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 Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:34 am


Hi Michael

The China Poplar disks are 2 inches diameter x 3/8 inch thick.

The solid wood bench/table has been moved from the centre of the room to the LH wall just behind the speaker and a DecoTune placed on it and leaning against the wall.

The width of my soundstage is fine after settling. It is wider than deeper than before.

On orchestral musick, the instrumental images are wall to wall but the girth of the orchestra extends way through the walls, sometimes there are instruments out there, most often it is a feeling that the musick is not hemmed in by the walls and the performers are playing in very big spaces that are far larger than my room.

On some pop recordings, I can all sorts of things expanding. On one CD, I heard a pedal steel guitar and backing vocals in the Left and Right spaces way outside and beyond my left and right walls. The width reproduction ability of my system is huge.

The depth is so-so but this is OK for Sonic because live musick doesn't have the artificial, over-etched "layering" of audiophile myth. I would any day trade "depth" for more "width".

Was listening to Pieces for Violin and Continuo -- Jean Ferry Rebel (Andrew Mainz et al/ Harmonia Mundi), Pelleas and Melisande -- Arnold Schoenberg (Herbert von Karajan, Berlin PO, Deutsche Grammophon), some Charlie Parker, Ambient Music for Airports (Brian Eno), Poems, Prayers and Promises -- John Denver (RCA)....yes, Sonic listens to that stuff too... Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:23 am

Wait wait wait!

You can get the Sherwood in your area? What are you waiting on? You could have a 2 component system.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:11 pm


Hi Michael and Zonees

After last night's long listening session, Sonic got that feeling that the system was directing me to the next tune. This hunch has been accurate before and I am growing to trust it....it is a knowing of what the system needs and what to do about it next.

The direction is to move my rack and amplifier stand forward (closer to the listening chair) in order to strengthen the pressure zone at the centre of the soundstage.

Sonic then locked the hex-nuts of the ClampRack tight (that is, TIGHT), then with assistance moved the rack by lifting it up slightly so it could glide forward on the wood floor. Of course the amp/transformer assembly had been moved first. All forward by about 18 inches or a little more from their original spots. The rack/amp is not just a little behind the speaker plane.

Once the rack was in position and centred left-to-right, I loosened the hex-nuts. Of course I'll have to rebalance the rack, make certain the rods do not touch the shelves and and level all shelves over the next few days.

The first impression of the sound was of what Michael called "system shock" -- I put on an unfamiliar but musical CD of Shirley Smith and Stanley Turrentine -- a Jazz Organ and Saxophone recording on Impulse from 1964.

It sounded strange, unbalanced and defoccused but there was something right about the instruments and the placements. As the system started to settle and the amps warm up, I heard what Michael said about the sound of a systems changing as musick plays.

The sound of the CD at the last track was a vast improvement from when the first track played.

This forward rack set up is consistent with Michael calling the rack (or its mass) the "soundstage tuning zone". Where the rack is, it anchors the soundstage. I got a flatter stage but with more detail in the centre which is what Sonic was after.

The width is good, my stage is now even more a very large volume wider than my room width and as tall as my room or more. The depth is OK, certainly not the exaggerated "layering" and U-shaped stage some audiophile call width.

I'll start the rebalancing adjustment of the rack over the next few days along with the tuning in of the PZCs, and other stuff that will get affected after as big a move in the equipment as this.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:38 am

Hi Zonees

Here is the pix of the Clamprack moved forward. The small piece of tape on the floor shows the original place of the Clamprack.



After the system settling through this week, the sound is very good and I got that forwardness that I hear in live musick.

This is where the Solid wood bench went from the centre of the room and how Sonic put the DecoTune on it.



And the China poplar on the doors after removal of the Space Cones.



Also Sonic must say that after the Space Cones are gone from my room the pitch of the room shifts down rather than up.

While the Space Cones may have been a mismatch in my main musick room, using them in one of the other systems in my dwelling on the loudspeakers (3 per speaker) has improved the "full range" sound of the system.

The Clamprack move has led to a major improvement in projection. Sonic is testing for the best position for the FS-PZC that is if I should move them or the flanking DecoTunes forward.

With this tune Sonic has got a soundstage with a good sense of width. Actually even when playing a mono CD, I hear a focussed (but not artificially point source) image of the musicians while there is a secondary halo of sound (not echo) round them that tells me the musick is being played in a huge space far larger than my listening room.

In stereo, this effect is perhaps lessened but I am getting a well focussed images with a space that speaks to me of scale, girth and realistic size. Very good, thinks Sonic.

Michael -- what are your thoughts on 2D and 3D wood diffussors? Do they work with or against the Tune? How does the thinking behind Diffussors run parallel or against the Tune?

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:49 am

Hi Sonic

I have always found RPG's to be very pitchy sounding. If you built a box of wood the same size as these and put them in the same place you'll be better off. See what Drewster has behind him? Blows away RPG's. When the old Atlanta gang use to do recordings we would make wood panels and hang them over the RPG's when we would do studio work.

If your gonna defuse use Sound Shutters in a tight pattern, but I'm thinking adding wood with one eye kept on not throwing things into weird phasy things. Again like dampening a phasy sound can creep up on you.

Now if you want a defuse sound I can show you how to do this. I use to defuse the tunable room for the heck of it, but talk about recording dependant. Trying playing 2 different pieces of music in a defused room set to one recording.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:34 am


Hi Michael

Sonic's question about diffussors came after a discussion with a couple of audiophiles who ply the "Adelphi" beat in this town with me. They asked me what is the difference in approach to room tuning/treatment between what Michael does and what diffusors do?

We had conversed to the point where contoured foam panels and cylindrical acoustic traps were no longer part of the room solution.

But diffussors still appeared to be a good idea too. So I asked.

One of the audiophiles observed that the listening room used by the venerable Japanese Stereo Sound and Tube Kingdom magazines had diffussors lining all the vertical walls of their test room.

Michael, please elaborate:

a. what does "pitchy" mean?

b. how do you defuse a room using your tuning products (beside using Shutters in a "tight pattern")?

c. what is the difference between the effect of FS-PZCs, DTs in a room compared to studio diffussors?

d. what was the effect of hanging wood panels over the studio RPGs?

e. didn't Tuneland have a product called "pro-defuse" which were squares that were stuck on the walls. What were these and what did they do? How is the thinking behind ProDefuse different from the other Diffussor products aound?

For Sonic, I had made a new tune and a discovery these last two days.

I moved the FS-PZC behind the equipment rack forward by a couple of feet till it was much closer to the main rack than in my post of Nov 23.

Because of this, the width of the sound expanded outwards and I got a soundstage that extended well beyond my physical walls. Sonic also tested a pure mono set up here using a single speaker (cone box speaker) and the sound was stunning -- the mono image I heard was not dime sized (what conventional audiophiles tell us it should be) but a life sized huge sound that is MONO and focussed yet expanding beyond the walls, ceiling and floor of my room.

While my stereo playback is getting better, this mono reproduction is mind boggling Shocked and makes Sonic ask if my room is actually better at playing MONO than stereo....

This is a very unsettling idea....

I also tested moving the two DTs that are on each side of the FS-PZC forward. This only reduced the width of the soundstage but emphasized transients.

Transients are good but there are some manufacturers who work to emphasize the transient response of a system to the exclusion of all else in the assumption that all music have transients and the more we create this, the more real it sound like.

Not quite...there are several brands of equipment that Sonic has heard that gave lots of snap and bang transients -- Cerwin Vega, Micro-acoustics and a British brand rhyming with "Name". While live musick has lots of transients and impulse, some of these systems give so much "snap" that their sound is distorted with the flow of the musick being chopped up into transients (did anyone say "digital"?) and the tune and tone of what was being played is lost.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:29 pm

Hi Sonic

A really nice post with lots of good stuff again.

With your room producing pressure there are a few ways to treat (shape) this pressure. One is to make the spheres bigger or smaller like the focus on a good camera making the picture full or antiseptic. Both of these have focus but you can see a glow or cinematic feel with the one pic whereas the other is all about analytical. This all happens of course within the harmonics of the pressure zone. Pressure zones are very important when it comes to flavor and maintaining the sense of flow to panning. The other side of this is diffusion. Diffusion is when you break up bigger spherical patterns and make them into smaller spheres by cutting into their boundaries. The more you divide the spheres into smaller spheres the more you cut into the body of content and send a signal to the other spheres where they are all of a sudden not equal in size. The bigger zones will now attempt to compensate and poor themselves into the smaller areas, as well the now divided areas are trying to get along with the bigger. This causes an imbalance to taKe place in the room. The room no longer sounds the same when you walk around to different parts. One part will sound super focused and another full. Phase likes to work along parrellel lines or same size spheres or patterns. If you have a sound wave that is in development and it has a hard time fittings into a formula in real time it will form a partial wave that doesn't fit into the flow. Meaning it is going against the grain causing a weird phasy sound. We have all heard it. It sounds like air being force through a small area. Barely open your lips with your teeth still together and blow air out. That's the sound.

Note, it's important when I say development that we understand that these aren't waves sitting around this is pressure of a whole space changing very very fast. Keep a system playing the same music for an hour and you'll hear the sound reach a certain level of development, let it play a day and the sound is completely different as if the patterns of the room have relaxed. Leave it play a week and the air is so thick you have to cut your way through it. The Phasy sound happens when the patterns are not mature enough to accommodate the rebel pattern trying to emerge.

Pitchy is a tone that develops in the middle of all this that doesn't fit. It's a wave that is trying to go toward flat or sharp cause it hasn't found tune. Tune to C4 and go 10 minutes above or below and you can hear the sound I'm talking about. Tune the other cords right on but take that one note and just barely tweak it one way or another. Notice how when everything is intune the cycle of sustain goes a long time before the note or notes go out of tune (oscillation). Now do it with one string being out from the others just a little. Hear the tune go out fast? The oscillation disembodies quickly. That's pitchy. Same thing goes on in your room. In fact because your room is much bigger you can hear it even more. Get one of your guitars and put it the best tune you can. How long before the note any note stay in tune before it starts pitching on you? Most of the time if you are around 5 to 6 seconds before the pitch starts going up your ok, but if the room is in better balance you can sit there with a note holding pitch a long time before starting to bend. When you get your guitar in a spot in your room where it is doing 12 to 18 seconds before getting pitchy you are doing pretty good now take it to another part and see how long before it drifts. if your in a pitchy part of the room it goes weird fast.

That's the scary part about diffusion, it goes out of pitch really fast because there is not a full harmonic support system in place in the area of the room. So for me I like the sound of dividing more than defusing. Defusing is like disarray waves whereas dividing is more wide range shaping. I like to try to keep most of my room in somewhat of a balanced tone and move gentle in one direction or another building a nice round zone round my head. But i do know that some would rather listen to a sharp drastic cut to the notial development and they will use more of the chop up the wave approach. To me this leaves the notes sterile and meaningless. Kind of cutting to the chase without body or substance. And unfortunately the chopped up way has all these little "pitchy" sounds in the stage that at first can sound very 2D spatacular but the tone of the effect is gone and your left with a skeleton to the music without meat.

So

a) pitchy is when a note or cord or part of the response gets off pitch causing a disfigured or incomplete motion as compare to and inlign with the other notes or waves forming in the room.

stopping a wave from reaching it's natural potential of dissipation

b) shutters and areoplanes are my favorite ways but cured slats or pieces of wood work too

c) balance in smooth lines as opposed to disembodiment

I try to organize waves and movement and not scatter them

when burning is involved you have the option of angle burn and barricade burning (keeping the burn away from the direct path of the ears)

d) it cuts off the scattering of waves giving a uniform sound instead of a disembodied charactor

e) I didn't follow through with the product because I felt it was adding too much of a signature that couldn't be reversed in the sound. I wanted to break up or isolate areas of the room but the effect I used in specific cases was going to confuse folks that were going to use them as a overall sound treatment

too many products on the market over take the charactor of the sound and I'm always fearful of this. it doesn't mean that the product is bad, but it does mean that used wrong or not in a balanced application it can over take a room or component. there is no way to eliminate this altogether but I try to lean toward caution. kind of like what you went through with the space cones. in the right place magic, in the wrong place takeover

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:33 pm

Just had a terrifying thought. Your becoming more like me. Doesn't that scare you just a little? Rolling Eyes You hear me talk about audiophiles as if they are a 3rd party. I you and them are all audiophiles but the more you look into things you start to see a much clearer picture. Some of the things they say no longer apply to our logic and the rules of the game start to change. The audiophile authorities start to fall from grace when you start to explore beyond what they have and it becomes more easy to see that they have created a world that is not so complete and air tight. something that I think is a good thing is to explore who these guys really are. Their writers, their not audio experts past what they have experienced in rooms and with systems just like anyone else sitting in their living room. Where they listen are not tweak centers and audio fairies are not sprinkling dust over them.

Mono, stereo and multi-channel are ways to seperate the signal, and ways to create the soundstage illusion. Their all fun in their own way and allow the engineers to play a lot of games, but all of them are what they are and the audiophile system is what it is. If people have a system that is blocked it will shrink the size of the soundstage. Now how many times do you hear me say this? Here's a fact, I mean it. Not many folks out there that I have seen who call themselves the authority have done to their setups what you have, and their systems are blocked and unless they are doing something else to make up for their smallness their systems are going to play a small mono stage just like their small stereo and multi stage. The mono stage though is not small. The audiophile community at large still doesn't understand air pressure. I've been spending a little time on Audio Circle recently and am seeing that the majority of audio guys are still living in straight line world. Their suggesting to me to do some reading so I can learn how things work Laughing Oh boy.

You shouldn't be alarmed that your mono is playing big and full. I know people think how can this be? The microphone only knows pressure. It's not a shotgun mic only fixed on a small area. It's a microphone that is vibrated by what it is being fed, and it hasn't been fed by a laser beam, it has been fed by a whole room of energy. This whole room stays on the recorded storage just like stereo or any other pick up device. So (and here's the key) when it is "amplified" on a good setup it should play back the space it recorded base on a mono mic or mics. I've heard these setups and have completely forgotten that they are mono. To me they are reproducing what they captured and my well setup playback is playing that recorded energy.

Now let me ask you a frightening question. Are hearing some spacial imaging going on that seems more than fixed? I did a mono recording at the Sound Lounge in Detroit of a Les Paul where we did a bunch of effects. When I took the recording home and played it, it imaged all over the place. Honestly it freaked me out some I got the engineers over and they all sat there with their mouths open. They said this is no mono recording. I told them I swear it is. The next night we went down and did the same thing only with acoustical instruments. We did several takes with different mics ranging from very narrow pickups to very wide and what we heard was freaky if nothing else. I swear the omni's were picking up the whole room and when we played it back on a single 60 what we heard was something even I don't talk much about. So if you hear something freaky and unusual I want to know scratch . Cause what we heard was far from a dime we heard a room full of instruments. Now I'm a stereo man but I can't deny what I heard.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:06 am

Hi Michael

Sonic not alarmed at mono...actually pleased.

I saw a photo of how a recording of an early jazz ensemble was recorded. All the brass and woodwinds in a circle round an omni mic with the piano, bass and drums outside the immediate circle.

If this were played back and heard the way the omni mic captured the instruments, the players would be around me in a 360 degree circle, the piano, bass and drums will be problematical since the idea of placement in a soundstage is thru sources from at least two points to create position...vectors?...just like GPS where location is achieved by triangulation...

What did you hear with the single 60s reproducing mono?

Did you hear instruments separated and surrounding you? I can understand how a mono recording can recreate a kind of stereo but did you manage this with one speaker?

In Sonic's system, did I get anything like what Michael said:

"I did a mono recording at the Sound Lounge in Detroit of a Les Paul where we did a bunch of effects. When I took the recording home and played it, it imaged all over the place. Honestly it freaked me out some I got the engineers over and they all sat there with their mouths open. They said this is no mono recording. I told them I swear it is. The next night we went down and did the same thing only with acoustical instruments. We did several takes with different mics ranging from very narrow pickups to very wide and what we heard was freaky if nothing else. I swear the omni's were picking up the whole room and when we played it back on a single 60 what we heard was something even I don't talk much about. "

Nope, but my mono is a girth-filled instrumental image that is about half the width of the front wall (from 1/4 right to 1/4 left). Instruments that are softer are imaged further back to give depth. There is no specific imaging like in stereo but I can look at each instrument one at a time and it focusses and gives good detail.

The images of the Total Image is full and dimensional, not defocussed and phasey like stereo often is.

Beyond the instrumental mono image, there is a large space of ambience.

For sure this is no "dime sized" soundstage. There is a large sphere of sound with depth and space. One similarity is when Sonic attended an outdoor concert where the symphonic jazz band I heard played in a stage with a proscenium and I was listening from a distance.

There was no stereo separation like what the audiophiles talk about (even in a concert hall you won't get this except from a very close listening position. Real live musick has no "stereo separation" from a distance).

All the twenty or so instruments in the symphonic jazz band were one big wedge of sound on the stage and the proscenium gave focus and the surrounding bowl of a garden with the trees gave a huge space.

The realism I am hearing playing mono recordings even from one untuned single cone speaker is so good that I am in agreement with the good Dr Robert Everist Green that stereo gains something compared to mono but something is lost.

Of course Sonic will play stereo recordings as stereo but anything marked MONO or recorded before 1962 will be a candidate for my mono playback that I am preparing in this room.

The MONO tune is wonderful!

Sonic found that a Space Cone glued onto a 1" x 1" x 1/4" MW square placed on the circuit board of my Quicksilver preamp near the 12AX7 tubes gives good full range harmonics.

This is the first impression... must be careful after the mistake I made with that whole load of Space Cones I had.

As things are moving, Sonic is finding the sound getting better and more realistic.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:27 pm

Hey, Sonic,

I recently tried to get my mono image to shrink to a small area centered on my TV screen. Perhaps I am going in the wrong direction with this. Also, as you commented on the soundstage zone in the front of the room, my insistence on keeping a TV in that area is probably a factor in my not being able to do more with my sound scape. I know one Tunee in the archives got to the point where he banished his TV from his room. I don't know that I want to go that far, but then I have to deal with the trade-offs. For instance, I might be better off switching everything around to a long wall set-up, but then I would find myself sitting too close to the TV, that being why I chose the set-up I have. I also have to think about the changes which will be wrought when I switch out the Sherwood receiver for the Pioneer and eventually the Magnepan speakers for Mr. Green's tuneables.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:33 am


Hi Robert

You might want to reconsider working to shrink your MONO image to the size of your screen.

With a single speaker used for MONO, I am getting a very large image that is MONOphonic -- in that everything plays together and there is no separation in the stereo sense.

Strange is I am not missing the separation because of the girth and size. Tonight I listened more using a radio feed from our classical music station -- not the best reproduction or dynamics, but listenable -- sitting off to one side, Sonic could get a MONO image any where I turned to face the front and forward side walls Shocked

Sitting along a diagonal facing the front corner, I heard the entire MONO image playing there and no sound from the source speaker. Later facing 1/2 right on another recording, I could "see" a piano playing on the wall and nothing from the source speaker. What's going on Michael?

Also something else....the source speaker is coloured, it is not placed in the best place in the room but MONO comes over so very relaxing.

Sonic's theory: it might be stereo requires brain processing to work (our brains form the image...its all in our minds) while MONO "just is".

You know, the nastiest listener fatigue Sonic got was from a system with surround playback. In this case, the rear speakers were fed with a digitally time-delayed signal out of phase from the front. The Haas effect therefore allowed the precedent images to be located up front and uncorrelated images to the rear and sides.

For a while, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall was fun especially that last track where he runs around and gets the orchestra and audience to sing along. But after awhile, the fatigue crept in. And it got worse through the session till every next CD and record that was played became an endurance test.

Sonic does also remember an ambisonics demonstration with four speakers with musick played thru their processor and some genuine Calrec mike recordings. Now that was a more pleasant experience.

Comments, Michael?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:53 am


Hi Michael and Zonees

Michael -- your comments on my last post where I made some observations about MONO.

Also Sonic is getting into playing my small (but growing) collection of 78s and SPs. Just got an inexpensive turntable and cartridge to prove the idea.

Also got these two questions about near-field listening:

a. Sonic has seen the recommended placements of Michael's speakers in tuned rooms -- 60s and Chameleons -- where in a near-field position the listener is at 60 degrees or more off-axis from the tweeters. I've seen this in Zonee set ups where the loudspeaker baffles are so close to the listener that they (the baffles) are about a foot or two forward from the listener's ears.

Now looking at the polar response of many tweeters, while they may be flat on axis, their extension drops off the further off-axis you go.

By 30 degrees off axis, 10kHz may be -10 dB or more down and 20 kHz way-y-y down. The response also does not fall off linearly but is rough and uneven as it goes down.

For sure this follows the laws of physics. My question is: at the very high off-axis angles involved in Michael's extreme near field listening, how is treble energy maintained? How are frequencies from 8 kHz and up reproduced or are they rolling off severely to the point the treble is gone?

How does the Tune appear to defy the physical rule of "the higher the frequency, the narrower the dispersion"?

b. Why do you recommend placing loudspeakers at halfway down the length of a room? I remember in one of Michael's early posts a good justification was given for this but I can't seem to find it.

Conventional audiophile acoustic theory instead indicates that the half-way point might be the worst of all places for the loudspeakers.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:39 pm

Hi Sonic

Your further listening and experiments are really getting your brain to wrap around what is going on. If audiophiles could unlock themselves this much they would find a completely new understanding and appreciation for the hobby/sport. I've been spending time on another forum to see if I can help but it's hard cause they are so far behind what you and others are doing here (except for one guy) , but in doing this I can see how certain thoughts of sound phylosophy have become so ingrain into the brain of those who have been doing this that getting minds to open up to what is really going on is a departure from reality for many.

All of this stuff you are doing has deep meaning and as you listen I hope you are taking notes and comparing them with how stereo works or doesn't work. The fact is anyone who gets a dime size mono signal whether it be in the studio or playback are experiencing a system that is not able to let the signal open up. I don't care if someone chooses to make the stage big or small, my problem is when folks point at something and call it distortion only because they don't understand. I keep thinking of how many times I have said this is a very young industry and needs to be studied and explored far more before conclusions are drawn and theories turned into truths. I can see as I look back that a whole bunch of reviewers have completely jumped the gun on issues and should have explored far outside of their own living rooms. Remember Julian Hersh who said different cables can't change the sound and Harry Pearson saying there is an Absolute Sound? Well these types of things will live on in the audio world far after we are gone. People will uncover things that will shed new lights on this hobby that will make this time look like a dinosaur movie. I'm hoping when it does that there will be thoughtful people who will spend the time to bring back all the different languages and sources (including mono) back into the mix for the purist. However I must add that no one has ever painted audio pictures like Harry regardless of the truths or not. I've tuned his place a few times and wondered how he ever came up with the wording he has, but he is the master of the audiophile langauge as it was taught right or wrong. We must always respect the writers as their journey is just as real for them as any.

I've found it interesting as you are finding now that as we moved toward more channels we brought with it some of the problems that separating the channels bring. You have also heard me say that every recording has it's own signature and they all need to be treated as individuals and unlocked. I believe this as the absolute truth and the closer you or any of us get to uncovering the magic of one particular recording we are going to find that the next recording has it's own unique code and for the ultimate sound needs to be tuned in for that one recording and that one only. This is why I spend so much time on "repeat" when listening. I am fascinated by how a recording changes with time and becomes a new animal as the harmonics continue to settle and never stop till the recording (stereo that is) is completely 3D and full side to side and front to back. This is something I even shy away from talking about here but in my own listening I have not found much stereo music to not do this. In doing so the music also settles into a very vivid picture that you can reach out and touch. Saying these things though to people who I know are not going to do this I have to temper my words constantly and try to move in my mind to a more neutral possition of thinking. My own private listening is a series of steps, one that goes from a small stage to one that has no boundaries. Every time I hear one of you getting close or hitting on a moment of openness I jump through my skin like a kid at christmas. For me there is nothing like breaking through that barrier of the envelope. Lately a few of you guys are doing it and I'm at the edge of my chair when you do. I do realize the fun of moving on to the next recording or next experiment but when you guys get to this place you are really in my world and it's great to have the company. cheers Sometimes you guys don't know how good you are at the art of listening.

I have had Aqualung playing for 4 days now non-stop and it is a shock getting into that listening chair. Things that were just inside the right speaker when I started are now right beside me and off to the side maybe 10 or 15 feet. The envelope has grown way over my head and covers a lot of the back of the room with that air you just mentioned on the mono recording.

Playing mono correctly "absolutely" puts to death the black hole in audio theory. Mono done correctly is huge with one speaker. Frankly I get bored of it cause I am a product of stereo, but my respect for mono is huge, and I wish that every time a recording was made they they would and would have done two setups one in mono and one in stereo. Honestly I think that if this would have been done most of the audiophiles that are on the scene today would be mono-ites and not stereo listeners. When I hear them talking about what they want in sound I often think why don't they go back to one speaker. Stereo is I believe way over the heads of most of the people using it. They will never get it to open up to what it can be. But this ship has sailed and even though there will be many who may do stereo or others who may go back to recording in mono we will have missed out on a huge and popular time period. Unfortunately you can not press a button and go back to mono. The techniques used in stereo would never gel.

mono knows how to use a room

With mono you are able to see pressure zones in their glory and the straight line theory completely disappears. If you can handle a fixed stage that is mostly center based (my personal experience makes me wonder if there is more) and if you are wanting a mass of recorded air overwhelm you than the mono thing has a ton of merit. Many moons ago when I designed my mono speaker I was in total shock at how a full range could be so full. I was extremely fortunate to have two drivers that I could use crossover less and quite a few times wondered if the tweeters were off. I could hear the highs extremely clear but there was such a one driver sense to it that it would fool me. Not always depending on your acoustics, but most of the time when playing mono done right there is absolutely no speaker in the room. You can walk right up to the drivers and swear they are not playing. If you over dampen your room though expect the sound to run right to your speaker and start to shrink. Not as easy as stereo but still fast. Mono shrunk is the most disgusting sound. You feel like your head is inside the devils horn. Even when I collected old players I would setup the room to let the sound explode. You know my mono speaker is what help me make free resonant speaker designs. I had no speakers to compare the line against in the stereo world cause to me they all sounded closed in. I heard an inner quality in the mono sound that I wanted in stereo and it led me to seeing that dampened speakers had no business in this industry unless you wanted to collapse certain parts of the music and stage. People always say what is it about those speakers of yours that do that open thing? well it's that same kind of openness that comes with mono listening.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:35 pm

Hi Garp, hi Michael!

Sonic has got my mono system set up.

Here is the Audio Technica 120 with a Shure M78 playing a Coleman Hawkins 78 from my collection.



Pulling back to give Zonees a look at the whole system, here is a view that includes the mono loudspeaker set up I am using -- that's a Tangent RS2 on the high stand behind the centred FS-PAC.



The sound of 78s played on this is system is musical and warmth. I was expecting a roar of noise, but everything is at least tolerable.

The treble is rolled off but everything is smooth. I got lots of more 78s to play but we are getting to a very comfortable place.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:23 am


Hi Zonees

Sonic has been playing more 78s and mono LPs. The Disc Doctor fluid really works and I am not getting any fearsome pops and crackle from the records. The stylus also comes up fairly clean too.

Been listening to:

Burl Ives -- Folk Songs - Dramatic and Humorous (LP), Jane Powell -- By the Light of the Silvery Moon/My Hero and some Hawaiian music.

The Ives rendering of well known tunes like Goober Peas and others show how the performance approach to this wealth of musick has changed over the decades. For contrast, hear how Neil Young sings Oh Susannah.

Also played Buxtehude/Pachelbel -- Kammermusik (Musica Antigua Koln), Gregorian Chants and Beethoven's 7 and 8 Symphonies (J E Gardiner/Orch Revolutionnaire et Romantique).

As I moved the tune devices around in my room, I found Sonic could hear Pressure Zones!

Better, I can hear how these zones affect the rendering of the soundstage. So I found I was building too much pressure round the listening chair and not enough at the sides which after moving the flanking FS-DRTs to the side walls I could hear hints of the enveloping soundstage that has instruments projecting past the plane of the speakers to giving a 360 degree envelopment.

Is this a sign of us getting there? Not yet. But I can hear where this is going.

Good thing is the effect of the turntable, rack, tube amp and the single mono dynamic speaker is OK, and leaves the sound of the main system unchanged.

Michael -- pls comment on my MONO set up.

Also I get a feeling that even though the two systems are not connected by cables (they soon might be), will the tuning of the MONO system benefit from lifting all cables off the ground when they are, putting springs under the amp etc...will all this affect the sound of the other system?

Michael, does the tuning of two non-connected systems affect each other when in the same room?

Another thing Sonic hears not on the Audio Technica Direct Drive but on other systems like Linn LP12 and others-- a record clamp (even a light one) makes the sound "cleaner" but makes the sound more sterile.

Michael and Garp -- do you hear this when using record clamps/weight?

The Tune has made a strong point about lightweight equipment. I found my AT 120 turntable has a mass loading weight in the baseboard to give stability under hard use.

Michael, does the Tunes' preference of "low mass" and removal of mass extends to turntables even in your own systems [Garp's system too...].

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:50 pm

Hi Sonic

For myself I don't mix the main system with the secondary ones. You can easily hear the effect on each other, but hey there are only so many rooms right. keep listening and your going to hear the sound of your mono system in the room with your stereo one. You may not think it is at first but your going to start hearing it show up. You might like it but it is present.

I like that you can hear the Zones. This for me is a biggie in my own tuning. I'm always thinking about how one effects the others and listening for their growth together. You must be spending most of your time with your mono system cause the stereo setup with the extra parts in the room has no doubt changed quite a bit.

A true mono setup can teach you a ton about rooms and it does it in more of a forgiving way. You can also hear how in stereo we need to stay simple. Another reason why I like free resonance dynamic speakers. Play your mono a while then go to your stereo set up. Hear the fight that the stereo speakers are having that the mono speakers don't? I think we should really dive into speaker designs some day cause I think most speakers are by nature, out of whack. I try my hardest to be nice and fair about this but when you start to hear the sound of parts and drivers doing some weird stuff when you get use to it, it can drive you up the wall. For example now that I have grown use to the sound of inductors being close to caps and resisters it leaps of the page at me. Also drivers are tricky things and can suck you into a sound that is pitchy phasy in nature and you never really notice this until you have a mono setup. In my book speakers need to be as natural as posible and designed so that they are mostly mechanical and not electrical. hear how differently the mono setup uses the room whereas the stereo setup fights it? A large part of this is your speaker design. Now you should do your maggies in a mono setup like your little monitor and hear what the maggie can do in mono that it can't do in stereo. Sorry your poor Maggies take a beating from me but that's not because I don't like their sound in a basic setup it's just when you get to the level of listening to sound waves as they are understood you just naturally look for the things that get you closer to the signal.

Isn't it weird how true high end starts to move you toward simple the more involved you get? We buy all this stuff to start hearing what it can not do as much as what it can. Stereo components have limits and when the wall is hit and you hear it you start going in reverse (at least I do) of high end parts and such.

the table

If I could listen to a table the way I would like to it wouldn't work. When I kinda built my own table years ago the microphonic feedback went nuts. A turntable is a tricky thing cause it is so mechanical and just at the point where you think you have it licked feedback comes in or the dampening takes over or any number of things. For me after 27 tables I gave up. I'm totally into you guys being into it and I love the sound but my nature is to bend and blend when ever I heard something and with tables and tubes I got myself into serious trouble. I can make tunable stuff for them but ask me to put it into my world and after a short time with tables and tubes I forget the fun of the music and go off the deep end. Like after I was done tweaking and tuning my tube/table system you could walk up to it and by barely touching it you could hear it through the whole setup. At my old place you could tap your foot and make it sound like a kick drum through the setup (it was that sensitive). So yes tuning a table is very doable but you almost have to be an expert on flooring to get everything just right. This is why my TT stand had springs. I could never get my solid all one solid piece stands to do what I wanted.

At one time though I made these really cool spring pole platforms for under the table that I thought sounded great and it allowed me to try different types of springs and spring treatments to get the sound to some pretty cool and open places. I know at one time we started to go down the spring pole route for stuff and I'm telling you if you have the time and patience to do this stuff and get it dialed in the sound is off the charts. If I had a bigger audience I would come out with a ton of this stuff and have a bunch of differently tuned springs to interchange. When Jim Bookhard and that gang was around I had a ton of little toys built, but getting them from my bench to the forum and to the systems could get super confusing.

While talking about this, yes of course the mono system is very tunable. I should have taken pics of everything I was doing in my little tuning tweak corner and should still do it, I just hate doing so many things that folks start to get confused in which way to go. Garp got me thinking more about this when he was placing his most recent order. He was like hello, wake up, we need to see these things if their going to make sense, and he was a 150 percent right. While making his DVD piece I was thinking that I really should do a table tube set up as well as the computer thing so folks could see all of these things in action. It would take about 6 listening rooms to do it right I was thinking but I could get by with 4 if I cheated.

Sorry, went off on my dream world, what's new. Yes, just because a system is not plugged into the wall doesn't mean that there isn't tons on energy going on. We give this electric thing a lot of credit but it is really only a part of the energy going on. I've been doing some reading (always do to keep me in check) about how strong sympathetic vibrations are and the make up of the energy they host. Pretty interesting stuff. if we only got the real picture of everything that is going on Idea . Sometimes I feel like such a newbie when I'm tweaking.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:48 am


Hi Michael and Zonees

Michael is right in several things here: "Play your mono a while then go to your stereo set up. Hear the fight that the stereo speakers are having that the mono speakers don't?"

Yes I do.

This could be the different way Mono engages the acoustics of a room but IMO, stereo calls for more brain processing power to create the illusion that mono does not require. So the "fight" is listener fatigue.

Worse than this will be the delayed, sum+difference surround systems which attempt to achieve a 3D that the Tune recreates easily. I find these surround systems to be the most tiring. Discrete is something else though.

Michael says, "Keep listening and your going to hear the sound of your mono system in the room with your stereo one."

Yes I do but for now this is something I can live with. The effect is a kind of dulling and slightly closed in feel. But it is slight and the sound is already far more large and open so this is tolerable given the musical beauty of analog mono.

Very intriguing what Michael said about his turntable tune:"Like after I was done tweaking and tuning my tube/table system you could walk up to it and by barely touching it you could hear it through the whole setup. At my old place you could tap your foot and make it sound like a kick drum through the setup (it was that sensitive)."

Michael -- what table was this? It sounds like you removed the suspension and hard mounted the turntable. Doesn't feedback cloud the music? What about signal to feedback ratios of an approach like this?

Michael and Garp -- some questions:

a. Is there a difference in how you tune a direct drive, belt drive and idler drive table?

b. What are our views of Moving Coil and Moving Magnet Cartridges?

c. Where do you set your tracking force when given a range -- 1 to 2.25 gms -- at the lower, mid or higher end of the range?

d. Do tunes like loosening PCB screws, cutting cable ties work for turntables? If there is mass added to the chassis to make the table heavier, should these be removed to keep things lighter?

e. Should the plastic cover of a turntable be removed or do you play your tables with the cover open or closed?

f. Best material for a mat?

g. What's your view on Sonic's observation that a record clamp or weight makes the sound cleaner but makes the music more sterile?

h. Should we use things like Space Cones and Harmonic Springs on a table, what's your experience of these devices?

Sonic




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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:18 pm

Tables, well now

My most tweaked tables were AR ES-1 on the belt side and Technics 120 on the direct side. I use to pick up off brand tables and one ups when I went to Germany, but as far as mainstream exotics I did Michelle. I did carry a bunch of names though and had the Merrill Stable Table setup George has a nice sound I think (kinda creamy) but I like that, and Rega, come on memory work. Well a bunch. You know the rod board design I came up with was partly due to my tweaking tables. You can come up with tons of sounds with these different wood rod designs. Not only did I do my famed hemlock RT finish, but did a lot of wood stuff too, and a lot of spring stands.

Every one of my friends in music had a 120 or 1200 so I played around a lot with those. Even had a couple technics made for me from some guitar guys. I knew these guys who did wood working for musicians and got them to make some killer chassis for the 120 out of cherry and mahogany that were pretty cool looking.

I did some hot Michelle/stand combos that were pretty special too.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:46 am


Hi Michael

Sonic is hearing this but it might not compute with Left Brained audiophiles.....

I have started simple tuning of my Audio Technica turntable. It looks almost identical to the Technics 1200 direct drive table but it isn't in the same class as I am told. This is what I did -- for sure it and the Pioneer tube integrate amp sits on a Michael Green rack that is leveled and loosened up -- Sonic used Space Cones!

Three Space Cones were placed in the platter well around the Motor Spindle. The sound became more full and focussed and big at the same time. Remember we are talking about 78 rpm records and mono 10 inch long-play records (four songs a side...). It was good.

Then I placed another Space Cone on the tonearm's pillar, this is the assembly that holds the vertical and horizontal pivots and the arm. I got more treble detail! Remember we are talking about 78 rpm records and mono 10 inch long-play records (four songs a side...).

The main system is also affected by the Space Cone on the tonearm pillar. Centre images have more frame of tone and energy.

Michael --how did you tune your Technics 120 and 1200? What cartridges did you use, how did you set up your overhang and tracking angle for the cartridge in the arm? Did you remove mass from your Technics? After tuning both, how does a belt drive like the AR-ES1 compare to a direct drive 'table like the Technics 1200?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Turntable   Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:59 am

Sonic,

I haven’t spent much time tuning a turntable up to this point, but there are many combinations that will be tried next year. The Maggie mini clamp just arrived, so my focus will be setting it up for the sound I like. Currently, I have a pine platform for the turntable that Michael sent a few years ago, and it is supported with MTDs.

Jim Bookhard’s turntable platform on the old Tuneland has some appeal to me for tuning at some point. Michael may have some design updates that could offer better alternatives going forward. My new tonearm has a removable headshell and can be fitted with metal or wood headshells which I will try in the upcoming months. In reviewing Jim Bookhard’s old threads, you will see that he liked both Moving Iron and Moving Coil cartridge designs. As you have learned, there are strengths and weaknesses to both designs as well as many sonic flavors available.

As Michael has shared, there are many more variables when setting up a turntable that it could take quite a period of time to optimize a table to suit your listening habits. I know he has played with wooden arms, mats, tonearm supports, and wooden cartridge bodies, but unless there is a bigger audience there is no need to spend a lot of time discussing the options. Maybe, we can get some lurkers to this forum with interest in turntable tuning to join us for more ideas. I will post updates to my turntable project as it evolves, but that is a journey for another day.
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:20 am

WOW, outstanding answer garp Exclamation

You read me like a book. I tend to stay away from certain parts of the tune, because when I did things like tables they were based on things that could get someone in a lot of trouble because all the pieces were custom. If I ever do tables again I could then show the tricks that I'm doing at that time.

However making stands and such is very doable and some of these stand toys are pretty dare good.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Good points Garp!

Here is a picture of what Sonic did by placing four Space Cones on my Audio Technica LP120 USB turntable.



There is an audible improvement but my ears tell me the difference between digital and analog playback is not large, at least for modern musick.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:19 am


Hi Zonees

Sonic needs to qualify my last sentence in my earlier post "There is an audible improvement but my ears tell me the difference between digital and analog playback is not large, at least for modern musick."

The whole idea in Sonic's head is this actually this:

On conventional audiophile systems there is a large gap between analog and digital playback with analog being easily superior. It is true that gap has closed. However with a system tuned the way Michael Green does it and with his products, the difference between digital and analog playback is very small, at least for modern musick. In fact a well settled CD after repeats like Michael says can sound more real and wrap around than a first played analog record.

And you cannot keep playing records. The passage of the needle causes a kind of shock that makes the grooves brittle and a repeat play can cause shear damage. Vinyl takes 24 hours to "reset" and become pliable again. My shellacs I don't know but too precious to even think of this.

When I play analog and now with me playing 78s and mono records, I keep observing that with a properly settled/stabilised tuned CD system how close it is and not the chasm with the "high-end" systems I hear.

Anyway as Garp advised -- this Mono stuff is an esoteric interest. Apart from how tuning that system affects the main one, Sonic goes back to discussing broader tune things.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:27 am

Hi Zonees

Sonic applied a top tune to my Quicksilver preamp. This is something I learned from Cdimi's system and varied to suit my system.



That's a resitone rod, a MW square and a matt (unfinished and now slightly corroded) machine wound Harmonic Spring. I got better focus in the middle of the soundstage and while a more focussed centre can sometimes give an impression that width is reduced, this sounded good.

This proves again Michael's wisdom in audio. Even though my preamp is supported on AAB1x1 cones, treated wood from RoomTune and resitone supports to ground the PCB, just adding a top tune makes a audible difference.

As it settled, a slowness and slight internal imbalance creeping in told Sonic something needed adjusting and removing the MW square (1"x1") witha Space Cone atop (oops) restored the speed and dynamics.

Will be looking Sonic thinks where I got opportunity to try this in other parts of my system.

The thing about the Tune is that each steps builds on one earlier. It is exciting because the tune builds up. In the early lift-off stage, a tunee may be hard pressed to hear the effect of a 3 foot movement of a Deluxe RoomTune floorstander and we can go all the way to the level where just changing the position of a Cable Ground, a 1/4 turn on a resitone top tune rod can make an instant difference (and more after settling) to a system.

In the pix, Zonees can see that my RCA connectors are not seated in the preamp plugs but are just making contact the way Michael tells us. Whenever I seat the plug, the sound dries up and becomes constricted.

Beyond the immediate equipment, you'll see how Sonic has placed the FS-DRTs to face the loudspeaker to build up pressure in the zones R and L of my listening chair (Left of chair FS-DRT visible).

OK, Sonic must report this. Been listening to my 78s and mono 33 1/3 LPs this evening and I was worried that sub-sonic signals were coming through to make the loudspeaker cone oscillate wildly from low frequency resonance. It doesn't.

For 78s the Shure M78S cartridge through not the phono RIAA but the Tape Head input of my Pioneer tube amp. The sensitivity is the same but the NAB Tape Head EQ is flat in the bass and rolled off 11 dB at 20khz compared to the RIAA input which is boosted 20 dB in the bass and down 20 dB at 20 khz.

78s and records before the mid 1950s had all sorts of EQ before the RIAA standard was adopted and even after that some companies like Decca had variations on the standard. I learnt from 78-fans that the ideal cartridge outputs should be flat. These records played into an RIAA input will sound too bassy and too dull thanks to the RIAA compensation.

Of course some of these fans are obsessive -- they change playback speed for every record and change the EQ using a graphic equaliser, not counting the cleaning of the stylus, brushing the disk...all that for 3 minutes of music before starting over again for the next side or the next record.

Come to think of it, the trend of playing songs fast in the 1940s and 1950s was as much an attempt at squeezing an entire song onto one side of a 3 or so minute side of a 78 rpm record as much as it was an attempt to sound "modern".

Think that Sonic will next do a top tune on the Sony blu-ray player.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:37 pm

Interesting hearing the energy flowing up isn't it? It has it's own little chapter to the sound that makes it far more complete.

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