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 Tuning My Musical Journey

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:38 am

Hi Zonees

As far Tuning goes, Sonic spent this week testing the BOO! of spaces other than those of my room and in Sonic’s dwelling.

As I feared, my room as it is much closer to the tiled bathroom end of the BOO! spectrum. All the comparatively sized domestic and office spaces tested returned much less overhang artifacts. The few livelier spaces I encountered were far larger than Sonic’s listening room so there was a lot of space for overhang dissipation and felt alright.
Something needs to be done, but Sonic being a committed student of the Tune wants to work within the scope of the Tune and not act like a conventional audiophile.

Then I remembered – Michael years ago demonstrated the power of the Tune to Tom Miiller of the Abso!ute Sound (issue July 1991 if I recall) and he used some “burn”.

Here is part of what Miiller wrote:

“Before Green's arrival I had played with the RoomTunes and, I thought I had pretty much figured out how to use them. Within three hours of Green's arrival, I was reduced to abject embarrassment at my misunderstanding and misuse of the RoomTunes. Green started by removing the absorptive devices in the room. Step two was to pull the loudspeakers out much further into the room so that the listener was in closer proximity to the direct sound. Then we set up the RoomTunes. I had used all four RoomTunes placed in the corners with the absorptive sides turned out. Green reversed all of the 'Tunes so that the reflective sides were facing the listener. Then Green hauled out the first CornerTunes. The CornerTune is an equilateral triangular pillow one inch thick. Fiberglass, reflective foil on one side, absorptive (no foil) on the other, is covered with the same cloth as the RoomTunes. Placing the CornerTune at the ceiling corners of the room is intended to cancel the amplification of reflected energy at those points. Green installed the two CornerTunes behind the loudspeakers with reflective side out while the CornerTunes behind the listener were installed absorptive side out. It was time to listen and I was smugly sure that Mr. Green was about to discover the agonies of an "L" shaped room first hand.

Transformation! That’s the only adequate word for the effect of those first rough but informed alterations to my room. Transformation. There is so much to say about what has happened in my room and, from a scientific standpoint, I understand so little of it. So please, bear with me as I share my observations as a music lover and High End listener. Those first 24 hours with Michael Green were only the beginning of what became a three month period of empirical effort leading to this moment when I am truly satisfied with the sound of my room, yet aware of the aspects that can be improved.”

Sonic did what Michael did – turned the rear CornerTunes absorptive side out.

A BOO! test showed a noticeable reduction in overhang artifacts. And the reverberation were getting “smaller and further away”. I need to ponder this.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:27 pm

"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."

one of the most important fieldtrips a listener can take

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:16 am

Hi Zonees

Tuning field trip done and Sonic is getting down to things to be done.

Now the CornerTunes absorptive side out doesn’t sound right.  Some parts of the bass range is sucked out. While this has some effect on the BOO!, there is something that is not exactly right but Sonic is unable to express it.

Testing the room.  Windows open and BOO! Very little change, meaning the front-rear wall pair might not be the primary problem source.  

Windows closed and side doors opened and BOO! A large change was heard.  So the problem might be the side wall pair – not surprising given that Sonic had to deal with a slap echo on the upper side walls, which with RT Squares was successfully accomplished.

Also Sonic found a zone in my listening room where the BOO! is practically perfect! It is in the area behind the Bookcase Wall -- the side with the books. The decay of the BOO! here is exactly what Sonic expects it should be. But go to the other side of the Bookcase Wall and it is like a different room.

Michael, your views on my observation on the CornerTunes and your thoughts on how to start dealing with my room given today's test?

Sonic


Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added extra para of information for Mr Green to give his opinion on)
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:49 am

Sonic managed to make a change to the BOO! surprisingly with a small movement of the Sound Shutters on the front walls.

They were till now set 90 degrees to the wall and I found that if they were angled out (that is towards the side walls) so the Shutters are about 30 degrees to the front wall the centre-fill improves and the BOO! is more damped -- but still not how I would want it to sound.








But readers should understand that Sonic's system is completely listenable and enjoyable as it is despite the BOO!  For instance, this week there was a public holiday in this town.  Sonic spent a large part of that day playing one LP after another for hours -- French baroque, Telemann, J S Bach, Renaissance Dances, Haydn, Bee Gees, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac plus more. Had several "air harpsichord/air electric bass " moments over those hours Very Happy      

We need to keep this in perspective as Sonic's recounting of this present part of my journey is being described. The thing is I am going for the Tune.  In other times and places, audiophiles would have stopped and gotten on with collecting LPs and CDs and listening.

But now I am pondering how the BOO! is almost perfect behind the BookCase Wall and yet ringy in front of it in the listening area, plus of course what to do about it.


Last edited by Michael Green on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:06 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added text)
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garp



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PostSubject: The Journey   Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:33 pm

Sonic,

Always keep in mind that the Tune is a journey not a destination. But, also stop the journey more often and enjoy the music.
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:21 am


Thanks Garp for the reminder!

Listening to an LP of symphonies by a little known French late-baroque composer Jean Baptiste Breval. Something I found on a recent digging expedition. Nice.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:22 am

Hi Zonees

After Garp’s advice, Sonic had a concerted (heh heh Very Happy ) listening session to lots of musick just for the love of it. Then, in a state of relaxed mindfulness, several thoughts came to me…inspiration?

a. Sonic’s room has a BOO! overhang, but the BOO! itself is complex, there is a deep component and a higher pitched one in the BOO!

b. I must be careful in efforts to fix something like this – cutting one BOO! component and not the other might tip the room’s tonal signature in the wrong way and the end result may be worse.

c. Sonic’s system has certain flaws – too much, too little of this or that characteristic. Can I be sure these flaws are the consequence of the BOO!? Apart from a little overhang, do I know what problems the BOO! actually contributes? No, I don't -- I am assuming a causal relationship.

d. If a “cause and effect” relationship is uncertain, then efforts to solely concentrate on BOO! needs caution. Is then the thing I should be considering instead is to first manage how the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs interacts with the room given its size (giant Aeroplane as Mr Green says) or the dipole nature which activates the room differently from conventional speakers.

Without professional equipment and a proper test methodology, there is no way Sonic can answer a. to d.

Also the other question is “If the flaws were not there, would Sonic be still trying to fix the BOO!?”

As Sonic powered down the system last night, something is getting thru Idea

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:42 am


Hi Zonees

Acoustics are not always predictable. Sonic thought that the BOO! came from the ceiling and upper walls yet recent applications of Echotunes, RT Squares and such Tuning devices make almost no difference.

Then Sonic next put up a short curtain (not the long one that Zonees might remember I experimented with once) on the window. Some effect but the curtain caused a glare somewhere in the midrange that obscured the spaces between instruments and voices and ambience. The curtain was not the solution. With a curtain of this density and fabric type the sound was ruined.

Yet then Sonic did a BOO! test and found the reflection was still there below the curtain. Then Idea

Could the BOO! originate from the front wall from the hard surface below the window and from the LOW zone along that surface instead from the top of the room as I had assumed from theory?

Also Sonic remembered the placement instructions for the Stax ELS-F81 electrostatic dipole speakers that recommended that if the speakers are to be used in a live room, the wall surface behind them should be damped.

Quoting Stax: “(3) In a live room it is better to set up the ELS-F81 before the sound absorbent side, as far from the wall as possible and with a thick curtain hanging.”

Something is coming together and making sense. Quickly now….I pulled together some pieces of acoustic foam from here and there and covered as much of the wall directly behind the Magneplanars 1.5QRs and below the window.

The next BOO! showed Sonic the advance that has been made Very Happy

Will work along this path….Sonic is learning from just this a lot on what each part of the front wall is contributing and affecting the sound that I hear in this room!

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:30 am

Hi Zonees

Yep, it works Very Happy

With remounting two Sound Shutters on the Bookcase Wall, my room is quiet and balanced without glare.
While we are just at four-day settling point, Sonic thinks we have achieved a kind of success reaching a sweet spot of some sort. The BOO! How has a defined and controlled decay, yet when speaking in the room there is a lively feel.

This is the opposite of the Home Theater room that sits at the super-damped end of Sonic’s room curve – the HT room where the BOO! cannot get out of your throat if you say it…and you are aware of having to raise your voice to speak someone else in the room.

Also this damped room makes you want turn up the volume to get life into the music. This is a sign the room is over damped and it leads to amp clipping not to mention damage to your hearing. Remember, if you blow your amp and speakers up, you can always repair them but damage your hearing and there is no going back (save for hearing aids for musicians that Michael once posted about).

So while Sonic might be somewhat diverging from what Michael posted yesterday in "MGA and Roomtune Products/ Roomtune Acoustical Treatment", I am 100% in agreement of what he said there. If you got a room to set up for music listening, damping it is the wrong place to start.

Start with the RoomTune products especially the CornerTunes, EchoTunes, Deluxe RoomTunes maybe the PZCs. If your room is wood and drywall with little concrete then that’s all you need for all the acoustic control and great sound.

But if you are in a concrete structure like Sonic, then things are more tricky as I found. Still the Tuning Method works to a great extend though I had to use some damping to deal with the residual problem.

Sonic has friends who live in similar structures like me (these building materials and structures are commonplace in South East Asia). They went the damping and trapping way from the get go, and these people are always are swapping amp for more power and talking about Hi-Efficiency systems at our get togethers.

Last night I listened to an LP by Johnny Cash at the Grand Ole Opry House. I could hear the expanse of the auditorium….a huge sound and Cash’s voice reproduces so much better in analog than digital (The Johnny Cash Show – CBS). Sonic is now listening to a digital recording of Roscoe Holcomb – An Untamed Sense of Control (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings).

Sakuma-san said “I lost my being”…..Sonic too.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:03 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic has brought back the Audio Technica  AT LP120 into the room and placed it like this:



Now Zonees will remember that for years Sonic has remarked that the introduction of further equipment into my room causes the sound to close in, the worst effect coming from adding more speakers in addition to the main ones.

With this open wood frame and wood supports the effect of the AT LP120 even with the acrylic cover on was small (the lid is removed for playing records).  Then the addition of an EchoTune under the wood frame support for the turntable with the reflecting side up (you can just see it in the pix), removed any audible effects of the assembly’s presence.

Sonic next took an integrated amp from another system in my dwelling and wired it up as a phono stage – using the phono input and taking signal out from the Tape Out.

Spent an evening listening to SPs and 78 rpm records.  

While voices and some textures were very realistic especially given that we are spinning 60+ year old records that were played with phonographs tracking in ounces (ouch!) using steel needles -- the records being lubricated with Singer Sewing Machine Oil (SAE 5W)!

By contrast, today these records have been cleaned by Sonic using Groove Doctor and played with a Stanton 500V3 (D5127 needle) at a mere 5 grams.

But clearly the RIAA playback equalization is wrong for these records – upper mids and treble severely rolled off and way too much mid-bass. These records are played by earlier EQ standards that had less bass boost, some with a flat treble characteristic.  There wasn’t any standardization then.  

The physical presence of the integrated amp did cause a degradation of the soundstage and gave colouration of the music just like old times.  

Given this and the playback EQ problem, Sonic will get a small phono stage something like a Projekt Box or Musical Fidelity phono unit (anything that gives some adjustment of the input capacitance at least) and a 5-band equalizer to slope the bass off and push up the upper mids/low treble but not boost the range where all the record noise resides.

Then my collection of SPs and 78s will be playable properly because since Sonic did the big task of cleaning this collection up, I not heard them with anything other than RIAA. I’ll probably make up a generic curve that is closer to right – something like equalizing with RIAA then using the graphic equalizer to depress 200hz by 7 dB relative to 1KHz and bringing 3KHz up by 5 dB but sloping off the top frequencies around 10KHz so as not to emphasise all the record noise. This should get Sonic closer to the earlier historical curves.  Sonic is not crazy enough to change EQ for every record – there are people who do and even research the different EQs used by the same label over different years of its production history.

Nevertheless, Sonic is now listening to J S Bach’s Cantata for the Feast of the Epiphany BWV kantate 65 (Das Alte Werk, Concentus Musicus Wein, Nicholas Harnoncourt cond.) played with the Ortofon and the Rega.  Very good musick!

Yes, and the BOO! is pretty much quelled  Very Happy

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:24 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic got an inexpensive graphic EQ with 5-bands per channel – a Technics SH-8010 controlling at 100 hz, 300 hz, 1 khz, 3 khz and 10 khz. Not the best spacings but for about $40 no complaints.

So this evening I wired the Technics between the Phono Stage (a Rotel integrated amp for the experiment) and the Quicksilver preamp.

Set the EQ with a 78 rpm records by Roy Noble and his Orchestra – Streets of Laredo/It might as well be Spring (78 rpm), Inkspots – Sometimes/With my eyes wide open I am dreaming, and a Latvian Music at 33 1/3 SP.

The EQ setting Sonic applied to the RIAA corrected signal rather quickly -- my system with Tunes from Michael is super resolving and setting EQ is fast and effects of changes with the sliders obvious. There are audiophile and professional systems costing multiples more that I cannot hear through and set EQ and effects with speed or certainty.

I arrived provisionally 10 khz Flat, 3 khz +3 dB, 1 khz Flat, 300 hz -4 dB, 100 hz -4 dB. I know this mirrors no pre-RIAA curve exactly and Sonic will refine the setting over the next few weeks but the musick is no longer thick, turgid and heavy.

The records are listenable and sounding musical in a way that it never could be played through an acoustic gramophone with a steel needle – perhaps it would be wonderful with one of the best machines with a thorn needle as I read on the internet.

But here is Sonic in my listening chair hearing music recorded by artists of another age using a technology that was gone decades ago and feeling really good about what i am hearing.

Thanks to a suggestion from Sonnylistner, I checked out KAB's (the Technics 1200 specialists) website for their phono stages that offer variable EQ – they have some starting from $600. Might go for those if this Sonic gets into this part of the record collecting hobby.

But there is really very good musick here! Although the 2 to 3 minute length per side gives Sonic exercise.

Will replace the Rotel with a proper phono stage in a box next.

Pictures soon.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:33 pm

There are two ways in this hobby. Tune it in or EQ it in. I prefer the tuning in approach when possible or in addition to if needed, however I think half of the audiophile world should go back to learning how an EQ works and strip that baby down and tune it up like any other component.

One of if not the biggest mistake the audiophile made in this hobby was to get rid of the EQ before learning what it is for and what it can really do. I would not even want to think about trying to find an EQ that is worthy of the audio signal passing through, but seeing how far off the track high end audio products have gotten I would be all for an all-in-one receiver with good EQ.

Will high end head back that way? Not hardly the way it is now, but I think future high end will bring it back in.

Now I do want to say if you go back to some of the simple receivers I was using that had no bi-pass on them actually did not have bad tone controls on them.

There is a bad side to EQ's though and that is burnin time and settling.

Will be fun to watch this chapter play out study

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:54 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

The Technics SH-8010 is light in weight and Sonic had a look inside and saw a very simple construction with uncluttered PCBs. When I tune it, all Sonic has to do is cut a few cable ties and crack a few screws and it is done.

I have since lessened the amount of bass cut and this device has made 78s and SPs a treat to listen to. Also I noticed a difference in the way sounds are mixed down then and now. Those mono records of Debbie Reynolds, Dinah Shore and Bing Crosby had the voice more forward and larger in the mix, yet details of the orchestra/band are surprisingly clear. I can hear there is bass in those grooves

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:35 am

Hi Zonees

Sonic’s good hi-fi friend put a challenge to me “Magneplanars are easy to move about. I have tried the Cardas layout for rectangular rooms and it worked for me – I urge/challenge/dare/request you do the same and tell me what you hear.”  All in the interest of science for sure.

Normally Sonic shrugs off this sort of thing – I do not go chasing after fad after fad particularly speaker placements that take me anywhere in the direction of the Rule of Thirds which Sonic found to be Fail material. But here is a listener who while Sonic has severe audio related arguments with but one whose ears I respect too much to dismiss.

So what is this?  The Cardas set up for rectangular rooms is to place the centre of planar speakers 0.618x the room height from the front wall and 0.276x of the room width from the side walls.  There is a different distance multiple for box speakers.

For Sonic this gets me to place the panels at 79 inches from the front wall and 48 ¼” from the sides.

So this put the speakers closer to the front wall (and further from me) by some 26 inches.  Also the speakers are a lot closer to each other than I have been used to for years.

Looks like this:



Since this has been done merely 24 hours ago, Sonic is careful to describe what I hear.  Good thing is  I do not hear the soundstage ending at the outer edges of the panels but the impression of the sound continues wall to wall. Thanks to the Tune of Michael Green.

On some orchestral pieces and jazz there are cymbals and things outside the speaker positions. Bass is pretty good.  It is a very different sound.  I will persevere with settling – Sonic might adjust or go back to the halfway room length setting in time. Such is the Tuning adventure.

Here is the pix of the Technics SH-8010.



Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:03 pm

Looking at the box.

I call this type of mid-field setup, looking at the recorded box, instead of being in the recording. Now I do want to add that I have set this up a few places and have had a lot of fun with it. One of those was in my bedroom at the towers.

I didn't follow any formula but here it is.


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:05 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

The nearfield and mid-field placements give two different renderings of the musick. Super nearfield is like hearing from the conductor’s podium while mid-field is out in the hall. You have to decide if you want Separation or Unity.

Sonic tends to the nearfield/separation mindset but some variety is nice given that Magneplanars are easy to move about.

So it is Unity of Performance for now but you might read here in a while shortly I went back to the other presentation.

I also must say something to contextualize my recent comment on speaker placement.

While I have tried various settings like the Rule of Thirds, Mr Green’s halfway length/nearfield and a Cardas placement with various degrees of success or (outside Michael’s approach) an amount of failure, there is one thing that needs emphasis: all these are just starting points.

Simply measuring the floor, doing some calculations and then putting speakers on the Spot Indicate will never be right. For those who get it right, it will be like winning a $1m lottery!

You have to be prepared to do something many audiophiles appear not to want to do – Listen.

Listen, then move the speakers about a bit to get to the spot that works for your room, gear and your ears. For much of my experience with audio, I have looked for Secret Formulae to get the setting for my speakers – whether panel or box speakers.

The Secret Formula in the end is “use and trust your ears (assuming they are tuned to the live versions of music you like)” and be prepared to make adjustments as your ears guide you.

Right now what I have set up is Cardas-like but I had to move the speakers a little further apart and a little back to sound nice. And for sure I have adjust a lot of other things to get this to give its best.

So set up your speakers using the formula you select, then move the speakers about. Move them closer or further from front wall to control bass, then further apart a little at a time to get the focus and soundstage with you want. Of course don’t do both at the same time.

Be prepared to act counter-intuitively. Sometimes a boomy bass might be tamed by moving the speakers a couple of inches closer to the front wall, sometimes a couple inches closer together might cause the soundstage to expand towards the side walls.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:10 pm

Hi Sonic

This is why and where I separate myself from the high end audio world. I don't want to say audiophile cause I believe audiophile is a much bigger term than "high end audio". However I hope people reading this understand what I am saying.

The reason I design the way I do is to give freedom to the listener. Musical structure vs audiophile formulas. Every room has within it, it's own particular magic. It may not happen as the room sits, but it's there. Waiting to be unlocked or uncovered, there are many setups that can be explored inside of these rooms and many different types of stages and views. This is why I don't put one setting or field above another with one exception, the float. The "float" for me is the ultimate expression of real space, and everything other than the float is a box of some sort.

I don't look at any box as being wrong or right and there's a lot of fun that can be had with soundstage boxes, but for myself when that stage gets to the point where I can't find the end or beginning of it I get excited. When the float happens and the box is gone there is something inside of me that never wants to go back to a boxed soundstage again. Slowly I will go back to more of the boxed sound as I'm playing through pieces and start to get use to them, and then the float will happen again, and I'm right back in the never going back again mode.

Lately I've been doing a lot of late 50's to modern Jazz, both live and in studio. With these, I've been listening to basically one setting and paying attention to how the different recordings (with one setup) get close to the float and others far from it. The ones that are closer weird things happen, like someone moving behind me scuffling their feet or bumping a mic stand. Another time I will hear something reflecting off of a studio wall that may paint the picture of the room size, or other simple things that happen during the recording that gives me clues to "being there". When I hear a recording, or more so a setup, that is fairly the same with each recording I put on, I loose those little bites of info and the music at that point becomes more produced feeling instead of being placed in the event.

When I viist the Stereophile forum, I hear people talk like they have never heard the float before and have no idea or desire to chase a recording to it's recorded absolute. That's how I feel (as much as I like George) about the Cardas or any other formula. For myself, I want (need) the freedom to pursue any given recording's absolutes when ever I want, no matter where it may take me, system adjustment wise. That's why I have a tunable system. I don't want to reach one place, one setting for all and have to few the music from that setting, but more take a musical field trip into the recorded soul.

Anyway, I think that's what separates me from the high end audio way.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:16 am


Hi Zonees

Zonees may be or not surprised that Sonic is not a mid-field fan listening creature. It has been nearly a week since I used the Cardas setting (with some adjustment of course) that made for a mid-field listening set up.

I like to have a bigger stage nearer me and one that has Separation emphasis than Unity although Sonic does not mean Disunity where the parts become more important than the musick being played. The distant stage and lack of size in the images of voices and instrument became more and more artificial to my ears as the listening and settling progressed till Sonic had to say "this is not for me!" But the bass was very good....you cannot have it all.

But along the way I learnt a few new things that means that Sonic didn't just do a reset. Am trying these things out and Sonic will elaborate in my weekly Friday note.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:46 am

Hi Zonees

Sonic applied a couple of new ideas after my return to near-field listening.

I found that the Magneplanar 1.5QRs sounded better – more definite and anchored – if I did this:



Previously, they were resting on Low Tone Redwood blocks.

Placing three Low Tone Redwood blocks under the Rega gives a different sound to analog playback which Sonic is checking out.



At the RH corner of this picture you’ll notice that the canopy over the Sony blu-ray player is gone. This is something Sonic is trying as an alternative to top tuning which when it is properly upright and settled is very good but sounds murky when the canopy starts to lean. More on this shortly.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:59 pm

Laughing Sonic is not a mid-field fan Laughing

welcome home Exclamation

Not that I dislike Mid-field, I just feel more at home with near.

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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2112
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:33 am


Hi Michael and Zonees

The mid-field listening position has its benefits and had Sonic not discovered “Mr Green’s Nearfield with Listening Position Near a Surface” (like a SAM, treated wall, FS-PZC cluster, Bookcase Wall just behind the head) the mid-field placement would be my preferred one.

Sonic has tried conventional nearfield – you sit 5 feet away from speakers on axis to your ears, in the middle of the room (no surface near listener’s head), speakers and listener forming the three points of an isosceles triangle. This is supposed to have the sound from the speakers reach you first before the room sound.

While there are listeners who Sonic respects like Robert E Greene who like this set up, I have found the stage to be small and unsatisfying. After Michael’s set up, this isosceles triangle set up is not something I can use with the Magneplanars. Even the Rogers in a small room within Sonic’s dwelling sound better extreme Far Field – LS3/5As at one wall within 6 inches, and me seated 12 feet away with listening chair nearly against the opposite wall. The soundstage is not deep but very wide, Sonic likes it.

There are all sorts of suggestions and tweaks in the audio world. Many have the appearance of logic but most don’t work because they are emphasizing one thing over others in the wrong proportion. Like damping for instance. Sonic long learnt that sorbothane and various gummy substance make the sound artificial and dry. Recently I was recommended the use of hose clips clamped gently on tubes as “dampers”. Sonic has garden hose clips of the right size so these went on the 12AX7s. What an awful racket…instance shift upward in sound. Metallic and grating sound, how could anyone like or recommend something like this?

So back to my system as is. Again a sigh of relief.

As I listened to things I found in record “digs”, I found the Bee Gees’ Two Years On LP gives an extremely wide soundspace well beyond my room walls, subterranean bass notes and subtle details in the mix such as performance details, one-off instruments, reverb/echo/double track effects or noises that show how much skill and thought went into the album by the brothers, the band and their engineers. Sonic likes this album a lot and thinks it is a far stronger work than the three patchy aIbums that followed – Trafalgar, To Whom It May Concern and Life in a Tin Can.

Now listening Charles Ives' Symphony No. 1 (the one with variations on Britain's anthem "God save the Queen") -- Morton Gould conducting the Chicago Symphony (RCA Red Seal).

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2112
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:07 am

Correction: If you sit 5 ft from your speakers on axis in an isosceles triangle it means that the speakers will have to be 5 ft apart centre to centre. Too close for most people. If you increased the distance of the speakers to say 8 ft apart centre to centre, then your seat will have to be 8 ft from the speakers to maintain an isosceles triangle. Some like Dr R E Greene maintain this speakers to listening seat relationship is the only way to properly reproduce records made with Blumlein microphone placement as it is the inverse of the mic pattern.
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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2112
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:53 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

Over this week Sonic did a few inter-related Tunes that took my ideas of last week forward.

I supported the phono stage on two Low Tone Redwood blocks placed just at the edges, instead of on three hard MG Harmonic Springs with MW thins:



And then this:



Same idea as the Phono stage – four bright plated Harmonic Springs supporting the Quicksilver's platform structure were removed and three Low Tone Redwood blocks placed like so.

Given the limited number of Low Tone Redwood blocks Sonic has at my disposal, the Rega turntable now goes back to sitting directly on the shelf of the MG Clamprack so Low Tone Redwood blocks can be distributed to apply to these Tunes:



And what Sonic referred to last week about the CD player after removing the unstable top tune canopy is this:



That wood over the switching power supply is a cherry-finished board of Magic Wood from Michael.

As this settles, the warmth of the Low Tone Redwood and all the wood is coming through.  The music is taking on a tube-like dimensionality that Sonic always gravitates towards.  And I am really enjoying the musick.  I can hear into the soundstage and there is a curtain of sound wall to wall. Very good! Record after record being played and the soundstage is glowing.
 
Sonic needs to be not presumptuous and make proud claims like I did in my earlier posts that the “tune could be heard” in my system.  Each time Sonic said things like this I found the settled results humbling -- either disappointment or just minor improvements after the 100 hour settling point.  Yes things take that long to settle but usually the first indication of direction is at 10 hours of settling point even though Sonic has been mistaken before.

So now it is just my suspicion, yes a suspicion, that I might be homing in where the major blockage in my system really is. Sonic thinks I am hearing things clearly enough so I can follow a trail leading to that blockage.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2112
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:30 am

Hi Michael (and good Zonees)

Just a little Tuning this week -- Sonic been busy.  

I found what might a nice voicing for my speaker cable supports.  Sonic found two MG Cable Grounds supporting each 9 ft speaker cable run (Mr Green's T1) is good. But it droops and touches the floor so needs constant resetting -- see how things settle?

Three MG Cable Grounds doesn't allow droop but sounds hard.  Three Low Tone Redwood blocks instead of MG Cable Grounds per channel sound two warm.  

:idea:mix them up -- two MG Cable Grounds and one Low Tone Redwood block per speaker cable run.  Sweet and musical, just a bit more warmth and still clear.  Nice.  Zonees may want to try these combinations.  You might like the effect!  

Observed some too: the RB700 on Sonic’s Rega is certainly consistent – it holds its setting well.  I heard from vinyl playing friends that some very valuable (that is costly) arms don’t hold their downforce setting over the long term. They have to check the force every few days.
 
This got me worried because Sonic had not checked my VTF about three months ago! It was set to as near to 1.8 grams downforce I could do and left that way.  Sonic got worried given that the ‘table had been shifted a couple of times, even removed from the M Green Clamprack shelf and placed back on  again….I remember from vinyl playing friends that if you did a fraction of this sort of movement to some very expensive tables everything went off and the sound fell apart.

Sonic asks “is this sort of “on-edge” sensitivity a mark of great delicacy or poor engineering?”  It will be questionable engineering in my opinion. Maybe owning such a touchy, delicate device would have been a mark of pride in 1970 or 1950 but in 2015 it is inept engineering.  

So I did a check – the downforce was 1.769 grams using my electronic gauge. And exactly the same at the outer and inner grooves. OK, -0.031 grams after all this moving about and lots of record play over three months is pretty.  So reset to 1.81 grams and we are done.

The thing Sonic likes about analog vinyl is the fascination of how designers got really creative given all the limitations they faced.  This one part of the hobby thrills Sonic.

Any Zonee knows of the Neumann DZT?  A mono cartridge with two styli…each at either end of the cartridge body and you turned the cartridge body to select stylus depending if you wanted to play microgroove or SP (broad groove).  One end was marked with red colouring so you knew which stylus tip you were using.

Look at this:











Source: Gokudo.jp

For sure the arm had to angled down so the trailing stylus of the Neumann DZT did not engage the groove – see this:



Ingenious isn’t it?

Now about the hidden blockage in my system – the search is still on and Sonic might be getting close but I don’t rule out that this whole thing might end up more complicated that Sonic estimated. I also wonder how much blockage do the heavy hemlock clamprack shelves cause.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



Posts : 2112
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:23 am

Greetings Zonees

The Neumann PZT -- ingenious isn't it?  I wonder what the inside of the cartridge looks like...two set of everything or a central electro-magnetic engine driven by the styli at either end?

With the trailing stylus still relatively close to then record surface even with a raised arm pivot, wonder if warped recorded caused problems. A rather scary thought -- if the trailing stylus touched the spinning record.

How did this cartridge sound?

Sonic thought of something that is based on listening over this weekend -- how important and audible is phase integration between the drivers of a loudspeaker?

Some manufacturers recommend a minimum seating distance from their loudspeakers to allow the woofer, midrange driver and tweeters to jell.  

I know from experience that if I sat closer to the Magneplanars than a certain distance, the speaker sounds odd and listening fatigue sets in very quickly. Moving further away reverses this fatigue.

Now Sonic listens near field with the tweeter quasi-ribbons on the inside edge of the speakers.  This means, all things being equal, the highs/tweeter part of the signal will reach my ears before the mids and lows will.

Is this significant?

I am beginning to think it might be.  On some music I think I can get the same feeling that I get when I am too close to the panels but to a lesser degree.  

Placing the speakers with the tweeter quasi-ribbons on the outside edges is not the answer.  I have tried it and sound is odd, perhaps due to the tweeter being even further off axis leading to severe frequency response anomalies that occur as you go further off axis of any tweeter with rising frequency.

Michael, what are your views on this?

I am considering going the other way -- to a steep toe-in of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs so the tweeter quasi-ribbons intersect slightly ahead of the listening  chair.  This might in theory be an alternative so the all parts of the frequency spectrum played by the speakers arrive more at the same time at the ears.  Magneplanar themselves recommend this in their user instructions.

Now listening to Phaedra by Tangerine Dream (Virgin Records).

Sonic


Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added extra paragraph)
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