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 Sonic's System

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 01, 2010 12:09 pm


Hi fellow Zonees

Recently Sonic has been listening a lot to classical musick and finding the sound rather good. I asked myself "is this the sum of the Tune or is there more?"

Now in Sonic's set up, we got enough to make a decent Tune up -- 4 x Corner Tunes, 2 x EchoTunes mounted, 8 x EchoTunes in the closet, 16 x sound shutters and 1 in the closet, 3 x FS PZCs, 2 x FS DRTs plus the hardware on Michael's racks, springs and MTDs + a good amount of Magic Wood and hand wound springs. Yes, enough to make a Tune particularly with Michael's advice to use the bback of the bookcases as a wall. One of the most inspired pieces of advice Michael ever gave me. It turned my system around. And this I owe Michael -- he could have recommended that Sonic buys more gear but he didn't. One honest man he is!

Sonic thought maybe I will do an experiment -- try dynamic tuning around a recording and see what happens in the interst of science.

Now I am not dumb enough to try tuning Beethoven's 9th Symphony by John Elliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Players (Archiv) -- too big and complex. So Sonic got hold of a recording curculating among the listening crowd. The MFSL reissue of Muddy Waters' Folk Singer. A simple recording, guitar in R channel, voice and guitar centre, bass left and drums left.

Dunno how good the recording is but that's not the point. Just simple enough to try the expriment. I let the system run in with the recording, wrote down the volume and away we go.

Hmmm...pretty good recording, I can hear all sorts of small studio noises and things, bass a bit big, snare drums tight but a bit heavy, guitars very nice and full bodied, Muddy's voice very good but a little recessed but very well blended with his own guitar. Ambience goes to the rear of the room, dynamics and startle factor good for Magneplanars. Volume set to about 80 dB on peaks, C weighting.

I could do with more width and more continuity with instrumental lines. Voice could be more forward, drums more brush and less drum body.

Sonic adjusted the angle of the DRTs -- inward and sound was more focussed but "sour". Outwards and the soundstage got bigger but less focussed. Not the riught direction this.

Then I tightened the centre PZCs so the bolt just seat and about 1/16 of a turn more. Hey!!! Muddy's voice moved forward along with his acoustic guitar and I got a clearer picture of how he sang and played.

Next, I need to tighten the bass and get more "brush sound" in the snare.

Must let this settle even if I am dynamic tuning. But Sonic is a serial listener, so will this tuning mean I have to readjust some PZC, thighten some bolt or nut or angle something to max out each recording only to have it all change on the next CD?

Anyway, let's see what the capacity for changing the sound this system has.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 03, 2010 7:30 am


Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic's dynamic tuning experiment is yielding some lessons but I am sure getting tired of hearing "O my home is in the Delta...." and that bunch of blues tunes so many times.

Learned that it takes very little tightness to the PZC bolts to effect a change. Gently turning the bolt inward till it just seats and then maybe just a tad more is about there. I tried using an allen key to tighten the bolt by 1/2 turn from the snugged point and I got a very clear sound. Clear, yes but the girth was gone, the reproduction became analytic. It sounded just like an analytic hifi system.

Now working with 3 PZCs in a cluster meant I can keep some bolts loose and have some tight. Doing this affected the depth and focus and tightening all three gave focus but a sub-soundstage that centred on the triple PZCs -- which is another way of describing my much displiked recessed voice.

And a focussed recessed voice at the front wall is very unreal in the bad sense. A sightly fat defocussed one is tolerable.

Then Sonic found that having the PZCs close together meant I got focus only in the middle of the stage. The extreme Left and Right sides were vague by comparison. Sometimes it felt like a fish-eye lens.

I'll next move the PZCs apart by a few inches and see what happens. For sure the Tuning Bolts are powerful. I can now sort of hear its action even as I am at the PZCs doing the adjustments. But settling takes some time and a change overnight is quite noticeable.

Sonic hopes to dial in things by this weekend and get back to the normal way I listen, which is to plan an evening's musical programme of 3 or so CDs and kick back and enjoy the artistry of the players and singers. But Michael's point is well made. After these few days, that Muddy Waters CD is sounded pretty good.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeMon Dec 06, 2010 7:28 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

Sonic learnt something about the TJ Full Music tubes I am using (and who many audiofans are finding to be pretty good, particularly their EL34s and KT88s). The “TJ” stands for Tianjin in China. Yes, China looks like it is becoming the next audio powerhouse and by using Google Translate, Sonic has found out more about Gre Pin and some other manufacturers in the Middle Kingdom.

Google Translate is far from able to make comprehensible copy out of the Chinese audio websites but there is apparently a movement called “New Time” where Western Electric and other lookalikes are made from supposedly real WE parts – tubes, wires and transformers – in China. How good, how reliable only the buyers can tell with time.

Some of this stuff even carries the “Western Electric – The Voice of Action” logos and labels. Don’t know what the legality of doing this is or what the arrangement this manufacturer has with the owner of the Western Electric brand. Is it one of the children of Ma Bell? AT&T?

But these are not forgeries as there is no passing off, no pretending these are real pre-WWII WE stuff. Gre Pin puts their name on a plate at the back of the case. So this makes the gear authorized or unauthorized reproductions.

This raises a mental exercise. Why do this? For sure the WE name is venerable and I wished I had a WE system with a big 15a horn driven by a WE555 reproducer (that’s what they called speaker drivers back then). But if I got some of this new gear, deep inside I will know they are not really WE equipment. Sure the tubes maybe NOS, the transformers may be original and even if the metal of the face plate was the same alloy and thickness, the cabling down to the mountings are identical it is at best a recreation that has never seen duty in one of the movie theatres in 1950. And certainly many things will have changed over the last 50+years and many of them for the better. Looking at some of the pictures in the magazines, I see updates where recent fuses are installed, mains feeds that meet present safety standards, mains cables with rubber/plastic insulated (back then fabric outer wrapping was common).

A parallel we can surely draw with Marantz. The people who got the original Sid Smith Marantz 7, 8 and 9 gear are fortunate and the wannabes with money can go buy the authorized repros which magazines reviewed and found them to be just like the old stuff – a warm, technicolour sound. Pleasant and appealing, even lifelike in some ways when used with horns but not what the present state of the audio arts are capable of doing.

I suppose there is nostalgia and longing for an age past when things were indeed better in some ways. So many are getting on the “golden age” bandwagon. CF Martin has issued its Authentic series where selected guitars are made from premium woods in exactly the way it was done in 1935 – cowhide glue, the same varnishes and the same bracing used. They do sound wonderful. An Authentic D18 mahogany dreadnought sounds bigger and deeper than a current rosewood bodied standard series D28 (but not the forward shifted herringbone HD28 vintage series) but costs 5 to 10x more than current series items. So is there a case for going back to the old – and get your customers to pay a tidy premium?

Anyway back to Sonic’s system.

I tried to think out of the box and did something which my Tuning notes seem to show I never did -- Sonic moved a FS PZC into each front corner and used the two FS DRTs to flank the central FS PZC. With this, I immediately got a consistent focus in the images across the width of the soundstage all the way to the sides and the front corners. No more fisheye and a focused centre with a fuzzy stereo the further off to the sides the instrument is recorded/pan potted.

With the power of the tuning bolts now with FS PZCs in the front corners, Sonic is able to vary focus at the far front corners (slight tightening) or go for just warmth and ambience (bolts loose, no contact with the front board) if the recording has performers concentrated in the middle – eg: solo piano, lute, voice + one or two instruments. Very neat and nice. Pity I never thought of this earlier….I’ll be optimizing the set up by varying the angles of the PZCs and DRTs in relation to the walls and each other and get a good setting.

Sonic
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Robert Harrison



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PostSubject: IDIC   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeMon Dec 06, 2010 11:22 am

Hey, Sonic,

In the STAR TREK universe, there is an acronym which they came up with for the Vulcan race. It is IDIC, which, if I remember correctly, stands for Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations. And even if I didn't get that right, doesn't that sound just like The Tune?
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSun Dec 12, 2010 5:43 am

Hi Garp and fellow Zonees!

Since I moved to the PZC – DRT – PZC – DRT – PZC setup, Sonic got good results with better image positioning and a sense of realism that is emerging nicely in my system. It seems that I needed more tone wood and less absorption in the corners but more “burn” in the centre -- possibly due to a build up of pressure in the centre zone.

There is progress but Sonic sensed that this was just closing in on the solution but it wasn’t the solution itself.

Put on thinking cap….think…think….the sound is good but compared to the Altec/Lowther/JBL/DIY horn systems which are sort of benchmarks for some aspects of my system, I could do with more projection. So I moved the FS-DRTs around a bit. They are light and easy to try in different places. So this is what I tried:

a. Move the DRTs apart – centre image gets bigger but diffused.

b. Close the angle between the DRTs – centre image shrinks and goes fuzzy

c. Open the angle between the DRTs – images coalesce round the DRT/PZC structure but images shrink in size.

I guess Sonic should be happy since the freer in resonance a system is, the more audible such small changes become. Then I moved the FS-DRTs ahead of the equipment racks and YES…there is something good going on here.

With the DRTs in front of the racks and pointed towards the listening chair (reflective sides facing the Magneplanars) I got a focused and forward centre image that is now almost at the speaker plane. Actually, the images near the speaker panels detached and moved back…maybe a little too far back on the LH side giving me a slightly sloping soundstage. Sonic thinketh this can be tuned out and I should persevere given that the subjective volume has increased for a given preamp setting which is usually a sign of potential.

This is what Sonic is testing:



Sonic's System - Page 15 DRTVPosition1



Sonic's System - Page 15 DRTVPosition2



This set up in the pix is just “dropped” into position. Meaning I sort of put the DRTs there and moved them around a bit – hardly settled and still only roughly placed. There is already a sense this is closer to what I think a tuned system sounds like. Very present images, no recession of centre images, girth and transient impact but from the deep U-shaped soundstage Sonic dislikes and works hard to get rid of, I am getting a very transparent soundstage but with a shallow W-shape.

Hey Garp – wonder if you’d like to give something similar a shot in your system although with the warm presence of an SET, the projection of this set up might me a little over the top.

The beauty of the Tune is I get the best of several worlds – meaning, Sonic was listening to a JBL rig in big cabinets the other day and while there is a wonderful ease and harmonic beauty in the reproduction, there was not much of a soundstage and the images were projecting low (the huge speakers sat on the floor) and the instruments were playing in an acoustic space but one that was not related to my room.

Anyway what’s in these pix is just a rough positioning so I need to let it settle….and of course enjoy the music. Was listening to Debussy’s La Mer, English Broken Consort Musick by Fretwork (Virgin Classics), Modern Jazz Quartet (Last Concert), Phil Woods’ Song for Sisyphus, Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool and an odd CD by Leo Kottke of wonderfully strange 12-string acoustic music.

Zonees will remember Sonic once tried using a pair of FS-PZCs ahead of the equipment rack too only to find that they added a tonal signature and image pattern that imposed itself on every piece of musick I played. This got so obvious that I rolled back the system to the last workable point.

But happily DRTs and PZCs are different tools and this time, I may be getting to zone where the Tune could break out into my room…

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeThu Dec 16, 2010 2:24 pm


Hi fellow Zonees!

It looks like the set up using the PZCs in the corners + centre and two DRTs in a V ahead of the racks is working, thinks Sonic.

For sure I had to experiment with the spacing between the DRTs an the angle of the V but getting it sort of dialled in, some good results were found:

a. Improvement in instrumental pressure and plosives. The brass sections in an orchestra, even though they are seated behind the violin desks, now have more sense of volume and pressure front. What used to sound "paaaarp" has become "PAaaaarp". This effect is even more apparent on jazz music with saxes and trumpets. Very nice. With drums, there is not much change but brush strokes on snares is clearer and more delicate.

b. Sonic can hear which instruments were recorded as the basic tracks in many rock/pop CDs and what instruments were overdubbed and pushed around in the mixed. Sometimes I can hear faders being opened (tape hiss increases) then the instrument track starts. Also the reverb and effects added to voices now separate out better.

c. The high volume overload point in my room seems to have been raised. This means I can play music louder before room compression sets in but this is what I am not inclined to test. Sonic follows what Peter J Walker (Quad) said -- that classical music should be played at levels that two people sitting next to each other can converse normally without raising their voices. Walker also wrote that music should be played back at "natural" levels and while this is open to interpretation, the broad idea is there. Sonic won't be playing Dieupart's Suites for Recorders at the same volume as Neil Young's Don't be Denied and vice versa. There is a point you learn to find.

Some audiophiles I know play their systems really loud (90dB+ average) to get the slam and projection they want. And they use expensive Big Amps to do it. Risk to hearing aside, this is not my cup of tea. With the Tune, I can get a very real, convincing case at lower playback volumes.

I have been listening to music a lot these few days and while there are improvements and enjoyment, some things need tuning.

For instance, the forward sound is great but it shows up some hardness. Also on classical music recorded with 3 spaced omnis, the soundstage pools into three unconnected spheres. Some rock/pop music loses connection between the various overdubeed sections. So I need to reduce the hardness and better connect the bits in the soundstage. And it doesn't happen on most recordings.

Sonic went into Tune meditation and heard "it is time to reintroduce the hand-wound harmonic springs into your system." Hmmm...makes sense, the hand-wound strings my Michael (the crazy looking soft ones) are biased to "girth and bigness".

I have a lot of the springs, but where do I start?

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Dec 18, 2010 12:48 pm


Hi fellow Zonees!

Sonic has started re-introducing the hand-wound harmonic springs from Michael -- the rough looking things.

A rule of the Tune -- if you have some Tune Tweaks and are wondering where to start in the system, start at the beginning, that is the mains feed to primary source equipment or to source equipment such as CD players, turntables, tape machines then working thru the system to the amps and the speakers.

With the hand wound springs Sonic just went for the easiest places to access. So 3 springs went under the Rega amp with 1/4" MW pieces between the amp chassis and the top of the springs. The bottom of the springs sit directly on the Hemlock MDF shelf.

A nice warmer and bigger sound with no loss of treble extension. This amp drives the Magneplanars from 50 HZ to over 30 kHz unfiltered.

With the Rotel, I had more work to do. I did the same as the Rega but the sound became quickly (within one CD) too warm and bassy. I removed the 1/4" MW pieces so the springs contact the amp chasis directly.Much better though I sense after Tune-meditation that more needs to be done in the bass amp area. The Rotel drives the Janis W-1 from betlow 15 Hz to about 60 Hz.

Rather nice but to tune in the soundstage, I had to move the FS-DRTs further back towards rack to prevent the centre images from becoming too forward and hard.

Sonic is letting this settle before I start introducing more hand wound springs into the system. Zonees will notice that I did not follow the rule of starting from the front of the system but things in the CD player and preamp are all in clamp systems and I am feeling rather lazy to take everything in the rack apart to get the springs in and retuning.

Working out good it seems.

Sonic
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeTue Dec 21, 2010 11:24 am


Hi Zonees

Sonic has been reading up some old Tuneland classics and deriving lessons from them.

There are some great insights from the thoughts of the great Jim Bookhard that Zonees should check out.

He observed that for equipment that was not top tuned Harmonic Feet made the better support compared to MTDs. Harmonic Feet yielded richer harmonics. At that time Harmonic Springs were not compared though.

For equipment that was top tuned, Jim found MTDs below and a large Harmonic Foot above worked best. Also large Harmonic Feet sounded better than the smaller ones. At the time there was talk about Tuneland introducing a range of sizes for Harmonic Feet but in then there were only two in production.

Sonic found that Harmonic Springs are really nice under gear even if not top tuned but the mass distribution should be wide in relation to the positioning of the springs -- so for gear in a normal size casing about 12-14 ins x 10-12 ins put the springs in the corners making adjustment for the weight of transformers if they are inboard and all is well. But if the weight is concentrated like a heavy toroidal transformer the springs allow rock and to Sonic this sounds bad, a closing down of parts of the soundstage. If the mass is concentrated, hard mounting is the way to go.

For this reason the Janis W-1 subwoofer amp's transformer sits on on three small MTDs. I changed them for 3 smaller Harmonic Feet -- and yes, Jim was right. The harmonics became denser Very Happy

I still got 4 more Harmonic Feet free after using soft/hand wound springs under the main and subwoofer amps. Will find a place for them.....

Also as for top tuning, Sonic finds that a hard or soft mounting approach should be applied on both sides of the gear to work well. Meaning -- Harmonic Springs should be used below and atop of the object being tuned -- springs below and a down rod or a Harmonic Foot/MTD is not as good. If there are MTDs below, there should be a Harmonic Foot or down rod above, not a spring. I have tried MTDs under my CD player and a crazee Spring above and the sound lost richness and naturalness. Things got midrangey and shouty if I remember.

So my CD player is now supported on plated Harmonic Springs (hard) below and a plain rusty Harmonic Spring (they rust and Michael says the rust is good for musick if I rememebr right). The preamp is on three harder Harmonic Springs and one soft handwound one above. The X-30 too. The main amp and the subwoofer sit on 3 and 4 soft crazee springs respectively. The dismounted/outboard transformers are on Harmonic Feet. The two amps are not top tuned yet.

Sonic
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Michael Green
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Michael Green

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeWed Dec 22, 2010 12:09 am

Hi Sonic

I've been getting ready for the show and readying the room for shipping so I've been swamped. It was nice to take this break and read up on your system.

Your always involved in fun stuff Very Happy

I've had so much fun voicing this wood that I'm really going to miss it when it is gone.

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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeThu Dec 23, 2010 1:04 pm


Hi fellow Zonees!

Was most fascinated to see Michael come up with a whole new line up of gear for T.H.E. Show 2011. It is different and its great!

For Sonic, I been collecting a number of Japanese audio magazines like Tune Kingdom and MJ and admiring the systems. Many of these systems have multiple speakers in the listening rooms -- usually a pairs of large speakers, two pairs of medium size speakers, a DIY thing or two plus a coujple of mini monitors + lots of amps.

I thought about myself as a listener (just myself, not commenting on those great Japanese audio-fans) -- will I be the sort to keep switching between different speakers several times in an evening of listening or will I listen 99% of the time to one pair and use the others occasionally as a novelty? I think the latter...assuming that I could get round the generally accepted rule that having two pairs of speakers in a room will compromise each other acoustically and prevent each from tuning right or blooming to their individual best.

Sonic takes the cue from Michael who has several speaker systems and all are in different rooms (see the old Tuneland). Some may be in adjoining spaces but no tw pairs face the same listening seat -- want to comment Michael?

The closest I could get to a multi speaker room set up is a single mono unit for (obviously) mono material. There are audiophiles I know who play anything recorded before 1962 in mono. But virtual mono from two speakers is questionable and self defeating. Sonic has tried lute works and 1950s blues and jazz on a single speaker and it works.

My next Tune experiment is to max out the use of Harmonic Feet in the places where they may give their best (Sonic thinks the FS DRT V unit's position is about optimised and we can lock it in) and I may then bring in a single speaker and a tube amp, site the speaker between the Magneplanars, run the amp off the tape-out of the Quicksilver preamp and listen to mono material off this speaker and see what happens -- the tube amp is an integrated device -- and also see the mono speaker's effect on the main system Tune when the Magneplanars are playing.

Might be fun. Will post the progress.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 24, 2010 1:13 am

Yes, I would like to comment, thanks.

I think that every place I have ever settled into has had more than one system (most of them many systems). As much as I like painting and other activities there's nothing like zoning out to music. With the tune being such a big part of my life the joy of having systems for me is knowing that I can go anywhere I want inside of a recording. I've not met anyone yet that has gone further in the art form but there is always more. When I say more people should take this as meaning less. And less is on my mind big time as I look at all of the new amp toys on the market now.

Because I have had to work on or show different systems it has been necessary to have a few setups interacting with other setups. This can be a nightmare if you don't know what you are doing and listening for. As you have said, and I agree with, having a speaker system competing with another in the same room like many A/B-ers do is ridiculous. Even with my free resonant speakers it's a chore and I don't recommend it. I wonder why if peoples hearing is so bad that they can't hear the other speakers in the room are these people even in the hobby of listening.

As I have said in the past I think there are two different hobbies at play here. One is the hobby of comparing things and the other is the hobby of listening. These two hobbies are worlds apart from each other. Both can be fun if you are into it.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 24, 2010 7:43 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees!

This is the sort of system that Sonic finds in those Japanese audio mags. Awesome to behold.....



Sonic's System - Page 15 GokudoSystem



But closer to home....

This is position of the DRT V that I settled on and worked best t my ears. Compared to Sonic's first posting of this, the angle of the two panels is nearly the same but the best imaging across the soundstage was with the assembly moved back by about a foot from where I started.



Sonic's System - Page 15 DRTVSetUp



And as for the Harmonic Feet experiments, Sonic removed the spikes I had machined from genuine MGD Justa Rack rods (no bottom cones were available at the time) for the Rotel's platform. They worked better than stainless steel rods bought from my friendly DIY store but Sonic always felt that they weren't quite the "Genuine Michael Green" thing -- especially after how he found that different methods to machine a MTD from brass gave different sounds (see the old Tuneland site for these insights).

Then Sonic tried three Harmonic Feet instead under the platform - result was richer, denser bass and lower midrange harmonics. Not a big difference but notieable.



Sonic's System - Page 15 HarmonicFeetSubwooferAmp



Zonees will notice the small Harmonic Feet under the transformer and the hand wound Harmonic Springs under the amp's chassis. These made a bigger difference than replacing the spikes with the Harmonic Feet but its working well and I have no pull to go back to the spikes.

I wonder if a new line up of MTDs and Harmonic Feet and in Michael's new product line up? Or has he found a better approach that beats these products?

With this set up people can't believe that an old Janis W-1 subwoofer (30 years and counting) is performing so well, fast enough to keep up with the Magneplanars, gives bass flat to 25Hz.

Next up after a break for Christmas will be Sonic's adventures of integrating a mono speaker and amp into this system Very Happy

Sonic



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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 31, 2010 3:17 am

Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic set up the mono test using one Fostex Quarter Wave Pipe speakers driven by a Pioneer 8W 6BM8 p-p amp taking signal from the Quicksilver preamp’s tape output.

The output impedance of the Quicksilver is low and so it drives amps nicely from the variable and line-level (tape) outputs.

The single-speaker was positioned in a line with the Magneplanar 1.5QRs and centred facing the listener. The TQWP unit was spiked into brass footers, the Pioneer was not tuned as this was a temporary set up. I used a pair of spare interconnects (silver I am afraid) doing the connection and the mono switch on the Pioneer in. Only one channel of the amp was used – it is OK to drive one channel of a tube amp open circuit. No damage results. If your tubes are really expensive like WEs, Mullards and Telefunkens, you can simply remove the tubes from the unused channel.

Sonic played familiar musick at normal levels. First on was Milt Jackson and the Oscar Petersen Trio. From the top. Green Dolphin Street played in stereo on the Magneplanars.

Within 10 bars I realised this set up wasn’t going to be permanent. The early impression was that the extra speaker in the room affected the playing pair and emphasized the upper bass so the sound was warmer but the lower mids and bass ranges slowed down and thickened. I have always thought I heard this when introducing an undriven speaker into the room in addition to my normal set of reproducers.

What is odder was the presence of the largeish Fostex cabinet seemed to split the soundstage in two halves. Right was there. Left was there. But the two were separated from each other.

OTH, the width and depth of soundstage was normal, no worse. But the plodding warm sound got more noticeable as the system settled through one pass of the CD.

Alright…tried the Fostex in mono. Now the driver is white in color. With this thing straight ahead and about four feet away it was visually distracting….like an eye staring at Sonic.

Green Dolphin Street again. Yiiii….the bass was out of control, big and bad and loose. Not terms you’d associate with a 4” driver in a TQWP set up. Then think I – not surprising – the speaker is exactly at the intersection of the two room diagonals. It is also at the half way point front to back, side to side and diagonally. Just the recipe for a wooly boom. The mono signal was rather nice, focused with some sense of depth. Treble clear but slightly tipped to one side. It did deliver some of mono’s promise. Certainly an over wide remixed stereo versions of mono originals fare better played through the single spekaer. But the music envelop is small. What do I expect? Especially with a wave source this small with a small quasi-horn loading. So small images, nice and sweet but with an off centre image and a flabby bass. And this white “eye” staring at Sonic.

Good experience but I was rather quick to put the system back to its old set up and moved the Fostex and Pioneer back to the room they came from.

The effect of an undriven speaker unit on the Magneplanar 1.5QRs aside, a mono system does give music with a couple of provisos:

First: I may need a large speaker or one with a large horn mouth for big wave launch. The source of the wave launch coupling into the room should be wider than the listener’s head – a large cabinet or horn like an Altec A7.

Sonic can see how some horn speaker fans use a Western Electric 15a horn driven by a WE 555 compression field coil reproducer (designed and patented by Wente) with its mouth of roughly 60” wide and tall.

Sonic has also seen the use of a single Quad ESL 57 in mono mode – here is a pix:



Sonic's System - Page 15 QuadPix



Yes, this was posed for an ad but people including the BBC listened this close on-axis when the Quads were used as monitors.

The Quad is an incredible speaker. Couln’t go loud, difficult to drive, directional in the treble but with a speed and purity nothing can rival to this day. The image is not large and on their three small feet, it was projected low but they were wonderful.

Maybe the mono speaker should have the rear facing into a corner (not placed in a corner) so there will be some further horn loading and broadening effect.

And Second: the bass should be controlled and tight. Certainly, another speaker or pair of speakers in my listening room muddies the sound of the Magneplanars.

After this I am both more and less enthusiastic of mono – I can see where the monophiles are coming from but on the other hand, stereo (like it or not) offers some very real advantages in soundstage image presentation Left to Right and instrument depth over mono. But mono with the right material, in the right context can be surprisingly good and can even give some right to left instrumental imaging – Sonic has finally heard this, it is not a myth – and decent ambience. If the source was a large speaker, we will have something here for sure.

So back to Sonic’s usual set up. Whew… good sound again. I think the direction to maintain is to keep my systems separate and not combined in a single room including a 78 rpm gramophone Sonic occasionally plays but bobbin’ up every 3 minutes to change a side and a needle is very different from the 70+ mins of continuous musick from a CD. Some things have advanced.

The wonderful Japanese systems Sonic admires will stay on paper and hard disk….here’s one more for Zonees to ponder.



Sonic's System - Page 15 QuadJapanSystem



I really have to accept Michael’s observation that there are collectors and there are musick listeners. And these are different audio-fan mindsets. These systems work as a showcase of an equipment collection. There appears to be little regard of acoustics or room control or optimizing placement for imaging and depth. The equipment is ranged against one wall and close to it – not the best for bass evenness or imaging with usually the largest cabinets pushed into corners. Can mess up pressure zones for sure.

Then the listener sits behind a low coffee table with all the playback equipment on it which can lead to comb filtering effects similar to sitting at a mixing desk. If there is room treatment, it is often diffusors.

Now Tunees have discussed diffusors and while they work some things Sonic has learnt – you need a lot of them around the room and they are not cheap. To control the bass you need diffusors with tuned cavities in the walls which is a structural thing – impossible for most and very expensive. They may be a solution to solve a problem that only partially exist and is not the predominant problem with rooms – it is not reflections that mess up sound but pressure zones and maybe specular reflections only at high frequencies.

And something that no one appears to have mentioned – diffusors may sound different (even with identical geometry) if they are made of different materials. Someone in my town was selling diffusors made of some plastic/packing foam material. There were diffusors that someone tried to clone using plywood. No one paid a thought that the wood/material used and maybe how they were terminated to the walls and floor can affect the results….but Tunees know that don’t we?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeMon Jan 10, 2011 8:34 am

Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic has started the year with a few new learnings and tunes which Zonees may find useful:

I been getting back to using the hand wound springs from Michael and they are giving more musick but in ways that Sonic needs to come to understand and apply within the context of the Tune. From first out, the preamp is now supported on three hand wound springs below using the chassis-MW-spring-shelf surface set up. Above I have a MW bar and a hand wound spring for top tuning. Sonic found that an MW slice no matter how thin between the spring and the shelf was a negative influence in my system…too thick and turgid.



Sonic's System - Page 15 QuicksilverTune



With the X-30 crossover Sonic found a different application of the Tune. Three small MTDs (with MW between chassis and the MTD top) and a plastic rod for top tuning which opened up the width of the soundstage compared to using a spring. Sonic is of the view that in top tuning, we can get the best results with a rigid-rigid/compliant-compliant set up: meaning cones below/tuning rod above the unit or springs top and bottom of the device being tuned. Harmonic Feet are something in between. Place them under the device and they give good results but don’t top tune with them. They seem not to lend themselves to top tuning like MTDs and Harmonic Springs do.



Sonic's System - Page 15 X30tune



Along the way Sonic found that Harmonic Feet were really not as good as the genuine Michael Green rods sharpened to a point when used for the shelf the amp supporting the amp driving Janis W-1 subwoofer (you can see this in the pix). The Harmonic Feet caused the sound presentation to become smaller and give a reduced sense of “hugeness” and “heft” in the bass and lower midrange.

Also, I got to hear field coil loudspeakers not too long ago.

This was at a store and because the very friendly proprietors are selling these speakers for a living, Sonic is going to be oblique in my descriptions.

First for those unfamiliar, a field coil loudspeaker is a cone driver that uses an electromagnet instead of a permanent magnet to create the musick. A field coil speaker needs an additional power supply (often tube type) to provide a steady DC source for the speakers. Field coils were used in the 1930s when permanent magnet materials science was not able to give adequate flux densities. They went out of style when alnico and other magnetic materials were used which eliminated all that extra hardware. Think a pioneer was JBL. There are lots of sites and places you can check out on the ‘net to read all the technology and views about field coils.

Audiofans most often debate about how field coils can provide a higher flux density compared to conventional speakers with permanent magnets. From what I understand, they don’t. The field coils historically produced rather moderate flux densities. As they were electromagnets, field coils heated up and could have heat-related problems if pushed with high currents. Turn out the current for a high flux density and you could get a melted speaker. At lower flux densities, field coils exhibited a soft clipping effect like tube amps. In time, the best alnico and cobalt permanent magnets could outdo field coils. These were just devices to meet the technological limitations of their time. The one probable advantage of field coils was the magnetic field was stiff – it did not vary with the signal or cone action.

The field coil speakers Sonic heard where units housed in boxes larger than mini-monitors but smaller than the common 2 cubic foot speakers (like the Spendor SP1/2 and AR 303s).

These field coil units sourced from Japan were reputed to give a clarity that conventional speakers could not rival. The classic Western Electrics and Altecs were field coil and today the same technology can be had with Shindo and Feastrex speakers. Field coils need to be designed ground up – you cannot take a conventional speaker and graft on an electromagnet and get predictable results. Researchers and listeners have found that varying the field coil current changes the sound of the speaker remarkably (see the review of the Feastrex Makoto at Dagogo). Usually increasing the current, the more analytical and faster the transient response becomes – to some extent a higher flux density results in a thinner and faster sound.

Has Michael heard or tuned field coils? Any impressions?

The field coil speakers I heard were….finally.…rather unremarkable. Sonic was expecting (given all the hype) to hear the skies open into another dimension but what I heard was just a decent system with musical reproduction of instruments, decent frequency spread and transients. Good? Yes…..but rather ordinary compared to the big JBL Sovereign C60s that Sonic has set as a benchmark for this type of system. I came away siding with the audiofans who claimed that field coils were just a means to overcome the technology limits of the day. They work but designers in 2011 have come a long way since the state of the art in speaker engineering of 1930.

And given that the price of these field coil mid-size monitor speakers were in excess of US$7,000/pr, Sonic would think there are better options that could give greater musick for the price.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 12:12 pm


Hi Michael and Zonees

Sonic made a neat discovery recently – ground the doors of your tuneable/tuned/tuning room!

The doors on both sides of my listening room are normally bolted but this week, I had some movement in my dwelling than made me leave the doors unbolted (but kept closed) for ease of access. Along the way Sonic listened to music with the doors closed but unbolted top and bottom of the door frame.

The sound went flat. I had some depth and girth in the area behind the speakers but everything in the line of the doors and to the back wall behind the listening chair was gone – like all the sound and ambience leaked away. It was nearly was bad as the doors being opened.

It would appear that the doors were “leaky”. Sonic put the bolts down and the ambience and girth came back. But even with the bolts engaged, the doors had some rattle and play. They were not grounded. So Sonic being the experimenter thought we need some tuning here.

So I made wedges and shims out of Magic Wood and pushed them under the doors (one shim per side) tight enough so there was little or no movement. A big change – I can see where at least some of the side ambience, width and girth in images that Sonic was hunting for so long went.

I put on one of my greatly loved CDs – Gregorian Chants from the monks of St Dominic of Silos (EMI) and I got a very welcome visit of a choir of Dominican monks singing in Latin. Actually it was the other way around – Sonic was transported to their monastery in another time and place. Dimensional voices that I could count out in an acoustic space that appeared at times larger than the boundaries of Sonic’s room. Beautiful and uplifting.

This appears to mean that doors by nature may be leaky. But I also assume that the heavy double and triple doors filled with sound absorbing materials used to seal off rooms are not right for the tune. So if we used solid but light doors they will need grounding. Of course this could be difficult if the doors need to be opened and closed frequently.

Michael, what steps do you suggest I take to tune my doors? The doors of Sonic’s room have brass washers stuck on them (2 per panel, without which the sound also goes flat) and now a wedge of MW under each fixed door panel. I can’t drill through the doors but I am sure Michael can think up something that works as well.

And Michael, your view on field coil speakers if you will.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeFri Jan 21, 2011 1:54 pm


Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic's experiences with the Tune pales compared to Bill333 with his new tuneable room!

I recently tidied up my cabling and ended up with two Cable Grounds extra. I was going to put them in my tune closet for the day I wired up more gear but Sonic remembered something on the old Tuneland site where someone said just putting Cable Grounds on the floor affected the sound.

Let's try thought Sonic. I placed them along the side walls somewhere ahead of the speakers then started moving them around along the side walls of my room. At first, no effect at all. Logical given the side of the Cable Grounds relative to the structures and equipment round them but as I moved them towards the front wall I started to hear some effect. At first a kind of phasey sound crept in but at one point, almost below the Shutters, the sound started to get more whole and opened up. It was not a big effect but moving the Cable Grounds away from that position further forward or back either diminished the benfit or brought back the phasiness. Farther away, they just lost any audible effect.

After a couple days, Sonic removed the Cable Grounds out of the room and they do have an effect. Their absence left something incomplete in the presentation and the soundstage. Again Michael and the great Tuneland eminences are right on target.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSun Jan 23, 2011 1:17 am

Hi Michael and Zonees

Here's a picture of my cable ground used as a sound-influencing device without supporting any cable. There is another one on the corresponding side.



Sonic's System - Page 15 CableGroundFloor



Sonic has also been testing out harmonic springs in varied configurations under my components. I have three types of Harmonic Springs in my collection.



Sonic's System - Page 15 Springs



Here are three generations of Harmonic Springs -- a plated, a matt finished and the crazy hand wound ones. While the hand wound spring is the most recent -- Gen 3, I dont't know if the plated or the matt spring is Gen 1.

I have found that the plated and matt springs give different sounds - though not as simple as the plated spring is brighter sounding. The differences are subtle and relate more to using 4 or 3 springs under the device. But compared to the hand wound spring, both are slightly more metallic and the soundstage is a little less dimensional forward, but OK dimensionally to the rear which makes the stage come forward just so far towards the listening seat then it stops. WHich live sound doesn't. It moves towards the listener and goes past to the rear of the acoustic space.

The hand wound springs are softer and may make the device being suportted less stable because of their odd shapes. You can twist them by hand so they sit flat and top tuning gives the stability. They also get squashed over time if the device is on the heavy side and change their voice.

But I am using them more and more under my gear that have no mechanical movement of their own ( I know everything vibrates and moves a bit) -- like under amps, preamps, crossovers, tuners. For CD players and turntables, I'll still use the harder springs -- testing 3 or 4 springs plated or matt finish.

I also tried Harmonic Springs under my modem and router and.....maybe I am imagining this....my wireless signal carried further and more reliably.

Where I have applied the hand wound springs succesfully, their sound signature is towards a warmer, bigger and more lyrical sound. They have treble and detail but it is presented with subtlety.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Jan 29, 2011 12:03 pm

Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic found that tuning the doors is something important but over this last week my door tune wedges kept coming loose, possibly a function of the humidity variations over here and perhaps the opening and closing of the other (non wedged) doors. And there is a fairly wide variation in the humidity these last couple of weeks in my town -- 65 and then 40%m with the dehumidifier on.

The door-tuning appears to have a big influence but in this present trial state it is all more sensitive than I thought. If I used a plastic mallet to tap the wedges tight, the sound is very ambient and 360 degrees whole but it could become a little heavy after settling for a couple of hours. Too loose and there was no effect and what worked for the music was a friction fit and a little more. I think I need to get to really tuning my doors with bolts or some things that Michael will have some guidance for. Michael any thoughts on how to tune doors?

In the meantime, here is what Sonic has done with the front centre PZC and how my mains distribution strips are set up. They are supported by cherry finished MW plates raised on matt machine wound Harmonic Springs.



Sonic's System - Page 15 SonicPicPZCfront012911



As things go, Sonic is fairly sure that this Tune gear placement for the front of my room is about right. A lot of testing has been carried out and so far no amount of adjustment takes me away from this set up to improve the sound in an all-rounded way.

The only thing I need to test is the best use of the plastic sheets from Michael -- whether the bottom or top half of the PZCs and the centre DRTs should be covered with the Tune plastic. Up till now, I have covered the lower half of the centre PZC and the side PZCs are not covered. The lower half of the two FS-DRTs are covered.

I'll next need to try out covering the top half of the PZCs and the DRTs. Thinking supposedly logically, the lower halves are closer to the ground and tricorners which need more tuning and burn, but on the other hand they may be less audible compared to the audibility of covering and increasing the reflectivity of the PZCs and DRTs at the middle of the room height where less burn is required to get the system and room to sing.

We can ponder and ponder but the only way is to give these tunes a test and with enough settling time I’ll get a real sense of the benefits or drawbacks. So on with the testing this coming week.

Also Zonees may notice from this pix that the earth wire to my equipment has been removed and Sonic’s system is floating again. Yes, earthing is something that does some things right, like a focused soundstage, maybe very etched for some listeners but IMO projected sort of like some of the horn systems I like. But the system with the earth floated gives an easier, more whole and continuous soundstage which is a good alternative to the rather too projected sound. For sure, it is hard to decide definitively which is more accurate and closer to the true sound of orchestral and ensemble music. For now, Sonic thinks the floating earth might be better. In the Tuneland archives, Michael said he runs his systems with the electrical earth floated and he might have been right all a long. Let’s see how my testing works out.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 03, 2011 7:29 am

Hi fellow Zonees

Sonic was asked to characterise the effect of an earthed and non-earthed system and why I am unable to settle on one or ther other.

It has to do with settling. In my expereince, each action of the Tune has an immediate/upfront effect and a longer term one that is apparent only after settling has occurred. Sort of it emerges. Something like the change in the color of a fabric when water touches a spot and the overall effect when the water spreads to the whole piece.

On first try, an earthed system appears ot give better leading edge transients. The music appears more impactful and lively, engaging. Over time, a slight hardness and dimensional flatness that is often associated with transistor equipment starts to become audible.

When lifting the earth, the sound appears more spacious and big with more girth. After settling it could be a little darker in texture than an earthed system.

To some extent, these perceptions could be due to the programme material being played at the time. I could be listening to a CD and I think....this could do with more transient impact or more girth for example....so I lift or engage the earth. But a week later playing other recordings, I hear the full effect of the system that is settling and Sonic may or may not like the result.

Michael once said the settling never stops. And I wonder if the legends of Michael walking into a room and turning bolts and things in rapid succession with brief listens in between to get mindbending music is he is able to hear the "Now" and stretch that out to the future. Meaning "if it sounds this way now, in a week, it will do [this or that] when settling takes place."

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Feb 05, 2011 12:06 pm

Hi fellow Zonees

More from Sonic this week because of public holidays over here.

As the tune advances in my system, Sonic sort of gets to hear deeper into the soundstage and things not obvious before start getting noticeable.

One of them is a hole in the lateral soundstage just left of the main rack extending about two to three feet. It isn’t silence but a de-focussing or a recession in images. Not very obvious but enough to reduce the spread of the first violins in an orchestra from a solid wedge to a blob round the LH speaker, on the other hand, a pan potted signal traveling right to left and left to right is OK.

Now in searching for a solution one thing is easy – there are more pieces of equipment and platforms all the way across the Right hand side extending to the corner with an object of Big Mass – the Janis W-1 subwoofer.

The left side has no racks or equipment all the way to the side wall.

Sonic remembered seeing on the Tuneland archive that a rack anchors and soundstage. The old charts say that where the rack is (in the middle), a soundstage tuning zone is formed.

So I tried introducing some mass in a tuned way just to see what happens. For sure I won’t buy a clamp rack just to do this….so Sonic took the Quad FM3 tuner from one of my other systems, placed it on a MW square supported by 3 Harmonic Springs (machine wound, plated) between the tuner and the MW plate and 3 similar springs coupling the plate to the floor. While I was at it, might as well wire it up and see what musick results.



Sonic's System - Page 15 QuadTuner



First up, it did anchor the sound stage in the half-left zone. Like the centre Pressure Zone was broadened. The violins started to become a wedge and images in that zone got focused. Not completely wonderful but a step forward certainly. So I moved the tuner a bit more to the left and things got slightly better. I’ll experiment a bit more but for sure a tuner sitting all on its own looks odd.

As for the sound….no go. The cheap antenna (a DIY dipole into a 75 ohm balun) didn’t get me a strong enough signal. Peaks were distorted audibly so if I want radio, I am going to have to build a better antenna set up or get a powered device. The classical music station here is really not bad. Just wonder how long they will keep transmitting in FM before going totally over to the awful DAB which the Brits found disappointing. Not CD quality by any stretch of the imagination, more airborne MP3.

While Sonic was taking the pix I thought might was well talk about some tunes that didn’t work. Here’s a pix:



Sonic's System - Page 15 Newspapers



See the newspapers on the floor left and right?

I tried placing the 48 inch PZCs from the corners into those positions. Big effect but not good.

Bringing the PZCs from the corners forward and closer to the plane of the speakers foreshortened the soundstage depth. So if the PZCs were in line with the newspapers but abutting the wall, the soundstage was wide but flat – foreshortened.

Placed where the ‘papers are, images to the rear of the stage narrowed. Front width at speaker positions were just as wide so a trapezoidal stage was the result. But it proves that PZCs and DRTs can make very audible changes to a system’s presentation.

I tried turning the PZCs on their vertical axis when at the inboard positions so the wood panels faced the loudspeakers and side walls just like what Michael pointed out could be done with the Aeroplanes. Again an effect but one I can’t say I liked. There was a kind of bunching up and holes in the soundstage. Work would have to be done and effort expended to improve things but since the PZCs in the corners worked so well, Sonic had small incentive to try these alternative placements. So my set up is two FS PZCs in the front corner, one behind the rack and two FS DRTs ahead of the racks in a V. I think this is about it – it will likely take more PZCs or aeroplanes to improve on this set up apart from moving things an inch here, a half inch there which laziness prevents me from diving in.

But there is much more to the Tune that I know the surface is just being scratched.

For my next project, Sonic is going back to the Tuneland archives and re-reading the experience of the Great Tunees – Cdimi and Hiend1 – and look at some of the advanced things they did. Whether I adopt them will depend on whether the gear is available in my closet or from Michael and of course how delicate the system will become. The sound can be great but we can reach a stage where a lot of convenience, hit-the-remote-and-drift –away-into-musical-dreams, can vanish and even a sneeze can call for a retuning of some bit somewhere…OK Sonic exaggerates….but I think I can get a little further forward than the static tuning I been doing all this time.

Zonees can look up what they did by looking in the Archives under “Audiophiles” [Conspiracy Theory and Hiend1’s Tunable System respectively] and see the amazing things there from these two (gentlemen, where are you?).

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeTue Feb 08, 2011 5:14 am

Hi Sonic

WOW! Have you been busy!

Where do I begin? I need to put on my writing fingers before I start.

I hope I get a free night tomorrow so I can jump into the fun.

sunny

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 10, 2011 1:17 am

Hi Sonic

I have to go back a few post of yours to get caught up but I'll get there.

Doors

You've seen the look of my very weird door. Well they serve me well and give me the flexibility of tonal balance that I enjoy. In some ways they are very simple and easy to install in other ways they are a wonderful advancement over all others I have heard. Sound proof? not even a little, these babies are built to sing with the rest of the room.

You will have to get me up on the construction of yours so we can think about it, on the other hand matching tunable doors to a tunable wall behind you would be quite nice.

Field coils

Unfortunately the only times I have ever heard them there were problems going on with them and was hard to make any judgements.

Cable Grounds

There's so many uses for Magic Wood and some of the other woods I use. After The Tunable Room was ship I have been left with a space to tune. Last night I sat there and started thinking about all of the creative ways to make the sound the way I want. The key to all of this is making a catalog of sounds in ones head and associating them with the materials to get you there. To me it's the funnest game possible. For years I would have to say that I don't make audio system as much as I make musical instruments around my electronic signal path.

Springs, feet, points and such

Weight and mass are the determining factor in what to use many times. I have found myself switching to different transfers depending on the composition of the "whole" mass I'm tuning. It pays to have the whole arsenal of transfer devises if there is such a complete set. I would imagine that I will be coming out with a series of toys with my latest thinking attached to them after this year of staying focused on the newer line of acoustical tools. It would be impossible for me to name one better than other without keeping things in the context of the use (kinda like what you are experiencing). You can always tell an advance tunee because we say "Oh, that sounds like a zinc coated, with poplar, and a touch of tin, with this size circuit board made from". A big cry from what component do you use right?

nice read

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 10, 2011 11:24 am

Hi Michael and fellow Zonees

With the Tune so much needs to be approached holisically and we should be alert to focussing on one aspect of sound reproduction to the exclusion and deteriment of others.

Recently I tried using the Plastic Sheets from Michael and pinned them to the top half of the FS DRTs and then to the top/upper half of the 48" PZCs in the front corner of my room.

The effect was noticeable but different from real music. The soundstage went super wide and tall -- a bubble of sound maybe twice the width and very much exaggerated height in my room (but not much more to the rear of the listening chair). Instruments and voices that are normally focussed and small expanded -- just like a certain multi-driver speaker system that by design reflects more sound to the rear than the front of the cabinets.

But the images within that sphere was "whited-out" and defocussed. So this is not the way to go.

Sonic then started reading the Tueland archives and re-read what Cdimi discovered in his system. This time round, the complexity and hyper-tune he carried out connected to me far more than before. This is what I meant.....


Sonic's System - Page 15 CdimiArchive1



Sonic's System - Page 15 CdimiArchive2



Cdimi used bamboo skewers to top tune his gear in these pictures. Think Sonic will try the same. These pictures are mind-blowing.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Feb 12, 2011 12:11 am

Hi Sonic

Next time I send something to you remind me to put in other materials I use for sheeting. I'll be interested in your findings.

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PostSubject: Re: Sonic's System   Sonic's System - Page 15 Icon_minitimeSat Feb 12, 2011 7:36 am

Hi Michael and follow Zonees

After looking hard at Cdimi’s set up, Sonic started adopting some of his ideas. A good place to start is at the source – so I worked on the CD player (yes, Michael and Cdimi and others may say the start point is where the electricity gets into the house…..or the outlets feeding the system). But here is what I did:



Sonic's System - Page 15 CDPlayerMoreTuned



The first thing was to turn the Harmonic Springs upside down – big end on the shelf, smaller end towards the component. Yes, why do we need to think conventionally and set up the Springs as it they were cones? And yes, a change for the better. Sonic noted an improved stability images plus better transients in the mids thru to the trebles. The stability of the CD player on the shelf was better too.

Not that this is this universal tweak because when Sonic tried the Springs under the preamp this way, the results was a sludging up of the pace in the music. Anyway thought I let’s concentrate on one component at a time and not jump from one idea to the next – a recipe for confusion.

So back to the CD player -- I got me some bamboo skewers and used them to ground my PCBs. One skewer on the main processor chip and one on the output board. A noticeable clearing up of the soundstage and an “information-filled clarity” filled the place. I tried a couple of more skewers on the power supply board and the display board but the pressure from the top tuning started to loosen up the top tune spring over the transport and affected the sound. I could have lowered the shelf to tighten things up but didn’t want to make too many changes and lose my way.

After four days, I am beginning to hear into my tunes and where things can be done. It almost becomes something instinctive, like blockages and squeezed pressure zones become noticeable. Sonic will need to make some adjustments for sure. This top tuning thing is no joke.

I can see why some equipment manufacturers will want to pour cold water on the tune (and ruin the wood……heh heh). Because once an audiophile/musick lover learns to tune, their equipment replacement and upgrade cycle will lengthen considerably. Maybe even come to a halt. For sure, Tunees see no incentive to buy/trade a new amps, CD, DAC, speakers every other month based on the latest magazine rave review which is the cycle which keeps manufacturers in business.

And Tunees will (Sonic too) look perplexed at why someone needs a $17,000 pr of speakers, amps costing as much as a car and so on when so much music can be released by the tune, the room and top tuning with grounding. The two houses of thoughts are actually opposites.

This also brings Sonic to a point of philosophy that I noticed when studying the history of audio. Back in the good old days – the 50s and 60s – there was an understanding and articulation in the literature of the day that the purpose of an audio system was to reproduce a music signal that had some objective reality. Regardless of the music type and how the recording was made, the LP, the tape, the broadcast, carried music and speech that originated from real people, instruments and therefore bore relation to reality.

In order to honour this reality, the sound had to be reproduced as faithfully as possible and the yardstick was live music and a musical event. So Edgar Villchur of Acoustic Research worked to set up live vs recorded demonstration with the assumption that if you couldn’t tell live music from the reproduced, the equipment must be truly “high fidelity”. His most famous demos were in music performance halls with the Fine Arts Quartet. AR3as were driven by Dynaco tube amps and fed with signals from a tape machine (Ampex). The Quartet played live and at a predetermined point started miming while the equipment played a recording of them playing. They switched back and forth a couple of times and audio concerts like this gave AR one of the largest US market shares for speakers back then.

Such audio concerts were not new – Quad, Wharfedale, Leak and other British manufacturers collaborated in the late 50s to hold live vs recorded demos to good effect. And they were in mono! You’ll also see this ideal of matching reproduced sound of a live ensemble in a review of the Advent 201a in Positive Feedback where a large (now defunct) store in NYC recorded performers playing a piano and a violin – employees of the store no less....hey, how many of today’s audio salespeople are able to play any instrument or know their musick with depth I wonder…do they love music and the arts? And again the difference between the live instruments and the recorded version played back on stacked Large Advent speakers fooled listeners. And the case of someone seeing the Magneplanar Tympanis for the first time and seeing a piano behind them assumed the pianism came from a live musician and not a signal from the Maggie screens.

There were some sleights of hand involved for sure. The music was always small scale (no system can do a live-vs-recorded of a symphony orchestra or Deep Purple) and were recorded in an acoustically neutral environment like the outdoors (see pix) so when played back, the recording took on the ambient signature of the hall.



Sonic's System - Page 15 ARfineartsquartet



The listening environment with performers present no doubt gave context to the demo and from the memoirs of observers, the events were convincing.

Today, it appears that this sort of priority is not articulated in the journals we read. Sonic could be wrong but it appears live vs recorded demos are hardly done if ever. What is more common are equipment vs equipment shoot outs. Like those held by the maker of the “world’s best loudspeaker, period”. So you have two speakers being compared using high quality gear. They sound different but on what basis is one more real than the other or is it just a matter of preference and auto-suggestion/peer suggestion?

I am of the view that this has to do partly with how far the state of the art has advanced since the 60s. If we listened to gear of that ear, they can be surprisingly good but in many respects certainly not up to the best today’s equipment are capable of. Back then for a speaker to have the resolution to separate out the violin section from the clarinets when they are playing in unison at the same pitch was a Big Thing. Today we are looking for micro details, transients and a sense of the real event in our rooms. But the equipment has come to the fore and with it a mindset change to “if my gear is good enough, it can unlock the music in my room.”

But the equation then leads to the use of exotic materials and structures which are more and more costly but will never completely close the gulf and do the job because plugging gear into one another will not a system make. Then business interests come into the picture and calls to “trade up, improve, upgrade” are made. A long road that finally leads nowhere….and in another corner of the universe is the Tune which is ready to break out all over. How?

Sonic


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