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 Robert Harrison's Tunable System

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:07 am

Hi Robert,

No doubt you'll enjoy it!



jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:35 am

Also so you guys know I'm making a Sherwood case. Don't have any idea how it sounds yet (well some) but it's pretty sexy.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi Robert

Love the comments on the Audio Circle thread Laughing

The Amp is a little burned in now so I'm taking it into my little shop here to set it free. I'll let you know when it is ready for flight.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:50 am

Hey, Mr. Green,

Thanks for the update. So far, I am getting a cleaner sound with the outlet hanging free, but I must have more blockage to deal with because those walls of mine still won't give, i.e. no "guitars in the neighbors yard" yet.

Oh, wait. According to some on Audio Circle, no such thing could possibly happen anyway. Rolling Eyes

You are right on when you can guess that others are not inclined to join that forum to be your wing man, lest someone see how angry they, too, can get when provoked for no good reason. Back in your days on the AVS Forum, you had Jim Bookhard singing back-up to your lead vocals. Maybe Sonic Beaver will join the fight for freedom...freedom of signal, that is.


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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:02 am


Hi Robert

Sonic's got a fascinating journey on but wing man to Michael? Maybe, maybe not, but I see myself as just someone whose discoveries is guided by MG's views on audio.

Each time there has been a controversy, Michael has shed light and a new perspective. He is in my experience nearly always been right. High-end audio has developed a particular philosophical frame(work) and Sonic has found that once we move outside that frame(work) there is a another world.

Pressure zones, mechanical grounding, soundstage, thin cables, live rooms, simple systems. All this runs counter to so much in the magazines...it shows how we have been self-limiting in our entire approach to audio.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:30 pm

Hey, everyone,

Those checking my thread with any frequency (that's a tune joke) will hear the same old complaint, so let today be no different: I wish I had more time to spend in my media room.

Anyway, here's what I have been up to lately.

I took the electrical outlet out of the wall which I have my receiver and player hooked into.

I had yet another movie poster sized piece of cardboard (with white on one side) which I placed behind the TV, on the stand, leaning up against the wall at an angle.

I switched the polarity of the speaker cables at the speaker end.

I took the makeshift FS which had been on its side on the floor behind my chair, stood it up and joined it with its mate to put behind my listening chair (as I had done previously in the bigger room).

Last night, I put on a CD titled "Desert Winds," a title that makes no sense as its contents, besides the music, are insect noises and monks singing (I think they are monks). Anyhoo, the insects right at the beginning of track 1 almost surrounded me. Not quite convincing, but better than in awhile.

I got to thinking that maybe I need to put something on or over the TV screen when just listening to music. To that end, I tried a tuning strip hanging over the center of the screen, from top to bottom. Too closed in. Perhaps I will later try a big plastic bag or those advertising mylars I used to cover the fabric of the chair backs with when I was in the bigger room with 3 recliners.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:33 pm


Hey, everybody,

First, let me say that I forgot how warm a plasma TV can become when in use, so draping something over it before just listening to music would not be feasible as I almost always use the TV for a while before I do listen to music.

Moving on, the Sherwood receiver arrived Saturday after its pit stop with Mr. Green. He changed out the power cable with his cable and a small, non-polarized plug. He also sent along three wood bars assembled in the shape of an "H" to place the unit on. There were no spikes on it. So, the Pioneer and its tuning stand have hit the dugout, although I'm sure Mr. Green will tell me to give that particular tuning stand a try some day.

First impressions:

I experienced listening fatigue for the first time in ages. BUT, understand, folks, the reasons for this may be 1) the new digital projectors where I work, and their accompanying digital servers, all have very loud cooling fans. I wear headphone shaped hearing protectors when I can, but one pair disappeared during all the moving around of equipment, so I listened to a lot of these fans all day (on and off for 11 hours), and 2) I didn't bother getting out a test CD and my Radio Shack SPL meter to set relative levels, so I believe I listened at higher levels than I had been with the Pioneer (which, by the way, I never did the test tone/level meter thing with the Pioneer going from the Marantz pre-amp/Outlaw amps combo).

I only listened to one of my mix CDs of New Age-type music, but I did enjoy it! The music didn't quite embrace me, but it definitely had its arms out with hands firmly on my shoulders. This is one of my reference CDs that I have listened to a bazillion times over the last couple of years, yet I experienced one of those nights where I didn't fall asleep because I was grooving on that re-mix effect. One track, "Sunrise" by Michael and Mead, had a harp which sounded more like it was being plucked than I had experienced before. Another track brought me some emotional involvement: "To the Well," by W.A. Mathieu, wherein he plays a piano which images on the right side of the room while special guest Bobby McFerrin does his haunting "Ooo, ooo" vocal thing in the front of the room.

So, let's see what some settling reveals. In the meantime, thanks Mr. Green. I look forward to you coming back online after your move.


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PostSubject: Sherwood   Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:59 pm

Robert,

I read your post with much interest as you related problems with listener fatigue from your Sherwood receiver. Since I have tinnitus, I have very little listening tolerance for most digital products from oversampling dacs to digital amps. The main reason that I use tubed amplification is to avoid the digital glare.

The area where most Class D amps fell down for me is they sounded “over-caffeinated” and had a glassy, un-natural sounding high frequency, which quickly led to listener fatigue. They over exaggerated leading edge transients and truncated the decay. Your Sherwood should settle with time and hopefully provide less to no fatigue.

When I get home from work and turn on my tube integrated with the new Maggie mini clamp, I can listen all night long without listener fatigue.
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:31 pm


Hey, garp,

That was an isolated incident, probably brought on by what I stated about those damn shrill, noisy fans in the electronics at work, even noiser, if you can believe it, than the mechanical noise made by 35mm projectors. It has not happened since and, indeed, it has been a LONG time since I experienced any such fatigue. In my multi-channel days, I would move all the speakers until I thought I was hearing more detail, but it didn't take long for me to realize I had only sharpened some higher frequencies until they became, as one wag described it, an aural buzzsaw.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:26 pm


Hi Garp

Excellent observation about Class D amps! Sonic heard a pair from Rotel (monoblocks they were) and they sounded just like you described. On first listening I thought the transient response gave a sense of life but something in the treble was wrong. Perhaps as you said the decays were truncated...you just gave me the vocabulary to describe that sound...I thought there was a sharp leading edge and a dullness...as the frequencies of the signal increased the more wrong it got.

The bass however had slam and punch and a casual listen might show the soundstage being very large. A large soundstage in itself is not a mark of audio quality. Many technical flaws can give what appears to be a big stage.

Also a listener whose listening acuity I respect but is often hyper critical told Sonic that Class D watts sounded less that Class A or AB transistor watts and even less than tube watts.

Whatever this means but he said that he has heard 300 watt "normal transistor amps" and 300 watt Class Ds and the D sounded more like 50 watters...hard clipping vs soft clipping? Some psychoacoustic effect that makes us think that 1 w of tube power is = to 5 maybe 10 watts from a transistor amp?

For Sonic, after the initial "wow!" wore off, very quickly I must add, the Class D amp sounded weird and wrong.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:23 am

I must be getting old, is the Sherwood a digital amp? I have not looked up what type of amp this is and feel embarrassed that I should be more up on this, but the Sherwood doesn't look like any digital amp I have ever seen.

To my ears the Sherwood presented a more smooth sound over the Pioneer and far more detailed. I don't mean detail in a shifted up manor either. If anything the sound shifted down in pitch and gave a tubie sound in comparison. But I will need to open my mind up and see if there was something I missed.

I have experienced the digital sound many times and I agree it to be a turn off, but always figured this to be a parts and perhaps spacing problem and not something that is necessarily in the design. I don't want to put down any type of amp or raise another type to a glorified position if it doesn't belong. At the same time now I am curious to know why the Sherwood calmed things down at my place and may have stirred things up at Robert's. Sounds like an investigation is in order.

Now about the digital amps. We are not confusing digital with class D are we? Maybe someone will research the class of amp the Sherwood is for me seeing that my brain has not gained this knowledge yet. Looking at it, I see both old school and new school but because I missed that class I don't know where some of the dividing lines are maybe. Yikes, am I that far behind the curve? After reading these comments I had to WiKi the info to learn up on the differences (now that's bad) Laughing

While you guys are helping me find my brain another very important factor comes into play here. I have not found many, if any, cd players that do not produce the digital sound except for the Magnovox and I believe Robert, your using the Bluray player correct as your front end? If so this could easily throw the performance of the Sherwood (whatever it is) into a weirdness. My suspicion is maybe (unless settling calmed things down) there is a tuning condition somewhere that needs to be addressed. Maybe the bluray/sherwood/magnapan thing is out of balance. Something is happening for sure cause when listening to your receiver in Vegas it was mellow as butter on warm bread just waiting for the jam.

One thing I would really like to do is while I'm in Chicago stop by your place and have a listen. I won't have a car but between Andy and Bill I'm hoping to get around a little.

At Bill333 I'll be working on several systems and there will be times when I will need a break from cabin fever. I'm already going nuts that I can't just walk outside and listen like my Vegas pad, and the air is also the pits. Thankfully I'm flying out to work on a San Diego setup in the next couple of days. I think I will bottle the air and bring some back with me or ask the pilot to hand me a parachute over Vegas.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:05 pm

Hey, Mr. Green,

I haven't even looked at the manual for the Sherwood. It was plug and play for me. I don't even know what the buttons do on the front panel. I do like being able to turn off the front display after a volume adjustment. I also leave it on 24/7.

I reckon my lack of updates has got you thinking that I am unsatisfied. For a guy who is so into this Tuning thing, my standard complaint is not enough time to explore it more. I tend to go off in tangents. For instance, re-reading the fundamentals in the archives, I decided to cover the corners in the traditional way with the RT Squares and what I recently discovered were not Tuning Strips, but knock-offs from a garage sale (the measurements weren't the same). I also put strips on either side wall, centered, but from floor to mid wall instead of along the ceiling/wall joint. Why? I'm trying things out in the limited time I have. I'm still futzing with 4 cardboard tubes placed on the floor between the center and front and rear wall pressure zones, half a foot from the side walls. I use 3 clothespins on a pair of them for feet. So, yeah, if you come by, you'll have a laugh.

I moved the speakers closer to my chair. I moved the chair closer to the speakers and the ersatz FS panels a but further from the rear wall. For a bit, I thought I had gone overboard, as you had warned originally. Dialog intelligibility on a few DVDs were off. After some settling, though, it's not bad.

I listened to a compilation of songs last night. More often than not, I get better results from new age instrumentals than songs, but the songs have been better lately. I can always tell the difference when walking into the room from the rest of the house, so if I overdamped, it couldn't be by much. My days off are Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so, barring Chicagoland weather and other things on your agenda, if you get a chance to come by, a few minutes of your time would no doubt be a revelation. Keeping in mind, my compromises, of course, of wanting a video and audio system. I wish the Magnavox played DVD-Rs better than it does or I would still be using it. I also must admit that I never cut down the length of the speaker cables and they are still sprawled all over the floor.

Well, enough rambling. I just wanted to say that I'm still in the game and exploring.
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:33 pm

Well when I come by it will give me a chance to hear where the system is at and once I get that flavor in my head it helps me paint a picture. I'll be able to tell you what is doing what to a degree, and hopefully we will get to a point where when you hear something you will know where and why it is doing it.

I'm hoping it will be more than a short visit cause I owe you good sound and this is a great opportunity to get some ground covered.

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PostSubject: Media room pics February 2013   Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:10 pm


TV with cardboard wings by ozonerman, on Flickr
These are cardboard slats, a pair on each side, taped together and then taped onto the sides of the TV. An attempt to negate the presence of all that glass? Not seen is a piece of cardboard sitting behind the TV leaning against the wall.


above TV by ozonerman, on Flickr
More of those cardboard slats. Since it is a pair, one is tucked into a ceiling rail and the other hangs at an angle. Also pictured is an RT Square straddling the extra corner made by the ceiling protrusion which hides the HVAC duct.


front left upper by ozonerman, on Flickr
An RT Square and a tuning strip straddling the corner. You can see a piece of the white cardboard covering the window.


front left lower by ozonerman, on Flickr
A cardboard tube sits between the front and center side wall pressure zones. Behind the tube, the outlet hangs out of the wall. The power cables from the components are suspended in air, but I still have the speaker cables touching the floor.


front right upper by ozonerman, on Flickr


front right lower by ozonerman, on Flickr


right channel speaker with tuning strip on wall by ozonerman, on Flickr
Tuning strip starts at the wall/ceiling join and goes down at room center pressure zone. There is a similar arrangement by the left channel speaker.


blu-ray player and sherwood on platform by ozonerman, on Flickr


cardboard suspended on wood pieces by ozonerman, on Flickr


chair frront view by ozonerman, on Flickr


above lchair by ozonerman, on Flickr
Another pair of cardboard slats hanging at about the same position over my chair as the one in front is hanging over the TV.


chair side view with barrier and cardboard tube by ozonerman, on Flickr
Yet another cardboard tube behind those shelves I have been using in various ways.


left rear upper by ozonerman, on Flickr
Without 3D, this photo looks like the lamp is connected to the "pillows." A bad angle I chose for this shot.


left rear lower by ozonerman, on Flickr
The tubes in the rear sides of the room I have supported on clothespins.


right rear by ozonerman, on Flickr
Notice wood slats inserted between the closet doors as a shim.


right rear lower by ozonerman, on Flickr
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:43 pm


Hi Robert

Clever tweaks in your system, far more inventive than anything I ever came up with. I guess what I was doing was to parallel something Michael was offering, getting a sense of effectiveness then buying the real thing. But you have moved to a new and different place.

What's the effect of the cardboard piece sitting on wooden blocks?

What are the cardboard tubes intended to do -- helmholtz resonators? I suppose theyare emplty. How did you select where the best spots to place them are?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:45 pm

Beautiful Exclamation

The great thing about the tubes is they sound so much better than "room lenses". Well the cats out of the bag and Robert you have found one of the tweaks I keep hidden from pictures Laughing You dirty rat Laughing

Sonic, you may not have noticed but years ago I created the Sound's Good Sound Attenuator (RA), but could get no one to bite.



I think people "buying audiophiles" like the idea of having different camps for different thoughts of technology. I think this is a bad way to do things. The audiophile world has paralyzed itself buy trying to find these camps and put labels and degrees/defining on them. The lines then get drawn too heavy and people get labeled themselves as part of an audio movement, camp, sect, cult.

"Is he trapping, defusing, dampening?" and all the rest makes me Rolling Eyes . I really hate playing buy the boxed audiophile set of rules and myths. The lines not only don't exist they are all a part of each other and should be made again variably tunable to allow us to adjust our sound.

The "Sounds Good" products is a line I designed but never came out with. Producing too many things means you drowned in products vs number of buyers. I always think the market is going to take off Laughing and the audiophile will open up their minds enough not to defeat their own hobby, but as of at least now this has not happened and I spend way too much time pitching a product I design (which there are over 250 of) and many things I believe in never make it to any kind of a market. The choice for me of course is to make a ton of these things and wait to get once again picked off by a copycat or stick to a limited belief system that is only a part of the whole. Truth is for me, you the buying public only see a portion of the product line that I not only have developed but use every day.

As the "pressure boxes" are something that should be in the audio mainstream so should be the "sound attenuators". Now there are certain things in both of these worlds that make big differences to the sound and there are ways to make them very tunable over getting cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes, but let me add this. The cardboard approach is an excellent start and wonderful path to these technologies. And let me add that buying the DIY parts and pieces (even though they introduce flavor problems) can get you to a place of real discovery.

If I saw someone on TuneLand (you have seen me do this) head in an incorrect direction I either curve their moves or delete their post with a nice note. However if you learn to read between the lines you can see me push when someone touches on a great tuning trick or something close to one of my "un-produced" designs. The cardboard tubing is very close to my designing and one day I will not endorse the DIY version and push folks to the real deal but in the meantime this is a brilliant discovery and one that is something I totally go for and do myself. You can also get all kinds of tube sizes and makes. For my design I have chosen something a little different sounding than the cardboard ones, but by doing a few tricks you can treat the cardboard and get them pretty good sounding.

Sometimes you guys get so close and I wish I had the ability to come out with everything, but since I'm not a young pup any more and "tuning" is more important than me product design hording I feel I should at least start to curve "against professional advice" my stand when I am not in production yet there is something that makes sound better as this clearly does (within certain flavor parameters). It also gives me a chance to point out some of the ways you can tweak these.





here's a hint, stop thinking audiophile and start thinking musical instruments

you see many of the things I design look and work very similar to instruments

another hint, you can make a flute out of cardboard if you wanted to, now how is the cardboard tube or the "room lenses" different from an instrument Idea Wink

good job Robert

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:59 pm

Hi Robert,

Where in the Chicago area do you live? I'd like to tag along when Michael comes to visit- I always learn a lot when I hear other people's systems.
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Hey, Mr. Green, Sonic and Bill333,

The cardboard on the floor is an attempt to negate all of that concrete. I know many Tunees have used bamboo rugs similarly and if I ever come across one, I will try it. As for the exact location of the tubes, in an earlier post I had mentioned that I had 2 flanking the TV and how a slight move increased bass response. When I added the cardboard "wings" to the TV, I moved the tubes to their present location, a foot from the wall. I added another pair and moved them all closer to the wall to effect the laminar flow. Then, the thought hit to prop the tubes up on wooden clothespins (which, by the way, I use to clip the RT Square to the ceiling rail), although so far only the 2 rear ones.

Of course, the right rear tube has to be moved every time I enter or leave the room since it is by the door. As for these being the optimum locations for the tubes, I'm just making this up as I go along. I figured the primary pressure zones were covered so I am trying the secondary zones. Same goes for the ersatz sound shutters on the ceiling.

Bill333,
My house is in Harwood Heights, which borders Chicago on the northwest side, with Norridge on the other side, vicinity of Harlem and Montrose. You are certainly welcome. I assume Mr. Green will want spend some time alone in my media room to analyze it, so you and I can trade tuning stories, provided our mild Chicago winter continues.



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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:01 am


Hi Robert

Sonic has been working to get rid of the last echo from the room. Had some time these couple of days -- its a holiday here (Chinese New year).

I'll get to the tubes once Sonic finds a reasonably priced source. An art supplies store I know sells a 4 ft x 3 inch cardboard tube for the equivalent of (wait for this...) US$6.50 apiece!

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:23 am

Hi Sonic

These will be pretty cool for you to play with!

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:08 pm


Hey, Zonees,

I had a moment the other day. I was watching a movie with a surround stereo soundtrack, mixed down to 2 channels as always with my system. There was a scene where an offscreen woman was singing in a house. At first, I couldn't tell where the voice was coming from. It was so ethereal that I thought it might have actually been my mother singing upstairs! But, no, it was in the movie.

THAT is what I seek, from movies with surround effects, and if I can get that from music listening, also, then that would be great.

BUT, in the grand tradition of "Six of one, half a dozen of another," a listen to a CD titled "The Rain Forest" revealed unconvincing insect and waterfall representations. They were more like high frequency noise than palpable sound effects. So, to quote Bugs Bunny, I made a wrong turn at Albequerque and will have to sort that out. I already moved a couple of tubes and the position of the ersatz sound shutters on the ceiling. If these moves don't help after some settling, I will have to do a system restore like the Sonic Beaver and figure out what to try next.

Sometimes, the variables in tuning are daunting to me. But, if there are still some visitors from Audio Circle checking in, let me assure you, as Mr. Green always says, EVERYTHING AFFECTS EVERYTHING. One just has to figure out the right mix for one's own room.

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:52 pm

So Robert, just thinking out loud.

We are going to want to be able to move the Maggies out of the room and put in a mini mod and stand setup on the platforms. I'd like to hear the maggies quickly first then make the move and see what the openness with the smaller speakers gives us.

The mini's in my settings and the ones I have heard them in so far are giving a respectable bottom end, so if your room is producing good lows we might have a good match here. Do you feel like your room gives a little extra boost to any frequency ranges, such as forward in the highs or boomy in the lows?

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:17 pm


Hey, Mr. Green,

With all the tuning I have been doing in that room, I think you will find it can do anything. It was a bass monster in its original state, but since adding RT Squares, your ceiling panels and such, I have heard it go all over the place depending on what configuration I use. I just lack the skill to lock it in.

By the way, I have sent you a PM today.

Robert
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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:53 am

Hi Robert

Did you get my emails on chairs?

Did you ever get a new one?

See the one I got, sounds great and I can lean back when lazy and put my head right on that bamboo without losing much sound, excepted for tilting my head slightly, but I aready have the room dealing with that. I have tons of stuff to do though.

nother room, nother journey

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Harrison's Tunable System   Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:53 am


Hey, Mr. Green,

I did get your e-mails. I am a great procrastinator so I put off a new chair until I can figure out exactly what I want that will a) be comfortable and b) support my current weight of 260 pounds. I actually brought the small recliner back into the room and put it on a makeshift platform consisting of a disassembled desk top I found. The platform sits on two pieces of 1x4 inch wood leftover from when the basement was finished in the 1980s. I also have two more of those, one each sitting on top of the speakers, an experiment per your conversations with Sonic about how Magnaplanars have different vibrations from top to bottom.

The chair doesn't sound as bad as I thought it might. The bad thing is I fall asleep more easily and usually spend the night there! And it's not even that comfortable of a chair, but better than the kitchen chair and definitely the folding chair I had been trying.

I finally cut the speaker cables to length and they are (for the most part) suspended in air but still touching the back corners of the chassis of the Sherwood due to the configuration of my room.

I gotta tell you that after your observations in your Ziggy thread, I'm feeling half way between giving up The Tune or resolving to not be so picky. What you say makes sense and explains volumes about why I can't get my walls to disappear. However, I cannot leave music playing 24/7 and I don't have hours to wait for a daily warm-up time. Leaving the Sherwood powered up continuously is about as far as I (and I dare say the general populace) can go. Your best advice here is for me to slow down and quit making changes for the sake of making changes and I am guilty of that. I'm constantly doing little things. I just don't have the stamina to write about it all like you and the Sonic Beaver. But I am looking in on the Techno-Zone every day.

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