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PostSubject: Tuning Chicago   Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:39 am

Hi Listeners

Thought I would start a thread dedicated to my trip to Chicago. I arrived last night to get settled in and started to explore the areas at Bill's place that I will be doing most of my listening while here. There's several high end audio pieces of gear and I will give some type of low down on them during the visit and maybe even after as the thoughts settle in my brain. First though let me give you a little background.

I started working on a system for one of our members bill333 a couple of years ago as he was looking to put a listening room in his downstairs converted basement area. The space was sealed and Bill turned the area into a dehumidified controlled environment according to my specs. Meanwhile I was working on curing wood that would eventually become the different parts and pieces of his system and room. I have always stress how the sound of wood and other materials are the key to great sound along with the quality of your listening environment. High End Audio puts these things on a back page way behind the spectacular electronic gear and loudspeakers, but I have always maintained that the truth is in the air and all of the other parts to an audio system are important of course but only as good as what happens between the speaker and your ears.

I've always questioned how do designers know if they are designing something of merit if they themselves do not have a proper environment to listen in. From my own personal experience I have heard audiophile products stop short of producing the type of sound I feel represents the recorded sound. We all know that from the very beginning recordings are not nearly as dynamic as real acoustical playing, but the question is, with this being the case how does a designer create something that is close to real sounding. the pages of TuneLand scream out this question and building this system (several systems) here tells a story of the different parts of some of audio's finest and the truth of simplicity.

I've decided to let down my hair a little and be a little more judgemental then usual so i want to do this on a seperate thread so that folks reading understand that these are my own personal observations and not those necessarily of any one who might be coming over to hear the systems or Bill (the owner) him self. I do this because I realize that audiophiles sometimes have a mission that is outside of what I try to achive for myself. my back ground is live music, recording and playback and may be different from one who has only stereo as their starting point. Why is this important you might say? Well like I was demonstrating today by playing a guitar while the music was playing and in the same room without the stereo on, the recorded music (even though playing through efficient horns) is not, as I said earlier, as dynamic as the real thing. Stereo and live music are to different events and should be respected for what they are and not tried to turn into to each other. I know the temptation is there to call the two the same but this is not the case. I think, unfortunately high end audio strays even further from the source by designing things that are so "custom sound" oriented they only have the ability to focus on a piece of the overall leaving the rest on the cutting floor. years and years of listening to high end has proven this point to me countless times and i can not help to feel like we are victims of garage designers living rooms that don't have the specifics needed to render musical truth. I've heard this all over the world, seen it at shows and experienced this at my own audio stores.

You have read the pages of TuneLand so I don't need to cover the same ole thing but maybe this account will help you maybe a little more in your own listening.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:09 am

Ok, so let's start this thing.

Arriving in Chicago is a joy because I know I'm going to be meeting up with some great hosts. I'm staying with Bill, Elizabeth and the 3 cats. My dog Pepper would be jealous but what she don't know, right Laughing . After getting settled in my room I head up to the upstairs loft listening area to see the latest gathering of audio goodies.



The loft is on the 3rd floor with the open living space below and below this the main entertainment area. the listening area in the loft is shared with a library setting a couple of rooms and of course the opening into a good size living space.



Bill's plan is to use the loft for testing tube amps and casual listening. The main speakers here are beautiful looking single driver horns accompanied by some tube gear with a computer driven front end.



Bill has soft piano music playing and I take in a quick listen. it was hard for me to tell what was doing what to the sound but I took in the over all presenting and let it sink in. it was kinda cool and snappy with a midrange boost that leaned a little upward. Soundstage was your typical small stage with things between the speakers and went maybe a foot in front then dropped back 3 feet. the sound was fairly tight and organized but I was a little surprised at the lack of bass for such a big box. No biggie after a nights rest I'll do some more listening.

morning comes and I make my way upstairs to see how much my listening has changed from the trip and maybe even start to evaluate. After about 10 seconds my sensors were starting to sound off in my head started to divide up what was doing what to the sound, but with all the unfamiliar parts it was not going to happen without confusion, so I started to take one step at a time. Keep in mind no treatment, cables on floor and carpet. These are enough to make any judgement unfair so this will all get revisited, but I'm going to push on anyway.

First thing I wanted to do is to see how the amps were getting along with the speakers so I threw in a freshly MG tweaked Sherwood and took out the tubes. The sound jumped outside of the speakers as the stage grew dramatically. Still audiophile-ish in size but bigger than the tiny boxed sound. I listened a little but could clearly hear blockage so didn't waste any time and replaced the front end with my reference not tweaked yet magnovox DVD player. This took the speakers from sounding like a head cold to a full range (almost) speaker. Listening was coming along but this was on really simple music. Time to test to see if the system was phasing and able to present a picture.

Out comes "Dark Side of the Moon" and the speakers fall apart. Disappointment settles in for the first time on the visit. I start thinking of tweaking but then it popped into my mind to (since I'm part way to one of my references) put on the Music 60's.




I threw down some platforms and put the 60's in front of the others and started Dark Side again. Slaughter house would be my description! the bottom end of the 60's smashed the horns and the image (even without any tunes in the room) went from tiny to huge and even right up to my face, beside me and back over the loft. Nuf said, with all the things that needed tuned I was out of audiophile hell and back on music row.

Much more to come but I think this first chapter for me is painting the picture. Many times I think people play their system with stage friendly material that doesn't challenge the basics of soundstaging. for me the real tests start to come in when I play something with a defined and familar and let me add excepted soundstage. This to me is the beginning of telling where a system is. A lot of the other stuff can be subjective but if it can't play the rock stage and paint the picture the other stuff is just talk.

See you tomorrow.


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PostSubject: Easier to see photos   Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:23 pm

Hey, Mr. Green,

It looks like you took those pictures on the dark side of the moon, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!

I couldn't make out the details, so I took the liberty of enhancing the above photos.

Robert


Chicago 1 by ozonerman, on Flickr

Chicago 2 by ozonerman, on Flickr

Chicago 3 by ozonerman, on Flickr

Chicago 4 by ozonerman, on Flickr
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:31 am

Those of you who have followed the tuning adventure here are up on the maintenance that is due to the Tunable Room. The room was taken down to wait for the scheduled timing of squaring up the corners and walls. The workers are ready and the room is cured (really cured). so lets take a look at the downstairs.

The stairway down to the area has been tuned to control any porting affects outside of the rooms general area. When starting down you can turn around and see the strip at the top of the stairs.



The stairs goes down then around and down again.





Then into the entertainment area.



The Tunable Room in pieces.





Today I did a little tune up on the floor blocks. Getting ready for the rebuild that is supposed to start on Wed. Oh, please let the carpenters show up! I'm cool with the basics but squaring things, arrrggg.





Something that I checked today was the curing and transfer. Can you say WOW Exclamation These boards sound nuts. Some of the lowest tones I have ever heard in boards this short. The framing is connected and the vibrations are transferring beautifully. And, the harmonics are going both up a down clearly. this is key for my own taste.




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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:35 pm

Work started today on the rebuild. I can not stress strong enough, when you have the wrong people your place can be really out of harmony and the projects done don't quite measure up. this is the way I have felt about the Tunable Room here since it left Las Vegas. It's been a bit of a heart break for me cause I know what it is. Today though the script has been flipped and the right man stepped on to the scene. Andy (not drewster Andy) is like a super hero in my book so far when it comes to construction. No BS, no attitude, no mess ups. The difference between Andy and the two "builders" before him is immeasurable, but lets start with laser levels. No shoty thrown together stuff with this guy. The wall frames look like they did in Vegas and the ceiling better. Michael sighs after a long wait to see and hear the transfer start to take place without stress.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:29 pm

The loft system at Chicago has had it's room cleaned and the other things laying around have been removed. You never know how much this stuff gets into the sound until you move it. Now I am going to start tuning a little and doing some of the room and system basics.

BTW the loft system is music 60's along with the maggie and sherwood. The basics! I was telling Bill that the best way to learn about your system is to go back to the basics and know how to get back there every time. Sometimes it is also good to learn about settling and not trying to jump ahead and tune all the time without knowing where your going or where you've been. I think this is hard for people who "have to play" to deal with. I can speak for myself, if I don't know the recording (whole recording) I can get pretty lost too.

But there are ways not to get so lost and one of them is let the stage be big and see if the holes are there or gone from your listening view. If a system is approaching at least the recorded fill you will hear that room fill up with stage. This sounds redundant I know but you would be surprised at how many folks fall off this wagon and don't know how to get back on board. They only know how to get to a limited stage. Well for those folks I can tell you that most recordings are far bigger than you think.

Today I was showing Bill some stuff in "the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust" that he may not have even known was in the recording or at least if the stage was small he would not have heard the effect. I can see his mind turning as we moved a vocal part from 5 feet behind the plane of the speakers to maybe 25 feet. this is where the change is going to take place in his thinking if it does. Stretching that soundstage is directly rated to everything else, and if you can get your head around that you can do this with a simple system easier than a difficult one you are half way there. All we did was move the platforms forward and the stage jumped. could a piece of equipment made this big of change by plugging it in to this system? Not even close. You could have played with 40 different components and not came up with this change.

We have an attachment to equipment sounding like "this", and I challenge that thought as being legit. I think we need systems that are able to go beyond a stuck manual of fixed sounds. Maybe this is why some have a hard time with my simple approach. With my approach you get much more and it comes with much less distortion.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:52 pm

So for those following at Bill333's place we have the tale of 2 systems. One the tuning up of the Tunable Room down stairs and the Loft system 2 story's up. I ping pong back a forth from the systems because this is the way I listen and learn. At my places I have several systems that are used to play off of each other teaching me things to implement in each other till I find answers to the never ending questions of high end listen. If you pay attention to my methods you will see the logic behind not only variable tuning but variable learning.

The last several trips here Bill was way too involved in the process (sorry Bill) and I never really got into the way I do things. This resulted in a system that was a real, well Sad . This time Bill has let me take the lead and the progress of the tune here is taking leaps and bounds. For those who know me you know that if folks want to take over I get to the place where I step aside and wait till things get screwed up Laughing . It's a lesson in tuning that we all have to learn and Bill has been learning this lesson the long way scratch . To his credit though he is very gracious about letting me share my thoughts with you. Bill has a real desire for the tune moving forward and even though his trip of finding his sound has been a trying road for him at times he allows the tune in the end be what it is. You see if I haven't made this point clearly in the past I will now.

When the room was designed and built in vegas we spent time doing what we do to get the parts and pieces to take on and hold pitch tone and all the other attributes that makes this system work. That's there, and when there the system played beautifully and the day came where it was good enough to have sent to it's new home. Box Brothers the shipping company (if you remember) packed the room as if it was a fine piano and the delivery was perfect. Bill on the receiving end prepared the area and gathered the assembly team. However there was a misstep in this process. Because the team was inexperienced at housing construction or the basics in carpentry I arrived and was taken back by the way the construction was being handled affraid . A Tunable Room should not be handled by boys and treated like Walmart throw together shelving. This is not a pile of wood to be put together by hammer hacks. In short this was not a pleasant experience but the room made it together with some ticks. Still she showed her stuff at least to the point of a true lady. I was not happy but it was what it was and if this was never going to be corrected it was still going to out perform the rest of the rooms out there by other designers.

Time moved on and visits from me started to happen. It was a time of experimentation for Bill and I watch him go through his thinking process as I always do with audiophiles. Bill being of the analytical engineering type (as the rest of his family line) needed to go through the act of processing art vs engineering. I must say at this point that many engineers never return from the books and make their way to artistic. This is a big problem with the high end audio industry as I have pointed out many times before. Looking at a room that seems almost all art and the designer who spends his time listening to harmonics more than fundimentals has got to be a weird picture for an engineer. I've seen this more times than I can count, and I can count pretty high. Hippie looking guy walks around Herman Miller or State University of NY and the engineers are huddled in the corner peeping out from behind their popular science mags study . Trust me I've had a life of it. Bill has had much equipment that I have made go to the top of their game but fell short of producing what we in the music biz would call real. Theories are a beautiful thing for theorist but when you are talking about an art form such as music theories can fall flat, and so can the sound they represent.

Months ago you read about an assembled team that met here and played with the room. Most were seasoned and one rookie. As we listened we could tell that if the room was put into it's orginal condition even greater things could happen then what has already taken place. This started with myself and Herns hearing the upper rear corner out of pitch. After looking I could see that the room had been tampered with and was getting even farther away from the designs objective. After a while of processing where this was going for Bill and his love of music pushing on him to finish the task at hand I received a call that said lets do this correctly. there were a couple of minor twist to the story that have been passed up to keep it short, but lets say by the blessings of the audio gods last week we restarted our engines and with the help of an excellent worker are on a path of the finest listening machine on 4" joist currently in this part of the US, maybe any where we will see.



We have been repairing the wood that was damaged in some of the missteps and have (I believe) maybe even found a couple of things that make the "framed platform version" of the Tunable Room even better than ever before. Listening will tell but I really like what I am seeing from an outside tuning additive that Andy the wood worker came up with that was slightly different from what I was wanting to do.



We have used angle iron before for transfer but never for wall strentgh that I can remember. When picking out the material my mind was in full work mode and I was interested to see if this was going to do what I was hoping it would. You see the room works off of balance and transfer and if either of these are off you can run into problems quick.



The one thing going for us is the excellent sound of the wood after curing in a near perfect humidity controlled area thanks to the room having the walk space around it and Bill's diligent humidity control efforts. These efforts have paid off cause this wood sounds like a tuning dream. In the middle of the night I came down stairs to see if the fins (now getting the name Tuning Fins) worked. Success, after a little settling the fins do a great job of tuning the rooms framing intersections.



With the combo of fins and new custom made brackets we have a different animal that is not only back to the Vegas specs but perhaps better than ever. This is something I will know after the room settles. but the first impressions as I go down and play with things are very favorable.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:16 am

Ok, up a couple flights of stairs and we can take a look at how the loft looks after getting rid of the extra gear and speakers.

We'll start with looking at the space from the open area below.



The square footage of the space is huge for a listening area but well balanced from the beginning



The front tuning space



Right side of the room from the listening chair is full of reading



The sitting area is very cozy



For myself I would probably spend months in this chair without leaving as I like the feel



The left music ply 60



the maggie with the sherwood



The right 60



And a view of the open space guarded by the PZC FS


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:05 pm

I have to say, I'm a little surprised at the number of people reading the chicago trip. It's a good thing and I'm glad to have you along for the ride.

After 3 days of playing around with the 60's in the loft Bill decided he wanted to go back to the Beauhorns as his thinking was 1) the 60's are going downstairs anyway 2) maybe the horns have something the 60's don't.

thus enters the beauhorns



I spent about the same amount of time with the new set up and must admit that I had to check the speaker connections more than once. Where the 60's were painting a soundstage picture and you could go in and out of tons of variations of that stage the Beauhorns did not want any of this. Getting the drums to take shape and have different flavors outside of the speaker's natural voicing is a chore. I wonder what specific setup the designer put these in while making them? Did he use a variable approach in many rooms and situations or one room with his system?

One of the problems I have with horns in general is coming back to haunt me. "they are not flexible". You basically have one or two places to use them and you get what you get. You can either deal with the sound or not play that type of music unless you want to hear them "horn style". If you are not in the mood for horn style listening your out of luck.

Would this speaker system sound better in a light weight tuned cabinet? My guess is much better, but I also have to ask myself to what extent do I really want this. It's the type of thing where do you want to spend more money than God to make this start to do what other things do? If you have that kind of money to burn, yes, for me this would be a fun project because I do like the clarity if I could get it to be more than only focusing on a few frequency ranges. The other thing is, and I ask you "lowther" guys this, Am I hearing a phasing problem Question There is something here that is not letting go of my ear lobes. No matter what I do this sound is inside my head and will not let go. I put on the 60's and it's gone, back on the B's and it's back. I know everyone is working on phase plugs to get rid of this but is it really gone? I'm clearly hearing something that is not natural about the instruments. It's more than a build up, it's a reversal of wave patterns as if something is pulling when it should be pushing. My ears are feeling this weird vacuum, and as I walk away from the speakers I can feel the pressure start to leave but when in their presence the pressure is right back. Even from where I am writing I'm getting this odd feeling about the sound being produced. At first I thought it was cool but after a while it works it's way into my head and I forget about the music and can only hear this particular voicing. This might also be a characteristic of the wood and driver combo and not the driver only. You can hear the air being pushed through the cab and taking on the flavor of the wood. My visits to UMI tells me that the wood itself is not instrument grade. This means as the air passes it picks up the tonal qualities of the instrument bodies themselves. Tapping on the cabinet gives me a clue as part of the weird sound I'm hearing is related to the same sound the cabinet is making. So maybe part of this is poor sounding wood. Was the designer more of a space and measurements guy and not a materials guy? My thought is maybe if this was redone in a mellow sounding yet tight wood it would give the driver a much better chance. I don't necessarily hear a bad sounding horn as such but won't know this for sure till I heard the different wood.

So back I go to try to find how this thing stages.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:19 pm

Hmmmm

Seems like the Beauhorns do not like a bigger sound stage as every time I get to this point they start showing holes. This means that they might be better suited for far field listening or maybe support by the reinforcement from a rear wall.

Also when listening you have to be very careful of ear burn. These speakers will burn a hole in your head if they are not in tune. I can do maybe 20 minutes and it's break time. If you have an objection to brittle upper mids this might not be the ticket for you.

I have to be honest here, if Bill wants me to build a system around these it will not be the most fun I have ever had Laughing

You know how you get to that place where the problems are staring you in the face? Well I'm there bounce

After living with tunable speakers for so long I have become spoiled I'm afraid. I'm sitting there making a list of everything I would have to do to these speakers to get them to the point where they would keep up with a tunable pair (any tunable pair) and the list is long. First thing is to get them to drop in their overall pitch which with nothing more than a cross look can head into an uncomfortable place. Second, that phase sound, 3rd the cabs, 4th they may be efficient but I think I am hearing a weird strain happening. An odd mixture of problems when I'm use to listening to ease of performance. The 102's back home walk all over these with bigness of sound and even the 60's here do the same thing. The Beau may get loud fast, but within that loud comes restrictions of a different kind. There is still a sound of pushiness and the speakers seem to only like one volume and not able to produce any fullness at a low setting.

What I thought might be fun is turning out to be a laundry list of things to deal with that are not necessary. Maybe these speakers are mostly used by listeners who have them in rooms where the wall behind them is a lot closer and they are not looking for a big sound stage. When I do set them up for a smaller stage they do far better, but still within their character.

On the flip side, if I were a guy who had a pad that put these speakers up against a wall and had several people over to be in a casual setting and wanted a speaker that got loud and I didn't care about my stage going deep maybe this would be cool cause they do give the mid and upper peeks. Against the wall I would think the lower end would come in as well. Then again maybe I am talking from the point of view of a guy who has had 2 days of listening fatigue and upset cause I'm use to listening without any for days No .

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:34 pm

Time for the tape measuring.

I've been keeping pretty close tabs on the staging while I've been here among other things and want to make the remarks match the findings. So often it's easy to start talking about something emotionally and not factual so for my own use I like to do my type of measuring. Most of my comments about tonal balance, pitch and response is from my ears as I don't see the need to use inaccurate measurements of toys that folks use in their rooms. These are far too inaccurate for my taste and only give a picture of what is happening at the mic and not any of the flavors. My world is about textures and flavoring and most importantly the picture we see in front or around us that we call the sound stage. I know this may not sit well with EE's but it sits well with this old veteran. I have no desire to listen to specs "what do they sound like". I have no idea what a spec sounds like but I do know what a stage sounds like.

I have basically the last 2 weeks been playing in two worlds. One is the more traditional high end audio world (what ever that means) and the other is the world of the 60's. I say what ever that means because this world is not about finding how much is there in a stage but more about the taste of a particular designer and his or her listening client and how the client blends the designers plan with his own.

As I have been pointing out in earlier posts the audiophile thing is not really my taste and the diagram to follow starts to give you a view into this. Keep in mind that this thread is from my point of view and you should make your own points and values.

The diagram below is based on my most accurate setup to date since I've been here (not very accurate to my wants) and the Beauhorns best setup so far. This is the size of sound stages between the two in their most coherent state. Drawing is not to scale obviously.



that actual tape measuring of these two are

60's 17' wide 35' deep

Beauhorns 11' wide 8' deep

This may sound cruel to the reader but I'm actually giving the Beauhorns some room for added air space that isn't necessarily and instrument.


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:20 pm

Hello All,

Michael is now visiting my place here in the city and the first thing he did after listening a bit was loosen some of the screws on the circuit board of the Sherwood receiver. This immediately broadened and opened the soundstage far beyond the walls, and increased detail and layering too. Shocked After about 30 seconds of this Michael knew what the next step was....

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:58 am

The Chicago trip is rushing by and I believe what we have decided is to make this into a more stage by stage project. This allows time for me to get around as well as time for things to settle between trips. My goal is to do 3 different places and compare notes of not only the rooms and systems but also listening styles and preferences.

Visiting Andy's was way too short and I felt I barely had enough time to test the room and system for it's tunability, but I did what I could.

Andy's system is far different from Bill's loft setup, using both the 60's and B-horns. Obviously the one thing in common is general area. Every time I visit a different part of the world/states I hear what that particular area offers or doesn't offer in sound. The Chicago area is quite different from Vegas as the air here is more humid and I can also tell the the base ground is different as well. Ok I'm nuts scratch but this has always been something for me that I can sense in listening. If you spent as much time traveling as I do you would pick up on this as well. Not so nuts really when you think that our systems are grounding into these different materials. For myself it's as noticeable as changing the type of wood under a component as Drewster (Andy) taught me on my visit.

Andy brings me over and treats me as if I am the guru of all sound but when I sit down for the first listen I am smacked in the face with an amazing sense of clarity and visual aid. The first track on Dark Side of the Moon has an effect where there is an object that goes in a paned motion. Well it was so vivid I thought I was at my TuneVilla room for a second. I know there were other things Drewster wanted to tune in but honestly I would have opted to stop then and just listened for that one effect for 2 days. I must have asked him if I had to move on 5 times and "are you sure". It's not often that I get to go to someones place and receive such a treat.

After coming down to earth and focusing on the problems that haunt these types of buildings (Chicago plaster) I was able to let go of my magic moment and get to work. drewster made excellent use of the Sonic Bell cones, mixing them artfully into the arrangements under components. I really after playing around made the tiniest of adjustment here. The setup was so good that it was super easy for me to tune in the circuit board of the Sherwood amp. It sounded like tuning in the string on a guitar for me as the component platform relationship was so united.

Drewster always does this easy to listen to soundstage and you focus on the song's story right from the beginning. most folks would say "I'm done" but Drewster has wanted to get rid of that multi painted over plaster sound for ever. Could this be done in a short visit? No of course but at least I can learn the room and how it reacts to materials.

I'm sorry Andy for keeping you up all night but finding the needle in a plaster room haystack is quite the adventure. After a few hours of listening though the system and room did start to talk to me and I could see through playing around what this mechanical setup was maybe going to let me do or not do.

This is where Sonic says "picture goeth here" but if I showed you guys what I did over the next few short hours you would leave the hobby and take up boating or something. However for me it was necessary to start to get a grip on the sound of the walls floor ceiling and other rooms. What saved the day was Drewster has a nice sound closet with lots of toys and I was able to start removing the plaster sound and start replacing it the the sound of new materials. Of course not having enough tuned wood to cover the walls I had to use them within the context of experimentation and math around the room. between this, lots of PZC's, some RT pillows and Sound Good Attenuators (never completed for market) the room is now beginning to sound like something other than what it is. Finished? Not by far. Fun? Absolutely! I love when someone hands me the keys.


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:57 am

Back at Bill's

The room is almost rebuilt and the guys have done an excellent job!


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:46 pm

I'll be adding more to this thread as I get home to Vegas and reflect on the different days. As for now the focus is on getting the Tunable Room to the place where it can begin playing music again. Because of the rebuild this means that a couple of screw change outs have to take place.

A tunable room is like a big instrument with hundreds of exposed tuning screw placements that act like transfer devices. It's not all that complicated to tune but the connections between the tuning boards and the framing is crucial to the sound. Much like a tuning peg on a guitar. Over the next few days I'll be spending time redoing all of these screw holes getting them to start taking form. It's a long process and in some ways takes things back to the beginning but when a rebuild happens it is unavoidable, and for me a lot of fun. The better each hole/thread relationship is the better the sound.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:14 am

Threw a system into the room to start burning in, no treatments. Just wanted to get the walls vibrating. Wow! The jump from the sound of the carpet to the wood room is stagering if not funny. I asked Bill (scratching his head over open sound vs caned scratch ) how much more info is in the Tunable Room vs the loft? He said 4 times. I would say at least. This can be overwhelming to someone who has not traveled this road and as Bill put it tonight. It's almost like when you sit too close to the screen at a theatre and can't take the whole thing in.

On this trip Bill has been having me set things up more my way, but from my point of view sometimes this is a good thing for those who are after staging and a confusing thing for those use to the typical small audiophile stage. Going from up stairs (loft) to down (TR) is literally going from 8X5X5 to the room disappearing type of stage. The first impressions for me is "I'm so glad to be in the land of music production again. Quite frankly the TR terrorizes the loft setup.

Do I really want to set up Bill's place my way? This is a question that I have asks for years now as I watch Bill's reaction to the way inside the envelope big stages sound. I think it's easier for some to get their mind around systems of sound stages, and for others it easier to have a system that produces more of a video screen image (Bill says compressed). Bill mentioned that his first impressions of the TR setup is disorganized but I found it to be just the opposite. Before now we would set up and make changes to one system as we went, but I like the having two system going approach so that I can give a break down of what is going on between the two. I again will have to give the account mostly from my point of view (and others who have been here) and not so much Bill's. Basically I'm giving Bill bits and pieces of my world but not the whole thing. The jump can be huge for anyone who is more in the Hi Fi world as compared to being in studio or big stage production. And with the tune giving so much more than high end I am finding myself not wanting to expose Bill to that big of a jump.

The loft system with the B-horns sound like someone has thrown a blanket over the speakers. Everything runs in to one or the other speaker and when you stand up and move a little to the side any soundstage that was is completely gone. The TR system you only have to open the door and a sound stage jumps out at you even before entering completely. You can feel yourself walking through the soundstage on the way to your seat. I think it's pretty cool Cool . What's so surprising though is how as soon as you do sit and even just near the seat you are thrown into musical fantasy land. While Bill gets use to this I am really looking forward to getting out my 3D goggles.

The room has a long way to go while it resettles but the shocking difference between the two sounds makes me very happy Very Happy . Keep in mind though that as I'm tuning this in I'm not the owner of this system and the end result means that we might be opening this up to shut it back down again. This will be up to Bill but while those thoughts are rolling around in his head I get to have some fun time.

this is just the break in, wait till I start tuning

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:26 pm

Hi TuneLand

Heading for Chicago from the 16th to 23rd. My mission besides listening to a quick settling process at Bill's is to start working on the screw threads, replacing most of the screws I'm sure. The poly for the screw holes has probably had enough time to firm up a little as last visit I didn't feel comfortable messing with the freshly done threads.



The better job I do on this part the better the transfer, and for me this is the whole ball game. The wood is curing so nicely that if I get the transfer really good and the room doesn't get messed with any more we should be in a good place for mechanically zoning out the room. Hopefully by the 3rd or 4th visit this summer this will make a lot more sense for those wondering, but in short we are making both the laminar flow of the room along with the pressure zones do what we are telling them to do from a wall point of view.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu May 02, 2013 6:23 am

While working on the downstairs system there needs to be an upstairs system to listen to, but honestly the B-horns were just not bringing it to me with their out of phase sound in the mids and lack of bass. This is a speaker that at least from what I have heard wants (needs) the support of a back wall to play off of. They were doing Bill no good as he starts to explore a bigger soundstage cause they really don't give this in his setting. At best they give a to the speaker stage, and if you force them to break out, a stage that is artificial and phasy, kinda like a set of headphones with the wires crossed on one speaker. Drove me crazy! So do we bring the 60's back up? Yes maybe, but then the 60's get tuned up there and at the end of the visit are taken back down to break in the room. To do this right we would need to get serious about what to do with this over the top thick and heavy carpet though, which doesn't allow anything through it without a fight. I keep looking and listening to this carpet and blick my eyes plus wiggle my nose but it's still there. HMMMM

Bill and I retire to our sitting area by the kitchen of course and Bill starts telling me that he wants to have 2 setups. The downstairs one and the experimental on upstairs. The need to design and build lives in the heart of many of us and Bill has worked on a tunable tube amp design. Basically a kit tube amplifier without the chassis. "lets try it".

heeeellllooooo what have we here Question



or should I say, what have we here Question



But Bill, can we please get rid of the B-horns? Lets put in the Klipsch and see if we can get something out of them.



Far better than the B-horns struggling but still not grounding. Let me do some playing and.....oh now what is this?



Bill, how did you go from the BYOB (bring your own battery) Altmann to this piece of art?



I felt like I was watching "being there" and instead of Chauncey saying "I like to watch" Bill says "I like to play". From 9 pieces of componentry down to 5 (four of them being the amp) but for our purposes 2.



Now this is more like it Exclamation

After shortening and organizing the cable



and tuning the electric a little



things started to take on shape.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu May 02, 2013 10:48 am


Hey, Mr. Green,

I see you clearly show those electrician's rubber gloves. Good thing to keep in stock for those who dare to go tuning their electric panels and sockets. Safety first! A Tunee would like to still be around to listen to the results.

The recent monsoon-like rains in Chicagoland had me fearing a flooded basement, so I put the one socket I had hanging back into the wall. Try explaining that to an insurance adjuster Smile

Fortunately, despite the virtual river that was flowing down the streets in my neighborhood earlier that day, I escaped with only some seepage in the bigger room where I used to have my system. As there is no mention of it, I assume Bill333 had no water damage.


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Tue May 28, 2013 11:31 pm

hi Robert

Sorry for the late reply. I put in my request for 48 hour days with no luck yet.

Glad to hear the flood was held back by the fort. Same at Bill's. He has gone to great lengths for dry conditions.

On my last visit while working on moding the room panels downstairs Drewster and myself were doing some moding on the speakers upstairs. At one point the sound in the system pointed right at the speakers and said "you've got to be kidding". And after looking sure enough there was bedding foam (high tech) stuffed in them. Now the industry can call this what ever they want and run tests, and even give us the story of how and why foam rubber was made, but the truth of it is foam was made for one reason, to absorb and absorb it does.



After removing even a little the Klipsch's dbs went up more than a little. I then put one coat of finish on and within a day the sound cleaned up. The stock ports were also not doing the speakers any favors. We're far from these being up to the task but at least we are seeing signs of life.

The upstairs system has one major component problem as I have said and until it's gone the system can reach parts and pieces (always fun) but does not let go and tell you freedom. more it's like Mel screaming "Freedom". Freedom from the carpet holding back this otherwise very cool space. A space that I would enjoy having at my place. I doubt if the Klipsch folks have ever heard this Klipsch Synergy F2 sound quite so close to a real animal. If I had the time I would have a lot of fun moding speakers and these are ones that want modded badly. They already do what the B-Horns can not (play out in the room) and with a different cab or this one tuned as far as it can go it could be a fun speaker. The plus of this speaker is for those who have carpet it could be modded to sound half way decent and have the output to push past the carpet sound to a degree and is easy to push amp wise. The Elekit pushes them with ease.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Wed May 29, 2013 8:31 pm

downstairs

While working on the room I'm slowly voicing all the platform parts as well.

here's a peek at the sub floor for the platform with the components on it


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Wed May 29, 2013 8:42 pm

a comment from Bill in his last update of the downstairs Chicago system


"At the end of Michael's last visit when we put up the first batch of drilled out panels, the room unsettled and the sound was not good (tilted up pitch, chaotic soundfield) for a few days. After that, it settled itself into a very musical place. I haven't done anything to the room or the system except put up four cornertunes, but I'm hearing sound which is as good as I can ever remember hearing. At some point during the day last Sunday, the room went 3D just due to settling. So at this point I'm just leaving it alone and enjoying listening."

and Drewster's last Chicago trip post

"Hello All,

I've had the Marantz with the changes that Michael and I made in the system now for about a week, settling, along with the equipment platform that we made some changes to because the wood had expanded in the Chicago humidity over the last year. This was a unique situation where I made a number of changes all at once because Michael was in town, and we tried to get as much that needed to be done as we could in the time we had.

Basically, we took the bottom shield plate (heavy) off the Marantz, loosened the transformer from the board, unwound some twisted wires, removed some cable ties, and took off the one ferrite RF stopper that I was unable to remove before. Some undesirable things couldn't be removed, such as the resinous goop applied to some of the caps.









I can't really say for sure what sound changes go with what component tuning changes, but I can say that the sound in my room is now bigger, fuller and deeper. And the mids and highs with the Marantz are now much more open and more balanced and more natural. In fact, the tuned Marantz now comes close to the Maggie in bigness. Maybe not the same level of subtle detail or dynamics or fullness of harmonics, but much better than I expected given my initial experience with it.

I listened late into the night last night. The Marantz has really good rhythm and drive Exclamation and I kept listening to "one more song" for way too long. I was bobbing my head and tapping my toes to everything I played. Using the Remote app on my iPhone makes it so easy to play anything in my entire music collection with just a few taps, it's kind of addicting.

Can't wait to hear what the next week of settling will bring...."

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:41 pm

This trip to Chicago took a really sweet turn as we got to the place of starting to tune the electric.

The downstairs room (the tunable room) has gotten to the place where you can hear every change so the tunes from here on out should be interesting cause I can focus in on each tweak and hear how it relates to the rest of the system.

I think Bill also got a good chance to see how I tune, a little listen, let it settle in the system and in my mind then tune again. This is a process I usually do by myself (unless I have to do a fast tuneup) and so it's kind of weird cause I'm thinking about the sounds of the latest tweak in my head, playing it over and over, humming it and picturing it in my mind. I'm sure I sit there with this blank look  Neutral  and so because someone is in the same space with me I start to chatter Laughing  poor guys. I'm so use to being in my world when I do this that all this nervous energy comes out and I start talking non-stop probably cause it is so different from what I'm use to. When I visit Bill's and go up to my room I laugh cause I know I just talked their ears off Laughing  but it's so different than being by myself to let the sounds sink in. When I'm here at home it's kind of like I'm in music dream mode and I can act any way I want but when in someone elses place it's so different and I can't just walk around in my weird little world. They have been great when I visit still though it has got to be funny having this strange guy walking around humming to himself and staring off into the distance while I'm picturing the stage in my mind.

In a studio it's different cause everyones walking around in a zone and you bounce off of each other and float until something hits. When doing this and not going to a hotel Bill and the gang have to watch this guy half in and half out of the music.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning Chicago   Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:30 pm

Hi TuneLand, Harold here

Stopped by Bill's place on my Chicago trip. I also met with RoomTune distributors and Andrew Staub. You can look at my thread and read some of my comments. Hopefully I'll have a chance to post more before my next trip which is coming up next week.  The tune is keeping us busy, but it was a fun time being able to sit in the tunable room playing my own music and tuning it in to my sound. What is surprising is how easy this is. You would think that with all those adjustments it would take forever, but Bill must have done the hard tuning because all I had to do was a few turns and I was in 3D heaven.

I only see one problem with the tunable room. When I get mine I'm not going to ever come out. A tunable room and system can be dangerous for those who have lives outside of music. I could have set up camp there easily.

Thank you Bill

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