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 Tuning and Musical Adventures

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:11 am



Robin Gibb – The Underestimated Genius

Sonic was digging in the record stores and found this three-CD box set by Robin Gibb – Saved ByThe Bell: The Collected Works of Robin Gibb 1968 - 1970.



This is a well-curated set covering Gibb’s solo album Robin’s Reign whose idiosyncratic cover had him wearing the uniform of a British Grenadier guardsman.




The second CD is what was to be his follow-up to Robin’s Reign – the unreleased-till-now Sing Slowly Sisters. The third CD in the box has demo cuts and radio interviews.

Sonic also has two other of Robin’s albums – How Old Are You? (CD) and Secret Agent (LP).



Robin had a unique voice – a very wide range, he could sing low, he could sound like his brother (and rival) Barry, he could sing high incredibly high, he could be soulfully heart rending or sound like he was braying….

His songs often had interesting melodic turns and hooks different from what Barry composed but what intrigued Sonic most was his imagery – images of a Britain and a Britishness that existed at the start of the 20th century, or it may have been a Britain that never existed except in Robin’s imagination.

He wrote and sang of lost love, going to war, storms and ghosts waiting for loved ones to join them on the other side. On other recordings and live appearances, he sang Christmas carols while politically-correct artistes were scared of mentioning Jesus Christ in song.  He sang the anthem of the Isle of Man Ellan Vannin with his brothers and just before his death worked with his son Robin John on the Titanic Requiem – the song “Don’t Cry Alone” is really beautiful. He also had a “colourful” personal life – Sonic will leave Tunees who are interested to check this out for themselves from the various news stories on the internet.

Comparing his solo work to what Barry and Maurice put out, Sonic has these views:

a.          Robin was incredibly talented though not in the way like his brother Barry who was able to tap into the commercial vein of the times.  Some reviewers have commented that a Robin Gibb album lacks range of variety. I somewhat agree. You won’t get fast rock, alt folk or blues for instance.  From what I heard, he had these quirky tear-jerkers always in a Robin mould that had hints of English/Scottish folk tunes. His later solo efforts “Walls Have Eyes” (1985) and “Magnet” (2003) did not have the “Robin-ness” of earlier albums to my ears, perhaps playing to a standard Bee Gees/techno-pop audience profile.

b.          He put out the most solo output and if you compare Robin’s solo work of the time to Barry’s “I’ll Kiss Your Memory” and Maurice’s “Railroad”, I think Robin’s work was far better.

c.          Sonic can see why tensions flared up in the Bee Gees several times in their history. Barry emerged the dominant creative force in the group and if Robin became the creative driver, he would have moved the Bee Gees in a different direction – there will be a different type of creativity that might have them ending with a niche following and not the mega success they were. It is sad though that after somewhere in the mid-1970s, Robin was increasingly pushed into the background as a co-writer and back-up singer with fewer and fewer vocal solos in the Bee Gees’ albums. His imprint was still there in the Bee Gees’ sound. Listening to his solo works, I can understand more what his influence was in the Bee Gees sound right to the end.

d.          I love Robin’s eccentric lyrics….take these examples….

“On the steps of St Peter’s you all look the same…..I spent years as my father’s apprentice, he was a dentist in East Darbyshire….the man said he was working for the CIA, I heard the engines of the DC3, I didn’t see the gun….I heard some friend say ”this war won’t last a day”, now as we march away, sing slowly sisters…I’m dead, my life is cold, I’ll wait for you one million years….return to Austria, I still love you more than you ever know, please return to Austria, I’ll stop drinking…..” (Snippets from I Laugh in Your Face/Sky West and Crooked/Secret Agent/Sing Slowly Sisters/One Million Years/Return to Austria)  

True it is that Barry, Robin and Maurice were better off together as The Bee Gees – history, record sales and their individual net worth prove it.  But for me, having collected all the Bee Gees albums from First till Saturday Night Fever (I disliked their disco and post-disco stuff) and their final, excellent last album “This Is Where I Came In”, Sonic thinks Robin had a gigantic talent for melody and melancholic songwriting and he is the underrated genius of the rock/pop music world.      

Sonic




Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:47 am; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : Correct typos, corrected error -- on the record cover, Robin Gibb was wearing the uniform of the Grenadier guards not Coldstream. The Guards uniforms are identified by the buttons on the tunic. Grenadiers=evenly spaced buttons, Coldstream= buttons paired)
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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:00 am

Thank you so much for this post Sonic Exclamation

It was very thoughtful and true.

I keep my memories and opinions very close to my vest for personal reasons. This was a very nice read for me and I know Robin would have very much enjoyed it.

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:04 am

Changing the Acoustic treatment in Sonic’s Room –13

Getting inspiration from what Vivianbl has done, Sonic has mounted all the EchoTunes at the ceiling at angles across the ceiling-wall seam:



Some improvement in the acoustic control.

Zonees can also see in the pictures the “tapestries” on the walls and the clean ceiling now devoid of hanging DTs and oddly mounted ETs and RT Squares.  


Two Still Unsolved Problems

Sonic said sometime ago that I did a brief high-volume playback test and I think this system tune has reached a good place where Sonic can start a dialog with Michael on two problems that need solutions. These problems are audible at high playback levels (>84dB C average) but mostly innocuous at the 68 to 80dB C average levels I listen at:

Problem 1: at high levels the room sounds echoey in the midrange, the hard-wall concrete ring starts to come back

Problem 2: the room is loose at 110Hz, so upper bass guitar/acoustic bass notes honk at around this frequency.  This upsets the bass balance of the music when a bassist plays two notes an octave apart –the lower one at 55hz alternating with a note at 110hz.  The loose note in my room appears louder and the system fails to “anchor” the bass line properly.    

Michael, what do you suggest Sonic can do? Shall we start what I got in the room now plus what’s in my Tune Closet – 2x RT Squares, 4x EchoTunes?

Sonic    


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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:45 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room –14

As Sonic waits for Mr Green’s guidance on my residual problems, my Tune Instinct suggested I try this:



Though I just introduced this Tune, Sonic is posting it early so Mr Green can advise me working off the latest set up in Sonic's room.

What is interesting is that placement of the mid-height of the DTs as in the picture (reflective sides facing into the room) has not worked till now. The result was always a glare and a “concrete ringy sound”.

Now with the lower DTs and all the things I did towards “Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room 1 – 13”, the DTs now work as Michael intended!  On the troublesome recordings which have a 110hz energy and/or ring, the effect of both appear reduced, with low bass and steadier bass lines audible.

My estimate of the percentage this Tune has solved the problems is not over halfway. So we have some way to go.

Sonic



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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:21 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 15

As Sonic waits for Mr Green to answer my questions, I been Tuning… Smile

See this picture and look at the DTs absorptive side out about 2/3s up the front wall:



Sonic discovered that if I turned them reflective sides out or take them down makes the room a ringy, honky mess!

Next look at the DecoTunes above the curtain rail.  Sonic tried moving the two DTs at the top of the wall closer to each other so they touched the centrally mounted EchoTune.  This resulted in a narrowed soundstage and very ringy room. Bad…. Sad

Next Sonic moved the same two DTs further towards the corners so they are just touching the CornerTunes.

Result: Bass is better, deeper and smoother, the 110hz loose note is further reduced. Good soundstage Left to Right and Front to Back. There is increase in midrange reverb time, yet somehow things are smoother too. But I do not like a reverberant space – Sonic has come to dislike this though an excessively dry acoustic is not pleasant. I try to tune for an acoustic that is towards damped and somewhat dry.  

So what I did was:



Sonic says, “I hear improved “body” and “weight” in the cello range. No sign of the 110hz loose note so far.  Low bass lines can be now easily followed in recordings where this was not easy before.  But the liveness in the midrange acoustic is more than I can accept.”

Sonic next came up with this alternative where I lined up four DTs in a row above the curtain rail:



Sonic got a bigger, more dimensioned bass, an acoustically drier midrange without dullness.  This is more like it  Exclamation

Yeah cheers

Sonic  


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:31 am

Hi Sonic

here is an email Sonic sent me

"Hi Michael
I got some questions on the Tuning Blocks and other products, if useful you may post your answers on the Forum for other Tunees:

mg

Thanks for the questions and also thanks for keeping the posting going with your interesting topics and discussions. I've been trying to get as much on TuneLand as I can lately because when I get emails, I've been getting so many that they end up 5 pages back in a couple of days, and I forget them. You have always been great with email reminders and they're always very helpful.

1. Super Low Tone Redwood Blocks:

Q:How do these perform in comparison to Low Tone Blocks? If I changed the blocks under my components to Super Low Tone what will I hear?

mg

Every system is different obviously, but I like to pull out the SLT when I'm reaching for more of that body and smoother highs. For some recordings it's actually too much body, but for recordings that lean to strident or first pass hardness it does miracles pulling out and smoothing up content. I find having the selection of tones at my finger tips to be impossible to live without. I recommend as I come up with new tones, Tunees should add them to their audio closets. Back when I started to offer the A' la carte wood when I moved to Vegas began a fresh curing process that has allowed me to find many more tones and hidden harmonics. The progression has been incredible, with both wood types and Temp-A-Curing. I tell folks to get stock blocks but also to get a few of the ones I do myself.

Q: Presently I mount my Magneplanars like in this picture (attached), the speakers rest on MW squares and MW thins. If I supported the speakers on Super Low Tone Squares of 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch thick, will my speakers sound deeper and fuller (that's the direction I want to go)?

mg

I don't know. What I do know is, if you had Platforms for your system and not just Tuning Boards you would be at another level of bass response. It might be something to consider converting your Tuning Boards to Platforms. Once you had that additional tonality you could then play with different types of blocks under the Maggies.

I am possibly interested in 16 Super Low Tone blocks in standard size, 4 Super Low Tone blocks 3" x 3" x 1/2", 8 Super Low Tone blocks 2" x 2" x 1/4"?

mg

I can certainly have made whatever you need. And if I get my sanding station setup nice you might want me to do some myself.

2.Cable Grounds:

Q: On your Cable Ground product pagee, it might be good to elaborate what effect resting the cable on the centre bar upright, on an edge of the centre bar at an angle and with the centre bar lying flat under the cable. Presently, you only describe what tightening or loosening the bolts do.

mg

Really? I do have that somewhere but not where it is needed I guess. You know sometimes after updating the forum or website I find all kinds of missing info that I've posted some other place. And on that note, I even make different center bars for folks to play with but haven't talked about them anywhere. Thanks for keeping an eye out for these things!

3. Adjusters:

Ready with some description of the adjusters you told Bill333 about?

mg

Yep, these are pretty hip. I'll try to get to that very soon as well. So much to do and not near enough time to do it all. Right now I've been testing the Tuning Bolts for these. One is using an insert and one is an actual wood screw version. Same Tuning Bolt at 1/4 20 but with a tapered end so I can use them both ways for my testing.

Sonic"

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:44 am



Hi Michael

Great insights on the Super Low Tone Redwood. Thanks – Sonic thinks I will go with an order of SLT blocks. I will PM you and Harold on this.

As for angling the centre bar of the cable grounds, this is what Sonic is referring to:


http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t283-mga-cable-grounds

See entry of January 13, 2015 (the first one as you scroll down).

Sonic



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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:05 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 16

After lots of listening to music over the last weekend (with comparing to some live music Sonic attended too) I noticed that there was glare with the DTs on the lower front wall turned with their reflective sides out, so Sonic turned them back absorptive sides out.   Also having a leaning pair of DTs at the front wall gives better bass from the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs and a smoother midrange.

Putting this Sonic arrived at this set up over the weekend:



Then over the course of this week, Sonic worked on and off to maximize the Tune. But given that Sonic has no more DecoTunes available, and while knowing that some treatment of the floor/sidewall corner joint has been beneficial, I tried this:



(The pieces of tape are a temporary fix to prevent the ETs from sliding down on to the floor)

Playing more recordings (vinyl mostly), the soundstage gives me the feeling that it goes on and on past my front and side walls…..and.….Sonic feels like being present in the same space with the performers…...the weight in the bass is extraordinarily full for mid-sized Magneplanars without subwoofers – and this evaluation is with using flat EQ in the bass for the test recordings!

Of course with other recordings (LPs or FLAC) Sonic might apply bass boost or cut using the JVC Nivico (Japan Victor Company) Sound Effect Amplifier SEA 10.

The sound is big and warm about the way Sonic always wanted my system to sound. For those who think in terms of headphones sound, tonally Sonic’s system is sounding similar to Sennheiser 650s.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed May 02, 2018 11:56 pm



Greetings Zonees

Sonic found this observation within Art Dudley's review of the DeVore Orangutan O/93 loudspeaker (Stereophile May 2018):

Dudley said,

"The DeVore Orangutan O/93 is not a 1930s-era Western Electric full range horn system, plucked from a cinema and plunked into a domestic setting, nor is it a trimmed-and-tamed 1960s-era domestic horn such as my own Altec Flamencos. If you want the absolute greatest possible impact, drama and out-and-out thrills available from recorded music, you'll need one of those two. But you'll also need lots of room, lots of tolerance for colorations and bandwidth limitations and noises, lots of luck finding and transporting them and in the case of Western gear and suchlike, lots and lots of money."

Sonic finds this intriguing -- that you can get impact and audio thrills from recordings with a system that is also colored, noisy and is bandwidth (frequency response) compromised.... Shocked  

Then again if you think a little more about it, this is not an unreasonable notion. It just depends on where your priorities lie Very Happy

Sonic





Last edited by Sonic.beaver on Thu May 03, 2018 9:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added another sentence)
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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 04, 2018 7:28 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 17

Sonic next tested the effects of angling the Sound Shutters on my ceiling from them pointing vertically towards the floor.  

For starters in this experiment, I worked with the six Shutters in the forward half of my room, leaving the remaining three over the Bookcase Wall untouched. As a start I angled the six Shutters 45 degrees pointing towards the rear wall (the wall behind Sonic’s listening seat and the Bookcase Wall).  The imaging went off-focus and the room went honky and ringy.  Just the thing I been tuning against.

Next, Sonic angled them this way:



This time, the Shutters are angled towards the front wall.  Better, imaging is precise without being over-etched. Nice liveliness but low bass was weakened though bass transient impact improved in speed.

As settling progressed, Sonic found the benefit of the angled Shutters to diminish while I am not enjoying the music and drama I listen to as much. The tonal balance is much the same but the RT60 has lengthened a little in the midrange which require more brain processing to sort out the signals leading to listening fatigue.

We reset everything (the Shutters) to where they were. All OK again, the acoustics are controlled and drier.

Also done this week, this Tune worked very well.  It dried up the acoustics of the front noticeably and Sonic is happy with it.



Applying a RT Square on the corresponding side for more effect, even while not directly in line with the one on the other side, increased the RT60.

Doubling with another RT Square on the same side, next to the first one thinned the bass although the BOO! and RT60 was good.  Sonic therefore stuck to just one RT Square.

Michael, would you explain:

a.          why angling the Shutters one way and then the other produces such differences in sound?

b.          how Shutters, which are small in comparison to the wavelengths of the sound they control, are able to create such effects?  Eg: 1khz wavelength is 1 foot, 600 hz about 3 feet and longer as frequencies go lower – wavelengths far longer than the dimensions of the Sound Shutters.

c.          if this behaviour I observe is normal for rooms you have worked on or is this telling you that something is unusual about Sonic’s room?
   
Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 11, 2018 1:08 am

Hi Sonic

As always thank you so much for your patience! I've been working on some wood and also posting on Agon's forum (which Tj has jumped in on, thank you Tj). So important that we all work toward helping the hobby step into the future.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Michael, would you explain:

a.  why angling the Shutters one way and then the other produces such differences in sound?

mg

If we could see how much is going on in the room, and how powerful it is, we would be amazed at the activity and how uniform pressure zones become, and also how we can control the laminar flow. So let's say the acoustical energy on the way to the corners and seams is in motion (a flow) and we take part of that flow and change the direction, or intensity while it is on it's journey, that's a major event that takes place. Not only have we changed the laminar flow but we have also changed the pressure in each pressure zone. It's really an unique and amazing process to be able to sit there and experience this in a dedicated environment. I mean think about it, the senses of your ears are picking up on the sound much like your vision works with your eyes, only with the frequencies being lower. I'm always amazed that we can see a soundstage with our ears and body.

b.  how Shutters, which are small in comparison to the wavelengths of the sound they control, are able to create such effects?  Eg: 1khz wavelength is 1 foot, 600 hz about 3 feet and longer as frequencies go lower – wavelengths far longer than the dimensions of the Sound Shutters.

mg

2 dimensional math doesn't grab the concept of a 3 dimensional experience, is the easy answer. Once we step inside of pressure it's a different set of formulas than wavelengths. It's easy to be thinking the measurements from booksmarts based on an open space with no boundaries, but once you include boundaries they (the surfaces) become the new formula for the acoustical and mechanical science. This is why I always tell folks to study the fundamental forces of Earth. When we are listening inside of a room it's all about interaction of energies. You can throw wavelengths right out the window cause they are no longer in power, as compared to how they function in the open space paradigm. In science it's very important to have context when theorizing. We can read something that makes perfect sense to us as a math equation, but as soon as we go empirical (live) we now switch to a different part of the science. Numbers that worked mathematically have to now work with the interaction of energy itself once you put it into a physical space. The equations literally become reborn in real time, and each one is unique to it's setting and involvement with our planet and universe.

c. if this behaviour I observe is normal for rooms you have worked on or is this telling you that something is unusual about Sonic’s room?

mg

The fascinating thing about what I do is I know that each environment is it's own science lab, unique because of the conditions. That to me is the miracle of music playback and science itself. One of my studies early on was science formulations. I was built for this because I got it right from the beginning. Math is a language, practical application is a whole other animal. Math is only applicable if you don't put it into practice, then it becomes a scenario (situation of motion space and time). Math is like taking a bunch of pictures and laying them out on a table in sequence as compared to empirical, which is like looking at those same pictures in a time format (like a movie). If you look at one picture at a time you can see each frame as an individual math formula, but as soon as you see them put into motion like a movie, you now have context. That's what your room is like. Your room is a continuum (one of my favorite words), it's a live performance, or math in motion including all the unique variables.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 11, 2018 10:40 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 18

With the Tunes Sonic has been applying in this series of “Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room” the sound and the acoustic artifacts in my room are coming closer to the balance I want.

Sonic decided to go one step further to cut the RT60 of my listening space: I took two carpets of about 7 ft x 5 ft and folded them to about half their size and then placed the carpets on the floor behind the loudspeakers.

That is, between the rear of the speaker panels and the wall seen when Sonic is in the listening chair. If you look at the picture in my post of April 16, you will see where this zone is. There is now a lot of treatment concentrated in the front corners.

As a result, the room has now a slight “damped” acoustic characteristic though with a few days of listening indicating that Sonic may have possibly hit the nail on the head as to treating this room.

Two observations emerge for me:

1. The lower tri-corners of my room and the floor zone immediately ahead of it might be where all the problems of my room reside. This will tested when Sonic treats the other two corners behind my BookCase Wall.

2. I have used the backwave of the Magneplanar MG1.5/QR as an ally and tuned to use this backwave to create the ambient field in my room. It appears that backwave may not be an ally but a foe! The energy coming off the back of the speakers needs to be attenuated in a hard room like mine.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 11, 2018 2:30 pm

Are you going to hang something directly to the back of the Maggies?

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 11, 2018 11:59 pm


Hi Michael

Have you recommended this Tune to any other customers (hanging something at the back of the Magneplanars)?

What materials should I use/did you recommended?

My attempt with towels hanging on the back of the dipoles were not nice to hear.

Also like Sonic learnt from you, the type of materials (species of wood, fabric material --cotton, hemp, felt) that make up the "treatment" have as much an effect on the sound as the "treatment" itself.

Your thoughts?

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun May 13, 2018 9:54 am



Sad  this is sad.  Sonic was hoping for a re-launch of the great Shure V15....whether you find the PR spin in the second sentence of Para 5 credible or the "big vision verbiage (more PR fluff)" making up the last paragraph, we now face an audio future with no Shure cartridges.....

NILES IL. / USA, MAY 01, 2018

SHURE STATEMENT REGARDING THE DISCONTINUATION OF PHONO PRODUCTS.


For more than 90 years, Shure has been committed to manufacturing and delivering products of the highest quality, reliability, and value. This commitment requires consistency in materials, processes, and testing, as well the capacity to react to fluctuations in demand.

In recent years, the ability to maintain our exacting standards in the Phonograph Cartridge product category has been challenged, resulting in cost and delivery impacts that are inconsistent with the Shure brand promise.

In light of these conditions, and after thorough evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Shure Phono products effective Summer 2018.

Given our decades-long history of participation in the Phono category, we recognize that this decision may come as a disappointment to our channel partners and end users.

We are grateful for the support and loyalty demonstrated for Shure Phono products through the years and we are proud of the impact that these products have made on our customers’ lives and the reputation of the Shure brand. We believe that the proud legacy of Shure Phono is best served by exiting the category rather than continuing production under increasingly challenging circumstances.

Shure will continue to bring reputable, high quality products to market and we look forward to meeting and exceeding customer expectations on our current and future offerings. As Shure expands into new markets and product categories for audiophiles, our enduring commitment to premium performance and technological innovation will remain at our core.


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Mon May 14, 2018 5:26 pm

Hi Sonic

The wind down of companies supplying products to the HEA market is more than likely going to speed up. Shure is one amazing company and has been on the cutting edge of both home, live and recording products. Who in music hasn't used the V15, SM58 & 57 and many other Shure products? Pretty remarkable track record. I'm sure they hung onto the phono products as long as they possibly could.

No matter how HEA tries to package themselves the fact of the great decline is upon us. That's a good thing for Tunees but challenging for companies that need numbers to keep the doors open. What I have been recommending to folks is stock up on the products you have found to be the core of your sound. Having one or two backups is not a bad idea cause we really don't know which products (or whole companies) are going to be discontinued.

Maggies back

We should review what materials you have tried in the past and start documenting again the results.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed May 16, 2018 9:10 am



Hi Michael

Sonic has a different view. I do not see in Shure stopping its cartridge production a sign of the beginning of the decline of HEA. Shure is at the wrong price end – they are affordable, good-value products which any real revival of the audio industry and hobby will have to ride on.

It would be different, and I would agree with your analysis, if this news of production stoppage came from one the purveyors of $10,000 empty boxes with platinum feet and only a couple of wires going through from one side to the other and nothing else inside. Or if one of cartridge/speaker/amp manufacturers of products costing $20,000 -- $150,000 whose justification of the pricing is the use of “aircraft grade unified grain composite side panels” went to the wall.

If these products at the $100,000 end of the market started fail, then indeed HEA audio is in decline, the consumer has overthrown the fake science and gone for real performance and value. But what products will such a new hobby require? I think it will be Shure, Pioneer, Sony, Rega and such.

Materials….

The materials Sonic tried to no good effect to damp the rear wave of the Magneplanar MG1.5/QRs were thin (lightweight) blankets and cotton towels. The sound was coloured and closed in. The sort of sound that one knows is wrong though it is harder to describe precisely what is wrong.

Sonic used these across the width of the Magneplanar MG1.5/QRs rather using a thin strip of materials to damp just the quasi-ribbon tweeters.

Sonic knows of an owner of the Magneplanar MG12s who used towels behind the panels with the speakers less than three feet from the wall (due to domestic restrictions) and who said the sound was good. This audiophile also uses some sort of room-correction Digital Sound Processor so this might not be a valid example. This system sounded very smooth but had an inner opacity. By the way, every system Sonic has heard with room correction DSP, whether the cheap download from the net stuff or things costing $x0,000, had this same inner opacity which means I could not hear into the inner strands of the music let alone the venue where the recordings were made.

Another Magneplanar owner Sonic knows who owns the venerable MG2As has used various rear wave damping methods such as light rugs and tells me he hears a midrange “honk” with all of them possibly from a reflection of the sound waves between the speaker element and the material at some frequencies.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed May 16, 2018 11:39 am

Hi Sonic,

Back when I had my Eminent Technology LFT IV's (planar magnetic design) they had double-layer, medium thickness loosely-woven black fabric pieces that attached at their corners to the top half and bottom halves of the back of each speaker to offer the option of some back wave reduction if you preferred it. As I recall I preferred the sound with the cloths attached when the speakers were a good distance from the wall, but not when they were closer. Sometimes I just damped the top and not the bottom half of the speaker, and also just attached them at the top of the fabric and let the bottom part hang free (so there are lots of application options to these). They were attached very simply with velcro. You could probably use 3M Command strips (so it won't harm the speaker's finish) to attach something like this that I'm sure a seamstress could easily and very cheaply make for you. The two layers of fabric were just sewn together at the corners. You could even have a variety of types of cloths made with different fabrics and weaves to try out for effectiveness and still spend hardly any money. Idea Idea cheers cheers



jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Thu May 17, 2018 7:27 am



Hi Drewster

Thanks for sharing how ET attenuated the backwave. Appreciate it a lot!

Some rear panel treatment might be on the cards as an experiment given that while dipole speakers sound boxless because of the absence of a cabinet they do put out half their output in a direction away from the listener and bouncing it all round the room. Just like Bose. So worth exploring the effect of an attenuated backwave.

Over the week, settling has shown Sonic that I need to modify what I said about the Magneplanar MG1/5/QRs’ backwave being a “foe” in my room/system – it isn’t an adversary so much as it triggers off some nasty problems that are peculiar to my room. When these problems are addressed by Michael’s products and some sensible use of damping, the “evil” of the room problems cease and the backwave stops being an issue.

I’ll post about this in detail tomorrow and do please comment.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 18, 2018 10:35 am



Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 19

The carpets have caused Sonic to hear “ghoostly” Shocked details I have not heard before in recordings Very Happy Little noises at the edge of audibility (both in classical and rock recordings) -- a bow striking a music stand, sometimes double-tracked voices for just a phrase or two (Bee Gees), electrical hum (CCR and Simon & Garfunkel), sound effects used to reinforce percussion, tape splices (classical even!).

These details might be the hidden recordings Mr Green talks about and Sonic attributes the audibility to the reduced RT60 of the room making ambient and other details in the recordings clearer.

As a test, Sonic added two large and thick cushions temporarily to the rear corners to hear their effect – this means all four corners now have material for acoustic control. This builds on my Tune which Sonic described in my post of Friday May 11.

The Result
I got a dry room that is no different in acoustic reverb time from the conventionally furnished and curtained spaces with false ceilings in other parts of Sonic’s dwelling (the reverb time in my listening room used to be longer). The difference only is the acoustic in the listening room is very even with no shift upwards in tone, with a slight downward pitch shift. Some drama in large orchestral works may be gone.

Sonic tested an alternative by moving the two thick cushions to the side walls, at the mid-way down the length the rooms with the cushions sitting on low stools.

The increase in room damping was instantly noticeable and the BOO! stopped tight after it is uttered. There were no real downside with the cushions in the rear corners but when the cushions at the midpoints made the extreme lows weaker -- bass drums had more punch but when a bass goes Dum, Dum, Dum, Dah in a downward scale, the strength of the lowest notes were weakened audibly.

Sonic thinks I will just stick to the carpets in the front corners, maybe test more treatment for the rear corners over a longer period of time and leave the mid-points alone.

As it this, with the front corners treated, the bass is huge and controlled with better smoothness and extension. There is nothing in the sound that hints of hard concrete walls and ceiling, nothing that signals a tall room.

Making Sense of All of This
It is all starting to make sense now. Michael has taught us to treat corners because they horn-load reflections out into the room. In Sonic’s room, I did not realize that a high proportion of my problems came from the four floor tri-corners. I had thought the problems were either at the ceiling tri-corners or the hard side walls/ceiling. Yes, they were issues from these points though Tuning them away did not completely reach the “root cause”.

Sonic needs to say I was wrong a couple of days back when I said the backwave of the Magneplanar MG1.5/QRs were not an ally but a “foe”. “Foe” is not a fair characterization. Now that I got a more complete picture, Sonic calls the backwave “the catalyst” that triggers the room’s problems.

Killing the backwave from the Magneplanar MG1.5/QRs will not deal with the Root Cause and will instead likely destroy the sound of the speaker. It is this backwave that give planar and Open Baffle speakers their realistic sound. It is just that with all the pressure coming off the back of the speakers in Sonic’s room that triggered room problems that box speakers might not have (of course, box speakers might well kick start other problems that planars will not).

The Confusion at Our Ears
Our domestic listening systems present our ears and brains with two different acoustic signatures simultaneously which makes our brains continually tell us “This Is Not Real!” What we hear is the recorded ambience of say Carnegie Hall in the recording (and we will not realize how prominent recorded ambience is in a recording until it is removed – there is the 1989 Denon Test CD of an orchestra recorded anechoically, listen to that. Sonic has and reckons it is awful.) and then overlaid on this recorded hall ambience is another acoustic signature which is that of the listening room.

The two signatures are obviously very different and contradictory to the ear/brain – the hall ambience (or even artificial reverb time and echo effects in rock/pop albums) in the recording will be much longer in reverb time signaling a very large space and the reverb time contributed by the listening room is much shorter signaling that the room is small.

Credit: Robert E Greene who writes for The Abso!ute Sound pointed this confusion in one of his articles if I recall correctly and his writings influenced what Sonic is saying here.

Sonic might add that the more live and ringy the playback room is, the worse the confusion the ear/brain has to deal with.

I can now say that a couple of string quartet and baroque recordings in Sonic’s collection with what were till now fatiguing acoustic signatures are at last making acoustic sense and sounding good.

Sonic



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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Sun May 20, 2018 7:37 am

Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room – 20

Given the acoustic dryness and the absence of midrange ring, Sonic has reduced the value of the resistors padding the Magneplanar MG1.5/QRs’ quasi ribbon tweeters from 2.0 ohms to 1.8 ohms and now to 1.0 ohm. Each reduction in value is accompanied by an increase in air and life in the mids and highs.

To get the 1.0 ohm resistance, Sonic did not have to go and buy another pair of resistors.  I just paralleled the 2.0 and 1.8 ohms which gives 0.9 ohms.  

Here are the pictures of the front corners:





They look a bit messy for now, something Sonic will improve on.

Sonic can say with adequate certainty that it was this Tune that finally eliminated the “honk”, the “loose” bass notes and the signature that told listeners that the room was walled and roofed with concrete.

Sonic

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Wed May 23, 2018 12:40 am

Reminds me of the days of thud rugs.

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PostSubject: Re: Tuning and Musical Adventures   Fri May 25, 2018 9:15 am



Time for a Round Up: Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room -- 21

Yes thud rugs....and they work nicely indeed  Smile  

So with most of a week of settling with plenty of music play, Sonic can say that I shall call a close to Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room. This project, which started on October 27 last year, when Sonic removed the degraded Kraft paper from my windows and went back to bamboo blinds and which then advanced in earnest with me posting on January 19, 2018 the first installment of Changing the Acoustic Treatment in Sonic’s Room.

Some views:

a.          Sonic learnt much about myself -- my return to improve the Tuning of my room just a month after I called a halt in my September 15, 2017 post tells me that Sonic enjoys the “thrill of Tuning” as much as listening to the music. Will I be so contented that I will never my room or equipment again (aside from tuning for programme material like records or following a change of equipment in the system) Question   Since the discovery and fix of the Core Problem of the room (the issues coming from the four lower tri-corners which the carpets fixed), I have not touched anything but who knows....

b.          The recent rationalisation of the Tune layout in Sonic’s room has its roots in a very practical aspect.  There was some push if Zonees remember my dialogue with those who have control of my dwelling.  However I also wanted a stable and easy-to-maintain system as I transition to being a listener and collector of music rather than an audio tweaker.  

One of the triggering events that kicked off the rationalisation was Sonic coming back to my dwelling after a long day at the office near midnight to find some EchoTunes had fallen off the ceiling.  I then climbed a ladder at 1 am to reattach the fallen objects to the ceiling only to find cobwebs streaming across the ETs, the hanging DTs and the walls....and started cleeaning the ceiling Exclamation   The ridiculousness of the situation stayed with me -- I was perched on a ladder at 1 am with an early start in a few hours at sunrise and here Sonic was using 3M Command Tape to mount fallen EchoTunes!  

c.          The answer to many of my room and system problems that I was wrestling with was within reach of reasonable solutions.  
It was to simply treat my room as a “long room” (see my post of February 18, 2018 on this thread).  Just that approach from Michael allowed me to solve many of the Boo! and “honks” of the hard walls without resorting to odd things hanging from and off the ceiling or the use of large amounts of absorption. This discovery was the tipping point leading to a solution!  

The next part of the solution process was to apply angled tunes selectively as in my post of April 7, 2018 on this thread.

d.          It was a crazy experience doing battle with this bunker-like room for nearly a decade, and as its drawbacks were slowly overcome, it became a knowledge to Sonic that apart from the hardness of the surfaces, the height caused the room to behave  like different acoustic spaces stacked on each other requiring quite opposite approaches.

To give Zonees a sense of the height (instead of giving a measurement) of this room, Sonic can stack two Magneplanar MG1.5QRs one atop the other and they will fit with a couple of inches to spare.

e.          The room finally came into control upon Sonic’s discovery that it was that the four lower tri-corners along that were the sources of the most stubborn acoustic problems in this room, and controlling the floor corners resulted in the dry acoustic Sonic was working so long to achieve. While I have not decided if all four corners should be treated or just the two front corners, the midrange anomalies that I struggled with are not audible anymore, the loose notes in the upper bass are gone and the whole sound is warm and balanced Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy  

Sonic is happy with the result and every visitor who has recently heard my system gets a  Shocked  moment, the most common response being to either think there are multi-speakers in the room or thinking that the cluster of three FS-PZCs are the speakers. Except those who know what Magneplanars are, they were the only ones who could tell that the Magneplanar MG1.5QRs are the only two speakers in the room.

The other comments Sonic gets is how the sound floats 3D in the room with instruments ahead of the speaker plane around the listener.  I get asked too where is the bass reinforcement coming from/how much EQ I am using.  

The showstopper however is the playing of 78s and SPs – how those old mono records play in my room with near full frequency response, a large soundstage and even virtual stereo within a monster mono sound envelope!

Sonic has a growing thought that became somewhat a certain conclusion – that I might actually have completed the static/acoustic tuning of this room and system combination.  This is a somewhat unaccustomed idea for me after all these years…that I ever see this day. Yes, I guess it’s done and Sonic can, after almost a decade of work, stop all the frenetic “beavering” – that is the struggle to tune this room.

So now Sonic can speak of a farewell cheers to the Sonic Beaver and the beginning of a new voyage as a listener and student study of things audio.

Sonic

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