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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:16 pm

Hi Sonic

The energy in a room is very sensitive. I wish people in this hobby started to learn just how sensitive. High end audio is so over built it makes one wonder what it will take to put things back on track.

This tells me a couple of things. The energy in the spot where you moved the shelf to did not want to be messed with until some adjustments are made to the mass in your system and or other pressure zones. As you have worked with your room you found a setup that allowed the front acoustical pressure zone to give you the results you have. Once you put the shelf there you changed the energy around the rack and around that front stage pressure zone. This no doubt made that pressure zone shift to another part of the room and caused the collapse. I would have to be there to experience this but this is pretty on target to what I experience when changes are made. Secondly you changed the signal itself! Fun isn't it.

Another thing that I was going to tell you earlier as well is don't be surprised if you need to raise your shelves to higher elevations with rods than with just using the little points that you got. Because your shelves have more weight to them than the newer ones you will probably need to raise them up higher than even I have them on some of the pictures you have seen. This is a sort of gravity balancing act that you are going to need to begin playing with the train type of set up. All of this in the end will tell you much about each part of your system.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:40 pm

Hi fellow Zonees

Here's something Sonic did based on advice Michael gave to another friend of the Tune.

I am now powering all my gear from one 15A mains spur/outlet instead of dividing up the gear between two spurs/outlets.

Before: Line 1 powered the CD player, preamp, tuner (used infrequently) and the X-30 crossover. Line 2 powered the two amplifiers.

Now: Sonic connected the two mains distributor strips in series and ran them from one spur/outlet.

Why? Dividing low-power and hi-power devices between two mains spurs is a common hi-end tweak in the belief that all the gear running off one outlet will cause the mains current to sag and compromise the transient response of the system. Well a quick calculation of the combined current draw on peaks will show this just ain't so. A 15A 230V line has lots of capacity and headroom to run a hifi system if it isn't one of those megawatt Over The Top setups we occasionally read of in the hi-end press. Also Michael said something about powering from one outlet is more in the Tune.

Result: everything is starting to sound more harmonically whole. It is not a big effect (but less than 24 hrs of settling with music so far) but every instrument and transient sounds more together and "right"....more in phase, all the parts working together.....

Beneficial but I am now hearing that something in the treble needs work. More as Sonic works on it over the Christmas season.

Care to comment on this, Michael? What did you say about the benefits of running everything from one outlet? Or did Sonic misinterpret you?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:52 pm

Hi Sonic

It's the basic rule of physics, "more is less and less is more". The more we make our systems simplistic the less mass (balanced mass) we should use to distribute signal.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:11 am

Hi Zonees

A bit more about my rear room set up using EchoTunes on the sidewalls.

I originally tried the ETs on the rear wall facing down the length of the room to the front wall. Sonic got a strange effect -- images in the center went defocussed but not recessed, the impression of width grew (good) but the sound started to localize around the speaker positions. Even more odd, I could hear a kind of sci-fi effect: there were images behind the speaker panels and to the side and front....and these sounded normal. But images that were smack on the panels themselves had their own "ambience" unconnected to the rest of the room. Each panel therefore sounded like a sci-fi intra-dimensional door where the images/instruments/players were trapped in another world(s). Weird feeling this.

Sonic also tried using two ETs per corner. This resulted in too much acoustic burn (absorption) and shut the rear ambient field down. Looks like ETs on just the sidewalls is the best set up for now.

For now....yes...the Tune is a work in progress and there is lots to do to get the music out. Also there is the fun of learning how recordings are made and how these can relate to the Tune soundfield especially in rock/pop music where there are multi-channels and overdubbing. Sonic wonders if "depth" as trumpeted by audiophiles doesn't really exist. Left -- Right imaging does of course because of pan-potting and Michael is right that each image/tracked instrument has its own reverb and ambience, sometimes artificially added by the engineer, but if it is there we should hear it. Miked instruments should have the signature of the mike and its polar pattern and Direct Injected sound should sound DI.

For classical, there should be real depth and space in the signal data. Some mike technigues like Blumlein do capture depth extraordinarily well and the spaced omnis method (3 omnis across the width of an orchestra) can give a huge space but with pools of sound like in the old classical recordings from RCA and Mercury. The Tune can unlock all this and even more than what the hi-end fans can imagine.

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PostSubject: Preamp Reset and Maggie Jumper Cables   Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:40 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

Had a busy time after Christmas on all sorts of things like work but also refining the Tune in my room…and a problem developed with my preamp.

Sonic had loosened the screws, removed the transformers and such from the Quicksilver. In this design, the main PC board is suspended on rubber grommets and I removed these and slightly tightened the mounting bolts holding the board. Over time they worked loose (there appears to be lots of vibrations in the system!) and the board shifted and a track touched the chassis. A loud FWOOOOSH in one channel was the result. I had to get the tubes tested then retune the preamp. I also found that the tightness of the two 12AX7 mounting sockets were different. One tube was considerably looser than the other. So out comes a fine screwdriver and I pried the connectors tighter. Yes….much better now….

The whole unit sounds fine again….but I might be hearing some discharge noise in one channel just after power up….I hope I don’t have to take it all apart and tighten the PCB bolts again.

Here’s what I managed to do with the Magneplanar jumpers:



The coiled things on the floor are the old jumpers that Michael suggested I make from Bare Essence cable when my system’s Tune had not reached the stage where it could make full musick with simpler jumpers. Now it can and there is more treble clarity and sweetness. There is more clarity between different types of cymbals being struck even when done softly, and more subtle details in solo violin pieces.

Sonic's favourite solo violin works are J S Bach's sonatas and partitas for violin. My preferred versions are by Sigiswald Kuijken and by Monica Huggett.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:38 pm

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

Sonic has also been ruminating over musical priorities these few days. I know several audiophiles who have shared the sound of their systems with Sonic and some have heard my set up too.

I am grateful for their hospitality and kindness so I won’t go into their systems in detail (where we live is a very small town) but get to more of the thinking and observations that we have reached together.

Now the thing is this -- all of us like our systems a lot and think what we have embodies and conveys great musick to touch our souls. But all our systems sound nothing like each other. They are all very different and create different listening experiences. Among us, there are Lowthers, JBLs, Harbeths, Rogers and Magneplanars (yours truly)….there is also a big multi-channel Macintosh system which is for home theater that the rest of us are not into.

That all of us are obsessed with our systems in different ways is true. Even Sonic…all the wood, angling the Shutters, turning panels and twisting springs…what is that but an obsession?

I suppose each of us has an almost neo-Platonic prototype of True Musick in our minds and we put together systems or used methods to bring that sound into our homes.

Lowther-friend uses single-ended amps and finds music in the articulation of vocals, "wholeness asnd body" in the midrange. Jazz, Chinese female vocalists, piano jazz trio must have “touch”. JBL-friend goes for big scale classical works using home-brew tube amps. Mahler and Holst at live-levels (actually my SLM seems to give numbers that put us at the conductor’s podium). When playing rock…the slam has to hit in the gut....and it does. Playing Led Zeppelin , Cream and Dire Straits at >100dB is something with this system whatever your views on this type of music or playback levels. Our audiophile here wants to create an experience so a DBX expander is on hand and it can do something to the mind if not the instestines.

Then the two Brit speaker owners are looking for what they call “tonal purity” and “musicality”. It is hard to define but these are pleasant sounding systems. One uses transistor amps, the other an abnormally powerful tube amp for the small LS3/5a speakers.

Then there is Sonic whose approach perplexes them all. Some of us have limited room treatment and Sonic is at the extreme of room treatment. Some have no treatment beyond a centrally placed carpet. One of us has multiple speakers in the room, others are single system listeners.

When each of us play the musick of our hearts through our own systems, it does make the most musical sense to the rest of us even if there are “shortcomings”. Swap the owners’ preferred programme material and the effect could go downhill fast. What we hear could still be good but (for instance) the Mahler wasn’t exactly tops with the Lowther and the Rogers system. And in Sonic’s system the listener felt like he was drowning!

So each of us admires something in the others' system but always caveats it by adding that something important is also lacking. The consensus position is Sonic is chasing the unimportant (the ambient field) and I lack transient slam and volume power, my room is excessively influencing my sound and I could get a lot more if a bought a better system (possibly true), there is also too much bass from my sub and not enough closeness when reproducing female vocalists plus the soundfield I am getting is sometimes confusing.

We could all talk for hours on what is important and what is not in music reproduction and in each other’s systems. When I mentally list our views it seems everything starts with an expectation.

This is not surprising is it? The teenager on the subway train playing his iPod so loudly that I can hear the “tizzz tizzzz tizzz” from his earphones across the carriage aisle will probably have no polite word for mine or any of these systems.

Think we of Expectations and Fulfillment. I guess this is how all our systems are different because it carries music to us in the way we think it should be.

Will we switch, can we change? For sure we can. One of these audiophiles I listen with could become a Tunee, that young man blasting his ears with Trance could become a singer of Byzantine chant and Sonic could morph into a JBL owner with home-brewed SETs and an analog front end.

It is exciting where the Musick may take us in 2010.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Happy New Year!   Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:55 am

Happy New Year TuneLand!

Sonic, thank you for your thoughtful and articulate observations.

I agree with much of what you said. What I've noticed is that each of us has our own agenda regarding why we listen to music, and the kind of sound we like. And that these agendas and preferences often change over time as we gain experience with the sound qualities of others' systems, or by making changes in our own system's sound. Clearly, you have been doing both.

For myself, when I first started in this hobby (many years ago), I honestly and sincerely thought my system was the greatest, and truly enjoyed listening. Over time, I introduced different components and tweaks that improved the overall sound of my system in many different ways, and learned that the sound of my system could always be "improved." And my idea of "improved" was constantly changing and growing. Different components, and external changes such as footers, resonance control devices, EMF control devices, magic clocks -- I've tried many, and they all have had an effect. Sometimes clearly for the worse. Sometimes you know there's a change, but what seems "for the better" initially may (months or years) later become less so. But it may take a new learning experience in listening to bring that to light in your awareness of the sound of your system. For many changes or additions in audiophile systems, there is often a tradeoff. The cool thing is, though, is that one does hear a difference when introducing changes into one's system (which includes the room). Even in the most massive, non-tunable systems. Indeed, over all the years and all the changes I've made in my system, especially before my discovery of TuneLand and the concepts of free resonance, the audio trilogy and tunability, the only constant in my system was my set of CornerTunes which I bought in the late 80's. It was the only "keeper" (yes, a few years ago I began using the PZCs in place of the pillows, but I will never have a system without, at a minimum, treatment of the rooms's upper corners).

As audible changes occur in even the most massive, non-tunable systems, this simply validates the power of having a truly tunable system, where seemingly small, subtle (and cost-free Wink ) changes can have a significant, even dramatic effect on the listening pleasure one derives from one's system.

So, the point I am finally getting to is that your audiophile friends are each on their own personal arc of discovery. Some may be on a fast track (as you are), others may be content and not interested in learning or changing where they are right now. And others on points in between. What's great is that you're learning from your experience with their systems, finding what you prefer, but also hopefully learning about new possibilities for your own enjoyment of your system. One difference between you and your friends right now is that you could probably make your system sound pretty close to each of theirs if you wanted to! Laughing


jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:13 am

Hi Drewster and Zonees!

Tried some cable lifting this weekend and got some results that are fascinating...

First, Sonic lifted the 12V DC line feeding the X-30 crossover by running it over the top shelf of my Clamprack and coiling round the rod. This was good. I got a deep weighty sound and a bit more volume.

Then Sonic took some MW and cedar blocks and used them to lift the mains cable feeding the tag strips and the cable feeding the Preamp. Not good -- the volume dropped and the sound got bleached. The harmonic richness was reduced.

The CD I used was David Wilson's recording of Beethoven's Sonata in G major Op 96 for Piano and Violin and Enescu's Sonata nr. 5 Op 25 in Rumanian Folkstyle. This is very good recording and it is musick I like.

The violin imaged as Wilson intended just right of the inside edge of LH speaker. The paino was a Steinway Hamburg Concert Grand and stretched across the soundstage and filled the room. With the Tune, the violin was where it should be and the piano was deep and rich harmonically. I heard subtle movements from violinist David Abel -- but not the laughable and exaggerated swaying of some violin soloists I've seen on video programmes as they pretend to have feel or ecstacy.

But it seems that what the cables are lifted with are as important or more important than just lifting them. I wonder if Michael agrees? I may need the real cable lifters/cable grounds after all. Just using wood blocks, even M Green ones, may not work.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:38 pm

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

More experiments from Sonic in the last few days:

1. yup, the materials used to lift cables is as important as lifting cables. I was told by a tweaker (Super-Tweaker IMO) who advised me to use foam cups to lift the cables. He says that they give the best treble. Wood, plastic and other materials kill the treble and transients says he. OK ever curious Sonic tried and...yes more treble but that predominated -- the treble and upper mids were there full force but everything else took a back seat. Real music isn't this way.....could mean that an audiophile can have a sound priority (in this case treble) and work to it but not notice that other features of the musick goes.

2. the tune gives so much more resolution that if we care to listen we can hear so much music but also where the shortfalls are. Now got to be careful. Hearing a shortfall is not the same as knowing the cause.

Sonic heard that the middle stage is nice and big but the sound stage at the speaker positions are narrowed and one-dimensional. Had to work to find the cause. It wasn't the MW slivers on the rack. As I moved these to the rear nuts of the rack the soundstage spread but to the rear of the stage (front behind the rack).

In the end, Sonic had to use only one EchoTune on the window blinds and brought the front Shutters to the forward position. Then things improved -- better sizing of all the thirds of the soundstage and improved height in the images. We shouod try to go for the least amount of acoustic absorption possible in the room.

3. Sonic was told that perhaps I need to change the capacitors in the MG1.5QR's crossovers. They are Solen oil-filled caps and maybe another brand but these can dry up over time and start rolling off the treble and reducing sparkle. This should not be too complicated since there are only two caps in each speaker and air-cored inductor.

Michael -- what caps do you use in your speakers?

For now the options include Hovlands and Mundorf among Maggie owners. Sonic is also learning about the art of using "bypass caps".

Will Michael or any Zonee like to comment on using caps to tune speakers and their crossovers?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:03 pm

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

As Sonic listens to different systems an idea comes this way -- too often our soundstages are like a fish-eye lens....big in the middle and squeezed at the sides....this is not right.

For sure, there is perspective but we should consider SID/P (tm) -- Sound Image Dimensionality on a Plane. What this means is for any given plane in the system, say the line that runs between the two loudspeakers, a sound image for the same instrument type, should have the same width and depth and girth. So take a cello for example -- positioned slightly beyond the Right speaker, on the Right speaker, 1/4 R, middle, 1.4 Left, on the Left spaekr and slightly beyond the left speaker -- should be the same in frame of tone, width, dimensionality and girth.

Of course, there isn't any classical music recording i know of where a properly recorded instrument is moved across the soundstage like this but you may get the idea. If the perpsective is further like back at the front wall, then the images could be smaller but should still be even across the width of the soundstage till we get beyond the edges of the speakers.

Now if we get blobs and goldfish bowl effects in our images, then....something needs Tuning...

Sonic has noticed that my image widths are not the same across the stage. Nice and girth-full at the centre up to the 1/4 and 3/4 points but squeezed at the speaker positions and beyond. This probably tells me that my system has lots of way to go.

Now Sonic is noticing that the thing that needs fixing in my system is no more the ambient field behind me but the ability for the soundstage to expand way past the outside edges of the speakers in a fully dimensioned way.

On some musick there are hints of this. But only hints so far.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Koffee Kups   Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:39 am

Hi fellow Zonees

So Super-Tweaker calls Sonic and insists my mind needs expanding and that with the Tune my whole perception of sound is getting lopsided. After lots of wonderful listening to my semi-tuned system what more can I say that I am talking to a victim of audiophile craziness....but ST (let's call him that) insists I should get some foam coffee cups and use them as cable lifter and see if I am enightenened.

So Sonic went ahead and lifted the mains cables with foam coffee cups.

Impressions -- slightly more upper midrange and treble. Have to admit it, this is better than the foam pieces I tried but while this should be given time to settle there maybe something artificial about the sound but let's give it a chance shall we?

Zonees should not be afraid to try alternatives and see what happens. For sure in the early phases of the Tune, alternative things may work -- like say mixing Michael's prudcts with other things like carbon fiber boards and Shun Mook...if it gets you closer to the Gestalt of the orchestra/jazz band you heard last evening go for it.

But if the Tune is theoretically and practically robust, it will show its worth against all the contenders such as the Magic this or that, dots, Tibetan bowls, silver cables, tube traps, diffusors, absorption, "super cable network boxed" (which are nothing more than overpriced Zobel networks with silly exotic materials to trap the gullible), not to mention ideas like placing your speakers at the 1/3 length and 1/3 width of a room and choosing speakers whose cabinets are so dead that sliapping them with your hand hurts....most Zonees may have read this sort of stuff....

Sonic got an idea....maybe I should set up an alternative, that is an "alternate" music system in another part of my dwelling which will use audiophile equipment that I will not Tune, but adopt moderate audiophile approaches and see what I hear.

Zonees know SOnic listens to Baroque musick and the spirit of suc musick is counter point. Yes...counterpoint is always nice, should be educational and the Tune should hold its own.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:54 am

Hi Sonic

Wanted to stop by and say hi. We will be doing the CES for one more day then back to tuning, can't wait!!

have fun

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:11 am

Hi Michael and Zonees!

Have a good time at the CES, Michael!

S-Tweaker emailed Sonic a posting by one Ed Hsu on Audio Asylum where Mr Hsu claims that Foam Cups sound best supporting cables. He saids that wood tends to reduce treble, MDF is no good and hard things like stones and ceramic are awful. In my experience Mr Hu is pretty on the money...except when Michael's wood is being used. The Tune will always surprise.

Anyway I tried lifting my cables with cups. It seems promising for the mains cables --in fact rather good..a bit more treble and slightly better transients on most music. But once the small signal cables went up on the Foam Cups, the soundstage started to get recessed especially with classical music but AT LEAST everyting moved back as a plane instead of producing the "banana-curved stage". Things started to get out of perspective. Meaning a recessed image cannot have this much treble. It doesn't happen this way in real life.

Sonic tested with Water Musick by Handel (Pinnock), Jean Ferry Rebel's violin sonantas (A Mainz), Munrow's Renaisance Dances, Elizabeth de la Guerre's Harpsichord pieces (wonderful music by one of the Barogue era's few woman composers), Vince Guaraldi Trio's Black Orpheus, Smithsonian recordings of Appalachian music.

As things settle this might change but I suggest that Tunees should give this a try. For sure I am hearing less Left-drift in my system on some CDs.

Sonic is also thinking about putting the secondary counterpoint system together to get a alternate views on music reproduction. It will be fascinating as a learning journey.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:53 am

Hi Sonic

Foam and paper cups are both interesting sounding when cables are placed on them. Also HSU subwoofers are IMO underestimated in comparison to many of the subs out there. Sure they can get one note sounding, but with tweaking they can follow a bass line pretty well. If I didn't make my own tunable products HSU would be some of the products that I would look at.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:52 am

Hi Michael

As my Tunes are settling, Sonic's impressions are that the foam cups may increase treble and some detail in the upper midrange -- but the MG Cable Lifters (Gen 1) still gives more "wholeness" and that "whiff of reality". The cups may seem to give more sound values but if you are linked into musick, you may find that it is the Audiophile Values that are being accentuated not the "frame of tone" and "energy density" that takes you to true realism. But less than 24 hours of music-play time is not enough to form any stable impression. But my first feel is the hemlock MDF lifters from Michael do more to bring forward the music.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:33 pm

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

Looks like Michael is having fun at the CES. Nice pictures of the Purist Cables room.

Sonic has been listening a lot to my system and yes, Michael is right that the foam cups are "interesting sounding" and they are alright but the more I listen there is something that I can't put a finger on to let me say they are "whole". Dunno could be the mood of Sonic when coming back from the office this last week. All these things have an effect. The sound is balanced and clean, dimensional but there is a slight loss of volume and this always signals to me that something is not spot on.

All this shows that all audio gear have to be interfaced to the main plane the sit on. You can't just place gear on a shelf, on the floor without interfacing them. Oh yes, I interface all the transformers of my gear that I have taken out of the chassis. Like the Quicksilver Pre-amp -- the big & heavy transformer sits on a 3" x 3" x 0.25" balsa wood square from Michael with 4 Harmonic Springs underneath (3 won't take the weight without tipping over). The second transformer (small) sits on another balsa square with 3 Harmonic Feet supporting it. This gives good tone of instruments, voices and presence since it was done close to 3 weeks ago.

Now every piece of equipment, every wire in my system uses an interface device. Nothing touches a surface directly.

Next Steps for Sonic's System:

a. I am getting a lack of width at the wall points directly at the spaker plane. What I mean is the sound doesn't expand thru the walls next to my speakers. There is some expansion further behind the speakers towards the front corners.

The images at the speaker sides feel hemmed in.

Michael: what do you suggest I do (or get from your products) to fix this? I have got an adequate surround rear ambience for now. So Sonic can focus on fixing this sidewall problem that I may not have noticed earlier without the improved resolution of the Tune.

b. Sonic may get a Musical Fidelity V-DAC. Will need a Bare Essence cable from Michael to be the digital cable between the transport and the DAC.

Michael: Where can I place the DAC? Can it go on the top shelf of my rack even if it is top tuning the CD transport under it? Should I put Harmonic Springs or Harmonic Feet under the DAC? Or use some Magic Wood and make a shelf that sits on the floor via 4 mild steel rods (from DIY shoppe)?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi Sonic

One thing that I like about you is I don't need to tell you how something sounds. You always figure it out. The cups although they do interesting things do suck out parts of the music. This all goes back to where I talk about "fair exchange" between different materials and how the vibrations flow from one to another continually to form a united sound. Once a material's sound is introduced it must meld or be tuned into the rest of the vibrations from all the other parts and pieces. A signal doesn't discriminate between materials it "goes with the flow" and becomes a part of what ever it can become a part of. Since energy is motion it does not like to stay put. It will graduate to the next moving point of saturation until it is completely intertwined with it's surrounding's "whole". This is why little changes make a big difference.

The sound not passing through the walls tells me that something in the system (big or small) is being too saturated. This can be happening on many levels but the first thing to look at are the parts of the system that look out of balance. Take a look at your system and imagine your parts floating on water. Which parts of your system would float and which parts of your system look like they would be the first ones to sink. The parts that look like they would float would be the ones that may be having too much absorption around them and the parts that look like they would sink probably are transferring energy too quickly into the next point of transfer. Your job is to make sure the whole system's raft stays afloat without becoming too absorbed by what is making it stay afloat. I have found (and keep coming back to) the thought that the more I make things variably tunable instead of relying on just gravity and weight the closer I get to the proper float or fair exchange between the parts. This is why I'm such a big fan of top tuning and would say that it is the single most important tweak over any other mechanical tweak.

Many of the problems that I hear or hear described by others makes me think immediately of top tuning. Think of how much energy is sitting at the top of parts that end up getting pulled down by gravity. This energy could be sent up through a top or side venue instead, allowing much more of the signal to pass without being drained. Balance, it's all about balance and fair exchanging of the energy flow. Always be looking at your system thinking "what is too heavy?", "what is too saturated?", "what is absorbing the sound?", "what is causing the sound to move to the next transfer point too quickly?". Our goal is to make harmonics develop and sustain. We should be able to shorten this sustain at will. Shorting makes for more focus and sustaining makes for more ambients and space.

As far as other components I always go with fewer parts that may cause duplication means simpler signal paths.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:52 pm

Hi Sonic

I have never been able to share a shelf with long term success. When I make a change to the top tuned component or part I can hear the change in the component sitting on top of the shelf. This makes life difficult for me and as a result I always go back to removing the component off of the top shelf.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:48 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

The thing Sonic has with a soundstage that doesn’t extend beyond the walls has to be qualified a little – for most of the front half of the room, the images do go thru what seems to be acoustically porous side walls. It is only at the areas adjacent to the outside edges of the speakers that I hear this bad effect. And it happens mostly on 60s classic jazz recordings where an instrument is pan potted into one channel -- eg: John Coltrane Quartet’s Out of this world – with saxophone in Left speaker, drum kit in Right speaker. And I get a drum kit whose girth and spread on a roll extends back along/parallel to the Right hand wall instead of thru it into the space beyond!

Unless the drummer was recorded with his whole drum kit facing into the center of the stage, this is really artificial.

Sonic has done some Tunes to get a more realistic soundstage – I removed the 4 Harmonic Springs under the Pre-Amp’s heavier transformer and used Harmonic Feet (x3). From what I hear from my Tuning experiments, Harmonic Springs should always be used with Top Tuning. Without Top Tuning, the device wobbles and you get a compressed sound. Not only that, the Frame of Tone is compromised and instruments and voices don’t sound correct. But Springs with top tuning – either another spring or a down rod -- can be really wonderful.

Saturation
“it was as clear as mud, but it covered the ground and the confusion made my brain go round.” (Belafonte – Man Piaba)

I have little idea what you are getting at, Michael. I would rather think in terms of the practical steps I need to take and the MG products I need to consider to improve my system. Abstractions can be fascinating but in this case I’ll pass. Sonic is getting Tuning-fatigue.

Next Steps
Maybe I should look into a set of Cable Grounds for my system. The foam cups worked a lot better than letting the cables lie on the floor. But cables on MW blocks were not ideal. Sonic seems to find that MW blocks should not be used to lift cables….the result is not pleasant.

But placing a small MW bar on top of each cup and laying the cable on it gives good Frame of Tone. This seems to point to Cable Grounds. I’ll PM for a quotation.

Can you also suggest a series of steps to test what direction I should take to get more stage width thru the walls?

What steps do you suggest or products do you have to tune my Magneplanars like what you are doing for the Quads?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:27 am

Hi Sonic

Sorry about your Tuning-fatigue. The only way I have found to over come this is to get closer to the tune, making things so that they do not fight each other but instead tune together. When this happens the system almost tunes itself until we decide to change the mood of the music on our own. This is why I always try to encourage people to buy the whole tunable system. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving a sales pitch when I say that, but this only last until I start tuning a system that is hopelessly out of tune. If we threw out the word audiophile and just dealt with sound and physics the listening world would be a lot better off. Unfortunately that is not the world most live in who are in this hobby. The best I can do is try to tune in the things you have chosen to use as your main products (amps, speakers, front end that type of stuff) and suggest things that tune up better than the things you have.

One of the fights is obviously the one with your speakers not letting you get to the next level. Panel drivers do great things when the right mechanical techniques are applied. I have no beef with any driver on it's own but when too many parts have to be used to make it work and still it needs too much in the way of signal to get it to wake up then I raise my eyebrows. In the maggies case it is just too much mass out of control for the level of hi fidelity you wish to get out of it. The speaker does not fire as a plane but more as a vibrating tower that vibrates more at the top than the bottom. Even the smallest of drivers have this problem when put into a vertical situation but panels suffer more from this because there is no point of source.

There are 2 framed systems that I use to fix this problem. One is a Angled Tuning Speaker Frame and the other a rectangular one. The Angled cost less but I prefer the Rectangular Tuning Frame.





This is always a big step and one should take a serious look at tunable speakers when making this commitment to a panel speaker. At the same time this setup tells you just how good panels are. Which ever way you go remember that I don't care about what someone uses to get the job done. I like one design as much as the next if it doesn't stop harmonics from reaching a certain level of performance and if a design is able to be tuned to any music source or type.

On the issue of Cable Grounds there is nothing that I know of that sounds better for the money than my cable grounds. I do make grounds that are more exotic and better sounding but they cost tons more.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:26 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

For Sonic to say that I got Tuning Fatigue just means some time is indicated for me to get to listen to good musick and let the sound seep into my soul. For sure, simple Tune Tasks like regular checking of tightness (actually the controlled looseness) of electrical and signal connections, ensuring that the bolts on the racks are just so, the MW pieces for top tuning slide with just that bit of friction is something I do with no problem.

But to tear apart my rack for an indeterminate purpose is not what I'd consider for an evening’s enjoyment especially if the purpose and outcome is unclear. I think my system has got to the point that the intuitive phase may be over. For example: use the front shutters to adjust the front pressure zones. Now a change of balance of gear in the front of the room can affect the far sides. It’s logically opaque to me but that could be that I am still too audiophile in my thinking.

Of course Michael, you are guiding my tuning long distance so I understand you’re not in a position to say “move the rack back 6 inches, split into 2 platforms and the stage will bloom out the sides of the speakers”. If you were here with a whole load of Tune gear, I think you’d solve all the problems in under an hour and I could get most of what I need in one go.

But that’s not possible, so there is this journey that seems most of the time to be a try-it-and-see-what-happens-next thing. Now the journey has push and pull factors. The push factors are the shortcomings in my room and system. The pull factors are the Vision of the Tune I want to approach.

The push factors were much stronger a year ago. Though my system is far from tuned, it has moved ahead thanks to Michael. On the other hand I need to also get a Vision of what can be – a goal to pull me onwards. With the old Tuneland site there was so many systems in foment at any one time… now there is much fewer so the pull is harder to feel. So a kind of equilibrium has been reached for Sonic.

I would like to make improvements like Cable Grounds and some of the things Michael promised for 2010/11 are stuff I would be keen on. But I am hoping chiefly to ignite that mental excitement that I found so appealing.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:53 pm

Hi Sonic

I know what your saying. At times I wish I was the tuning "Santa". Delivering maybe 10 different systems at the most and letting the tunees loose on them. Audiophile choices have made the high end side of tuning more difficult than it needs to be. If we would have started off with simple first instead of the other way around we wouldn't have to go backward in our thinking which is where a lot of people have a hard time. It's like making a red pasta sauce then trying to change it into a white sauce. "I feel the pain" The good news is when we get to a certain point we can see the music and hear it talking to us in only a way that a tunable system can. No walls, no tonality issues, and musical pace that seems to dance. There are not many audiophiles (including designers and reviewers) that ever reach this level so it seems like a stretch to many that the tunable world even exist.

One thing that I notice when looking at this last show is how far in reverse the industry is when it comes to tweaks. In the 90's (maybe because of tuning fever) there were a ton more tweaks and tweak choices being offered over today. If we compared the shows that were hosted at the Sahara with the ones of today side by side we would be shocked. The same I'm sure goes for over seas. For some reason the listener has been left behind and there is a gap between the simple and the expensive. One use to somewhat flow into the other but now the platform for the tweak listener is much smaller. This is good for you and I because we are ahead of the curve. At the same time we need to reintroduced tuning to the listener again. This time around we have a foundation in place because we have already been there. The other good news is I believe the "simple world" has a lot more to offer than it did. Amplifiers are far more simple today than they were 30 years ago. The weight difference is amazing, and as sources are so close to not having a motor drive tomorrow looks like a dream world in comparison to today.

Here's what I like about your system, you have and are stocking up on the tools. The tools of the tune are beyond the hobby of high end audio. They go straight to the development of the musical note and the harmonics that surround that note. A beautiful thing. No doubt your friends look at you and scratch their heads. It's fun to follow your thread and watch you go places into the music that no other type of system knows how to do. Perhaps someday we will take your maggies to a place where they will surprise even the most efficient speaker setups (again watch what I do to the Quads).

Drewster and I were talking the other day about how close we really are to having a flash/chip driven system. Their already out there and in a short time this type of setup will be the norm and will change high end yet again. Seems like only yesterday we took a big step into lasers and now we are into the world of driveless computers: " A computer or terminal in a local area network that does not have its own disk drives and relies on a central mass storage facility for information storage". Unless I am mistaken we will be hard driveless in about 3 years. It will take longer for the whole system to change but the writing is on the wall.

As we continue to sharpen our tools and skills the rest of the world is going to make things much easier for us and the face of high end will change even more. Yes, something as simple as an Ipod or flash drive will run your tunable amps to run your tunable maggies or other tunable speakers to energize your variably tunable environment. This to me is very exciting and equally so to think that we will not be obsolete but always ahead of the curve.

I wish I was there to tune with you but from a distance I can see and hear that you are a tunee to be reckoned with.

love reading your thread Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:47 am

Hi Michael

Thanks for that compliment of my tuning ability. You're too kind. Sonic is excited at where the Tune can take me but right now my experience with the Tune is the first-hand effect of your products and advice plus the forward-looking/pull-side is just descriptions from senior Tunees of how their systems sound. Things like a voice 12ft high, vocalists whose tonsils can be heard vibrating 3 ft from the listener, instruments and vocalists that appear at the shoulders....well Sonic has to contextualise this to classical recordings (all these are playback of pop/rock music). I've no idea what all this sounds like or translates into reality.

Sonic is cautious in making a mental image. There is the issue of real scale and perspective. My speakers are about 11 ft apart. If this was the position of the First and Second violin leaders, the orchestra image will extend at least 15 ft more left and right of my speakers and the depth will be multiples of my room! Given the space in my room, a simple jazz quartet will spill outside three ways. The most I can fit in that space is a small bluegrass band whose members shouldn't move too much if they don't want to bump into each other. The the sheer volume....in my jam sessions, i've had 3 dreadnoughts going at the same time with a hand drum. That is loud. Think of an orchestra at full cry in a my room. It cannot be...

So we have to scale things back a bit. But I am hoping to go part way there.

Anyway, here are some of my latest pictures:

This is how Sonic got the cups to sound quite nice. Notice the MW.



Here's the front of my room -- thanks Michael for the tip -- see the EchoTune on the Janis W-1 subwoofer? Copied that from what Michael did at the CES.



Can I use this to support the Musical Fidelity V-DAC I plan to buy?



This is a piece of MW from Michael (the cherry finish is from Mr Green too. The rods and nuts are from a DIY store and are mild steel. I can set this on the floor behind my rack on MW squares. Harmonic Springs can be placed under the V-DAC.

What do you think, michael?

And please have a look again at my room pix here -- if you were to take the rack apart, move things around in the zone behind my speakers so as to increase the soundstage width, what will you do?

Still tuning....

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:45 am

Hi Sonic

The V-DAC will have to be very "very" light weight to work on the Canopy tuning board. The board is really made more for top tuning.

By putting the wood across the cup you can begin to see one of my secrets to the new Cable Grounds. Before I used Cable Grounds that sent the signal down from a V. This worked well until I started using different wood/finishing and sending the signal from the center out to the edge supports and down. The edge supports act more like tuning boards building up a nice top to bottom frequency range. The center piece acts more like a tuning bar only not as dense. Cables 12ga and smaller love the size of the center piece for transferring the vibrations.

here's a cut-a-way to show you how the flow works


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PostSubject: Acoustic Discovery   Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:39 pm

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

Sonic's system has been sounding better these last couple of days. And its because of a discovery Sonic made....that rooms have an Acoustic Axis TM

What's this? Every room has the geometric axis --you know the centre line, the parallel surfaces, 1/4 and 1/2 and 3/4 points. And know what? Audiophiles are always aligning their systems especially their speaker placement to the geometric axis.

But as we put furniture into a room, put equipment and ourselves into our rooms all the interactions change...we hang curtains, place carpets on and on....the acoustic axis will change and migrate away from alignment with the geometric axis. And this can cause the soundstage to drift and skew left or right!

Michael, did you once say a Left skew was more common than a Rightward one?

This skew is not linear. So you cannot compensate with a balance control. The bass could go right, treble and mids go left but vocals could be centred.

Sonic had a mild version of this problem. Rear ambience and echoes went Right, but upper mids went Left. Centred images stayed in the centre...it is also likely that the Acoustick Axis (TM) could tip front to back which means some rooms could have too much or too little height.

Sonic discovered that the best balance control was the Shutters. By adjusting them, the pressure zones which caused the different imaging leanings can be adjusted. I got a good balance from bass to treble now. With very nice micro details in the Right channel which I had difficulty reproducing before.

Sonic did this: Front wall -- R shutter 45 degs away from centre, L shutter 90 degs. Right wall -- front shutter 90degs, rear shutter 45 degs towards centre of room. Left wall -- front shutter 45 degs towards front wall, rear shutter 90 degs. Rear wall shutters neutral, ceiling shutters full effect position. In this way what I tried to do is to move some pressure Right but barricade it in the front and change the rear right ambience. The Left is kept left but weakened a bit and pushed to the front wall. The soundstaged is balance right to left evenly now.

(Michael, is this right according to your Tuning knowledge?)

Sonic has heard systems where the lateral axis has shifted even if the front to back axis stays aligned with the centre line of the room. When the lateral axis is skewed, the Left speaker images can be forward towards the listener but the Right speaker images can get recessed and go one-dimensional into the space behind the Right sepaker and the Right corner and the soundplane is presented at an angle like sitting in a theatre at the side or seriously off centre seats.

The micro detailing in my musick reproduction (notice I don't say "my system"...another Tune thory coming soon...possibly) has improved a lot with this shutter setting. Been listening these couple of days to mostly French music from the baroque era to the early 20th century.

Sonic
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