:
Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic made a useful discovery this week – my system after restoration is sounding better than it ever has but greedy Sonic tried to improve things with some more tweaks. I placed Echotunes on the ceiling above the listening chair and over the equipment rack, also placed a straw mat on the floor between the speakers like so:





But in all these three tunes singly or in combination, the room seem to be less resonant on the “BOO!” best but became more hard and shifted up in frequency (more midrangy) and a hard, bright sound recoil from between the FS-DRTs (see the pix) just below the window blinds became very noticeable.

Without the mat or the Echotunes on the ceiling this hard resonance isn’t there. The musick with the mat and/or the Echotunes on the ceiling was projected, rather mechanical in sound but came forward as far as the speaker plane and not further. It was like looking at the musicians through a glass window.

Removing the mat and the Echotunes, I regained the big sound that is wider than the width, length and height of my room.

Michael, can you explain what is going on here?

Am listening to Messe’s pieces for two celli, Art Pepper and the Rhythm Section, David Munrow’s Montiverdi’s Contemporaries, Wes Montgomery Live in London.

Very satisfying musick! My system may not be all the Tune can be, however it appears to have reached the fully optimized point after which I need to make a major change of state to move to another (hopefully higher level). The last time I tried was with the simplified system and no subwoofer system but it failed and am now back to an earlier setting. Michael what do you think I need to do to engineer a breakout?

Sonic

You know many people seem to think that the Boo needs to be removed from the room. I would disagree. Inside of your pressure zones are the magic to music and to remove energy that is in tune is to remove music content. I feel the same way about any part of the system. It can be the simplest part or piece that sets the music free.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:12 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:

Hi Zonees

Sonic is finding that the overhang on the "BOO!" is getting to me. I have also found that playing a piece of music -- like a loud orchestral passage -- and hitting the Pause button on my CD player remote shows noticeable overhang. The musick stops and then the room stops. This surely cannot be right or the intention of the Tune.

Got to deal with this as a high priority item before Sonic can advance the system in any other way. Now the fine line is how to control this overhang and not getting a dead sound or destroying the imaging. Was listening to Elgar's Cello Concerto (Du Pre, EMI) and Michael Haydn Quartets and Quintets -- l'Archibudelli/Bylsma on Sony and clearly some action needs to be taken to cut that ring. It is coming from the front of the room where the window glass is.

Sonic

Hi Sonic

I think you might want to try something. See the window in my room?



It is covered in a very lightweight paper called builders paper. You might want to try this paper on your windows and even parts of your wall.

It takes just the slightest of edge off of pressure zones and the expansion of energy that may be a little too much.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:58 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:
Greetings Michael and Zonees

My system has been settling over the last near-two weeks and the sound has stabilized and improved to the point where Sonic can push forward again.

Sonic made three tunes that showed much promise.

1. Finally, a successful platform for the V-DAC.

Zonees know I had tried all sorts of things to support the V-DAC PCB without success -- from MW boards with Harmonic Springs to a form of spring platform and even AAB1x1 cones. None worked well enough to be retained, some made the sound worse with the musical tonal balance shifted up in pitch along with a loss of bass foundation.

I chanced on some spare balsa pieces from Michael which I had sprayed on some cherry finish. The finish on some bits had faded from sunlight. Sonic joined the pieces with epoxy to create a platform. When tapping the dried platform with a fingernail, I heard a complex transient that was rich in harmonics and was a musical note.

Sonic put it under the V-DAC PCB:





2. Then the balsa piece was supported with four Space Cones facing with their points up:





After a couple of hours of playing music I found the soundstage had expanded in width – the instruments in a recorded orchestra were still in roughly the same places that is from a little outside of one speakers to a bit beyond the other speaker but the shell of sound had grown immensely to more than double the width of my 14 foot room. The apparent field of depth also went from just ahead of the speaker plane to beyond the front wall, that is >10 ft. And better too, the images/around the speaker positions and at the margins of the instrumental stage had grown in size and dimensionality.

Sonic is choosing words as carefully as I can to describe the effect – as I sit and listen to a recording of an orchestra, looking towards the rack and FS-PZCs, my ears tell me the sound is coming a space much wider and deeper in size than the physical dimensions of the room my speakers are playing in. The subjective volume for a given pre-amp setting is also louder by quite a bit.

I am surprised – balsa finished DIY with a spraycan wood stain with Space Cones pointing up can make changes as large as this?

I’ll next try a more central spot on the rack and see what happens.

3. More Space Cones pointing up….I had four more on hand so Sonic did this:





I put the tips of the cones where the blu ray player’s rubber feet were attached before being removed by me.

The sound improved in detail and seemed to augment the strengths of the balsa/Space Cones set up under the V-DAC. The Sony blu ray player is stable and the occasional slight vibrations from playing CDs is gone. Troublesome CDs that caused serious transport vibrations are gone quiet. The player is now so quiet that you cannot tell if a CD is spinning by putting your hand on it!

I’ll try pieces of the special wood from Michael under the Space Cones and see what happens. Also centering the V-DAC/balsa/Space Cones assembly on the rack may be good for tuning. Must get my room acoustic just a little bit drier but this could be programme dependent, meaning that what is just right for one recording could be too reverberant or dry for another.

Sonic

I'm glad to see this post!

You know when I started to push treated Balsa people didn't respond well and told me that they thought it made some mistakes in the music. As a result I took it off of my bragging plate as a tuning wood, but never stopped using it for myself. I think in the right places it gives a full rich sound.

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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:28 am


Hi Michael and Zonees

Funny that people should have this low view of balsa. Maybe because it is used for hand launched gliders and model airplanes.

From Sonic’s tests, balsa has a particular effect and therefore may or may not work on systems depending on the state of tune and the sort of “ideal sound” in the mind of the tunee. It worked as mini Shutters on my ceiling wall joints and now as a support for the V-DAC but it didn't do so well as a support under MTD supporting the Magnaplanar 1.5QRs or the Clampracks.

The Ideal Sound – that’s a loaded concept. Sonic has been troubled by the “BOO!” overhang and I have compared the reverberation of my listening room to the other music environments in my dwelling and for sure my sort of tuned listening room where my Magnaplanars play is over-the-top lively in my opinion. Let’s call this the Main Listening Room.

I am using both the sound of reproduced music and Sonic playing guitar and fiddle to learn how music projects into the room.

My main listening room is very loud but lacks subtlety and the rining obsures details as I think about it. The other rooms may be more damped and makes me and fellow musicians have to play or sing louder but inflections and little things are there.

The Main Listening Room has good balance in some ways but it fails the Pause test in addition to the “BOO!” test – that is I play musick at moderate levels (about 82 dB peaks C-weighting) and on a Big Note, hit the pause button.

In the Main Listening Room, there is a noticeable overhang, like with the Beatles’ Come Together, there is an extra smeared note in the bass line when I hit Pause. In the other systems, there is less extension, less scale but the note cuts sharply. I have tried the “BOO!” test in proper musical performance spaces other than in Sonic’s dwelling and there is no overhang. But OTOH they aren’t damped like many audiophile rooms.

Sonic tested the surfaces and found the main overhang coming from the front wall just as I suspected. Trying to add absorption to the floor removed the life from the music, and the pace and rhythm disappeared but the ringing on “BOO!” was hardly affected.

Will builders’ paper over the window glass do the trick? If the wooden slats spaced from the glass cannot, I have to adopt more powerful solutions. But the critical thing is to erase just enough overhang but not get to the point where the realism, girth and expansiveness of the soundstage falls down a hole and sounds like “high end audio….”

So I removed the Ikea wooden blinds from over the window and hung a pair of pure cotton curtains from Ikea. These are 2.5 metres long x 1.4 metres wide. As Ikea put it, they are made to reduce sound and light. The curtains weigh about 4 lbs each, not too heavy.

Curtains up and the first impression is the sound has gone dry and boring but after a couple hours of music play and listening, Sonic can hear more detail, better bass, improved soundstaging and focus. The room is quieter and inflections in singing and the playing of instruments is nicely audible. The “BOO!” test started to tell me now that the reverberation time is sharply reduced and the ringing is nearly gone. There is also no upward shift in pitch.

The soundstage is still wide and there is fair depth. Midrangy recordings are closer to being OK and the discomfort with the acoustic dryness has disappeared. Likely this is due to my ears getting used to the over reverberant space and I need to get used to a drier space with some readjustment of my hearing again.

Point for Zonees is this though -- Michael's advice on tuning appear to be with rooms with drywall panels, floating wooden floors. Sonic's room is brick for all walls, a reinforced concrete ceiling and a wood over concrete floor. A room like this needs more burn than a drywall and wood construction room. The Tune is still behaving as Michael said it sould.

Sonic is actually finding the sound changing for the better with the curtain. I’ll report on progress and settling and then post some pictures in the next few days.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:09 pm

Hi Michael and Zonees

After a few days of letting the curtains settle in, Sonic's system has become extremely musical. Voices and instruments are focused and have a “wholeness”, there is no recessed centre soundstage and recordings are revealing more micro-details that make listening an adventure.

Sonic been listening to Turlough O’Carolan’s harp works set for guitar, some Hamish Imlach where I can hear clearly some soft vocal extemporisations from this great Irish singer and best of all, a Smithsonian Folkways Recording of Roscoe Holcomb – An Untamed Sense of Control. This is wonderful American folk music. The musick on this CD aside, the recording appears to me over-etched and Holcomb’s high lonesome voice pinched and irritating.

No longer. With the curtained windows, the edge in Holcomb’s voice is balanced with a chest tone, the instrumental snap is accompanied with body and when two instruments are played, they were separated in space. Where there are details like foot taps, the sounds come from a defined place in the performance space rather just diffused transients.

Very good. Testing still in progress.

Again Sonic must emphasize that Tunees should not think that my experience has proven the Tune wrong. What I have done is to balance out the effect of the hard brick walls and concrete ceiling of my room. The rooms that Michael’s gear is most successfully used have walls of gypsum board, wooden frame construction and suspended wood floors. In Asia, the construction materials are different. With the hardness and lack of flexure of my walls, ceiling and floor, Sonic needs to get a little more burn/damping into the system so the tune devices work as Michael intended.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:25 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

A few more days on and Sonic is finding the listenability of the room improved. The ringing and over-resonance has been successfully reduced. The room is still essentially on the live side, all the curtain has done is to have “BOO!” become “Boo.”.





There were some quick experiments Sonic did by adding more carpets pulled from other places in my dwelling to see what they did and I learnt some things which should set pointers for tunees attempting this path.

Depending on where the carpets were placed I got two effects, neither pleasant ones. The reverberation time could get uneven and the treble and mids got damped but the bass ranges were still reverberant. This made the sound tiring with different parts of the musick deadened compared to the lower pitched instruments.

In other spots, the carpets cut the reverberation time in the highs and the lows but lengthened or appear to lengthen the mids. This shifted the whole ambient signature of the room up in pitch and the room started to take on a bathroom sound in frequencies at the lower range of the female voice or upper range of the male voice. I tested to verfy this. Again not good for musick.

So back to what I get now. My room is tamer but not tamed. I think the hard reinforced concrete ceiling is a problem at the frequency corresponding to the height of my room. This means the problem spot is every point of my ceiling wall surfaces.

It is raining ringing.

Tolerable yes, but a problem that I need Michael’s help to fix if I am to progress any further with the tune.

The musick is good now, don’t get me wrong. The curtains have helped the sound a lot given the hard concrete surfaces if my room but I need to get over the next hurdle -- which is the ceiling/floor room height thing.

Michael, what solutions can you suggest? You must have faced this before.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Tue May 01, 2012 3:55 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

I think….fingers crossed….that Sonic has got the reverb time in my room under control without moving off the Path of the Tune. And the solution came from Michael. Since Sonic saves the correspondence with Michael, I can go over my notes from time to time when I lose my way or need a new idea.

The Story so far: I put up the Ikea curtains (that’s running rather near to the gutter of the Tune road) and they had worked. The BOO! became Boo! But it was still slightly resonant. Testing with more burn applied to the room (using carpets and Echotunes) made the reverb uneven emphasizing some frequencies while controlling others. In one case the highs were damped out but the bass got more ringy. Not good.

Sonic mused what could be done and re-read my notes and looked at some old threads on Tuneland.

Michael once pointed out that planar speakers needed PZCs or his Tuning panels behind them to balance the energy coming from the rear wave and to form the soundstage -- the wall behind planars should never be damped. The larger the planars, the further the PZCs/panels needed to be. Sonic got hold of my special RTs and used them in the front corners placed not across the corners at 45 degrees but parallel to the Magnaplanar speakers. The RT panels are about a foot from the wall at the far end and 10 inches at the toed-in end.

Music played (Telemann’s sonatas for recorder, harpsichord, cello and lute – Bruggen, Ragossnig and others) and the sound was more detailed and focused. This CD was played three times for the room to settle. Nice detail, but the Boo! was still Boo! For sure, not that we should tune our rooms just with Boos! and handclaps but with musick.

Then I read an exchange I had with Michael a couple of years ago about the Pressure Box! And there was once when Michael asked me what I heard if I used a Pressure Box in front of my listening chair instead of a rattan footstool.

Aha! Sonic’s reasoning – the centre of a room is where all the modes build up. I got this big pressure zone out of control at the centre. A Pressure Box in the place where the stool is will be centred and if the problem is between two parallel surfaces like a pair of walls or ceiling and a floor, it doesn’t really matter which surface the treatment device should go. So found a box 22” x 18.25 x 12”, a cardboard tube from a toilet roll and made up a Pressure Box.

Sonic thought this could be the answer…and it was. At least it appears strongly to be. Very quickly the room went clean, the Boo! was controlled but not damped. Instruments took on more body and detail, there was more treble detail (listened to some Thelonious Monk) and the bass did not overhang. Yet the mids and highs were alive and not damped. For sure, it wasn’t perfect on everything, In could nit pick on wanting more details in the bass and so on – no room will ever be. And the one rock recording where the electric bass hits a note that sets my room's resonances off now rings less but still has an overhang but then Sonic hardly listens to this type of music so the solution is to send the CD to the Salvation Army store and forget it ever was a problem.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Fri May 04, 2012 9:10 am


Hi Zonees

Here are some developments in my system after I had installed the Pressure Box:

a. The room is quieter and it is noticeable. Visitors who are not audiophiles remark the room has a very clear sound to it. When I read aloud from my listening chair (the News Reader Test, I supposewe might call this) the voice has very little overhang and no smearing. Articulation is good. Not much difference is quality if a high or low pitched voice is used.

b. The state of reverberation is linked to humidity. Anything from 50% RH and below is good and when we go below 40% RH, the reverb is exceptionally clean and there is no overhang audible at even loud (>87 dB) levels. On the other hand, higher humidity levels lengthen the reverb time significantly and tilts the frequency spectrum of the reverb tail in a jumbled way so the room sound is untidy. Anything over 60% RH gives a "BOOooo!"

c. Sonic’s equipment is biased in placement from the centre of the room width towards the Right. In the centre are the FS-PZCs, the main equipment rack, the high-pass amp platform and as we move right, we have the miniclamp rack for the X-30, the platform for the subwoofer amp and the Janis W-1 subwoofer. There is therefore more mass distributed in the front of my room from centre over to the right corner.

On the left, there is a void from the main rack to the wall. I sometimes find this unbalances the soundstage with images on the Left feeling a bit out of control.

Sonic just got hold of a genuine Michael Green Justarack hemlock chipboard shelf. I placed it on a stool and sited the assembly to the Left of my main equipment rack. The soundstage got balanced Left to Right. It is fascinating what this heavy platform on a small rattan stool can do. As I listen I feel there might be even more control on the reverb time….but this could be my wishful thinking.

d. At the rate my system is advancing, it is not impossible that Sonic will soon go back to the Ikea wooden blinds over the front windows instead of the curtains, which will bring me back to the centre of the Tune path again.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 06, 2012 11:21 am


Hi Zonees

Here are some calculations on Sonic’s Pressure Box using an online tool to calculate the frequencies of Helmholtz resonators (which is what Michael’s Pressure Boxes are).

Present internal size of Box: 54.6cm x 43.8cm x 29.2cm
Vent tube: 3.175cm ID x 10.79cm length
Freq: 16 Hz

If we increase the size of Box by 10%: 60cm x 48cm x 32cm
Vent tube: same dimensions
Freq: 13.9 Hz

If we reduce the size of Box by 10%: 49cm x 39.4cm x 10.35cm
Vent tube: same dimensions
Freq: 18.5 Hz

If we maintained present internal size of Box @ 54.6cm x 43.8cm x 29.2cm and:

a. Increased Vent tube ID to 3.8cm maintaining length at 10.79cm
Freq: 18.8 hz

b. Reduced ID of Vent tube to 2.85cm maintaining length at 10.79cm
Freq: 14.5 Hz

c. Lengthened Vent tube to 12.9 cm maintaining ID at 3.175cm
Freq: 14.8 Hz

d. Shortened Vent tube to 7 cm maintaining ID at 3.175cm
Freq: 18.9 Hz

Fascinating is this not?

Sonic’s room is now more controlled and quieter with the Pressure Box and I am finding the system volume can be turned up a good amount without any room overload and compression.

Have also found that a quieter room causes a reduction in subjective volume. Sonic is listening at some 72 dB now using the conventional Pre-amp settings compared to 76 dB earlier (C-weighting). I can also change the size of the soundstage and forwardness of imaging with the volume control – too low a playback level leads to a banana/U-shaped soundstage and increasing the level compensates by bringing the centre images forward.

For all this, Sonic is still listening at mid to high 70 dBs with peaks in the low 80 dBs.

A well known audiophile who writes in the high-end press was talking about listen at the 85 dB to 88 dB levels. Even if this were peaks, this is too loud in a domestic environment. I know some people who listen at volumes to the point they hear chuffing from their loudspeaker ports. Isn't this way too much and the tune creates music at lower and sensible levels, as Sonic understands.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 06, 2012 6:28 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:

Hi Michael and Zonees

Funny that people should have this low view of balsa. Maybe because it is used for hand launched gliders and model airplanes.

From Sonic’s tests, balsa has a particular effect and therefore may or may not work on systems depending on the state of tune and the sort of “ideal sound” in the mind of the tunee. It worked as mini Shutters on my ceiling wall joints and now as a support for the V-DAC but it didn't do so well as a support under MTD supporting the Magnaplanar 1.5QRs or the Clampracks.

The Ideal Sound – that’s a loaded concept. Sonic has been troubled by the “BOO!” overhang and I have compared the reverberation of my listening room to the other music environments in my dwelling and for sure my sort of tuned listening room where my Magnaplanars play is over-the-top lively in my opinion. Let’s call this the Main Listening Room.

I am using both the sound of reproduced music and Sonic playing guitar and fiddle to learn how music projects into the room.

My main listening room is very loud but lacks subtlety and the rining obsures details as I think about it. The other rooms may be more damped and makes me and fellow musicians have to play or sing louder but inflections and little things are there.

The Main Listening Room has good balance in some ways but it fails the Pause test in addition to the “BOO!” test – that is I play musick at moderate levels (about 82 dB peaks C-weighting) and on a Big Note, hit the pause button.

In the Main Listening Room, there is a noticeable overhang, like with the Beatles’ Come Together, there is an extra smeared note in the bass line when I hit Pause. In the other systems, there is less extension, less scale but the note cuts sharply. I have tried the “BOO!” test in proper musical performance spaces other than in Sonic’s dwelling and there is no overhang. But OTOH they aren’t damped like many audiophile rooms.

Sonic tested the surfaces and found the main overhang coming from the front wall just as I suspected. Trying to add absorption to the floor removed the life from the music, and the pace and rhythm disappeared but the ringing on “BOO!” was hardly affected.

Will builders’ paper over the window glass do the trick? If the wooden slats spaced from the glass cannot, I have to adopt more powerful solutions. But the critical thing is to erase just enough overhang but not get to the point where the realism, girth and expansiveness of the soundstage falls down a hole and sounds like “high end audio….”

So I removed the Ikea wooden blinds from over the window and hung a pair of pure cotton curtains from Ikea. These are 2.5 metres long x 1.4 metres wide. As Ikea put it, they are made to reduce sound and light. The curtains weigh about 4 lbs each, not too heavy.

Curtains up and the first impression is the sound has gone dry and boring but after a couple hours of music play and listening, Sonic can hear more detail, better bass, improved soundstaging and focus. The room is quieter and inflections in singing and the playing of instruments is nicely audible. The “BOO!” test started to tell me now that the reverberation time is sharply reduced and the ringing is nearly gone. There is also no upward shift in pitch.

The soundstage is still wide and there is fair depth. Midrangy recordings are closer to being OK and the discomfort with the acoustic dryness has disappeared. Likely this is due to my ears getting used to the over reverberant space and I need to get used to a drier space with some readjustment of my hearing again.

Point for Zonees is this though -- Michael's advice on tuning appear to be with rooms with drywall panels, floating wooden floors. Sonic's room is brick for all walls, a reinforced concrete ceiling and a wood over concrete floor. A room like this needs more burn than a drywall and wood construction room. The Tune is still behaving as Michael said it sould.

Sonic is actually finding the sound changing for the better with the curtain. I’ll report on progress and settling and then post some pictures in the next few days.

Sonic

Cotton will eventually take over and will burn needed frequencies to give the whole, but where is that balance, and what are the other materials to be used?

Wood certainly is one of them, jute is one and I have found paper to be useful.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 06, 2012 6:45 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:
Hi Michael and Zonees

A few more days on and Sonic is finding the listenability of the room improved. The ringing and over-resonance has been successfully reduced. The room is still essentially on the live side, all the curtain has done is to have “BOO!” become “Boo.”.





There were some quick experiments Sonic did by adding more carpets pulled from other places in my dwelling to see what they did and I learnt some things which should set pointers for tunees attempting this path.

Depending on where the carpets were placed I got two effects, neither pleasant ones. The reverberation time could get uneven and the treble and mids got damped but the bass ranges were still reverberant. This made the sound tiring with different parts of the musick deadened compared to the lower pitched instruments.

In other spots, the carpets cut the reverberation time in the highs and the lows but lengthened or appear to lengthen the mids. This shifted the whole ambient signature of the room up in pitch and the room started to take on a bathroom sound in frequencies at the lower range of the female voice or upper range of the male voice. I tested to verfy this. Again not good for musick.

So back to what I get now. My room is tamer but not tamed. I think the hard reinforced concrete ceiling is a problem at the frequency corresponding to the height of my room. This means the problem spot is every point of my ceiling wall surfaces.

It is raining ringing.

Tolerable yes, but a problem that I need Michael’s help to fix if I am to progress any further with the tune.

The musick is good now, don’t get me wrong. The curtains have helped the sound a lot given the hard concrete surfaces if my room but I need to get over the next hurdle -- which is the ceiling/floor room height thing.

Michael, what solutions can you suggest? You must have faced this before.

Sonic

Well, now the room height is your friend. When dampening a room you need as much space as you can get to offset the energy that is missing in the area of the curtains. You are heading closer to the live end dead end approach to things. If you walk up to the curtains and talk or play you will start to hear the frequencies that are missing. The key now is to have the other parts (space) in the room fill in the gap of what is missing or to cover the curtain with a reflective material using thee curtains as burn but not direct burn.

Just as a side note in the US basement rooms, plaster rooms and some high rise rooms have the same characters as your rooms in your area.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 06, 2012 6:57 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:

Hi Zonees

Here are some developments in my system after I had installed the Pressure Box:

a. The room is quieter and it is noticeable. Visitors who are not audiophiles remark the room has a very clear sound to it. When I read aloud from my listening chair (the News Reader Test, I supposewe might call this) the voice has very little overhang and no smearing. Articulation is good. Not much difference is quality if a high or low pitched voice is used.

b. The state of reverberation is linked to humidity. Anything from 50% RH and below is good and when we go below 40% RH, the reverb is exceptionally clean and there is no overhang audible at even loud (>87 dB) levels. On the other hand, higher humidity levels lengthen the reverb time significantly and tilts the frequency spectrum of the reverb tail in a jumbled way so the room sound is untidy. Anything over 60% RH gives a "BOOooo!"

c. Sonic’s equipment is biased in placement from the centre of the room width towards the Right. In the centre are the FS-PZCs, the main equipment rack, the high-pass amp platform and as we move right, we have the miniclamp rack for the X-30, the platform for the subwoofer amp and the Janis W-1 subwoofer. There is therefore more mass distributed in the front of my room from centre over to the right corner.

On the left, there is a void from the main rack to the wall. I sometimes find this unbalances the soundstage with images on the Left feeling a bit out of control.

Sonic just got hold of a genuine Michael Green Justarack hemlock chipboard shelf. I placed it on a stool and sited the assembly to the Left of my main equipment rack. The soundstage got balanced Left to Right. It is fascinating what this heavy platform on a small rattan stool can do. As I listen I feel there might be even more control on the reverb time….but this could be my wishful thinking.

d. At the rate my system is advancing, it is not impossible that Sonic will soon go back to the Ikea wooden blinds over the front windows instead of the curtains, which will bring me back to the centre of the Tune path again.

Sonic

Here's the key to what you are doing.

One is that you are learning the difference in humidity, which in my opinion is one of your biggest sonic challenges, and 2 you are learning materials vs pressure. In my ultra dry rooms even the slightest dampening material jumps off the soundstage at you.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 06, 2012 7:23 pm

Now an interesting test for you. Can you achieve these results with barricade tuning vs direct absorption? Direct absorption is without a doubt robbing music content that you will hear sooner or later, but if you can do the same thing with a barricade setup you will have both the music content and the control. So in a way we are back to what we talked about a long time ago more PZC controlling devices with pressure boxes. Keep in mind that you still may choose to end up with some other materials on some of the walls but they will be controlled with a Pressure Zone Controller in front of them.

Idea

Also keep in mind that in the development of the tune I too was a live end dead end guy so seeing you head in this direction is no shock to these ears at all. I've gone full live to full dead and back many times and have learned many things along the way each time. In the end though always hearing what was missing and knowing that I would need to get the music to work and have it all, or at least as close as I could get to getting it all.

Again I would say that one of your biggest battles that makes listening different for you is not as much the material but instead the way humidity reacts to the material. The distance between you and your walls is the invisible barrier that holds the sound. Sometimes we think it is the wall, floor, ceiling and we forget the great solid/gas that is inbetween. Voicing pressure zones is the magic to good sound. I would say that if you go back and readdress the zones using what you have learned through dampening a bigger portion of the wall you may find a balance that is the perfect blend.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sat May 12, 2012 10:13 am


Greetings Michael and Zonees

Over this last week Sonic added another Pressure Box, this one tuned to about 18Hz and placed in the front LH corner just ahead of the Special Floorstanding RoomTune in that corner (there is one in each of my front room corners).

This took my system to another place. The images detached from the speaker positions, soundstage became nicely balanced Left to Right and I can listen into the soundstage and hear more details in the recordings. Finding also that what used to be two instruments apparently occupying in the same point in space on some recordings are now separating out into two adjacent but distinct places in the soundstage.

The ambience has reduced a lot but what little ambience I hear is natural and suitably uncorrelated – meaning big, diffuse and not directional to my ears. Sonic has realized some time ago that my system was giving me exaggerated ambience compared to what I would hear in live musick in a hall. I concluded this ambience which I once thought was wonderful is an artifact, a distortion from an overly live room.

This doesn’t mean I have gone to a deadened room. Overdoing burn leads to an unmusical and boring sound. The BOO! should not stop sharply but there must be a slight diffused tail that hints of the sound playing in a space larger than the eyes informs me of. Also there should be no upward shift in frequency or a major downward shift but a low to midbass resonance from the BOO that is musical…think of a Martin rosewood guitar.

My room now gives Sonic the impression from the Boo! resonance that the reverb is from a room larger to my ears than my eyes see.

Sonic also spoke and played an instrument very close to the curtains. Michael is right in predicting I will hear gaps in the frequency spectrum – and I did. The curtains caused a loss of energy in the upper bass range but since this coincided with where the room was over resonant, the resulting effect was just right.

Along the way, I got another cardboard box, this one a little smaller than the two I had installed and Sonic made a vent hole in it but installed no toilet roll tube. A tube lowers the Helmholtz resonator’s frequency – using a 3.175 cm diameter tube with a 10.79 cm length, the frequency of this box would have been 19 Hz but with no tube the frequency went up to 41 Hz.

I installed this box on top of the Bookcase Wall with the vent port pointing towards the rear wall. Sonic got a large increase in transparency and there is more projection of images across the stage, mostly the centre images.

Very realistic and just what I was tuning for. After that, Sonic spent a lot of time listening to music and I am feeling very little pull to do anything else to my system to improve it. I have been spending the last two evenings listening to recording after recording, appreciating the music. Listening and sometimes listening and reading. The feeling that I need to tune/tweak/modify something isn’t there no more (it might come back when the sound settles and Sonic hears both the flaws along with the strengths of the system).

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Sun May 13, 2012 11:44 pm

Hi Sonic

Hopefully you don't mind but I made a change to the title of this section of the forum. I put in Singapore because I've come to realize that if people treated their rooms in parts of the world using different wall construction than what you have described some of the "tunes" you are doing could lead them down a path of being over dead quickly.

I wanted to put myself in check on this so I was not making a rash over statement and put a 3X4' curtain material on my front wall and the sound collapsed instantly. A third of the music disappeared in front of my eyes and the sound that flows behind me went out of phase. I have to admit my heart went up in my throat thinking people were going to read your recent findings and start throwing rugs back up on their walls. Shocked This is exactly what I have spent 20 years stopping them from doing. There are some cases here where folks have concrete block walls and heavy plaster but even those cases do not sound as sever in terms of hardness compared to what I hear you describing.

It might be a good idea to use disclaimers when doing this and we should probably do a review on wall material/paints/coverings that we haven't done in a while. It's good I feel for people to do this anyway seeing that the material of their walls are the biggest component of the room.

A note: many folks from Hong Kong and Japan order far more PZCs than in the states which I think is interesting, and another interesting point is when I did visit over in that part of the world, how many listeners had built wood rooms inside of their harder walled rooms.

What you are now doing tells me that we need to be looking at different ways to

1. bring back proper resonance to the rooms there
2. research material reflective responses there

Over the last few weeks I've been watching you describe the Boo test and thinking to myself "I wonder if sonic has an exaggerated amount of reflective energy"? More than say plaster walls over here. The way you were describing this it was almost sounding like my visits to the middle east listening to marble walls.

So as to not to sound like an alarmist, if I did what you have just done to my systems it would have sounded like someone threw a huge blanket over the sound. My volume would have decreased to nothing and things would be like miniature toys in the room instead of full sized instruments. If anything in my rooms I wish I had more wood to get rid of the dulling of dry wall. In your case it sounds like you need a lot more wood or materials like dry wall to give better reflective vs absorption ratios.

Interesting how our sound comes down to materials and how they are tuned.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Mon May 14, 2012 12:02 am

Q?

When you add the resonators do you actually hear the materials of the resonators along with what they do?

Reason I ask is because in my rooms the sound of the materials of resonators make as big of a difference to the sound as the resonating/porting/trapping itself. Again if you put any materials in my room they stick out. Like for example I have to be very careful what type of cardboard I use and how much. If I take a little 8X10X4 card board box in my room it will stick out like sore thumb. Even after I tune it I can hear the sound of the cardboard.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Tue May 15, 2012 9:41 am

Hi Michael

Those are fascinating observations you made about Asian tunees’ application of your products. There are of course several possibilities that come to mind:

a. What Asians prioritize in sound reproduction and hi-fi could differ from Americans and Europeans. There could be a different aesthetic in play here even when listening to Western music and just as there could be markedly different expectations when westerners hear oriental music.

b. The experience of musical performance and hall interaction might be different.

c. The materials used in constructing our dwellings and listening spaces in the East could differ from the West.

d. There might be climatic factors (temperature and humidity) may affect things.

e. What Asian tunees/audiophiles seek in their room treatment may be different and our interpretation of how the Tune is described and perceived may differ even though we are using the same words in English.

My room is now right at the edge in terms of absorption – should Sonic add (and I did this as a test) another bit of absorption, the whole soundstage, the soundscape collapses into a one-dimensional sheet of sound hanging from speaker-to-speaker with a banana shape in the middle. The speakers also become sources of the sound where right now, most times the whole music and musicians are playing from behind the speakers to the front wall and through it.

I found out something else about my room: I may have been feeling frustrated and I hit the wall with the side of my fist and then heard a resonant echo. Sonic then hit more walls of my listening room and found that the walls that separate Sonic from the Great Outdoors are solid brick (solid and aresonant) while the wall that separate my listening room from the rest of my dwelling is hollow brick.

Hollow brick is commonly used in this part of the world. I don’t know how prevalent its use is in the US, Europe and North Asia.

Hitting the surfaces with hollow brick gives a note similar to the BOO! It is the same note I was working to control and it is in the side of my room where I have had problems achieving out-of-the-room soundstaging.

I wonder if the hollow brick is a contribution to why I have ended up where I am now with the curtains….and then, what can be done about it if it is? (Options no including rebuilding the walls with solid brick of course).

The post Michael made on "Q" is deliciously ambiguous -- is Q referring to “questions” or the Q-factor of a filter/resonator system?

On the degree of differences Sonic can hear, I have found that if I placed a book on each of my Pressure Boxes, a different sound is presented. There is a scientific reason for this and not my imagination – if we increase the rigidity of a Helmholtz Resonator (which these essentially Pressure Boxes are), the Q factor goes up – that is the range of the frequency the box is effective is narrowed but their effectiveness in this band is improved.

Can Sonic hear the difference in materials the Pressure Boxes are made of?

No. I have no sense of how one type of cardboard used for the Pressure Boxes compares with another material or how cardboard compares to plywood since Sonic has made no comparisons. Also the resolution of my system while being pretty good is not where I can detect the sound in the room changes if a small cardboard box is introduced to the room.

If someone brought a 3 ft x 3 ft x ¼ in plyboard into my room I’ll hear it for sure.

Your thoughts, Michael?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Wed May 16, 2012 3:24 pm

Hi Sonic

If you get me pictures of the brick you guys use there I can tell you if it is similar to the brick here.

Q = ?

Yes, our bricks come both hollow and solid. Some are concrete, clay, sand stone and other materials.

Just to be clear I have worked with brick, plaster, marble, glass, tile and concrete walls here so the walls in your part of the world made not be as far away from what we have worked on than it seems.

As far as differences in the way the different parts on the world perceive the sound that has no bearing on playback. A stereo system is far different from a live hall and you would not necessarily want the two to be the same. A live hall is designed to present music to many seats all over the huge area, a studio is to change acoustical effect and home listening is playback.

Let me give you one very important difference. Your recordings are not playing at their full dynamic range. If recordings were made completely without compression you would blow your speakers often. So your room in playback mode really needs to be looked at differently. In live music you do not have things like chokes on the instruments whereas your speakers are processing the sound. We do dynamic testing on speakers and they don't even come close to the live instruments. Ours come closer than most because of their lack of crossovers and chokes but your average playback speaker has tons of limiting factors.

When you take into account of compression/limiting and speaker build there is a huge difference to playing an instrument.

Basically what I am saying is there is no big difference in the tune and the need for adding big areas of cloth in the room are taking away from the sound more than you realize presently. However finding the right combos is very important no matter where we are. I'm glad you have found that you needed to burn more energy in your room but I know in the long run you are going to find that direct absorption is stealing some of the music. You should try some of your smaller wall tweaks like you have in the past and see if the effects are as big now as they were.

I think with the curtain you made a huge dampening jump and in time are going to start hearing the downside of it. Once you do you will want to start doing the energy draining and still keeping the content.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Wed May 16, 2012 3:48 pm

I want to keep these posts a little separate so as to not have them run on.

Q

How do your pressure zones now sound?

With direct absorption can you still shape the different zones?

Do you hear how different the pressure zone sounds close to the cloth as opposed to the zone at the other end of the room?

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Wed May 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi Sonic

Here's the part that concerns me. In the past you were hearing differences with small tweaks.

Now you are saying

"No. I have no sense of how one type of cardboard used for the Pressure Boxes compares with another material or how cardboard compares to plywood since Sonic has made no comparisons. Also the resolution of my system while being pretty good is not where I can detect the sound in the room changes if a small cardboard box is introduced to the room."

I know you haven't compared the different materials yet, but where I am confused is before I would have swore that you could have heard the introduction of a small box by following your thread.

I think in the past we may have been underestimating how much energy was in your room as listening readers. I bet it was a lot more than I and maybe others were picturing in my/our minds. If a room has too much energy and it is not tuned this can lead to all kinds of problems.

What happens to the sound when you put dampening on the back wall?

Also, if you do have a 3X3 piece of cardboard what does it sound like when you put it covering the curtains?

Now more than ever do I wish I was there to play.

Sorry if I sound pressing BTW. I'm just really curious to the amount of dampening you added without it collapsing. Your walls must either sound really terrible or you had far more energy than I ever pictured.

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PostSubject: Re: Restoration Road   Fri May 18, 2012 10:38 am


Hi Michael

Sonic will hang up some damping on the back wall and post the results of what I hear.

IN the last week I introduced a support piece of 3/8" thick plywood about 2 ft x 1.25 ft in size as a temporary support for a piece of equipment I was planning to test. I placed this to the left of my main amp -- without anything on the plywood, I could hear something wrong from the first notes a CD I played. With The Complete Consort Musick (William Byrd/Fretwork), the soundstage pulled left, instruments on the right lost presence and the sound took on a dry colouration.

This signature worsened over the next couple of hours of music play, so I had to remove it. Without the plywood piece, the musick was again balanced and listenable.

It might be both things that Michael said about my room is correct -- I have more energy than he anticipated and I might have really lousy sounding walls. Thing is with the curtains in place, I am getting good music with decent dimensionality. It is only when I go right up to the curtains and talk or play an instrument that I hear their deadening effect. Out in the room where I sit, the spatial and tonal balance is OK, definitely better in my opinion compared to the "BOOoo!" when the wooden slats were over the windows.

The system has been this way long enough for settling to occur and the curtains to show its interaction by now. Let's see what happens next with some damping on the rear wall.

Sonic
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