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 "Bookcases are a no-no"

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Goodvibrations

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PostSubject: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:23 pm

Hi Michael,

Thanks again for helping me to get started in the techno-zone. I've also been reading at your other "Michael Green's Tuneland". Would like to register but need some help with required "Profile" information. Before I purchased the RTA panels, I didn't realize the scope and depth of information that can be found on your websites. I only wish that I had checked them out a few years earlier. Now I'm trying to get up to speed.

In the meantime, I came across what you have said about bookcases and it was a real curve ball I didn't see coming. Before remodeling to combine three rooms (BR, bath, previous listening room) into one larger listening room, I had constructed built-in bookcases before the old room became a listening room. Conventional wisdom on room acoustics doesn't seem to dislike bookcases. Several sources have suggested that one of the best diffusers of sound is a bookcase half full of books. (e.g. Siegfried Linkwitz and David Smith who was Chief Engineer for Snell Acoustics) Here's the curve ball: "In constructing a listening room, bookcases are really a no-no if you want the best sound possible." and "Another thing pressure zones hate are bookcases. Sorry guys. Bookcases are a no-no. You don't necessarily want to break up pressure in your room. You want to guide and control it." I certainly am in no position to disagree but this is puzzling since I can't hear any adverse effects. Of course, that doesn't mean they aren't there.

So in my new room I have built-in "no-no" bookcases covering the back wall except for a 6' pair of glass French Doors that separate them. Removing them is not an option. Is there a way to work around this? I can send you some photographs to post showing the bookcases if it would help.

Thanks for your help,
Goodvibrations scratch
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:24 am

Hello Goodvibrations

Sonic has been wrestling with bookcases and found they can be controlled within the Tune. I had bookcases in the rear of my room and what I got now is working very well. Even when then bookcases were at the back wall and facing forward, good stereo was achieved. So I would urge you to find your own path to getting the sound you want. The Tune is not a point solution. The only thing is that if you have bookcases and stuff you cannot remove (same with Sonic...I have limitations on what I can or cannot remove from my listening room). But be grateful -- you and I have a room we can call the "musick room".

Sure there are standards and the highest point is to get a bare room and start tuning it. But that is just an the ideal which few of us can. But let's get what we can out of what we have and the Tube from Michael can take us to very great musick. The rest is a mental attitude -- can I be contented or do I have to push on...and on...and on?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:19 pm

As I wipe the saw dust from my clothes, I thought I would stop by and see what is up.

TuneLand goes further than any listening forum/magazine/or website because it was made up of guys who wanted to go "all the way". This has been my life's work and I love it because there is no if in tuning. From the largest tweaks to the smallest screw we can make what ever sound we wish if we open our minds up to letting "everything effect everything else". The Audiophile movement gets part of the way there by following high end audio advice but there is a far deeper truth that doesn't get stuck on looks/weight/ and the other pit falls and compromises that come in the packages of the finished products that are bought. Simplicity of the signal path leads to the ability to preserve and restore the music signal. That's what the tune is "variable simplicity".

My job in all of this is to make it possible for you to have the full range signal of the original music go from one end of the audio chain to the other and to make it as flexible as possible (which is the thing that shakes up a lot of folks) to allow you to tune the sound to your desired liking. Removing things that get in the way of the signal is goal one, but working with and around obstacles is more common. "Oh if we could all have tunable rooms". In the meantime turning your system into one that reaches much more of the content is something we can do to give you a taste of what tuning can do.

fun times ahead I'm sure. sunny

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Goodvibrations

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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:26 am

Hi Michael,

“Tuneland” is certainly an all-out commitment to “removing things that get in the way of the signal” and “working with and around obstacles”. You seem to leave no stone unturned in your wholistic and systemic approach.

The Tune has many paths to preserving and restoring the music signal. Although all listening rooms have some things in common, each one has unique features including materials and geometries that create unique acoustical configurations and sounds. Likewise, the human side of tuning is unique. Many audiophiles continue to benefit from your many years of experience and from what you have learned. Although tuning cannot be everyone’s “life’s work”, it does require a strong enough desire and reasonable effort to bring satisfying results. To persist in carrying it to the limit is not for the faint of heart. Each individual must decide how far he is willing to go. For me, audio eye-candy is not important. I’m more interested in how a component sounds or could sound than whether it is a candidate for the Museum of Modern Art. So, I’m not bothered by anything in my listening room that suggests “a work in progress” or that may be considered unattractive by others.

I’ve learned from experience that simple circuits do seem to come closer to preserving the signal. Nelson Pass’s First Watt Class A amplifier experiments convincingly demonstrate this. His First Watt designs were not constrained by marketing research and price points and not intended to bring large profits. Incredibly, Mr. Pass released every design in the First Watt stable free of charge (after selling only 100 of each that he personally built) up until the most recent ones, so that the DIY community could build these unique and ground breaking amplifiers.

I’ll continue to work at removing “things that get in the way of the signal” in my room. I’m encouraged by what you have said:
“...working with and around obstacles is more common... In the meantime turning your system into one that reaches much more of the content is something we can do to give you a taste of what tuning can do.”

The pictures of Sonic’s System show how far he has been willing to go with tuning and his search for complete system integration. I understand why he has gone “deep” and “to the smallest screw” to use your words. For some, disassembling the guts of amplifiers, isolating transformers and other parts on various types of wood and springs might be out of the question. They may prefer to find other paths to tuning. Fortunately, tuning allows different paths for achieving better sound.

Very Happy Very Happy GoodVibrations
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MOSFET67



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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:32 am

"The Tune has many paths to preserving and restoring the music signal. Although all listening rooms have some things in common, each one has unique features including materials and geometries that create unique acoustical configurations and sounds."


I think GoodVibrations sums it up well. Because every room is different I don't think it is ever possible to make blanket statements like "Bookcases are a no-no". On the opposite end of my listening room is my library and consists of multiple bookcases that go from floor to ceiling. They are full of hard-bound books. OK, truth be told I haven't tried my system in this room without all the books (that would take an entire weekend which I really don't want to waste). HOWEVER, I know how my system behaves in other rooms and I know from experience, rugs and furniture give me the sound I like.

I don't want to offend anyone, but any type of tuning "rule" would seem to stifle experimentation. I have been to dozens and dozens of music venues from our new Opera House here in Seattle, "The Ilsley Ball Nordstrom Receital Hall" (not to drop names, but I knew Ilsley who was a sweet women with a fierce commitment to the arts), all the performing spaces at the University of Washington, churches, taverns, rock-concert arenas and so on. And you know what? Not one sounded like another!!!!

I am no EE or physist, but I am a patron of the arts and a passionate opera lover, and I can say with absolute certainty THERE IS NO PERFECT PERFORMANCE SPACE. I'm afraid the logical axiom of this is that there is no PERFECT SPACE FOR STEREO EQUIPMENT. There are certainly better venues than others. The best are those that allow the listener to hear EVERY note, every musical nuance, every twist of dynamics. By the same token, that I would think should be the goal when room tuning is employed.

And FIRST AND FOREMOST, DO WHAT SOUNDS BEST TO YOU!!!

Nick

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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:34 am

So lets tune your room and system the tunee way and see if you hold fast to this belief of rugs and bookcases. There's nothing like tuning at the next level.

ready when you are Exclamation

Very Happy

I wouldn't be doing my job by not pointing out that there is a higher level of listening and giving the listeners a chance to get there. So as much as it is the right to stop where one wants to it is also important to point out how much further we can go for those who wish to reach higher levels of performance. As the tunees always tell me "they don't know because they haven't been" there is a place for those who wish to stop but with the tools of tuning these places seem pale in comparison to a real space, real size and 3D sound.

mosfet, don't give in to the dark side

use the force Smile

Remember that this is not a forum for just staying with the norm but instead going where the tune has taken many. A place way beyond high end audio.


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PostSubject: You have a point, Michael...   Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:15 pm

I took the time to read the MANY posts regarding Sonic's tuning adventures and the photographs. What I was struck with the most was how Sonic seems to live by the motto that a system is only as good as it's weakest link. From the electricity leaving the wall socket to the pressure waves that eventually reach one's ear, Sonic has considered EVERY SINGLE step along this journey. Even items like the torroidial transformers in his Rotel amp have been carefully removed, isolated and tuned. As Michael so aptly put it, ENERGY in the form of electricity and sound waves are just faces of the same coin as they are often so interchangable (electricity creates the electromagnetic force that creates the up and down movement of the voice coil that moves the speaker cone and resonates the air creating pressure waves).

I AM truly inspired by Sonic's system and I will be taking a look at my own to see what tweaks here and there I can do to improve the sound. This site has already given me MANY ideas. Michael, your point about the room being the biggest element in the sound of a system is SO TRUE and I agree with you this is not fully understood by the audiophile community as a whole.

HOWEVER.........the staggering level of tuning complexity AND the many years spent making countless changes that Sonic has achieved does make me wonder a bit if the principle of diminishing marginal returns WILL EVER APPLY HERE? Or more presisely, has the act of tuning become PART of the purpose of it all, not the enjoyment of music alone? DON'T GET ME WRONG!! WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT, DUDE!! I LOVE hobbies that involve electronics, technology, physics, etc. and tuning HAS IT ALL!!! It's just so extensive, I wonder to myself if there is an end? Is there SUPPOSED to be an end? Perhaps not. I made this point before and I'll make it again: For me, enjoyment of music is the alpha and omega. The gear I use and the room I use it in are just a means to that end. Improving them so I can enjoy my music more is, and SHOULD BE, important to all music lovers. I just don't want that aspect to preclude my enjoyment of music.

Nick

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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:59 am

And for bookcase people taking a look at how Sonic converted his is very important.

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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:15 am

Hi Zonees

Unless your room and set up allows you to sit right up to a wall like Drester and Bill333, you'll need a surface behind you to shape the pressure zone round the listening chair.

Bookcases turned around and with the rear surface treated/tuned is one way. It works for me and gets astonishment from visiting audiophiles - they comment on the surround effect even when there is no ambience or echoes behind them, and the wholeness of the soundscape in the room.

The other and I am sure more effective approach is to use a Soundstage board from Michael, the successor to the SAM.

Sonic has long since learnt what goes missing if the listener is seated out away from treated surfaces.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:29 am

Sonic said:
Unless your room and set up allows you to sit right up to a wall like Drester and Bill333, you'll need a surface behind you to shape the pressure zone round the listening chair.


Sonic, again I must tell you how impressed I am with your system and the work you have put into it. I would LOVE to hear it!!!
Michael is absolutely right in the principle "Don't knock it until you try it". I do plan on experimenting in my listening room with some hard surfaces around my listening position as well as other tweaks I want to make.

I promise I will stop trying to be a rebel here, but I do want to follow up my previous comment in that every concert venue I've been in usually has lots of soft people and softer seats behind my "listening position", NOT surfaces behind me to shape the pressure zone.

I guess these comments are really intended to point out that as every musical venue sounds different, so too might our own listening environments. There are certain commonalities in good venues and good systems (excellent imaging, realistic soundstage, ect.). I have always used live music as my yardstick as to how well my stereo systems produce music.

"Can I close my eyes and imagine I'm there?"

Perhaps that is the goal here, I've just never actually heard it said. Oh, and for the record, the goal of having my system reproduce a live concert venue is NOT a goal I read in some audiophile magazine. It is MY goal having had season opera tickets and Seattle Symphony tickets for over 20 years.

I know other people who want their systems to sound like an over-the-top rock concert with ear-blistering SPL levels. And I have friends into rap who just care about as many subwoofers and watts as possible.

After reading hundreds of posts in Sonic's Systems thread, though TOTALLY IMPRESSED AT THE PRECISION, CARE AND THOUGHT that has gone into this system, I sometimes felt like, "But what are we really trying to do here?". What do we want this to sound like? I know all the audiophile adjectives, but I truly believe ULTIMATELY it comes down to the individual.

WHAT IS IDEAL FOR YOU?

Again, I don't mean to be a thorn in anyone's side, I just have some strong feelings about these things myself and for a time sort of "lost" myself in the world of tuning (in the mid 90's).

FOR A TIME I STOPPED LISTENING TO MUSIC, AND INSTEAD USED MUSIC.

But, again, I'll bet ANYONE can improve the sound of their system by employing many of the principles here. A better sounding system is always a good thing, just know WHAT you want your system to sound like, AND THEN ENJOY IT!! IMHO.

Take care! And ROCK ON!!!!

Nick
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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:45 pm

You know guys, I read some of the posts I had written before (as a rule, I usually don't read something already read unless someone else refers back to it), and I smiled.

I realized something, I thought to myself, "What if my room just HAPPENS to be perfect and needs no tuning?". You see, I LOVE HOW MY SYSTEM SOUNDS NOW.

I guess, then, this is not the site for me. I realized "tuning", like adjusting bass and treble controls and toeing in my speakers is something I do ONCE (maybe twice) and then TUNING IS DONE!!!!! Tuning, BY DEFINITION, is the act of zeroing in on an objective, like "tuning in a radio station", when that objective is met, tuning is COMPLETED. I smiled b/c I realized to some, tuning means just a bit more. To Michael, obviously it is his profession and WE HAVE ALL reaped the rewards of his genius, "As I have said countless times, I STILL will have the hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I listen to his AMAZING Revolution 80i's."

That is what drew me to this site, his WONDERFUL speakers and a chance to thank him personally for the many years of BLISS they have brought me.

But tuning is not my hobby, nor do I want it to be. I LOVE how my system sounds now. SIMPLY LOVE IT. Why in the world would I want to go SCREWING WITH THAT? I DID tune it when I first set it up, perhaps not as extensively as some of you, but of course I experimented with speaker placement and the placement of some key pieces of furniture.

I think everyone here rocks, unlike many forums. Audiophile site's get a bad rap for being full of snobs but truth be told, MANY OF THEM ARE!!! You guys ARE NOT.

But this is not for me. Thank you all again for being so kind. Smile

Nicholas Tanner
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PostSubject: Re: "Bookcases are a no-no"   Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:52 pm

Hi Nick

Thanks for the kind words. It's always nice when we read about people finding a happy place with their sound. For myself it is especially interesting cause I am dealing with several listeners at the same time. Some stay more put and others go to the ends of the earth in sound. This weekend for example while commenting on the posts of yours I was in phone meetings with two of the tunees setting their systems free along with others playing wood like a violin. One removed a piece of electrical tape that was touching their power wire and it resulted in a huge jump forward. To the average audiophile they would see these words and be in disbelief, but this is because they have never heard a system at these levels. For us who are among the extreme listeners we have come to a place where we are mastering the signal path and are giving new definitions to the term "audio chain". Where listeners start and stop with this info is up to them, but it is a certainty that the extreme listening fanatics are alive and well.

One area where you and I may differ that I would like to point out is, I view the art of tweaking as the art of listening and have never really considered it to be outside of the music itself. With every recording having it's own DNA (signature) I like to take that recording around the tuning block a few times to see it open up and explore the different strong points of that particular event. Speaking for myself this allows me to see the music from several different points of view. My favorite may be the endless staging of 3D sound but taking in all the parameters of the whole is fascinating. It's like finding treasure and at times you have to stop and wonder if anyone else has heard the sound of the snare or voice or piano's stage this way before. I hear people make a description of where they have gone with a piece and in my head try to duplicate it and then make it so in my system and maybe even beyond.

Another difference between me and others may be that I usually have several systems going. This is totally wild and I have found it to be extremely entertaining. It's almost like a competition between them and there is always one that is doing something that the others aren't. It's like having several different guitars. One thing that is learned from this is it removes me from the audiophile game and puts me in touch with the art of music. The art of everything effects everything else and nothing goes unheard is realized. In my world there is never the "mine sounds better than his" syndrome, only "where am I going today?".

I think to myself this, "with all the money people spend in the hobby stopping at a tenth of the way into the music is koo koo". I have my systems to explore the art that I have given my life to and the gains in music content that I get to enjoy is way beyond what the hobby provides stock.

good enough? no thanks! I'm happy for those who are content but there are treasures to find!

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