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 Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:23 am

Hi Guys

Sonic has given a heads up on his next adventure, the ceiling/floor interaction, by email, but while we're waiting for the post we should look at one of the features of Sonic's room that makes his listening quite unique. Sonic has an extremely high ceiling. I will have to go back and look or I'm sure he'll post it again, but we are talking over 11' high. For those of you who have compared 8' to 9' you can tell stories of how remarkably different these rooms are, but jumping over 10' is like another world. It's literally like you are way down at the bottom of the pressure and there is tons of air pressure over you. Plus in Sonic's room we are talking about harder walls with not a lot of full range flex as compared to drywall. 3 things that he has going for him though are the wood floor, the wood doors and the wood book-casing.

With this much space I would be tempted to use clouds in the room. You can see them in my pro pictures. I use these mainly in studios but have used them in my factory and loft systems. Problem with this is where to put them and not putting tons of holes in the ceiling trying to find the perfect spots.

Lets see what Sonic has up his sleeve.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:03 pm

Hi Michael and Zonees

New Platform for My

Following Michael’s example with his Las Vegas system Sonic made a platform for my Quicksilver preamp that has made a good improvement to the musick.

This here is the recipe:

I had a spare DecoTune base which Sonic disassembled into its constituent parts, the useable components for this tune being 4 pieces of wooden feet and 2 pieces of long wood bars.

Use fast setting epoxy glue to adhere the 4 wooden feet end to end so they form a piece of the same length as the two long wood bars.

Glue the two long wood bars to both sides of the 4 wooden feet combined pieces.

This makes a neat platform of MG finished wood from the DecoTune base.

Match position of the base against the PCB of the Quicksilver pre-amp and install 4 x 3/8” resitone rods sharpened to points so that the circuit board rests on the points at spots where there are no PCB traces or circuitry.

The long pieces of wood have holes drilled in them so I threaded AAB1x1 cones with threaded studs into these holes.

The platform is done and the sound became more whole and images increased in size. Really increased in size after just 3 days! and this was an impression from a week ago. This is very promising.

Interconnect Plugs

Yesterday, Sonic read Michael’s post about interconnects. I then reinstalled all my system’s interconnects so they were pushed 1/16” to 1/10” into the sockets.

The bass filled out and went a little deeper. The musical images became even larger, the soundstage increased in width. And this just three hours after I did the tune!

The Ceiling, the ceiling

With two PZCs in front, one flat and the other at an angle the Boo! is better controlled.

Sonic had two DecoTunes I had flanking the front PZC group these have been moved to just behind the Magneplanar panels leaning against the wall.

I can hear now a distinct and improved decay in the Boo!

Now my room's control is nearly all I want it to be in the lower two thirds of my room. But the ceiling still has a midrange "ring" and I have learnt that it occurs at every point and across the entire surface of the ceiling, This is because the height of the room is nearly half the length – 10.6 ft high against 22 feet in length which is a near multiple which causes this persistent resonance. It is everywhere in my room.

Everywhere I stand in the room and do Boo!, I hear the midrange come right back at me from the ceiling.

Sonic finds that the musick I love plays back well at an average level of 73 dB to 78 dB with peaks about 10 dB occasionally.

I tested the characteristics of the room when I played rock musick at levels when the peaks exceeded 100 dBA.

At playback levels of 72 dB to 78 dBs (C weighting) and peaks >+10 dB the sound with classical musick is excellent. But when I took out a rock recording and played it back at >100 dB C weighting, the loss of control in the midrange became gruesome. Even in this compromised situation, the midrange has shown how wonderful the musick could sound sound,

Sonic is working to ensure the room doesn’t honk, ring and fall apart even at very high listening levels.

But for now, the system is great in the 75 dB range but it all goes ugly beyond 95 dB Cs. The bass and treble are OK but the mids project to the point Sonic considers them detrimental to the Cause of Musick).

Michael, what can I do with my room so it can play very loud without ringing in the midrange?

Here is a scan of the tuning items on the ceiling of my room.







Thing is I have hung DecoTunes to be almost flush against the ceiling at points A and B separated by hanging the panels with threads of nylon. The bass vanished!

Sonic also found DecoTunes hung from the ceiling with 1 foot separation at C and D had no effect on the Boo! but rolled off the bass too.

I have not tried any ceiling tuning devices at 1 or 2 nor X or Y.

I have hung DecoTunes perpendicular to the ceiling at E and F. Still not the way to get over the Boo!

In my tune arsenal, I have two unused DecoTune panels and 2 corner tunes and 9 Echotunes.

Is there anything you suggest I can do with these available tuning items to tune the system and break the effect of the Boo!

What are your "clouds" product and how can I use them?

Let me know quickly

Sonic




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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:13 pm


Oops Zonees, looks like Sonic uploaded text for my post from a Word doc (I usually start writing in Word) that I was writing in bits and editing but didn't save my final edit....then shut down and came back later to do the upload....without reading it again. So you see all the sentences that don't end right, repeats and missing words Embarassed

Michael -- your comments quickly please on Clouds, pillows, my diagram and what I can try with the Tune items on hand to test their effect so you can guide me.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:38 am

"In my tune arsenal, I have two unused DecoTune panels and 2 corner tunes and 9 Echotunes.

Is there anything you suggest I can do with these available tuning items to tune the system and break the effect of the Boo!"

have you tried this



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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:43 am

Here are ceiling controllers.


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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:51 am


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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:44 am

Hi Zonees

Its been about 4 months since I posted any pictures of my system and room. Here are the latest:

The Ceiling



Another View of the Ceiling



The PZC Layout Sonic is Using



My Preamp Platform based on what Michael did



Sonic is setting up the Hanging V EchoTunes suggested by Michael. The early impression is this is going to be effective.

It deals with some of the ceiling problems but may not affect others but it is too early to tell because I am using just a couple of ETs and there is both settling and adjustments to position to do before we know the real power of the Hanging Vs.

Sonic is most happy with 3M Command tape. Using this has accelerated my Tune because I can put things up on the walls and ceiling and move the objects about without tearing paint or plaster.

I am hoping to deal with the Ceiling using pillow products -- those in my closet and what I can buy from the local agent (I must support the Tune business Smile ). For now I am trying to avoid Ceiling Controllers due to having to drill into the ceiling -- reinforced concrete is not the easiest material to work with -- and the weight of those things. Sonic is a long term user of equipment and devices and one thing about mechanical assemblies is they weaken over time. I don't want to experience the effect of a falling Big PZC in 10 years time especially if it is over the listening seat long after I or others in my dwelling have forgotten their presence and assumed they will stay up forever.

Such is time....

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:51 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

Here is Sonic’s first step to tune the ceiling:







The sound is cleaning up, the bass is more even and now extends slightly lower. The Boo! itself has shifted down in pitch and the decay is shortening.

Michael’s advice with the V-echotunes is spot on and we are on the right path Very Happy

It does look like Sonic is going to need a lot of them to fix the problem.

With the Boo! clearing up, there is “honk” and a “ringy note” which used to be masked and it now stands out when testing but on musick it is hardly noticeable.

Sonic aims to control the Boo!, “honk” and “ringy note” so that visitors to my room can speak as loud as they want yet not say “hey, this sounds like a bathroom”.

First impressions count.

So far, Sonic has found the “honk” to be coming from a spot on the RH at the ceiling/wall joint. It is much harder to locate the source of the “ringy note” since it runs around as I move.

Michael, you must have faced this sort of thing before? If all you had to work with are ETs and RT Squares, how do you go about locating the right places to stick them?

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:29 am

Good moves Very Happy

You must take it very slow and listen for any dulling effect. As you know it will sneak up on you.

Hard walls are the pits when it comes to finding where things are. For me I look at my new symmetrical surrounds once I establish my listening position and do a mix of laying out things according to the dimensions of the room or if this is not the flow, my new room dimensions.

What do I mean by new room dimensions. This means not treating the room by the walls but treating the room by the walls plus the objects and treatments in the room. When I divide things I look at how things are between an object and the wall or the next object, picturing in my mind what is happening in that area. Then I go shape that area. Many times I do my experimental placement by what I see from my listening chair and not an actual measurement dividing the room out. Not all rooms do, but many will let you shape the sound stage to your sound stage cues. This can get tricky because it can become recording dependent. Another thing to always look out for is deflating a pressure zone which usually results in immediate loss of bass.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:27 am

Hey, Sonic,

What made you think of coupling the ceiling Echo Tunes with the Sound Shutters?


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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:49 pm


Hi Robert

This idea came to Sonic as a part of an understanding how Shutters work. A plain wall and ceiling will ring and echo because the pressure waves are running amok up, down and along the surface. But there is usually an axis along any surface where the flow is strongest. The flow runs back and forth horn loading into the room through the tri-corners.

Shutters control this flow by steadying it up, making it laminar and slowing it down as I understand it. This is why just adding Shutters alone in the right spots and right axes can knock out slap echoes as Sonic learnt and applied (while the rest of conventional audio tells us to pile on the fibreglass and foam).

For this reason there will be pressure build up around a Shutter. If I added a V-Tune at these points, the absorption can work better while the diffusive side will keep the sound from going dead.

So far, the reverb time of the room has dropped noticeably and the primary Boo! getting to being not a problem but there is a honk and a persistent note. These too have been attenuated but less than the Boo!

Hi Michael

Certainly I must progress at a conservative pace because deadness can sneak up as things settle. However the honk, Boo! and the "note" is a far greater evil than deadness.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:46 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic has moved to Step 2 with the V-tunes:



I have got assistants to walk around the room while I create the Boo! and the assistants listen and point with a long broomstick to spots on the ceiling where honks and notes come from.

With Step 2, the room is appearing to lose the Boo! and a recording of an unaccompanied vocal work which used to activate the F-note is now entirely listenable. Not a hint there was ever a problem.

The midrange has more projection and the bass goes deeper.

The improved midrange pays off in subjectively improved dynamic range, transients and intelligibility of low-level details.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:02 am

I think your right, and even more of a pain in a harder room. In softer rooms the sticking out of boo notes (sonic coined) is more of a spread out sound that leans toward mushy. It is irritating but not as piercing as in a harder room. Basically what you are saying is that the "note" is even more of a problem to you then hearing a little of the potential dulling effects that "too much" can give. This is interesting and is telling me that in the past we may have under estimated as to how much energy you really do have from the hard walls and the super high ceiling. As you add more burning to the ceiling it will be interesting to see when you cross over the line of live to dead and what the effects are. There is a line that will get crossed where the pressure zones will just give out and become almost lifeless. At that point the emotion in the subtleties in the music will disappear.

I am very happy to see though that dampening on a mass scale is not being used. Crossing that line is a horrible thing to my ears.

Have you been rearranging the angles of Sound Shutters much? Having the sound feeding into or out of V-tuning setups is a big deal.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:24 am


Hi Michael

My room is confusing.....here's why:

a. Placing more V-tunes around the centre of my room (eg: around the fan stem) doesn't deaden the room but thins out the sound. Instruments lose weight and the starting transients from instruments get reduced. The low part of the Boo! disappears (good) but the ringy higher notes get emphasized.

b. Moving the Magneplanars 1.5QRs about the room affects the Boo! as well. Moving them closer to the front wall controls the higher notes of the resonance but the Boo! gets echoey again.

c. In the Magneplanar 1.5QR's best sounding spot, I am hearing there is a "gap" between me and the sources of the sound. This gap, like a trench, prevents the musick from crossing over and enveloping me. I tried placing a carpet between me and the Magneplanar 1.5QRs to see if "burn" was the solution. It is not, the carpet worsens the perception.

Michael, any ideas to deal with these things?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:52 pm

Sonic

Do you have a wood coffee table? If so, try it in 3 places.




It almost sounds like your room is working in layers not spheres and it is filled with anti-nodes and not nodes. Why? hmmmm

Had this happen to me when working in studios that were on middle floors of the building. The walls were very hard and there was a weird low to mid resonate tone to them. Weird suck outs would happen and it would never be quite right until wood walls were put in the rooms. One thing that did help though was the use of strategically placed wooded tables that would fool parts of the room into thinking it was a different dimension while trapping underneigth. All these rooms were about 10 feet tall or more.

Do me one more thing. Turn on the music, get your latter out and place your head at half way from ceiling to floor in your room right at the spot where your listening chair is and tell me the sound as compared to your normal sitting height. If your room is layering you will have a specific sweet spot floor to ceiling like you do front to back.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:53 pm


Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic did the height experiment recommended by Michael after my system was fully warmed up. At my listening spot, I tried the same piece of music:

a. seated down (normally)

b. standing up at my listening position (which brings me to about half the room height)

c. standing on the chair which gets me past the half-height point.

Did this to find if there was a height-related sweet spot.

As I went up in height, a cupped hands horn-like sound started to develop, not big time but noticeable. The width of the soundstage also decreased and sound/images beyond the outer edges of the MG1.5QRs vanished.

With increasing height, the impression that the soundstage was flat and below me became more noticeable. I was looking down on the soundstage, the instruments and singers. Strangest of all, the centre images started to tilt back the higher I went till it looked lie they were painted onto the floor....but just the centre images, not those in the vicinity of the loudspeakers.

Only on one recording did singing voices free up and expand with increasing listening height.

No sweet spot as far as I can hear. The best sound is still to be found sitting in my listening chair.

What does this mean, Michael?

Next up: the coffee table experiment.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:00 am

Hi Sonic

This is a clear sign that you are dealing with more suck outs than expanding modes. Your walls and probably ceiling are not cooperating with a full range balanced sound like your floor is. This means your bookcase, wood doors and wood floor are bigger allies than you know and if you can get the same response out of the upper area of the room as you are in the lower area you are golden. I believe you should be thinking about creating more vibration in the room and not less. You need things in the room that will produce tone. How many acoustical guitars do you have? Have you ever placed them in the corners of the room to see what they do to the sound? I'm very interested in the wood table effect and what more wood would do to the sound. It will either bring some tones to life or act as huge suck out obstacles, but the only way to know is to do it and then see which way it takes things. If I was faced with this here the first thing I would want to do is put some big SAMs in the room to see what happened and I would get resonating wood on the ceiling to see if it brought the tones into more balance and at the same time decreased the boo.

And, I hate to say it again but my gut has always told me that panel speakers without wood to help them tonally in your type of room are not doing you any favors. Panels more than any other type of speakers are extremely room dependent to get that last tonal push in the sound. If I have one major beef with maggies it's their lack of balanced tonal materials that they use. It's like they are built for a particular type of room construction and if room modes are in a certain place. If this is not the case they can be very touchy.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:20 pm


Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic has a very nice solid wood (a heavy Asian wood) bench finished in a dark varnish that has gone through 50+ years of weather and climate. This table is truly run in. Its about 4 ft long and about 1 3/4 ft wide.

I put it at my speaker plane centred between the Magneplanar 1.5QRs and within seconds of the musick playing wood instruments had more Wood. Pianos, recorders now have the signature of wood.

I moved the bench forward towards the racks and the sound deepened -- if you know the difference in sound between a Martin Herringbone D28 strung with Light gauge strings or Medium gauge you know what Sonic means. The sound is of Medium gauge strings.

Sonic played a June Tabor recording and her solo voice sounded rich and real. Then Oscar Peterson -- his piano sounded like a Big Wood instrument. Then Haydn's Sun Quartet -- the violins have bite (improved but the system gave this before), the viola and cello had wood, warmth and projection.

The sense of separation between me and the soundstage is very much reduced.

I guess Michael's point is made and his diagnosis of Sonic's room is proven.

Along the way I also discovered that a better effect was to mount the Echotunes/RoomTune Squares on the ceilings nearly flat against the ceiling. V-tunes at 90 degrees are good but something around 160 degrees might be better or at least better at controlling the ceiling ringing.

Late this evening, with the wood table in the room near the rack and some V-tunes mounted flat, the room appears to have passed the Boo! test.

Comments and next steps Michael?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:22 pm

Hi Sonic

Again, you have taken a step toward learning not only your room but the nature of vibration (energy). When someone puts something in their room it's like adding food coloring to water. The Audiophile world can tell you how much water a glass can hold at a particular moment and tell you what it should do without vibration, environmental effects or leakage, but what they can't do is tell you about the water itself as it is in the continuum of energy. I know I talk a lot about the formulas of audio engineers and as I do what you are doing I look at the formulas and say they don't add up, at least not for the sake of listening.

For example "I moved the bench forward toward the racks and the sound deepened ". How could the audio engineer world ever describe this with their formulas? How can they explain you added the sound of wood (food coloring) and it changed the entire environment? It's much more than me telling you how you shortened a dimension between the floor and ceiling in that particular place. You changed that dimension, the dimension of the entire room, the pressure zone in that area (effecting all the other pressure zones) and the actual molecular structure of the space. This is natures beauty, and it's all for us if we look at our systems as instruments.

Now you have learned a little more about how to lengthen or shorten your stage and how you added a flavor to the room. Next question for me would be, do I want more of this flavor, and how much is too much? Where is the balance of tone, and how can I take these tones and shape them? Because of the shape of my room should I be thinking about up and down tuning as much as front to back and side to side tuning? I need to start thinking more 3D about my system. I put a table into the middle area of the room, what would happen if I took a smaller table and put it in a corner, or how far out from the corner should it be, and how tall should the table/tables be? Should I use bigger sound shutters on the ceiling? How would a framed PZC work differently on the ceiling than pillows?

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:11 am


Hey, Sonic,

It looks like you have a new avenue to explore. And you have proven to be quite the explorer. I look forward to your happy results.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:05 pm

Hi Robert and Zonees

Here is the solid wood bench which proved Michael's diagnosis of my room. This made a BIG difference Very Happy

I wonder if something like this would help your system, Robert.



Following this, I moved my CD cabinet to the centre of the rear wall so that Sonic's system approximates what Michael posted about where I should try adding wood.

The sound width opened up and got more balanced Right to Left with the CD cabinet in the rear.

The Space Cone on the bench makes a small improvement but using 4 Space Cones points up under the bench legs did not work -- the bass and upper bass lost power, when playing orchestral works it sounds like half the celli went on holiday Exclamation

Michael -- please comment on this (effect of the Space Cones under the Bench's feet) and could you give me some tips on how and where to add wood like Cable Grounds and sundry furniture to my room to richen up the harmonics.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:44 pm

Hi Sonic

This is looking pretty cool and I'm glad you are solving some of the mysteries. In a lot of rooms this type of treatment would be a bad thing because most people need the vertical space in their room, whereas in your case you had too much. Warning though, it would be easy to get the room out of balance by putting too much on the floor and not enough toward the mid wall and ceiling.

One of the reasons I don't show my rooms a lot is because of the strange toys that I bring into my place. Over complication sometimes freaks people out, plus I only tune in general sometimes and in certain rooms. Much of my time is spent tuning for specific pieces of music so I can open up all kinds of windows into that particular piece.

Some of the cool tools I make come in handy and I believe I mentioned one of them to you before. I don't know what I called it (I like tuning names) but they are cured pieces of wood that I have made into triangles and I use them in a bunch of different ways. Sometimes their good in a room and sometimes their too much, but when they work for a room they work big.

A DIY trick I use to do in my studio days and when I was on a budget or had no product to put my hands on is go to the dollar store and get some straw hats. The ones with a brim and round shape in the middle. I would poly them till they became very stiff, and then hang them from the ceiling. I have even made little RT balls (pillows) and put them inside of them. If you happen to find the ones that are woven with bigger flat straw or wood even better.

In your place though I bet some of my cured Brazilian pine would sound great in there. I make all kinds of cloud sizes out of this and hang with string.

Also, bring some bamboo shoots into the room if you have them. Again this one can go both ways. I've had rooms where the bamboo was a miracle and other rooms where it sucked the life right out of the system.

Oh, you mentioned the Space Cones on the bottom of the legs. Sounds to me like the transfer of the legs must be pretty tuned to your floor and room without help. It's nice when that happens cause most objects need help.

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


Greetings Michael and Zonees

Painted straw hats with rolled up RT Squares – Sonic thinks I could make those up.

As things go, my system’s problem with the Boo! is pretty much in the past tense. The overhang is in control after the tuning on the ceiling and the introduction of the Solid Wood Bench.

There is a lot more, however.

Sonic borrowed the Stereo Review/Chesky test CD which has filtered noise to test for stereo positioning. On the test tracks there are bursts of pink noise at the Full Left, Half Left position, Centre (noise burst played twice), Half Right and Full Right.

I got some enlightening results with my system:

a. The middle of the noise burst at Full Left is on the MG 1.5QR panel but the outer edge of the noise burst goes about 12” beyond the outer edge of the speaker panel.

b. Half Left noise is slightly further out left than it should be.

c. Centre is OK although on another test on the CD, the Left speaker may be a tad lower in level than the Right. But Centering is OK here,y

d. Half Right noise is slightly further out right than it should be.

e. The middle of the noise burst at Full Right is on the MG 1.5QR panel but the outer edge of the noise burst goes about 12” beyond the outer edge of the speaker panel.

Not perfect but at least it is symmetrical.

A pity this Chesky CD doesn’t have the Prosonus LEDR test. There is another Chesky disc that has this test but not this one. It would be fascinating to see how my system handles the LEDR test.

Michael, what do you think of the LEDR test? Is it a revealing test when applied to a tuned system?

Any Zonees used the Prosonus LEDR test?

For the Zonees who don’t know what this is, here is something I found on the internet. I think this is from an article by Bob Katz the master remasterer:

Grading the LEDR paths

The first path, Up, will amaze your friends and quiet your enemies. It's hard to believe that a sound can appear to travel from a loudspeaker up to 6' above the speaker! This path is generated first in the left speaker, then in the right. The sound should begin at about eye level and then travel as straight as possible up in the air about 6'.

You should grade the system on how vertically straight the path is, how high the image goes, if it is continuous (unbroken), whether it approaches or recedes from the listener (it should not), and if the left and right paths are symmetrical.

I like to call the second path the "Rainbow," but Doug officially calls it the Over path. The sound should begin at one speaker and travel in a smooth arc to the other speaker, from left to right and then returning. The top of the rainbow should be as high as the previous Up signal (about 6' above eye level). Judge the Over path by how smooth, continuous, symmetrical, and rainbow-shaped the arc is.

The last path, Lateral, tests left-to-right stereo imaging. This consists of four elements.

First, the sound moves from left to right, between the acoustic centers of the speakers. Since a speaker's acoustic center may not be its physical center, you should use the first Lateral test to adjust your speakers until the sound traverses a 60 degrees angle from the listener's point of view.

Second, the sound moves from beyond the right loudspeaker to beyond the left (about 1' out from acoustic center).

The next two signals are the mirror image of the above; third, from right to left speaker, and fourth, from beyond the left to beyond the right.

Again, grade your system by how straight, continuous, and symmetrical this path is. Grade the beyond path by how far out from the speaker it appears to go (about 1' to the left or right of the requisite speaker, according to Doug Jones), and that it does not approach or recede from the listener.”

Observation
Been listening to a lot of different musick these two days and with the Boo! tamed, Sonic finds that Michael is right about my ceiling being out of step with the wood floor.

Although there is no longer any echo or ring in Sonic’s room, I keep getting the feeling that all the musick is being played in a room with hard walls. I need more warmth and harmonics for sure.

Your idea about Brazilian Pine pieces hung with string may be workable – how big is each pieces and where do you think they can go in my rooms.

In the meantime, Sonic will add a couple of more furniture pieces at the bottom and see what that achieves.

Your thoughts Michael and fellow Zonees?

Sonic








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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:13 pm

Hi Sonic

I've tuned to LEDR and some of Digit Design (and other) programs, but I treat them like any other source and when done go back to finding the combination for what ever I'm listening to. I think these things are cool not so much to see if your system is accurate but to see if your system is stuck or to work on a recording mixed somewhere else and you need to find where that engineer and studio was at. For example set your system up to one of these guides (warner brothers use to have one) then play an EMI/Abbey recording and it will sound horrible.

Which brings up the problem with remastering. Not a problem so much for a tunable (flexible setup) but a big problem for a fixed system.

On to materials

I enjoy listen to different materials, always have, and I think it is one of the things that has made me a tunee. There are degrees of tuning that can be done by the full range (which is what I do) and other things that can be done by partial range. This is another reason I don't go for the dampening stuff. Even though they may seem like they are just bringing the levels down they are actually drowning a crucial part of the musics info. Levels can be brought down or raised to "proper flat" but to be accurate it should be done by materials that give off a "fair exchange" for that room and not a heighten or subtraction value. It is a balancing of energy that a great system possesses.

There's a great sound inside of different woods, and if cured properly you can bring the fibers to a point of producing huge ranges of notes. For example the sound of the South American pines I've been using. The outer part of the tree (any tree) gives the lowest tones, but it is also the area that sheds residue and if you can let the residue evaporate at the right dryness and temp then sill it you can make music magic when it comes to tone. Some woods do better at transfer and others the body of the range. But it's not just the type of wood. Another example, you can name me a type of wood and this will tell me some, but where it has lived and been after it was cut tells me more. Wood can sit in a room and be a sponge or it can be a great resonator feeding the sound pressure with beautiful tones. The difference between the two is the curing and voicing.

You mentioned size of piece for your room. This totally depends on the piece of wood itself. You could take a well cured small piece of SM pine (maybe 1'X1') and be surprised at how big of a difference it could make. It depends on if you need fine tuning or a big tuneup.

Aren't we glad we have this forum Laughing . This way we can loose our train of thought and come back to it. While writing this I have David Lindley playing and it's the biggest distraction Laughing Jackson Browne produced El rayo-X and for me it's the type of music that steals my mind from what I'm doing. David is a musicans musican. He's been on countless recordings doing his magic. I only wish he had done more of his own recordings.

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PostSubject: Re: Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics   Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:40 am


Hi Michael and Zonees

Here's something that makes a good read -- its an interview with Bob Katz on a site I found. Fascinating views on analog vs digital and very sensible IMO. Comments, Michael and Zonees?

From: www.monoandstereo.com


INTERVIEW WITH BOB KATZ


Bob Katz is one of the few mastering engineers that embraced digital techniques very early in life. His words are wide spread among audio technicians and his catalog is filled with great names and performers. Always striving to achieve the best sound with contemporary tools of the trade, Katz does so with his talent and passion for the craft.

MI: Do you consider yourself an audiophile ?

BK: Yes. Absolutely. But, a very rational audiophile. If I discover a tweak that makes the sound better, I want to learn why, and if that tweak seems to defy science, I try to discover why before I endorse it. This has resulted in lots of research on jitter and many of the poor conclusions that audiophiles have reached about it. For example, one audiophile magazine raved at a D/A converter's ability to "reveal" differences in digital cables. Which is so wrong... if a D/A converter sounds different with different digital cables, then it is defective. Unfortunately, too many converters are therefore defective. I am an audiophile and have always been one. I think the best mastering engineers are audiophiles at heart. But the best mastering engineers know how to listen better than many audiophiles. I appreciate the sense of depth and space that a good reproduction system can give. But for me, and for every good mastering engineer, tonal BALANCE has to come first ALWAYS. If the sound is not tonally balanced, then it cannot be good. There are audiophiles who will go crazy over how "detailed" or "transparent" a recording sounds, but if its tone is too bright or too thin or too bassy, then it is fundamentally flawed. Who should care if a recording has a great "sound stage" if the trumpets are screeching in your face?

MI: What was the process that you went through to master your career?

BK: I was always an audiophile and an equipment fanatic as well as a musician. I owned my first tape recorder at the age of 7, and in 1956 that was very early! When I entered college, I started doing recording for the radio station of the school. I began as a recording engineer doing direct to two-track recordings of many different types of groups. I would dare to record rock music and mix it direct to my Revox, music which most people would only dare to mix after the fact. So, I became very good at knowing how to make it sound right without fooling around for hours with a mixing console after the fact. And, I have always kept that ear. Then faced with only a 2-track tape and perhaps some problems, maybe I mixed the bass too loudly, I learned how to use an equalizer and other processors to make my 2-tracks sound as good as they could. This is the essence of mastering, so even before I became a mastering engine, I was mastering.

MI: With new standards coming out in the past few years, like SACD and DVD-audio, do you think that digital format is finally coming into the big picture?

BK: If you mean "digital" recording finally sounds better than "analog", then digital has already won out. I made over 150 44.1 kHz recordings on Chesky Records for compact disc using very customized PCM and analog equipment— whose sound, in stereo, rivals the best SACDs and DVD-audios made today. The real key is attention to detail. So for me, digital format has already broken out and others are just catching up. I recorded the very first 24 bit/96 kHz DVD years before others caught up. The future is going to be surround sound and it is kind of sad that people may forget that it is possible to capture great depth and space with proper use of stereo. Listen to some of my recordings on Chesky to see what I mean. But I look forward to the surround future, provided that mixing engineers learn how to use surround as more than just multichannel mono...

MI: How are the 192 khz recordings? Does so much information bring us closer to the original recordings and are there more problems due to the increase of content?

BK: I have not had enough experience with 192 kHz to say. I like the results I'm getting at 96 K, and in my book I make a convincing argument that it is the converter design that counts far more than the sample rate. We have always known that a well-designed 44.1 kHz converter sounds much better than a mediocre 96 kHz model. And this has always been true. I believe that a good designer will be able to make a 96K converter that sounds as good as anything at a higher rate. But designers are getting lazy, and it is cheaper and easier to get a good sound at a higher rate because the filters are less complex and easier to design. There is nothing magic about the higher rates; it's not the higher frequencies that we're hearing, but rather, more linear performance from 20-20 kHz! Keep that in mind... We really should be labeling converters by their resolution, not by their sample rate.

MI: Do you think that surround’s place is in audiophile circles ?

BK: I think that surround is the future. Even my best stereo recordings suffer without the surround portion and come more alive when the space is expanded to around you. However, I have invented a very natural stereo to surround processor (available from Z Systems) that can take a well-recorded stereo recording that already has good space, and reproduce it in surround indistinguishable from if the recording had been made in surround already. This is, of course, for recordings that do not have discrete instruments in the surrounds. By the way, I am a big fan of localization and too many surround recordings are making the front picture too vague for my tastes, in order to impress the casual listener.

MI: There are still so many LP lovers and most of them are not satisfied with new, digital media. LPs seem to have a mystical or magical quality about them. What is your take on this?

BK: I have many LPs recorded in the 60's and 70's that sound much better than many CDs made today. But, this is a matter of the quality of the technology and the recording techniques used. So many CDs made today have been ruined by over-processing; it's no wonder the old LPs sound better than most. But, I have in my mastering room and have made many, many CDs that sound better than any LP that was ever made. It's a matter of having the right equipment and orientation.

MI: How is with mastering vinyl LPs? Are there still many releases coming out?

BK: I'm afraid not. Most of the LP mastering these days are dance singles for the clubs.

MI: How can audiophiles be assured that the final mastering doesn’t change the original recorded material?

BK: How do we know that the final mastering can't improve the original recorded material? A purist attitude assumes that the original recording is already perfect. Of all the great recordings that have come to me for mastering, only a handful sounded better before the mastering. I have produced a demo CD of before and after and you can make the judgment yourself. Was the mastering better, or did it make the sound worse? You decide.

MI: I don’t remember the name, but I recall from some interview that it was a famous producer-mixer who said that mixing in the 50-60's was so easy and that you could hardly go wrong with all of those tube boards. But, when he first touched solid state mixers in the 70’s, he almost cried. I heard that some big names in today’s music industry say that working with daw (digital audio workstations) these days is a hundred times harder?

BK: Yes, but for different reasons. The early solid-state devices were very poor and produced a type of distortion that was unpleasant to the ear. Since tubes saturate slowly, it is much easier to mix. It's actually a form of compression! But there are some excellent solid-state mixing consoles that sound very good, but because they are so "neutral" it is harder to mix than in the tube days, because the tubes' saturation helped to "fill in the holes". It's the same with analog tape; it helps to fill in the holes and it sounds better; but not because it is neutral, because IT IS EUPHONICALLY COLORED. There is nothing wrong with euphonic coloration as long as you know how to control it. Now when it comes to digital mixing, we have similar problems with the distortion of early DSP processes adding an unpleasant edge to the sound. But there are some excellent DSP processes, they are just expensive. The very best digital mixing consoles can sound very good if you avoid using the digital equalizers and compressors that are built in to them because they still sound cheap. But this is changing as digital technology gets cheaper. As a plain mixer, with just level and panning, the best-built digital mixers can now sound fine with 48 bit digital processing dithered to 24. But no "holes" are being filled as it was in the analog days, so if a mix needs help you have to feed external analog compressors. The other problem is ergonomics of control surfaces, but that has nothing to do with the sound, it's just tough to mix with a mouse!

MI: It seems like today’s music is of a race that is a lot louder and phater than those of the past. Do you feel that today’s music is too loud and over compressed?

BK: Don't get me started! I've written thousands and thousands of words on the subject. In process of mixing - mastering in analog domain it seems that a bit of clipping is not a problem but with digital - software limiters it all up to surgical precision.

A very good, double-sampling digital limiter can take 2 or 3 dB off the peaks and be totally invisible. But only if it's used right. Most mastering engineers these days are abusing the process and making it sound worse in the name of "loudness" (see the thousands of words I've written on the topic).

MI: Do you find most of today’s projects are sounding too digital?

BK: Yes, for the many reasons we've already discussed.

MI: Have you ever worked on a recording that sounded so good that you barely touched it?

BK: Yes, once in a while. It's very refreshing. Or, whatever I try to do to help it makes it sound worse so I leave it alone!

MI: How do you see new compression methods (mp3 aac)? Apple have already over one million songs. They said that songs were put in AAC format directly from masters. Some enthusiasts are saying that certain songs sound even better that commercial CDs. How do you see this and the whole global Internet digitalization?

BK: It has to be for the better. We have to adapt. I believe in the album, not the single, most times, and I hope there will be a place for it. Sonically, if the AAC sounds better than today's CDs that's because they may have converted clean sources that weren't ruined by over compression. But a good CD or DVD can and will sound better than an AAC if the source is good.

MI: Do you find that it is necessary for the artist to be present at mastering?

BK: Not always. Most times I can work at a distance and a phone call and a reference CD do the job. Then I make the corrections the artist wants and we're ready to master.

MI: What would you say is your best mastering work of the project you are most proud of?

BK: Some of my best work is hard to find! More and more recordings are being released independently and that's where the best action and sound is. I'm very proud of my work for Marley's Ghost on the Sage Arts Label, but good luck finding the CDs. Gunnar Madsen's "Power of a Hat" is a fantastic performance-artist-album, available on G-Spot records. Also a recording of Mississippi Charles Bevels but you can't even find him on the Internet. In the Latin-Jazz Field, get "Bajando Gervasio" by Amadito Valdez (of the Buena Vista Social Club), which is available from various Internet sources.

MI: What is the reference recording album that in your opinion sounds the best?

BK: By other engineers. Pick some of the recordings at the top of the Honor Roll at the digido website.

MI: Can you give a brief list of the equipment that you use?

BK: I have so much equipment it would be very difficult to add up... I'm a fan of products by Cranesong, Weiss, Z-systems, TC Electronic, and I've made a lot of my own gear...

MI: It seems that there is an increasing use of valves, tubes, preamps, and amplifiers among audiophiles. Do you think that tubes can bring something more to listening pleasure? How is tube equipment in the mastering process?

BK: Tube equipment can add a lot of pleasure— if it's well-made. I'm a fan of tube equipment designed by Fred Forssell. It's dimensional and clear as well as having tight bass. Much tube equipment made for professionals is artificially warm and fuzzy. Half the key is in the power supply design. Solid state gear can be superb if designed right— look at the Cranesong gear.

MI: Are tape machines still important during processing? Do you get recorded material mostly in digital format or also "vintage" tapes?

BK: From 1990-1997 or so, I used to get 5 or 6 analog tapes a month. Now I only get one or two every couple of months. That's because digital recording is getting better, but also because a lot of project studios are too cheap to afford good analog.

MI: What is the "standard" that audiophiles should have when they’re trying to reproduce the same sound that you have in your studio?

BK: Good acoustics is the key. It should pass the LEDR test (see Chesky, test record I believe the number is JD 37). It should be neutral and in a quiet and sufficiently large room.

MI: One could say that you have quite an esoteric setup in your studio. You have Tim De Parvinchi stuff, etc.

BK: I have a tape machine originally modified by Tim De Paravicini, but these days it's strictly a transport and has my own electronics. The rest of my analog gear is commercial gear from Millennia and Cranesong. Everything else is digital, including gear that I've designed myself. So I don't have that much esoteric analog gear at all!

MI: Can you tell us more about DSD?

BK: DSD is "direct stream digital". Most of what is being said about it is hype, as DSD is simply a method of coding using 1 bit instead of multiple bits. As long as the slew rate of the music is not too fast for the 1-bit coding, then the sound should be the same as the equivalent rate of PCM. However, at low sample rates (up to perhaps 96 kHz) it is possible that DSD may sound better than PCM, but above that if someone tells you that DSD must be "better", it is marketing and not accurate tech-speak.

MI: You do have to make compromises when mastering commercial projects for major labels. People normally don’t have high end speakers and amplification. How does this differ from mastering specific audiophile projects, if at all?

BK: When the client permits it, everything I master is made to the same standards I would make an audiophile album. But when the client wants a "hot" CD, then the quality of my "pop" CDs is not as good as the audiophile albums. If you look at the best commercial CDs of ten years ago, they are a lot closer to the "audiophile" than most CDs made today. There are exceptions, from Telarc, from companies that come to me asking for no compromise, and so on. These CDs are not being pushed for level, and that's the difference.

MI: There is lot of home recording projects going on. In theory, many unsigned artists could do great songs with home equipment. For example, they could record with infinitive takes but then bring the mixes in digital format to bigger high end studios for mixing and then later for mastering. Do you think this is efficient and wise?

BK: The biggest problem with the home recording is the artists are trying to do too much. Generally a good recording is produced by a small team of dedicated individuals collaborating. When the musician is trying to concentrate on his performance, and getting a good recording at the same time, something has to give. There are some exceptions, such as Todd Rungren, who is such a good musician and producer and engineer that he can get an non compromised product. But these exceptions are few and far-between. The other problem is acoustics. There's nothing like a great large room where musicians can work and interact with the natural acoustics. This does not happen in 95% of typical "home recordings".

MI: Do clients send you digital media over the Internet or do you do the job remotely?

BK: Yes. It's already happening. Not for full albums, but largely one song at a time. There is not enough bandwidth yet to wait the number of hours to download a whole album with no data-compression (coding).

MI: Do you like the idea of Internet distribution? What do you feel are the benefits?

BK: Yes. It levels the playing field. Now independent artists can get a lot more exposure and distribution. The downside is that the consumer has no way to distinguish good from bad. There was always a system of peers where the major record company could concentrate on pushing their best artists. But conversely, this has been abused where the large record companies are only concentrating on getting speedy instant profits. The kinds of groups that make good music may only sell 10,000 to 150,000 units and the major labels have stopped being interested in them. Lyle Lovett is a good example; he makes music that is attractive and of high integrity; he should be a million-seller, but he's not. So as an independent artist he will find his audience. The mistakes of the major record labels will be their undoing. The instant-profit mentality will be their undoing.

MI: What would be the simplest approach to record artists outside the studio like in a church?

BK: If the church has great acoustics, the answer is "as few mics as possible", with the musicians ideally located. But I am not afraid to use more mikes if the music calls for it. But it has to be done in good acoustics to work with few microphones, and the engineer has to know how to place the microphones.

MI: What is the process of bringing old tape master tracks back to life and how do you deal with them if they have to be cut to vinyl?

If the tape is an Ampex and sometimes Scotch or BASF from a certain time period, then it has to be baked to re-lubricate the formulation. Tapes from before about 1970 don't have this problem. Ironically, the oldest tapes actually sound better. The rest is the use of good electronics, steady tape guides, tension, and heads and the knowledge of how to adjust the Equalization, azimuth and zenith to get the most out of the tape.

MI: Do you think that it is possible to archive the same experience as live acts on recorded media like playback systems? Have you ever heard any recordings that stunned you?

BK: Yes. I've heard great recordings that stun me. But every time I go to hear the group live in front of me with no amplification, I think that we are so far away from the live experience that we will never have that experience.

MI: What is the compromise that has to be made by normal budget audiophiles to achieve the best possible playback with ordinary equipment? Is this possible, or do we all need high end gear?

BK: I think it can be done for $10,000 to $20,000 US. Anything below that is probably a compromise. But a class B system at less than $7500 U.S. can produce excellent results. It may surprise you that my D/A converter, line amplifier (preamp), power amplifier, and loudspeakers, subwoofers and sub amplifier cost no more than $25,000 U.S., probably less and I consider it Class A+.You don't need $100,000, and if I doubled or tripled the amount of money I've put into the reproduction equipment it would still be class A+, just a little better-sounding A+ :-)

MI: Some esoteric audiophiles say that using the best studio monitors with top quality pre amps is the best combination. Others say that monitors are just studio instruments and do not need to be used for serious listening. What is your opinion?

BK: There are very few Studio-branded loudspeakers that sound as good as the best audiophile models. Many Mastering engineers prefer the audiophile models, surprisingly, over the studio models. There is some overlap, Dunlavy (which is no longer made) was popular both for audiophiles and mastering engineers. KEF, ATC, Dynaudio also make both professional and audiophile models. But most of the rest of the studio speakers, including the brand you mentioned, are too colored for me.

MI: Tubes and analog vinyl are often associated with magic. How do you see them?

BK: This is partly a repeat of the above. Magic comes from the performance first, then from the use of components whose distortion is consonant and not dissonant. The cheap digital processors tend to be dissonant. But digital processors from Weiss, for example, properly used, can also produce Magic.

MI: When the day ends what are listen to?

BK: I go out to clubs and try to watch live music!

MI: Most popular music sounds really bad in comparison to some audiophile recordings and I can never quite understand why this is happening. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

BK: Most recording engineers have no idea what natural sounds like. But if you listen to the best popular music recordings of the past 60 years, some of it sounds just as good as the audiophile. You just have to be careful and picky!

MI: In the 50’s and 60’s music artists like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerlad, and others of the Jazz, Blues and specifically Classical music (RCA living etc.) eras made exceptional records. Is this due to the process that involved all artists to be recorded at once?

BK: When the performers are performing all at once, the magic is easier to happen. But Ella and Frank Sinatra and Louis were one of a kind performers whose magic could have happened if the recording was made with two tin cans and a piece of string!

MI: Is analog summing a cure for modern DAW projects?

BK: The major difference is NOT in the summing, but in the processing. Digital compression and EQ generally require more power than is available INSIDE a typical DAW.

MI: But, doesn’t too much compression kill the music. Where is the limit?

BK: I've written entire articles on the subject. For home listening, a popular music recording with a reasonable peak to average ratio of somewhere between 20 and 14 dB is a place to start. However, even heavy metal benefits from some dynamic range, and if you listen to the analog-recorded metal of 20 years ago it generally sounds far more magical than that of today, because of the over compression, however, analyzing the older recording, probably only has about a 6 to 10 dB peak to average ratio, which may be just right for "metal" genre.

MI: In the last few years there has been amazing growth of really quality headphones and head amps. Do you think that high end sound will meet quite normal price tags?

BK: For headphones? Sennheiser's HD600 are very good and can be very satisfying, but I'll take good speakers in a good room every time.

MI: In our name and on the behalf of our readers, we thank you for your time. I wish you many years with your Golden years and God bless you.

BK: An unintentional pun on your part! My Golden ears better have some more golden Years or I'll be in trouble! Best wishes.
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