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 Drewster's Room

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Drewster
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PostSubject: Drewster's Room   Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:02 pm

Hello Tunees,

Michael has been here in Chicago for the last 2 1/2 weeks working with Bill333 on Bill's Tunable Room (we'll be posting some pics soon). He also spent some time at my place doing a little tuning of my system...

Last time he was here (about a year ago) we changed the orientation of the system so the speakers are located at the wide sides of the room rather than the narrow sides and this made the room even more near-field. That helped a lot with the soundstage.

Now we've really gone for simplicity -- we removed the Subwoofer, xover and M700 that powered the sub. We also now took out the tunable rack and replaced it with a Brazilian Pine platform, which itself of course is tunable. Also, I had the Jolida Integrated Amp transformer removed from the chassis and rewired so it could sit comfortably next to the amp chassis.





We had that going for a while but then I think a wire got loose and we lost power. So we put in the Pioneer SX-3400. Which it turns out is great! Very musical. And can go really deep because of the platform it's sitting on. The platform really brought the range of the system down and it easily reaches into the mid or even low 30's.





The simplicity of the system really allows it to be easily tunable. We then made another platform into a tuning wall behind the listening chair, and this provided even more of a 3D effect.





Michael even tuned the room and hallway outside the listening room by placing RoomTune pillows, and that really cleaned up the energy in the room and made it even more coherent and musical.











jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:29 am


Hi Drewster!

Congratulations! Your system must sound wonderful. Is top tuning not required when you go to this level?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:48 pm

Hi Sonic,

It's moving toward that "surround" experience. Top tuning is next -- for the Pioneer and the Magnavox dvd player.

The cones beneath the boards supporting the Pioneer and Magnavox are our Sonic Bell (SB) and Sonic Bell Speaker (SBS) cones. The Tuning wall behind the seat is resting on Space Cones, and I will experiment with it resting on our AAB1X1, SB and SBS cones in the near future.


jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:29 am


Hi Drewster

SB and SBS cones.....then the cones are point up under the Pioneer if Sonic sees the picture right.

What made you do this for the Pioneer given that the cones under the Magnavox are point down?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:04 pm

Hey, Drewster,

You mentioned that Mr. Green tuned your hallway. Does this mean that you leave the door open when listening? I have pondered the effect of trying to build pressure up in a room to where one wants it to be, but wondering if the opening and closing of a door might actually destroy one's efforts. I know I read about Mr. Green doing similar hallway tunes with his systems, but I have never really considered just leaving the door open always. Should I try this?

Also, it looks like you were sitting up against the wall all along, yet you now have that platform between the back of your chair and the wall. Is this a "sound of wood" sort of thing? Mr. Green had specified a tuning panel for my set-up when I was originally sitting out from the wall by several feet, but I wondered of it would still be necessary now that I am sitting close to a wall. I'm guessing "yes" based on what you are doing now.

As you have forgone the use of a subwoofer, I have to ask: did you have any problems tuning the sub in that are made easier now without it?

And, on the lighter side, our Chicago winter has been tame so far, but can you still run steam through that radiator with that covering on it?
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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:49 pm

Simple Simple Simple!

When I visited Drewster's place a year ago I had a short time to listen but I had enough of a taste that I knew my visit this time would be a challange. I was wrong! This time I was awake and alert. Alert enough to let the system tell me what was going on right and wrong. My first clue was that system sounded weak while my voice sounded full. This told me right off that there was blockage or confusion in the signal path. Drewster and I started simplifying by replacing the rack with the platform. It took me all but seconds to know my next move. Drewster's system was not suffering from a lack of bass, it was suffering from a lack of signal applied correctly. The room needed to be PZCed and the sub gone along with the extra parts that were associated with it. Since I had been using the Mag/Pioneer setup at home and trusted it I threw it into the system. Deeper bass was apparent right off the bat and the room started talking to me at a feverish pace. Andy is a great audio host and knows how to be there when needed and move aside when I'm in the zone. And in the zone I was as things started jumping out at me like a road map. Turns out the music was there all the time just hidden by a few audio pathways that were not cleared up and too many things sitting in the room causing some suck out in the system. The room itself however is a full range music monster ready to be let out of it's cage.

Long story short on the electronics. The Pioneer 3400 rocks! and made the AudioSource and Jolida sound like missing parts instead of the whole/real deal. The Jolida tops the AudioSource but the Pioneer leaped off the page with music and let the Magnavox 2100 do it's thing. Now the system is waiting to be tuned and I did a great deal of this but there are some hidden jewels yet to be found. I'm looking forward to some proper top tuning and exploring the acoustical environment if I make my way back to the 2nd city.

Because of the open space floorplan Drewster has there are tons of acoustical tuning options in his other rooms that have big effects on the listening area. I showed Drewster a few of these and I think he was a little surprised by the results. The inner room listening area responded perfectly to the PZC basic text book setup and I found a cool side wall area to tune. Absolutely for sure this would not be the end for me but a good start. Outside the listening area are some very cool pressure zone that makes me want to move in and tune. I was there long enough to activate and deactivate them but not long enough to tune them in. We got enough done to transform the system from weakling to powerhouse, now we need to put those muscles to use.

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:38 pm

Drewster should be getting his 4105 and new maggie next week. I'm working on some of the tweak tools for his and other systems using this setup. There are several ideas I now have for Drewster based on some of the tweaking you all have done recently.

My last visit to his place I dialed in a very nice stage (listened to SuperTramp and Jethro Tull) but then went too far and didn't make it back to where I wanted it to be before I had to catch my flight. Bummer, I've been rolling this around in my head ever since I left. You guys and your tweaking have reminded me of a ton of different ideas that could be done here. One is the ceiling controller and two is slanted PZCs.

I should have kept going while at his place but when the SuperTramp was on we opened up the stage so big side to side that I thought we were close to right on. Some of these homes I wish I could stay at for weeks to get to tune in things like I do here, nice and slow.

Anyway the 4105 gives more information and with the way I'm thinking of the combo we should have tons of center fill staging to go with the width, but will the magic happen without the acoustics being redialed? If not my mind is on the job even if I'm not there in person.

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PostSubject: !!!   Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:16 am

Just got the Sherwood 4105 and Magnavox today, with Michael's power cord replacements. They've been burning in for about 8 hours.

All I can say is this is the combo we've been looking for. The Sherwood lets everything through, has great width, real image size, natural dynamics, images every voice and instrument in its own unique space, and is PHYSICAL like you can't help but play air drums and air guitar. cheers cheers

Like I told Michael, I just EXPERIENCED Abbey Road as it was meant to be experienced. sunny Now I'm trying to tear myself away from Manu Katché so I can get some sleep.

Looking forward to the breaking in and settling!


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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:48 am

I'm thrilled Very Happy

I was really enjoying tuning the Pioneer till I put the 4105 in. It's like the Sherwood and maggie are extensions of each other. The Sherwood takes all the good that the maggie does and shows it. When I look at the Sherwood it has high end written all over it. How about that circuit board layout? Pretty hot stuff.

If I were going to make a receiver it would look like the inside of the Sherwood and come with an outboard transformer. I think it's as big of a steel as the Maggie so far.

And wait till it burns in. It gets so much better. And here's what's shocking, the transformer is still inside. I can't believe it's this good with the transformer still in it.

this makes me very happy Exclamation

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:16 pm

Hi Everyone,

Here are some pics of my room with the Sherwood and Maggie in place and burning in. You'll notice a new listening chair, which I like a lot.









































Probably more visuals than you need ... but the more the merrier!



jocolor jocolor



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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:34 pm

You know, I've known Drewster a long time and we agree on many things, but I have to strongly disagree on this one. You can not post too many pictures of this setup.



Ok Audiophiles this is your chance. Take the name of the faceplate out of the equation and look at this. This is a well designed old school meets new masterpiece.

The very first thing that blew my mind when lifting the top off of this unit was the real estate. Impressive is an understatement. The spacing of parts is in tonal balance, something you almost never see a designer think about in High End audio. I'm not sure if this was a mistake or planed but it is brilliant. Second thing is, if you recall me talking about how I would build a control amp/amp combo I talked about long leads on the resistors. The difference between balanced ends and non-balance (lead vs size of resister) is one of the biggest unknown tweaks in High End and almost no one gets it right.

Well, I'm so pumped over these excellent pics (thanks) I need to steal these and use them on a review page. But let me say this much here. If several companies would design similar products we would see High End audio take a big change toward simple again and this would put the hobby back on the map because it is no longer out of reach to get Class A sound out of Class D pricing.

(hot chair Exclamation )

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:59 am


Hi Drewster

Excellent pix especially how you deal with the "little things" like supporting cables that run across equipment. Such a tempting idea....that Sherwood is on sale over in this little island at a super Great Value price.

For Sonic, such an appealing idea yet such a chasm to jump.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:26 pm

Hi Drewster

Have you had a chance to listen to piano yet on the Sherwood? There's a percussive rightness that happens with the amp on pianos that is frightening. I have not heard pressure on the keys quite this good in a long time. Maybe even back to the recording I did in New York. I'm talking the sound in the tuned studio not the control room.

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:40 am

Yeah, been listening to Bill Evans' Waltz for Debbie. The piano sounds complete (as opposed to "detailed"). You hear the keystrokes, can sense the pressure and release of pressure on the keys, and experience the full decay of notes.

Also, the brushed cymbal on the first track, My Foolish Heart, is fully there soundstage left (the piano is soundstage right by itself) like it's sitting in front of you. You can hear every individual wire in the brush on the cymbal.

Fun Exclamation


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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:30 pm

Listening to Supertramp Brother Where You Bound.

Great dynamics Exclamation

Still letting the Sherwood break in and settle.



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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:53 pm

I think my room and the Sherwood/Maggie combo have now settled in enough that the 3D capabilities of the system are starting to appear. I love you

Last night I put on Wish You Were Here





as a test to see where the system was at.

I believe I was hearing Welcome To The Machine as it was intended by the producer and engineer. During this cut I felt transported to a future time and space into a room where I was eerily the subject of programming/interrogation by some formidable control (the Machine). I felt like I was inside and surrounded by the Machine affraid . The soundstage was huge and complete and filled my entire room (it hasn't yet gone beyond the room boundaries, but that's what tuning will do later).

Dynamics, for example the guitar riff that begins Have a Cigar, were startling. And at the end of this cut there is a white noise burst in either channel that was precisely placed at the plane of my head (or level with each ear, in other words, about 4 feet in front of each speaker effectively where the doorways are in my room) and about 4'x4' in size that was so big and sudden and threatening and real that I nearly crapped my pants. Of course I replayed it again and again... afro .

Then I put on Dead Can Dance Into the Labyrinth and the size of the instrumental and vocal images were huge, coherent and complete and again filled the entire room. This recording was made in an old church, and I could really hear the haunting qualities of the venue.

That's my update. I'm giving the system some more time to break in and settle.


jocolor jocolor


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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:00 am

Hey, Drewster,

Sounds like good times in your abode. Congratulations! I probably have that Dead Can Dance CD, as I have many. I'll have to check it out. As for Pink, I only have a compilation, but it must have that particular track on it.

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PostSubject: New Source   Tue May 21, 2013 2:17 am

Hello all,

Well, I've added a new source to my system. The Marantz NA7004 Network Player. It's discontinued, and currently available at Music Direct for $400. It plays all my music in iTunes (which happens to be all my CDs, which I downloaded in .WAV format into iTunes), as well as internet radio, over my wi-fi network. It was recommended to me by a trusted muckety muck at MD as a good and cheap music server (since it was on clearance). I've been looking for a solution to access and play all my music via computer or network, and especially for the price this seemed a good and low risk way to address it.





It is a very audiophile type design. Really overkill in the damping department.





Initially it took me a while figure out how to get it connected to my wi-fi. First I had to register the unit and then call their very friendly dedicated customer service line to get the software updated. Once I got it set up, I just let it play for over 200 hours.

Unfortunately it didn't sound so good out of the box or even after 200 hours. The bass was taut and punchy. The mids and highs, however, were very closed down. This was very disappointing. Sad I was definitely hoping for better.

You can see in the above pic the resinous epoxy-ish hardened goop spread on many of the caps. This pic was taken after my initial tuning tweaks and after Michael had taken an initial crack at it, so you don't see, for example, the three ferrite magnet RF "stoppers" that were removed from key wires and wire bundles. Evil or Very Mad



More to come....


jocolor jocolor



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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Wed May 29, 2013 2:14 am

Hello All,

I've had the Marantz with the changes that Michael and I made in the system now for about a week, settling, along with the equipment platform that we made some changes to because the wood had expanded in the Chicago humidity over the last year. This was a unique situation where I made a number of changes all at once because Michael was in town, and we tried to get as much that needed to be done as we could in the time we had.

Basically, we took the bottom shield plate (heavy) off the Marantz, loosened the transformer from the board, unwound some twisted wires, removed some cable ties, and took off the one ferrite RF stopper that I was unable to remove before. Some undesirable things couldn't be removed, such as the resinous goop applied to some of the caps.









I can't really say for sure what sound changes go with what component tuning changes, but I can say that the sound in my room is now bigger, fuller and deeper. And the mids and highs with the Marantz are now much more open and more balanced and more natural. In fact, the tuned Marantz now comes close to the Maggie in bigness. Maybe not the same level of subtle detail or dynamics or fullness of harmonics, but much better than I expected given my initial experience with it.

I listened late into the night last night. The Marantz has really good rhythm and drive Exclamation and I kept listening to "one more song" for way too long. I was bobbing my head and tapping my toes to everything I played. Using the Remote app on my iPhone makes it so easy to play anything in my entire music collection with just a few taps, it's kind of addicting.

Can't wait to hear what the next week of settling will bring....


jocolor jocolor


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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:33 am

Hi All,

I've read quite a bit about various software solutions that improve on iTunes by pirating the signal before it gets processed by iTunes, and doing a better job of it, while at the same time using iTunes' library framework. I downloaded four of these to try out with the Marantz: Pure Music, Amarra, Audirvana and Decibel. Unfortunately, I was only able to get Amarra to work with iTunes and the Marantz. The others had various problems, and troubleshooting was difficult as they only had user forums, not any customer service.

Amarra, though, definitely made a positive difference Smile . The sound was overall less digital. More rounded, full and cohesive. It simply sounded more musical and more natural and complete. My trial period ended about a week ago, and I definitely miss it.

Amarra is by far the most expensive of these programs at $180, but I may have to bite the bullet and fork out the bucks.

One concern I have is that you only get a license for one computer, and I can't tell if that means if I get a new computer, I can't transfer it to that computer. I'll try to find out that answer before I make a purchase. Even at $180 though, it's I think a necessary addition to my system now with the Marantz. I wish I could have compared the other programs, though. I did read one review that did, and that reviewer concluded that Amarra had the warmest and most analog-like sound, FWIW.


jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:13 pm

Arrived at Drewster's system late last night. After a little listening I found myself looking at the eq platform. Out came the washers and putting them in between the frame and the tuning board you could hear the direction to go in. Next step out comes the Space Cones and pennies. I started by flipping the cones point up and pennies on the point. so it goes

frame SC penny top board

Hit the play and instant clean up but weird. MG says time to sleep. I never really sleep but you get the idea. Morning comes and we have a completely filled in stage like someone took some pledge and dusted off the dirt. I'll let Drewster post a pic. It took then just a couple of wood choice steps and we have music. Platform tweaking is a huge step and tons  of ways to voice. Honestly I thought some of the sound was for sure the room but this last tweaking made the room open up "a lot", and most impressive is the clarity and attack. Oh my this is the second setup now doing this  tweaking and Wow. Back at my place though I'm doing this plus the use of the Redwood cured and treated. I did find a couple of things though when doing Drewster's  that I need on mine. BTW Drewster ended up with Redwood as well and is getting  some of the special brew I'm making. I believe this will be excellent for Bill333 too.

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:44 am

Well I have to tell you and I'm sure Drewster will as well. We are seeing a transformation in Drewsters system. The Wall is knocking down the walls at his place and as we have found some electrical things combined with platform tweaks the system has become an easy to listen to power house.

We've been taking settling breaks in between tweaks and this is allowing the system to talk. Like at my place Drewster has a writing room off to the side where observations can be made then we can go in and tweak.

I'm looking forward going home and thinking about this trip more. Many things are planted in my mind and when I hear my system I will be able to take what I have heard and put it inside of my world.

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:48 am

Michael's brief visit was very productive. While redrilling the holes on the platform made a very big difference following his last visit to Chicago, giving more bass weight and enlarging the soundstage considerably, adding first the washers and then the Space Cones and pennies between the top and base of the platform really improved the resolution of the system. Especially in the bass. There is  more music there now, over the entire frequency range. Voices filled in and sound more natural.
















The overall sound has continued to improve. Electric bass is awesome. Very tuneful and driving and easily identifiable. I'm looking forward to this settling even more over the next few weeks.


jocolorjocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:17 am

Hi All,

Well, the room has now been settling for a few days since Michael left. The soundstage remains big and is getting more relaxed.

The other thing we did when Michael was here was work with the electrical in the room, and the adjustments added a whole new level of resolution as well as freeing up the height of the soundstage and dynamics.

I had the Marantz plugged into a Shunyata Hydra power conditioner (yes, I know it's a no-no Evil or Very Mad) that my buddy from Music Direct loaned me to check out, along with the Apple Airport Express, and my room air conditioner. This was plugged into one outlet in the room, while the amp and Magnavox were plugged into a second outlet in the room. These outlets are in the same circuit. Both have been "set free" from the wall and are just floating by their wires. 

Though we were a bit concerned about making any further changes after working the platforms, we decided to remove the Hydra from the circuit, leaving only the Sherwood and Magnavox plugged in. This immediately made a substantial difference. First, we noticed that the soundstage expanded in all directions, like a balloon being inflated. As a result, some holes in the soundstage in certain pressure zones on the left side of the room became noticeable, where before they weren't. Especially obvious was how much having the Shunyata in the circuit was compressing the height of the soundstage. 

Second, the resolution took a major step forward. It became clear that some electronic haze had disappeared, and everything came into a new, greater level of focus and resolution. This was especially notable in the bass and in voices and in brass and horns. Again, another huge step toward realness and natural musicality. This was not subtle Shocked. It was an "ahhh" moment, where we recognized that this is how the music should sound, and that this quality had been missing but we didn't know it.

We then decided not to risk adding more devices to this circuit and possibly degrade the sound and so plugged the Marantz and AE into an extension cord from the kitchen, which is on a different circuit. Since I won't be using the Marantz for serious listening that will work fine. Ultimately, I'll move the Marantz and AE onto a shelf in the kitchen hallway and run longer ICs to the Sherwood. I now also have to get a long heavy duty extension for the a/c to run into the kitchen circuit.

Lesson learned: power conditioning doesn't help. It constricts the flow of energy, affecting soundstage size, resolution and dynamics, though it may create the impression of some improvement by compressing the size of the soundstage and thereby making it seem more filled-in.


jocolorjocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Drewster's Room   Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:53 am

Hi Drewster

Yes, them conditioners seriously constrict the sound.  Some slow the sound up, others give an artificial cleaness which is simply sterile and dead.  Some are even equalized to compensate for the darkening and slowing of the sound.  On first listen these may fool a listener but like all static EQ, the effect is noticeable in the end because everything sounds the same.

Sonic
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