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 Platform systems vs Rack systems

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PostSubject: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Tue May 07, 2013 11:53 am

In audio the concept of the rack took on new meaning when it became more than furniture. In the earliest days serious components were "rack-mount-able"



These were the days when many components were concidered to be better then only a few. There was a scale to follow.

All in one systems

Recievers + sources

Integrated Amps + sources

Pre Amp, Amp + sources

Line Conditioner, Pre Amp, Amp + sources

It was assumed that the more discrete you made your system the better it was. For high end you were taken serious when you reached the Pre Amp, Amp (2 mono amps) and sources. I was no different than anyone else and climbed the ladder to success with every popular (and off brand) brand I could get my hands on. A strange thing happen in my experience though. The more components I added the worse the sound. This is when I started to look at the furniture as making a difference in the sound. And, if the furniture made a difference in the sound than that means the chassis must also make a difference Idea . It was the late 70's and the only audio furniture around were rack mount racks and a few funiture style racks, that stacked the components.

In the early 80's I was introduced to my first audio racks that actually looked like they were made for sound. If I remember correctly Target was the most popular.



Think I had them for about a month before redesigning the Audio Rack. The general thought was cool and far better than these way messed up designs that came out later, but there was something about the balance of sound that wasn't right. Thus the birth of the rod based rack.



High end audio became a world of mechanical tuning over night. By the late 80's audio racks were in the center of every listening room out there. People got rid of their book shelves and brought home their audio rack.



and another



And, on and on the reviews poored in about my audio racks, but even while this was going on I was taking apart equipment to find out how they worked mechanical. Was an audio rack really the answer to the best sound posible? At best this was still one components sound transfering into the next on it's way to ground. Measuring this I found that I could affect the sound of the components up to 40 feet away, and that was me. If I wanted to get real science minded here just sitting on the Earth components are not only energy givers but energy magnets.




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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Tue May 07, 2013 1:24 pm

At the same time audiophile designers were putting out sound absorbing products to "isolate" components. Wow, I can see true scientists going nuts on this one. Do you know how much work and technology has gone into absorbtion? AND, with this there is no design on the planet that removes the interaction needs of a component (any component) with molecular structures working as a disconnect. On easy street that means you must work with vibrations not against them. I have never been a part of or seen one test that shows how absorbtion does not remove part of the original signal. In pure audio terms (if we go by our own book) this would be called distortion. What's worse is the industry almost as a whole fell down this hole and is trying to figure a way out. Most of the time digging the hole even deeper.

Hear me loud and clear here "DIGGING THE HOLE DEEPER".

This angers the audiophile community to no end to hear me say this. But I didn't dig this hole, and at one time followed and explored the same path they did. Every time you add a layer of bulk and don't find the popper disapation of the materials involved you rob the signal from making it's way through the chain distortion free.

What does this mean?

This means that a signal traveling through low absorbence, low mass componentry has a far better chance of being controlled and put into tune. You have two basic elements to this. Absorbance and transmittance.

What's the difference between absorbance and transmittance?

What is Absorbance?

In order to understand the concept of absorbance, one must first understand the absorption spectrum. An atom consists of a nucleus, which is made of protons and neutrons, and electrons that are orbiting around the nucleus. The orbit of the electron depends on the energy of the electron. Higher the energy of the electron, farther away from the nucleus it would orbit. Using quantum theory it can be shown that electrons cannot just get any energy level. The energies the electron can have are discrete. When a sample of atoms is provided with a continuous spectrum over some region, the electrons in the atoms absorb specific amounts of energies. Since the energy of an electromagnetic wave is also quantized, it can be said that the electrons absorb photons with specific energies. At the spectrum taken after the vibration is passed through the material, certain energies appear to be missing. These energies are the photons that have been absorbed by the atoms.

Here's a science test using higher frequencies (light). Doing this is easier cause of the mono (lack of harmonic) character.

Absorbance is defined as Log­10 (I0/I), where I0 is the intensity of the incident light ray, and I is the intensity of the light ray which has been passed through the sample. The light ray is monochromatic and set to a specified wavelength. This method is used on spectrophotometers. The absorbance depends on the concentration of the sample and the length of the sample.

The absorbance of a solution is linearly proportional to the concentration according to the Beer – Lambert law, if the I0/I value lies between 0.2 and 0.7. This is a very useful law in spectroscopic methods used in quantitative analysis.

When absorbance is defined in fields other than chemistry, it is defined as Log­e (I0/I). The audio signal being a lower frequency and hosting harmonics that are needed to stay in tune and full intensity are even more vulnerable than light.

What is Transmittance?

Transmittance is the opposite quantity of absorbance. Transmittance gives a measurement of the vibratory energy that passed through the sample. The value measured in most of the practical spectroscopic methods is the transmittance intensity.

The transmittance intensity divided by the source intensity gives the transmittance of the sample.

What is the difference between Transmittance and Absorbance?

Transmittance is a directly measurable quantity whereas absorbance must be calculated using the transmittance measurement.

Transmittance is a measurement of the amount of energy passing through the sample, but absorbance is a measurement of the amount of energy absorbed by the sample. Transmittance is a whole and absorbance is partial, missing or blocked.

In no tests do you find absorbance making energy transmittion whole. As you can see by this formula transmittance of a signal is the only path that can reproduce the actual original signal itself.

An audio signal being vibrations needs vibrations to harmonize with making the passing of signal not fall into absorbance (the absence) of the signal.

The audiophile community makes absorbance look like trimming the fat off of the signal as if you are then left with the signal, but in no science do you find this as a true form of preserving the actual origin signal. The only way to preserve an actual wave formation containing harmonics is to pass the signal with the transmittance principles of tuning. In other words you don't delete the signal you tune it back in.



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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Wed May 08, 2013 12:32 pm

The more I explored the audio signal and did my tests I found that the signal itself can be drained of its information quickly by a couple of means.

One is the absorbing of the signal by the mechanical conduit that carries the signal. Signal is vibration. It's important that you as a listener understand this. A circuit path is part of the equation in sound reproduction and the better you understand what parts actually do the better you can visualize that the signal itself is based on vibrating molecules. As the language of audio meets these molecules the vibration of the audio language and the actual parts vibration form a signal that will either represent the original audio signal or a partial of it. The closer you get to the original signal's vibratory code the more your audio pathway can reproduce the language correctly. Passing an audio signal (language) is not hard. Passing an audio signal and keeping it from losing (distorting) the signal is not so easy.

The second way the audio signal is drained of it's content is by not having the parts along the audio pathway in tune with each other. The science of audio signal tuning has only just begun and as the industry turns toward tuning this some what delicate signal of information the sound results will be a new chapter for listeners. In the past the high end audio industry took the path of more is better, but in our testing we have found that more only is a greater cause of the loss of signal. When you add to the mass that an audio signal needs to be carried by in a mechanical conduit (that is hosting the signal) you are causing resistance on the audio signals vibratory necessities. In other words your shuting down the signals ability to properly vibrate. When this is done the audio signal loses information and the signal actually shrinks in size. You can hear this in play back mode. The size of the instruments and audio information actual compresses and fails to deliver the original recorded size. Along with this comes a many other audio problems.

If there was anything that my being in this industry does to better the sound I would want it to be that the audio industry realizes that there is a difference between the small soundstage that is typical and has been accepted, and a real size soundstage that contains the whole signal. The chances that the audio signal is being preserved through over built audio products is next to none. Everytime (and we have seen this by the thousands now) that we lighten the load of mass and allow the conduits carrying the audio signal to vibrate the sound has opened up dramatically. Also as it has opened up the signal pathway has turned into an actual tunable signal carrying conduit.

This has been a shocking revelation but is one that we have well documented and seen hundreds if not thousands of examples of now, and I might add once again we have never seen this not be the case. The audio signal inside of your components and the signal traveling through the wires is completely able to be changed by turning the vibrations of the signal itself. It is said that the average audio system plays maybe 10% of the original signal by the time the signal passes through the system and into the room environment. We have accounted for the rest of this signal and have created a method of tuning it, allowing far more of the signal to be heard.

The high end audio industry and recording industry as we know it is going to go through some major changes in the way component products are designed and produced. The good news is that (whether by mistake or not) there are some components that are closer to the correct vibratory code than what we would imagine. On TuneLand we try to list these components but also we try to take other components and break them down to a simpler state so that the audio signal is more vibrationally correct for tuning.

When hunting for components or modifying them there is a certain criteria that I go by that helps me determine whether a signal path is allowing the whole signal through or not, or how much of the signal is passing through from start to finish. When the audio signal is not making its way through the entire chain I refer to this as signal blockage. I have found signal blockage to be cause by several problems. One of them is the materials used in audio component construction. There are certain materials that allow the signal to vibrate in more of a harmonious structurally sound way over others. If correct materials are used and in fair proportions the audio signal is very open and full containing much of the recorded content. This makes it easier for the content to then be put into tune. If the materials do not allow this vibration to happen it is instantly noticeable audibly as the soundstage will be small and the sound will be coming directly from the speakers instead of casting a stage that fills the room. One of my listening tests that is easy to perform on any system to see how much blockage there is, is to see how close you can get to the speaker while playing and still have the system producing a soundstage. A properly tuned system should allow you to get right up to the speaker and still be hearing a soundstage throughout the room without the sound sounding like it is coming directly from that speaker.

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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Wed May 08, 2013 8:06 pm

Has audio component construction gotten in the way of the music?

In our testing over the last 30 years we have found that even the chassis do a huge amount to block the audio signal. We have taken every kind of componentry and every brand that has been sent to us and come to the same conclusion every time. Chassis for most audio components act as an electromagnetic field distorter. Some audio designers call this shielding, but the question must be asked "shielding from what?". We have found that the shielding itself has created worse problems than what is supposed to be the correcting. Here's a fact "all parts radiate". It doesn't matter if we are talking audio or any other electronic device. Vibration (energy) is motion and motion is a radiating source. Each one of the parts in every one of you components has it's own vibratory (radiant) code. There's a value of energy radiation just as there is a volume setting on your amplifier. As you turn up your amp or any component the current rises and so does the amount of vibration. If there was no vibration the part would not function. We have been taught to limit this vibration but as a result we have limited it to the place where the materials used to do the limiting have become absorbers or distorters of the audio signal.

I'm showing this with a kit design as to not offend any manufactures. You can do this yourself and discover the truths on your own, but the results are indisputable.

In the chassis the sound is small, confined, peeky and lacking in output.



Out of the chassis the sound is fuller, open and more powerful.



Again I have chosen this component because it is convenient but if you do this with any audio component you will come to the same conclusion.

What does this mean in audio terms?

I actually take measurements when at listeners homes so that the client can see for themselves in size alone how much they are gaining in music content. I will get out a tape measure and stand where the sound stage starts and ends. After the component or system is freed from it's housing I do the same measurement (using the listeners ears and directing) and the size of the sound stage typically grows triple, and this is without tuning in the vibrations.

A system that is set free from it's housing and speakers in proper cabinets we call "free resonant".

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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Sun May 12, 2013 4:34 pm

Free resonance is the answer for accurate sound reproduction. It's the only way the audio signal can truly meet it's potential.

As my studies of the audio pathway continued I started to reverse my thinking about more components being better than the few. Why is this? One of the biggest noise producers in the audio chain is the power supply.

The more power supplies you use the more noise you introduce to the signal and the harder it is to get the subtle musical cues needed to make the music as dynamic as real life. This is one of the biggest down falls of the way the high end audiophile systems have been made and I had to do back and forth tests for many years before I wanted to make such a bold statement. Bigger magnet structures and bigger transformers make more noise than simpler smaller ones. This goes against the mentality of the bigger is better audiophile hierarchy but I have spent years on this and the simple aways beats the complicated.

Audiophiles are caught in a trap by making speakers that are hard to drive and amps that drive hard. The two together introduce a ton of noise into the audio pathway causing the audio language to be distorted. This adds to the sqeezing of the sound stage that I talk about. If you listen carefully you can hear how this is happening and again when you use some of my simple listening tests to hear if your system is in tune or not the noise from these over built complicated systems stick out like a sore thumb.

Not be offensive to anyone, but take another listen to your system before reading on. Does your system sound compressed, as if it were in a locked soundstage size? Grab 5 CD's from different types of music. Don't pick the easy stuff to listen to pick some truly diverse recordings. Recordings you think are not done so well. Play these recordings on your system and tell me (you can start your own system thread) what they are and what they sound like. If they all are playing about the same size soundstage and that soundstage goes 5 to 8 feet deep, to the edge (or just past) of your speakers width wise, 5 to 7 feet tall, and lastly does not come forward of the speakers into the room or even behind you, you have audio signal blockage going on in your system.

One of the wonderful things about this hobby is the diversity of recordings. In many ways it's still very experimental and the results in the studio can be far different from the results in playback. As you have read me over the years you have heard me say that playback should fill the room and not be confined to a small area or run into your speakers creating a narrow sweet spot. It's cool with me if some recording companies wish to make a tiny soundstage and it's also cool with me if other recordings fill the room, but you should be able to hear all of this in playback mode cause I guarantee you if you have your music collection sounding even close to all the same size something is very wrong with your playback.

Now what if I told you I could make your soundstage 3 times as big as what it is and the instruments would take on a far more vivid image and be closer to tonally correct? All of your recordings would sound different in size and weight from each other and best of all you would have very few "BAD" recordings. Only the strongest of egos would pass this up, but for the rest of you the music is waiting and we can start rethinking your system till it becomes a simple music reproducer that is far more real and dynamic than any system you have ever owned or heard.

For some of you this means putting your audiophile rags on the shelf and getting your ears cleaned. For other this means theorpy Laughing and for still others this means freedom as you have wanted to hear the real deal for ever.

For those of you who have multiple sources this is going to be more difficult but still doable, but I'm going to start with those who are using one source, the CD. As much as you hate to do it I'm going to recommend you put on your sunglasses and run to Walmart and pick up the small Magnavox DVD player that sells for $29.00. The current model is called the 2300. Next I want to know if you have a spare bedroom? A room that we can tune and you can use to compare the sound of a simple tuned system against your audiophile recommended component one. I know I make fun of some of the things that the mags do but once you do this your going to see how far off the path the hobby has gotten. If you don't have the spare space your going to have to make the decision to stay where you are or step up to a new level of sound. For those of you who are game we are going to take a very simple system and beat up on the locked down blocked one that you might be listening to. For myself I'm going to use the Magnavox (maggie) with either a Sherwood 4105 receiver or a RCA SA 155 integrated amp.

I know you have the itch to use some or one of your high end components but I warn you it may not be tunable enough and blockage may keep you from having sucessful results. For speakers and cable I'm going to be using my Mini Mods and cable. If you wish to let me know what speakers you have I will tell you if they have a free resonant character or not. For me though I'm going total free resonant and as tunable as posible.

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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Mon May 27, 2013 5:17 pm

"everything is tunable"

You've been hearing me say this for many years now but do you understand what tuning is really about?

There is nothing quite like listening and in the hobby we tend to look at this as an amp, speakers, a source and accessories, but this is only a hobbyist review of what is going on. The actual signal and signal path is usually not understood and is treated like this invincible super hero able to withstand all kinds of torturous twisting, bending, dampening and exposure to other vibration, without being altered. The fact is the signal is highly susceptible to suggestion and is an easily adaptable "source" to it's surroundings. "Well this is why we must kill off all the surrounding energy sources". This is exactly what you don't want to try to do with an audio system. The only way this delicate source can be preserved and reproduced is to allow the energy in this entire chain to amplify and dissipate as naturally as possible. This means in order for you to hear a large portion of the signal your going to need to pick up the hobby of free resonant tuning. No way around this if you wish to really hear the music that has been made and you are trying to play back.

This shouldn't be treated like such a foreign concept to your thinking. Tuning is very natural and we are doing it all the time when we listen whether we are thinking about it or not. Lets take a real quick look at our own personal audio system and see how it works.

The outer ear

Sound travels through the air in the form of vibrations, pressure and waves. These sounds are discerned by their given wavelengths, but this is complicated by the fact that the sounds around us are almost never single wavelength vibrations, but rather a huge combination of wavelengths delivered simultaneously becoming various pressurized impulses. These sound pressures (wave compilations) first travel to the outer ear. The first part of the outer ear is the pinna, the shaped mass of cartilage on either side of the human head. The shape as well as the circular ridges of the pinna are designed to direct sound inward through the auditory canal. There are no two pinnas that are exactly the same as there are no two ears that are the same, or set of ears that hear every thing exactly the same way. This explains why the hobby is mostly an individually based event.

The middle ear

The middle ear starts at the very end of the auditory canal, across which is draped the ear drum. This taut layer of tissue forms an air tight seal. This seal allows the center of the middle ear to function in a pressurized environment to better transfer sound. This chamber is called the tympanic cavity. Within the tympanic cavity are three small bones called ossicles, which are suspended in the center of the cavity and linked together by ligaments. Sound beating against the eardrum is transferred to the first of the three bones, the hammer. The hammer shifts position because of the vibration, in turn moving the second bone, the anvil. The anvil is moved by the same means, shifting the third bone, the stapes. This all serves to amplify the power of the sound wave vibrations without affecting their wavelengths. The stapes thumps against another airtight seal that marks the end of the middle ear, called the oval window.

The inner ear

The Oval Window is another layer of taut membrane, much like the ear drum, that marks the beginning of the inner ear. Unlike the ear drum, the inner ear transfers amplified sound vibrations into a fluid- filled medium, rather than an air-filled one. This fluid is called perilymph. The inner ear is divided into two primary parts, each with a different purpose. The semicircular canal, near the back of the inner ear, is responsible for maintaining the human sense of balance. The fluid it contains should be level for us to feel normal and balanced. If we tip to one side or the other, the fluid rises up to one side of the canal or the other. The tissue of the canal registers contact with the fluid and sends this information to the brain, which in turn generates the feelings we associate with being off balance. The second part of the inner ear is called the cochlea. It resembles a snail shell in that it coils inward on itself in a circular fashion. The perilymph carries the sound wave vibrations through the cochlea. The cochlea in turn vibrates an even smaller chamber inside it called the organ of corti. The organ of corti is filled with a different fluid called endolymph. The endolymph carries the vibration throughout the organ of corti. Specialized hairs lining the interior length of the organ respond to certain sympathetic frequencies by vibrating as well. The organ of corti identifies which hairs are vibrating as well as how intensely. Each individual hair corresponds to a specific frequency, sending a signal to the brain which the brain registers as sound at the given frequency or combo of.

Your ears in other words are vibrating musical instruments able to relate even the most delicate of wave and pressure movement. Notice how through the process the comprised frequencies are able to be separated singularly and translated to the brain with the help of individually tuned hairs. This is important when we get into the vibration of our components and the need of tuning them according to their plus and minus signal input/output. In the hobby of listening we are literally dialing in the signal just like the ear/brain interaction. Every part that is a conduit hosting the signal is suppose to be able to carry the entire signals range of frequencies whether this be a signal traveling through a piece of copper or air.


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PostSubject: Re: Platform systems vs Rack systems   Mon May 27, 2013 6:12 pm

^^^^^^

You need to reread the above post over and over when tuning till you get it. If this never makes sense you are never going to take your system to the ultimate level.

I would like to tie my discription of the ear to the discription of a musical instrument and any part of an audio system. They all do the same thing. In fact on a bigger scale this is how the world turns. It's all about all of the vibrations in the universe (including yours) needing to be in balance in order to take a signal coming in and make it match a signal going out and doing its function at the same time. This isn't so complicated when you start to let your system be what it really is and not try to make it into this box that magically is self tuned independently of the rest of energy.

Our job is to allow the signal to "play". The music signal is wanting to do just that "play" and play in tune revealing itself to our ears and brain but we need to let it do so. Everytime we get our parts out of balance (out of tune) we are causing the vibration support system (harmonics) to not fully develope. When this happens you get a loss or partially lost signal.

At this point you might want to take a moment and look at harmonics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic

You can look up info on harmonics on many different sites and blogs and it all is pretty much the same. Musical notes are based on this support system and without it you can not reproduce the entire signal.

Grab your favorite couple CD's (don't only take simple stuff) and head over to your friends house and play it on their system. Sounds different from yours doesn't it? If you took your music to any system any where in the world it would not sound exactly the same. What you may find shocking is that on many systems it won't even sound like the same piece of music. Your system (if you know what your doing) will have things that the other systems won't have and theirs will have stuff that yours doesn't. You can spend the rest of your life taking these CD's around and if you listen closely not one of these systems sounds the same. WHY? Because every part of your system is vibratiing as it carries the signal and adding it's flavor to the signal. There is "absolutely" no way to avoid this and honestly why would you want to. Your ears are different, the environment that you are use to living in is different. Your listening experience is unique to you, and is unique to every time you listen. Your living on a planet spinning so why would you think that the music is fixed?

Hopefully by now your lightening up a little and realizing that this hobby is a lot more flexible and variable than you originally thought. If you lighten the load of your audio conduits your going to find a lot more signal to work with. Don't take my word for it, do it. If you choose to listen to 10 percent of the music in the recording, have at it, cause that's what you have with the typical high end audio system or studio playback system. If this were not the case then you would be able to take those CD's we talked about and go to all these different systems and hear the same thing, but as you have experienced the sounds your hearing as you travel are not even remotely sounding the same. Some audiophiles are going to spend the rest of their listening days doing just that. Their going to listen to 10 percent of the music being shifted around a million different ways and enter into debates over which was correct.

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