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 Tuning and Musical Adventures

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:26 am

Just a quicky post.

I don't see in-room systems and headphone systems as being the same hobby. Car audio, headphones, home theatre and home audio and live listening are in reality 5 different hobbies. Home theatre and home audio many times intermingle, but I don't see headphones as a replacement for the other modes. Headphones and ear plugs are very cool, but they're not an in-room system by any means.

The in-room audio listener is into a full body experience, a completely different sensation from headphone listening. Not sure you can replace one for the other. And remember this, just because HEA fails, it doesn't mean in-room systems fail. For example, look at how many listeners use products like Sonos.

I don't think being an audiophile means you have to choose between options. HEA going the wrong direction for a while doesn't mean that the typical audiophile went along with these limited fixed systems. Most listeners simply stepped away from HEA, or never knew HEA existed, but I don't think that means you throw away the room. What it does mean is the audiophile community is far bigger than HEA.


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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:53 am



Tested My System’s Frequency Response

Sonic ran some test tones from 1kHz down to below 30hz and I got a handle of my systems freqency response into the bass.

This is the first time Sonic did any form of testing since the time the Magneplanar 1.5QRs were moved from the nearfield to a mid-field position (and the Janis W-1 subwoofer system withdrawn). The move of the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs towards the front wall I reported in December 2016 and later bringing the panels to 14 inches from the side walls in July 2017.

For this test, Sonic kept still and maintained a locked position of the measuring SPL meter (Ratshack) given that sine tones were used.

I used 500hz at 70db as the 0db reference point. For this test, Sonic used the Ratshack only to back up my listening impressions such if there is a peak or dip being heard. Given the inaccuracies of the Ratshack, the actual numbers I read off the meter are reported because they are not considered accurate.

What Sonic learnt was (within the limits of measurement and my hearing capability):

a. the frequency response is flat from 300hz to 1khz.

b. moving down in frequency, there is a rise in bass from 200 hz down with a peak at 80hz, then the response drops a bit in the 70 – 80hz range.

c. in the lower bass range we have a broad peak from 70hz down to 50hz where response is very strong compared to the reference level.

d. when 40 and 45 hz are reached, the response is falling back to a level similar to the reference.

e. there is still some useable output in the high 30hz range, below which the response drops off sharply and by 30hz and below the signals are inaudible.

Sonic is rather pleased with this result as it shows adequate bass and explains why playback of classical (except the deepest organ notes) and jazz music have more than enough bass, sometimes too much, yet other types of music can, depending on the recording, go unexpectedly thin because of the relative dip at 70 - 80hz dip. It also tells me why I can often listen at low levels with reasonable satisfaction, the rising bass gives some compensation for the Fletcher-Munson effect of the ear’s declining sensitivity to bass frequencies with falling volume level.

Of course, if I want to be really methodical, Sonic should take a number of readings in spots at and around my listening position and average them.

Sonic





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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:35 am



Tuneability Tips

Yes Zonees and good readers, Sonic has a suggestion how you can achieve tuneability quite simply and it is how I have learnt to EQ my sound for different recordings I listen to – digital, analog, music, drama, historical recordings.

This post will need Michael’s guidance of course!

Sonic understands that the mighty tuneable systems of the Mighty Tunees Hiend001, tjbhuler, Bill333, Drewster may not be for everyone with their top-tune canopies, low-to-the-floor platforms, open chassis and tuneable loudspeakers. That level of tuning is not even for me.

My system and room are actually very modestly tuned compared to the standards of Mr Green and the Mighty Tunees’ rooms and systems. All my gear is loosened up enough so they sound easy and there is acoustic treatment from MGA enough to deal with the hard sound of my room walls.

So to start you on the road to tuneability, Sonic will like to discuss how I am using small amounts of equalization to achieve musical satisfaction. This assumes you have an integrated amp or preamp with Tone Control knobs (bass and treble, even better if you have a third midrange control too!), otherwise you will need an EQ box like the JVC SEA-10 Sonic uses.

So here are three simple ways you can get started – involving Taking Stock, Carrying Out Equalisation and Exorcising Yourself:

Taking Stock – you are going to use EQ to gently compensate for difference in recordings to make them sound best in your home. If you have High End Audiophile thoughts buzzing in your brain, tell yourself now that just because a recording needs compensation does not mean that it is a bad recording or your system is junk.

If you can play many recordings Flat till now without discomfort is a sign your room/system is in the ballpark!

The good news is they can sound much better and you can enjoy them more with equalization.

Now think of each recording you play in these terms – ask yourself:

1. Is this recording is too bright and thin?

2. Is this recording is too bassy and muddy?

3. Is there is something wrong in the mids – either pushed too forward or too distant?

Of course you might be in a happy place where the particular recording you have chosen plays flat enjoyably then you sit back and be happy in the music till the next recording you want to hear.

On the other hand, you might face one of these issues or sometimes a combination of two of these flaws.

Usually nowadays you will find the majority of problematic recordings will be "bright and thin" rather than "bassy and muddy" and sometimes are recessed mid (Nr 3) and "bright and thin".

EQ can make flawed recordings of good music enjoyable but Zonees should understand there are issues which EQ will not fix: room boom or overhang from slap echoes. Also there are spatial things captured by the microphones that systems will not playback properly unless they are tuned the way Michael, Hiend001, Bill333, tjbhuler do things.

These will include late 1960s analog pop recordings where the whole drum kit is recorded full range but compressed and mixed “small” into one speaker like some early Bee Gees, or guitars on/in a speaker which when fully tuned can explode in side and project forward and back of the speakers like in the Led Zeppelin recording which Michael reported.

Carrying Out Equalisation – When you next play music from any source listen to the first track for a few seconds and ask yourself “do I like this sound Flat? If not, what do I need to do?”

Then trust your judgment and use your tone controls. You can either turn up the bass if the recording is thin (and vice versa, turn down the bass if there is too much) OR you can “do a Walker” by turning up the bass a little and turning down the treble to mimic Peter Walker’s shelf controls his Quad preamps.

That will be it with many recordings – even just fixing one end of the frequency range will often make things more listenable. Forward or recessed mids are harder to fix with just Bass and Treble tone controls. If you have a Mid control, use it. If you have an EQ, adjust the 1kHz up or down.

Then enjoy the music.

Zero the controls at the end of the record and play the next recording on your playlist. Adjust to taste with tone controls and enjoy the music. Do this over and over until the use of your tone controls become second nature.

After a bit practice you will instinctively be able to compensate on the fly. Trust your instinct. Do not worry about the last dB of correction. Experiment a bit – you like Bob Marley? Play some tracks and push the bass up. At some point you will feel the music move you and then past than the music gets muddy. Learn as you go along. If your CD sounds bass light add a bit more bass and maybe a bit of treble cut and you will brings it way closer to “perfection” than any system played Flat.

Do not worry if you have overdone things or under-compensated by 1dB. You are in this to enjoy music – leave the obsessing to High End Audiophiles and their “fixed sound”!

The Red Flag to observe is this: if you are using tone control knobs you just be able to fix your recordings within 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock at most, assuming the tone control Zero adjustment is 12 o’clock. If your tone control is using sliders or you have an EQ box like Sonic, you should never need more than +/- 3 dB at any frequency. Big boosts or cuts indicate major issues that may not lie in the recordings but in the room and system equipment chain. If this occurs, note where the problem is and PM Michael for advice.

Exorcising Yourself – exorcise the evil spirits of HEA from your mind! Just because your system cannot play your favourite Beatles, Bach or Bob James flat DOES NOT make it a failure! Resist the corrupting spirit of HEA whispering in your ear “the best systems play everything Flat.”

Your reply to the evil spirit of HEA is: “I don’t care because I am enjoying the music more than ever!”

Remember all amps and preamps had tone controls until Julian Vereker of Naim made the first preamp without tone controls in the early 1970s. Audiophiles in the 1950s and 60s had tone controls and EQs and were not afraid to use it. Sonic learnt not to be a prisoner to HEA-thought. You can set yourself free too!

Take your time to develop the instinctive skill of tonal adjustment. Don’t think you have to get it right today. You can always get it right tomorrow.

Don’t let the evil spirit of HEA tell you “how do you know you are not corrupting the musician’s intention by using EQ?”

Your response: “if I achieve a musical existential experience, I have honoured the artiste! And you, the HEA people do not enjoy the music more by playing them Flat!”

And get practice…your skill in using tone controls/EQ is an art. It took Sonic a surprisingly short time to develop this.

Train yourself by going to jazz clubs, rock concerts and classical performances – any musical performance you like...string quartets, reggae, blues, drum & bass, Indian ragas, Chinese opera, Lapland throat singing. Enjoy the music then try to bring the feel and tone of the live musical event back home with your tone controls. When you can do that instinctively you will unlock so much more of our hobby!

Sonic


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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:14 am



More on the PSVane 12AX7-TIIs  

Sonic has now exceeded 80 hours of burn-in of the PSVane 12AX7-TIIs, we have reached the manufacturer’s recommended hours of burn-in and Sonic can hear that a core sound of the PSVanes is emerging.

Sonic thinks the sound is pretty good though different from the vintage sound of the Mullards – with the PSvanes we are hearing a modern tube sound which is defined by smooth clarity with much tauter transients especially in the bass.  Sonic is listening to a Three Blind Mice CD – the Isoo Fukui Quartet – and is surprised how deep the bass went and how tight it is.  

With the Mullard/Eicos, the sense of the sound in particular the bass is bigger though but with a slightly slower presentation. The PSVanes seem to lack the forgiving quality of the Mullard/Eicos meaning Sonic can hear more clearly if an LP is worn – the Mullards whisper in my ear “there might be some wear in these grooves” while the PSVane make a more forceful “listen to the wear in these grooves!”

However the PSVane 12AX7-TIIs present music well and from what I am told by friends of PSVane tubes, the tubes will age well and be very musical beyond 100 hours and stabilise there for the Long Term.

And given what Michael said years ago about tubes settling in, the sound will continue to develop for years Shocked

Sonic      




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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:19 am



Greetings Zonees

Have a read – this article (dating from July – September 2011) appears to show that even different brands and forms of storage devices for our WAV, FLAC and MP3 files affect the sound we eventually hear in our rooms.

Sonic

For full article and pictures go to:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/hificritic/vol5_no3/listening_to_storage.htm

From EnjoytheMusic.com/the HIFICRITIC Vol. 5 No.3

Quoted text begins:


Listening tests reveal significant sound quality differences between various digital music storage technologies.

Article By Andrew Harrison and Stephen N. Harris

Press 'play' on the remote control, and the chosen music selection sounds out into the room, sweet and clear. However, instead of a revolving record or compact disc, that music is now preserved as a digital snapshot, stored around the home on computer hard disks, perhaps a specific music track among tens of thousands that are randomly accessible in an instant. A decade or two ago, it would have been science fiction — but now sofa-punishing levels of convenience allow us to hear any music in our collection, without so much as opening a jewel case.

However, computer network audio is about rather more than convenience. It has as much to do with consistency, arguably more so than the 'perfect sound forever' CD ever did. Once favorite CDs have been carefully ripped into a stateless digital form — hopefully using software respected for its fastidious bit-accurate transcriptions — we just need somewhere safe to store all that data. The same goes for higher resolution material we may have archived from recordings or downloaded from online 'HD music' sites. For playback, the initial sound quality will presumably be determined by high quality D-A conversion and subsequent analogue replay chain.

Problem is, the sound of 'bit-identical' computer audio may well be just as inexplicably inconsistent as analogue. High-end audio has long been affected by seemingly insignificant environmental factors; and as we move further towards hard-disk — and, ultimately, solid-state — storage, we're discovering that another variable can unhinge the final musical experience. Only this time, there are even fewer answers why.

Background
Anecdotal murmurings and some limited first-hand experience suggested that digital music files can sound different when played from different computer media sources. Take the simple playback of a stereo audio file, such as FLAC, Apple Lossless or uncompressed WAV, for example. Such a music file is typically played from either a computer's internal hard-disk drive, the network-attached storage (NAS) on the local home network (LAN), or maybe a USB thumbdrive. Is it really possible that the sound quality of bit-identical audio files' is influenced by their storage medium before being delivered to the hi-fi system's DAC?

Fellow computer audio enthusiast (and Naim PR person) Stephen Harris and I launched into some preliminary listening tests, to establish under reasonably controlled conditions if audible, repeatable differences could really be heard. We readily confirmed that the final sound quality is influenced not only by the choice of network player, DAC, digital cables, or indeed many other long-recognized factors, but additionally — and quite markedly — by the manner in which we now store large quantities of our music at home.

Initial tests compared two NAS drives from the same manufacturer, played through a reference two-channel system. The two drives were solid, reliable units and essentially equivalent — yet they also had certain intrinsic differences which we hoped might reveal any audible differences if they were present. While both had the same overall chassis and software operating system, their four-bay storage had a different array of 3.5in hard disks. Additionally, the two units also had different processor architectures, which might also affect perceived audible differences.

Having established early on that these two NAS units did indeed sound quite different, we went on to isolate differences between the individual drives, this time mounting all types concurrently in the same NAS chassis. Now we were in for an even bigger surprise.

Listening to Two QNAPs
With these two quite similar NAS units to hand, a good starting point was to compare them to see just how obvious was the sound quality difference. On the face of it, there was little to differentiate the QNAP TS-439 Pro and QNAP TS-419P+ (dubbed QNAP1 and QNAP2 respectively). Both are four-bay boxes for users who need terabytes of storage capacity, with various RAID redundancy options to protect data in the event of disk failures.

QNAP1 is able to read and write files slightly faster. It uses an Intel Atom 1.6GHz single-core processor, and was configured with four 2TB Seagate LP so-called 'green' type hard disks that spin at around 5900rpm (rather than the more common 7200rpm). Though this makes it marginally quieter, a multi-bay NAS drive is rarely suited for sitting in a listening room unless inside a thoroughly sound-deadening cupboard.
QNAP2 has a very different Marvell ARM 1.6GHz processor, optimized for lower power consumption, and was fitted with four 2TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 disks.

QNAP1 was found to serve up music with a similar level of rhythmic drive and image soundstaging as a good CD transport playing directly into our system's DAC. If anything, there was perceptibly more 'drive', in the sense of bass euphony and articulation, but this came with increased level which made the sound a tad bass heavy.

Also, QNAP1 did not sound as clean as CD in the higher registers. Some edgy grain exaggerated the sampled horns that sets the scene in the opening of Primal Scream's Loaded, adding to the color but nudging it off neutrality. Splash cymbals lived up to their name.

QNAP2 rendered the same song more tunefully. It was more organic and made more sense, the lines of melody and rhythm cooperating better. As well as showing better individual instrument distinction, the whole piece sounded tidier, tonally less messy without the roughened HF, and perhaps better integrated in musical intent.

So that's rocky electronica, sounding a bit more wiry and rougher through one NAS drive compared to another.

Penguin Café Orchestra's Union Café has an altogether more natural recorded acoustic. On Scherzo and Trio QNAP1 promoted the leading edge piano transients, following through with a lighter, brighter instrument tone – possibly Steinway-like? The same piano had more lower mid body on QNAP2 and slightly softer hammer impact, perhaps more like a Bosendörfer.

That hint of glaze on QNAP1 also showed an impaired subjective noise floor elsewhere. In hi-fi parlance, QNAP2 had the blacker silences and deeper spaces between notes. If anything, this track highlighted a fundamental shift in timbre between the storage sources. This wasn't the gentle tweak of a DAC's digital filter option; we felt it was more akin to changing loudspeakers. System sound was improved as if the DAC itself had been upgraded, say from a £500 to a £2000 model.

Madonna's Swim also proved illuminating. William Orbit's judicious dollops of bass synth showed how the QNAP1 had been exaggerating some of that low energy (albeit at the higher end of the range, so leaving 'infrasonic' impact somewhat weakened). QNAP2 was undoubtedly tighter here, and more disciplined.

So, having lined up two NAS drives from the same manufacturer, mixing up their disks and processors, it took just a few tracks to render the sonic differences obvious. Now it was time to try and isolate parts of the storage chains. For example, we had no idea if we were hearing differences in the processor architecture or between the hard-disk (or solid state) drives.

Different Drives, Same NAS
While most NAS drives fit the standard 3.5in Serial ATA hard disk, it's not uncommon now to find support for the laptop-size 2.5in units too. The Synology DS411slim is built expressly to take these smaller hard drives.

The DS411slim is an ARM-powered NAS. Like QNAP it uses a versatile Linux operating system, but Synology's firmware allows easy setup of individual, separately addressable volumes. We selected two traditional hard-disk drives (HDDs), and two solid-state drives (SSDs): a 500GB Hitachi Travelstar 7K500,a 500GB Seagate Momentus 7200.4, a 128GB Kingston SSDNow and a 120GB Corsair F120.

In our initial listening tests, I couldn't discern any tangible difference in sound between the two hard drives. Harris thought the Hitachi sounded very ethereal, almost out of phase, and rated it lowest; the Seagate was sharper with a more thumpy bass, slightly brighter with a slight tendency to sibilance. Both lacked much drive in presenting the Madonna track, and were certainly 'mushy' compared with the best sound quality we'd heard from the QNAP stable.

Drive three (a solid state type) gave a far from subtle shift in tone and soundstaging. I thought that here this Kingston SSD spread the stage wider, could really pull apart the multi-track layers, and certainly led in blackness too, sounding agreeably quieter than it had any right to. Yet there was also a dull flatness to its presentation, even a graying of timbre.

If the Kingston SSD stood apart from the disk drives for its mostly good yet quite alien character, drive four made itself known for entirely the wrong reasons. This Corsair drive (another SSD) conspicuously highlighted vocal sibilants, and had a hard, relentless quality that was impossible to miss. Strangely, it also robbed the music of pace; it was the least engaging on any emotional level thanks to an enveloping tunelessness that appeared to carve up a song like an MP3 rip. (It may be quite significant that the Corsair Force Series F120 takes a rather unusual approach to handling its data I/O. The Sandforce SF1200 controller chip uses what Sandforce calls DuraClass technology, which suggests this SSD's microcontroller is exerting itself more than usual in order to maintain a high throughput of data.)

In a quick personal ranking to date, covering all these tests, my notes put the Kingston SSD's sound quality first — with hindsight more a cerebral than an emotional choice — then the QNAP2, followed by either of the 2.5in drives in the Synology DS411slim. QNAP2 still had perhaps the most engaging bass performance of the crop, but its involving musicality came at the expense of a somewhat narrower soundstage.

The System
The reference system comprised a dCS Purcell upsampler and Delius DAC, feeding a Music First Audio system controller and Chord Electronics SPM1200C power amp, and Bowers & Wilkins 802D loudspeakers. Cabling was predominantly Nordost, with an Isotek Titan mains conditioner.

The link between the NAS units and the traditional hi-fi comprised two Naim units, a UnitiServe and an NDX. The UnitiServe was primarily used as a CD ripping tool and a network media server. The Naim NDX is a network music streamer with onboard DACs, bypassed here to use the dCS two-box DAC.

The various storage drives were sited in another room, connected to a Cisco Linksys E4200 wireless gigabit router in the listening room via 25m of Belkin Cat 6 Ethernet cable. Another gigabit switch in the remote room (a Netgear ProSafe GS108), enabled several NAS units to be online at the same time, each connected to the router/switch with high-quality Cat 5e patch cable.

Tentative Conclusions
This initial trial was not intended to be an exhaustive study into all the factors that can affect the sound quality of network and computer audio, only to confirm or deny the suspicion that digital bitstream coming from hard disks are not all equal. Which has to be somewhat surprising, to say the least.

By now we should know better, and acknowledge that digital audio is very far from immutable. Most of the troubling inconsistencies in CD playback, for example, have been at the point of domain conversion, typically the digital-to-analogue conversion in the playback chain. But the movement of digital bitstreams around the system, such as over a 75-Ohm cable from disc transport to DAC, have been prone to known and definable transmission problems — more so for the venerable S/PDIF standard that rolls up the clock signal within the data channel.

Carriage of digital data over Ethernet, for example, ought to be less troubled by the vagaries of the cable and interfaces. And what of the data being unraveled at the source, from the hard disk or solid-state drive? Why should the type or brand of the disk have such an audible impact on the final sound quality? Clearly, there's scope for more hypotheses to be set and tests undertaken, with lab measurement as well as subjective listening. Maybe we can solicit logical explanations from engineers who understand the low-level mechanics and operation of computer file and storage technologies, and can suggest specific avenues to explore.

This first test was also not intended as a buyers' guide to decide which disk or NAS is likely to work best in high-end audio applications. But our findings suggest there may certainly be some mileage in such reviews, once the several variables have been reduced sufficiently to be sure we're hearing the fingerprint of a specific NAS unit, or hard disk, or perhaps the way the disks are combined in a particular array.

Another Wildcard: The Striped Synology
here are many variables in network audio, as many (quite possibly more) than in an analogue-only hi-fi system. Take RAID arrays. A RAID ('redundant array of independent disks) is a neat way to combine the capacity of several smaller disks to make one larger addressable volume.

A number of disks may be combined in three main ways, with benefits like increasing read/write/latency performance, or building in succinct redundancy by sharing the same data between disks, so that whole disks can be pulled out without any overall data loss. Some RAID setups — arguably the best, given at least four to play with — improve both speed and safety. These are RAID 5 (with enough redundancy to allow one disk's complete loss/ removal); RAID 6 (two disks); and RAID 10 (one or two, depending on which of the four actually expire).

The RAIDing of volumes could be the subject of a further investigation, to see if compounding disks may even exaggerate their audible signatures. For this initial study, we pulled out another Synology NAS unit, a DS211 two-bay box with two 2TB Western Digital RE4-GP 'green' disks set up in RAID 0. In other words, the two disks have data striped across both to augment performance. In the best case something like the sum of each individual drive's data throughput can be exploited, but at the risk of total data loss in the event of one disk expiring.

While this additional test was in no way scientific, we thought it would be worth finding out if this alternative NAS box/disk/RAID configuration offered anything different in our initial delve into the sonic differences of storage systems.

As it turned out, it was possibly the best sounding source yet. It could sustain pace and drive, and gave body and richness to music where the Kingston SSD, for example, had been heard as limpid and lightweight. Maybe higher frequencies still weren't as insightful as direct CD playback at its best, but the sound had a relaxed quality that this listener has found quite enticing enough to plan a migration of all music onto it — pending a test of other NAS combinations!



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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:56 am


Changes As They Come

Sonic is now thinking of this room with a view of the maintainability of the system.

To achieve this, I need to address some things.

One is the numerous DTs hanging from the ceiling. They work but Sonic has never been happy with this arrangement. While it solves some of the acoustic problems it looks untidy and makes cleaning the upper reaches of the room inconvenient when using ladders and other cleaning equipment Sonic uses which knocks into them.

Then there are the multiplicity of EchoTunes mounted on the ceiling (not at the ceiling/wall seams) as devices to break the flow of pressure at the ceiling. They are cobweb and dust magnets.

The acoustic control that has been achieved for this room and Sonic’s understanding of it through Michael’s guidance has put me in a place to address these issues. This is because Sonic is at heart a cleanliness freak (NOT I emphasise one with OCD).

While those who have management control of my dwelling tolerate what Sonic has done, I am also receiving hints that things must be cleaned up since Sonic has indicated my satisfaction with the sound quality. On inviting them for a listen they agree the sound is good.

Together we agreed that Sonic will work to maintain all the good Tuning gains achieved in this room (the elimination of the “hard wall ring” colouration) while rationalising the way things are hung and stuck about in the room.

A course of action is being rolled out and will be reported over the next few weeks.

Sonic

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:44 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room -- 1

Since May 2016, Sonic has hung DTs from the ceilings and from a bracket over the listening seat. Here is a link to pictures of this and all the overhead clutter in my room:

http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t352p200-tuning-a-new-world-of-computer-audio-playback

Take a look at the pictures in my posts of October 7 and 14, 2016.



The hanging DTs work to control the ring and Boo! but Sonic has never been happy with the look of them.  It looks untidy and causes maintenance problems. As time wore on, I disliked seeing this stuff “hanging about” more and more.

Recently those who control of this dwelling also pointed out that Sonic has two spare carpets of 8 x 5 feet and 7 x 4 feet that are placed in another part of the dwelling which they think causes clutter. So they asked me to integrate the carpets into the sound room or send them to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Sonic soon had two carpets on hand wondering if I should make the journey to the Salvos’ thrift centre right away.

These carpets have been tried before in this room on the floor and failed. The carpets are quite nice ones from India, neither are thick with one slightly thicker than the other, so Sonic decided to give them one opportunity to make a good contribution to the sound of this room.

This time I decided to think outside the ordinary (a.k.a. The Box).

Idea   treat them as tapestries and hang them instead on the side walls!

Of course it fortuitous that I had picture hooks in just the right places, two on each side wall ahead of the the loudspeaker positions. This was from earlier experiments of hanging decorative scrolls and later DTs on the side walls.  Sonic suspended the carpets from the picture hooks by using document clips.

Expecting the worst, Sonic warmed the system up for two hours (with no listening) and then played a FLAC file only to find the sound…..to….be….better Exclamation  Very Happy  

After a day of settling with music played on repeat, Sonic noticed the room’s noise floor has gone down (quieter) and the signature of the room has lost any last bit of the hard-wall signature but rather warm and gentle on my mind and ears.

Then the idea came to Sonic: move the side hanging DTs to the walls and hear how they perform there.

I placed the lower edges of the DTs about 80 inches up, mounting them horizontally, that is their length is to the floor. They are staggered so they do not face each other across the room -- the LH DT is mounted closer to listening sofa and the RH DT is closer to the plane of the loudspeakers. Now in accordance with the way Michael designed the DTs, both panels’ reflective/diffusive sides face into the room.

A Boo! test showed good control of the reverbrant tail of the room. The tone shifts down in pitch and is no overhang. The treble is smooth and now a little dry.  Nice.

Playing Murray Perahia performing Bach’s English Suites on piano, the sound is balanced with strong weight from the piano.

Next played was Haydn’s String Quartets Op 75 by the Endellion Quartet.  This recording is one of those whose lowest notes fall in my system’s slightly dipped range of 70 – 80hz making this recording sound thin when you expect the cello to give a good deep note to anchor the quartet.  We now have better bass weight.  And as an interrelated effect, the first and second violins have treble are smooth yet have “sheen” like the real thing.

Sonic then played some soul music (FLAC) and found the bass to be unexpectedly strong!

With vinyl, J S Bach’s cantatas (Nicholas Harnoncourt/Concentus Musicus Wein -- Das Alte Werk) and Music for Ferdinand de Medici (Musica Reservata – Argo) were full sounding and truly beautiful and a switch to modern material, Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, showed plentiful bass that is both weighty and  agile.

If settling over the next week does not overturn anything, I’ll be keeping this configuration of “tapestries” and DTs on the side walls and improve the form of mounting. And that will be two “hanging DTs” gone, two more to deal with.

Sonic  




Last edited by Michael Green on Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:31 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added link to pictures)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:57 am


Meeting An Audio Mystic

Sonic has been talking and learning from a veteran audiophile – this gentleman is into attending live classical music concerts, owns a big collection of recordings, uses JBLs powered by tube amps that he made himself. While he is not one of those arrogant know-it-all audiophiles, he does repel some people. This is because he is an audio mystic.

A selection of things he said in conversations with Sonic:

“Does our hearing change through the course of a day? Of course it does! I know people blame the power line quality varying through the day and night and that kind of thing. These supposed power line problems have spawned a whole industry of ‘Audiophile Line Conditioners’. The degree power lines vary will be different city to city and might range from non-detectable to severe but on the whole I think the audible effect of power lines is negligible compared to what audiophiles think and the greatest changes are what frequencies we are sensitive to, how we appreciate sound which changes through the hours of a day.”

“I don’t know why people think that rooms must be damped to sound good – the common idea being to buy loads of foam and stick them about. I don’t need any of that stuff! I can put small blocks of “special wood” under my loudspeaker stands, under my equipment rack or in the corners of my room on the floor and even though these wood blocks are not in contact with any audio equipment yet the sound will change.”

“Having a Loudness Control Switch is a blessing! If you must listen at low levels late at night so as not to disturb family or neighbours, you need not endure a thin sound – use the Loudness Control Switch and get full sounding music. What’s wrong with being practical? I think audiophile purists are in love with equipment and not music. Yet many of them you and I (he and Sonic) meet around here (the audio stores) won’t know the difference between an IC chip and a thyristor and what part they play in a circuit topology yet these same purists will tell you how tone controls and loudness corrupt the “purity” of the sound and the circuit.”

“Michael Green – I remember him, tall fellow with very long hair. I attended one of his presentations in Singapore. I will never forget how he put down one pesky audiophile who kept asking him during the Q&A ‘is there such a thing as a Wall-to-Wall soundstage?’ Michael played something on the demo system and went up to that fellow and held one of his acoustic boards over the guy’s head and asked him ‘tell me what you hear’. Everyone was laughing and that shut the pesky audiophile up. Where has Michael gone? He won so many awards in the 1990s but I don’t hear about him anymore.”

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:08 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room -- 2

Sonic has taken down all the EchoTunes presently stuck on the ceiling in pairs.  In all there were 12 ETs on the ceiling mounted this way, in parallel pairs with the absorptive sides facing away from each other.  

This done, the only ETs left mounted in the room are at the ceiling and wall joints (as Michael recommends), one at the front and the two side walls. These ETs are not mounted flat against the walls but at an angle across the celing/wall right angle so there is a cavity behind the ETs.  This was something I learn from recent Tunes Michael did in his Las Vegas dwelling.

Without the 12 ETs, the room acoustic has become honky and the Boo! overhang and has returned.

But this time, Sonic knows enough to take on this beast! ……

And the answer is from the dawn of the RoomTune company – where Michael tells us how to tune a Long Room

For a diagram of this go to
http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=843&start=0

Scroll down to Michael’s post of November 1, 2006 and you will see the diagram.

Sonic followed this method – that is, mounting three ETs mounted on each side wall at the ¼, ½ and ¾ length points.

The front wall ET and the LH centre ET are mounted across the ceiling/wall right angle forming a triangular space behind the pillow.  All other ETs are mounted flat against the wall. There are also no ETs mounted on the rear wall.  This way Sonic got eliminated any new honk of Boo! overhang and achieved a strong bass response too.

No ETs were mounted on the rear wall at this time because Sonic’s records show that when any ETs or RT Squares are mounted on the rearmost end the room on ceiling or wall, the bass thins out.
 
Sonic wishes I had learnt all this years ago or been advised to treat my room as a “Long Room” and tune it according to that diagram by Michael.

Of course, one might say that at 21 feet long, my room may be longer than average but not really a “long room” which, to my understanding, will be one of 30 feet long or more.

Anyway that solution from Mr Green dating to the early days of RoomTune has turned out to be the answer.

So there are no BOO! issues with the room tuned this way plus the bass is scarily deep and powerful for mid-sized Magneplanars of which my MG1.5QRs are.  

There is a slight dullness which might be a way I hear the drier acoustic or due to the resistors for the quasi-ribbon tweeters now being too large. Again, we let things settle and adjust as the sound emerges.

Sonic  




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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:08 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 3

The removal of the ceiling EchoTunes and the side hanging DecoTunes have been successful. So things are speeding up with this project to rationalise the Tuning of Sonic's space that started in mid-January.

Sonic next removed the remaining two DecoTunes hanging from the ceiling – one above and between the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs and one above the listening position.

I started with the hanging DT between and at the plane of the loudspeakers, what Michael calls the Soundstage tuning Zone – see my post of October 27, 2017 on this thread for a picture of which DT Sonic is talking about.

The removal caused little change (which means the DT is no longer contributing to anything, good or bad). The balance shows no BOO!

Then Sonic took down the last “hanging DT” – the one over the listening sofa. There are no negative outcomes for this. If anything we have a somewhat dry sound with but an improvement in upper-mid and treble musicality.

There are now no longer any DTs hanging from the ceiling of Sonic’s room.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:01 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room -- 4

Sonic went back to a Tune I did years ago which I am now inspired by my Tune Instinct to return to.  

For pictures (till Michael is back and posting the pix again) see this link to the great Jim Bookhard’s thread:

http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=562&start=0

Back then, Sonic did not understand what this Tune was doing, how I should tighten the bolts and the role the wood washer played in the scheme of things.  

In 2018, this works extremely well. Sonic applies this to all three FS-PZCs in the Soundstage Tuning Zone of my room.

When I first tried this tune earlier following what Jim Bookhard and Heind1 did, the effect was indifferent because there was a lack my understanding and Sonic possibly got confused because then the tune was done with a crinkled aluminum foil between the MW and the FS-PZC surface as recommended by Jim.  

Now Sonic is using direct coupling and contact. Also I got the optimum tightness – back then the MW squares could freewheel about. Now the bolts hold the MW squares are snug against the FS-PZC Tuning Boards.

Result: Sonic got a deeper low end and improved harmonic richness that is beautiful on every type of music played.  

When I turned up the volume a little playing Robert Kohnen, Sigiswald Kjuiken and Weiland Kjuiken’s The English Viol (Astree), Sonic got a pleasant surprise – the sound has a bigness and a boundless feel just like the way Michael once illustrated.

There is a good feeling that Sonic is with the music rather than merely observing it from a distance.

I played an early Bee Gees LP where the bass on one track is “swallowed up” in the mix.  This would “Let there be love” from 1968….I have taken a CD of this record to stores and homes with systems costing many multiples of Sonic’s and they never got the bass right.  There was a “low end” but it was “mixed in and small”.  I played the FLAC of this recording and now in Sonic’s room, the bass was an instrument played by Maurice Gibb (RIP) not just some low frequencies. There are notes being played and moving about and moving somewhere, big and setting a floor for the rest of the voices and instruments.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:28 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 5

The Ikea chair on the Left Side of my room has been removed and returned to another part of Sonic’s dwelling.

For a picture of what I am referring to, go to:

http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t397p25-tuning-and-musical-adventures

and have a look at the pictures in my post of July 28, 2017 in this thread.

Also the one-foot long “mini-Shutters” Sonic that made out of wood from Michael (two per side wall at the ¼ and ¾ length points) have been taken down. These were held up by 3M Command tape and are now unnecessary after applying the Long Room Tuning Method.

For pictures of the overhead clutter in my room that I have been progressively rationalising in the last few weeks, Zonees can go to:

http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t352p200-tuning-a-new-world-of-computer-audio-playback

and have a look at the pictures in my posts of October 7 and 14, 2016.

All the things like the ceiling-mounted EchoTunes, the hanging DecoTunes and the “mini-Shutters” are in those pictures. All these are quite unnecessary now Very Happy

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:01 am


From Alan Shaw:

An honest appraisal of vinyl v.digital... reality v. romance?

06-10-2013

Source:
http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum/subjective-soundings-your-views-on-audio/electronics-sources-stands-cables-accessories/analogue-sources-incl-vinyl-discussion/1916-an-honest-appraisal-of-vinyl-v-digital-reality-v-romance

This is all great fun, and it's wonderful to dig into our technical heritage. But can we please be realistic about old turntables.

Nobody has mentioned one horrendous problem - rumble. Taming rumble involves mechanical isolation and damping. It's not possible to reduce rumble significantly in idler wheel driven turntables because the motor is in too intimate a contact with the rotating platter. The essence of damping is that the moving parts can be physically separated and independently treated. The idler wheel driven (Garrard) 301/401 have astonishingly high levels of mechanical transmission from the motor through the platter, mat, disc, cartridge, arm and onward to the amplifier.

Seemingly, some folk like that added 'warmth', but it is nothing more or less than a particular sort of distortion.

It never ceases to amaze me how the human ear is capable of hearing what it wants to hear and ignoring intrusive background noises! Here is a gadget for electronically removing rumble when converting vinyl to digital. As they say "In fact, if you could spin the record in midair using antigravity, and read the record grooves using a laser, you'd still hear rumble. Why? Because the record was produced on a turntable with rumble, and that rumble was copied right into the record itself!"

Let's be very cautious about creating the impression that a return to vinyl is a step-up in fidelity. Rumble, to mention just one aspect of vinyl record reproduction, is a serious issue.

Alan A. Shaw
Designer, owner
Harbeth Audio UK


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:56 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room - 6

Sonic has removed the ceiling fan because it has not been used since I started tuning this room. There was not much of any effect from the removal on the sound but when Sonic mounted a Sound Shutter where the fan used to be (this makes now three rows of three Shutters down the length of my room, nine in all on the ceiling), I was startled by the increase in volume and the extra bass.

The bass may be somewhat over adequate now…..on some recordings (more with LPs than digital), there is a bit too much bass.

Sonic played some stuff off a Black Eyed Peas CD I borrowed and the bass is of a quantity that might make a Basshead smile. Before adjusting anything to balance the bass which Sonic now knows how to, I am going to listen to this for a while with some more downloaded hip hop just for entertainment.

I like the “voomy” bass that slides about.

Might Sonic be a Basshead deep inside…? Shocked

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:51 am



Perhaps The Origin Of The BBC Thin-Walled Loudspeaker Cabinets

Sonic found this:

Source:
 http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum/the-science-of-audio/speaker-design/215-bbc-style-thin-wall-cabinets-why-so-special

Great engineering ....

Originally posted by LarsS

Alan, you make it sound(sorry) so simple making good speakers. Why are not many more manufacturers using thin wall cabinets? Is it more expensive to manufacture, etc.

I had a pair of Spendor BC1 once, I remember my first look inside and the slight disappointment because there was nothing inside just thin slabs of foam rubber and bitumen glued to the walls.


Ah, maybe not impressive, but beautiful, effective, simple, repeatable, ingenious and cost-effective engineering!

You can just imagine the head of BBC R&D tasking an engineer to investigate thin-wall speaker cabinets for use in the BBC in the 1960s. The conversation could go something like ....
________________________________________

Head: "The outside broadcast boys are complaining that they have to make do with small trucks and vans and that sooner or later they will have to make room for two monitor speakers (for forthcoming stereo) when they hardly have the space for one of our large monitors. I'd like you to investigate a way of making a light weight speaker cabinet that saves their back strain humping the speakers around, and, whilst you are at it, see if we can find a way to reach (or even exceed) the current sonic quality standards we know and trust ...."

Junior: "Of course. Can I ask whether you have seen the latest hifi speakers on the market? They use fancy materials, exotic colours and make great claims about huge sonic advances. Don't you think that we ought to evaluate them?"

Head: "Are you serious? I couldn't care less. They are making for profit. We aren't. We, the BBC, got into speaker design because there was nothing commercially available that provided the balance of characteristics that we as broadcasters need. Convince me that after we have spent man decades on this that the hifi industry has something truly novel to offer us."

Junior: (Silence).

Head: "Oh, and before you ask, let me remind you that we are funded by the TV viewer (in the UK) having to pay a licence to watch BBC TV. Before you get carried away with exotic materials, may I remind you that I, as one of those viewers, do not want to be paying a penny a year more to the BBC because you have selected fancy materials and space-age technology to make these new speakers..."

Junior: "So how much can I spend?"

Head: "As little as possible. I don't want to hear that you have been using materials or techniques that require expensive set-up costs, or hard-to-get parts, or audiophile nonsense."

He reaches into his pocket, pulls out some coins and slaps them down on the desk.

Head: "There you are. That's your budget...."

Junior: "(Shocked). What? Are you serious? If you kept up with the hifi market you'd know that progress needs us to spend money. Technology isn't cheap you know ...."

Head: "You need to get out more. You really have been reading all that hifi guff haven't you. Ok son, here is the challenge. Any fool can get carried away with esoterica when someone else is paying. I'm paying (points to coins). What would really impress me is when you report back to me in six months' time that you've met my criteria. That you've designed new speakers for our broadcast colleagues that are portable, lightweight, much smaller than we're used to, and they think that they sound as good - or here's the challenge for you - better than what they're used to - designed by your illustrious predecessor. It's over to you, but remember, what'll impress me is how much brainpower, insight and novelty you can bring to bear on the problem, not how much of the BBC's cash you can blow on fancy ideas ..."

Junior: (Pauses, thinking). "OK, I'll take on the challenge. But may I ask, what the best bit of advice you can give me please to get started?

Head: "That's simple. Remember what I said about keeping the cost down? Good engineering gets results. Brilliant engineering gets results at the lowest possible cost. My rule of thumb is this. If you can find standard materials that can be shaped and worked down at the Portobello Road street market, you beat the costs down to petty cash; if you can prove to me by scientific measurement that those materials and techniques achieve the best possible result for our needs; if you keep a proper daily engineer's log book, if you write up this completed project in a Paper so that neither of us make fools of ourselves when those outside the BBC replicate our work, then you'll go far in the world of real engineering and I'll be proud of you. Now get along ...."

The young engineer had almost reached the door when the craggy old chief added

Head: "And after you've finished these cabinet masterpieces, don't forget to bring me the change."
________________________________________

Not as fanciful as it may seem! The mind set that brought the BBC monitors into fruition was wholly different from that of the conception and creation of any other loudspeakers. With stereo sound on the horizon and with the BBC having several hundred studios, the re-equipping program from mono to stero was going to be extremely expensive for the tax payer.

About BBC licence here and here. It has always been an extremely sensitive political issue.

Alan A. Shaw
Designer, owner
Harbeth Audio UK


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:16 am



A Recent Review of the Shure M97xE

From Home Theater High Fidelity (August 24, 2017)  

This is the cartridge that brought Sonic into collecting and playing vinyl records.  It is very good, and for its price a real steal. It has good tracking, good bass and mids but a slightly tilted down treble. It is therefore balanced well and kind to less-than-perfect records.  

Here are excerpts of a review that is in depth and reflects my experience with the Shure M97xE.

For the full review, the pictures and test report charts, go to:
 [url= https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/vinyl/turntable-accessories/shure-m97xe-phono-cartridge-review/] https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/vinyl/turntable-accessories/shure-m97xe-phono-cartridge-review/[/url]



SHURE M97XE PHONO CARTRIDGE REVIEW
By Carlo Lo Raso

Billed as an “Audiophile” cartridge, the Shure M97xE is positioned just below the price point where serious people start looking for good quality phono sound.

Incorporating a moving magnet design, it borrows some visual cues from the classic, and vaunted, Shure V15 line of cartridges.

Fast forward to today, with the advent of CD’s, the “death” of vinyl, MP3s, streaming, and the “rebirth” of vinyl, Shure is still at it making phono carts, although in nowhere near the numbers and variety of it’s heyday. With benchmark products like the V-15VMR long gone, Shure’s current lineup is divided into three categories: Value, DJ and Audiophile. The single cartridge in Shure’s Audiophile line, the M97xE is what will be garnering our attention and scrutiny today.

The Shure M97xE is a moving magnet type phono cartridge. It features an elliptical shaped diamond tip mounted to a “low mass, thin-wall aluminum alloy stylus cantilever.” The mounting block for the stylus is made from die-cast aluminum and seems very rigid while still maintaining a low overall weight. The cartridge features a damped Dynamic Stabilizer brush which is said to help the M97xE successfully play warped and otherwise difficult records. The brush also has the additional, and more significant benefit, of damping low frequency tonearm resonances that one would otherwise need a dedicated tonearm fluid damper to effectively suppress. Another nice little touch is the cueing stripe marked on a small extension, attached to the Stabilizer Brush. When not in use, the stabilizer can be pushed up and safely stowed in a locked position if it is undesired for playback. The M97xE is packaged in a sturdy metal box and comes with a screwdriver, stylus cleaning brush, mounting hardware and a stylus alignment guide included.

Shure M97xE Test Setup
For this review, the connected components consisted of: a Technics SL1200 Mk 6 turntable with a KAB fluid dampened tonearm mod and a custom power supply, a Parasound “Zphono” phono preamp, a Bryston BP-25 line-level preamp, a Marchand XM-44 2-way active crossover, a Marchand BASSIS parametric EQ, two Class D Audio SDS-470C Power amplifiers (300 watts @ 8 ohm, 600 watts @ 4 ohm) and a Panamax M5500 power conditioner. Speakers are Bamberg Engineering Sound Labs Series 2 Monitors and a pair of sealed DIY 15-inch subwoofers. Speaker wire and interconnect cable by Blue Jeans Cable.

The Shure M97xE was installed in an OEM Technics SL1200 head shell and was mounted using the Technics Overhang Gauge and aligned using the alignment guide that was bundled with the cartridge. Tracking force was set using a digital tracking force scale and anti-skate was set with the aid of the anti-skate band track of the Shure “An Audio Obstacle Course” LP (TTR-101). Tracking Force was set to the optimum levels as recommended by the manufacturer, in this case 1.25 grams with the stabilizer brush stowed and 1.75 grams with the brush engaged. After some experimentation, I settled on the brush being down for listening tests as there was a minor subjective lowering in surface noise and an overall quieter (some call darker) general background, which I found desirable. The bench test section will show the measurements with the brush up in most cases as my KAB tonearm fluid damper did much of the same job as the brush. The fluid damper was removed in specific tests to highlight the effect of the brush on a typical undamped tonearm. Shure specifies that playback may show improved sound quality, under ideal conditions, with the brush stowed but I did not find its use to be detrimental at all under any circumstance.

Performance
The Shure M97xE under review is my own personal cartridge that I purchased back in February. It was about 4 months old and has seen moderate usage at the time of its testing. It physically appears to be a nicely put together unit. Nothing feels loose or unduly fragile when handled appropriately. Releasing the stabilizer brush reveals that it is not just some loosely attached appendage with a brush but, in fact, a precisely damped apparatus. Installing it in the head shell, aligning it correctly and dialing it in with the tonearm presented no undue challenges outside of the norm.

Having lived with this cartridge now for a number of months, I can easily say that bass and midrange performance are certainly its strong suits. These characteristics were immediately noticeable from the get-go and remained consistent throughout my listening. Both male and female vocals tended to have a smooth and liquid quality about them. I don’t mean that to imply that they sounded soft or lacked any presence at all. More to the point, I found that nicely recorded vocals from a well-kept piece of vinyl will have an appealing smoothness with this cartridge that will be easy to enjoy with repeated listening. At the bottom end of the spectrum, electric bass lines had a good deal of punch when called for and, in general, seemed well balanced with a variety of musical material. Kick drums, tympani and stand-up bass all fared very well with the M97xE and each were rendered with authority and a good level of detail all around.

I think where people are either going to love or hate this cartridge is going to be with regards to high frequency reproduction. The Shure seems to roll off the high end a little earlier than what might be expected. This behavior bolsters the “smooth” sounding and “fatigue-free” nature of the M97xE’s performance. This can be beneficial if, say, you have a large number bright sounding disks in your collection. I have a number of Deutsche Grammophon and Columbia Masterworks classical LPs that are, by and large, very bright recordings. The Shure makes an excellent match for these disks, calming the top end response and making these pressings much more enjoyable musical sojourns.

However, if you are looking for a more balanced presentation from your cartridge, especially above 4000 Hz, the M97xE may not satisfy you. There were a few occasions where listing to the Shure left me wanting for a little more sheen from cymbals or upper end bite from an electric guitar solo. Overall though, it is an easy cartridge to live with and listen to for most of the albums I play on a regular basis. And while I don’t have any seriously warped LP’s around, I do have some with mild levels of warpage that the M97xE showed no issue with tracking faithfully.

I found the Dynamic Stabilizer Brush’s benefits to extend even to my already damped tonearm, although to a lesser degree than what will be shown on the bench tests with the tonearm damper removed completely. Beyond the stray static and dust particle removal, I found the background of the music to be a bit quieter when the brush was in use. This had the side-effect of helping some of the subtle parts of various recordings stand out more. Some posts on various vinyl forums that I’ve come across indicate some users found a perceived reduction in treble response when using the brush full time. I did not experience this in the slightest during my review, either subjectively or when I compared frequency measurement sets with the brush up versus brush down. Frequency response in both states was identical.

Some of the more memorable music selections that I experienced with the Shure M97xE:

Otis Rush “Mourning in the Morning”
A re-release of Otis Rush’s first album now on 180-gram vinyl, this LP sounds very lively and fun through the Shure M97xE. Rush’s vocals sounded clear and forward except on tracks like “Me” where there is additional echo added by design. And speaking of the added echo, it noticeably stood out more when the stabilizer brush was in use.

While this is not the most dimensional of recordings, the Shure does an especially good job working with what’s there. All the instruments are clearly discernable and have a modest amount of spread between each other. The bass lines have a great sounding groove to them and stand out through all the tracks. But the star is Otis and his guitar and it is well represented throughout the LP, especially on tracks like “Working Man” and “You’re Killing My Love” where it’s distinctive tone really stands out along with a decent amount of string detail. However, my favorite track on this album has to be “Reap What You Sow” which features Otis Rush at his vocally most expressive and includes standout guitar playing by himself along with Duane Allman and Jimmy Johnson who play backup guitar on the entire album. The Shure does a fine job with Rush’s vocals here, particularly in the softer passages, and the keyboards on this track show off with a good deal of body and warm tone as well.

Al Hirt and Ann Margret “Beauty and the Beard”
A somewhat unexpected but fun, and enjoyable, vocal combination mated to Hirt’s trademark horn solos and fills. The natural, almost conversational, quality to Hirt and Margret’s singing on “Personality” sounds full and lush through the Shure cartridge.

Al Hirt’s vocals, in particular, being softer and deeper in tone were right up this cart’s alley and it wasn’t lacking in the detail department either. Every breath and vocal inflection came through clearly for both singers. On the track “Bill Bailey,” Anne Margret’s singing starts off soft and low in the first part and soon goes to a full power belt by mid-song without exhibiting any level of breakup or compression. The Shure clearly reveals that, beyond the Vegas kitsch of the time, Ann Margret was a vocal force to be reckoned with in her prime. The M97xE also does a great job reproducing Al Hirt’s powerful trumpet playing making it very easy to listen to without a hint of grain or glare. On the track “Everybody Loves My Baby” there is a sweet-sounding clarinet solo by a guy named Pee Wee Spitelera (gotta dig that name!) that just sounds so liquid and smooth coming from the Shure that it’s sort of the unexpected cherry that tops an otherwise great and swinging song.

On the, recently controversial, “Baby it’s Cold Outside” Ann Margret’s voice is clearly in the spotlight and the M97xE deftly mines every drop of character and nuance of it from the grooves. It is a truly lovely performance that puts both her, and Hirt, squarely in the room with you.

Rossini, Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini “Italian Operatic Overtures”
An early digital recording from 1983, this LP features well known overtures that practically everyone has heard in one form or another (particularly if you spent much of your youth watching old Warner Brothers cartoons, but I digress).

The Shure M97xE, true to its ad copy, gave me a smooth and very listenable presentation overall. There was good clarity and separation between the instruments with decent finesse when reproducing flute and triangles during some of the quieter passages. The pastoral cello intro at the beginning of the “William Tell” overture had a lovely quality to it with plenty of meat-and-bones coming through from those solo strings. On some of the more boisterous parts of “The Barber of Seville” and “William Tell,” the Shure relayed plenty of punch and impact from the tympani drums. The strings and the woodwinds sounded natural as well but I felt that they were bleeding together a little when things got loud and frenetic. I will say though that the sound of the plucked strings and the solo oboe at the beginning of “Italian Girl in Algiers” was particularly satisfying with a lovely weight and detail to the plucks and velvety smoothness to the oboe. In contrast though, I felt that the cymbals and chimes in the background of the same piece could have stood with a little more luster and sheen at the top end. Still, a very enjoyable experience to listen to with this cart.

Steely Dan “Greatest Hits”
A classic “Best Of…” LP found in many a fan’s collection. A number of cherry-picked tracks showcase the group’s well-known penchant for sound quality and musicianship and it comes across admirably over these twin black platters of plastic.

Donald Fagan’s unmistakable vocals on “Kid Charlemagne” sounded just about right with enough of its nasal characteristics coming through while still sounding solid and slightly warm. Kick drum was properly punchy sounding with good heft to it and Larry Carlton’s signature guitar solo sounded excellent with a good amount of bite and detail to the sound. My only complaint is that the high-hat cymbals that play continuously through the song weren’t quite as crisp sounding as I am used to. “Reeling in the Years” sounded very good. The chorus vocals were a particular standout, being very smooth and harmonious. Elliot Randall’s Guitar solo sounded good but was maybe missing a little something in the higher notes. The bass lines on “Haitian Divorce” were tight and easy to follow along with the solid and ever-present kick drum. The talk-box guitar solo was also handled very well by the Shure with the commensurate amount of detail and edge. Like I said, the M97xE does really well with the bass and mids.

When all is said and done, this is a very warm and enjoyable cartridge to listen to and, for $99 bucks, gets you better than decent sound for the money. Is it perfect? Of course not. I personally would prefer it if it didn’t roll off the highs so early using recommended standard loadings. If you have a phono preamp with adjustable resistance loadings then you can tweak and tweeze the sound a bit I suppose. But, I would prefer starting with a cart that already has a fairly flat response at standard settings if that’s what I was going to do. As Shure’s most expensive current cart, the M97xE is a good starter cartridge for someone who wants to actually enjoy the “sound” of vinyl as opposed to the “fad” of vinyl. If you’ve got a recent vintage entry-level turntable, particularly if it’s one of those with a built-in USB output for digitizing your LPs, promptly ditch whatever suspect cartridge that came included and get M97xE in there “tout-suite.” Using the dedicated stabilizer brush alone will help the tonearm immensely at its job and help it perform better than it probably has any right to. This is a “gateway” drug that will eventually get you to want to explore what a bit more cash will net you in terms of performance. And while better can be had, look to spend almost three times the price of the Shure for something legitimately better. You’re not going to find a high-compliance cartridge with such a low tracking force that actually tracks well and is as gentle to your records for any kind of reasonable money. This has always been, and still is, Shure’s calling card.

With the resurgence of LP playback in the marketplace, I would like to see Shure do a deep dive into its vast well of phono knowledge and bring us a new cartridge that M97xE owners could step up to. Some of that vast research and knowledge can be seen here.

The classic V15V-MR was the de-facto standard in moving magnet design. So much so that the Library of Congress bought up the remaining stock when it was discontinued.

What do you say Shure? Is it time to dust off the old patents and bring us back a legend?

[Remark from Sonic: yes! Bring back the V15.  And Sonic reports that Shure has discontinued the M78 mono cartridge for 78 rpm playback…. Sad  the reason give was low market demand)….good value the M78 too….I used one for my 78s and SPs until I broke it accidentally….]

Bench test analysis by David A. Rich and Carlo Lo Raso.

[Remark from Sonic: An extremely detailed test report follows -- visit the Link and have a look]

Conclusion
The Shure M97xE is a very good mid-level phono cartridge to start breaking in, or to perhaps rediscover, your trusty vinyl collection. At $99.00, it won’t bust the bank but it will get you a warm pleasing sound in the midrange and solid bass reproduction for its efforts. Some listeners may also find the relaxed high frequency playback to be to their liking, others may not. It does, however, tend to align with Shure’s description of the M97xE in providing a “fatigue-free listening experience.” While perhaps not as revealing as some more expensive cartridges, the Shure M97xE will deliver smooth sounding vocal reproduction that is especially pleasing to the ear. The Dynamic Stabilizer Brush alone makes a significant improvement to any tonearm not employing some other type of external damping solution. I don’t think it would be too outrageous to say that this type of brush should be something that more phono cartridges should deploy.

[Remark from Sonic: I didn't like the effect of the brush]

My colleague, David Rich puts it more succinctly: “The Shure M97xE is a very good cartridge and its performance far exceeds its price in the current market. The stylus pressure and tracking performance of this cartridge will reduce record wear. The damper will improve performance on warped records. It is time to remove the $30 cartridge that came with your turntable and stomp on it. This is the minimum price you can pay for cartridge that will protect your vinyl.”

I believe it also would make an excellent building block for Shure to develop more advanced modern phono cartridge designs from. Thus perhaps, bringing a little of the old Shure magic back to be enjoyed by the vinyl players of today. The Shure M97xE is indeed a good place to start.

[Remark from Sonic: I totally agree with this conclusion, which is why I am posting this – if you are at the edge of playing vinyl, still hesitating, the Shure M97xE in something like a Rega P3, entry-level Pro-Ject or an Audio Technica AT LP 120 (onboard RIAA/ADC removed of course) will make you a fan of vinyl playback fast!]  





Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:20 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Formatting, some text edited)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:32 am



About the Ortofon 2M 78 and Some Ideas

As Sonic’s system is settling after the recent tuning, I have been listening to my 78s and SPs.  

To play these, I use a Stanton 500 with a D5217 conical stylus of 2.7 mil tracking at 5 gms. This cartridge/stylus combo is an industry standard for archival transcription. While it works, I find it somewhat dark and “heavy” sounding.

As an alternative, Sonic considered replacing the Stanton with an Ortofon 2M 78 given the nicely balanced sound I am getting from the Ortofon 2M Blue and what I heard from the 2M Bronze and 2M Black:



The 2M 78 is a “true Mono” cartridge with a single coil rather than a stereo two-coil cartridge bridged to mono which means noise from vertical stylus movement is simply not picked up, rather than picked up and then cancelled electrically by a mono strap or with the preamp mono switch.

Thing is if you want to play 78s/SP properly you should have a few stylus profiles because the grooves were not exactly standardized in those days.  If you are an archivist or 78/SP fan, you might want to have at least have two, maybe even three styli – a fat (3.0 mils) one, a medium one (2.7 mils) and skinny one (2.5 mils) to ride higher or lower in a groove.

There were two things that gave me pause to buying the 2M 78.

A: in terms of stylus tip size, it also uses a 2.7 mil conical stylus. So in terms of having another cartridge available that rides higher or lower in the groove, there will be no difference from the Stanton. The difference will only be in the sound presentation.

B: Sonic is careful to criticise any sound that appears on the “warm” or “dark” side of things.  The reason being my recent tuning adventures and conversations with critical listeners is cautioning me that, on a general basis, High End Audio equipment is too bright, and many of us might be conditioned to accept sound form of brightness as "correct tone".  In conversations with female listeners to learn their reaction to HEA loudspeakers and set ups, the most common responses are “too loud”, “too grating/too piercing on the ears”.

Their comments have caused Sonic to re-think what I called “balanced frequency response”. So if any Tune or piece of equipment in my system results in a “warm” sound, I am going to make extra effort to give it chance, or give myself extra time to get used to it.

So time to pause before deciding on the Ortofon 2M 78.

Now the 2M 78 tracks at a recommended 1.8gms compared to the 5 gms of the Stanton. To Sonic this is not an issue.

When it comes to tracking force, Zonees should nevertheless remember that there are lots of factors behind a recommended tracking force and a higher force does not automatically mean “poor quality” or “groove damage”.

 

These EMT TSDs tracked at 2.5 gms, while some EMTs like their OFDs tracked as high as 9 gms.

And these:



This highly prized Neumann DST 62 tracks at 5 gms.

On the other hand, there was in the 1970s a trend for ever more compliant cartridges and ever lighter tracking forces.

Here is the Shure V15 iii:



The Shure V15iii was reported to have cleared the industry standard Shure TTR103 test record at 1.0 gm! This was the age of the low tracking MM cartridges.  Back then 1.25/1.5 gm was beginning to look heavy.

Then ADC with their 25 and XLM represented another chapter in cartridge development featuring ever-higher compliances and ever-lower tracking forces, like claims they tracked well at 0.75 gms.



The existing arms of the day were too massive to play these cartridges and displayed resonance issues. So a generation of arms that were made to be light as possible came to market which had issues of rigidity. In the craze to reduce moving mass, Sonic is told that people went to plastic cartridge mounting bolts and nuts or audiophiles even epoxied their ADC XLMs to their headshells with no mounting screws being used!

SME 3009s were available at one time with fixed headshells (very non-rigid attachments) and enthusiasts cut away metal from the headshells to lighten mass even more….horrible…and 12-inchers like the 3012 were thrown out.

Of course all this was turned on its head when the industry swung the other way when Moving Coils came into vogue and arms of high mass became desirable again.

Sonic has found that tracking ability aside, any cartridge that has a recommended range of tracking forces eg: 1.5 – 2.5 gms, the best and fullest sound will be obtained by tracking at the middle to the top of the range recommended range (in this example from 2.0 to 2.5 gms).

I have found from personal experimentation with my Ortofon 2M Blue that at the low end of the range (in this case below the mid-point of 1.8gms) the sound goes bright and wispy (though no mistracking is audible). Sonic therefore tracks the 2M Blue at about 1.85 gms to a maximum of 1.9 gms, just past the manufacturer’s recommended range midpoint (1.8 gm in a range of 1.6 – 2.0 gms) where Sonic obtains the best tonal balance and girth.

Sonic




Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:08 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : See last para: the mid point of the tracking force range of the Ortofon 2M Blue is corrected to 1.8 gms not 2.0 gms as written earlier (range 1.6 - 2.0 gms). Fixed typos, small edits for clarity)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:29 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 7

Sonic has moved the two FS-DTs that have been sited at the rear of the room, parallel to the side walls ahead of the corners, to the two ends of the sofa.

The vertical centerlines of the two DT panels are in line with the listener’s ears when one is seated on the sofa.  

From what Sonic understands from Michael’s writings, a placement of FS-DTs or FS-DRTs or FS-PZCs around the listening seat (that is around the listener), building pressure round that area, and that treating the zone around where we sit is more important that treating the areas around the loudspeakers facing us.

Then to control the horn loading of reflected sound out of the rear lower tri-corners, Sonic stood a RoomTune Square on the floor in each lower corner.  

The overall sound is smooth, perhaps slightly on the bass prominent side of things.

Then a couple of days ago, Sonic played La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s The Black Album. As the musical drone-laden music started I had a  Shocked moment – the droning tones were filling the room and appearing not just in front of me but around and behind me….real 360 degrees.

When this happened I was not listening from my usual listening seat on the sofa. At that moment when I heard all that surround, Sonic was standing forward of the sofa – at the half-length of the room.  

Hearing The Black Album at Sonic’s usual spot caused the surround effect to be hinted at but the effect wasn’t there.  Going back to the half-length of the room, the effect came back.  On other recordings, this spot gave a panoramic soundstage with more details in the music (like instruments’ mechanical noises) than back at the sofa.

Trying to make sense of this, Sonic went back to my notes on the Tuning then found I had landed bang on this:



This is the layout Sonic referred to in my post of January 26, 2018 which gave me the breakthrough for this room.  

Perhaps….Michael Green strikes again….another breakthrough soon Exclamation  Question

Sonic will bring in a comfy chair and try a bit listening from the half-length point.  I may or may not adopt it – the sound benefits must be significant and the tuning to achieve the full benefit should be reasonable. And Sonic intends, as a Top Priority, to maintain the improvements in convenience plus the ease of maintenance and cleaning Sonic has recently achieved in this room!

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:18 am

Hi Sonic

very good post Exclamation

The answers are all there in that wonderful thing we call our 'System'. The magic behind the Tune is 'You'. The more we explore the more the answers start to and continue to pop out at us like pieces of a moving target puzzle. That might be a frustrating comment for those wanting the music to all be one sound, but motion and variety is what music is all about. This is why I spend so much of my time not only in the listening chair (or different types of chairs) but also me moving around the room picking up cues and discovering parts of the recorded stage that is there, somewhere.

Reminds me of a topic I think I posted some time ago this last year when I visited a local speaker designer here in Vegas. When I went to his place I believe he was taken back that when I was listening I was out of my seat as much as in it, probably more. I think this actually put him off a little bit, but to me, how was I going to evaluate his speaker and system if I wasn't going to take it all in. I'm pretty sure he had no clue what or why I was doing what I do, but I can tell you this, his designing, as cool as it was to look at, had many problems that he had no idea about what they were or what to change to correct them.

The more we learn to hear inside of our space and our components the more we are able to identify what is what. The rest of the hobby is fun, but I am fascinated by each zone and each inch of the pathway (the audio code inside of the audio chain).

Now the fun part will be, as you find an acoustical formula in your mind, make just the slightest variable to the mechanics of your signal path and see if you can follow and match the two. 3 parts Acoustical, Electrical (all of electrical) and Mechanical. None of these work independently of the others.

Smile

I love when you or someone says "Michael strikes again" (don't stop Laughing ) but the truth of it is you are the master of your system, your ears and your music. Cool

Practice makes perfect is only able to do one listening session at a time study

Oh, one last thing.

In my personal listening world, when things go 360 is when I start getting excited. Nothing wrong with frontal listening at all, but when my senses are in the middle of a production and I am able to explore the variables that's when I really get turned on.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:39 am



Thanks Michael for your comments on your thread and here yesterday!

A little at a time, Sonic is getting more attuned to hearing how the sound changes as things settle….once you learn to hear this, one might not be able to unlearn it.

Here is something related to turntable settling that Michael once wrote about, if Sonic recalls, his AR ES-1.

Cartridge and Turntable Settling

Sonic did listening tests specifically for changes of my turntables/cartridge performance from a cold start and found that equivalent of the first two LP sides first played with a “cold” cartridge sounds midrangey and thin (Ortofon 2M Blue/Rega P5 and RB700) or over dark/opague (Stanton 500v3/Audio Technica), then progressively becomes more balanced in the bass and transparency after that with every additional LP side played. Also this “warm-up” time assumes the turntables have been spinning for an hour or so before the first record is played.

For days when Sonic plans to listen to records in any form, the turntables are switched on the same time I start to warm up the tubes.

What is it that Mr Green said years ago that turntables just keep on settling and settling and settling….?

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:41 am



Thanks Michael for your comments on your thread and here yesterday!

A little at a time, Sonic is getting more attuned to hearing how the sound changes as things settle….once you learn to hear this, one might not be able to unlearn it.

Here is something related to turntable settling that Michael once wrote about, if Sonic recalls, his AR ES-1.

Cartridge and Turntable Settling

Sonic did listening tests specifically for changes of my turntables/cartridge performance from a cold start and found that equivalent of the first two LP sides first played with a “cold” cartridge sounds midrangey and thin (Ortofon 2M Blue/Rega P5 and RB700) or over dark/opague (Stanton 500v3/Audio Technica), then progressively becomes more balanced in the bass and transparency after that with every additional LP side played. Also this “warm-up” time assumes the turntables have been spinning for an hour or so before the first record is played.

For days when Sonic plans to listen to records in any form, the turntables are switched on the same time I start to warm up the tubes.

What is it that Mr Green said years ago that turntables just keep on settling and settling and settling….?

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:12 pm



Can Headphones be a Useful Reference for Tunees?

“Of course!” thinks Sonic.

Back on January 1, Michael said he sees headphones are actually one of five different audio hobbies. These being:

A. listening Live
B. home audio via loudspeakers
C. car stereo
D. home theatre and
E. headphones

Sonic would like to offer a view and talk about headphones as a valuable reference to Tunees.

Live Music stands by itself having no parallel with anything else given that it is an event of many things together – sound, sight, excitement of the crowd, friendships and sense of occasion.  Live Music will always be the yardstick of what music sounds like, the North Star/Southern Cross guiding the sound of our systems.

When it comes to personal audio, we have:

Car stereo is a separate hobby because of the nature of the acoustics inside an automobile

Home theatre is yet another hobby given the visual element and the number of channels involved

Loudspeaker audio and Headphones listening are actually two variants of the same thing with some people enjoying both for different reasons. Some for a different presentation, others are enjoined to use headphones so others are not disturbed – eg: in a home, music after 9 pm may have to be heard on headphones so the children can sleep.  

Sonic has discovered headphones can be a very powerful Tuning tool.

One reason why I appear to have made progress in the last few weeks with the project to rationalise the acoustic treatment in Sonic’s room, as well as being able to tell that midrange or upper bass anomalies are in the recording or caused by the speaker/room is due to Sonic making comparisons using headphones as a reference check on the Tone of my system and the contribution of the room.

I use two Sennheisers – an HD700 and an HD518.  The HD700 tips slightly on the bright side and the HD518 is over-warm. By listening at relatively similar levels to my loudspeakers and making comparisons with the headphones, Sonic could tell where my Tone was wrong, where the frequency range was rising or dipping,  what energy storage issues the room was injecting into the sound, what details are being masked.

The led me to the room configuration that Sonic is now using with Michael’s devices.  The comparison with headphones brought into focus all my room and loudspeaker issues – some I did not guess. I also discovered some of the things I was trying to tune out from the sound reproduced by the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs like the honky F-sharp in a June Tabor a capella recording was on the recording and not due to my room or equipment.

Tonally, my system balanced somewhere in the direction of the HD700s rather than the warm and dark HD518s. Given the room, Sonic loudspeaker system has a more uneven bass but more low-end bass weight and sensation that I can feel, yet the room effect is now reduced thanks to Michael’s products.  The soundstage of a loudspeaker system cannot be compared to headphones as they image differently given the way they present sound to the ears.

So in Sonic’s view, monitor grade headphones are invaluable as a reference check for tonal balance.  They set the platform for Tuning by telling you straight off what the room is doing to the sound of the speakers. We put aside things like soundstage, imaging and tactile sensation of course.  

With headphones, despite the real theoretical issue of what constitutes a “flat response” for this form of transducer, the education of hearing the sound of the signal from the turntable/phono stage/CD player/DAC with NO ROOM is an enlightenment.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:00 am

EMT OFD65

What unusual feature does this cartridge have? A superior cleaning idea!



Plays 78s, tracking at 90 mN (that’s 9.17 grams).

A moving coil, it has a 65 um tip and sounds magical.

Sonic is told that the conditions in the grooves of spinning 78s are harsh -- high recorded velocities, high platter rotational speed plus off centred pressings, dirt and so on. For these reasons, tracking forces of around 5 grams or higher are right for 78s.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:33 am



Something for Computer Audio Fans to Worry About – the Problem of Bit Rot


Sonic was told of a recent article by Barry Fox in Hifi News and Record Review on the issue of bit rot.

This is phenomenon of a progressive, random self-corruption of data stored on hard disks, often an error or a single bit gets flipped from 0 to 1 or vice versa. Some call this data rot and it is not to be confused with software rot.

This occurs over the span of many years and few computer experts believe it even exists because it is a long-term problem. Backing up is no use because the errors simply get copied over though FLAC has checksums to ensure data integrity while WAV and MP3 do not.

Here is Fox’s article:
 www.magzter.com/article/Entertainment/Hi-Fi-News/Something-Rotten

On Hydrogenaudio, the problem was characterised like this:

“I don't know how many people here are familiar with the term "bit rot" but it's basically silent corruption of data.  Something like a malfunctioning hard drive controller or a loose cable can cause the bits to get flipped, corrupting your data.  If bit rot has occurred, a backup won't save your files because you will just be replacing the old good backup with a new bad one.  The two most common file systems these days - HFS+ (Mac OS X) and NTFS (Windows) do not protect against bit rot data corruption

While bit rot is silent corruption, people have discovered it by hearing the damage it has done to their audio files.   Ever heard an old MP3 with a very tiny blip of static? Guess what, that's 1 frame broken screwing up a few milliseconds worth of audio data.  Other annoying noises like an MP3 that started with a chirp, or a track that has a "click" in it, bad pop noises, or a song that skips ahead a few seconds are caused by bit rot.

So I am curious if anyone here has taken preventive measures to protect their audio files?  Are you storing your music library on newer, experimental file system on a different computer?  Maybe you zip all your albums and store them on external media so you can checksum them if the album has problems later on.  Or maybe you don't care at all and will re-rip your songs or albums if you find problems in the future.”

There is a few pages of discussion of this potentially terrible problem here:
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,111995.0.html

For a more technical discussion see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_degradation

Sonic is going through the discussions and thinking what practical solutions exist….SSD may be subject to the same problem….RAID6 systems do not protect against data rot…….physical CDs/CD-ROMS layers can pit and lose data too….. OK, Foobar has a data integrity checker….you know, I am getting a bit worried with closing in on 2,000 CDs on my hard disks.

Given Sonic’s experience that 78s in my collection from just after WW2 play so well on my Stanton 500/5127and Audio Technica Turntable (after all the abuse these discs underwent), I know the answer….

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:43 pm

Back on January 1, Michael said he sees headphones are actually one of five different audio hobbies. These being:

A. listening Live
B. home audio via loudspeakers
C. car stereo
D. home theatre and
E. headphones

Can headphones play a role? All of them can as long as we understand the variables. One thing cool about these hobbies are that they all have something different to offer over each other. I personally have found that "B" has advantages the others don't provide. One of the main advantages is control. A home audio system allows the listener to explore more of the music. The home audio system listener rarely takes advantage of the options but they are certainly there.

I listen many different ways to my home audio system so that I can learn and so that I can hear what others are hearing. However I find myself, most of the time, preferring a listening stage that is somewhere between the headphone stage and extreme nearfield listening. My brain for some reason is the most relaxed when the music is all around me vs a head stage, or surround stage, even though it is similar to both headphone or surround sound, I guess we could even add car audio. Frontal staging is cool too, but I think the typical high end audio stage is a little on the boring side. That's just me speaking, I love all of them and listen to all of them with equal respect, even if I have a clear preference for what I call the "float".

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