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 Tuning My Musical Journey

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:13 am

Greetings Zonees!

Welcome to Tuning My Musical Journey! a continuation from Building a Room Full of Balanced Harmonics.

Here Sonic will charting more of my Tune course with perhaps more discussion into the musick I am now having such a blessing to enjoy.

What I been listening to:



This is Crime Jazz, a very cool type of jazz that flowered in the age where Mickey Spillane was all the rage.  In my town referred to as Gangster Music (not to be confused with Gangsta!)

And this.  Don’t understand a word of it but it is good stuff:



Ghazal is an ancient poetry form with very defined rules.  How it connects to Indian movies I don’t know but Rafi is a greatly revered vocalist and the musick is nice.

This is French Baroque Organ music by Louis Marchand:



He was reported to be a difficult fellow to work with – temperamental and arrogant – but he reportedly fled town when faced with a challenged from Johann Sebastian Bach.  Read all about how Marchand chickened out on http://www.classicfm.com/composers/bach/guides/bach-v-marchand-duel-never-was/

An excerpt to whet your appetite:

"Having heard the performance, and with the encouragement of the courtiers, Bach challenged Marchand to a contest.....he set out in a letter the terms of the challenge: each man would set the other a series of musical tasks, including themes to improvise on and styles to imitate. Marchand accepted – unaware, perhaps, of the ability and reputation of his challenger……..realising that he was in for a humiliating defeat, Marchand had left by stagecoach at first light and was now well on the road back to Paris.”  

But this is still good musick and a great recording on Erato.

As more Tunes are done in Sonic's room, along the way adjustments have to be made.

Of course if you are Michael, adjustments may be made record by record  Very Happy ….what does Sonic get at?

As I had a marathon listening last evening, playing to the many types of musick Sonic has collected, and with reference to recent live music performances in appropriate musical spaces without sound reinforcement and electronic effects, I have to conclude that I am getting too much reverb/ambience.  

Of course someone will say “that is largely determined by the recording engineer”. Yes and no.  What I am hearing is a slightly more pronounced ambience in my system across recordings of things like string quartets. In a concert hall, there is great clarity (assuming a good seat) and you can sense but not really hear the space. For sure you will not hear the kind of ambience I hear in many hifi systems including mine.
 
Certainly in none of the live performances Sonic attends am I conscious of any musical sound around or behind me – except applause and audience noises. But never an echoey space.

I next did the Boo! test – came off OK, with well-controlled decay.

Then I wondered if the four Space Cones adhered to the BookCase Wall were pulling focus and attention to the surface behind me and adding their harmonics to the sound diffusing back.  

My notes tell me the Space Cones when mounted added a nice space around me….but that was before Sonic applied Michael’s suggestion to lean DecoTunes on the doors directly to the Left and Right of me which improved the sense of space a lot round and to the sides of the listening spot. So the Space Cones in this place may be overdoing things.

So as more Tunes are done, along the way adjustments have to be made.

I took down the Space Cones and the perceived ambience dropped off.  It sounds natural again.  

Good thing is now Sonic has six Space Cones to try.  I re-read Michael’s notes on the Space Cones’ properties.  

Idea Idea  Idea  Idea

I have six capacitors on my amp – Sonic placed one Space Cone on each capacitor and very soon started discovering what these small brass things are for.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:08 pm

Hi Sonic

Looking forward to this chapter Very Happy . The connection between the music/me/system is something I live inside of. When working in studios it was often that I would make myself a bedroom in the studio so I could be close to it, weird aren't I Rolling Eyes This carried on in my homes and stores and factories.

What we listen to and how and even why creates a story line of and for each of us, and seeing yours and others music covers CD or LP paints a picture. Some how I can feel your experience and that's magical for me.

now a couple comments

sonic said

Certainly in none of the live performances Sonic attends am I conscious of any musical sound around or behind me – except applause and audience noises. But never an echoey space.

mg

This is interesting to me, because one of the first things that I notice at concerts with or without sound systems is the sound around me. Maybe It's my hearing being strange, or that I have been the "live soundman" but when I walk into a space, in or outdoors even before the concert starts, I immediately hear and feel the pressure around me. If an outside concert, I can hear the echoes off the buildings or trees or even hills. Inside it's like someone put huge headphones on me.

I think maybe this is why I don't get too worried about the Boo test cause I always either hear Boo or dead or some kind of room balancing act going on as soon as I walk in and become part of the rooms pressure. For me it's always been easy to hear the dips and rising and pitching going on as I walk through a space. Plaster type walls though are the most difficult to predict because the waves build differently in them.

space cones

Space cones are fascinating to me. They are indeed antennas.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:13 am


Hi Michael

Good that you describe your experience this way. What Sonic hears is congruent with you up to a point.

If I enter a concert hall or any space, yes Sonic can hear the space but since I am not in the acoustic business, it is not something that I want to go out of my way to note.

Once music or speech occurs, I lock onto this and tune out the room. The space only becomes noticeable when something happens to draw my attention to it – a loud echo, someone coughing.

After reading what Michael wrote, Sonic tried all day to deliberately hear spaces round me – like the company Board room (empty), the washroom and so on. Each has its distinct signature, so Michael is right.

But once tuning into the information I want (speech or music) and tuning out the room, I never hear the kind of “present” ambience that shouts at me in hi fi or multi-channel systems – assuming the rooms aren’t so dead that nothing happens.

There is a hifi/home theatre room in Sonic’s town that many tell me is the hallmark of excellence in acoustics. I visited it and walking in, I heard nothing when there was nothing going on. Then the person with Sonic spoke and his voice sounded abnormally small. Then I spoke and did a Boo! test and could barely hear myself.

When the music came on, there was just beams of sound from the speakers and the room was dry to the point that whatever ambience there was in the recordings was funneled out from the speakers at me. Multi-channel was better but the amount of ambience was excessive in quantity and ringy. That is no reference room for sure. Sonic is tuning for ambience light in my room but for tone, soundstage, scale and girth.

As for Space Cones being antennae, Sonic will get into that in my Friday post.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:31 pm

Hi Sonic

A funny thing happens when we start to listen to the space around us. Once this program is downloaded in our brains we start to hear this all the time, both inside a room and outdoors. In a dampened room it sounds, more, feels like someone put a blanket over us, and when you walk out of this room pay attention to your ears depressurizing.

My experience through life now is a constent awareness of pressure. It's like someone painting a picture for me everytime I walk into a new environment. Where someone may tune out to this I tune in to it. Soundstage lines and boxes are super easy for me to hear and feel, and this is probably why it is so easy for me to use the rooms I listen in as my speakers. I think this is what maybe separates me from other designers.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:10 am

Greetings Zonees

Here is where we are now:



Sonic found earlier this week that Space Cones have their behavior that Michael described as antenna.  On the BookCase Wall the Space Cones emphasized ambience nicely but became excessive and exaggerated in quantity when the DecoTunes were added to the doors.

My notes also recorded that in some placements like on the walls, the Space Cones were noticeably ineffective.  But one Space Cone on each capacitor of the amplifier made the sound more natural in texture.

Sonic’s conclusion is that Space Cones are indeed antennae but like all antennae, they need to be where they can pick something up or transmit something.  The BookCase Wall is a hi-pressure zone so they had sound to focus and re-radiate.  The walls are concrete so nothing to re-radiate because of the rigidity even if the placement was in or near a pressure zone.  Ditto, the Space Cones didn’t work on the doors because so much energy was exiting and very little was recovered. On the amp, the capacitors have vibrations (the Tune Trilogy) and the amp is sitting in a hi-pressure zone, so there are things to pick up and a good place to transmit them into.

Been listening to these good things:



An early album by a young “velvet fog”.



Claudine Longet has a distinctive voice and a nice Gallic touch when she sings.



This Harmonia Mundi recording by Gregoria Panaigua and Co is a recreation of ancient Greek music from existing fragments played on recreated instruments of the time. The time span is 400 BC to 400 AD and among the tracks you’ll hear what some of the earliest notated Christian hymns sounded like.  Those are sung unaccompanied as was the practice then.  Sounds nothing like Amazing Grace!

Encouraged by the experience with the Space Cones, Sonic is re-applying the soft hand wound Harmonic Springs that Michael say release a “ton of music”.  



After 12 hours the music a believable presentation in scale and tone.  In transient response, they tend to the tubey…but that is a tube preamp they are under.  To take the weight of the preamp (already lightened) and the M Green wood platform I have to use three springs front and four springs rear to level. I also like the deepened growl of the bass viols.

Funny that Sonic notices that all these things are working now!  Michael, can you explain why these objects that didn’t work earlier are making such good sound?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:48 pm

Laughing

"Funny that Sonic notices that all these things are working now!  Michael, can you explain why these objects that didn’t work earlier are making such good sound?"

Ever see an old western when the guy is walking around the field with his water finding douser?



Well truth is energy is a powerful thing, and there's a lot more of it around us than we think. We're not as much aware of it cause we don't see it, and take it for granted. But our components and room sure can tell it's there.

Sometimes the signal all three parts electrical, mechanical and acoustical seem like their sitting quietly, but they are seeking to make a connection with materials. Materials fashioned a certain way are antennas that allow energy to activate. You can have all the pieces, like a combination to a lock, but that locks not going to open till the combination is correct.

You might be thinking something doesn't work but once it is dialed in POW Exclamation

You can also have the same material sitting there in a different shape and nothing, hardly any reaction or the sound will get all pitchy or disembodied. This is part of the challenge of designing, finding balance so that a material and shape can respond "full range". Your system is one big energy driven instrument, and you are learning to play it. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:47 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic is getting a funny effect from the soft Harmonic Springs under the QS-pre (see pix in yesterday's post).  This was noticeable after an overnight run in including the run in CD I used played repeatedly.

The sound with the CD played repeatedly changed, the tonality of the musick was full and rich but the soundstage tended to emphasise Left and Right at the speakers.  It was moving to what recordings were like in the early days of stereo.  Half the band in the Left channel speaker, the other half in the Right and vocals in the centre or a weak centre.  Not natural this sounds, worse when playing material that were recorded that way in that era.

Michael what do you think?  Nothing else was modded or changed but the addition of the soft Harmonic Springs.

Should I let things settle because the middle will fill out?  Shall I go back to the AAB1x1 cones that were there before?

And Sonic found out something musical!  You all know the main theme of Ottorino Resphigi's The Birds"?

I was told it came from a baroque piece and I finally found out which one: it is Francois Couperin Le Grand's La Maissonneurs (The Harvesters), a rondo from his Book 2 of pieces for Clavecin.

Sonic


Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:49 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : fix typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:13 pm

Hi Sonic

"And Sonic found out something musical! You all know the main theme of Ottorino Resphigi's The Birds"?

I was told it came from a baroque piece and I finally found out which one: it is Francois Couperin Le Grand's La Maissonneurs (The Harvesters), a rondo from his Book 2 of pieces for Clavecin."

mg

Do you have a pic? Can't find the Harvesters. I do love, Resphigi's The Birds, though.

sonic

The sound with the CD played repeatedly changed, the tonality of the musick was full and rich but the soundstage tended to emphasise Left and Right at the speakers. It was moving to what recordings were like in the early days of stereo. Half the band in the Left channel speaker, the other half in the Right and vocals in the centre or a weak centre. Not natural this sounds, worse when playing material that were recorded that way in that era.

Michael what do you think? Nothing else was modded or changed but the addition of the soft Harmonic Springs.

Should I let things settle because the middle will fill out? Shall I go back to the AAB1x1 cones that were there before?

mg

Do you have the springs near anything aluminum?

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:26 am


Hi Michael

The soft Harmonic Springs now supporting the QS-Pre have nothing of aluminum round or anywhere near them.

What are you getting at -- what are you suggesting?

As for the Couperin piece "The Harvesters", more on that shortly.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:57 am

Oops….pardon my French – Sonic misspelt the piece  Embarassed   It should have been Les Moissonneurs not La Maissonneurs as in my post.

It is a short and easy to play piece, possibly an exercise for students, lasting about two and a half minutes.

Due to its length it will come in recordings together with a number of other works by Couperin or other composers if it is a compilation.

My recording is The Popular Couperin -- Robert Woolley (Harpsichord) on Meridian LP.  

Here it is on Youtube played by Kenneth Gilbert (Harpsichord).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH2LHKFIusI



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:21 pm

Hi Sonic

What you described is something I have heard when other metals get to close to aluminum. Also sometimes when the transfer is done metal on metal instead of metal wood metal the metals can start to build a slight electromagnetic charge. It's very slight but enough to through off the flow. Sometimes even putting something as thin as a piece of paper can be enough to make this charge go away.

Electromagnetic fields can be interesting. Sometimes you can be sitting there listening and all of a sudden the stage will start to gather around the speakers, or start making the system sound mono. This happens a lot with those systems that have their metal chassis intact (remember those days Mad ). With our systems being open this happens less but electromagnetic build is always a part of the system, not only because of the electric being used but also the electric in the air and that which is caused by any friction no matter how small, even the friction between the transfer of two metal parts, or any materials.

This is why sometimes I say if you hear weird stuff, it could be acoustical or it could be that the system needs a reset. Picking up the transformer barely and setting it back down.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:05 am

Greetings Zonees

Small steps this week.  Back to AAB1x1 cones with the use of MW to flavor things:



This gave a nice warmth and body -- a more nuanced sound better to differentiate instrument playing in overlap range eg: viola at top of range and violin at their lower playing range, as well as cello/viola overlap.

And then this:



Hard to see what I did from this picture, Sonic thinks – I did this setting of barely inserting the RCA plugs of the Picasso cables into the output jacks of the Quicksilver preamp and the input jacks of the Rega amp (seen here).

The sound was better weight and detail like the notes and texture of the harpsichord playing continuo is more clear. Things are a little louder too. But Sonic has learnt that loosening all the RCA plugs in the system end to end causes a sound that trends towards thin. And often a slight drift of image to the Left happens too where the voices on the Right lost some edge, so the impression is that the Left is more prominent but it isn’t as the moment the Mono switch is thrown will prove. But just having the preamp to power amp cable loose is working well.  

Michael, care to comment why this Tune works with one cable pair loosened but goes thin when all the cables in the system are done this way?

Been listening to:



More “crime jazz”.

And this:



This is the sonata for violin and piano.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:18 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic was engaged in a debate with an audiophile friend over audible superiority of PCM or DSD and new processor chips and systems that handle both via DSD over PCM. We now have Digital Analog Converter solutions that can handle practically anything from Red Book 44.1kHz CDs to Hi-Res that you care to input.

While Sonic has heard DSD and likes it, I felt the debate was somewhat futile in its progress. That audiophile roots for PCM. If Sonic had to vote it might be DSD given the simpler low-pass filtering required. But in Sonic’s view is we are facing a future that is not Winner Takes All (remember the video cassette formats …VHS vs U-matic) but co-existence of various encoding approaches.

So I stopped the debate by my secret weapon – Brian Eno’s Ambient 1 Music for Airport. Some listeners Sonic knows love this while others faces change colour and they leave my dwelling in hurry but always never before finishing the beer I serve…..The question is what are you in this hobby for – for the tweaks, and the long equipment testing late into Saturday nights with beer and pizza or the musick that stirs your soul?

For Sonic, I go with the musick in whatever form it is available.  I started out with Red Book CD and got wonderful sound thanks to Michael. Then moved to SP then into a big way to analog LPs.  Some 45 rpms too in my collection but they are a handful.  

Along the way I found SACDs – not for the hype from Sony and some magazines but it was the only format I could get the recordings on since the LPs they were originally issued on are now priced in the US$100s apiece and hard to find.

In time I have no doubt that online hi-res downloads and storage will have to come to my system so I can get the new music recordings being issued.

And not to mention there is a new interest (or revival) in audio cassettes!  I found some interesting ones of scarce folk musick in a bin for $2 each! I think I have a deck somewhere to play these.

Ultimately it has to be about the musick. The esoteric talk gets tiring.

As Sonic’s musical interests vary widely, I am putting everything from Carnatic violin and flute music, early music on original instruments, the folk works of Archie Fisher, Bert Jansch and blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins into my collection in whatever form they can be found.

I told my good audiophile friend, should I come across these, Sonic is not going to worry about the format but grab them and work out how to play them later. Instead of debating the relative merits of each format but see each recording I fund as an opportunity for great music is to be listened to and with a somewhat tuned system with products from Michael, I will work out the means to play these often irreplaceable recordings and enjoy them.  

Sonic been listening to:



The Modern Jazz Quartet with the Swingle Singers



Zakir Hussein and Co -- Making Music, an ECM CD very well recorded.

And John Renbourn's Faro Anne:



And this wonderful double LP from Oregon:



Musick like this makes for hours of good listening. Need discipline to stop and not end up sleep deprived.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:55 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

A busy week for Sonic so I only could test a couple of things, fix a problem and make a discovery.

The Problem – Sonic heard the sound of the turntable go off. On checking, I saw the rack supporting the Rega P5 and the phono stage had rotated clockwise and leaning. Sonic had noticed with the Clamprack’s hex nuts set loose (as they should be for a Clamprack) no matter how I balance and level and centre the rack, it will eventually lean in a rotated manner in the direction of the turntable rotation which is clockwise. By contrast the other Clamprack carrying the CD player and the Quicksilver preamp set in the same way and at the same time is absolutely upright and stable, staying that way.

Of course, the turntable rack is top heavy. But Sonic recalls something that the 47Labs people say that a rotating turntable will transmit its torque to its plinth and to the surface it rests on. So if a turntable was placed on a boat on a calm lake, you start the turntable and the boat will eventually start rotating.

The Solution – Sonic kept the hex nuts of the top and bottom shelves loose but slightly tightened the middle shelf. Finger tightened the hex nuts and used the Genuine And Genuinely Powerful Michael Green Tuning Hex Wrench and gave each hex nut a 1/64 of a turn.



This was done only for the second shelf from the top.  The rack became solid stable and Sonic feared the sound would be worse but it wasn’t.  The details particularly in the bass, overall transparency and soundstage width improved a little. So this is good.

Test 1: what if I moved the MG1.5QRs back 2 inches (closer to the front wall)?  After settling of a few hours, the bass fullness reduced and the low bass was noticeably attenuated.  “Not right, go back” thinks Sonic.

Test 2: what if Sonic took plywood boards and fixed them to the sides of the MG1.5QRs as the well-known wings extension.  The idea is to expand baffle area and increase bass range by preventing (or forestalling) the mixing of the rear and front waves.  More bass,a bit bumped up, not much gain in low extension but the midrange became less incisive and clear.  The music became distant and uninvolving. “Not right, go back” thinks Sonic.

A little searching on the internet showed Sonic that my ears were not deceived. I found some frequency plots of Magneplanars without and with wings.  With wings the bass in the 70Hz to 150Hz is emphasized a few dBs, there is slightly more extension in the 50Hz zone but everything below that was much the same.  What was noticeable is the midrange from 500Hz to just over 1kHz developed a saddle. A written description of wings used on SoundLab Electrostatic speakers sounded like the reviewer was saying the same thing using different words and different starting point.  Meaning if the starting point has the speakers being too midrange forward and upper bass shy, the effect of the wings may be just the thing to produce a balanced and enjoyable sound.

A Discovery – Sonic been looking round some record collector sites like DustandGrooves.com.  The thing I noticed are these collectors, women and men, a wide span of age and musical tastes – huge collection of LPs, EPs running into thousands often but most use very modest playback systems.  

Many have equipment that audiophiles will not consider high-fidelity at all. Those with audiophile gear, proper listening rooms and proper speaker/equipment placement by any standards we are familiar with are in the distinct minority. This tells Sonic something for sure.

Michael, your views?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:09 am

I think that a lot of music lovers are into the collecting, and listening if in a home environment comes second. However surprisingly some of these setups have better tonality than a poorly setup audiophile system. A lot of audiophile setups completely miss the tonality mark.

One thing I have heard low & mid fi do over and over is focus on the pace of the music. The 10 and 12" paper woofers complimented with paper mids and tweets had and some companies still have a smooth sound with a nice pace to the bottom end. When you think about it we had a whole generation of 3 way 10's and 12's. Then the low fi got all strange and started making speakers to look hi-tech but were horrible sounding. I started seeing the 3 way come back "I thought" but listened to some of them, and were disaster. Really sad too, cause the 3 way movement for what it was, was kinda cool.

Once in a while I will hear a pair some where and it will catch my attention, but I see them mixing them with a metal tweeter and that ruins it. In the mid-80's JBL and AR made a run at it again. AR with a 2 way and JBL 3 and 4 Ways, but something was lost. I think it was the cabinet myself as much as anything.

Now here's an interesting note. Audiophiles are mostly men, women are mostly pace and tone driven. The last 3 times I was in my music shop, for the heck of it, I counted guys vs gals. 2 to 1 the gals out numbered the guys. That's not the strange part. When I got to the counter it was almost all guys inline to buy. My second time out of the 3 it dawned on me that the girls were singing to the music playing on the stores system, and they were window shopping but putting everything back after finding it. It's like their connection to the music was a completely different one from the guys. Possibly not sure, could it be that women are more in tune to a different part of the music than a guy? A woman "play this I like that song" a man "I wonder if this is right". Are the men listening to what is in the music and the women paying more attention to the primal message and flow?

Reminds me also of the difference between artist listeners and engineer listeners.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:17 am

Sonic said

Hard to see what I did from this picture, Sonic thinks – I did this setting of barely inserting the RCA plugs of the Picasso cables into the output jacks of the Quicksilver preamp and the input jacks of the Rega amp (seen here).

The sound was better weight and detail like the notes and texture of the harpsichord playing continuo is more clear. Things are a little louder too. But Sonic has learnt that loosening all the RCA plugs in the system end to end causes a sound that trends towards thin. And often a slight drift of image to the Left happens too where the voices on the Right lost some edge, so the impression is that the Left is more prominent but it isn’t as the moment the Mono switch is thrown will prove. But just having the preamp to power amp cable loose is working well.  

Michael, care to comment why this Tune works with one cable pair loosened but goes thin when all the cables in the system are done this way?

mg

I have always treated each connection as an individual transfer, so I'm not sure I have viewed them as pairs before. I'll usually balance them out per RCA R/L tonally and space wise then let it go until I hear the connection needing to be adjusted, which in the desert that hasn't happened much. Speaking of, mine need adjusted now.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:37 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

Tunes that don’t work are also useful – they teach us about our rooms and equipment if we are willing to listen then think about it as Sonic is learning.  But I need Guru Michael to make sense of this.  Michael, you there?

Sonic has CornerTunes (M Green Gen 1 or 2) mounted in all four ceiling corners.  I took down the two CornerTunes from the two front ceiling corners and mounted instead a pair of Tune Squares in a way that I seen Michael do in some rooms:





Played music and let things settle for two plus days.

Improvements:
Bass was stronger and went noticeably deeper, yet coherent and alive, smooth and with a size you don’t associate with planars!

On some music the stereo stage went way outside my room dimensions in impression of playback size.

Image projection into the room was better than before.

I thought Sonic had reached some sort of heaven till the Downsides tapped me on the shoulder  Crying or Very sad

Downsides:
There was a midrange overhang that made voices honky and projected.

The room overhang in the mids also clouded the music’s transparency – yet there was no overhang at all in the bass!
Quite the opposite of audiophile rooms where the upper bass is where unevenness and overhang often causes trouble.

With the midrange overhang, I could hear the character of the concrete walls and the very hard ceiling. Now Sonic understands what Michael was getting at about my room wall materials.
 
So out came the ladder and the 3M tape and down came the Tune Squares and back went the CornerTunes. Overall better, but now Sonic has had a quick preview of what more is possible with the room.

After this learning, Sonic is still Tuning.  Here’s an idea:

My Magneplanar MG1.5QRs are 18 inches from their outer edges to the respective side walls.  I have tried moving them closer to the centre of the room – 20 inches, 24 inches up to 36 inches.  The same problems occurred in degrees every time till I left everything at 18 inches: an uneven bass that tries to fool Sonic that it is more extended but it is not, a loss of sense of great width, an odd image layout where images are near the speakers are at the speaker planes and everything in the middle recessed in a straight line (not V or banana shaped) behind the racks.  This is disconcerting.

But one thing that Sonic never tried was moving the MG1.5QRs even closer to the slide walls. So I did this today – from 18 inches to 17 inches…..now this is interesting  Exclamation

a.your comments on my moving my speakers from 18" to 17" from the sidewalls. I think the soundstage and tonal balance is gelling [at least so far since Friday night]

b.in your tuning Magneplanars, M Logans, Sounlab panels how close have you gone on average to the side walls? I know this is partly a function of room total width but tell me anyway.

c.you once made stands for Magneplanars that were brackets bolted to the side walls. What did they look like (pls post a drawing) and how far were the panels from the side walls?

d.at extreme width settings (where the panels may be at the edges of the field of vision and very close to the side walls) do you toe in the panels?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:30 am

Hi Sonic

Yepper, I'm here Smile . I almost hate to answer and here's why. As you know Harold is here this week and so we have looked at a few threads together while doing our thing. When I was reading this outloud his first comment was "why Maggies in that room"?

For myself, sometimes I look at your setup and think that shouldn't of happened, but then I put my maggie ears on the best I can and things make a little more sense. I'm not speaking of maggies as much as I am panel speakers with hard walls. When a panel speaker is in with hard walls there's one more factor to add to the mixed. The speakers themselves become AreoPlanes. not only are waves going front and back but it appears that the waves are slicing across the panels creating some wave patterns that sometimes are working in your room and sometimes are acting like a room crossover cutting off frequencies like a slope.

This morning I was thinking about where I have heard this before and it was when I put thinner panels upstairs in one of my stores. Thicker panels didn't carve away at the response the same way, they just created holes, but slim panels can act like a room divider in a way or at least a room crosser slope if I can use that as a description.

It almost sounds to me like the panels are having an affect on the laminar flow in the room, and maybe (could be wrong) this is the reason for the upper corner response.

I'm just thinking outloud here caused I'd really have to be in the room in this case to know for sure.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:44 pm

Q & A

sonic
a.your comments on my moving my speakers from 18" to 17" from the sidewalls. I think the soundstage and tonal balance is gelling [at least so far since Friday night]

mg
I like when I have a side wall to use for tonal buildup. I use my side walls like an EQ, but spend time working on the tone of those walls and pressure zones. I think the Brazilian Pine boards are going to do great things in your room.

b.in your tuning Magneplanars, M Logans, Sounlab panels how close have you gone on average to the side walls? I know this is partly a function of room total width but tell me anyway.

mg
Depends on the tonality of the wall. I usually let the speaker (any speaker) tell me where it wants to be. Usually I'll get the room to a very basic setting than start walking the speakers toward me spread as far as they can go, then when I hear the stage fall back I start doing all the tunes.

c.you once made stands for Magneplanars that were brackets bolted to the side walls. What did they look like (pls post a drawing) and how far were the panels from the side walls?

mg
I'll have to work on that, and try to remember, but from what I recall they were about 10" from the side walls. Keep in mind though that this wasn't just the speaker stand & frame, but a whole room design that got moded as I went.

d.at extreme width settings (where the panels may be at the edges of the field of vision and very close to the side walls) do you toe in the panels?

mg
Completely depends on how I want to use the room. With all my panels the rooms ended up being customized to fit the speaker. They ended up looking like sonic monsters but were pretty cool in their own way. The one part that would be strange in your particular room is I went floor to ceiling with my builtin designs. The stand designs were ok, but the room designs were pretty special. But here's a problem even with this design, some of the speakers themselves needed modified so that I could pull on the frame as well as push.

I really hate sounding like I'm down on panel speakers, but I have found in the long run dynamics are far easier to work with and when I have done the same things to a dynamic that I do to a panel find that the dynamic ends up smashing it in performance. And the other problem is, as I over the years have moved away from inductors now when I hear them they sound like distortion to me.

My world is going more and more simple.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:22 am

Hi Michael

You are right that the large panels are acting as aeroplanes. The tuning of the overall room has the effect of the panels’ presence in the equation because when Sonic once removed the panels from the room and brought my Rogers LS3/5As in, the room sounded like it had too little tuning materials and echoed, honked and rang like a gong.  The sound was hard and bright too. Images bunched round the little boxes and the rest of the soundstage had a Giant Banana Shape.  With sound like that the Rogers didn’t stay long in the room. In the other “normal” room where they are in Sonic’s dwelling, I enjoy the classic BBC sound of the LS3/5As driven by either nice tube amplification or 60W of transistor power.  

Back to the main room -- with the panels there is a feeling that the upper room has a different response from the lower half due to the room’s height.

After what Michael wrote yesterday, Sonic tried clamping Deco Tunes to the top of the Magneplanars effectively making two columns each nearly nine ft tall.  Big difference to the sound – there is more midrange and treble.  Like the smooth mid and treble at listening level had been achieved by migrating all the excess midrange and treble to the upper half of the room. And very tall images. The mids started to swamp the bass.

It was enough to make Sonic give up!

Fortunately, a quick return to the last reference point made sufficient good musick that I could console myself is at least what Sonic got is better than some much more expensive systems about.

But Sonic understands your point.  Let’s do an experiment. I know you said that your Mini Mod will polish off the Magneplanars.  

Can we put this idea to the test with the Rogers or one of the other dynamic speakers in Sonic’s dwelling?

What could I do to tame the room without the panels in and getting a pair of box speakers to work so that the sound is tolerable and I can get a sense of things without the MG1.5QRs present?  Before I can even think of getting Mini Mods or anything other than the Magneplanars, I want to see how much more tuning is needed to get the room listenable with dynamic speakers. As a straight swap the sound is so bad and out of control Sonic cannot reasonably think of moving ahead.

Michael, your suggestions?

Sonic


Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Making a correction, adding a point earlier missed)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:18 am

Greetings Zonees

No Tunes to report this week, after Michael’s post showing the difficulty of Sonic’s room and till he replies to my questions I don’t know what else I can do that is not going to be more of the same. That is until the Brazilian Pine panels that Sonic ordered from Michael get delivered.

Certainly moving the RoomTune things I got about the room is a zero-sum game. I may solve one local problem but create a new one elsewhere or worsen something. Sonic will have to inject more material into the room in order to tune it – but what and where? Sometimes I feel this is an exercise in futility.

The point is this room is where Sonic dwells, that won’t change, the structure cannot be changed unless I build false walls and a ceiling of wood or drywall. Yes, that radical.

And unless I get something like a Mini Mod, the Magneplanars are what is making the music here at least satisfactorily. Attempts by Sonic to bring in the Rogers LS3/5As or other box speakers into this room has resulted in sound that is terrible if the existing arrangement of Tunes are unchanged.

Michael?

Anyway here is something for those interested in audio history.

We know that analog magnetic recording came about as a spoil of war at end of WWII, where the defeated Germans had developed the technology and it was taken by the Allied Forces. From the these spoils companies and AMPEX in America had their beginnings.

Now radio has been around far earlier than WWII, so apart from live broadcasts, how were programmes stored for broadcast across different time zones of the continental US?

Here’s the answer:

History of professional radio recordings in the United States Radio stations

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old-time_radio

In the beginning of the Golden Age, American radio network programs were almost exclusively broadcast live, as the national networks prohibited the airing of recorded programs until the late 1940s because of the inferior sound quality of phonograph discs, the only practical recording medium. As a result, prime-time shows would be performed twice, once for each coast. However, "reference recordings" were made of many programs as they were being broadcast, for review by the sponsor and for the network's own archival purposes. With the development of high-fidelity magnetic wire and tape recording in the years following World War II, the networks became more open to airing recorded programs and the prerecording of shows became more common.

Local stations, however, had always been free to use recordings and sometimes made substantial use of pre-recorded syndicated programs distributed on pressed (as opposed to individually recorded) transcription discs.

Recording was done using a cutting lathe and acetate discs. Programs were normally recorded at 33 1⁄3 rpm on 16 inch discs, the standard format used for such "electrical transcriptions" from the early 1930s through the 1950s. Sometimes, the groove was cut starting at the inside of the disc and running to the outside. This was useful when the program to be recorded was longer than 15 minutes so required more than one disc side. By recording the first side outside in, the second inside out, and so on, the sound quality at the disc change-over points would match and result in a more seamless playback. An inside start also had the advantage that the thread of material cut from the disc's surface, which had to be kept out of the path of the cutting stylus, was naturally thrown toward the center of the disc so was automatically out of the way. When cutting an outside start disc, a brush could be used to keep it out of the way by sweeping it toward the middle of the disc. Well-equipped recording lathes used the vacuum from a water aspirator to pick it up as it was cut and deposit it in a water-filled bottle. In addition to convenience, this served a safety purpose, as the cellulose nitrate thread was highly flammable and a loose accumulation of it combusted violently if ignited.

Most recordings of radio broadcasts were made at a radio network's studios, or at the facilities of a network-owned or affiliated station, which might have four or more lathes. A small local station often had none. Two lathes were required to capture a program longer than 15 minutes without losing parts of it while discs were flipped over or changed, along with a trained technician to operate them and monitor the recording while it was being made. However, some surviving recordings were produced by local stations.

When a substantial number of copies of an electrical transcription were required, as for the distribution of a syndicated program, they were produced by the same process used to make ordinary records. A master recording was cut, then electroplated to produce a stamper from which pressings in vinyl (or, in the case of transcription discs pressed before about 1935, shellac) were molded in a record press.
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:56 pm

Hi Sonic

What a week bounce Designing is one of those things that takes the wind out of me. Mainly because when it comes to materials you have to wait on them cause it's never automatic. As long as I have been doing this I still never get use to the process of harmonics forming. All about the forming of vibrations.

The Rogers

The Rogers were made for close up listening in studios in spaces that are confined. Your not going to get them to open up the sound to the place where they are going to make the room work with them. It's like trying to make a marble bounce like a rubber ball, not going to happen.

One thing I do want to share. I doubt if Harold and I are going to continue the Mini Mod. I'll have to talk to him about it, but it doesn't make much sense when we have a Music Ply mini monitor coming out and a solid wood monitor.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:11 pm

Sonic said

The point is this room is where Sonic dwells, that won’t change, the structure cannot be changed unless I build false walls and a ceiling of wood or drywall. Yes, that radical.

mg

I think this is the ultimate step in high end audio that many need to think about. The room is where it is at and even though it takes a long time to understand this for us, no matter what we do in the end it comes down to that speaker/room combo that brings home the magic, and how much magic is beyond our comprehension until we are in it.

now as far as Rogers vs other box speakers, I wouldn't agree

Rogers and other deaden box speakers are not even remotely the same as a free resonant speaker. They are completely two different animals. A dampened box speaker will never see a room (any room) for what the room is. A free resonant speaker is wanting to be mated to the room. Big difference between the two, and if you've only heard dampened boxes it's hard to get your mind around putting a room (the box) inside of another room. Free resonant box speakers are actually the most natural type of speaker for a room. I mean when you think about it, what's more natural than putting a box in a box Question That's what musical instruments are.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:10 am

Hi Zonees

Sonic is in a somewhat depressive state after Michael’s posts about my room and speakers.  He is only speaking candidly so Sonic has to be a grown up and accept it.  And his observations are right.

Here is Sonic’s problem – what can I do with this room? All the options are very expensive - building false walls of drywall, building a wood false ceiling or something.

While the new Tunable speakers are an option, will they be the one-stop cure for this room? Sonic is being cautious because I have not heard tunable speakers or what they are able to, more so since the likely cost of these speakers will involve an outlay of more than US$5,000 when you include shipping to where Sonic lives.  To spend that kind of money on speakers without hearing them is a major gamble.

I’ll wait for the Brazilian Pine tuning boards and set them up before deciding on my next move.

Here is what Sonic did this week:



Under the Space Cones on top of amp’s capacitors things sounded more woody and might be promising. Some edge in the violin range is reduced, but till the Brazilian Pine arrives Sonic will not be doing much.  

Of course, Sonic has a hifi friend who knows what I wrote and my present predicament and says “I’ll bring my acoustic foam panels from my room to you, help you put it up in your room and have your brain modified!” Now he is obviously a follower of the absorption school and is baiting me. What are friends for?

But the thing that is playing in Sonic’s thinking is due to an experience of doing the BOO! test in my concrete room and comparing it to a bare room with a carpet floor and drywall surface with a wood clad outer wall as in the houses you’ll find in Australia.  The acoustic response to BOO! is completely different. In my mostly concrete surfaced room the ringing is concentrated in frequency with high Q, while with drywall it is broader in signature and low Q. In fact in the Aussie room, I could sense that 4 Corner Tunes, a couple of EchoTunes and the room acoustic problems are dealt with -- any PZCs, aeroplanes and tuning boards following are to flavor the sound and tailor the soundstage, not control the room.  

How Sonic is feeling is described in Paul Simon’s additional verse to “The Boxer” sung in the Concert in Central Park album with Art Garfunkel:

“The years are rolling by me, they are rocking evenly, I am older than I once was, younger than I will be, that’s not unusual. Though is it strange, that after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same? After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:08 am


Has Sonic acquired some variant of Asperger's Syndrome, or is this a deeper learning of the sound spaces around me?

Sonic has been seen observed spontaneously shouting BOO! in all sorts of places....the offices, open air, mall corridors, audio showroom, homes of acquaintances, restaurants....all done just once, when I hope no one is looking.

"What is going on?" you might ask.

Sonic is drawing the BOO! response curve of different spaces to see where my room lies. I have set two limits -- the super-reverberant end which is how a bathroom in my dwelling responds to BOO! At the other end is an AV space I have access to that is way, way over damped.

At the reverberant end, it goes "BWAANGGG" as you expect. The super-damped end has BOO! articulating as a dull "buh".

So I did BOO! in the other spaces in my dwelling, in the open air, in the office and so on. Soon I will be doing BOO! in a large auditorium space.

Till now the results I got are:

a. My room is much closer to the bathroom reverberant end than I expected!

b. Offices with drywall were more dull acoustic spaces than Sonic expected

c. Domestic rooms even with concrete walls and parquet over concrete floors are fairly damped if there is a drywall false ceiling. Even moderately empty, these are quite BOO! controlled till Sonic goes right up to the corner to BOO!

d. Open spaces are very damped to BOO! Sounds like the BOO! is caught in the throat.

e. Live/reflective walled spaces do not sound ringy if the volume is very large -- like a gothic Cathedral for instance.

f. The very damped AV room is not very nice to hear music in. Stereo is small. AV with 7.1 or something multi-channel is OK. So is that what the engine of an Abrams M1A2 tank sounds like? Never mind the 120mm gun....but Sonic doesn't care.

Sonic also noted if the BOO! was flat, shifted up or down. Flat is common, shifting up common too but shift down I got only in my room and one other space.

Still acting crazy after all these years but this is telling me a lot about acoustic spaces and where my room situates in on the curve.

Sonic
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