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 Navigating Our Tune Journey

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Posts : 2227
Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Navigating Our Tune Journey   Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:11 am

Hi fellow Zonees

In many discussions of the Tune, you’ll hear Michael and others discussing levels of Tuning. We all like Levels don’t we? Attaining a Level gives a sense of achievement and progress….and this is found in many hobbies. A friend of Sonic’s, who is a Volkwagon Golf GTi tuner, is always talking about levels…Level 1 engine mod kit that gives him another 20 horsepower, a Level 2 kit that bumps the power up to 35 horses and so on. Organising activities into categories is useful and exciting.

Audio reproduction is different from cars – once we move beyond specific hardware mods which have direct impact on equipment specifications – everything else is to a large degree is subjective. And certainly, one Tunee’s Level 2 could be a 5 or a zero to another. And it could even change with an individual’s mood and the programme material being listened to as well.

This doesn’t mean we cannot set ourselves some targets to guide us. Here’s how Sonic thinks about Levels…..this is merely a guide to start navigating our journey. You may look at things differently.

One fear I hear from people contemplating the tune is “if I got all this tuneability, how do I know if I have tuned my system to sound right?”

Good question. But don’t be afraid to jump in. Remember any system fresh out of the box, no matter how good, is UNTUNED. You have to find the best place for the speakers in your room and that is the start of tuning. Most audiophiles do this routinely and do not worry if they have achieved accuracy. There are also two mechanisms of hearing in us -- there Short Term and the Long Term. Short Term hearing is employed to assess instant changes like in an A/B test, a swapping of cables and making a quick comparison, moving the speakers and so on. It is employed in any listening evaluation done in a short time and under some pressure either of time, from friends egging us on or commenting.

Short Term hearing can be unreliable – especially with novice listener. It is highly dependent on what has gone immediately before or the circumstances of the test. Someone like Michael can make a snap evaluation but not Sonic.

Long Term hearing is much more reliable. This occurs after you have heard your system using many recordings, you had time to face the music as well as how your choice feels without others commenting on what you’ve done. Long Term hearing matches what you hear from your system to your entire musical experience from the day you were born till now. It is more considered and much more reliable. This you can trust and it is remarkably accurate in people who may not be card carrying audiophiles. Long Term hearing is more intuitive and individual listeners take different lengths of time to reach their conclusion. Sonic notices that women are much better at this form of listening, and are more accurate in their evaluation and faster too.

So for some Levels, here is how Sonic thinks of tuning my system:

Level 1: the entry level where frequency related issues in the room/equipment system have been solved. This means the slap echoes, boomy bass, splashy or rolled off treble have been fixed and the system is giving its full frequency response feasible for the room/equipment.

Level 2: the near-speaker spatial aspects of the room/equipment system are being/have been addressed. Images now go outside the walls, imaging is stable and clear, ambience is separating out, we are no confusing rear ambience thrown to the front and calling it the “back wall of the orchestra”, the soundstage is not curved with middle images pushed back from the plane of the speakers to the front wall. We are hearing a performance in a real space, but that real space is somewhere else.

Level 3: we are creating a new soundspace that is distinct from our physical room. Images float free of the speakers, not attached to the speakers, you get a full width stereo even when standing directly in front of a speaker, sound images are everywhere and sound sources appear to be in the walls. Image sizes are determined by the recording not by where or how big our speakers are physically. Ambience is natural and filling the room and not curving around furniture. The performance space is super imposed over our room.

In Sonic’s thinking, this is how I am navigating the tune. My system has passed Level 1 with the exception of a few issues in the treble. I am in Level 2 but nowhere near Level 3. Sonic has not heard a Tune Level 3 yet but I understand that this is possible from reading the adventures of Michael, Hiend1 and others.

Are there Levels above 3? I am sure there are but if Sonic can barely imagine Level 3, no point me talking about Levels 4 and Level 5 when I will be showing I am talking about stuff I know nothing of.

So how should a Newbie make a start?

First – listen to your system “as is” and take stock of what you think is right and what is not.

Then start at the beginning. Apart from getting your speaker placement right, start Tuning from the source -- your CD player, your turntable. Your system is only as good as its source. If mistracking or jitter is degrading your musick at the source, the tune is not going to recover what is gone.

So if I had three AAB1x1 cones or MTDs or Harmonic Springs, I would put them first under my CD player/turntable rather than under my power amp.

Sonic knows that the mains are another source too and that needs to be addressed.

Deal also with the upper tri-corners of your room using Corner Tunes from MGA and the space at your front wall between your speakers is vitally important. Put your rack here to start your soundstage then add a pair of FS-Deluxe RoomTunes or FS-Pressure Zone Controllers.

Should you biwire your speakers if there are the terminals for this? Biwiring is still debated in audiophile circles – there are measureable differences in high frequency phase linearity and these are small and outside the audio band. The most convincing argument Sonic has heard for biwiring is related to the back EMF from the woofer. My speakers were originally biwired using Michael’s cables but found over time as I tuned that single wiring sounded as good or better. I am not going to say that biwiring is a scam created by the audio industry to make you buy twice as much cable but my system doesn’t need it no more with the Tune.
If you go single wire, junk the jumpers that came with your speakers. Most are stamped metal plates or rods that degrade the sound.

Use jumpers like these:

Michael taught Sonic to make jumpers like these using 8 inch pieces of Bare Essence wire and coiling them round a pencil. Give it a try compared to your standard jumpers. If you haven’t any wire from Michael, use solid core copper wire of 22 or 24 AWG to test. Give it a go -- you might find the music nice and treble more natural and extended.

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Michael Green

Posts : 3721
Join date : 2009-09-12
Location : Vegas/Ohio/The Beach

PostSubject: Re: Navigating Our Tune Journey   Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:42 am

A very nice article!

Two things that I find with many getting started is hearing either the highs or the lows being out of whack in a system. These are probably the first things noticed cause they are the extremes of the responses. There are to ways of dealing. Heaven forbid the first is chosen, dampening the room. We all need to control our system's acoustics but be very careful not to over dampen as the music will be limited in how much music is getting to you. So when you are playing with the sound and your trying to tame the highs listen for the loss of the overall sound while trying to fix the upper end. Second, signal blockage. It would be great if we could unpack our systems and theme be "pre-tuned" but as sonic says this is not going to be the case. Many who have problems that may sound like an obvious room fault may actualy be a problem with the way the signal is getting to the speakers and room. The acoustical side of our systems equation starts with the electronics. If your signal is out of balance it can make both your speakers and room go completely manic.

Your best bet, follow the forums and sonics articles to get off to a safe start and by all means "keep your system simple". Wink

michael green
PH 702 762 3245
Email mgtune@yahoo.com
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