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 Vivian's System

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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Vivian's System   Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:11 am




Hi Michael I live in

Australia.  I am in the process of setting up a new listening/lounge room.

Unfortunately I did not come across your articles until this week when I was looking for semi rigid acoustic fibre batts! I am looking to get the acoustics of the room to reproduce the detail, emotion, ambient space and imaging that I had in my previous abode where I had experimented and arrived at a well tuned system/room with a lot of trial and error, but eventually could make predictable adjustments in that space. This new room is 4.5 metre wide and 8.6 metre long with ceiling height 2.4 metre. It has carpet on the floor and has double plaster in ceiling/wall with rock wool insulation in both. No blinds, curtains as yet!

There are sliding doors on each of the long walls and a French window/door on one of the long walls.  I currently leave the sliding doors at the rear of the room open when listening as it sounds better that way. I am using polyester/Dacron acoustic batts and moving them around to experiment with in my attempt to achieve the detail, emotion, and ambient space in the sound stage that I want!   I have two systems, but the one I have currently set up are Quad ESL 57s (dipoles) driven by Leak Stereo 20 valve amplifier and a passive pre using Dave Slagles Autoformers. I currently use a Naim Audio CDS3 CD Player, McIntosh Tuner and ARCAM DVD player as sources. I have not set up my turntable yet as I want to install it on a wall bracket and I am still experimenting with the equipment layout – horizontally at this stage on very low mass IKEA tables that I have modified slightly to suit. I have the equipment placed on bamboo boards supported by 3 hexa nuts holding a ball bearing in the cup. Have experimented a lot with all sorts of boards platforms and stands, but this home based invention from the 70s/80s has proved the best so far- and I can fine tune!!   I am seeking your advice on the best room acoustic set up that would help achieve the detail, emotion, ambient space and imaging. Would be very interesting in using your products, what that might cost and the ordering process. Living in Australia I would have to take into account shipping costs as well!   I have attached some photos of the listening room FYI. Happy to provide any other information that you may require.

Also as background info the room and equipment information.

I forgot to add that I have set up the Linn sondek lp12 with Ekos arm and dynavector xx2mk2 on the lack tables as well. Will await your the pillow placement advice before setting up a shelf on the wall

Vivian










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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:47 am

Ok, Welcome to TuneLand Vivian!

Let me see "This new room is 4.5 metre wide and 8.6 metre long with ceiling height 2.4 metre."

14'6" wide 28'3" long 7'10" tall

I'll be right back with a drawing.

BTW we have 12RT squares and 10 XLTs to work with.

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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:16 am








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PostSubject: Front wall and Corner Ceiling/ Cornice/ Wall interface query   Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:50 am

Thanks Michael, that will help me get started.

I have a cornice at the walls and ceiling interface. Do I place the RT square above or below the cornice on the front wall- middle top and Corners of Ceiling/ Cornice/ Wall?

Vivian
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:13 am

Hi Vivian, great to have you here!

On the ones that look right at the top, put them just below, almost touching. On the ones that look like they are half on the ceiling and half on the wall, they are. Split the difference ceiling and wall to catch more energy. Remember to put Live side facing the room and Burn side facing the wall. The Live side keeps the room sounding natural while the Burn side acts as a barricade, burning the extra energy but not deadening the room. You will feel one side kind of crunchy, that's the Live side. That side will face to you, and the fluffy side will face away from you.

Let me know how it's going and get me more pictures as you get them up.

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PostSubject: RT squares and XLTs installed   Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:51 am

I have installed the RT Squares and XLTs as close as possible to your drawings. I thought I sent the photos, but they don't seem to show up in the post.

I have started to put some absorption behind the speakers as I had lost the colour/timbre of the instruments and imaging was imprecise.The sound image has now got more depth, size and air. Still have to lower the volume as voices are trending to "shout and blare" on the louder passages. Will go back and listen again bit later.
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:11 am

Hi Vivian

Ok, let's see what we've got.












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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:44 am

"I have started to put some absorption behind the speakers as I had lost the colour/timbre of the instruments and imaging was imprecise.The sound image has now got more depth, size and air. Still have to lower the volume as voices are trending to "shout and blare" on the louder passages. Will go back and listen again bit later."

mg

What are you listening to as far as recording?

Also I would like to get familiar with your setup.

How long has the system been setup, and when you have time walk me through what you have done so far with the system in this room.

I would also like to do a field trip of the room itself using your voice. Does the room shout and blare when you speak loudly. You might have to bring someone else over to talk in the space if you have a hard time hearing yourself. If the room is shouting we want to find where this is coming from.

So far by looking at what you have done and what you have had to go back and start doing again, I'm guessing the Quads and room are fighting each other. Some of this could be partly a placement thing, part a lack of resonance (which can be a big problem with Quads), and part the electronics. There are things we can walk you through to find out what is what but I need a point of reference first comparing real sound and the sound of the system. In other words what you hear and feel your voice do in the room will also give us an idea to what the system will do.

Lets turn off the system and walk around the room talking. When you do this do you feel like you are needing to push your voice or can you whisper and hear your voice carry through the room?

When you are standing at your seat speak, whisper, normal then loud. Now, sit down in your chair like you will when you are listening to music and tell what is different between when standing and sitting.

I see there is a sofa behind your listening chair, sit in it as well and tell me how it sounds. Do these things with your voice only.

Now walk around the room again a tell me what part of your body your voice is resonating. You will either feel like your voice is coming out of your head, nasal cavity, throat, upper chest, lower chest or any of these combinations. If your room is really responsive you will be able to feel it through your whole body.

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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:19 pm


Greetings Vivianbl Exclamation

Welcome to Tuneland cheers

Congratulations on your fine system with the Quad ESL57. They are wonderful speakers that are so well balanced tonally that one never misses the extremes. Plus they play louder than most people expect! Sonic would be using them were it not for the year-round high humidity where I live leading to frequent and expensive replacement of the panels.

May Sonic make a comment on what you heard after introducing Michael’s Tune products onto you room?

When you heard that you “…had lost the colour/timbre of the instruments and imaging was imprecise. The sound image has now got more depth, size and air. Still have to lower the volume as voices are trending to "shout and blare" on the louder passages….”, might this be due to the Tuning of your room now spotlighting the effect of the rather tall feet you are using for your Quads?

Quads, both the ESL57s and the 63s were designed with low stands or to be placed directly on the floor. Of course this put the panels well below the ear-level of listeners making orchestras and bands sound short and less than life sized.

The conventional High-End Audiophile response was to raise the Quads on taller stands. I learned these stands caused problems in the upper bass range – in the 150–300hz zone – the range that contributes to fullness and warmth. Back in March 2012, Sonic wrote a piece on this for Michael’s Tuneland Forum and I wonder if you have read it. It is called Bouncing Off The Floor:
[url=http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t119-bouncing-off-the-floor. ]http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t119-bouncing-off-the-floor. [/url]

Do have a read but for now I’ll quote the main bit.

“Hi Zonees

The old Quad electrostatic speakers (commonly called ESL 57s) were originally made to be either placed directly on the floor or on short wooden feet. This was true also for the later ESL 63.

Then along came Arcici and some others who made stands for the Quads lifting them a couple of feet higher up and some audiophiles went “WOW! What an increase in clarity….”

Not all audiophiles fell for this because Sonic recently read a piece by Dr Robert E Greene on a topic he has repeatedly commented on – the floor bounce.

Sonic has heard Quad ESL 63s mounted on the floor, on low stands and suspended high on the “specialist audiophile stands” and the warmth is gone when they are lifted. They sound thin and coloured in the way some audiophiles think is the way real music sounds.

Loudspeakers when elevated off a floor exhibit a difference in path length – direct sound comes to the listener’s ears and the sound wave also bounces off the floor and arrives at the ears slightly delayed. Put simply, this floor bounce causes a cancellation notch in the 200 – 300 Hz range (right around Middle C says Dr Greene) and causes a thinning out of the upper bass, a loss of impact, indistinct viola low range and weak cello high ranges. Orchestras lose weight and jazz ensembles lose vitality sounding bleached and analytical instead.

Worst off are dynamic speakers whose woofers are mounted high off the floor near the top of their cabinets near the tweeters or with assemblies are raised high on stands like mini-monitors. Some pundits say that floorstanding dynamic speakers are worst off. Basically, if you got a box speaker and if your woofer is off the floor either because of the cabinet or your stands, you will get floor bounce and a 200 – 300 hz notch that will lean your music. How bad is this notch supposed to be? Anything between -3 to -10 dB.”


One way to test if this effect is the case may to be take your spare acoustic absorption panels and lay a stack of them on the floor ahead of each Quad on the axis to your ears. A good place to start will be midpoint between the speaker panels and your ears. If the Quads’ long feet are creating a cancellation notch, you will hear an improvement in warmth and fullness, less glare and so on.

Do give this experiment a try and post what you hear.

All the best with the Tune!

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:29 pm

Hi Sonic

Thanks for the report! The answers are certainly there somewhere.


shown with original stands

When looking at the system/room it is not apparent to me that the room should be shouting at this point, which makes me think Sonic may have zoned in on something here.

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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:10 am

Hi Sonic
Thanks for that information about the bounce.  I did come across that post a while back and was contemplating doing that a couple of days ago.

I have been able to get very different sound images- different size and warmth- with the previous arrangements of the polyester batts and by moving the speakers backwards and forwards about 5inches and by adjusting the toe in. There was one particular arrangement that I had, that sounded really good, with 3d images, separation and "palpability", but have not been able to replicate it since I moved things around . I  should have recorded the actual position!

I currently have the centre of the speakers about 140 centimetre from the back wall and a slight toe in. I have put in another batt on the back and side walls. This gives a nice balance of transparency, size and warmth. The image is also taller and  and has more "air". But that glare on the louder passages on voice and instruments is still a feature! I will experiment with your recommendation later tomorrow after a shift of furniture (that has been in storage) into the room. That will not impact the area between listening chair and front wall- more the back of the room. I also have a light canvas painting that I have not yet hung up- it was to go on the wall above the equipment- between the two XLTs but higher. Not sure how that will impact, but will leave it off, for the time being.

By the way, I have another pair of ESL 57s (black ones like your picture) on their original legs, but have not tried them here- Still in storage!
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:51 am

Hi Mike
Thanks for that feedback . I will do my field trip homework over the next couple of days and post you the results.

In response to your queries:

What are you listening to as far as recording?
Tracks from the following CD so far:
Lucinda Williams - World without Tears
Neil Young - Harvest
Misa Criolla- with Ariek Ramirez Jose Carreras
Eric Bibb-and Needed Time: Spirit and the Blues
Barbara Jungr- Every Grain of Sand
Archie Roach- Sensual being


Also I would like to get familiar with your setup.
The system is as described in first post.

How long has the system been setup, and when you have time walk me through what you have done so far with the system in this room.
System set up with CD player, Tuner and DVD player since January. Turntable set up early March. There was lot of reverberation, noise and resonance in the room. That led me  to placing the polyester batts behind the speakers and then up the back corners to the ceiling. Experimented with stacked polyester batts on back wall in the middle and one in the back corner and some on the side wall forward of the speaker. Also put a batt on the floor behind the speaker.

Found that pulling the blind down on the french doors on side wall behind listening position really dulled the sound so only pulled down a 1/4 of the way.. Not sure whether pulling down the back window blind made any difference!

The wall on the left hand side facing the speakers has a less substantive material  with a cavity sliding door structure. Also noticed that there was a difference  in the hardness of the plaster walls compared to the plaster ceiling. It was very hard to push  the pillow pins into the wall.
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:08 am

Hi Vivian

"It was very hard to push  the pillow pins into the wall."

This is the kind of stuff I look for in your responses. This means that you and Sonic will have lots to talk about.

Let me know the field trip results when you get a chance. I'm especially interested in what happens around the sofa.

love Eric Bibb!

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PostSubject: Sonic Bounce!   Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:57 pm

Well, that has been fascinating! Sonic’s advice to explore the “bounce” impact has been very helpful.

Before I tried that out, changes were made in the room. The Room has now got additional furniture at the back of the room- two heavy oak antique sideboards -in back corners- oak chat table and chairs. Also have two box speakers parked on the side wall near left hand side sliding door. This made the room slightly less reverberant, but did not have much impact on the sound overall.

I was getting depth and width of instruments behind the speakers but placing a polyester batt in the axis between speakers and listening chair lessened the glare/shouting and increased ambient information. Experimented with position and number of stacked batts -Found that a three batt stack was too “warm”. Have now got a sort of two layered stack and one placed perpendicular on top that provides the best balanced impact. Amazing presentation of musical detail in space now.

The glare/ shouting, “clanging” is still there on a couple albums and some tracks on those, but wonder if that is the recording itself. I can lessen that by changing the perpendicular batt to parallel position. Wondering about the impact of ceiling reflections and right hand side wall.
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:00 am


Greetings Vivian Very Happy

This is good news that progress you have made Exclamation

May Sonic suggest that you try the original short Quad feet and remove the batts on the floor between the panels and your listening seat?

The reason I am suggesting this is because:

a. this might deal with the floor bounce without the need of batts which you can then deploy elsewhere if needed.

b. you will get a sense of the intended tonality of the ESL57 as Peter Walker intended -- they were designed to be a certain height from the floor and the upcurving panel sent a certain tonal balance to the listener's ears. Give it a try, it might sound good. Even if the sound or imaging is not to your liking, at least you know what the core tone of your system really is. You can, then with Michael's products, and what you already have, adjust from there.

Also have those ESL57s been modded in any other way like removing the hemp pads that were originally mounted behind the electrostat elements? Some audiophiles claim this opens up the sound while others say that it merely changes the sound of the speaker -- and many times audiophiles (I have fell for this too in my time) think if they hear a change, an improvement has been made. Not so.

If your hemp pads are still in the speaker leave them be or if removed, perhaps reinstall them after the "short legs test" is resolved. Besides, Quads have potentially deadly voltages inside so any exploration into the innards of this device means there is risk of injury or worse....

Another question -- have you tested the acoustic signature of your room?

If you went round shouting BOO! at various pitches, is the room live, ringy, do you hear echoes from any surfaces?

I think no matter what your current state is, your room will not have the problems my concrete bunker have -- which I am finally dealing with.

Lastly, don't let the "glare/clanging" problem get to you if it is restricted to one or two albums. The Tune can deal with that -- in fact as you have read here, the Tune assumes that given all a variables (electrical and acoustic) from the recording microphones, the sound of the desk, the monitors and the studio/mixing room acoustics, the engineers and artistes' preferences etc, there are both huge differences in sounds between recordings and wonderful "hidden harmonics" and details in those grooves and bits waiting to be unlocked.

Sonic


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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:38 am

Hi Sonic, Thanks for the information and suggestions.
The ESL 57s that are in the photos I refer to as the 2057s as they have been rebuilt to specifications, but with modern components. They can take higher power amps and have slightly more extension in high and low frequency.  They were on original short legs, but I found that having them raised up was better( to my ears anyway!). They are raised up about 11 inches (with spike) off the floor and tilted more upright than the short leg version. The rear felt on the bass panels have been replaced with lighter damping material.
I won’t play around with the innards on this one, but I have another  very nice late production pair on short legs that is original apart from having a torn dust cover replaced and caps/ resisters replaced when it was serviced a few years ago. These were my first pair and had been using it in my study in my previous house!  I can bring them in and test them in this room.
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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:19 am

I thought you two would hit it off.




Nice!

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PostSubject: Re: Vivian's System   Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:40 am



Greetings Vivian

Your thoughts and process most sensible on how to go about testing the Quad 2057/57s.

Do try the BOO! test sometime Very Happy

And Sonic welcomes your advice, comments and ideas on my adventure.

Sonic


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