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 Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars

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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 106
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars   Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:17 am

Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars

It has been some time since Sonic posted anything in relation to tuning my room and system. This is indeed so, as I have been largely satisfied with the sound of my system since Sonic Beaver’s farewell post of May 25 this year ( http://tuneland.forumotion.com/t397p150-tuning-and-musical-adventures ).

Since then, Sonic Voyager did write something on using Michael’s Cable Grounds and that is about all.  

Now Sonic has done a Tune that appears to have unlocked a lot of energy in my room – this was done by increasing the baffle-area of the Magneplanar MG1.5AQ/Rs with Wings. Here is the thought process:

a.          in my room, a lot of the bass energy is running along the side walls.

b.          I get better bass if the Magneplanar MG1.5Q/Rs are brought closer to the side wall but the downside is the imaging and treble response suffers after a point. My placement where the nearest edges of the Maggies are 14 inches from their respective side wall is a workable compromise.

c.          at the same time, Magneplanars, being dipoles, send as much sound energy behind them as towards the listener.  This backwave has been known to compromise the bass and imaging if it bounces back and mixes with the front wave too soon. This can lead to reinforcement or cancellation at specific frequencies.

d.          fans of dipole speakers have been known to build extensions to increase the baffle area of their panels.  These baffles are often referred to as “Wings” and have been known to increase the bass response. The improved bass response reduces or delays the time where the rear wave starts to mix with the front waves to cause cancellations or reinforcement at specific frequencies. Sonic has seen DIY wings mounted on Magneplanars and SoundLabs and even the bass cabinets of Altec A5s and A7s (done by M. Jean Hiraga).

The Project
Sonic made a set of Wings using heavy corrugated cardboard as a test, two Wings each 65 inches (H) x 14 inches (W) – the thickness is ¼ inch.  They are mounted on one side of my Maggies, on the panel edges nearer the side walls. Here are the pictures:

In the Maggie User Group, the effect of Wings on frequency response have been measured and it shows reinforcement in the bass from about 100 hz down, smoothened out peaks and dips in response with a little more average bass response that goes a bit lower.

Have a look: http://www.integracoustics.com/MUG/MUG/tweaks/wings/mike.html

My listening tests correspond to the effect shown in this charts.

The effect of these Wings on music and poetry is powerful! I could hear that:

a.          The efficiency of the system went up – the sound for a given setting on the volume control appears louder, more energetic and alive. Transients throughout the range from the bass through the midrange have more snap.

b.           The bass improvement is significant – goes a bit deeper but a big benefit is some peaks and dips have been smoothed out.  The bass now anchors the music better. The bass has more drive, the kick drum and bass line is better separated and Sonic can hear better how the bass line is pushing the music forward.

c.           Even though the Wings have made the Magneplanars more visually noticeable, the sense of the speakers disappearing as sources of sound is even better.  The whole soundstage is more 3D and projects forward and Sonic can sometimes hear effects around me.  It is a bigger sound (though overall soundstage width is similar) that is more “here” with me.  Things are now occurring more in my room with greater impact and sense of musical (for musical programmes) and dramatic impact (for poetry and drama).  The benefit has been greatest with digital, very impressive with vinyl (stereo and mono) while with 78 rpm and SPs sound appears the same as before, which is already of a good standard. Guests listening to jazz vocals from vinyl and from 78 rpm have commented “this sounds lovely”.

In the next week Sonic will experiment with speaker placement and toe-in to see if this set up is optimal or could be improved on further. A test might also be done to hear what happens if the inner edges of the Magneplanar MG1.5 Q/Rs get “Winged”.

Perhaps in time we will install tunable wings from Michael Green?

Any comments Michael?


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 106
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars   Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:12 am

The Wings are Working!

Sonic has tested the Wings on the inside edges of the Magneplanar MG1.5Q/Rs. The result was the sound got small, dry and artificial.

Another test produced better results: I kept the Wings at the outer edges but applied Echotunes with their absorptive (burn) sides facing outwards (in other words, the ETs’ reflective sides are mounted against the cardboard surface of the Wings):

In these pictures (not good, I am afraid), two ETs are attached to each Wing.  Sonic did tried three ETs but the results weren’t great.  Bass extension was still good but the dynamics of the bass, the impression of size of the bass was reduced.  So I stayed with two ETs per Wing.

Tuning this way allowed for the removal of the thud rugs and the leaning DecoTunes from the floor and wall directly behind the loudspeakers. This makes the room less congested with items and obviously easier to clean – see, Sonic is applying what I read in Fumio Sasaki’s “Goodbye, things” (see my post in Music Reviews of Friday, September 7, 2018).


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 106
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars   Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:19 am

Magneplanar Wings Fly Nicely – Tweeter Attenuation Resistors May Be No Longer Needed

The cardboard Magneplanar Wings are doing neatly and Sonic is are staying at two DTs (absorptive sides out) adhered to each Wing so we can reduce burn in the areas directly behind the Magneplanar MG1.5Q/Rs. The positions of the DTs behind the Wings have been moved closer to the floor.  

This has allowed the removal of the “thud” rugs and the leaning DecoTunes from the room which makes for a neater room layout. While these “thud” rugs added control, they have a sound signature – a darkening of the internal spaces between the musical lines.

The DecoTunes panels at the forward wall have been removed from the room though they may be repositioned somewhere within the room in time though Sonic won’t rush.

With the Wings and the ETs, Sonic gets the right tonal balance without the “thud” rugs and the DTs.

It is educational to hear that when these DecoTunes are moved about the room for some experiments, they can in the certain places, like when placed across in the rear corners of the room behind the listening sofa, suck the bass out of the room!

As settling progresses I start to get a too warm, too tubey sound. Just what I hoped for, because this allows Sonic to remove 1 ohm resistors (paralleled 1.8 and 2.0 ohm resistors) that I used to attenuate the Magneplanar MG1.5Q/Rs’ quasi-ribbon midrange/tweeters.

Sonic has substituted the paralleled resistors with a plain jumper of speaker cable and the tonal balance is right. Nice, and more so that the “startle factor” dynamic response is also better now.


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 106
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars   Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:20 am

Greetings Michael and Zonees

An Update

Sonic has completed the Wings experiment.  It works well especially after I brought the “thud” rugs back.  Without the rugs, there is a tonal signature that cause the speakers to be identifiable as the sources of sound.  

The Wings experiment has also taught me the effect of ETs adhered to the back of the Wings.  Different sounds with changing the number of ETs used and if either their absorptive or reflective sides faced into the room. The main learnings:

a.          adding ETs one by one to the Wings can thin the bass and eventually attenuate the bass severely. If your room has too much bass energy, these products from Michael are just what you need.  If your room has bass but a hard wall signature like mine, their effect needs careful balance. For me, best in the end was just one ET per Wing.

b.          whether to mount the ETs absorptive sides out or the reflective sides out gave differences in sound.  Reflective side out meant better detail at the edges of the soundstage and a wider soundspace.  Absorptive sides out gave better tonal control but a slightly smaller stage.  Sonic went for absorptive sides out.

c.          the height of the placement of the ET made some difference – I ended up with the ETs placed in the lowest 1/3 of the height of the panel.

d.          Sonic has learnt what the equivalent of bass boom in the treble – it is a “sizzle” that is added on top of the sound of violins and cymbals. The absence of this “sizzle” is often thought to be “dryness” but over long periods listening the sound will be considered more accurate, the system in control of itself.  This “sizzle” can be caused by many things, acoustical, mechanical or electrical.  In the course of this Tune, Sonic understood the “sizzle” as being contributed by the brightness from the midrange/tweeter quasi ribbon that was tamed by the 1 ohm resistor. So the resistors have been reinstalled.

Now I need to weigh the benefits of the Wings against my other issue of ease of cleaning the room now that the “thud” rugs are back…..if the “thud” rugs could be retired and given away, the use of Wings will be instantly a permanent fixture. Now with my minimalism drive (in Japanese: “minimarizumu”), Sonic will take time to listen and consider.


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Sonic Voyager

Posts : 106
Join date : 2018-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Tuning Project: Wings for the Magneplanars   Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:43 am

Project Completion

The experiment with the Wings has helped me better understand the tuning of the corners behind the Magneplnar MG1.5Q/Rs and how different treatment such as “thud” rugs and the location of DecoTunes and RT Squares in different parts of that zone affect the sound.

With that, Sonic took down the Wings and did a set up where the DTs (formerly leaning against the wall behind the loudspakers) have now been moved to positions on the side walls ahead of the Magneplanar MG1.5Q/Rs.

Go over to “Audio Adventures” for the full post I made today on this topic including pictures of the set up.


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