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 Bill333's System

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:19 am

the American Monitor update

As the 2nd coat goes on the midrange drivers baffles, I'm growing more and more excited to get Bill's speakers home to him. I haven't dug any deeper into the 18xp pair, because honestly I don't want to find anything that might take us down a long road of reconditioning and time away from Bill's place. I can usually tell when a speaker cabinet has been well maintained and these American Monitor certainly have been loved for many years.

How can I be sure?

When I get a speaker in I look for signs of aging. One thing I do is a gentle test on the woofer coils and surrounds. These woofers operate perfectly. It's really amazing to see voice coils this linear, vintage or new. The accordion surrounds are also like brand new, and the cones have perfect tone to them. Based on this these woofers alone are national treasures.

Secondly

The American Monitor 18xp when produced employed thin foam covering the midrange and tweeters. The attachment of this foam covers the screws, frame and all. When I unpacked these the foam (even though mostly deteriorated) was still attach with the original glue and placement. Touching the foam, and it literally crumbled to reveal pristine drive units underneath. The only two drivers not covered were the Midrange units. Based on this, I'm not disturbing the original screw mounting, again a rarity.

After the slight reconditioning of the midrange baffles and a little corner touch up, these speakers are as true vintage as you can get. In vintage audiophile terms they are priceless. So priceless I tip toe around them being careful not to bump.

quite the score!!

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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:31 pm

Hi Michael,

I'm plenty excited to be getting them.  They are definitely something special, although it's the synergy with the Audolici A25M that really takes things to a whole new level.  I'm just hoping and praying that I'll be able to get that same sound at home.  I also hope that I won't be the only person who gets to hear what this system can do - do you think you could manufacture a speaker from newly available parts that can do what the 18xp's do?

If you could produce this sound and make it available to everyone, I honestly think the components would become audio classics, much like the Quad electrostatic has been.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:46 am


Greetings Bill333

What's the update on the American Monitor 18xp, the Audiolici, the DAC and the wonderful experiments you are always up to Question Very Happy

Sonic

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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:29 am

Hi Sonic,

There's a lot going on, although I haven't taken the time to post recently.  I got the Audolici and the American Monitor speakers home and set them up in the loft space with one of my Magnavoxes and the same wires we were using in Vegas.  The sound wasn't nearly as good as I remembered, but a phone call with Michael and a few changes put things on a much better path.  The big fixes were putting redwood blocks between the speakers and the platforms, and placing a bamboo 'rug' on the floor to ameliorate the carpet sound.  Those things done, the sound was in the neighborhood of what I heard at Michael's on the same recordings.  Although I'm not getting that deep tonal character or the nuanced reproduction that makes the musicians come alive, I am getting decent tone, excellent dynamics and beautifully liquid sound.  To take it farther, I'm going to need to make serious improvements to the room.

The loft could be a fabulous listening space, but that will require removing the carpet and the bookcases.  My wife really never wanted a listening room in that part of the house, so after discussing the options, I have decided to finish the tunable room.  It would certainly be wonderful to have a tunable room again, and the wood has just been sitting in my basement curing and getting better with age.  The problem I've got is that the stone workbenches I had built have warped, and my efforts to straighten them out by putting pressure on them have come to naught.  They just spring back to their warped shape as soon as I take the pressure off.  These workbenches were the reference surfaces that I had planned to build the entire room around, and without them I am really back to the drawing board.  If I don't have a flat reference surface, I can't build flat walls and floors and my idea for gluing the frames together is unworkable.  So I need to do some serious thinking about how I'm going to do this.  

A few more words about the Audolici.  It sounds great with the same recordings that sounded great at Michael's place - Donovan and the Tokens.  The recording that wasn't so good in Vegas is also a problem here - Dion's 'The Road I'm On'.  What I'm finding is that it's very easy to tune recordings in by moving the blocks around under the Audolici, but even with optimized block positions I can't get Dion to sound as good as Donovan on the system.  I'm thinking that maybe using Type 1 speaker wire or some tuning changes to the Magnavox might get me there, but I haven't found it yet.  In any case, the easy tunability of the Audolici is a game changer.  This is the first time in my life I've ever tuned per recording on a regular basis, because It's just so easy to do that it only takes a few minutes.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:52 am


Greetings Bill333 cheers

Good to hear from you....Sonic will post some thoughts tomorrow as it is getting late here.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:07 am


Hello Bill333

Sonic might suggest that you might want to be cautious about going to T1. I made a mistake that way once by thinking my system was further down the Tuneland path than it actually was and wired up with T1 speaker cables. The sound went unbalanced on Sonic, I think it went thin and it stopped responding to tuning or responded in ways that were different from what Sonic expected from reading the posts on this Forum.

That premature action cost me months if not longer of wandering in the wilderness, till somehow Sonic got some T3s and T2s from Michael.

On biwiring with T3s for the bass/mid panels and T2s for the quasi-ribbons gave a fullness and size of the soundstage which showed clearly where my detour started. Then that resulted in weeks of checking all the intervening tunes to see if they were still valid with the T3/T2 combination. A lot were not valid anymore.

Your system may be advanced enough for T1s -- but Sonic still thought I should let you know of my experience.

Could you give some example of how you are tuning with the Audolici. Are using tone controls or wood blocks and things?

Is your DAC back from Scotland? Are you spinning LPs?

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:06 am

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy " This is the first time in my life I've ever tuned per recording on a regular basis, because It's just so easy to do that it only takes a few minutes." Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

This is maybe my favorite sentence of the year Exclamation

I'm going to use this on my facebook page. I'm so proud of you Bill I could cheers scream cheers

excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Yesterday at 9:45 am

Hi Sonic,

I hear what you're saying about the T1.  If I do try it, it will just be to put it in and make a quick assessment.  Most likely I will try swapping in some Duelund 16GA for the Type 3 speaker cables, before I get around to the Type 1.  The 16GA is a replica of an old Western Electric hookup wire, and my experience with it in the past has been that it sounds very similar to the Type 2 I had been using at the time, but I'm curious to hear what it might do in this system.  It's a stranded wire and this system seems to like stranded, so we'll see.

The Audolici is tuned with the wood blocks that it rests on.  The chassis feet are removed, and the chassis is supported by four low tone redwood blocks.  Moving them in and out, from both the horizontal and longitudinal axes, has a surprisingly clear focusing effect on the sound.  So, for instance, one recording might like the blocks just a few inches from the horizontal axis and about halfway under, and halfway outside of the chassis.  Another recording might sound best with the blocks several inches from the horizontal axis and positioned with only 20% under, and 80% outside of the chassis.  This is a snapshot I took of the Audolici at Michael's in a configuration that was particularly good for Donovan's Greatest Hits and the Tokens:



In case I forgot to mention, the cover is removed.  Smile

Interesting you should ask about the Altmann DAC.  I got it back a couple months ago, but hadn't really put it into a system for serious listening.  Yesterday afternoon I got around to swapping it in for the Magnavox in the Audolici system.  So how did it sound?  My first reaction was:



Even cold, it was so dynamic and so alive that it made the Magnavox sound bland and uninvolving by comparison.  There's just more of everything: more dynamics, more hall sound, more tone, bigger halos around musical images - just more information, period.  I think putting a top tune on the Magnavox would make up some ground, but I don't think it would be enough to equal the SDTrans/Altmann combination.  

As has always been the case when switching from the Magnavox to the Altmann, the nature of the music listening experience has also changed.  I've enjoyed the Magnavox/Audolici combination, but the number of goose bumps and reverie experiences over a month of listening?  Exactly zero.  In the first hour of listening to the Altmann, I'm already having goose bumps.  ('Make It Easy On Yourself' by Jerry Butler)  Still working on the reverie.

Am I hearing any downsides?  There's some shrillness to the highs on some songs, and as it always is when you're working with this much information, getting the sound field coherent and well-organized can be a challenge.  But I should point out that the Altmann is still a ways from being well tuned.  This was just an initial setup, and a quick tuning move to put the battery up on wood blocks.  There's a lot more that can be done.


Hi Michael,

Thanks for the kind words, things have definitely changed a lot over the years.  As I was listening to 'The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection', it was easy to hear that some songs sounded great while others were less dynamic and more distant.  Hearing an instrument that isn't as present as it could be isn't anything new, but knowing that I can put those songs on repeat and tune them in to a much better presentation is.  And undo it just as easily, for the next recording?  That's a game changer.  In any case, I think I'm getting better at hearing when a given recording is in tune, and when it isn't.  And how far I need to go to get it where I want.  I don't always know how to get all the way there, but I know I can get a lot closer by tuning the Audolici.  Hmmm... I wonder what's going to happen when I take the faceplate off?   What a Face

Speaking of the Burt Bacharach Collection, have you been listening to it?  How are you enjoying it?


Hi Everyone,

After a long break, I am once again working on the Tunable Room.  Right now the plan is to get the floor finished and then use that as a platform for building the walls and ceiling.  At the moment, I'm evaluating the length and shape of the structural beams and joists in preparation for cutting them to even lengths and refinishing the ends.  I'll keep everyone posted as construction continues.  sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Yesterday at 6:21 pm

I think it's major big news that your back on the Tunable Room cheers

and Smile

Burt is a regular at my place now. Not only for main listening but also for background as I'm working on other things. Such a great collection of songs Exclamation

Glad you got your SDTrans/Altmann combo up and going. And, it's very cool that you are tuning the A25M Cool

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