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 Tuning My Musical Journey

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:00 pm

Hi Sonic

The answer is "adjust" per recording playback needs.

No matter what we do while advanced listening, we need to be mindful that our systems are variable tools. What I do when going from one recording cue to the next is make the adjustment, then get back to listening, or because I know I can tune things in any way I want, just enjoy the recording with the previous tune.

Years ago I had some visitors from Japan come listen to one of my Tunable Rooms. After listening the one fella expressed that the recording was not right. Not knowing his ears, I got 2 PZC-FS out and placed them on either side of his head on angles (this was a guess). He jumped from his chair and one by one sat his associates down. As they came out of the room it was a celebration. I've done the same type of changes using different parts of the system to do what many call miracles. This isn't unique to MG, your listening miracles are all around you.

My only truthful and real answer to any of these guestions is, make your system as tunable as it can be and learn how to play it. Looking at your setup my first move would have been Top Tune the X-30, finding a few adjustments depending on the cues. Second the EQ. Maybe PZC's.

On my system, I would adjust the Sub, Sub Platform, maybe a tiny bit of weight in the Viola-FS. Lots of different ways to do what is needed and wanted, and the more tunable the easier and faster the desired sound can be found. When tuning a system with some tunes and some fixed, it's a lot harder because changes are more like jumps and not smooth fine tunes.

Find what the system can a can't do by using several different types of recordings, tuning them in as particular and unique units, so you can start teaching yourself what to do when you are given different musical cues that you want to vary. This will build your repertoire of adjustability.

the music is there, we just need to play it

Now, lets look at your notes.

How was your system tuned when you heard the song you want to preview at it's best? What's the difference between then and now?

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:44 am


Hi Michael

Sonic, truth to tell, has not heard this bass in its fullness and perfection as Sir Paul played it -- meaning when the sustained note was right (which is when no subwoofer was in the system) the lower notes lacked weight and extension. And when the Janis W-1 was in the system, the foundation notes were good but then the sustained note was out of control. Sonic has heard the bass completely right in another room/another system with highly costly equipment but the rest of the track -- voice, guitar, drums, electric piano, imaging, ambience -- had other audiophile issues which the Tune gets round.

Now if I had the JVC SEA-10 in the system, Sonic could use it but I do not have cabling for it.

When you (Mr Green) say "The answer is "adjust" per recording playback needs....What I do when going from one recording cue to the next is make the adjustment, then get back to listening...." Sonic finds it disquieting. For certain with tone controls/EQ it is obvious what to do -- too much bass, turn bass knob down/too little mids, push midrange slider up and so forth.

In this case what do I do? How do I know? The possibilities are endless....from twisting an RCA jack to putting wood under the CD player, or turning a PZC bolt.

Anyway Sonic will try to tune the bass of the system later tonight just for my education.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:44 am

Greetings Zonees

Sonic gave Tuning a go to deal with the Come Together bass. There is no reason why I carried out this tune beyond it being easy to do, I had everything needed at hand and it is the first thing I thought of. Sonic guesses the only logic is this Tune is in the Janis W-1 signal path.  

I powered down the Rotel bridged monoblock that drives the Janis W-1 subwoofer and tuned the transformer in these 3 ways:

1.the rubber sheets above and below the transformer have been removed

2.the transformer sits on three cross-cut dried Western Redwood squares grain not oriented

3.a Low Tone Redwood block sits on top of the transformer grain oriented



Warm up was done without listening for 30 minutes then Come Together.  The bass was much tighter than before, the sustained note is now more controlled yet slightly loose.  The lowest notes are there in strength. Yet the upper bass has gone very tight like the treble control of the bass amp has been turned up to full. Now Sonic is not accustomed to hearing the Come Together bass sound this way – it is a very “modern” bass sound not quite how bass was played in 1968. Or am I wrong.  What is in the CD pits, Sonic doesn’t know. I scratch my head.  Put the vinyl version on there is a different rendering of the instrument and a lot of other aspects of this recording.

Then Sonic reset the Rotel to baseline (bassline?  Heh heh…bad pun) and I started to listening to my selected programme for the evening.

Sonic played Sebastian Bach’s Dorian Toccata & Fugue in d-minor (Karl Richter, Orgel zu Freiburg/Archiv). This is very good when played at moderate volume and also when played loud. The bass pedal notes of the Great Organ of the Freiburg Cathedral go down really deep.

Sonic notices too that the images around the loudspeaker positions have expanded in size.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:14 pm

Hi Sonic

Practice makes perfect Exclamation Here's my take.

Once you get to the place where you are in control through playing the tune, the mental game of playing music becomes easier to deal with. It's very important that we spend some of our time tuning for the sake of tuning and not just trying to get tonights listening selection good enough to listen to.

I learned far more about music through playing around with what I could do and how I could do throughout my listening life, than those moments of frustration with particular recordings. Knowing the variables through practice is how I discovered the power of the audio signal and pathway. It's far more relaxing to listen to music when you know you can, and make the choice whether to do or not to do. It's also important to realize there is no other way but to learn how to play your system, and be able to play it per recording. We have to get comfortable with the fact that all recordings are uniquely different for a reason. If they were flat pictures hanging on a wall, that's one level, but listening is about front, back, left, right, up and down and through. For myself, I don't want my hobby to stop like a hanging on the wall, or a typical audiophile stage. That's all fine and good, but how much better going deep. It's far more fun finding something new in a recording we have heard a hundred times, and that's part of the magic. It's also why and how I have made every part of my personal listening something I can "adjust". Adjusting for me isn't something I dislike doing, it's something I feel privileged to do. But it only became that privilege as I practiced the power of discovering.

Sometimes, it might help for you to revisit the words of the Late Great Jim Bookhard and see that this is more than a michael event, but an event that can be done by anyone. Also as you look & read keep in mind that Jim had an entire tunable system. He wasn't working around maggies and your sub. Your job is a lot harder than what Jim had. Your spending as much time working around (non-tunable) panel speakers as Jim did around an entire setup. I can't tell you how many times Jim would tell me, why are these guys using non-tunable products that they know are not going to be as flexible. Not that any one of my products are perfect and there is only one system, but that as Jim had several systems, he was able to make product choices based on the method and away from fighting "fixed" products.

Sometimes the answer for us, is simply being honest. Working around fixed signatures is sometimes (most times) so much harder and time consuming than playing instruments. You would think less adjustments would be easier, but for the guy who wants to go deeper, it's just the opposite. Listeners like Herns for example can walk into any tunable system and get his sound within minutes. It's just like you walking into any guitar shop and playing any guitar in the place.

I know, I'm a broken record right Laughing but look at it this way. If you were in a room with people who all have complete tunable systems, you would be the broken record with your listening Q&A's. It's a sales pitch, but it's a sales pitch based on you walking into that guitar shop, knowing that all of these guitars...tune. You wouldn't walk into a guitar shop full of un-tunable guitars asking us how to play them. Sometimes when I'm reading the partical tunable system folks, I go back to Jim's comments and those who may not post here but have complete tunable systems that are more like a room full of instruments vs some tunable and some not adjustable. I do my best, but we must all remember that entering the world of fixed signatures sometimes is something that I have to do a reset in my own mind because I have to think about issues I don't have. Maggies, humidity, hard walls and foam, are things to me that spell a lot harder job vs a more flexible set of conditions. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it, or trying to, but my mind goes to another place when I hear these questions. To myself, walking into a guitar shop with tunable guitars fits a lot easier, and the question for me is always a bit like what Jim said "does it make sense to spend all this time on something that will never be able to tune".

I know that high end audio has a long way to go, or be replaced, but I think we need to continue to question what the hobby is and what it should be. In other words, it shouldn't really be all that hard to tune. It depends on us learning the facts about recordings and the ability to get our tools to play that music. The music is there my friend, the question is how do you go about playing it?

practice makes perfect Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:37 am

Greetings Zonees

After Tuning of the Rotel with the cross-cut dried Western Redwood and the Low Tone Redwood block that changed the tone and character of the bass not merely on Come Together but also of my classical records too, Sonic back went to the “before” state with the Rotel transformer lightly clamped in its mount and not wood above or below the transformer.

Then Sonic went on to do this:


 
You’ll notice that there is now no toe-in of the Magneplanar MG1.5QR panels. I wanted to try what would happen without tone-in which Michael said as the Tune advances is not required. What Sonic did was to set the distance from the front wall to the average distance between the far and near corners of the toed-in panels – for illustration: if the toed-in setting was 50 inches toed-in edge of speaker/56 inches toed-out edge of speaker, place speakers without toe-in at 53 inches from the wall the midpoint distance.

The bass phase control on the X-30 needed a bit of adjusting and yet the evenness of the sound was a little odd, however the imaging was more realistic and curtain-like.  However to Sonic’s eyes the speakers were too far apart.  

I have learnt that if something looks incorrect to Sonic it can often sound wrong too (“often” this is the case but is not an infallible test).

Sonic then reduced the separation between the speaker panels by 3 inches per side, still with no toe-in.


 
Very good! Better focus, more outside speaker ambience, bass now nicely even.  A slight change to the bass phase on the X-30, raise the Janis W-1 turnover frequency and adjust the subwoofer level down by 2dB and things clicked into place. Voices are more rounded, the centre images are now more solid and the sound even of a solo instrument is giving the sense the performance space is like curtain across the width of my room, yet maybe some depth is missing but Sonic is not a believer in the “layers of depth “ thing, so that is suitable for me. Music feels like it can be played a few dB softer than usual without loss of detail, frequency extremes or “punch”

Playing a CD of J S Bach’s Cello Suites.  The cello is big but not overwhelming though projected forward as a cello played about 6 ft from you in a room of this size will sound, the bass notes are perfectly even with no unevenness leading to some notes beinbg too loud or others to soft. The lowest notes have grunt and low foundation and when listening from an adjoining room, it did sound like a cellist was playing in my room.

This is certainly a good tuning start to 2016.

Sonic needs to comment on what Michael said in his post on this thread on December 30 last year: "It's very important that we spend some of our time tuning for the sake of tuning and not just trying to get tonights listening selection good enough to listen to."

For me and for I don't how many other music lovers, the act of tuning/adjusting tone controls etc IS only for the purpose "to get tonight's listening selection good enough to listen to."

Basically adjustments (let's not use the word "tuning" for now) need only to be made because of a shortcoming -- some shortcomings are "macro" in nature where the room is too ringy, too boomy, others are specific to particular recordings like the recording has been mixed at too high a level so when played at lower listening levels there is a lack of bass.

In order to make the room, system or programme sound right, adjustments are done (alternatively the listener can choose to live with it).  Some adjustments are more or less permanent in nature like the CornerTunes in the corners, the Shutters to flow the room, while adjustments others are specific for one recording. These can be manipulating tone controls or doing the things like Michael does such as tightening one nut in the corner of a clamprack and somehow reducing the treble in a CD.

So there is an element of "putting right" to make something sound right in my room/system as the reason for adjustments (Tuning). Nothing alarming here because any speaker, even a perfect one, will sound like 3 different speakers in three different rooms. Then imagine how different music can sound when there are different bands, different mics, different producers, different monitors and studios. Hence the need for adjustment or tuning is a logical outcome. How did we ever get to "no tone controls, play everything flat"?

Michael's "For the sake of tuning" is what I don't understand because if it sounds good and right, no further adjustment needs to be made.  Unless I want to play Producer and Tonmeister and create my own "sound" which Sonic is not interested in doing at all.

Happy New Year to Michael and all Zonees!

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:04 pm

study

Very strange post I must say Exclamation But, that's what tuning is about "each finding their own".

sonic said

"maybe some depth is missing but Sonic is not a believer in the “layers of depth “ thing"

mg

Being someone who has spent time making the layers myself in the studio, I find this change by Sonic to be unrealistic, but there are many who have for many years gone after the, what we call, video screen stage.

This is an interesting departure from recorded space, which will be even more interesting to see the long term outcome.

Sonic said

"Michael's "For the sake of tuning" is what I don't understand because if it sounds good and right, no further adjustment needs to be made. Unless I want to play Producer and Tonmeister and create my own "sound" which Sonic is not interested in doing at all."

mg

Good and right means many things to many people, this is why the adjustments were made to begin with. This is why adjustments are in every studio and why adjustments are made by every listener on the planet, whether it be something as simple as toe in and out, all the way up to the full blown listening explorer. As MG is happy you have found an adjustment you like, it's somewhat short sighted (if I may say so) to make such bold statements about the wide range of the hobby of playback. Saying this, time is the real answer, and let's see if the flater soundstage is going to be your final answer for you.

but

The very strange part for me is the statement about layering. How does Sonic come up with the theory of no layering Question This makes no sense to me, I'm just being honest. Why do you think engineers put layers of miking in the recorded space? scratch I'm scrathing my head a little here Sonic. When I'm in the studio, I set up a few "layers" to record so I can make or the other guys can make space values. In my case I usually do 3 layers with each feature instrument or section plus a few overalls.

Each recording I have ever done, seen done or playing back has specific space (layering cues), so I'm a little taken back by your statement. interesting

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:49 pm

I think Sonic must be talking about something else. I'm needing to hear his response. Not to disagree Sonic but soundstaging is front to back as much as left to right. Recording engineers use different types of microphones and placements to achieve all sorts of shapes and sizes. I haven't used them but I believe you can buy staging depth recordings so you can test your system for specific depths. I'm I right about this Mr. Green?
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:14 am

Sonic, back when I had my Eminent Technology-4 panel speakers, when I had them aligned without toe-in, I had basically no soundstage depth. Now, since these were my first pair of good speakers, I didn't know what I was missing, and I was basically very appreciative of having speakers that reproduced music clearly and accurately and with great tonality, especially for the human voice. After toeing them in a bit, I got a just a little more depth and was happy with that. But the soundstage was basically a curtain, like you described. When I finally got "box" speakers containing dynamic drivers (which happened to be MGA speakers) I began to understand how 3-D a soundstage could be. I don't know the physics or acoustics of it, but maybe panel speakers have a harder time reproducing the depth of the soundstage than conventional designs. Anyway, if you haven't already, you might want to consider checking out the Sheffield/XLO Burn-in CD or Stereophile Test CD tracks that specifically are for testing soundstage depth and demonstrate instrument placement in various locations throughout the actual recording venue and whether depth cues are or are not effectively reproduced by the system being tested. geek


jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:13 am


Greetings Michael, Rotelguy and Drewster

Sonic welcomes your thoughts even if it appears that from time to time our thoughts and experiences diverge. For now I am letting time and settling tell if Sonic has indeed got the sound I am tuning for or this will turn into another experience where Sonic gets super excited by some adjustment only to backtrack a week or two later. And Zonees will be sure that Sonic will write about it and tell things as they are, which is my commitment to Mr Green and the Tune.

With the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs now parallel to the front wall slightly closer together with the bass end supported by the Janis W-1 Sonic is getting a nice tone with weight in the bass and girth. I am listening again at lower levels than before, getting enough of everything without having to crank the volume up. A comfortable listening level is a nice thing and usually an indicator that the system and room is working OK.

Sonic is now playing Monk’s Music – Thelonious Monk and co/Riverside CD -- and this is how I would describe the soundstaging presented on Off Minor (Take 5):

a. Monk’s piano is a wedge of imaging across the Right speaker outwards to the right wall

b. the backing brass sections are behind the speaker panels with brass instruments on the Left extending outward to the wall

c. the bass is somewhat forward of the speaker plane and is slightly room filling without being boomy

d. the drums are placed somewhat behind the rest of the band.

So taking this recording as an example, Sonic gets a kind of depth but I cannot describe what is being heard as “layers”. The depth in this case is the bass is forward, the drums are behind, the piano and brass are somewhat in a line, the piano being more forward by a bit.

The thing Sonic is happy about is there is no “banana shaped soundstage” where centre images are pushed to the front wall, and neither is everything compressed into a line extending from speaker to speaker.

Thank you Drewster for suggesting the XLO test disc to benchmark my depth. I used to have that CD a long time ago, but cannot find it now. For a test of depth, Sonic plays Mozart’s Notturno for Four Orchestras (Academy of Ancient Music/C Hogwood cond.) In this intriguing piece, a main orchestra is surrounded by three smaller ensembles one directly behind the main orchestra and the other two behind and off to the right and left. W A Mozart skillfully writes passages that are “tossed” between the orchestras with echo effects.

In my system Sonic hears the positions of the three smaller orchestras as set apart and further back from the main ensemble but I cannot tell anyone “it is 15 feet behind”. The odd thing is if Sonic closed my eyes and played the piece I might say “x feet back” but the moment I open my eyes and relate the sound to the physical form of the room, all that depth is like some undefined spot back there and the effect becomes more subtle than when Sonic listen in the dark or with eyes closed.

Similarly, I can hear the jet plane on the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR” fly in through and out the walls but Sonic is unable to say from how far it came or how far it went.

Michael, you asked me how Sonic assumes no layering is recorded when you have recorded with layering in mind. The thing is are we talking about the same thing? In the classical musick that I listen much to, Sonic has also seen the mic set ups used by various engineers – the usual configurations you know well, plus from looking at the pictures of the recording sessions in the record sleeves. I sketch these in my records sometimes. From what I see, a sense of perspective will be captured due to relative levels and arrival times at the mics doubtless. On the other hand, what is done in rock recording studios are a lot of wonderful things through mics, delay, reverb, phase not to mention things like Q-sound. On one rock recording of a Japanese band, there is an effect of a second vocalist singing next to my left ear from to the Bookcase Wall. Fun stuff.

Drewster's experience with the Eminent Tech planar points out that Sonic should in a few days try a little toe-in of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs and give the Notturno for 4 Orchestras a spin.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:38 am

Greetings Zonees

A few more days of rather concerted settling and Sonic is finding that the present loudspeaker placement has virtues. This distance of 28 inches from the side walls is about right – closer to the room centerline of 34 inches and I can hear the speakers are in a weaker pressure area, the bass goes thin and the midrange get “honky”. Of course Sonic might try an inch or two closer but later.

So with settling the weight and girth of the sound has improved. By “girth” Sonic means both a downshift in harmonic pitch that fattens up the sound as opposed to “analytical thin” as well as that the images in the soundstage are becoming more spherical in a 3D sense instead of being 2D flat cut outs hanging in space – also I am noticing that the image-spheres are sized according to the instruments, that is a bass, a piano appear to project slightly bigger spheres than a soprano sax. Playing Beethoven’s Symphony 5 (J E Gardiner, Orch Revolutionnaire et Romantique/Archiv) and the bass from the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs supported by the Janis W-1 is anchoring the room sound while the period violins have bite yet not screechy. Good Very Happy

An experiment that is attempted in parallel is Sonic removed the tube phono stage from its mini clamprack – planning to use the mini clamprack to support and top tune the X-30 as Michael suggested. The phono stage sits on three Low Tone Redwood blocks on the floor, placed two in front and one in the rear where each Low Tone Redwood blocks are set up as diamonds and the phono stage sits on the corners/tips with no top tuning.

Sonic is pleasantly surprised at the sound changing to being lighter and more open in the midrange and treble when playing LPs though the bass was as weighty as before. This is a different sound from my analog source which has till now been warm and full in the direction of some classic Ortofon moving coil cartridges – now Sonic is getting more drive and sparkle with no increase in record noise which means we are dealing not with a rise in mid and treble frequency response but a change in energy somewhere. While this sound is still “analog” in signature, the subjective gap between Sonic’s digital and analog record playback sound signatures have closed.

The next Tuning actions Sonic is contemplating next is to see if I can remove some of the foam from the front wall and use EchoTunes to control the acoustics – and there is one very interesting tune action that Hiend001-san suggested to Sonic. More on these soon.

CES 2016 is now on and I believe Michael, Coop, special guest Drewster and the Get-Tuned Girls are going to have fun and be busy – have a successful show y’all and advance the Tune cheers

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:34 am


Greetings Zonees

As Sonic's system settles after the revised placement of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs within the context of the bass of end support of the Janis W-1, the sound of the foam on the front wall behind the loudspeakers may be making its sound signature noticeable. There is an effect and a sound that comes bundled with the acoustic control from the contoured foam.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:33 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

Sonic has started testing what a first-step removal of the acoustic foam from my listening room would result in.  This is how things look like now:



To help the EchoTunes extend their control lower, there are MW blocks acting as spacers:



There is a change to the direction of the sound for certain. The presence of instruments have improved, like an inner darkening of the sound has been removed.  The acoustic foam had an effect in this way that Sonic knew about from the start of its introduction, make no mistake about that, but the issue facing me has been “which is worse – an inner darkening and damped effect or the ringy BOO! from the hard room surfaces?”

Now that Sonic is getting to engage a different set of Pressure Zones in the room through a closer to wall placement of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs, let us see if there is enough downshift in tone and girth to allow removal of the foam.

Sonic knows that materials like rubber, acoustic foam and damping kill the music as Michael has always “preached”.  Whatever usage of foam in Sonic’s room has always been a stopgap measure till the BOO! has been dealt with by RoomTune means.  My objective is to ultimately have no acoustic foam or at the most restrict the use of this substance to the top of the room.

Playing now J S Bach’s French Suites for Harpsichord (K Gilbert/Harmonia Mundi), the transients of the instrument are heightened as if the harpsichord has been close miked. I am also noticing that there appears to be an effect where the instruments of soundstage in the foam-free areas sound different and more alive than instruments that image in the room close to where there is foam.  

Again there is an element of a visual change to the appearance of the soundstage zone in addition to the change to the sound itself.

Let us see how this settles.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:09 am


Hello Michael and Zonees

This evening Sonic had a long listening session with LPs and CDs. Among the works I listened to were Archive Production - The German Pre-Classics 1700 – 1760, G P Telemann’s Banquet Music, Ambient 1 Music for Airports (B Eno), Corroboree by John Antill – New Zealand Symphony Orch, J Judd cond., and Ostinato – Hesperion XXI, J Savall cond.

The sound was good tonally but I kept having a nagging feeling that something was not completely right with the imaging. So I played Mozart’s Noctturno for Four Orchestras (Academy of Ancient Music/Ch Hogwood cond.) which is one of Sonic's tests for imaging.

Sonic used the CD of this performance and played it twice to make sure the sound had some settling before I reached any conclusion.

True it is the tone is now very good and during the listening Sonic received little the flashes of things sounding right reminding me of when I heard a live chamber ensemble play Mozart’s Divertimentos (particularly in the cello/lower viola range) but the imaging of the Noctturno with its 4 orchestras was faring poorly.

When the ensembles start “tossing” passages between them and echoing each other, Sonic realized the spacing between the participating orchestras both in terms of lateral width and front-to-back depth was compressed woefully. Referring to notes I made, Sonic recalls I have heard this work played back on this system, in this room, far wider and deeper in stereo presentation than I am hearing now – although there were earlier comments in the notes of tonality shortcomings, specifically a bleached out upper cello/lower viola range.

Here we now have the right tone but the orchestral width and depth is wrong.

Sonic will have to work on this. This is dejecting – to have worked for so long on Tone and succeed and then have something important to the reproduced musical experience like natural 3D scale fall through the floor.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:43 am

Hi Sonic,

Very interesting using the RTsq with MW blocks as a spacer. I did that and it significantly lowered and cleared some of those hazy sound which was smearing my imaging. It gave a slight darker tone to the overall presentation but to me it was still nice.

Sonic said :

Here we now have the right tone but the orchestral width and depth is wrong.
Sonic will have to work on this. This is dejecting – to have worked for so long on Tone and succeed and then have something important to the reproduced musical experience like natural 3D scale fall through the floor.

I too have been having this problem i call it the "yin yang effect" Laughing you get one thing right and the other screws up. I am sure with all your experience with the tunes you will get it all back in track.

Regards

Tj
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:07 am

Greetings tjbhuler and Zonees

tjbhuler said to Sonic: "I am sure with all your experience with the tunes you will get it all back in track."

Thank you for having confidence in Sonic’s tuning ability more than I have. But you can be sure Sonic will tackle this “yin-yang effect” as tjbhuler well-describes it, and of course I will describe the path on Tuneland.

I looked again at Sonic’s tunes over the last 5 years (the power of notes) at what I was out to achieve as far as any objectives were captured in the notes which are primarily detailed Cause-and-Effect accounts eg: move the FS-PZCs forward by 1 ft and the effect was x.

Reading my notes, there appears to be eight Tune Objectives I was working towards:

1.Getting rid of the banana soundstage

2.Getting a super-wide soundstage that extends beyond the room walls

3.Getting a 360 degree holographic enveloping soundstage (duplicating what Michael and Heind001 described their systems could do)

4.Integrating the Janis W-1 subwoofer into the system

5.Killing the BOO! (yes, I know there is a song called “Killin’ the Blues”)

6.Building a nicely musical and cost-effective analog front end

7.Dealing with the hardness, ring, zing, weird pressure zones and fields of this room

8.Getting a tubey and woody tone in spite of 7

If Sonic self-graded, I would say 6 and 1 were very successful, 5 was just OK and 4 after the Janis W-1 recent reintroduction, might get a pass.

The results of 2 would debatable, at best OK, 3 is a Fail in Sonic’s mind although some musicians who visited Sonic complimented me for a surround effect on choral music.

Item 7 is still a major problem and 8 was achieved at the expense of other significant Tune values so that will be Fail.

Now the question facing Sonic is what point I should default back to as my next point to build from given that over all this time a lot of Tunes have been added to the room – like Michael’s new T3, T2 and T1 cables which worked so well, the AAB1x1, the Low Tone Redwood and Brazilian Pine Boards, anti-BOO! devices including foam and a Bookcase Wall that is not in the same place as it was years ago…it has been creeping forward and gained companions along the way meaning the Record Shelves that are now to home to a very large number of LPs, SPs and 78s of some wonderful and rare music.

The question is what next. Michael what do you suggest?

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:34 am

Hi Sonic

I needed to do work on our show pictures over the last few days and so I put on my 70's music program when it was just me and the computer. This system is my 3 way speakers that I'm playing with, and Sony Receiver. The music comes as part of my cable service. I get about 40 music stations.

Now I know that these stations are compressed like apple cider machines, but even so the differences in the recordings were huge. With each song that played there was a part of me that kicked into engineer mode (that thing you said you would never do Wink ) Some songs were intune and others completely out of. While I listen, it's clear there is a code that was created on the recording end. It's as plain as the ears on our heads. Just listened to "cold Kentucky rain" then "long cool woman" and now "rock me baby". What I hear when I remove myself from the songs are five signatures. One for each of the recordings, one is the system setting, and the fifth was my own conditioning at this time.

We all have a few choices at this crossroad.

1) understand how & why recordings are different
2) understand the different signatures we listen to
3) understand this is a function of being in or out of tune intellectually
4) understand how a stereo works, separate from plug and play (the physics)
5) understand our system as an adjustable playing tool

What I usually see happening with listeners has nothing to do with music.

Answer me the question, when you hear the “yin-yang effect” what is the first instinctive thing you think of? The answer for all of us is a method. We hear something we want to.....? Change.

Every poster who comes up here gives the answer every day. How we accept the answer and incorporate it is up to us. Maybe someday recordings will all have the same cues, tones, codes and signatures, but that is not today and not in the past.

I only have one answer Sonic, and that answer only works as good as my tools, conditions and desire to use. For my own listening the “yin-yang effect” only defeats me when I have something untunable in my way. Maybe some guys play their guitars out of tune, but for me "tuning" is the answer period, unless of course we have a hundred rooms and a hundred systems, and a whole lot of time Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:43 am


Greetings Michael

Good and insightful points you have raised here Very Happy

MG asked: Answer me the question, when you hear the “yin-yang effect” what is the first instinctive thing you think of?

Sonic: I visualize the many qualities of a system like a polar plot/spiderweb plot – qualities such as Dynamics, Tonal Accuracy, Soundstage width and depth, Bass and Treble extension….they should be balanced with not working against each other. The moment Sonic ends up with the “yin-yang effect” it is likely I have pushed one item to the neglect or compromise of others confused My response in such cases will be to go through my reams of Tuning notes, choose a system restore point and backtrack there and move forward again.

Certainly, if you look at the 8 Objectives Sonic had to deal with over the last few years. It is the power of the Tune and Michael’s guidance that solved problems like the Banana Soundstage and BOO! for me. And this was done remotely with limited Tune gear at my disposal. But restoring and moving ahead again this time will see Sonic act from a better understanding of the shape of the Pressure Zones in my room, the Field Problem and an appreciation of Tuning Exclamation

Michael, we may need to get cross-check some of our terminology. You said some songs were “ intune and others completely out of (tune)”. How would you define/describe recordings that are in tune or out of tune?

Sonic would describe it this way with my limited experience – an in-tune recording sounds natural tonally and images plausibly, it sounds well put together, musically pleasing and gives the impression that there are real people making music recorded by people who know and care about what they were doing.

An out of tune recording for me would be one that is tonally unbalanced, imaging squashed into speakers, with oddities like singers with giant mouths, drum kits with pieces separated so far it would take an octopus with 20 ft tentacles to play the drums. Interestingly, I have recordings that have parts of the drum kit behind the speaker locations, yet these recordings do not sound exaggerated. So there is something more to this than just pan-potting involved.

Sonic’s tuning ability to deal with out-of-tune recordings is limited to the use of the JVC SEA-10 EQ. There is a basic EQ setting for the room/system – till the Janis W-1 was reintroduced, this is a +3dB lift at 40hz and -1 dB at 5khz (the latter -1dB cut for CD but not analog). On top of this, adjustments for specific recordings are often made at the two frequency ends to tune bass heavy or overbright recordings. On some pop recordings Sonic leaves the treble and bass as they are and reduce the 1khz level by a couple of dB. In most cases, Sonic prefers to cut rather than boost frequencies and the amount of adjustment is conservative.

No two recordings sound alike and it doesn’t take much thought to see why given all the variables along the way for the music of a performance to reach us in the form of the recordings we play. To this Michael adds the idea of our state of mind when listening to music – being in or out of tune intellectually. This is our frame of mind and emotional state during the musical listening event. When Sonic sets up for a serious listening session I am tell myself that just like we do not dip our toes into the same river twice, each time I play any recording, it is a different performance received in my brain, in my soul.

Sonic is now listening to A Set of Pieces, Music by Charles Ives – Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, DG. The musick is enjoyable.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:06 am

Hi Zonees

Here is something Sonic found on this site:

http://www.itishifi.com/

This is an ancient panel review of five systems – and fascinating to read how the perception of the reviewers were so varied. The variation in how the sound is appreciated by the listeners is instructive.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:46 am

Hi Sonic

Not quite back in the swing of things from the CES but it's nice to be able to spend more time in my natural groove. Been a lot of fun for me to have Drewster here Exclamation He's been a big help in getting that MG vibe back in order. People don't realize a lot of times that when I move one box, one component shift or any small change, that change is a part of the tuning that goes on here. It's like the universe takes a major step right or left and I not only hear it, but feel it. I sometimes wonder if visitors think I'm being aloof when I hand them over a system to play with or see I'm not in "jump in" tweak mode. Maybe this is why listeners have taken me as being a snob. What's actually going on in my world is me sensing the tune and it's variables.

Again let me state, Drewster I feel, gets this and works gently around and within my little sphere. This visit is as fun watching Drewster and Harold get their Vibe going as my own. I picture in my virtual brain that they will be going back to their places saying "home at last" as they shape their sphere. There's a deep respect that developes among Tunees, especially when that knowledge of being able to tune comes into play. It would be so cool to hand my keys over to experienced Tunees and leave for a couple months, then come back and see how they have shaped their world in my absence. You see I don't see tuning as being me making my world for someone else to hear, but more everyone displaying their unique space and values.

That said, it was also fun to see the 3 of us very quickly come to synergy when the SW-10 was introduced to the system. I'll talk more about this on my thread., but let me mention both Drewster and Harold went after the seamlessness of the system like iron to a magnet, and created balance within seconds.

Sonic said

"Michael, we may need to get cross-check some of our terminology. You said some songs were “ intune and others completely out of (tune)”. How would you define/describe recordings that are in tune or out of tune?"

mg

My description for in and out of tune are exactly the same as with instruments. In-tune is when instruments are producing both the fundamentals and oscillative structures in harmony. Out of tune is when these harmonics are distorted forcing fundamentals out of balance within the space structure. Not changed, but distorted. Recorded values can be changed within the total in varying ways without distortion.

Now the real question is, do I think audiophiles understand in-tune or harmonics? Not many.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:35 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

That posting of the ancient review of the Five Systems was to Sonic illustrative of several things – even in this 1961 article, the reviewers were describing the sound in up to date audio reviewer language that we can relate to. These critics understood naturalness of tone for voices and musical instruments although Sonic gets a feeling if we heard these systems today, fully restored of course, we might find them excessively coloured. However, these gentlemen cared about the right sound and were also sensitive to different aspects of sound – like Mr deMotte was to bright sounds and hollow colourations. He also really wanted to turn the tone controls.

Michael is right that few audiophiles could be able to identify In-tune, out of Tune or harmonics. And while I agree, I think there is a distinction to be made between "audiophiles -- as in those with the high-end audio mindset/pre-conditioning" AND "audiophiles --music lovers/listeners". The latter I think will instinctively be able to tell although they might not have the language for it or a Tune Framework to take in what is going on.

Anyway back to my system:

Sonic has identified a system restore point that I would adjust back to and build forward again from cheers

That point will be the standard model Tuneland nearfield/quasi-nearfield set up which Sonic had progressively moved away from as I went seeking pressure zones and low-end tone by moving the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs in stages towards the front wall which ended up with them where they are now, about 40 inches from the wall -- which is a journey of some >6 feet towards the front wall.

The good thing is Sonic made detailed notes and diagrams of all previous settings down the years so I got layouts Sonic can quickly set up to. Now to roll up sleeves and do another move and get a chance to do some spring cleaning of my room along the way. More soon Exclamation

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:14 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

Is this another full circle?

Sonic has returned the system to this earlier speaker and equipment placement:



Of course this return to the nearfield is different in several ways from earlier attempts:

a.      the tuning of the room has advanced since the last time this configurations was used and the BOO! is now referred to in the past-tense – with the beneficial effects of Low tone Redwood and Brazilian Pine plus other nice woods from Michael

b.      the Janis W-1 subwoofer is now in a place never earlier contemplated or tried before

c.      this speaker placement puts Sonic more nearfield than before because the Bookcase Wall has moved forward and my listening chair in tandem – also the record shelves have expanded the area of the Bookcase Wall too. Sonic’s ears are now in this revised set up only 5 ¾ feet from the quasi-ribbon tweeters which are in board of the panels and there is no lack of treble extension which surprises audiophile who think in terms of tweeter dispersion off-axis behaviour.

d.      Sonic has got a more advanced understanding of the Pressure Zones in the room and how to use them

e.      my experience with the JVC SEA-10 equaliser has taught me to recognize different bass pitches so Sonic is able to better tune the Janis W-1 subwoofer using the X-30

f.       now that Sonic is using T3 and T2 as speaker cables and new T1 as mains feeds, there is a lot more Tuning power from Tuneland here  

Sonic also took the opportunity to set up the preamp like this which is so much more convenient and possibly less dangerous.



The placement of the CD player is a prelude to my going to a computer–DAC set up as Hiend001 is so kindly helping guide Sonic.

The layout here is messy and one day Platforms from Mr Green may be brought in to neaten things up.



The first listening session after set up (re-set up) was something rather wonderful – Sonic is again hearing recordings with the instruments and voices in good depth perspective from ahead of the speaker plane (slightly ahead) to beyond the front wall with width nicely extending beyond the side walls. Now we have not a “curtain of sound” but rather a large rectangle of sound extending forward from around the plane of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs to the front and out to the sides.  Yes, it would be somewhat true Sonic may have excessively fixated on some aspects of Tune only to lose some things that are important to the true reproduction of recorded musick.

Now that Sonic has got depth restored in the musick I hear from the system, we should also extend the conversation around recorded depth as a concept, how it is recorded, how it is properly reproduced in systems and the concept of “layering” as is often encountered in audiophile conversations at Saturday sessions at the salons in my town.

Sonic was also listening for bass anomalies and the bass reproduction duties shared between the panels and the Janis W-1 subwoofer is seamless though the more the Janis W-1 plays the bass gets a little heavy and thick. But this is a 40 year old 15 inch Altec with a cloth surround.  It is doing well and the system is doing well.

So after so much of time spent putting the Magneplanars MG1.5QRs in the far-field, Sonic returns to the “standard model” Michael Green set up.  

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:14 am

Greetings Zonees

This week Sonic has also been slightly perturbed by some distortion heard on my LP replay system.  I concluded that it might be time to change the stylus of my Ortofon 2M Blue.  It has been two years of use to the month, and is now at the very most just close to Ortofon’s 1,000 hours of use advisory limit – not that styli would not function beyond this at least moderately without record groove damage, as long the stylus has not been damaged by accidental force.  Of course Sonic’s Ortofon 2M Blue has a mis-cue or two when the stylus slipped off the record edge but hit nothing as Sonic caught the drop with the cueing lever in time (a reason not to use oversized platters).

Sonic went to the store to buy a replacement s stylus and found that the replacement stylus will not be available in this town for a couple of weeks.

Then as I was walking through the Hi-fi Centre (the Adelphi), Sonic saw in a shop window something I heard about – the Onzow of Japan stylus cleaning gel which is “Highly Recommended by Ortofon” (on their packaging). Sonic it bought it, costing me US$47 or so.

You just place the stylus on the gel pad and lift (cue up) a couple of time and it cleans better than a brush. The gel pulls the accreted dust off. And if the gel pad is dirty, rinse off in warm water (claims Onzow). Sonic will not use stylus cleaning fluids which I think are dangerous as they can wick up the cantilever and do all sorts of evil things to the motor and the elastomer suspension.

So Sonic set the Onzow on my Rega on a Michael Green cross cut dried redwood piece like this:



When you lift the cartridge, you’ll see the gel stick to the stylus and rise with it, then fall away taking the dirt with it.  Nice to see.

Playing a Pentangle LP after an Onzow clean was great! The clean sound, the clarity of detail and reduction in distortion was pleasing.

No more brush cleaning for the stylus. It must be Onzow from now on for Sonic!

And one more Onzow for the Audio Techinica AT 120 LP for 78s, 45s and SPs which is now housed in another part of Sonic’s dwelling.

Two thumbs up, Onzow!

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:21 am

Greetings Zonees

Day 5 of Sonic’s return to nearfield and there is some optimism that it is working this time (famous last words?). Great wide stage, pretty good image definition and deep bass with ambience that has some hidden details in the reverb Very Happy

Sonic realizes that the system in this set up is giving me a clear presentation and “understanding” of the recorded soundstage. Sonic is not talking about classical – I have not had issues with the recordings I have. My learning is more with rock and pop recordings. Like listening to a Polydor double CD box set of Jimi Hendrix’s greatest tracks. Now this is the first time Sonic has really heard Hendrix. Genius of the guitar he was, while his finger work could be lightning fast, he didn’t play fast for its own sake. He could play slow too, a few notes yet with them create emotion and colour. Jimi’s singing was an acquired taste like Bob Dylan’s voice. There is a lot of bass on the CD too.

The soundstage of the stereo tracks were psychedelic – instruments and voices in odd places – like “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” (one track Sonic likes) has Jimi’s voice image pretty far off to the left and rear of the stage, with instruments panned about with phasey wooshes. Sonic knows that this sort of stage is the producer’s art, and I should not imagine the rock groups – Hendrix, Yes, CSN – were recorded on a live concert stage with a Blumlein microphone set up or expect their recordings to sound this way. This is not how the producers recorded this but I should just enjoy the sound panorama in front of me.

Now some Tuning to make the bass more realistic and emphasize a pressure zone or two.

Sonic might also untwist the T3s and T2s down their whole length the way Michael advises instead of every six inches or so as I have done.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:59 am


Greetings Zonees

Sonic thinks I might have succeeded in flattening out the bass in my system. With the X-30, the Magneplanar MG1.5QR panels have a -3dB roll off at 60hz which removes both then lower end anomalies where the bass below that is uneven due to the room and placement. Removing the bottom most notes also reduces stress on the main amplifier.

The Janis W-1 subwoofer system needs to “connect” perfectly to the main system, which is where Sonic had difficulty in earlier attempts which used corner placement for the subwoofer box. Now there are 3 controls on the X-30 to achieve this connection – phase, subwoofer upper cutout frequency (where the subwoofer’s upper contribution is rolled off) and overall subwoofer level.

Phase is easy. Set a reasonable level and play some music with repetitive thumping music. Here disco may be handy. Spin the Phase dial quickly and leave it at the point where the bass is loudest/fullest. You can do this at the position of the x-30 crossover not needing to sit in the listening seat and have someone do the spinning.

For optimum connection between the Janis W-1 subwoofer system and the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs, Sonic worked on this using Bert Jansch's wonderful album Jack Orion. On the first track -- Waggoner’s Lad -- there are foot taps by Jansch as he plays the banjo in this banjo-guitar duet with John Renbourn. Now foot taps are not that low in frequency so they can be used to set the upper frequency limit of the subwoofer operating range.

Sonic set the Frequency knob of the x-30 to where the foot taps were too loud, then backed off till they were about right, and trimmed in the Level.

Then I played other music with precise bass balance as a check – Sonic used Schubert’s Trout Quintet which has a double bass playing under the cello line sometimes doubling an octave lower, sometimes counterpointing. At the right playback volume (and this is important), the Quintet is beautifully balanced on playback.

Then some Schmelzer – again getting the playback level right and the music was good in Sonic’s room. By this, I means not too loud or soft – remember the setting of the Janis W-1 subwoofer level and frequency is a combination or set up that is related to playback level so that takes in the Fletcher Munson characteristics.

The system sounds very good tonight Very Happy

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning My Musical Journey   Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:57 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

It is now DAY 8 of Sonc’s return to nearfield and the system has been settling with lots of CD play. Not to say the system is completely settled.  Now here is something Sonic did to strengthen the front Pressure Zone at the windows – one thing that glass windows are is they act as a high pass filter and therefore “leaky”.  Bass is let out while mids and treble are reflected back into the room.

To help deal with this and de facto strengthen the pressure zone in this area, Sonic did this:



With this Tune, the middle soundstage images improved in focus, girth and resonance but not in volume and didn’t move in space given that this system is free from the nasty Banana Soundstage.  By “resonance” Sonic means richness in tone like the resonant richness of a Martin Herringbone D28 with forward shifted braces – that kind of deep resonance.

Now with this Tune, which is likely to be adopted, Sonic has emptied my closet of Michael Green acoustic tuning gear – all pillow products, panel products and PZ control products have been used up.

“And to good effect” says Sonic! Sonic is also noticing that the images of voices and instruments in the soundstage are larger than before for a given volume level.

I do have a box full of 30 Space Cones and still have no idea how to make them fulfill the promise Michael built into them.  Michael – your thoughts on where I can start with these to bring out more "bigness" and harmonics?
 
Sonic
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