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 Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback

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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:50 am

Hello Michael and Zonees

This week, a Test, a Realisation and a Tune.

A Test
Sonic is testing one more computer audio device from iFi Audio to deal with dirty USB earths. This is the iDefender 3.0. It is claimed on their product webpage to:

“To be used directly at the Source such as the PC usb port, it breaks ground loops and cuts the noisy USB power line. From computer audiophiles, musicians, home studio artists to pro audio customers, it improves audio playback quality at home and on-the-go.

Break the noisy USB power, but in the correct way
There are more than a few products that break the USB power connection, but of the ones known to us, they do very little because the noisy ground connection remains.

For DACs that do not use USB power (except for handshake) the iDefender3.0® breaks the ground connection eliminating earth loops, while allowing normal handshake operation to continue. So in terms of cutting out the noise, it does it in the most comprehensive way possible while at the same time, in an electrically correct way.”


This way is how iFi Audio recommends it can work with an iSilencer 3.0:



The red USB stick is the iDefender 3.0, the black USB stick is the iSilencer 3.0 which has proven beneficial.

On early listening, it gives a more even and perhaps deeper bass, yet something in the life and vitality of the musick is reduced.  However, since it lifts earths and cuts voltages this means the whole electrical balance in the system has changed and settling has to take place.  Sonic has 7 days in which I can decide to keep the device or return it.

After three hours of musick play, the sound appears to be regaining some vitality.  Let’s see what we get after 20 hours of musick play time.

A Realisation
As Sonic explored the Tune with its use of inexpensive equipment like the Samsung and the Magnevox DVD players, integrated amps and such to create wonderful music, what Sonic has learned along the way is that audio equipment – source equipment, amps, speakers and things like cables – can be generally classified four ways:

a.     Too Cheap to be Good – this is stuff made for the lowest possible price, to function and not fail in a way that breaks laws are attracts lawsuits. An example might the $10 DVD players available in supermarkets whose video and audio output is just recognizable and skips if you sneeze on the device when it is running.  

b.     Too Cheap to be Bad – this is where the Tuneable stuff is.  Here is gear designed to a price point and done to conventional and solid engineering principles. There is no budget for exotic materials or pseudo-technology.  This where good honest sound resides. With Tuning, this type of gear can see off the mega-buck stuff.  

c.     Too Expensive to be Good – here we go to the world of the audiophile high-end where things cost a lot, with prices justified by use of exotic materials, often fringe technologies and solutions created for problems that may not exist. Examples? Go look in any audiophile magazine.

d.     Expensive Recreations  -- this would be things like field coil loudspeakers, Western Electric horns recreated, amplifiers from yesteryear.  There is some good sound here (yes, has Sonic heard a WE horn replica) though the prices of these recreations can be insane.

In the case of Too Expensive to be Good what you get are sounds that are different.  I have attended tests where cables costing $100 per stereo run were swapped for some costing $2000 per stereo run.  In these non-blind tests there were noticeable differences consistently described by the test participants.  

Does different = better?

Different might be pleasing or more in line with our expectations of what we want our systems to sound like but  Accurate it won’t necessarily.

A Tune
Sonic has known that my lower table that carries the Aune x1s and the Quicksilver preamp has a small rock due to an unevenness in the floor.  I got down to fixing it with a thin shim of wood from Michael some time ago. Got confusing results – which table leg Sonic put the shim under affected the sound -- one emphasized the midbass at lot. Those who know what certain Apogee ribbon speakers sound like will recognize the sound. The other leg shimmed made for a clearer and punchy sound that could sound exciting but was an unaccustomed sound from the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs.



The table legs that need shimming is the Right front or Left rear.  The amount of shimming needed is something like 1/32” or less and both ways a spirit-level will show the table to be as good as level. Surprising how much difference in sound results from which table leg is shimmed!

This will be revisited once Sonic completes testing the iDefender 3.0.

Sonic

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:53 am


Progress with the iDefender 3.0 and Learnings about Magneplanars

After about 25 hours of music play time, the iDefender 3.0 is beginning to sound like it has a place in Sonic’s system. I can think of a way how to Tune the assembly of the computer audio gadgets from iFi Audio. If the iDefender 3.0 is retained, which should become clear in 50 hours of music play time, Sonic will attempt that Tune.

As Sonic was helping a new Magneplanar owner position speakers, I noticed that the manufacturer Magnepan recommends different placements for different models of their products even though all Magneplanars are essentially the same speaker just scaled up or down in size, except the MG20 series where the bass section are push-pull (that has magnet panels on both sides of the mylar diaphragm, making it hard to repair should delamination occur – Sonic was told there are owners have had to bin their delaminated MG20 bass sections in this town and buy new ones. I don’t know the circumstances around this and why the Magneplanar representative could not provide repair.)

Some examples from the various Owners Manuals on the Magnepan website:

MG1.5QR – tweeters inboard, centre of speaker panel to be on axis with listener’s ears

MG1.6QR – tweeters outboard, centre of speaker panel to be on axis with listener’s ears

MG1.7QR – owners to experiment with tweeter inboard or outboard, the edge nearest the tweeters should be angled such that it is angled to be on axis with the listener’s ears. Do not place speakers parallel to the wall behind them.

MG12 -- tweeters outboard, centre of speaker panel to be on axis with listener’s ears

MMG – no guidance

Mini Maggies – tweeter outboard, centre of speaker panel to be on axis with the listener’s ears

MG3.6/R – owners to experiment with tweeter panels inboard or outboard, the listener’s ears to be off axis of the tweeters by 5 to 10 degrees

MG3.7 -- owners to experiment with tweeter panels inboard or outboard, inboard preferred. The edge nearest the tweeters should be angled such that it is on axis with the listener’s ears (as with the MG1.7)

MG20.1 – owners to experiment with tweeter panels inboard or outboard. Tweeters to be on axis with the listener’s ears

MG20.7 – tweeters inboard, centre of speaker panel on axis with listener’s ears. Do not place speakers parallel to the wall behind them.

Curious isn’t it Question

Interesting that Magnepan says in their website FAQs that “A new type of amplifier (Class D) has become more popular because it is a "green" design and uses less power plus it is smaller in size compared to conventional amplifier designs. We have heard reports of Class D amplifiers shutting down when driving 4 ohm loads or sound quality that is less-than-desirable. Quite frankly, some sound very poor on Maggies. However, more recent designs of high-end models are much better. Because we do not have the time to determine which models of Class D designs are compatible with Maggies, we must take a conservative approach. Direct-coupled, Class A/B designs with high current capability have proven a good choice for many decades.”

In relation to the Mini Maggies, Magnepan says “We have been disappointed in the little, inexpensive Class D amplifiers.”

For all the hand-wringing, in the end the best sounding placement of these Magneplanars was to forget about the instructions and place the panels with a tiny toe-in, effectively no toe-in.

Now the owner is planning to damp the back wave with blankets. Sonic advises caution....

Sonic

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:33 am

Greetings Zonees

This week a few things were done in terms of Tuning by Sonic.
[/color]
The table was shimmed – I used a very thin sliver of wood from Michael and placed under the front right leg of the table carrying the Quicksilver preamp and the Aune x1s.  This was in an earlier test showing the sound to become warmer than if Sonic had shimmed the diagonally opposite table let, which made the sound more analytical. The difference in the end between appears small.

Recently, Sonic had improved the device to hang the DecoTune that is over the listening chair.  I had this made out of coated wood.



Sonic tried this to Tune the assembly of the iDefender 3.0, iSilencer 3.0 and USB cable:



This combination of Low Tone Redwood, Resitone rod and MW from Michael works well giving improved imaging, a sweeter treble and a stronger Tonal Centre of Gravity.  However, I am beginning to hear that after a week of lots of settling, the introduction of the iDefender 3.0 may have introduced a degree of what Michael calls “fixed sound” into the system.  To Sonic’s ears this means recordings are beginning to sound the same way which did not happen up to the introduction of the iSilencer 3.0.  This needs to be tested next week.

As Sonic continues to read of the great span of things from Jean Hiraga, I found these two pictures on 6Moons –
http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/hiraga/hiraga.html  -- showing him with a system using his JH MS 15 Coaxial High Efficiency Monitor Systems loudspeaker (that is a story in itself – read on)  study

The set up is rather curious – look at how the speakers are placed, what's behind them and the use of what looks like heavy damping behind the listening chair where Hiraga is seated.





There is some logic in putting damping behind the listener like that – it can be argued that in a filled concert hall, the area around and behind a listener will be damped by all the bodies of the audience, while the stage area and proscenium will be acoustically live.  The point and perhaps flaw in the logic might be that a home listening room and a concert hall are very different things.

Sonic is now finding that my system is now very musically satisfying. I just keep spinning records (mostly) and playing FLAC files for serious listening. The only thing else I can think of doing in respect of more tuning my system is to replace the capacitors in the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs’ crossover – using the same values but improved devices from Mundorf, the MCap SUPREME – and maybe the inductors too.

If that turns out as good as what other Magneplanar owners say about crossover upgrades, then Sonic might have reached the point that I can make the considered claim that the “Tune is Done”  cheers

Then there is always the next level….. Very Happy

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:07 am


The Next Step Considered

Sonic thinks the Next Step to take before any thoughts on further steps about Tuning, improvements to my system or calling everything to a Halt after which Sonic becomes just a collector of music/poetry is this: to first refresh/upgrade the capacitors in the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs.

Sonic recalls how the underpowered and likely degraded performance of the Rega Maia amp (a competent device when properly matched to the speakers it is called upon to drive) sent me in tuning circles for a couple of years. I only broke out of the circle with the Parasound A21 which instantly fixed all the artifacts that came from the improperly matched amp. This has shown Sonic something never to be forgotten. See my posts from the end of December 2016 and the start of January on this thread.

There is a colouration in the midrange which Sonic cannot tune out. What if the cause is degraded capacitors?

My Magneplanar MG1.5QRs are at the most about 20 years old, no younger than 15 years. By now the Solen capacitors must have gone off-spec which means everything from the crossover point to who knows what else has drifted. When a Magneplanar owner Sonic knows changed his aging capacitors in his Magneplanar MG1.6QRs to Hovland capacitors (same values), the soundstage became more specific, treble extension restored, midrange opened up and the bass was subjectively up in level.

It is logical that this step of refreshing the capacitors should be done before taken before anything else is decided.

Sonic will start sourcing the Mundorf MCap capacitors and whatever else may be needed and the work will probably be carried out in the week after Easter.

Sonic
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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:15 pm

Hi Sonic,

Regarding the caps in your Magneplanars, I would think that replacing them would be a good idea. I replaced the stock coupling caps in my Elekit TU-879S with VCaps and the results were nothing but positive. That being said, that is my only experience so far with cap replacements so you should take my opinion with a little bit of salt.

Since it sounds like you're already going ahead with it, I'll be interested to hear how it turns out. Smile
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:14 am

Greetings Bill333

Thanks for visiting and the comment. My capacitor project has hit a snag....see what happened.  We persevere nevertheless


Putting an Idea from Michael to Work

Michael said recently that the Pressure Zone we should prioritise on tuning is the one round our head at the listening position over the ones at the front wall behind the loudspeakers.  Mr Green remarked that it is natural though for us to focus on the front wall because it is what we see ahead of us.

Putting this idea into practice, Sonic found this setting changed my system. Got a nicely expanded soundstage (sometimes surround).





To do this, Sonic moved the pair of FS-DTs from the side walls (see my post of February 24 on this thread) and placed one to each side of my listening chair parallel to the side walls.  

Zonees might ask Sonic “Did you not try this before and reported failure?”

Yes, Sonic did try Michael’s products near the BookCase Wall and true, every attempt failed TILL NOW.

What I did back then was to follow the example of other Zonees who placed FS-DRTs at the wall behind their listening chairs – in every case where I tried and failed, the FS-DRTs/FS-DTs were set angled outwards and they were always set touching the BookCase Wall in an effort to trap Pressure Zones – that means they were behind my head.

This time, they are set a bit more than a foot out from the BookCase Wall making the vertical centre lines of the FS-DTs ahead of my ears when seated at the listening chair.

With this placement an audible Pressure Zone is now building round me, the bass is huge, punchier and (I think) goes lower than I ever got from my Magneplanar MG1.5QRs without compromising anything else.

By compromising Sonic means the Magneplanars can, like any speaker, can be made to sound bassy by pushing them towards the corners but the soundstage is gone, there is a recessed middle, the midrange is muddy and the bass is boomy and disconnected from the music.

With the FS-DTs placed like so, this is good  Very Happy

It is very good!

In the meantime, as for the change of Magneplanar MG1.5QR crossover capacitors Sonic has hit two snags which mean a delay in installation.

a.          the Mundorf MCap Supremes of the same values (10 uF and 15 uF) as those in the stock crossover are available but they are the size of toilet rolls.  They are not going to fit in the same position as the old caps which sit in a cutout in the panel.  If Sonic were to use the Mundorfs, extension cables will have to be soldered and the caps sit on some sort of outboard assembly which is something I want to avoid.

b.          the standard caps are Solens.  If I kept to the same values, the caps are a drop-in fit but while 10uF is available, 15 uF is not available at the store. Sonic is not going to parallel the caps using 10uF + 4.7 uF to get near 15 uF.  To me this is a bad idea.  So it is more sourcing or special ordering.  Maybe I can order the Solen Fast Capacitor Film and Foil Silvers which reportedly sound better than the Mundorfs.

Installation in the next two weeks is out of the question.

Sonic


Last edited by Michael Green on Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added details, correct typos)
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:45 am


Greetings Zones!

Nice video of Japanese audio – see the loudspeaker lifting sling!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8MrNKmBBEo

And see how the speakers have been wrapped for shipping. Japanese attention to detail at its best!

Sonic also saw this video of this Japanese audiofan who has some illness that requires him to walk tethered to a breathing apparatus.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbejtNqFg60

Is it not telling that in our love and quest for audio perfection we are at the same time walking into the fading light?

Sonic been spinning LPs – Vincent Persichetti, Concerto for Piano Four Hands op. 56 (Vincent and Dorothea Persichetti – Colombia Masterworks), Paul Creston, Sonata for Saxophone and Piano Op 19 (V Abato and P Creston, Colombia Masterworks), Ikuma Dan, Symphony No. 3/Teizo Matsumura, Crytogame (King Record Co, Japan) and Delalande, Symphonies/Mouret, Fanfares and Symphonies (A Scherbaum, trumpet/Orch de Chambre Paul Keuntz, P Kuentz cond. – Archiv Produktion).

Also heard Copland’s Appalachian Spring performed by St Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, David Russell Davies cond.

All great musick all this!

It appears that the Magneplanar MG1.5QR capacitor project has a chance to go ahead on schedule. Sonic found a source of Jantzen Z-Superior capacitors in the values needed for the crossover. On Monday, Sonic will connect up with them and check the sizes. If they are the right dimensions, we got a “Go”.

A DIY audio fan Sonic heard from said that degraded caps can mess up the balance of a speaker seriously. One effect is odd effects and emphasis in the midrange. Sonic, learning from my experience with from the Rega Maia/Parasound A21 experience, will take as many steps within reason to get this refresh done because otherwise I will never be sure Sonic has tuned out or in or against a sound that had started out wrong. We persevere.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:04 am


Greetings Zonees

Sonic finds that the Jantzen Z-Superior capacitors are available in 15uF but not 10uF.

Now this does indeed halt Sonic’s recapping project for now…

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:53 am

Easter Greetings!

Tuning the Parasound A21 - Day 1

With the capacitor project delayed, Sonic got down to removing the lid of the Parasound A21, cracking screws and cutting cable ties.

The cover was interestingly not bolted down as tightly as some amps I have encountered.

The innards look like this:



This is after the cable ties, numbering some 11, have been cut by Sonic and where possible bunched wires were separated from each other. Observing the complexity of the amp, cracking of internal screws related to the circuit boards will not be attempted.

On powering up and giving a few hours of warm up Sonic noticed the bass character has changed – the low end was somewhat louder and while not appearing more extended, the sound appears to now have a slightly better foundation. Let’s see what happens with settling.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:04 am



Tuning the Parasound A21 – Day 3

On Day 2 the system had some 15 hours settling in addition to the seven hours or so of Day 1, and the bass is enlarging, maybe there is now some extra reach downwards and improvement in impact.

I next started cracking all the external bolts that I could access without having to upend the amp.

Then on Day 3 another 20 hours of settling and Sonic found the bass fuller and more articulate – meaning the musical line being played by the low tone instruments is more evident. When playing a FLAC file of Zakir Hussein and the Rhythm Machine, the drums are now larger and projecting. Much better!

Sonic, as a next step, powered the amp down at the end of today’s listening, loosened the screws and bolts on the back panel then upended the amp and cracked/loosened all the bottom screws. The only bolt that is still tight is the one relating to the toroidal transformer. Let’s see where this freeing up takes the sound in a couple of days.

Yes, that transformer – the single item that gives the amp so much of its 60 lbs weight….

Sonic



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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:35 pm


Tuning the Parasound A21 – Day 6

At Day 6, the Parasound A21 is sounding great – lots of power in reserve giving startling transients and slam with excellent bass control. Mr Green strikes again – the cutting of cable ties and loosening of bolts has freed up the sound so Sonic is getting more of what the Parasound A21 is already good at.

Research been done by Sonic into the Parasound A21’s transformer and I think tuning that object is to be avoided. The transformer appears to be set in epoxy inside a metal can (see the pix in my post of April 18). This is a 1,200VA encapsulated toroidal transformer and likely cannot be separated from the can. Looking at comparable encapsulated toroids, on the underside there is a “fitting” which allows a central bolt to thread through the amplifier bottom plate to lock the transformer assembly to the chassis.

If any Zonees have removed a Parasound amp’s encapsulated transformer of any comparable model and found it to be different from what Sonic has inferred, please let me know.

In addition to the central bolt, the metal can (which acts as a electromagnetic interference shield) is also screwed down at the circumference to the chassis and there is a grounding wire attached to one of the screws. Given the function of the metal can, loosening the screws at the circumference is likely to produce effects unanticipated and possibly retrogressive.

The other thing that can be tuned is to slightly loosen the clamps holding the power supply caps which are Rubycons.

That’s about as far as Sonic would go. Attempting more tuning than this will be unwise.

In case someone is wondering, while Sonic is still working on refreshing the Magneplanar MG.5QRs’ crossover capacitors but I am not thinking of changing the capacitors in the Parasound A21.

Sonic has had to temporarily return the FS-DTs from their new placement on both sides of my listening chair (see my post of April 7) back to their previous positions at the side walls (see my post of February 24). This is because with the FS-DTs near me, I can hear some hardness coming off the walls just ahead of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs which is where the FS-DTs were. This means the speakers are now becoming locatable as sources of the sound. Sonic found this outweighed the improvement in dimensionality from the FS-DTs at the two sides of the listening chair.

Tuning on (“there is always the next level” sayeth Michael), Sonic is planning a revamp of my mains supply system next week. I’ll post more on the idea and the results in the next week.

Sonic

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:35 am




Cartridges, cartridges….

At the rate Sonic is playing LPs with the Ortofon 2M Blue I would be due for a stylus change in the next two months or so. That will be a time to make some changes if Sonic wants to. There are 4 Ideas:

Idea 1: The lowest cost and easiest option: get a new Ortofon 2M Blue replacement stylus, fit it and keep on spinnin’ the LPs. All things being equal, this will come with a guarantee of a 100% success though no improvement though no possibility of failure either.

Idea 2: Sonic could change the Ortofon 2M Blue for an Ortofon 2M Black. Apart from the expense, this is almost certain to be successful with the promise of improvement of better tonality and tracing. It will have the Ortofon 2M family sound while doing everything the Blue does well but better.

The thing is that while the Ortofon 2Ms are lovely sounding, Sonic is starting to hear what people mean when calling them “polite sounding”. Yet on many LPs, the Ortofon 2M Blue is capable of presenting music beautifully as this moment when I am listening to ballads, motets, rondeaus and virelais by Guilliame de Machault (Capella Lipsiensis – Dietrich Knothe cond. Philips 6580 026).

One thing that Sonic won’t do is to get the Ortofon 2M Bronze. This is the Next Level Ortofon 2M engine with the Bronze stylus assembly. I have heard comments of the Bronze that makes me conclude that it sits in a limbo between the Blue and Black. It appears to be not as good as the Black and not that much better than the Blue.

The other thing that somewhat worries Sonic is that the Black’s Shibata stylus needs to have it setting spot-on and it can be unforgiving of vinyl noise.

Idea 3: There is the Dynavector 20x2 Low o/p MC which my phono stage will accommodate with the flick of a few DIP switches for phonostage gain and input impedance. This MC is known for its lively presentation, punch, PRAT while retaining good tonality. I won’t go for any high output MCs, thinking Sonic does that they are compromised designs.

Idea 4: Then there is which is what Bill333 (thanks Bill333 cheers) pointed out to Sonic -- the Well Tempered TLC which is a MM cartridge, actually a Nagaoka MP150 modified by Dynavector to specs/requirements set by Well Tempered Labs. It is priced around the Ortofon 2M Black.

To Sonic, Idea 1 would be the most effortless choice and if I really wanted a change then its Idea 4. Even if for some reason Sonic went for the Ortofon 2M Black, the idea of replacement styli is good which is less expensive than buying a whole new cartridge every year or more (after about 1,000 hours of use) which Sonic will then have to be set up again in the arm from scratch.

After the Guilliame de Machault LP, Sonic is listening to Sonatas for Cello and Piano – Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in G minor Op 19 and Shostakovich Cello Sonata Op 40 – George/Portugheis Duo (Unicorn LP UNS 342).

Sonic

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:47 pm

Sonic sent me this in an email, giving me permission to post it here.

Hey Michael

Great pix of the set up at AXPONA. Looks like you all had a lot of fun!

Given the limitations of the room and the short set up time, how was the sound of the Audio Note speakers with the Audiolici gear? [really how was it?]

What did visitors say of the sound?

What were the interconnects, speaker cables and mains cables?

I was expecting Bare Essence and Picassos to be in use. Why these?

__________________________________________________________________________________

Here it is again with my answers

Great pix of the set up at AXPONA. Looks like you all had a lot of fun!



Given the limitations of the room and the short set up time, how was the sound of the Audio Note speakers with the Audiolici gear? [really how was it?]

mg

This would be a question for Drewster and Harold, being I was back here in Vegas manning the internet operations during the show.

What did visitors say of the sound?

mg

Again they would have to address this, but I was told musical and not overly analytical.

What were the interconnects, speaker cables and mains cables?

mg

Audio Note (interconnects) Audio Note (speaker cables) Transparent Audio (power cables)

I was expecting Bare Essence and Picassos to be in use. Why these?

mg

You got me Rolling Eyes . Laughing No really, I think the show creeped up on Coop way faster than he thought it would and with it being his first trade show, with his own room, all the things that come along with trade show learning curves hit him I'm sure.

Let me give you a little show break down.

Back last fall we decided that all wood production needed to be moved to Vegas so that we didn't have to try to get the same results in the east as we do in the west (naturally). It was becoming too costly to have the products shipped back and forth among other reasons. By January we didn't have most of our product SKUs in stock mode, so the planned show system put together and tweak (Harold learning the particular system) never happened. That month we also had the move to the new TuneLand Vegas, the CES and too many other irons on the fire to adequately build the full MGA show system.

Because of this the decision was made to turn the room into half display and half listening using a broad range of Sound Consultant products. Turned out pretty cool I think and represented a larger scope of Sound Consultant's product selections.

You might even say Harold pulled off a spectacular first show appearance. cheers WOW cheers

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:41 am

Thanks Michael for the AXPONA background Very Happy

Coop -- what were the Audio Note cables and the Transparent power cable? Why did you use them instead of Picassos and Bare Essence?
How would you describe their sound in that system with the Audolici and the AN/Es  Question  

Zonees -- Sonic has started my steps to rationalise/Tune my electrical supply and one finding has been found: my Parasound A21 has an electrical earth lift switch and by throwing it, the earthing of the amp through the mains wire is disconnected and the amp grounds through the interconnects to whichever piece of equipment in the audio system is grounded (or the whole system floats).

Throwing the switch to lift the Parasound A21's earth reduces the bass weight and the low end goes thin....

More tomorrow on what Sonic is doing with the mains layout.

Sonic  
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:56 am

Tuning the Power Delivery System

Till now Sonic has run my system off three 15 amp outlets and one 13 amp outlet within my room like so:

Outlet 1(13 amp non-dedicated/ring mains): to the ASUS laptop computer playing the FLAC files off the hard disk.

Outlet 2 (15 amp dedicated line): to a mains power strip supplied by Michael and modified by Sonic feeding the AUNE x1s, Rega P5, Pro-ject Tube Box S, Quicksilver preamp, JVC Nivico SEA 10

Outlet 3 (15 amp dedicated line): to the Parasound A21

Outlet 4 (15 amp uncertain if it is dedicated or ring mains): to a lightweight plastic power strip feeding Audio Technica AT 120LP, Pro-ject phono stage (non-tube)

Sonic realized I could fit everything except the ASUS laptop and the Parasound A21 into the power strip plugged into Outlet 2.

This was done after applying some Tangram skills from Sonic to fit all the wall warts and Hubbell plugs into the power strip from Mr Green. And they fitted!

So the system is now run off three outlets – one 13 amp ring mains and two 15 amp dedicated lines:

To wit:

Outlet 1(13 amp non-dedicated/ring mains): to the ASUS laptop computer playing the FLAC files off the hard disk.

Outlet 2 (15 amp dedicated line): to a power strip supplied by Michael modified by Sonic feeding the AUNE x1s, Rega P5, Pro-ject Tube Box S, Quicksilver preamp, Japan Victor Company JVC Nivico SEA 10, Audio Technica AT 120LP, Pro-ject phono stage.

It looks like this:



Outlet 3 (15 amp dedicated line): mains cable to the Parasound A21

The first impression that Sonic gets is there is somewhat more bass, weight and foundation. Better still, after four hours of music play I am getting a nicely defined 3D central soundstage particularly with analog LPs. Sounds good  Very Happy

If Sonic applied more of my Tangram skills I might be able to wire the ASUS laptop such that it can be fed from the Outlet 2 power strip which will simplify the power supple feed even more. Though I wonder if it is a good idea given the back-EMF grunge that laptops are said to put back into the mains which then will have an easy path to the other gear through the same mains power strip distribution.

Then what about the electrical earth  Question  This system is earthed three ways: ASUS Power Supply, Quicksilver single point earth for both TTs, two phono stages, AUNE x1s, JVC Nivico SEA-10. The third earth is the grounding of the Parasound A21 itself through its mains cable – which Sonic got to discover yesterday that lifting this earth causes the bass to get anemic.

Sonic  

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PostSubject: Regarding the cables at AXPONA   Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:27 pm

Sonic.beaver wrote:
Thanks Michael for the AXPONA background Very Happy

Coop -- what were the Audio Note cables and the Transparent power cable? Why did you use them instead of Picassos and Bare Essence?
How would you describe their sound in that system with the Audolici and the AN/Es  Question  

Zonees -- Sonic has started my steps to rationalise/Tune my electrical supply and one finding has been found: my Parasound A21 has an electrical earth lift switch and by throwing it, the earthing of the amp through the mains wire is disconnected and the amp grounds through the interconnects to whichever piece of equipment in the audio system is grounded (or the whole system floats).

Throwing the switch to lift the Parasound A21's earth reduces the bass weight and the low end goes thin....

More tomorrow on what Sonic is doing with the mains layout.

Sonic  

Hi Sonic!

The Transparent Power Cord was the High Performance Power Link, the Audio Note cables the Lexus - high purity copper in the same geometry as used in their most expensive silver cable the SOGON.  The use of them was primarily as Michael said - no time, so I had to use what I had on hand and the Transparent cable was loaned to me by them.  The sound was very open and musical, very wide sound stage, not fatiguing at all.  There was not much depth due to the Audio Notes requiring being against the wall, and the bass was also weak since we did not have real corners to put them in. I burned all of this in in my little corner in the basement and it sounded wonderful!  The show setup was certainly compromised, but we got a lot of great comments and I sold some equipment as a result, so overall, not bad!
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:52 pm

Not bad Laughing I still can't believe you pulled this off Exclamation

Think about it, you went from this (that's Andy Staub in the mirror)



to this



in a couple of hours.

That's pretty darn impressive Exclamation

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:48 am

Tuning the USB System...and Listening to Musick

The simplified power system is good – good tone on both analog and digital.  

Now Sonic felt I should attempt again the use of a second iSilencer 3.0 with my computer front end. It did not earlier work as described in my March 17 post (on this thread). Now it does.  What has changed?  

Last time, Sonic just plugged the second iSilencer 3.0 into an unused USB socket on the other side of the laptop.  This time, I used a process to set up the computer to output audio through that USB socket as well – so now the USB cable + iSilencer 3.0 Unit 1 goes into one “dedicated” USB socket and the iSilencer 3.0 Unit 2 goes into the other “dedicated” USB socket.

The iDefender 3.0 (the red device that Sonic used between the iSliencer 3.0 and the USB cable) – see my post of March 24 on this thread – has been reassigned to clean up Sonic’s other audio system in another part of my dwelling.

This simple set up in the other part of Sonic’s dwelling uses a laptop to play FLAC files through the Rogers LS3/5As. The DAC is a Schiit Modi 2 USB powered DAC. Now the iDefender 3.0 breaks the dirty, dirty 5V from the laptop by injecting clean 5V DC from the iPower wall wart via a micro USB port in the side of the iDefender 3.0. The iPower (from iFi Audio) is claimed to exhibit 1uV of noise compared to a supposed 1,000 uV of noise from generic power supplies.  The iPower claims to also have the company’s Active Noise Cancellation technology to achieve this result. It has a rating of 5V and 2.5A capability while the Modi 2 draws just 120mA so lots of headroom available. There is now better sense of “hear into/hear through” from the LS3/5A system.

Sonic has been spinning LPs – Mozart’s Linz symphony (Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Josef Krips cond.), The Best of the Animals (Eric Burdon has a very expressive voice), Benjamin Britten – Early Chamber Music (D Wickens - oboe, J Constable - piano, The Gabrieli String Quartet, K Essex - viola) and Mahler’s First Symphony (London Philharmonic Orch, Sir Adrian Boult cond.)    

This might surprise Zonees but this LP is Sonic’s first listen to a Mahler symphony – I have a record of one of his chamber works but except on one occasion in the last decade, Sonic has never heard a Mahler symphony.  This LP was on sale at a nice price so I went for it. Gustav Mahler has quite a fan base worldwide including a chapter of the Gustav Mahler Society in my town.  Sonic is attempting to find out something about the reason for the popularity of his works.

Sonic has heard my first Mahler symphony through, from start to finish – dramatic it is. The recording has some dynamics on Side 2 that the Parasound A21 gives jumps  Shocked   and the Ortofon 2M Blue delivers the dynamics in the recording without mistracking…which might answer my question of what to do when the stylus of the Ortofon 2M Blue reaches its time for a change. Gustav Mahler….there might be something here.

Sonic



Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Mon May 01, 2017 2:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected typo)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue May 02, 2017 9:23 am

A Big Difference

If Zonees look at my December 2, 2016 post on this thread you'll see that with the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs in a forward position (closer to the listening chair) and the use of the degraded, possibly failing Rega amp, Sonic needed +6dB to +8dB of boost at 40hz from the JVC (Japan Victor Company) SEA-10 equaliser to have an acceptable bass extension without a subwoofer.

Now five months on with the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs at 57 inches from the front wall instead of about twice that in December and with the system powered by the 400W into 4 ohms of the Parasound A21, Sonic thought I should report on the boost now required with the JVC SEA-10.

To sound tonally in balance Sonic needs 0dB (JVC Sound Effect Amplifier-10 bypassed) or up to +2dB at 40hz.  Very Happy  Shocked  Smile

What a change compared to the +6dB to +8dB of before  Exclamation  

This applies to both digital and analog material.

Sonic  
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Fri May 05, 2017 9:22 am

Greetings Zonees!

Through this week Sonic has been doing lots of listening about 50/50 vinyl and FLAC. Been enjoying the variety of musick I am listening to – ethnic, atonal electronic, baroque, renaissance, 20th century classical and jazz. The sound is excellent  Very Happy

Right now it is Jacques Loussier Trio playing Bach (FLAC). The Trio is filling the room – with the setting of the JVC Nivico SEA-10 at +2dB at 40 hz – the bass is shakin’ things up.

Along the way Sonic read this from Robert E Greene as he commented on the Ariston Icon in The Abso!ute Sound Issue 57 ages ago (I collected quite a few of the pre-issue 70 editions of the TAS and can see how this publication shaped a whole audiophile mindset for better or otherwise.)

REG says: “I went straight from 20 years of an occasionally modified classic AR turntable to the Sota to recently the Nakamichi TX-1000….I am a firm believer in the importance of vinyl damping by mat or otherwise. Indeed in a quiet table with stable speed under load,vinyl damping is arguably the main determiner of turntable sound. In any case, I found it hard to get sound as “dead” as I wanted to. “Dead” in this context is the kind you are grateful for; I don’t like resonances spuriously livening up the music. In some parts pf Scotland, it seems that this artificial liveliness is considered exciting and dynamic.”

Sonic thinks Dr Greene is referring to a certain Scottische manufacturer whose products all have the letter “K” in their names, whose turntables have a thin felt mat…oops  Embarassed  so do many Regas like my P5.

In  Sonic’s view, tone arms and cartridges, the vinyl record playback system is a mesh of pronounced resonances.  Turntables themselves can be heavy and dead or light in weight and somehow move resonances out of the system by coupling them away to mechanical ground without having vibes like vibrations from footsteps and environmental sources go back the other way and cause the stylus to skip. Or to destabilise the system.

The vibrations of the stylus tracking a record sets up waves that run back and forth hitting the spindle and bouncing to the record edge and back in again, over and over excited by the stylus. Tests have shown that the record dust pickup arm the Watts Dust Bug could be heard to play the grooves it was cleaning while the cartridge was playing silent grooves.

Then there are the resonances arising from the arm and the cartridge mass and the stylus' compliance – usually a resonant peak around 5 to 10 hz, plus another peak from the cartridge at >20 khz.

Sonic thinks that Robert E Greene may have a point to damp the vinyl with a mat, and the light felt mats won’t do the trick. Sonic recently as an experiment moved the rubber mat from my Audio Technica AT120LP to the Rega P5. The heights of the two mats were similar so the SRA was not too far off.

The first record played sounded OK – but when I got to the second LP, this time a dead-sounding colouration and an over-controlled midrange was clearly showing this was not working to make musick, the music having a canned and artificial quality.  In this case, the fault Sonic thinks lies not with damping as such but with uneven damping where some frequencies are controlled and some are not, the result is worse than no control at all.

So this product from Thorens might be worth a try:

Platter Mat Cork
Non-static platter mat consisting of fine granules (cork). Made to effectively suppress the typical resonance generated in vinyl records during playback as well as to provide a silent foundation.

Though cork may fragment as it ages and bits stick to the record when the mat reaches the end of its useful life….oh well, would felt fray.. Question

Thorens have a Cork+Rubber version but after my experience with the rubber mat, I would not go this way.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Sun May 07, 2017 10:25 am

A Review of the Magneplanar MG20.1s

Sonic comments: look at the picture, my window poses no problem compared to this. As for the doors on the two sides of my room, we have some things to consider.

Review starts:
In these days of large-scale custom installations, one can hardly blame Magnepan for trying to sell its products in new markets. But this is unfortunate for audiophiles -- the MG1.6es, MG3.6es and especially the MG20.1s are exquisite stereo speakers. This is not to say that they can't do home theater or mulitichannel music; Magnepan has proved the surround-sound worth of its speakers in all those CES demos. But in stereo, set up attentively and with enough good power behind them, these large panel speakers shine. The MG20.1s ended up teaching me a few things about musical reproduction, and reminding of a few others that I had forgotten.

I first came to understand the distinction between "you are there" and "they are here" in regard to music reproduction when I bought a pair Thiel CS3.6 speakers. They replaced a pair of Mirage M3si's that I owned for a few years. I grew accustomed to the big wall of sound that the Mirages cast, much of this due to their bipolar output. They weren't particularly resolving, however, which is one of the reasons I turned to the CS3.6es and their ability to extract detail from recordings.

Speakers that have a microscopic way with detail often give listeners a view into each recording -- the relationship of performers to each other and the acoustic space in which the recording was made. This is "you are there" sound; you are transported into the world of the recording. A "they are here" speaker brings the sense of space and especially the performers to your listening room, presenting the music as an end product of the recording (and equipment) and not an artifact for study itself. The Thiels were firmly "you are there" speakers, and the Mirages "they are here."







Where does this put the MG20.1s? While they are much more resolving than my old Mirages, they present music with astonishing in-room presence. They don't so much pull you into the space they are able to wrest from each recording as much as create their own facsimile of that space through the immense layered soundfield they cast. They embody the sort of realism that listeners call "spooky" -- the sense that performers are in the listening room. While much of what I've just written has become reviewing cliché -- a way of saying a product is "really, really good" -- in the case of the MG20.1s, it literally describes the experience of listening to them. They are spooky.

JVC has used the term "big mono" for its older XRCD jazz releases. It describes those recordings' ability to sound much more spread out from the center image than you might think, given their mono nature. The MG20.1s are "big mono" speakers -- "big stereo" too. The center image they create has granite-like solidity, but it is no pinpoint of sound. It spreads horizontally and vertically, creating a musical space that belies the mono nature of the recording. However, what this translates to with stereo is one of the areas in which the MG20.1s outdistances speakers I've heard other than the big Wilsons. It's not just that images are big or small depending on the recording; it's that they are believably big or small -- not in any way limited by the speaker in terms of their stature. This sense of scale coupled with "they are here" presence makes listening to the MG20.1s a nearly physical experience.

The MG20.1s have a stirring way with drums, capturing their tautness like no other speaker I've heard. The MG3.6es do this as well, but they don't go nearly as low as the MG20.1s or have the midbass heft. This can make drums sound merely taut, while the MG20.1s convey weight and depth as well. While I loved much of what the MG3.6es did, including the quality of their bass, I can't say that the low frequencies were particularly deep or powerful. If I were an owner of MG3.6es, I would accept this about them and not use the speakers with a subwoofer -- or I would save for a pair of MG20.1s, which need no excuses or help down low. The difference between the MG3.6 and MG20.1 in just this one area justifies the difference in price. At the point where the MG3.6 simply can't go any lower, the MG20.1 plows forward; when the MG3.6's ability to move air has reached overload, the MG20.1 shows no signs of strain.

There are qualitative differences as well. The tightness and speed of the MG3.6 down low come without a sense of bloom and elasticity -- exactly what the MG20.1 displays. Even when compared to dynamic speakers, the MG20.1s hold their own. While they don't have the power of the Wilson Alexandria or MAXX 2 and their large separate bass cabinets, the MG20.1 is certainly full range and notably expressive down low.

On the other end of the spectrum, the purity of Magnepan's ribbon tweeter is a revelation. The highs of some well-regarded dynamic speakers are overlaid with a fine dusting of distortion (and sometimes a heavy dusting of the same) that manifests itself as an unnatural crispness. The treble is too evident and out of alignment with the rest of the speaker's sound. With the MG20.1, there is cleanness and clarity -- from the soft "ting" and "tssshhh" of a cymbal through the propulsive blat of a trumpet -- along with effortless balance. Any crispness or highlighting are part of the music, not qualities of this extraordinary tweeter. I'll echo what I wrote about in my follow-up review of the MG3.6: "Taken on its own, the Magnepan ribbon is the very best tweeter I've heard."

Well-recorded classical music highlights another specialty of the MG20.1, which I'll call "dynamic launch," for lack of a better term. The MG201s can go from no sound to full orchestral clamor with remarkable speed and agility. Again, "spooky," especially outside the concert hall. Of course, this presumes an amplifier that is equal to the task -- in terms of sonic ability, not sheer power. While some will tell you that 200 watts are minimum for the MG20.1 and even more power is preferable, the Lamm M1.2 Reference monoblocks were the only amps I used and the ones with which I formed all of my listening impressions. These amps are rated to deliver 110 watts each into 8 ohms, but, as our measurements of them show, their actual output is 157 watts (300 watts into 4 ohms). I never reached their limit, never even pushed them hard, and the results were thrilling with all kinds of music, at all volume levels.

Of special consideration is the quality of the partnering amp's treble -- the MG20.1's ribbon tweeter will give no relief from hardness or grain that's part of the amplifier's character -- and its overall constitution. Avoid amps that are obviously soft and forgiving; the MG20.1s don't need any taming. In terms of power, while I wouldn't want to have less than 100 watts with the MG20.1s, which are rated as 86dB sensitive and a uniform 4-ohm load, after that threshold is reached, the quality of the amp has more to do with the final sonic outcome than its power reserves. I would love to hear Audio Research's Reference 210 mono amps driving MG20.1s. How about it for CES 2007?

We reviewers can be a self-absorbed lot, becoming lost in our own world, forgetting that the kind of audio gear that helps us write reviews is not necessarily what everyone should buy for long-term enjoyment. Do you want your audio system to be a tool? Heck no! It's a source of peace and participation with music, not something with which you do work. The MG20.1s are not for would-be reviewers or equipment jockeys. Other speakers, some that cost far less, can tell you more about the other products with which they are used. As transparent as the MG20.1s are through the midrange and especially the treble, they still present music their own particular way, taking over your listening room more than giving you a pristine view into everything upstream and each recording.

But that's nothing new. If you're a minimonitor or small-floorstander kind of listener because precision appeals to you, the MG20.1s will probably make you scratch your head. On the other hand, self-proclaimed Maggie guys will find all the more to love with the MG20.1s, which boil down the strengths of Magnepan speakers to their most concentrated form, banish the thought that planars can't do deep bass, and offer up some of the purest, most delicious highs you'll hear from any speaker.

Taken on its own, the Magnepan MG20.1 is as distinguished as it is unique; considered in relation to other statement-level speakers, it provides a listening experience that, even at $12,500, is downright cheap. While the MG20.1s won't be everything to every listener, in some ways there are no better speakers made today.

I arrived at these conclusions through hours and hours of listening to great music. It was a tough job, but, as they say, someone had to do it.

Marc Mickelson

marc@soundstage.com

For full article go to: http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/magnepan_mg201/index2.html
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Mon May 08, 2017 9:12 am



Re-capping the Magneplanars MG1.5QRs

Sonic got a call from my equipment supplier today – he’s able to get me 10uF Jantzen caps to go with the 15uF caps which are already available in the shop. It takes about three weeks for delivery and then I can do the re-cap of my Magneplanar MG1.5QRs.

The result of this will point the way for Sonic in relation to the MGA Lows.

The Jantzens, if they are as good as reputed, will bring Sonic’s Magneplanar MG1.5QRs up to spec and do more by making them better. Of course it could all go the other way. We shall see.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue May 09, 2017 1:43 am

Hi Sonic, may I make a suggestion.Smile

After you solder let the system sit for about an hour before sending a signal through. Then when you turn things on, keep music playing for 7 days straight without turning off. You can of course change music but try your best not to send the caps through up and down charge that first week. After that week start playing music 20 hours, next day 18 hours, next 16 and so on till you get to about 4 or 5, then try to play something everyday without skipping any days of play time. Do this for about a month and then your caps will start their long break in life.

good luck

study

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Tue May 09, 2017 12:00 pm


Thank you Michael Exclamation This is a revelation Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning a New World of Computer Audio Playback   Wed May 10, 2017 9:32 am

Alan Shaw on Tone Controls



"A crime against audio?" The audio amplifier tone control circuit?

25-06-2014, 12:25 PM

My views on the insane fad to delete tone controls (or tilt controls, or similar) in 'high-end' audio amplifiers is well documented here on HUG, so no need to remind you who will be on my list when the glorious revolution comes!

Most recent posts covering this subject are here and here.

Seriously though, where and how did this mental disorder start to ture sensible heads in the audio industry, such that rational black became irrational white? The bold fact is that the deletion of tone (and can you believe it balance controls too!) stripped useful functionality from the home listener who, living in the real world with real speakers in real rooms, with age-related hearing degradation and recordings of highly variable balance, deserves to be able to ameliorate whatever sound he has to the best possible effect. Not so in the stratospheric world of so-proclaimed high-end audio amplification.

In that game, normality ceases to apply on multiple aspects of the design. It would appear that amplifier engineers shut away in their caves, have all too often convinced themselves that loudspeakers are perfectly flat, that folk listen in anechoic-like treated rooms, that all recordings are perfectly balanced both left-right and top to bottom, that no one would be daft enough to listen to historic recordings, that surface noise is entirely welcome, that audiophiles have the high frequency hearing acuity they had at 20 (palpable nonsense), that rooms are perfectly symmetrical, that the speakers are matched to a fraction of a dB, that nobody has neighbours or wants to listen to a full-bodied sound late at night when a little bass-lift would be beneficial, that the every component in the preceding audio chain right back to the microphones are perfectly matched for level and balance across the audio range and that everybody likes exactly the same bland supermarket plonk served at the same temperature. At best, these designers are myopic, seeing the world through their weird binoculars. At worst they are devious marketeers who have manipulated common sense into a religious mantra. And we all know how that sort of dogma can get a grip and where it leads. And it's never good.

So, let's cut to the core of the bonkers issue. The tone control circuit. Is it complex? No, an amazingly efficient use of components. Is it expensive? Don't be silly - it can be implemented in a luxury form with really nice parts for a cost of perhaps $10 in a stereo amp. Is it difficult to understand? Not really. Is there any magic to it? None at all: it has the same potential for magic as the off/on switch on your vacuum cleaner. Is it a universal sort of circuit or are there an infinite number of variations? No, it's pretty universal, because what you are asking it to do in terms of bass/treble boost/cut needs a particular arrangement of components (capacitors and resistors) and can't be achieved with fewer, and it would be bad engineering to add lots of redundant component parts just to say that it was a superior design. So, in essence, the tone control circuit was conceived some 50 years ago and has not changed, nor will it change because it fulfils the function of bass/treble boost/cut precisely and efficiently. All that we've seen over the years is variation on the basic concept. The QUAD tilt control, for example, modified the action of the bass/treble controls to be more useful to shaping the response of real loudspeakers in real rooms to get the best out of the sort of real-world bass/treble balance issues that real-world recordings seem to have. But at its heart, it is merely a variation on a theme, an advancement, a new take on an old idea.

So, who can we credit for conceiving the tone control circuit? That tribute goes to the talented and innovative British engineer, Peter J. Baxendall, who conceived the arrangement of a handful of inexpensive components into a tone-shaping circuit. His obituary is here.

The genius of the Baxandall tone control is that it provides huge user functionality for a few pence worth of components, and although the original 1952 Wireless World paper is obviously written around the use of valves (tubes) as the amplification elements around which the tone controls are configured, the concept is wholly transferable to the world of discrete transistors and latterly, ICs. It is a mark of the greatness of Baxendall that he did not patent his novel invention in that way that, for example, Ray Dolby did for what is, essentially an automatic bass/treble controls in what became the Dolby noise reduction system, but gave them to the audio community for free. And absolutely no further tinkering was and is needed: the circuits worked and worked as described. They just couldn't be improved upon, to this day. Modified a little, like the QUAD tilt, but not re-engineered or improved upon, or even cost-cut. They just do the job with the very minimum of complexity, fuss and cost. Perfect, classic, textbook, engineering.

So why the hue and cry over tone controls? What possible mud can be slung at the great man and his creation?

Before we answer that we need to pause, take a deep breath and resolve an important question. It's an ugly question, and we can't shirk it. We have to face it good and square-on. And the question is this:

Are we afraid of resistors and capacitors in the audio chain?

If we are, and we see even one or two as the work of the devil incarnate, then we have a serious problem. The uncomfortable fact is that the entire audio chain from the ubiquitous capacitor microphone onward to the loudspeaker crossover is jam packed with resistors and capacitors. Hundred, thousands of them and in a long serial chain with the signal passing from one to another just like a fireman's bucket brigade, but with some leaky buckets along the line. So, why focus our fury on just one of two of those capacitor buckets? Why single out the capacitors in the tone stage as a work of evil? Why not pick the 431st capacitor bucket along the audio chain from the mic to your ear (which, guessing, happens to be in the studio mixing console treble lift tone stage for the 53rd channel microphone) or the 1347th capacitor which is buried somewhere in your CD player, in the 3897th which is in the loudspeaker crossover or any other capacitor from the first to the last?

Irrational, eh? Wholly, completely and utterly.

To be continued ....

Alan A. Shaw
Designer, owner
Harbeth Audio UK

Source:http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum/the-basic-facts-about-harbeth-owning-use/amplifiers-and-harbeths-a-summary-of-facts/2120-a-crime-against-audio-the-audio-amplifier-tone-control-circuit


Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Wed May 10, 2017 9:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added source URL)
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