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New Computer Based Audio System (Finally)

 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1443
Registered: Jul-07
I've wanted to dive head first into the computer based audio world for some time. I've read about it extensively and chatted online with folks here and other spots. I've even helped friends get their systems up and running, but never got my own system going . So, I've finally decided to dip a toe in and make some fairly modest investments to at least get started down that road. I'm taking a couple of weeks off at the end of December and am going to do a number of audio related projects.

- I'm going to completely redo my listening room. I'm pulling everything out of the room, patch up any holes (from the many failed experiments), and repaint. My wife has picked out material to cover my bass traps and other room treatments. I'm going to either build new diffusers of paint the ones I have (likely build new). My current cd & lp rack is full, so I'm going to snag a new larger unit. I managed to get my hands on 10' of 2" Maple boards, and am going to do a new, improved Flexi Rack with brass hardware.
- I've decided the computer setup will be a Mac Mini through a Mapleshare USB-S/PDIF reclocking adapter, connected to my CI Audio DAC with a Mapleshare Double Helix Digital Interconnect. I've already ordered the USB SPDIF adapter and Mapleshade Interconnect. The DAC will support everything up to 24/192 files, which will be just fine. This avoids a new investment in a USB DAC. I'll go down that road once the interface technology develops more. I'm not sure that USB will be the interface of choice in the long run. We'll see. This gets me up and running for under a $1000. I'm planning to use my Ipod Touch to remote into the Mac Mini to control the play back from my listening chair, likely using Amarra as the playback software.

It's a lot to get going in a couple of weeks, but we'll see how it goes. I haven't had much time for my system lately, and my listening room is a nightmare. Just cleaning that up alone will make sitting in my listening chair much more enjoyable. Experimenting with HD downloads and different software will be even more fun.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1132
Registered: Dec-06
Sounds like fun. You'll have to update the pics thread. What were you running up till now again?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1444
Registered: Jul-07
My Minimax cdp or Rega tt as sources. Both still working fine, but I really want to get into the high rez material. I bought the new Cohen Family disk tonight, from Anzic records, and was able to download it in ALAC format for $9.99 instead of paying $15.99 and getting the physical cd. Of course that was over 400 mg worth of data, so I'll need lots of disk space.....but that's cheap, and getting cheaper. I bought a 1 TB wireless HD the other day for $105.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1447
Registered: Jul-07
All of my gear is ordered and on the way. The Mapleshade USB S/PDIF converter and digital cable shipped a week ago, so should arrive this week. Hopefully the Duty & VAT Gods shine on me when they arrive. I purchased the Mac Mini yesterday but left it at the Mac store for them to replace the HD with an SSD version, and some aftermarket Kingston RAM (8 GB). It was $300 cheaper to buy the SSD and RAM myself than to buy it through Apple. I love their gear but the upgrade costs are out of line.

I also bought a Firewire HD enclosure to put the original HD out of the Mac into. I'll use the SSD drive to support OS only, and keep all my music on the external drive. Keeping the music on a Firewire drive keeps the incoming music data stream off of the USB bus the Mapleshade converter will run on. I'm still figuring out which OSX processes are safe to shut down. I want to run as few background processes as possible, so all the CPU needs to worry about is playing music. I found a number of suggestions online as to how to shutdown some of the background OSX processes from the UNIX command line. I'll do what is absolutely safe, but I'm not going to get carried away and risk screwing up the O/S.

I'm going to try both Pure Music and Amarra as playback systems. Both support memory playback. I think I know most of the config settings that I'll need to tinker with to get bit perfect playback. Unfortunately my DAC doesn't have a display to show me what it's receiving from the computer, so my ears will have to judge if everything seems peachy. Not ideal. The software will at least tell me what it's sending, and the Mapleshade device doesn't do any up or down conversions so what goes in, should come out.....theoretically.

I likely won't get at the listening room until after xmas weekend. Too much to do in the meantime. My wife bought 5 solid pine interior doors which are beautiful. Unfortunately they were not predrilled. It took me 4 hours to get 2 of them hung properly on the weekend. Only 3 more to go. I won't tell you how many times those 2 doors were up, then down, then up......before they hung and closed properly. Now I know why she got such a "deal".

I've been listening to my CI Audio DAC for the last week or so (Minimax as transport), and I'd forgotten how good it sounds. Hopefully even better with the computer setup, but I guess I'll find out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1449
Registered: Jul-07
As always buyer beware.

http://www.itrax.com/Pages/ArticleDetails.php?aID=32
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16989
Registered: May-04
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"I believe that it's time for digital music retailers, high definition record companies and the press (both printed and online) to adopt an open and honest approach to high definition music recordings. The more information that consumers have the better it will be for everyone ... "


That would be good advice if the writer had his own facts straight. Most of what he writes regarding both analog and SCAD/DVD-Audio is complete BS. I'm familiar with the HiFiNews writers - HFNRR ceased to exist about fifteen years ago - and I'm highly sceptical that what appears in this article is actually what they intended to say.


Hi-rez digital has come along to replace Redbook which was originally marketed as "perfect sound forever". It wasn't until many listeners had replaced their LP collection with "perfect" Redbook CD's that they were told they actually had puchased "standard" definition recordings and they should be replaced with "high resolution" versions.

The writer's statements about analog recordings, SACD and DVD-Audio are factually wrong in every conceivable way. Along with being factually incorrect, his "facts" are a complete red herring when it comes to the current crop of hi-rez downloads.


Hi-rez digital has had numerous problems since its first appearance in the market. However, to say the basis of the problem can be laid at the feet of analog recordings is preposterous. To suggest upsampling a 16bit/44.1kHz digital master cannot improve upon the sound quality of the original ignores virtually all laws of digital music reproduction and common sense. The only people I've seen defend Redbook standards are those who have a financial investment in claiming Redbook is "as good as is needed". To lump both DVD-Audio and SACD together as 96/192kHz recordings is to ignore the most basic of facts.


Hi-rez downloads have been subject to many complaints regarding quality ever since their inception. Yes, "buyer beware" has become a motto for anyone wishing to be at the leading edge of this technology. Not everything is as has been advertised, even when coming from some otherwise highly reputable companies. However, suggesting SACD was actually inferior to Redbook CD is an absurb and completely false argument for the inferiority of certain hi-rez downloads. To state that analog is "standard" defintion is a statement which must come from someone who grew up in a world where the convenience of digital is mistaken for the quality of reproduction.





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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1450
Registered: Jul-07
I have everything I need now. The Mapleshade delivery arrived today. I knew the cables would look fairly fragile from what I had read about them, and the pictures on their website, but holy cow.....these things look like threads within an elongated baggy. And the connectors are quite unusual looking. Not eye candy at all, but if they're as good as advertised I don't care what they look like.

I got the drivers loaded on the mini mac, and everything seems to be working ok through Amarra, but I've yet to wire everything together. I'll do that tomorrow night when I have time to sit back and relax.

I also got the Remote HD app loaded and working on my iPod Touch. I was able to take control of the mini mac desktop, so I shouldn't have any issue selecting albums and/or tracks from my listening chair without the requirement of a monitor, keyboard, or mouse. I'll connect it all together tomorrow and see what happens.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1451
Registered: Jul-07
Jan, it makes sense to me that you could take an analogue recording, and create a high rez digital file from it. You could theoretically sample it at whatever rate you wanted. The higher the rate, the closer you get to simulating the analogue form. But if you have a digital master, it makes less sense to me that you could create a high rez version of it, unless you upsample.....but that approach is a simulation of the higher resolution......a "guess"....not a copy of it. Filling in the digital blanks does not seem to me to be a guarantee of better sonics.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16991
Registered: May-04
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The conversion from an analog master to a digital copy is fairly straight forward. Unfortunately, you carry over to the final product - the CD - the inherent ills of both formats and yet do not gain the basic advantages of analog. The ills of digital are numerous and argubale in many cases by those who have decided digital is the perfect medium for audio recording. Yet among most music lovers and audiophiles those digital recordings which originate as AAD have been especially valuable. The early Chesky, Telarc, Reference, Wilson and Mobile Fidelity CD's were well regarded and often selected as reference grade CD's despite having been taken from analog masters ... in fact, most of us conceded their real virtues were often based primarily in the fact they did not come from early digital masters.

The first decade of digital recording was performed at 48kHz which brought its own set of problems to the LP versions released in the late 1970's. Yet when those same recordings were downsampled to Redbook's 44kHz standard they suffered from the wrongs of both formats.

Probably the first and most lasting hit on Redbook CD specifically and digital in general would be the frequency range restrictions and the need for steep or even brick wall type filters just above the range of human hearing. The most noticeable problem with this frequency restriction is what occurs within the 20-20kHz range when appplying such filters. Not only do problems arise in the phase and time domains when steep filters are inserted into the signal chain but aliasing issues generate information which does not exist wthin the original. Aliasing is in many ways similar to intermodulation distortion in that the sampling/filter frequency interacts with the datastream signal to create a difference signal; 22kHz filters will react to frequencies within the incoming signal to create a new, non-musically related signal riding along with the datastream. No aliasing issues exist in analog, or those that do also exst in the analog output of the digital to analog conversion when poorly designed DAC's are implemented. While it may be true in most cases that an analog recording device has an on paper frequency response which is not that much greater than the 20-20kHz bandwidth of Redbook digital, the actual frequency response of a SOTA analog recording device running a 2" tape at 15ips is already more extended than is any Redbook digital datastream. Additionally, the analog format allows for a simple, predicatble roll out of frequencies. An analog tape machine which is -3dB at 25kHz will be down only a few more Decibels at 30kHz with a predictable decline from that point. Any digital data, however, does not contain information above 1/2 the original sampling frequency. For Redbook CD with its 20kHz top limit a typical brick wall filter would mean there is no information above, say, 23kHz. There are no problems with jitter or clock speeds with analog and, of course, no error correction. While on paper numbers indicate a lower noise floor and, therefore, a broader dynamic range for digital vs analog, analog has no "least significant bit" which throws away certain amounts of low level information as is done in digital recording and again in playback. In the case of Redbook CD this "unnecessary" amount of data has been chosen to accomodate the alloted time available on a 5 1/4" disc, not based on fidelity to the original source.

Downsampling a datastream from 48kHz to 44kHz makes for a mathematically unrelated input to output. Upsampling and down sampling work best when the original and the copy are simple multiples of each other. Moving from 48kHz to 44kHz is very likely to introduce errors in the datastream making for imperfect copies. Given all that it is not too difficult to see why most CD's whch have "standard definition" analog masters as their source have frequently been considered superior in overall sound quality to DDD's.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16992
Registered: May-04
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"But if you have a digital master, it makes less sense to me that you could create a high rez version of it, unless you upsample.....but that approach is a simulation of the higher resolution......a "guess"....not a copy of it. Filling in the digital blanks does not seem to me to be a guarantee of better sonics."


In the strictest sense, given the way digital captures a datastream, simply filling in the "digital blanks" as you call them wouldn't provide any improvement in sonic quality. A digital blank is still a blank no matter how many times you sample it. This is what has frustrated many music lovers over the last three decades. Many archived masters which were or might be facing future deterioration beyond repair were transfered to digital copies using the prevailing technology of the day. Therefore, information which existed on the original analog master was, in the opinion of many, forever lost in a system which depended highly upon a severly flawed technological process. The argument goes something like this; it would be somewhat like trying in 2011 to make a 1960's automobile more efficient while tieing yourself down to using only the available technologies of 1907. In most regards there could only be a step backwards.


However, I know of no "hi-rez" digital process which only seeks to fill in blanks. The process of making a high resolution copy of a datastream which has been literally data starved heads in a direction which tends to focus not on adding information that doesn't exist but rather attempting to retrieve what data has been preserved. The various processess which have been employed to create "hi-rez" all seem to go about first dealing with those bits which would normally be found in the range of "least significant bit" territory - those bits normally lost to dithering of the datastream to achieve a low noise floor. In other words, hi rez most often tries to make a 16 bit recorded word playback as greater than 12 bits.

In Redbook CD, the upper limit to the datastream is a maximum of 16 bits. However, due to the extensive use of dither, many of those low level bits are discarded as a way of achieving the very low perceived noise floor of CD. It is the contention of those who advocate against Redbook specifically and digital in general that much of the nuance of the source is lost primarily in this willful throwing away of information. Obviously the Redbook format is limited in its frequency response when it comes to the harmonic structure of a signal. By having only two samples of a 20kHz signal the system creates a 50/50 chance of getting the output and the input to match. This 50/50 chance is paired with each preceding (lower frequency/lower order) harmonic and the number of opportunites the system has to get that data correct. This upper harmonics range is largely where the aspects of timbre and tone exist. If those two samples are down in level - as they are likely to be - to the point where they fall into the least significant bit range, that 50/50 chance is essentially thrown away before it ever gets a chance to inform the listerner to its existence. This gives alll instruments a "same as" nature that is a hallmark of bad digital playback. The attack and decay of an instrument's sound is likely to exist within this area of least significant bit and therefore also likely to be discarded in both recording and playback. This tends to give digital the rather analytical - some might say cold - nature so often heard in CD playback. Lacking ambient cues and a true sense of how a note starts and stops within a real space, in a CD vs analog comparison, CD tends to be missing the humanity which has created the performance and which distinguishes one instrument or venue from another and one performer from another. This willful disregard for information tends to reduce the 16 bit ideal of Redboook CD down to a real world 12-14 bit playback. That's about the same as what was available from an Atari 400 which was in many ways the SOTA digital device in consumer oriented digital at the time the Redbook standards were being written in the mid '70's. Granted no more than 12 bit digital put men on the moon but that does seem rather unthinkable today, doesn't it?



Add to this reduction in available information due to dithering the aliasing artifacts which intrude subconsciously on the listener their non-musical signals and the hardness of CD begins to combine with time and phase smearing of the original source. It depends on what format of hi-rez we would be discussing but each format that I'm aware of strives first to retain the full 16 bit playback with each bit of the available datastream intact. Such high resolution digital playback tends to include many of the same low level signals heard in good analog. Those inclusions are by many interpreted as "warmth", presence and realism when compared to Redbook CD. Realistic tone and timbre, nuance and ambience are not created in the hi-rez format, they are simply not discarded. Dithering is still performed but it is being done on the additional bits which lack any significant data in the first place. Dithering in this way still preserves the low noise floor of digital. Hopefully, it also preserves the full dynamic range which is often noticeably missing from original Redbook.

Additionally, most hi-rez formats address aliasing distortions by moving the sampling frequency upwards. Doing so allows for a filter which takes effect further away from the 20-20kHz range. This gives the designer the opportunity to get away from either digital brick wall filters or steep, high order analog filters. Now aliasing artifacts within the range of 20-20kHz are either minimized or all together removed as they occur at much higher frequencies with the improved high frequency filter technologies. Time and phase domains are largely left intact rather than suffering from Redbook's inevitable problems.

Such improvements in the source result in less jitter and fewer clocking errrors in the recording/playback equipment. Error correction systems are less often in play in most hi-rez formats. Depending on the particular format, sampling of existing data is increased so that 50/50 chance at 20kHz is more in favor of getting the right information even though the system is still looking only at the original two bits. The system is now looking at those two bits multiples of times before declaring them to be either "this" or "that". Again depending upon the actual hi-rez format in use, interpolation errors are minimized when making copies or in playback.


While it is impossible to add data to an existing digital datastream what most hi-rez formats are attempting to do is simply to do a better job of retrieving what data is already available.



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Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1145
Registered: Dec-06
Additionally, most hi-rez formats address aliasing distortions by moving the sampling frequency upwards. Doing so allows for a filter which takes effect further away from the 20-20kHz range. This gives the designer the opportunity to get away from either digital brick wall filters or steep, high order analog filters. Now aliasing artifacts within the range of 20-20kHz are either minimized or all together removed as they occur at much higher frequencies with the improved high frequency filter technologies. Time and phase domains are largely left intact rather than suffering from Redbook's inevitable problems.

I have to admit this stuff confuses me a fair bit. And I know we've discussed this before. I'm not sure that the above is solved only by going high res. Simaudio suggests that their players, by oversampling to 8x (to 352.8 kHz) can similarly benefit by now using a gentle filter at frequencies much higher than 20kHz. Many suggest that the sound quality of CD players has improved greatly since they were introduced, and I would guess that this is one of the reasons for that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3603
Registered: Jun-07
Jan is right. A digital file is only as good as its original recorded state. All this talk about Up-sampling, Oversampling and filling in the 1's and 0's of a digital file is complete Bu!!Sh!T. Companies who claim that by doing so makes the original file sound better is simply mis-educated or simply riding the Up-sample Marketing band wagon. I was truly disappointed by Bryston in stating their up-sample does this. Yeah, cool, your up-sample sounds like pure sh!t. Enjoy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1146
Registered: Dec-06
I don't doubt that, Nick. I have only heard upsampling a few times in my own system and I did not prefer it.

However when it comes to applying a filter, which if I'm not mistaken happens inside the DAC, oversampling allows for the use of a lower order filter that has a less harmful impact on sound quality. To me oversampling is a way to achieve exactly this, whereas upsampling is converting the signal to a higher sample rate and then plays it back at this rate under the assumption that it will sound better. I agree that it likely will not.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16999
Registered: May-04
.

"Simaudio suggests that their players, by oversampling to 8x (to 352.8 kHz) can similarly benefit by now using a gentle filter at frequencies much higher than 20kHz. Many suggest that the sound quality of CD players has improved greatly since they were introduced, and I would guess that this is one of the reasons for that."


2, 4 and 8X's oversampling was available in consumer audio players by the end of the 1980's. 16 and 32X's players would soon follow. I would say with those technologies being available for all these years, there is more to building a good player and an excellent DAC than just over or upsampling of the Redbook format. Digital playback is complicated as it relies heavily on physics which probably was not one of the favorite subjects for most of us. But digital theory goes well back in to the 1920's when the basics which forecast the CD were layed out by Nyquist and others; http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=what%20is%20the%20nyquis t%20theory&type=

Most of us can wrap our brains around electromagnetic force even if we can't accurately describe magnetism itself and that makes a phono cartridge fairly easy to comprehend. But " ... a bandlimited analog signal that has been sampled can be perfectly reconstructed from an infinite sequence of samples if the sampling rate exceeds 2B samples per second, where B is the highest frequency of the original signal. If a signal contains a component at exactly B hertz, then samples spaced at exactly 1/(2B) seconds do not completely determine the signal, Shannon's statement notwithstanding ... " is a bit too much for most of us.

So, as with Sim, what works for audiophiles often is not the implementation of an idea but the telling of the story regarding how the implementation was done and the wonderful results it achieved where others have failed. Tell a convincing story and you are likely to have decent sales - if, that is, you also play along with the audio press which blesses or condemns your product.




All this talk about Up-sampling, Oversampling and filling in the 1's and 0's of a digital file is complete Bu!!Sh!T. Companies who claim that by doing so makes the original file sound better is simply mis-educated or simply riding the Up-sample Marketing band wagon."



Remember, oversampling and upsampling are two very different techniques; http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=upsampling%20vs%20oversa mpling&type= As I've said, oversampling has been available in consumer audio for at least two decades. It has taken most of those two decades, however, to have the processing capacity to upsample along with the high speeds and high bit rate which makes one form of signal manipulation more likely to succeed than the other. However, the original 44kHz/16bit datastream is fixed in time and improving significantly upon its flaws only tends to bring about tradeoffs which can also make the datastream worse. And, as we all agreed in a long thread several years ago; https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/56709.html it is the respect paid to the original performance which counts most. The original engineers and subsequent production teams must make an attempt to represent the performance with fidelity and transparency to the source as primary or else all that follows is wasted as just so much techno garble. In the world of consumer audio, fidelity and transparency are not always at the forefront of the industry's advances, even from those companies you would assume should be dedicated to those very ideals.


IMO and that of many listeners DSD recording and playback - the basis for SACD - is the most significant improvement in digital audio technology since Redbook. With a full 120dB of useable dynamic range and a frequency response which can reach to 100kHz, DSD offers a sound quality which is unsurpassed by any of the upsampling and certainly the oversampling - which can only really work in playback - technologies. While SACD has largely been rejected in consumer audio, it still exists in a small clique of high end recording studios and, interestingly enough, mostly mid-fi, middle of the road players. It is a one bit technology - "one bit" has also been around for several decades and was at one time (late '80's to early '90's) the hot "fix" for Redbook CD. Not without its own tradeoffs DSD technology has almost put itself out of business by demanding tarriffs for its use along with watermarking each recording with a non-copy rule which means DSD cannot be extracted from the disc in the form of a purely digital datastream. Since the aftermarket can only improve a DSD signal as it is seen in the analog form, what's there to do with improvements in the DAC technology which has become such a lucrative business for high end audio manufacturers? Additionally, in the studio, only DSD licensed equipment can carry DSD data. Most DSD recordings, therefore, have been plagued with a conversion from lower resolution DSD to PCM in the mixing/mastering process and back again several times before ever arriving at a SACD disc or player. Therefore, very few true DSD discs exist. Those that do, however, offer the best sound from digital I have heard even on lower cost players which pay far more credit to Redbook discs. Now add in the issue of most SACD's in release being music which has limited appeal and Redbook has remained the predominant medium for consumer music playback.

While the industry largely ignores those real world fixes to the issues of Redbook digital, the stories told about how the BandAids are implemented for Redbook's ills will continue to sell equipment. Isn't the consumer audio business fun?





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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17000
Registered: May-04
.

"Oversampling and filling in the 1's and 0's of a digital file is complete Bu!!Sh!T."


Oversampling does not make any attempt to fill in any of the datastream. Oversampling simply performs multiple samplings of the original Redbook datastream. Doing so is supposedly gaining the advantage of; first, "looking at" low bit samples - those in the upper frequencies typically - where the 16 bit format allows possibly as few as two samples to represent the original information. This takes that basic 50/50 chance of getting the data correlation to lower frequencies correct. The desire with oversampling is to get the correct harmonic structure to the music which should alleviate some of the hardness and unnatural sound of early CD playback.

Oversampling does raise the sampling rate which can allow for a more shalllow filter which takes effect at higher frequencies. This eliminates the steep analog or digital brickwall filters which were the earliest attempts at reducing aliasing noise. These shallower filters also have less effect on the time and phase information of the datastream. So, positive benefits are hoped for with oversampling.




"However when it comes to applying a filter, which if I'm not mistaken happens inside the DAC, oversampling allows for the use of a lower order filter that has a less harmful impact on sound quality. To me oversampling is a way to achieve exactly this, whereas upsampling is converting the signal to a higher sample rate and then plays it back at this rate under the assumption that it will sound better."



What oversampling makes no attempt to accomplish is the addition of bits to the datastream or to increase the actual frequency response of the system. With oversampling the Redbook 20kHz top end is intact and the bit rate remains at 16. Upsampling, on the other hand, has similar benefits to oversampling in that it can - depending on how the technology is implemented - have more samples taken of any data and actually add more bits to the datastream. While the Redbook 20kHz limit is still imposed on any upsampled Redbook CD, the sampling rate has been raised and shallow filters can be applied. You will normally see upsampling combined with higher bit rates where you will only see oversampling at 16 bits/44kHz.

Upsampling has the capacity to add data - additional bits - which in effect pushes what otherwise would have been the least significant bit information of Redbook forward in the datastream to where it is not the information being covered up or discarded. Dither exists in all digital recordings, dither being random noise. In order to lower the noise floor of a digital recording dither allows the recorder and playback equipment to cover up some amounts of actual useable data with dither. When the playback system is sampling data, it simply discards a small portion of the music which is thrown away as the least significant bit(s) with the random noise which represents dither. Upsampling adds additional bits - normally at the low end of the datastream - which then makes for those bits which can be discarded in playback without affecting the useable/desireable data in the file. The hope here is what would have otherwise been discarded in a 16 bit format will still exist as useable data in a dithered 18 or 20 bit system. Now low level information is retrieved rather than discaredd and the nuance of many performances are available for playback.

There are two common problems with upsampling that do not exist with oversampling. Any time upsampling is used the chances are jitter will also increase. Jitter simply reintroduces the same sort of time and phase problems as exist in Redbook and, therefore, the same sort of unnatural sound quality which upsampling and oversampling both attempt to reduce. Building an upsampling DAC will require more work to reduce jitter if it wishes to be successful. Also, when upsampling, the tendency is to use multiples which are not related to Redbook's 44.1kHz rate. Opinions differ but most listeners whom I feel should know what music sounds like have the general opinion that upsampling is not as successful when the conversion is to 96kHz - due to the algorithms employed - as when the upsampling adheres to strict multiples of that 44.1kHz rate. Shifting to, say, 96kHz (which would be a multiple of the professional 48kHz sampling rate and is the source master for all Redbook CD's) or multiples of that frequency requires more signal manipulation which some argue offers the opportunity to sample and resample the signal during the conversion process. The "oversampling" during the conversion to a non-analogous speed should make for some cleaning up of errors in the datastream - but that is in most cases debateable. In the end, upsampling can be a good way to add information, lower the useable noise floor and extend the useable frequency response to the recording process. In that respect it is very similar to DSD (which has a sampling rate at 2.8MHz) in that both technologies seek to raise the high frequency limit of the recording system, expand dynamic range and lower the noise floor while capturing more information from the original source. As a BandAid to Redbook CD's, upsampling's reputation is less convincing. Which would indicate there is still more to digital playback that must be addressed before we arrive at musical sound quality as convincing as the best analog.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1452
Registered: Jul-07
I think my tendency towards minimalism is what biases me somewhat against upsampling. As with all things, it has it's theoretical purposes, and I'm far from able to debate whether or not different implementations achieve those technical objectives. What I do know is that the few DACs I have heard that utilize upsampling, I've yet to hear one that sounds good to me. Gordon Rankin commented a couple of years ago that he didn't think that the current (then) crop of DACs utilizing upsampling had the CPU horsepower to do it effectively. I expect some of the new DACs, or even some of the software now being incorporated in music players, may be more capable in that regard. Actually, if makes sense to me to incorporate this on the server side, rather than the DAC itself, considering the processing power of the duel core chips of today's computers. They would be far more powerful than anything inside an affordable DAC. That intuition may be misguided however. There are several players coming out that have upsampling as an option.

I did get everything hooked up Friday night. Everything is working great. I'm reserving judgment on the overall sound for now, since I've introduced a few new components so I want them to burn-in. I also want to give my ears a number of lengthy listens prior to coming to any conclusions. Things are sounding good though. The only playback software I've tried so far is Amarra, but I'd like to try a couple of others....just to see if I hear any difference. I have a mixture of 44/16 files (ripped with Max from my cd collection), 96/24, and one track I downloaded from itrax,com that is an uncompressed PCM wav file.

Oddly, I do find I still feel the need to hold the cd case in my hands, even if the disk is still in it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17002
Registered: May-04
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"I think my tendency towards minimalism is what biases me somewhat against upsampling."


Not sure what you mean by that. Minimalism in the sense of not adding another DAC to the player? Outboard DAC's can introduce as many problems as they solve. Or, minimalism in staying with the old Redbook standard?

The Redbook standard is really not acceptable for full range, full dynamic scale reproduction by many people's thinking. The numbers would indicate it operates much like a HT receiver. One channel only operation can achieve the stated goals of Redbook. Playing a two or more channel sources will restrict the ability of the Redbook standards to achieve full "fidelity". On most music mixed for a popular audience this may not really matter and becomes more of a technical issue. IMO whether Redbook actually can retrieve all the information it claims is irrelevant. If I were given the choice between two amplifiers identical in all ways other than one has a response restricted to 20-20kHz and the other had a response/bandwidth which was extended from 1Hz to 100kHz or higher, I would take the latter. That can never be a choice when dealing with Redbook standards.

Writing that I must concede I'm not in for buying all new discs or simply buying my music one more time in any format. But CD is going on its 30th anniversary as a playback media. It's well beyond the age where other formats have been superceded by a new technology. I have no proof but I would guess within the next decade the hard disc will be eliminated from the playback chain and high bit and sampling rates will prevail.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1453
Registered: Jul-07
""I think my tendency towards minimalism is what biases me somewhat against upsampling."


Not sure what you mean by that. Minimalism in the sense of not adding another DAC to the player? Outboard DAC's can introduce as many problems as they solve. Or, minimalism in staying with the old Redbook standard? "


Meaning, less processing, not more, seems more likely not to screw the music up. It feels counter intuitive to reprocess a data file to a higher rate than its base. It seems like mathematics for the sake of it. If I ever hear an up sampling player or DAC that sounds natural to me, I'll change my opinion. So far, haven't heard it.....but I haven't heard that many.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17005
Registered: May-04
.

I can understand your desire for less manipulation of the signal and fewer components in the signal chain. At one point I had a system where the only component with more than one button or knob was the cassette deck. My system hasn't changed too much from that point other than getting rid of the cassette deck.

But you have to make judicious decisions as to when "adding to" can actually benefit the music. Tape would have remained a severely limited source even in the studio had it not been for Dolby A Noise Reduction. It's trade offs were almost completely positive. Additional regulation of the power supply of any component is almost always a good thing. For the most part push/pull amplifiers have been a success without which audio would have struggled. While too often abused, room treatment devices have greatly improved the ability of the consumer to perceive what is on the source. In many cases automatic room tuning systems should be considered an asset for the person who has little desire for anything more than reasonably good sound quality.

IMO most things that screw up the music come from consumer audio's constant and consistent march toward higher and higher levels of convenience vs sound quality. As in politics, follow the money applies equally well to the generic evils of audio. Audio cables designed to appeal to the eye more than to reproduce an accurate signal path are partly to blame. Audio components designed similarly - meant to jump out at you on the demo room floor both physically and sonically - are too often equally bad for music. And the constant BandAids applied to poorly conceived equipment have to receive their mention also. Redbook is a somewhat limiting technology. The very best digital can sound very good but most affordable digital still shows its origins - convenience and cost savings vs sound quality. Over and upsampling are BandAids meant to take a mid-1970's technology and transform it into a suitable choice for 2012 and beyond. Offhand I can't think of any other technology which has remained so tied to the past as CD. IMO even LP based analog has moved forward faster and further in the last thirty years than has CD. I can't think what my table from 1975 would sound like today - that from someone using fifty year old amplifiers and an almost twenty five year old pre amp.


I've been reading again a few of my old audio magazines from the 1970's through the '90's. What BS was published back then as audiophiles were wading through the swamps. Some very good reading in a few instances but mostly just BS as you look back.


This hobby is all about choices and being well informed about what is being offered and why it is being offered remains the greatest tool anyone can obtain and use if the desire is to reproduce the signal with the greatest fidelity and transparency to the source. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em and know when to walk away as the song goes.


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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1454
Registered: Jul-07
It's always facinating to me how people, whom you know are very knowledgable and respected in the industry, and have an abundance of experience in their field.....end up solving the same problem so differently. I know that's the way it is in every industry (certainly in mine) so it isn't a surprise. It's just interesting. The geniuses at Simaudio, Bryston, Decware, Audiozone, Rega, Cambridge Audio, etc.....if you read their sites, or design notes on their products, they all have decided that certain things are good in digital processing, and certain things are bad. Not the same things of course, which is confounding for the consumer.

Unravelling it all with some casual reading (which is all I have time to do) is a b!tch.

Of course, given that my wife and I have arrived at quite different solutions to making something as simple as the perfect chilli, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by designers coming up with quite different solutions for something far more difficult to engineer.....like audio reproduction.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17007
Registered: May-04
.

Good chili ain't easy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1459
Registered: Jul-07
I have my listening room gutted, and will hopefully finish the paint job today. I built the new acoustic panels and bass traps a few days ago....bigger job than I thought. My wife got me an electric fireplace for the room, which I thought was very nice of her. I hope to have everything put together by next weekend. It's killing me not being able to listen to tunes. I want the rack to sit to my right, so it's not sitting between the two speakers, but that will require much, much longer speaker cables.....probably about 16 feet to the left speaker. Routing that much speaker wire will be a bit of a challenge....especially to the short speaker, figuring out what to do with about 8 ft of extra wire.

Before I dismantled things I had a number of listening sessions with the new setup. It is decidedly a change for the better. Transparency is significantly improved. The upper frequencies in particular have become very focused, and crystal clear. Drum kit in general sounds fantastic. Midrange (voices in particular) was a strength of the Minimax with the 6922 tubes, and the was an area I thought the new setup would be challenged to match, but I don't think I've lost anything at all. Sound stage depth is now ridiculous at times, with percussion instruments often sounding like they were out by my Korean Fir tree on the front lawn.

I'll be glad to get it all setup again.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17047
Registered: May-04
.

Don't wrap the extra cable into a coil. Lay it in a soft "S" shape and you'll be fine technically.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2661
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
No time for a long post now, but the Very First CD player I bought was 14bit 4x oversampling. The maybe famous Philips FD1000 is the base model which was sold in this country as a Magnevox.

This player was used as a base player for the meridian player sold for a huge premium.

I'd like to get it fixed. It never came back to life after a couple-year layoff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1460
Registered: Jul-07
"Don't wrap the extra cable into a coil. Lay it in a soft "S" shape and you'll be fine technically."

Thanks. What I was thinking of doing was putting eye hooks in the side and front wall to guide the wires to the associated speaker.....keeping the spacing around 3-4" between parellel runs of wire. I can do the soft "S" shape close to the closest speaker (right) but I'll have to get it off of the carpet somehow, yes ?

If I have to go to 18-20' lengths, is 18 awg wire sufficient ? I'm thinking it should be.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17048
Registered: May-04
Leo, why? You're looking at almost 30 year old technology. Surely your memories of its sound can't be that fond. About the only thing that might be useful would be the transport as just a transport. That, though, ignores all the advancements made in jitter reduction and error corrrection circuits.

I would think your biggest problems might be lack of parts availability for such a vintage component.

If you're determined, try Audio Classics first and then Atlas Audio repair.


http://www.audioclassics.com/

http://www.atlasaudiorepair.com/



If neither of those two want to take on your player, I'd say don't bother looking much further. You could go on a hunt for other shops but you can research "vintage audio repair" just as easily as I can at that point. Most shops just don't care to be tied to any repair that has a high percentage of problems waiting to occur. And, certainly, a CD player that has been in storage for any length of time would qualify. The transport is the most likely suspect to go bad as the grease on the rails has probably started to set up. If that's the case, the player will never track well. Repairing or replacing the transport is dubious as rails are easily bent and I doubt that old transport is to be found other than in scrap - which means you're simply accepting someone else's problems.

The Philips player served as a base for many models but you have to keep in mind the number of units the average shop takes in over one year's time. After a year of not seeing any model they are very likely to have purged their files of any pertinent service manuals which would leave then without any references for voltages or component values. Certainly after five years, the files are gone. And you're talking going back into the mid 1980's? Tracing a circuit path without a schematic then becomes an exercise in time spent vs dollars spent. Most especially with digital gear, the cost of reviving a player more than a decade old has to be considered probably not the wisest investment.

My guess would be any decent $300 player will sound better than the old Philips.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17049
Registered: May-04
.

"Thanks. What I was thinking of doing was putting eye hooks in the side and front wall to guide the wires to the associated speaker.....keeping the spacing around 3-4" between parellel runs of wire. I can do the soft "S" shape close to the closest speaker (right) but I'll have to get it off of the carpet somehow, yes ?

If I have to go to 18-20' lengths, is 18 awg wire sufficient ? I'm thinking it should be."



Yes, 18AWG is fine for those lengths, though it's really the construction and materials used that will make more difference over that distance than will simple gauge. I'd stay with a twisted pair rather than parallel runs inside the cable, that will lower inductance. Twisted pairs though tend toward higher capacitance so make certain your system can deal with the added values per foot. Most can as only the most fragile of systems should have a problem with 18' of speaker cable. If you can afford a Teflon dielectric, that's one of the better choices for sound quality.

If you can keep the cables as far apart as possible beyond 3-4", then you're better off. 6-8" would be better over all but you do what you have to do. I'd find a different way to support the cables than eye hooks. Or, if you want eye hooks, use a loop of string to suspend the cable from the hook by a few inches. Better to just raise the cables off the floor with some simple wooden blocks - nothing magnetic. Whether you'd hear any improvement using one method or the other is a function of how transparent your system has become and what you listen for. Certainly audiophiles have managed with the methods you suggest for decades before things like cable risers came along. But, in general, keep your cables off any sort of synthetic carpet and away from wallboard by at least a few inches just to say you did.



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1461
Registered: Jul-07
Believe it or not, what I'm using today is 18 guage single conductor hook-up wire.....6 ft lengths on either side. It sounds better than anything else I've tried, and I've had at least a half-dozen other options in there. And, it's cheap ($11.99 for 45'). I was thinking of using either the same thing, or ordering some Anti Cables (which is magnet wire I think). I just wasn't sure if I'd notice any difference going from 6 ft lengths to 18 or 20 feet with the hook-up wire. The Source carries up to 12 guage hook-up wire, so I could bump up the jam a bit if there was any need. Doesn't seem like there is though.

I can do the wooden block thing easy enough. I have lots of left over ends to work with. I could groove the tops of the blocks for the wire, to keep things neater.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17050
Registered: May-04
.

I'm very much a fan of solid core cables and I pefer to keep my cable gauges to the minimum required to do the job. However, I'm sure you understand thinner gauge means higher resistance over longer distances. 20' of 18AWg should be fine IMO but, do you know the stated output impedance of your amplifier? And, how reactive are your current speakers? What's the low impedance point/frequency and what's the nominal impedance where they spend most of their time?



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1462
Registered: Jul-07
The speakers (Tekton open baffle) are 4 ohm, but that is the absolute bottom of the curve, which is well above 8 ohms for the most part. I had found an impedance/electrical phase graph a while back but couldn't find it again in a quick search. Electrical phase was pretty benign as I recall. Sensitivity is 92db/1w/1m. My little 30 watt amp drives them easily. Quite loud at noon on the dial actually. As for the amp, the Red Wine Audio site specifically states the input impedance of the amp (50k) but only describes the output impedance as "low" in the descriptive section of the amp (not in the measurements section).

Yes, I did realize thinner gauge equals higher resistance of longer runs. I had an old bookmark of an older article that suggested 16 gauge might be more appropriate given my amp is rated at 4 ohm, at the distances I'll need, but I thought I could get away with 18 gauge given the conservative rating of the speakers.

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

I stopped by The Source on the way home from work but they no longer sell 18 awg hook-up wire in lengths greater than 15ft. Great. From there it jumps to 12 gauge, but that had a lot more insulation on it. They had magnet wire but nothing less than 22 gauge.

I'm thinking maybe these
http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/Golden-Parallel-Speaker-Cables/productinfo/PARAL LEL/ would be a good idea. Or the Anti Cables.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17051
Registered: May-04
.

I don't think I've ever seen an output impedance for a T amp now that I think about it. I wouldn't be concerned though, unless the amp has transformers or autoformers, the chances are you're well under 1 Ohm output impedance. Length of cable then becomes less of a factor as the total impedance of the circuit won't be so high that the speaker's impedance shifts will cause dramatic variances in frequency response.

You can buy magnet wire over the web. The difference between 16 and 18 gauge in the lengths you're talking won't be noticeable. If you want to spend the money for the thicker gauge, do so but you don't have to. If you look at Russell's graph, the thinner cable with slightly higher resistance will be about the same as the thicker gauge just a bit less volume overall. So the overall sound difference between 16 and 18AWG is not something you'll notice, just that the thicker cable might mean you need to turn the vc maybe a little bit less for volume. Frequency repsonse will remain realtively stable with either cable unless the total impedance gets really wacky. Damping factor with the T amps isn't something they talk about either but the change in cable gauge shouldn't be a factor over the distance you'll travel. The thicker the solid core cable, the more difficult it becomes to handle and shape.

Just put "magnet wire for sale" in a search engine and you should come up with several options. If you have a chance, buy a rectangular or oval wire rather than perfectly round. Most magnet wire is probably along the lines of a four nines purity. And I suspect you can request higher purities and longer grain structure if you want to pay the cost. If you can't get at least four nines, then maybe you need to look elsewhere for cables. Six nines, long/single grain or "oxygen free" would be about as good as you should need unless you really want to spend big bucks. If you can find silver coated copper wire, you might want to experiment but silver - and copper - prices have been goping up and are very volatile right now.

IMO the Anticables are still a rip. You can buy magnet wire for less than they want for their cables and you don't need spades on the ends. Just take a razor blade and scrape a bit of the enamel off the end of the cable and use bare end connections. Once a year cut off the ends and scrape off another 5/8" of enamel to have nice clean copper. If you have five way binding posts on your amp, go straight through the center hole in the post and tighten the lug down. Or bend the end of the wire slightly and wrap it in the direction the lug tightens so it will draw the cable tight as you turn.


Then make sure you maintain that 6" separation between the legs of the cables for as much distance as you can manage. You can rig up a few spacers or take a 4" wide masking tape and join two runs together to make a tape about 6-7" wide. Run your two conductors down each side of the tape and cover it with another wide tape. That will provide a bit more protection to the cables and make them a bit easier to handle.

If you haven't tried the thin magnet wire for ic's, let me know and I'll give you directions on how to make some very nice, very cheap ic's that sound quite good.


I can't say anything bad about the Mapleshade cables other than their cost. I'd probably give the magnet wire cables a try and then order the Mapleshades for comparison.


Keep your individual conductors all running in the direction of signal flow. Mark your cables as to which end is which so you can always orient the cables for proper direction. And, if you want, try freezing the cables after you've listened to them for a while and they've broken in. There's not much "break in" with magnet wire since there's no traditional dielectric. Take the cables and put them in your freezer overnight. Remove them and allow them to come to room temperature as slowly as possible, maybe wrap them in a towel or some foil to retain the cold. After they've come back to normal temp, repeat the process. Hook 'em up after the second go 'round and let me know what you hear.

While you're in the freezer, toss in a couple of CD's and treat them the same as the cables; freeze, room temp slowly , freeze, room temp slowly, play.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1463
Registered: Jul-07
Thanks Jan. I'll see what I can find re: magnet wire. I might also order the Mapleshade cables, especially since I've been so impressed with their digital cable that I bought in December.

One thought I had this morning was I could avoid long cable runs entirely if I wall mounted my components, similar to how I had my turntable. I have some 2" maple boards I was going to make a new flexi-rack out of, but I could just as easily take the shelves and wall mount them on brackets. If I did that on the front wall, it would get them back away from the speakers. Now, from standing against the wall while music is playing, I know that there are some low frequency 'modes' there....standing waves I suppose. I'm not sure whether this would solve one problem and cause another.

Yes, I would appreciate the directions for making my own IC's out of magnet wire. What guage would I need for that ? If it's 22 or higher, then I can get that at The Source. I'll have to check what the purity is on the copper though. I can get the terminations at the local audio shop....depending on what you recommend.

I hadn't thought about throwing my cables in the freezer, and certainly haven't tried that with CD's. I'm not sure I'll even setup my CD player again, since the computer setup sounds so good. I could try that before I ripped them though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1465
Registered: Jul-07
So, I find a supplier here in Canada, but the options are a bit more than I'd bargained for.

"Our inventory includes a complete range of full and half sizes, round, square and rectangular - bare, wrapped or enameled. Our wrapped products include KAPTON, NOMEX, glass, and kraft. Enamels include polyester, nylon, polyeurethane, and Formvar."

Any thoughts on wrapped vs enameled ? And which insulators would be most appropriate for audio applications ? Kapton, I think, is used in some Planar speaker systems, and in the manufacturer of circuit boards.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17052
Registered: May-04
.

Wall mounting works best when you can provide the shelves a load bearing wall. Lacking that you'll need to first determine just how alive the wall would be before you proceed with shelves. A cheap stethoscope will tell you most of what you need to know and should be in most audiophiles' bag of tricks anyway. Check the drugstores or online for something under $20.

An idea which had some degree of favor a few years back would be leaning, ladder type shelves which look something like this; http://www.containerstore.com/shop/shelving/freestandingShelving?productId=10028 224&N=13376

http://www.jcpenney.com/jcp/X6.aspx?GrpTyp=PRD&ItemID=179c083&DeptID=70752&CatID =72423&SO=0&Ne=949+4294957900+5+18&NOffset=2&N=4294953248&Nao=0&PSO=0&bcCat=3&cm AMS_T=XGN3&cmAMS_C=MERCHA&cmAMS_Z=XGN3TOPOFRESULTS&CmCatId=EXTERNAL|72423

Spike the bottom of the upright stiles to the floor and then spike, or in some way decouple, them at the supporting wall at the top. This will provide very little surface area for mechanical vibrations to enter the support system; less than a four footed shelving unit and less than a typical bracketed wall mounted shelf. The angled stiles will make for a very stable shelving unit with minimal materials. How much you need to work with the shelves from that point is up to you and your logic plus your ability to make things work. If you have any components that would benefit from a drain on the power transformer, they will need to be addressed separately. My Apollo has three Vibrapods with accompanying spikes under it (one directly beneath the power supply transformer). That serves to drain transformer vibrations into an old Well Tempered turntable plinth. (I got this for free because it had been improperly drilled for the arm that was to be used.) The plinth is three sheets of 1" MDF joined with GE silicon adhesive which will break up the transfer of vibrations from one sheet of MDF to the next. You can also buy a sheet of cork or the thin rubber shelf liner material and use it between the layers in a constrained layer damping technique. This all rests in a "suspended" shelving unit where there's not much opportunity for mechanical vibrations to occur.

My table, pre amp and amplifiers sit on my own concoction of plumber's Quikcaps with halved racquetballs balls. This set up will run you about $20-25 for each component and, IMO, works exceptionally well. Check Dak's thread on $3k integrateds, I think I gave a run down of these items in that thread plus a few other ideas. The turntable is atop an old stand type butcher's block someone was throwing away. It's the type with legs (now decoupled) and a twelve inch thick, 18X18" slab of end cut rock maple laminates. All together the support and table weight in at a little over 200 lbs and its all spiked to the floor. The pre amp and amps are also on diy versions of the Well Tempered plinth. My 100 year old bungalow has a pier and beam foundation so I require a little more work than the same system on a concrete slab. Therefore, there are a few tweaks to the floor that probably wouldn't concern you.

Suspending shelves works well if you can provide the sufficient drains for mechanical vibrations and any leveling. Suspended shelves are more of a PITA to get right though. Normally they will require a double suspension which can have more than one resonant frequency for the supports. My pre amp and CD player sit in an antique bamboo etagere. The individual "shelves" in the etagere are multiple strands of bamboo stretched across the frame of the unit so there is no solid contact for the components with the actually frame of the unit. The width of the MDF shelves under the components rests across numerous bamboo strands and the bottom two shelves of the etagere are filled with a few hundred lbs of LP's. As far as supports go, it is IMO very effective and doesn't necessarily make the room look like a mechanic's warehouse. I had a steel-rectangular-tube-filled-with-concrete shelf unit at one time. Spikes and decoupling through and through. It too was very neutral from a sonic standpoint but way less attractive and much more of a pain to set up, move or adjust. Otherwise, take a look at the stands which get good reviews and try to dissect what they have done and apply the same ideas to a diy. Read up on "constrained layer damping", it can be your friend. The Flexi seems to be successful on a budget. The stethoscope will tell you whether that's true or not.

Low frequencies (high pressure waves) tend to congregate at the corners of the room so center mounting a shelf is not all that bad as long as you can decouple it from mechanical vibrations which would enter through the floor. Any free standing shelving unit needs to be placed a foot or more away from the wall behind it. Air borne vibrations are less problematic which is typically a good thing since they are only dealt with by moving the equipment out of the same environment as your speakers.


I'll send you an email with instructions on the ic's. How are you at soldering?




The best dielectric - after a complete vacuum - is no dielectric. Just plain air is superior to any material. The problem with no dielectric is the cable will oxidize which quite rapidly doesn't make for good sound. (Though, if you can afford silver, its oxides are claimed to be non-detrimental to sound quality. I haven't checked lately but last I heard high quality silver was up to about $500+ an ounce. Don't believe silver cables are "bright". Ultra high purity copper will rival high quality silver in its use as an audio cable and will cost about as much.) For copper you'll need the least intrusive insulator you can find. The polyester enamel would be my first choice for cost and sound. While the material composition of a typical thick dielectric will account for much of the cable's performance, with just a small amount of enamel applied to the cable, you'd be chasing unicorns in the dark to worry about the differences beyond the polyester. Your hook up wire though is probably using a PVC or worse sounding dielectric. I would expect an improvement in overall system performance with the enamel coated magnet wire. Enough that you might have to re-tweak a few components after its insertion into the signal chain.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17053
Registered: May-04
.

http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/Wire-Management-For-Good-Sound/products/222/


Make your speaker cables look similar to Mapleshade's ic's as far as any masking paper overlay. You can use them without the paper though it's easier to keep the legs separated along their run if they're fixed in a sonically non-intrusive covering.



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1468
Registered: Jul-07
Thanks for that Jan.

"How are you at soldering?"

Not great, but I can brush up and have a go at it.

I'll pick up a stethoscope and check the front wall. It should be pretty reasonable. My listening room is in the basement, the front wall is 4ft of pony wall (concrete) and 4 ft of wood framing. The lower 4 ft of concrete is covered with gyproc on a 2x4 frame and insulated with fibreglass (R12). The 2x4's are spiked to the floor (concrete). I've found that with the concrete floor, it has been best to float my speaker stands and rack off of the floor, rather than spike into it. When I was spiking everything through the carpet, the upper mids and higher frequencies had a weird ringing/overbearing quality that went away when I put everything on pieces of baltic birch plywood, and then spiked into that.

If the wall seems pretty quiet through the stethoscope, what I thought I might do is use wall brackets spiked to the wall, with rubber insulators between the brackets and the wall. I could then use the same rubber type mounts to bolt the maple boards to the brackets. Although, it might be better to just float the boards on the brackets, perhaps using just a little blu-tak if leveling was required. I have Mapleshade Isoblocks for under the amp and computer platforms (Rubberwood) and Terrastones for under each component.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17055
Registered: May-04
.

Looks like you don't accept emails through the forum

OK, the instructions for the ic's are very simple. You're essentially going to clone the Mapleshade cables again. Use the best conductor material you can afford, though basic $5 Radio Shack magnet wire is quite acceptable. If you can afford "fine silver", it will be superior to copper. A thin gauge 22-24 AWG is all you'll need. Rectangular, ribbon or square section conductors will likely beat out round but that's a minimal concern. You're going to encase the conductors in either a paper masking tape or clear plastic packing tape. My preference is for the paper.

The connectors I start with for this experiment are the cheapo Radio Shack solderless RCA's; http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062472

Stay away from most audio jewellery, the RCA's on a good many "audiophile" cables will not properly terminate a line level audio cable at 75 Ohms and there will be reflections of the signal caused by the excessive material of the bulkiest ones. As with Mapleshade's new RCA's (http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/Clearview-Audio-Cables/departments/86/), you're trying to minimize the amount of material in the actual connector. If you'd like a better cable than the RS RCA's can provide, I would strongly suggest the Eichman Bullets; http://www.vhaudio.com/bullet-plugs.html These provide better attack and decay characteristics, better timbre and tone with more "air" but the RS plugs are really surprisingly good and a good place to begin until you decide whether these are the cables you like. You can always swap RCA's later.


There are two ways to build these cables and which will work best is dependent upon your system. The basic approach is a two conductor cable terminated with RCA's. The second is to use only one "hot" conductor per channel and then use the chassis of each component in a star grounding arrangement.

To do the two conductor cable you begin by laying out a length of tape just slightly shorter than your total cable length and with the adhesive side up. Lay your two conductors down each side of the tape, one on each edge and about 1/4" or so from the edge. Once you have both legs attached to the tape, use a second piece of tape over the first to secure the conductors inside a tape envelope. Neatness is however much you care to put into it though you want to maintain a reasonably constant distance between conductors. Four hands and a few temporary helpers to hold down the ends of the tape probably make for a better looking package but only if the owners of all hands get aong well. You should now have a single piece of "unsticky" tape with the two conductors inside and two short lengths of wire protruding from each end.

Slip the collar of each RCA over the end of each conductor before you make your attachments inside the plug. Scrape the enamel off the magnet wire, if that's what you're using, and make your screw connection to the center post of the solderless RCA's. You really should use a dab of (silver) solder - also available at RS - for the ground connection. Use a low heat iron between 16 and 25 watts or you'll melt the center post's insulation and you should work with the solder just enough to make a good connection without cracks. If you're unsure how to solder well, read a tutorial on line. Slide the collar over the plug and that's pretty much it. The cables are extremely fragile so they're not ideal for someone who is constantly tugging at cables. And they lack a shield. In most locations you won't really need a shield for your ic's as long as you don't exceed about 1 1/2 meters in length. However, this is another reason it's best to start with the less expensive materials before you find out these ic's aren't going to work in a RF rich environment.

If you need a shield, you can buy a braided shield from several locations. Let me know and I'll give you a few leads but you will likely find these cables work fine as is. If the RF pickup is anything more than slightly noticeable, skip the whole affair and head to some more conventional shielded cables.

The alternate would be to use just one cable leg per channel with an external ground connection. You will need to find an unpainted chassis screw - component feet are usually held on with unpainted screws - on each component and run a single strand of wire between from each of your component's chassis and terminate them al together at your pre amp or DAC. I've never tried this connection with a computer as a source and you might find you have problems getting a good ground off the computer chassis.

If you find the ic's acceptable, then you might want to do a little more wrapping around the conductor ends and up onto the masking paper to make the cables less fragile. The whole thing should cost a few dollars with the magnet wire and RS RCA's and in many systems where I've tried these, they do extremely well. MW used these for several years and found he had to invest in some pricey ($$$$) MIT's to gain what he thought was an advantage. These remain my main cables for everything with a short cable run other than my turntable.

Let me know what you think if you try these.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1469
Registered: Jul-07
Thanks Jan. Sorry about the email thing. I forgot I shut that down during the last flare-up here. I got a few unsavoury emails. MW has my email if you ever need to send me anything, as does Nuck.

Question re: the interconnects. How wide is the masking tape you use ? The stuff I have on hand here is only about an inch wide. I think you must be using wider stuff than that. I'm going to check with local shop here re: the RCA's before ordering. They may just carry the Eichman's. If not I'll order a set. The solder and magnet wire I can get from The Source (formerly RS here in Canada).

I called the magnet wire supplier I found in Ontario, but unless I'm prepared to buy 250 lbs, it's no-go. I'm thinking I won't need that much for a pair of speaker cables and a set of interconnects.

I finished the painting tonight, so I'll be ready tomorrow to start putting things back together. I'd like to have it all worked out by the end of the weekend, but we'll see.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1470
Registered: Jul-07
Upload

Here is where I'm headed for my room layout. If I go with wall mounted shelves (2" maple boards on wall brackets), I can keep my cable runs short. I'm taking some advice from a Decware article, and am going to do a non-symetrical approach to acoustic panel placement. I'm going to put the wall panels so that if the left wall panel is in the upper portion of the wall, the right wall panel is on the lower part of the wall, and vise versa. This will give a hardwall/softwall setup, so sound waves can't bounce back and forth between parellel surfaces. I'm keeping the diffusers more or less where they were before I tore the room apart, as that arrangement was working well.

The picture makes it look like the walls will be almost completely covered, but that's not the case really. Less than 20% of the surfaces will have a "treatment" of any kind, the rest will either be bare, or will be pictures, bookcase, curtains (bamboo screen), etc. I can tweak as necessary, but I wanted to get it as close to perfect as possible right out of the gate, to avoid have a million holes in the walls like I ended up with last time.

I ordered the magnet wire, but won't have it for at least 10 days or so. I found a place up the road that will cut and finish my maple boards for the shelves, which is a bonus. I have a sliding compound saw that would do it, but cutting maple neatly is tricky. The stuff is really hard on a saw blade too.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17057
Registered: May-04
.

"I forgot I shut that down during the last flare-up here."


No problem, I did the same about five years ago.


Send me a link to that Decware article if you would. I'm curious to see what he's talking about. Bass traps are obviously meant for very long wavelength absorption. Lower than 50Hz and most rooms won't have only a portion of the wave hitting the wall. For midrange on up, the wavelengths grow progressively shorter and taming a 3kHz reflection at your ankles won't really help at your ears. It sounds as if Decware has come up with another unconventional idea for room treatments.

The most forgotten surfaces of your room are the floor and the ceiling. Unless your speakers use a horn or a waveguide to minimize dispersion in the vertical plane, they will have just as much energy hitting them and reflecting off them as will the side walls.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1471
Registered: Jul-07
Here's the article. http://hosted.comm100.com/knowledgebase/Article.aspx?siteId=81244&id=41

Here's the exerpt that stuck in my head....

"The ringing associated with the hand clap starts at around 2 kHz and can easily be treated with thick rugs, 2 inch foam, or heavy draperies. Carpet, and the type of padding under it will have more effect on the decay of your room than anything you will put on the walls. Unless of course you plan to create layered absorbers for your walls, by placing an air space or padding behind thick materials.

Your room should be a combination of reflective and absorptive surfaces. For example, a soft floor (carpet with padding) and a hard ceiling. An ideal to shoot for is NO TWO PARALLEL SURFACES should be the same. If an area of one wall is treated with absorption, the opposing surface should be reflective. It is possible to make two whole walls soft, and leave two walls hard and get a fair result. A better result comes from mixing it up a bit more than that."


Running with that premise, what I was thinking of doing was sectionalizing the side walls.....ie measure down 1.5' from the ceiling and then horizontally hang a 4x2' panel (which would cover from 1.5' down to 3.5' down the wall). On the opposing wall, measure up 1.5 ' and hang a panel that would cover from 1.5' to 3.5' up the wall. On my wall this would only leave about a 6" gap in the middle. I could drop/raise each panel another 3" so that there is no space, and the critical listening area is completely covered off, although I'm not sure the 6" would matter. Move back a couple of feet on the wall and repeat, only this time opposite.....low on the first wall, high on the opposite.

Let me know what you think.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1472
Registered: Jul-07
I should also mention that the floor of the room is carpeting, with heavy underlay. The ceiling is bare, except for 2 2x4' areas at the first reflection points that have acoustic tiles glued to the gyproc.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17061
Registered: May-04
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I haven't forgotten you, Chris. I've been busy and this computer has been acting up. I'll try to finish my post by tomorrow.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17062
Registered: May-04
.

Reading the article I'm not sure whether I should simply disagree with Deckert or merely say he is the victim of his own bad writing. Having read several of his articles I would tend toward the latter. The "no two parallel surfaces treated alike" makes me think of the old style LEDE (live end/dead end) approach to studio acoustics. Not many studios still rely on LEDE treatments today. Of course, each room must be taken on its own merits plus the preferred layout of speakers/listening position. Your room might present distinct contradictions if you are still intent on using the various speakers you list in your profile. Dipoles/bipoles are typically treated as similar yet two distinct types of speakers presenting their own unique problems with the room interface. The figure of eight polar response of the dipole, which cancels many of the close in side wall reflections (which would still exist with a bipole, monopole or omni-directional speaker), would determine slightly different room treatments to deal with specific issues presented by each speaker. Also, speaker placement is very likely to be different for each type of speaker relative to the reflective surfaces. A much more directional speaker such as the monopole Ling will not have the same in room response as would the broadly dispersed two way system you list. As the frequencies rise and become more directional for the diameter of the driver the Ling will be quick to focus its energy in a more narrowly defined pattern than will a system using a broad bandwidth dome tweeter and, therefore, room treatments will need to address each speaker's needs.

That said, I would say you've somewhat misinterpreted Deckert's advice. While many "authorities" on acoustics have their own methods of treating a room, I first of all find many "authorities" to tend towards over damping the listening room to achieve an essentially flat frequency response with a specific time quotient to the decay of a sinewave. They view themself as engineers even when they haven't completed any formal education in the subject and they tend to impose an argument of authority on the end user which claims they best know what the user will prefer. RealTraps is well known for creating rooms which measure quite well and have many attributes of a good room yet lack the capacity to play music in a convincing and engaging manner. So I would advise you to pick your poison and whichever you select, realize you are allowing one person to dictate what you will like and why you will prefer it. IMO this is no better than having someone else pick your system for you. Of course, that same advice applies to anything I tell you. My recommendations will be based upon many of the preferences I have for music reproduction along with the final look of the room.


Specifically addressing the "no two parallel surfaces alike" advice given by Deckert, I would say this is generally good advice when you are discussing floors and ceilings or opposite ends of the room. However, keep in mind what it is you're trying to accomplish with your treatments and you might just come to a slightly different conclusion. To begin with your bass treatments will encompass the entire room since the long pressure waves created by the lowest octaves will fill the entire room and must be addressed at each location where they might cause problems. For that you would begin by trapping each corner of the room since this will be the location of the highest pressure gradient when dealing with "bass". More specifically, any intersection of reflective surfaces will result in an increase in pressure and a disruption of smooth frequency response. Treating first the intersection of two surfaces - two perpendicular walls - will help tremendously in taking down the "room boom" caused by the 1/4 space of the reflective surfaces. More importantly, and if you can only treat one area of a wall, the tri-corners of the room - wall/wall/ceiling or floor will give the highest payback for the least amount of materials. Therefore, all tri-corners of the room need to be addressed in similar fashion. Next each 1/4 space corner of the room should be approached with identical intentions.

That's the conventional approach to treating the corners of a listening room. I wouldn't want you to think this is the only way to approach a room's bass modes. Several designers through the years have actually used the corners of the room as tools in their designer's bag of tricks. If your preference is for a monopole type speaker rather than a dipole/bipole, before you go to the effort of taming the corners, just try your speakers placed tightly into the corner and angled accordingly out into the room. This isn't "conventional" thinking in today's world of acoustics but it is a very traditional approach which might surprise you. Don't just accept conventional thinking, listen to what the music is telling you and go from there.

If tight corner placement doesn't suit your system, then you'll need to treat each corner in similar fashion since each room intersection presents identical problems. In any event the dimensions of the room largely determine how you begin to treat that room's problems. Rives audio has what is probably the clearest example of how to think of bass in your room; http://www.rivesaudio.com/resources/listening_room/frame.html Click on the links to the room modes and you'll see approximately where in any room you should also be treating bass issues. Once again, bass pressure waves are quite large and reach from the floor to the ceiling in most rooms. Treat what you can and what must be done, no more. One of the largest arguments many listeners have to "conventional" room treatments is they rely on absorption for most of their effect. Absorption as used in acoustic treatments is never less than broadband, extending from the upper frequencies down to the limits of the absorptive device which will be determined by its dimensions. This means the bass trap you use to tame a 100Hz wave will also have an effect at all other frequencies above 100Hz. The consequence of this broadband absorption is a room can quickly become too dry and subsequently the music lacks vitality and interest. It's quite common for an audiophile first plunging into room treatments to quickly over do, thinking if a little is good, then a lot must be better - sort of like over torquing the headshell screws to the point of deforming the cartridge body. Your bass traps should include some amount of reflective material to even out the balance of reflection/absorption. ASC addressed this problem many years ago; http://www.tubetrap.com/tubetrap-technical.htm While you're on the site, look at their suggested room set ups. Also notice the diameter of their traps and the low frequency absorption limit each meets. You see that deep bass can only be treated by very large traps with great depth. Even in an anechoic chamber the deepest octaves are still largely untouched despite the treatments at times being as much as four feet deep. Trying to treat the entire frequency band equally will require a large expenditure of cash and will also tend to dominate all but the largest of rooms. Anything less than about 4" of absorptive material will only be effective through the upper most octaves. Materials do have different absorption coefficients and using a variety of materials will provide your best chance of success.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17063
Registered: May-04
.

To save some time I'm going to paste a bit of advice I gave Dave a while back via email. I've made some subtractions, additons and modifications to the text since I don't think my writing was all that clear at the time:


As far as "off balance" systems go, this can be in the recording though I suspect you're referring more to an off center image from what should be a centralized vocal. Equipment can be the issue here as volume controls seldom track evenly across their entire range. My Audible Illusions pre amp uses twin vc/s for just that reason and it is not at all uncommon that a very gentle tweak to one channel will bring a far more solid and dimensional sense of reality to the entire soundstage. So, while balance controls can also have their inherent problems, they are retained on modern high end pre amps for a reason. Don't be afraid to use the controls you've been provided as long as their introduction into the signal path doesn't bring more problematic issues along.

I assume you've performed a proper speaker set up procedure. If not, then this is where your spatial clues as well as overall frequency balance are first established. I would suggest you have the speakers located in such a way the room effects are minimized. This generally begins with something like the Wilson WASP set up being the starting point for good results. Don't be afraid to veer off from strict Wilson correctness as every situation demands its own solution. Here it's best to read through a few set up procedures to glean the essential concepts each employs. Then with some knowledge about set up and a end goal in your head, you can make better small adjustments as you narrow down the right set up in your room for your speakers and your tastes. To truly achieve the best your system has to offer, some exacting measurement are required, so get out the measuring tools and be ready to rig up some of your own. A simple cardboard jig can be made to establish location and toe in from adjacent walls so each speaker has its correct location and symmetry in relation to the opposite channel. In a room such as your's, if one speaker is toed in exactly 15 degrees, then the opposite channel speaker is also toed in exactly 15 degrees. A quick jig makes it simple to assure the same alignment within the room or two measuring tapes can be equally effective. But the symmetry of the set up is probably what will make the system in a symmetrically proportioned space. Don't take things for granted, measure both from the side and front wall and also from the centerline of the listening position. Also, assure the position of the speakers relative to your listening height by measuring from the tweeters to a virtual spot on the rear wall which would represent your ear height. Titlting stand mount speakers slightly can often times make for dramatic changes in perception of space. Therefore, don't be afraid to raise or lower (the front) of the speakers relative to ear height if you think that improves the music. Also, do not be tied down to any preconceptions of how things should work. On the whole, stand mount speakers will offer their best performance on a rigid stand when the speaker is rigidly affixed to the stand. This, however, a rule which begs to be broken. Experiment with various ways to get the most out of the speakers. At times this might be when the speakers are somewhat decoupled from the stand by the use of cones facing either upwards or downwards. Small wooden blocks or ball bearings placed under the speakers might be capable of extracting greater detail and a sense of speed from the speakers if they don't care to be restricted by a stand - particularly if the stand is not a purpose built component meant for that exact speaker. The 35 year old LS3/5a's are constantly being upgraded by a new stand someone has come up with. I tend to experiment with a few concrete blocks set on top of each other to have a solid base material and then play around with attachment methods before I move on to a more aesthetically acceptable stand. The point is to experiment and listen. That is how you'll arrive at the best from any specific system unless you have very expensive measurement devices.

Then, after you've done all the experimentation required and, if necessary, you can mark the proper location for each speaker with a bit of tape or a small bit of thread through a loop of carpeting. This allows you to move the speakers in and out for traffic purposes but always have the precise location for listening at hand. So, first thing to do is a proper speaker set up and it doesn't matter if you think you've already accomplished that. Try it again and this time you might try a different set up technique or you might just incorporate ideas from other set up procedures into the final positioning of the speakers.

Do not forget that speaker position is relative to both the reflective surfaces of the room and also the listening location. I know the room isn't overly large but your listening position is right up against a very large and very reflective surface. To add to the issue your speakers are directed at that surface with no toe in or out. You will need to tame the back wall reflections as much as possible to begin removing the harshness of the sound. The first thing to do is to add either some absorptive materials directly behind your head and off to the sides slightly by dropping those panels down a foot or to add some diffusion systems around the position of your head and off to both sides. You'll know the right approach when the hardness of the music is noticeably diminished.

In all cases other than the fairly esoteric approaches such as Shun Mook discs, the Synergistic ART treatments, etc. the conventional approach to taming a room relies on surface area. The standard approach to diffusion is fairly similar since the frequency range of diffusion is well above the bass region. The difference between mathematically correct panels; http://www.rpginc.com/products/skylinelp/index.htm.http://www.decware.com/p1312. htm, http://www.rpginc.com/products/skylinelp/index.htm and a simple device such as a half round ASC Tube trap are important but beyond most budgets. If you can afford them - or can build then yourself, then do so. These are the most important additions to your room I would make when trying to minimize the hardness of most music. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking down in level those early reflections which are ocurring directly behind your listening position. You can experiment with lots of DIY materials ranging from nothing more than a large piece of cardboard scored and folded in a manner which would make for an irregular back wall surface to some 6" pieces of Sonotube (possibly halved - or not) hung on the wall. You need something to break up the wall directly behind your head and off to both sides. IMO, this is were you start and this is were you invest as much money as needed to achieve a result. Remember, total surface area is important here; three inch deep panels/rounds can only affect very high frequencies while six inch deep panels can reach down into the midrange region. It is difficult to have too much diffusion behind you. It is possible to have somewhat too much absoprtion behind you as the sense of space will diminish rather than expand. "Space" is provided by diffusion. The music you listen to will somewhat determine which approach is the more satisfactory as rock is not going for "space", in most cases. Instruments are direct injected into a mixing board and constrained to smallish isolation booths which greatly dimminish the effects of the recording venue. With a dozen microphones and recording channels on a single drumset the engineer is not trying to capture the sound of the venue but rather is looking for tight control of each input channel. Time and phase are not important to the engineer recording metal while they are typically a vital consideration in most classical recordings. At this point you can decide how much you want to go for a more comprehensive approach - desireable simply because it is more "correct" - or focus your resources on just getting the broad majority of your music to an improved state. Don't assume just diffusion or just absorption is the best approach in the long run though, your best end result will virtually always be a judicious and a strict goal oriented combination of all the tools available.


Turning to the other reflective surfaces in your space you will need to bring down the reflected energy overall. Again surface area is your friend. While a flat material with absorptive qualites can be effective, your better solution is a corrugated material. Think "Egg Crate" mattress pads. The greater the surface area available for the energy waves to strike, the more effective the material will be when all other factors are equal. Logically then, this http://www.musicdirect.com/p-4761-auralex-sonocolumns-in-charcoal-set-of-4.aspx is more effective than this, http://www.musicdirect.com/p-13334-roomtunes-square-ea.aspx when the same dimensions are used. Further improvements made by achieveing greater surface area will result in more noticeable effects per linear foot of material. Think the difference between a woolen carpet hung flat against the wall vs the same carpet hung with deep pleats. Additionally, having the material slightly away from the surface of the wall will add greater efficiency to the material as the energy waves which do pass through the material will be reflected off the wall and directed back into the absorption material for a second scrubbing. So rather than hang a panel directly on the wall, allow for an inch or two of reflective space behind the panel for the most bang per buck.

One treatment you might consider given the dimensions of your room would be to treat the entire upper half of the wall surfaces with a polyfoam curtain. While poly materials are not as effective square foot per square foot as other materials (when it comes to absorption), I've heard very good results when entire side walls are covered due to the overall surface area increase. For your room you could begin by attaching a few well located hanging panels from the ceiling just to get a flavor of what might happen with the entire top half of the room covered. If you find the result acceptable, then move forward with poly across the entire top half to 2/3 of each wall by positioning the material between your chair molding and, say, a picture frame molding at the top of the wall. Cover the poly with a lightweight, open weave material you find acceptable to the color scheme of the room. Diffusion panels can, if desired, be added on top of the wall coverings or be free standing items within the room.


If the entire upper wall approach isn't to your liking, you need to become more strategic in your placement of absorption devices. You've already become aware of how much improvement can be had with minor additions of materials now it's time to get serious about making an improvement. There are a few good methods for deciding the best location for absorption material. They will all require a proxy for your tweeters. The stand by, decades old approach involves using mirrors and having a friend move the mirror(s) along the side wall as you sit in your listening position. Place a narrow beam light source - a laser pointer does well here - and align it to the front baffle of each speaker. In other words, the light source should be perpedicuar to the front baffle and facing in the identical direction as the on axis dispersion of the tweeter. With you sitting in your chair the mirror is moved along the wall (at ear level) until you see the reflection of the speaker. That's your strongest first reflection point for that speaker on that wall. Mark it since you're going to come back to it later. Keep moving the mirror until you see the reflection of the opposite channel speaker on the same wall. Move the mirror to the other side wall and repeat the procedure marking the location of the first, strongest reflection for each speaker. When you're done you should have four locations marked on the walls, all at ear level.

I'll assume you've performed a proper speaker set up by now and you've decided the appropriate amount of toe in for your speakers. Once again, you decide what's best for your system and tastes and don't just go by what the manufacturer "suggests". While the closest to stated frequency response will almost always be an on axis listening position, this could easily be overly ... "dramatic" for the real world of your room and music.

Keep in mind here sound diminishes in level by -6dB for every doubling of distance. Two simple ways to minimize harsh room reflections are; 1) minimize first reflections where they occur on side walls, and, 2) create a greater distance for the sound waves to travel. Obviously, toeing in the speakers creates that distance both in the initial perception of the sound but more importantly in where in the room the second, third and fourth reflections are occurring.

For example, after you've marked each first reflection point for each speaker, if you were to move the mirror along the wall again, eventually you would see those first reflection marks in the mirror. This would likely be the second reflection point - or, depending on the speaker position and the room dimensions, this second reflection point might be on the back wall. Rather than treat each reflection point as if sound is travelling only in a single straight line, your best bet is to tame the reflection before it bounces the first time. Therefore, take either your absorptive material or your diffusion devices and treat both reflections points on each wall. You might try absorption on the speaker closest to the wall and diffusion on the opposite speaker's reflection point. This should provide a better sense of openess than simply using absorption at each location. Make certain whatever you do to one wall, you do the same to the other, first reflections absorbed on the right for the right channel, first reflections need to eb absorbed on the left for the left channel.. Otherwise, the first reflection on one side will be too strong which raises the in room level of that channel and the system will again be off balance.

Toe in can be used to move those first early reflections either further down the wall or to a location where their bounce causes a longer distance before striking the next wall. Just keep in mind it is the first reflection point which is the most destructive to spatial perception and to the sense of ease with which you listen. Take it down in level and you'll have less to treat throughout the rest of the room. If you visit most sites which discuss room treatments, you see a diagram of how reflected energy travels in straight lines around the room bouncing from one reflection point to the next as if the sound were a billiard ball. That isn't what happens in real life but it's where you must begin when attempting room treatments. Each speaker has what is termed a "power response" frequency measurement which is derived by taking into consideration the dispersion characteristics of the various drivers. Naturally, a low frequency driver more or less fills the room with dispersion in an omni-directional pattern at the lowest frequencies and then as the dimensions of the frequency wavelength approaches the physical dimensions of the driver itself, the in-room power response dissipates as the dispersion characteristics of the driver narrow. At the crossover frequency the higher frequency driver will have - typically - a broader in- room power response due to the physical dimensions of the driver vs the dimension of the wavelengths it is asked to reproduce. This is one reason speakers tend to sound quite unalike despite similar on axis measurements and why moving a speaker from one side wall to the front wall will often make for dramatic changes in preceived flatness of response.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17064
Registered: May-04
.


Now, on to Deckert's assertion and your interpretation of those instructions. We'll assume for the moment you've successfully dealt with the most aggregious bass problems and turn our attention to the upper frequencies. As I said earlier, specific drivers will exhibit specific dispersion patterns and it is these patterns you must address to tame a room. Horn loaded drivers or drivers with a wave guide will have defined dispersion patterns which adhere to the shape and length of the guide. The purpose of most horns and guides is, in one respect, to control where sound goes and where it does not. Therefore, any driver with such a guide can be oriented to send pressure waves in one plane, say, the horizontal, but not in the other, the vertical. (This advantage/disadvantage is fine for most horn loaded systems though only a truly spherical horn can produce a spherical wavefront which is the acoustic duplicate of most instruments.) But, going back to Deckert's words, a rectangular horn oriented horizontally, wouldn't require any real room treatments to either the floor or ceiling since neither surface would have maximum excitation due to the horn's restricted output in those two areas. One of the problems I have with Deckert's acoustics articles is he tends to show the output of a speaker system as a straight line when that is hardly what you have from any speaker. In a more conventional speaker system with a cone type, dynamic driver for the low frequencies and a dome type, dynamic driver for the upper registers each driver will have its own dispersion pattern and depending on the in room response of each system, each speaker will require a slightly different approach to successfully mating it to a room. Likewise, ribbons or electrostatic type tweeters will require slightly different treatments than would be case with a dynamic driver.

Remember, in the broadest terms, as the dimension of a pressure wave shrinks due to rising frequency so too will its dispersion into the room become increasingly more narrow until at frequencies smaller than the diameter of the driver the output of the driver comes to look more and more like Deckert's single laser beam straight line pattern. With single drivr, full range systems, this narrowing comes at relatively low frequencies and the speker must eb tyoed in more towards the listening position to achieve the flatest response. (Not that the flattest response is always what you want.) This occurs with any driver and so the low frequency driver becomes increasingly directional it is reaches upwards to its eventual limits. For a single driver, full range system this means there will be very little information which is sent to the side walls above, maybe, 5kHz or lower. Where this transition from broad dispersion to increasingly narrow patterns occurs will depend on the overall diameter of the driver itself plus it type. For a system which crosses over to a dome type tweeter, the broad to narrow dispersion path starts all over again as the diameter of the high frequency driver is typically smaller than is the dimension of its lowest frequency output. As frequency rises the dome tweeter's response narrows rapidly until it too is quite highly directional. You can see each speaker once again must be dealt with on its own terms and in each specific room. It would be beneficial, IMO, if you would looked at a chart which displays the frequency range for each instrument as this will guide you toward making decisions about just what you are hearing and what might need to be done about it. If the upper frequencies of, say, a piano are sounding hard, it's unlikely they will be hitting the sidewall with great strength as they are more likely to exist in the narrow dispersion range for most speaker systems. Middle C, however, probably exists right in the broadest dispersion of most multiway speakers.

If we take the most typical system for an audiophile, a two or three way system with a dome tweeter and a designed-in broad dispersion high frequency driver which will work well for home theater and, if need be, music, then we have a few basic rules we can apply. The first, as I stated in the above post, should be both side walls get treated alike. Absorption at the first reflection point for each channel should be located across the room from each other, both at ear level. Absorption too high or too low on the wall is almost the same as no absorption at all. Absorption or diffusion at the location of the opposite channel's speaker should also, in a symmetrical room with symmetrical speaker set up, be directly across from each other.

The front wall behind the speakers is typically only treated for bass issues. If you've viewed the modes of the room on the Rive's site, you see a bass trap would typically be placed in the center position of the front wall. If you've successfully treated the first reflection point on the side walls, there isn't likely to be any need for higher frequency treatments along the front wall. If reflections are hitting the front wall behind the speaker - and you're not using a multi-pole speaker system - then, as Deckert's illustration suggests, they've already been reflected from other walls once or twice. The wall behind your listening position would normally be treated for bass by placing traps in each corner and one centrally located bass trap. Diffusion in the location of the potential second reflection almost always works better behind you than does absorption. If you have that much of the room treated, then you should just sit and listen for awhile. Don't be afraid to make small adjustments to positions or to even remove a few pieces to make certain they are necessary and not taking away too much life from the room.


Here's an alternative to wall mounted treatments for upper frequencies. Treat them just as they leave the speaker, doing so will mean you have far less to concern yourself with in the rest of the room. Look at the ACS site again and you'll find a suggested placement of traps just to each side and slightly in front of each speaker. In this case, the absorptive side of the trap is facing toward the speaker and is taking down in level all information just as it leaves the speaker's baffle. Move the trap slightly forward and you reduce even further the amount of information striking the side walls. You can, in effect, turn your speakers into very directional systems which would require very litttle treatment on the side walls to tame reflected energy. You can accomplish the same effect by simply draping a piece of absorptive material over the top of your speaker, extending it forwards of the baffle by a few inches and allowing it to hang slightly beneath the position of the drivers. This can be a very easy and very cheap way to treat many of today's speakers which have been designed with extremely broad dispersion in mind to make them more suitable for use in a home theater environment. By narrowing the dispersion of the system in such a way you're making the speaker slightly less evenly balanced off axis across it upper frequency range. But this is typically acceptable for speakers used for music and heard by only one centrally located listener.

Your floor's carpeting is beneficial though possibly not sufficient. Using the mirror again to locate the first reflection point off the floor, toss a big pillow down at that spot to see if you have enough absorption just by way of the carpet and padding. The thicker the padding under the carpet, generally, the better the bass response will be in a room. This is the most typically forgotten area for most room treatments and the one which can still cause many problems in low ceilinged rooms. No one expects you to carpet your ceiling but a speaker with broad dispersion in all directions will also have reflection points off the ceiling. Use the mirror again and find those locations and mark them for future reference. Taming just those locations can at times be the tipping point between good and very good sound in a specific room. Rigid fiberglass panels are better for bass than for upper frequencies - where they actually do very little - so you might need something other than your fiberglass panels on the ceiling.

And, of course, before you do any of this, you should have determined the very best location for your chair. Walk the room from front to back while playing some music with good bass content. Most likely you'll hear the modes of the room as you walk from one end to the next. In some rooms it's quite easy to hear bass all but disappear in one or even two spots only to return just a few feet further in. Bass will almost always be strongest - not necessarily cleanest - at the room boundaries. If your room is typical, bass quality can literally be a matter of inches forward or backward for where your ears reside. A little too far forward and the bass it too light or too muddied. Likewise, if you sit just a few inches too far back, bass quality and quantity can change dramatically. So before you make any other corrections to the room, make certain your speakers and your chair are at their best location. I prefer as little absorption in the room as you can tolerate. This is especially true if you are using dipoles, bipoles or omni-directional speakers. If you have a choice for the upper frequencies, choose diffusion over absorption. Keep in mind any bass trap which cannot control the amount of reflected information will be a broadband absorber. While it's generally conceded that you can't have too many bass traps in a room, you can have too much broadband absorption. After you've found what sounds like a good compromise between the amount of absorption and reflection you have in the room, start removing some of the absorption. If you're like most listeners, you'll probably find the room more to your liking with about 20% less material than when you started.

So, to Deckert's "no two walls" statement, I would say only in a few examples. The ceiling and the floor are going to be treated somewhat differently in most rooms. The front and the rear walls will be similar in respect to bass issues but more likely to be dissimilar for the upper frequencies. The side walls will be treated identically since you are dealing with those signals which occur at the strongest reflection points occurring at ear level. I would say look at the ASC site for some guidance but remember their traps can all be rotated to obtain the appropriate amount of reflected signal. Normally, you'll find most Tube Traps are set to have a small to a very large amount of reflection when they are in all but the strongest reflection points. This will typically make for a fairly lively, open sounding room which still has good bass qualities.

Finally, I think, when you are selecting materials, keep in mind any pressure wave can be absorbed, diffused, passed through or reflected. Most likely is a combination of several of those options for any one device. Synthetic materials tend to be more reflective than do cotton or wool and their effects on frequency response are less predictable than cotton or wool. Hanging a poly-based drapery will have a less evenly absorbed effect across the board than would hanging a woolen blanket. Give any wall hanging material as much space behind it as possible. This will allow the pressure wave to pass through once, be reflected and then pass through a second time for the most effect per square foot of material used.


That should give you a good start on how I would go about treating your room. Less is more, so do remove some treatments in a few weeks. If they need to come back in, that's fine.



Any questions? Is that all clear enough?








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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17065
Registered: May-04
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After you've settled in on their general position in the room, try this method to finalize the correct alignment of your speakers. Afix a laser pointer to the top center of your speakers (or aligned with the position of the high frequency driver if it is offset on the baffle). Determine the height of your listening position at your chair and temporarilly place a proxy for yourself in the chair. Align the height and tilt of the speakers to the position of your ear height in the chair. (If you use a stand in for yourself, be careful not to shine the laser directly in their eyes.) Remove the proxy from the chair and, using the now apparent location of the laser beam on the rear wall, place a length of masking tape horizontally across the back wall at the same height. Mark the tape off in inches using a ruler. Determine the preferred toe in for your speakers by adjusting the laser's position to aim; first, directly at your ears, then both slightly in front of and slightly behind your head position. Once you've settled on the preferred amount of toe in, mark your tape in smaller increments and adjust each speaker to hit at exactly the same location on each side. Be as strict in placement as you feel necessary, however, being spot on is never a bad thing.

After you have the toe in correct for each speaker, use the same tape method vertically and recheck the listening height/tilt of your speakers.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1475
Registered: Jul-07
I spent most of the weekend assembling the room together, and experimenting with placement....of just about everything. Not quite done yet. I think I had the room overdamped before. I have things a little different from my plans in the drawing above....as things didn't work out quite as planned. I need a little more work on the back wall I think. I have two skyline diffusors at ear level behind me (left and right) with the bookshelf between them, but there is a lot of bare wall still. When sitting in my listening chair with a double album behind my head, things clean-up a bit, so I think I'm getting two much energy off the back wall. Easily fixed. I have waaaay less treatment material in the room right now....taking your advice Jan around starting with less, and adding as needed. Overall the room sounds not too bad. Other than taming the back wall a bit more, I need to add at least a couple of major bass traps. I used to have 6" of OC703 in each corner, and now I have only 4"....and it's noticable. Bass is a bit shy, and lacking in punch. I think I'll try to assemble a couple of large'ish tube traps.

It's a good thing my gear is all small footprint stuff. The maple shelves dressed were less than 11" wide, so everything JUST fits with barely enough space for wire attachments in the back. Looks damn good though. I put rubber spacers between the front wall and the brackets, between the brackets and the shelf, and between the top bolt and the self. I got a cheap stethoscope as you suggested and checked the front wall prior to installation. It had a little noise on it, but it was way quieter than the side walls (they have no insulation in them). I had enough maple left over to make an amp stand and a platform for my Mini Mac. I have Mapleshade Isoblocks under them, and it was amazing to listen (through the stethoscope) at the difference between the energy in the maple shelf, and the maple amp stand. Like night and day. Those isoblocks work wonders.

I'm still waiting for my magnet wire to arrive, but luckily my old speaker wire was long enough to reach. Once the magnet wire gets here I'll give it a try.

I took some pictures yesterday and I'll get them posted up here sometime during the week when I get a minute or two. Resizing them all to fit on this site is a pain in the ar$e.

I have my speakers 48" from the front wall, and 26" from the side wall right now....toed in to point just outside of each ear. Not sure if that's optimal yet, but I'll work off of that as a starting point at least. To your question re: speaker preferences, I'm using the Tekton Open Baffle speakers. I left the front wall far less damped than I previously had it, as everything I read re: dipoles suggested to not put a lot of absorption behind them. As noted above though, I'm going to add some softer materials to the back wall.

Overall the room looks so much better it's rediculous. Without all of the junk in it, and all the dark curtains, it looks twice as big. It actually looks like a listening room. If I can get it to sound as good as it looks.....

Thanks for all your help and suggestions Jan.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17066
Registered: May-04
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Yep! A gatefold double LP is a terrific acoustics tool. More than enough reason to buy a $3k turntable set up.

But you may not be getting your money's worth from the tool. Move it around and listen for the results. Placed close behind your head it can tell you what needs to happen directly behind you. But open and close the angle of the LP cover to hear just how much you need to do and where you need to do it. If the sound is improved with the cover extended to flat, you need a more comprehensive approach to the entire backwall. If the sound improves when the cover is closed more to cover your ears, then the likely culprit is a second reflection point towards the back of the room. In that case, notice the point at which the sound begins to improve and turn around to see where on the wall the location of the reflection is occurring.

If the sound is more pleasant with the cover open but further away from your head, then more diffusion on the back wall is probably your best choice. Remember the LP cover acts as a reflective surface so you must have the ability to discriminate between what you are hearing reflected from the LP cover and what the room is telling you. Because the reflections from the surface close to your head will be more closely related in time with the direct signal from the speakers, it will tend toward a slightly brighter and more defined character. Reflections from the room will tend more toward a slightly diffused, less emphatic sound. Don't think you can only treat the walls themself. If you have a preference for the sound you hear with the LP cover closer to your heard, you can recreate most of that sound by placing a free standing surface close to your head which also blocks the early reflections from the room. Experiment here with a large piece of cardboard scored so as to shape it more into a diffusive screen - cut only halfway through the board and make each cut on the opposite side which should enable you to bend and move the panel around as a free standing screen without it being a flat, reflective surface. Place this behind your chair and try a few locations close in and further away from your chair. You'll still hear a good deal of reflected energy from the back of the room but very little from the earliest reflections.


Don't forget to move the LP cover around your head. That reflection you're hearing might be coming from the ceiling or the floor. As you move the cover around your head, in front of your head or over your head, wherever you hear improved sound quality points to where you should try some room treatment or a repositioning of other treatments.

If your bookcase is to be used as a decent acoustic device, it's best to turn it into a more diffusive type of device than a reflective surface. If the bookcase is storing LP's, CD's, actual books, etc, do not have them arranged to form a flat reflective surface. Take a group of books and move then forward on the shelf and then take another group and move them backward. Then move another group forward but not as much as the first group. Create open spaces for sound to penetrate. In other words, make it look as much like a diffusion panel as possible. There's no math involved in such a device but it certainly will sound better than a flat, all the same depth bookcase.

With the Tekton's single main driver you will have minimal high frequency energy dispersed into the room. Here Deckert's concept of laser like ping pong balls bouncing around the room will be more true for any frequency wavelength which is smaller than the diameter of the Tekton's main driver. I have to say I'm a proponent of knocking down those off axis signals at the speaker itself. Try the idea of absorption right at the side(s) of the the speaker baffle. Outside edges first and then, if you hear an improvement, try also treating the insides to minimize cross channel information between the two sides. It is this cross channel interference and the reflections cause by opposite channel information which creates a closed in staging with a less defines spatial presentation. The dipole nature of the Tekton's main driver will allow you a closer to the side wall placement than would a monopole system as the open baffle design will create a figure of eight pattern which will have far less information striking side walls. If you walk from the rear wall to just in front of the speaker, you should actually hear the sound diminish somewhat when you are directly to the side of the baffle. You didn't mention which set up plan you used to get the speakers in place but most set up systems tend to ignore the less conventional speakers and focus only on what will sound best with a conventional monopole.

Dipoles and bipoles often require lots of space behind them. Check this site for a rough calculation of how to initially place your speakers with mathematically correct distances; http://www.cardas.com/speaker_placement.php?type=dipole Full range dipoles are tricky to get right but providing them the breathing room they require is essential to better than good performance. Start by getting the midrange right above all else. For this you want to set a distance which allows the direct energy of the driver to reach your ears along with an appropriate amount of energy which as been reflected off the wall behind the speakers. It is the synchronization of those two wave fronts which will tell you the position of the driver relative to the front wall is correct. When those two signals, direct and reflected - are at their best, the speakers should sound much more open with far less congestion through the mids. As with most things audio, no two people are likely to totally agree on the specific placement of a dipole but I would expect your current distances to be slightly off from optimum. And you must also take into account the bass response of your speaker which has a more conventional vented enclosure for the lowest octaves. So, if you haven't used a system to set up your speakers, give the Cardas method a try and see what you think. Don't forget that if you move the speakers, you are also changing those reflection points in the room.

For the bass traps I would suggest you cannot have enough absorptive material in the lowest octaves. You can ultimately but it's difficult. However, as I said above, you can easily have too much broadband absorption of the mids and highs if the bass absorption systems do not include some type of reflective surface. We as listeners use a system of balance to tell us how much bass, mids and highs should be present in the final product of a system. If you consider those classic speakers, amps and phono cartridges from previous decades, what they all have in common is a sense of balance throughout their frequency bandwidth. A system can be somewhat emphatic in the upper ranges if it is balanced by an appropriate amount of bass response. Here I would say you should consider the little LS3/5a as your example. The 3/5a was essentially flat to slightly tilted upwards in its free field response. In many rooms this gave the speaker a too-much-upper-end feeling. (Remember here the 3/5a was originally designed as a mobile monitor which would always be confined to very small listening spaces. Placing that speaker in a larger room went against what the designers intended for the speaker.) The small 4" driver in the 3/5a along with the extremely small enclosure obviously couldn't produce deep bass and so the designer's played a few tricks; tricks which are still in use today. The most obvious was a slight bump upwards in the frequency response of the system at about 80-120Hz. By relying on the human ear/brain connection along with the Fletcher Munson curves the designers understood that whenever a low or high frequency signal is raised in volume a human will perceive that sound as either lower or higher in frequency. Therefore, while the 3/5a was limited to about 50-60Hz response in the low end, what the listener "preceived" was much lower bass notes than the speaker could actually produce. This gave the 3/5a the balance required to make it a neutral transducer in the perception of many listeners.

Throughout the history of audio there have been components which have great balance without having exceptional bandwidth. What makes a KHL 9 or an original Quad ESL a speaker system which still gets the music right is not their extension at the frequency extremes but that they get the mids right first to capture the vocals and those instruments where the human ear is most sensitive to irregularities. After that the extension of the 9's or the Quads at either extreme are definitely less than stellar. So I wouldn't always say the bass is a bit light but rather the balance of the system needs to be improved. It may be tilted more towards the upper or lower frequencies but it must, in the end be balanced to itself.

If you haven't already, add some reflective material which faces the listening chair to your bass panels. Even if you cover the entire front of the panels, the traps will still be effective in the lowest octave due to the length of the bass waves they are absorbing. Then cover less of the wall's surface without decreasing the amount of absorptive material you use. Score the panels and bend them into a square shape which will fit more tightly into the corners of the room. You will not decrease the amount of bass absorption but you will open up the wall behind your dipoles to a more reflective surface. And, if you feel you need to have less absorption at ear level, make certain you are doing as much as possible in those tri-corner locations. Those are the single spots in any room where additional bass absorption is almost impossible to be overdone.

Finally an once again, don't think whatever you start with should be your final room set up. Room treatments are rather addictive and when you first hear the room's sound beginning to disappear with each bass trap or each diffusion panel added to the room, you fall into the trap of wanting more of that sense of openness. That sense quickly falls overboard and you'll overdamp a room in every case I've been involved in. It is impossible to get the room right the first time out simply because each room and each system will be unique to the person doing the listening. Even if, in the end, you have 50% less materials than you first thought necessary, that's probably where you want to be.

It sounds as if you are on the right track with the room and isolation. These are, IMO, where most systems gain their overall transparency. And, as one area improves in transparency, it becomes far more obvious where improvements are needed in other areas. When it comes to isolation, don't forget that most components and speakers actually require both a combination of coupling and decoupling to be at their best. That means just hearing less through the stethoscope may not be all there is to correctly setting up a component. Think about what that particular component requires and try solving it's needs. Possibly an amplifier needs to be decoupled from the mechanical feedback of the room but also coupled to the supporting structure to act as a drain for power transformer vibrations. Each component will present its own challenges and each will have its on solutions. Battery powered amps are great in many respects since they lack conventional power supplies. However, you might find a bit of damping to the case or chassis brings out just a tad more resolution.


Good luck and keep us informed.







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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1476
Registered: Jul-07
Some pics.....

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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1477
Registered: Jul-07
I went over to General Insulation at lunch time today and purchased 8 three foot lengths of OC Pipe Insulation (12" x 1" thick). This is the stuff......

http://www.generalinsulation.com/products/product%20data/insulation/fiberglass%2 0insulation/pipe%20and%20equipment%20insulation/OwensCorningFiberglassPipeInsula tion.aspx

I'm going to make 8 of these.....

http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/traps/traps.html

I'll stack them in 2's, so they should be around 14" in diameter and just over 6ft tall. I'm planning to put 1 stack in each of the front corners, and then play with different positions of the other 2 stacks. I tried playing with the double album behind and around my head again, and I think I had it wrong before. I don't think it's so much a primary reflection off of the back wall, I think it's a rebound reflection off of the front wall. As you can see in the picture above, I don't have a lot of treatments in the front, other than the corner placed OC703 panels (2 in each corner). When I moved the album back away from my head, things didn't sound a lot different with the album in place vs removed completely. However, when I shield my face, and hold it out far enough where I can see both speakers, but nothing in between, things really improved. I purposefully left the front wall alone, as I had read that with dipoles you shouldn't overly dampen the front wall......however I think I went too much the other way. I used to have thick curtains covering the entire wall under the front shelf, and depth was very good. Right now depth is non existent, and the overall sound is a tiny bit hot, but mostly just vague as far as instrument placement. There is no dimension to any of the images either.

I think I'll start with the tube traps all up front, and rotate them to get the right mix of absorption and reflection off of the tubes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1478
Registered: Jul-07
I tried the Cardas dipole speaker calc (thanks for that!) and it gives me a placement of 3.45' from centre front of speaker to side wall (mine are about 8" closer than that) and 4.64' from rear wall (which I think means what I call the front wall).....and mine are about 7" closer to the wall. So according to this, I need to pull them out from the side wall, and further into the room from the front wall. This would put my listening chair very close to the back wall.....maybe 1.5' out. If that turns out to be ideal positioning, I think I would relocate the diffusors behind me to the side walls (under the other ones that are there), and put OC703 panels behind me instead.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1479
Registered: Jul-07
In thinking about the front wall reflections.....what I have to figure out is if they are secondary reflections from the back wall (which means I would need to treat them at the back, not the front), or primary reflections from the front wall, from the back wave of the dipoles. I'm thinking it's the former, but I'll have to experiment to be sure. I think if they were primary reflections from the backwave they would be more additive than subtractive. Once I get the tube traps assembled (before I even cover them with fabric) I'll play with repositioning some of the OC703 panels (that are currently in the front corners) to the back wall. That should tell me what I need to know.

One other thing I think I figured out. If you remember a while back I was trying to improve what I was getting out of my turntable. I've not been able to get the vinyl sounding nearly as good as I think the equipment I have should sound. I wall mounted it, and cut an mdf shelf, which was only just resting on the bracket, with a tiny bit of blu-tak under the back of the shelf to level it. I would wager, based on my experience with the maple shelves, that that mdf was buzzing like nobodies business. I can't test it with the stethoscope now as I took that shelf down when I was clearing out the room, but that's my assumption. That can't be a good thing for a turntable. I need to get my TT setup again (properly) at some point, so I'll have to get back at that once I get the room sorted out. I think what I have now should be capable of sounding pretty d@mn good, but it really only sounds ok. Good enough to listen to some of my older albums and enjoy the music, but only for the musics sake. Not for the sound quality or experience of it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17070
Registered: May-04
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Are the fibreglass rolls faced or unfaced? In other words, do they have a vapor barrier consisting of either Kraft paper or plastic on their exterior? If they have any sort of reflective covering, only remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of the covering and use the remaining portion as your reflective area for the trap. If there is no covering, you'll need to add something to have some additional reflection into the room or the traps will absorb too much upper frequency information. With the covering in place, the traps are typically placed with the reflective side facing into the room when the traps are in the corners. If you're using the traps either along the side or back wall or alongside the speaker itself, begin with the reflective side facing into the room and then rotate the trap to move the direction of the reflected wave front or even to bounce it back towards the front of the room for a more diffusive sound quality. You can control quite a bit of the room's nature by rotating the reflective side to give more or less reflected signal into the room. So pay attention to the ability to bounce sound in the direction you desire rather than the direction it intends to go. Lots of experimentation pays off in this regard. You mentioned earlier that you thought the room lacked a bit in bass quantity. Here's a mistake many people make with bass traps; they misunderstand what is happening with the traps. The correct amount of traps - almost always more rather than less and almost always larger rather than smaller - will allow more bass quantity in the room. This result occurs as a function of the traps lowering the high pressure modes of the room. These modes cause acoustic phase cancellations at frequencies larger than the (smallest) room dimension which will give the impression of too little bass in many to most areas of the room while other areas tend toward too much bass - corners and tri-corners. Most first time acoustic treatment users are often surprised to hear the bass actually increase in amplitude - and cleanliness - as more traps are added to the room in those areas where high pressure modes are at their strongest. Don't, therefore, be afraid of adding too many bass traps if you are paying attention to the Rives site's examples of modes and their typical locations in most rooms.. Do, as I have mentioned, be wary of having too much broadband absorption due to traps which have no reflective materials added to them.



It's much easier to give advice when I can hear a room vs looking at pictures but let me make a few suggestions. Don't take any of this as nit picking, merely pointing out what I see. First, mark where you have your speakers located now and then make the move to the distances taken from the Cardas site. Don't expect miracles because I think your room has more work needed but you should be able to make some fairly substantial comparisons between the two locations. What the Cardas site attempts to provide is a simple formula for integrating the direct signal front wave with the reflected back wave to make an additive combination at your listening chair. What the Cardas site doesn't seem to mention is the correct placement of the listening chair after you have the speakers in position in the front of the room. Therefore, once you have the speaker set up according to Cardas' numbers, move your chair forward and back in the room to see if you can locate the best listening distance from the speaker baffles. This will be the spot in the room where the greatest amount of direct and reflected signals are arriving at your ears in synch with each other. Mark that spot since it is where your chair should remain unless you move the speakers forward or backward in the room. The distance of your chair away from the back wall doesn't really matter at this point since you can treat the back wall as needed. But getting the chair and the speakers located relative to one another and to the front wall will be crucial to success.

Due to the rear wave from the open baffle being delayed in time (the longer distance it must travel from the driver's rear to the front wall then to the reflected signal arriving at your ear) vs the shorter distance travelled by the direct signal from the driver's front wave, the distance between the baffle and the front wall is critical. If the time delayed integration of the reflection off the front wall (behind the speakers) is not correct, not only will the time signals be skewed but more importantly the acoustic phase of the signals will be out of synch with those coming directly from the front of the driver. This acoustic phase shift will cause cancellations at certain bandwidths which correspond to the distance between the speaker and the wall and the length of the frequency pressure wave. As the desired signal which reaches your ear is a combination of both the direct radiation from the driver plus the multiple reflected signals bounced around by the direct signals plus the reflected energy coming off the back wall from the rear of the driver plus the scattered reflections those waves cause in the room what you will experience is a group of frequencies which are largely in acoustic phase and another group which are mostly out of phase. This pattern repeats itself at intervals until what you actually would measure at your chair and what you will perceive would be alternating deep to shallow comb filtering effects. Some frequencies will be cancelled due to the out of synch phase while others would be goosed up due to the additive effect of mutiple waves in phase with each other. My guess then would be the Cardas measurements will provide a more cohesive sound overall, probably better timbre and articulation at least. The large issue with any speaker other than a single direction monopole is the fact not all frequencies can be acoustically in phase at any single distance between driver/reflective surfaces and the listener. Whatever set up you make with a dipole will automatically have certain cancellations involved plus certain additive effects. The general idea is to set up the speakers to have the highest frequencies being slighty out of phase which will porvide a bit of airiness to the overall presentation. With that information in mind, once you've listened awhile to the set up using the Cardas method and taken a few notes regarding its positives and negatives, go back to your old (current) position and make your comparisons. Then make whatever adjustments you think will improve the overall sound by moving between those two positions.


In the meantime, stop everything else you're doing. I don't know how you could not be doing a half dozen changes during any one weekend. You can't make valid comparisons like that. One change at a time and nothing more until you've worked out whether that change was for the better or the worse. Then move on to the next change but only one change and only after you're confident you have a handle on what you've just accomplished. Take notes, don't try to remember what you heard two days ago, write it down. If you move the speakers, write down what you changed and how you changed it so you can always return exactly to the identical spot. This is the less than fun, methodical part of tweaking a system. But it is really the only way you make forward steps and not just random leaps into the blind. Slow down, Chris. Everyone wants it perfect the first time. It isn't going to happen. Take your time and work your way through each change.




The wall mounting makes for a nice compact looking lay out. The potential problem I see with it is you've placed all of your equipment in a fairly high pressure room mode by siting it close to the wall and centrally located along the room dimension. Go back to the Rives site and check the modes of the room again. While solid state is not as susceptible to acoustic feedback as will be tubes, all equipment should be kept in the lowest feedback areas. Tubes will respond to mechanical and airborne feedback so take that into account with your tubed front end on the amp. You can buy some tube dampers from an after market store or you can buy some hi-temp O-rings in the correct size to fit your tubes at most auto supply distributors. Some times dampers damp too much from the tube and they can close down the sound so experiment and listen. If dampers seem to work in your system, move them up and down the length of the tube. Usually they will be more beneficial in one spot over another. The better idea, of course, is to not have the equipment sited in the high pressure area or to block the pressure wave from striking the equipment.


"I purposefully left the front wall alone, as I had read that with dipoles you shouldn't overly dampen the front wall......however I think I went too much the other way. I used to have thick curtains covering the entire wall under the front shelf, and depth was very good. Right now depth is non existent, and the overall sound is a tiny bit hot, but mostly just vague as far as instrument placement. There is no dimension to any of the images either."


My guess here would be the difference between a dipole and a monopole. Covering the entire wall with an absorptive material would have knocked down quite a bit of the rear wave coming from the speaker. With that taken down in level, you were primarily listening to the direct signal from the front of the driver only. With the curtains removed, you're now hearing the addition of the rear wave reflected out of phase with the direct signal. This is what makes dealing with anything other than a conventional monopole speaker so difficult for many people in most rooms. The smaller the room, the less friendly it will be to dipoles and the bigger the challenge it will be to the user since you have to allow space and nothing else for those two wave fronts to add together at your ear. When they do exactly what a dipole is meant to do, the sound takes on a very open and spacious quality that is all but impossible to achieve with a simple monopole. When the space is cramped or the system is not well set up for the space, the resulting sound is confused and even, at times, lifeless. If I had ever had the space a pair of Quad ESL's truly require, I would have owned a set in a heart beat. But I knew I would never have a room well suited to those big and broad dipoles. I would think what you're hearing right now is a somewhat confused rear wave which is not integrating as planned for a dipole. From the photos it looks as though your speakers are set up so that the back wave of the driver fires directly into the 703 panels. But the panels are not full room height so there are out of step partial reflections added to the front wave of the driver. Adding some reflective material to the panels would be the first step forward IMO. Then reposition the speakers or panels so they are not in line with each other.

Open baffles have an unusual problem in that the rear wave of the system is not a complete analog to the front wave. While a significant advantage to a point source dipole or omnipole speaker system is its ability to launch an almost perfectly spherical wavefront similar to that created by an acoustic instrument, the open baffle falls somewhat short of the ideal. The upper frequencies are blocked at the rear of the driver by the motor assembly of the driver itself. Therefore, what is heard from the rear of the baffle is a somewhat truncated frequency response which can have little resemblance to what is heard from the driver itself. Lower range frequencies have a tendency to bounce back into the driver's cone as they are reflected off the basket and frame of the driver. With the typically thin paper or poly material used in full range drivers, these reflections are more disruptive than they would be in a multi-way box type speaker where the rear wave is probably better damped. Given these issues to deal with an open baffle such as the Tektons will require some very careful room set up and treatments to truly provide their best performance. Patience will be your friend here. I think if these were my speakers and given your room, I'd contact Tekton and ask them for additional assistance. I'd also be on the look out for a dealer whose small demo rooms sound quite good. Not many dealers really make an effort to showcase room treatments for some stupid reason but, if they have a decent sounding small room, there are probably some tips you can pick up on how to place your devices even if the dealer isn't showing dipoles in the room.



More later.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1482
Registered: Jul-07
"Are the fibreglass rolls faced or unfaced?"

Faced. I had purchased some 2mm plastic to add (per the Teres Audio link above), but I had seen different instructions which suggested simply leaving part of the facing on.....as you have. I'll do that. For now, I'm planning on following the placement instructions on the ASC site....which align very much with your advice Jan. I'll put two in the two front corners, and then experiment with the other two. Because of the layout of the room, I only have one back corner (the door is right in the other corner), so I might put one in that area, and the other along the wall near the door. But I also want to try one dead center on the front wall. ASC suggests this is a good thing to try. However, because of the current location of my shelves, this will cover up my amp.

"You mentioned earlier that you thought the room lacked a bit in bass quantity. Here's a mistake many people make with bass traps; they misunderstand what is happening with the traps. The correct amount of traps - almost always more rather than less and almost always larger rather than smaller - will allow more bass quantity in the room."

Actually, that's one thing I had figured out. That's why I bought the 703 panels some time ago. There was a thread a while back that you suggested my lack of bass was really not a lack of bass. I plopped 3 703 panels in each front corner, and lo and behold, more bass. However, right now I only have 2 panels in each front corner (4" instead of 6" thick) and that's made a big difference. The pipe wrap I just purchased is for 12" pipe, but it actually has a diameter of 15", so I'm hoping it will be quite effective into the 40Hz range.

" Don't take any of this as nit picking, merely pointing out what I see. "

Nit pick away. I appreciate the suggestions. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

"Slow down, Chris."

The problem is, I can already hear how good the room is going to sound when I'm done. It's compelling. And, I'm having a sh!t load of fun

"The potential problem I see with it is you've placed all of your equipment in a fairly high pressure room mode by siting it close to the wall and centrally located along the room dimension. "

Yeah, I don't know whether that will work out or not, but I do like the look of it. I still have my Flexi-rack, so if it works out I need to pull the gear off of the wall that's not a problem. I'll see how controled I can get the front wall modes and go from there. I already have some tube dampers (Herbies), so I can try that later. As you say, I need to limit what I'm screwing with at one time.

Re: speaker placement....I will definitely try the Cardas suggested dipole placement and then experiment with seating position. And yes, I'll start taking notes.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17074
Registered: May-04
.


"I don't think it's so much a primary reflection off of the back wall, I think it's a rebound reflection off of the front wall... When I moved the album back away from my head, things didn't sound a lot different with the album in place vs removed completely. However, when I shield my face, and hold it out far enough where I can see both speakers, but nothing in between, things really improved."


It's hard to tell without hearing the problem and trying a few fixes where this problem is originating. It might be solved just by repositioning your speakers. My first guess though would be you are hearing the reflection off either the floor or the ceiling. Try some pillows or a couple of blankets folded on the floor at the first reflection point. If that doesn't solve the problem, take some absorption material and extend it out over the edge of the front baffle. Or, if you can, try some absorption other than the ceiling tiles at the first reflection on the ceiling. If neither of those fix the problem, then, yes, you probably have a reflection problem originating in another part of the room. The resolution, however, might be in the gear and more work isolating and coupling/decoupling it at its supports. Experimentation is needed here.




Looking at the second photo you posted above, I would say your panel placement is really not helping the room sound. The wall panel to the far right in the photo is probably placed too close to the plane of the front baffle for your speakers. You don't have a wide dispersion tweeter to deal with. The full range driver used on the wide baffle will have very little energy sent off to its immediate side. And the dipole configuration of the open baffle should provide a true figure of eight dispersion pattern for the speaker's output above range covered by the vented box. If you walk from behind and to the side of your speakers then to a few feet in front of your baffles, you should hear a diminishing sound level as you reach the exact side of the baffle. Sound will not suddenly disappear unless you are in a completely reflection free space but you should notice less energy at the side of the speaker than in front or behind the speaker. This side cancellation would mean there's nothing hitting the wall directly to the side of the baffle other than reflected energy. I would say you can remove that panel from the wall and not notice any change in the room sound.

If you've used the mirror to locate your first reflection points in the room, I would also say the middle panel in your photo is doing very little. It too can likely come down. The far left panel is where I would guess you would see the reflection of both speakers on that wall and possibly the middle of the room mode for the bass. If that's the case, I would double up the amount of wall area covered by panels by hanging the other large panel above the one on the wall. And, if you will offset the panels away from the wall by a few inches, you will double the effectiveness of the treatment. What are you using behind the fabric as an absorber?


What are you using for speaker stands? And, what are the pieces under the base of the stand? What is spiked to the floor and what isn't here? Are the speakers attached to the stand in any way?


If you haven't planned to so far, make those tri-corner traps for all room corners not covered by a floor standing bass trap. These are important. Ideally, you should have traps at the room junction of walls to ceiling in at least those areas where the room modes are at their strongest.

I hesitate to show you these photos because I think RealTraps always overdo their rooms and loose the musical values while going for the flattest frequency response. (Not to mention I wouldn't give the company of dime of my money.) But your corners should be treated with a trap similar to this; http://realtraps.com/tri-corner.htm or this; http://realtraps.com/p_megatraps.htm


Regarding the turntable, vibrations which originate anywhere other than at the stylus and solely in response to the groove modulations will result in lost information and added noise. Let me know when you're ready to tackle the table.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1483
Registered: Jul-07
Re: wall panel positioning....the photo is a bit misleading. The diffusor is at the first reflection point (as determined by mirror at seating position). I had experimented previously (when I was creating the mess I'm recovering from now) and far preferred the diffusors over absorption at that location. The first panel (second phono, right hand side) is in fact behind the speaker. The panel to the left, with the horizontal orientation, should be at the return reflection point off of the back wall. Any side reflections at that point would hit the back wall before getting to me. I'm not sure about adding another panel there but will experiment to be sure.

"What are you using for speaker stands? And, what are the pieces under the base of the stand? What is spiked to the floor and what isn't here? Are the speakers attached to the stand in any way? "

The speaker stands I made when I purchased the Tektons. My old stands were too high for the Tektons. Basically the tops and bottoms of the stand are two pieces of mdf, with an elastic adhesive between the pieces. The centre is a piece of ABS pipe filled with sand. There is a rod through the mdf, through the centre of the ABS pipe, and bolted at both ends (bolt is in a recess so it's below the level of the mdf). Under the stands there is two layers of 3/4" baltic plywood, with ceramic marbles between them. The stands are spiked (brass) into the top layer of plywood. The speakers are resting on 3 more ceramic marbles. I tried blu-tak'ing the speakers to the stands, but it seemed to muddy them up. They breath much better on marbles. I also tried spikes from speaker into stand, but again, preferred the marbles. For a long time I had the stands spiked through the carpet. After wrestling with some shrillness in the upper mids for a while, I tried getting them off the spikes, and things improved greatly. Spiking into concrete just wasn't working for me.

I have 4 of the tube traps built now....the adhesive is drying downstairs. I'll get the other 4 built and then try adding them in one at a time. I like the idea of the RealTraps....less keen on the price. For a pair of those tri-corner units, I can make 8 of my tube traps, and all of my panels.

"What are you using behind the fabric as an absorber?"

OC703, assuming you're referring to the red panels. 2" stuff. I had read about standing them out from the wall a few inches, and may try that if more absorption is needed....certainly before I go about making any new panels. They aren't hard to build, but it is a pain to get the fabric on in a way that looks tidy.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17076
Registered: May-04
.

Have you tried using the speaker stand alone and just tilting the speaker's front edge toward your ear level? BluTak the rear of the speaker to the top plate of the stand and then begin to experiment with tilt and possibly going back to the marbles. Just as with toe in, tilt slightly above or below your ears then directly at your ears is worth an experiment at this point. Just for S&G's you might try a stand made of stacked cinder blocks. At $0.99 a piece it's a cheap experiment which will give you a better idea of how well your stand is working for or against you. Solid and very non-resonant I always start experimenting wth cinder block stands and then move from there.

The tri-corner traps are a very simple diy. Why RealTraps tries to get so much money for that product is beyond me. The real idea is just to get the corners treated. Even if you can't place a full size trap at the location of the door, you can always have the tri-corner above the door treated.

What are you using as a diffusion panel? How did you construct it? Just as a side note, the 703 is less efficient as a wall absorber for the upper ranges than an open cell foam product. Again, think egg crate texturing and total surface area to get the maximum efficiency from the least amount of material. The spacing away from the wall simply allows the pressure wave to pass through once and then reflect back into the material for a second scrubbing.


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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1484
Registered: Jul-07
"What are you using as a diffusion panel? How did you construct it?"

Basically one of these.....

http://www.pmerecords.com/Diffusor.cfm

It's made out of 2x2 spruce cut to the appropriate lengths. They are dead simple to make, but time consuming....as you need to make a lot of cuts, and then glue each and every piece in the right spot. It took me the better part of a day to make two of them. I made them over a year ago now. Because they are black, the picture above doesn't show the skyline pattern very well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1485
Registered: Jul-07
"Just for S&G's you might try a stand made of stacked cinder blocks. At $0.99 a piece it's a cheap experiment which will give you a better idea of how well your stand is working for or against you. Solid and very non-resonant I always start experimenting wth cinder block stands and then move from there."

I might try that after I fiddle with placement and room acoustics more. That might work fine for a rack as well wouldn't it ?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1488
Registered: Jul-07
I added the first 4 tube traps last night. 2 stacked in each front corner. They reach from floor to within a foot of the ceiling. They definitely cleaned up some of the muddiness and boom within the room, but did little for the lack of bass at the listening position. Generally, there is a lack of bass period inside the room, but now, in the locations where bass exists in any quantity, it's cleaner. When standing along the left wall there is more bass than the right wall, and I'm assuming this is because of the doorway in the back corner. The lack of a reflection from the backwall here is avoiding some of the nulling that is happening elsewhere.....perhaps.

I re-read this article from the Linkwitz site.....

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/rooms.htm

....which suggests quite different ratios for dipole speaker placement as compared to the Cardas calculations I ended up with. It further suggests a highly damped back wall, and diffusive front wall (I currently have a diffusive/reflective back wall, and a reflective front wall). For small rooms like mine, where the seating position is within 5' of the back wall (mine's around 3' right now), the prevailing opinion seems to be a damped back wall. For dipoles, a reflective/diffusive front wall seems to be the ticket.

Back to my bass issues....I'm going to add the other 4 tube traps in tonight (back corners) and see what gives. One of my sons (14 year old) is getting into this a bit, so he helped me slowly move my sub around to see if we could find an orientation and position which helped smooth out the bass response. We have it in the best place we could find, but things still are pretty light at the listening position. He actually had a really good feel for it.

I've read in a few spots that multiple subs can help in small rooms, as you can position them in different spots to cancel out some of the peaks and valleys generated by the first sub. However, I'm not going down that road yet.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17078
Registered: May-04
.

That's an interesting site for the diffusors. I haven't seen that before. But it does make for a heavy panel.

Concrete/cement blocks work well for equipment racks of you can either get by the looks or camouflage them to an acceptable level. Since MW doesn't have much of a spouse acceptance factor to deal with in his room, he has settled for 50 lb. bags of sand under a several of his components. It ain't pretty, but it is effective.

Speaker set up guides are all a bit different in their final results and locations. This is generally the author of the guide having specific goals which aren't shared by another set up designer. IMO the best thing to do is read as many set up procedures as you can find. Then take one as a starting point - the one you feel best suits your needs, I usually use the WASP set up for monopoles, and listen to the results. If you're not entirely satisfied and you know you've followed the guide to the letter, then try another procedure entirely. Or take what you've learned as basic principles of set up and start adjusting your speakers to eventually create from one set up a slightly different set up that is uniquely your own and one which satsifies those priorities which you want to achieve. The point there would be to first have some specific goals in mind and to understand what the various set ups are doing and basically why they are doing it. This is a little like baking a cake. To really understand baking you'll have to adjust the amount of flour, water and eggs and the temperature of the oven plus how long you bake the cake for your location, the conditions of the day and the idea that you know what each of those corrections to the basic recipe is going to accomplish.


Light bass is a constant issue in smaller rooms. Either you have too much bass because the room is simply overloaded or you have too little bass because the reflections are piling up on one another and canceling each other out. Bass traps will help, the danger being to get acceptable levels of deep bass the number of traps required begins to overtake the room.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1491
Registered: Jul-07
I made a lot of progress over the weekend. Things sound much fuller. A damped back wall seems to work best. I rellocated my bookshelf to the rear of the left side wall (near the door) and placed several panels on the rear wall. I also finished the last of the tube traps, so I have 2 in each corner now, and that seemed to help a ton. Take a couple out, bass diminishes. Put them back in the room, viola....more punch. It's not fuzzy bass either....it's got some measure of articulation. Lot's of oomph with the kick drum as well. I had to actually turn down the sub a bit, as the balance became tipped the other way. I adjusted the xover point as well.

I haven't played around much with speaker placement yet. I marked the original positions, and then moved them to the Cardas suggested locations. I've left them there while wreslting with the room. Soundstage width and depth isn't bad at all with them where they are, but I'll try fine tuning just to see if I can find any improvements. I also want to experiment with turning the tube traps to find the ideal orientation.

I feel like I at least have a solid base to work from now. I have to get some material to cover the tube traps soon. They don't look hideous, but they ain't pretty either.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17084
Registered: May-04
.

Place your bookshelf in the corner at an angle to break up that surface junction. You may - in fact it's very likely you will - need your tube traps behind the bookcase but you'll alter one more location where the bass tends to form a high pressure area. If your bookcase doesn't extend to the ceiling, try a trap on the top of the bookcase and get those tri-corners treated. Otherwise, use the Rives' site to guide your placement, the locations where the modes are strongest - where they hit another reflective surface - are your starting points. Then, if you've maintained the reflective surface on the traps, play with the amount of reflection you want back into the room and in what direction you want it to head.



A quick and easy way to decide how many traps you might want in the room is to take a few decent sized empty cardboard boxes and loosely stuff them with crumpled up newspapers or blankets. If you hear an improvement, then more traps in that area are going to be beneficial.






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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1495
Registered: Jul-07
I think I'll make 4 more tube traps. I'll put 3 of them at the half way point of the walls, where the wall meets the ceiling....on both side walls and the rear wall. No room for one on the front wall unless I make it a very small diameter. I can hang them horizontally. The other one I'll put between the speakers, near the front wall. Things sound infinitely better now than they did, but if I've learned anything, it's that small rooms need all the help they can get. I've experimented with rotating the traps I have, moving the reflective side more in room, or at wall....and you can really tune the room effectively. The wasted acoustic energy in the room has really been toned down. The shelves on the front wall are much quieter, even though there is more audible low frequency sound present. But the modes along the walls are now very hard to detect, so the traps are doing their thing.

I rellocated the diffusors from the back wall to the front wall....one behind each speaker. This works very well. I think for dipoles, diffusors will work very well on the front wall. The soundstage on the front wall is now floor to ceiling, and nearly side wall to side wall. I've been slowly experimenting with speaker placement, and have the speakers slightly closer to the front wall, and about 2" closer to the side walls than the Cardas recommendations. I've also found I prefer my listening position back a little bit from the speakers. The speakers are now about 70" apart, and I'm about 80" from both speakers.

The magnet wire arrived on Monday, so I'm using that as speaker wire now. Not a night-and-day difference from the wire I was using, but some noticeable changes.....a little more extension in the higher frequencies, and a tad more transparent. My acoustic baseline is pretty out of whack right now though, so it was difficult to judge. I'm going to have a go at the IC's you suggested Jan. I also need to get my TT setup. Haven't spun any vinyl now in almost a month.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1498
Registered: Jul-07
I'm pretty much done with the major tinkering. I need to get the tube traps covered so they look a little less.....well, like an Owens Corning product. They work wonderfully, but ain't a pretty site.

After all the work on the room, and the changes in components, the transformation in sound has been remarkable. The improvement in overall transparency is significant, making listening to familiar recordings quite a different experience. The low and mid-bass is now far better than I've ever had it in this room. Detailed, powerful, and propulsive. It's no longer weighing the music down (boomy) or failing to provide the necessary drive (thin). Following the subleties of a bass line now is a piece of cake, and drum kit sounds marvelous.

I'm so impressed with the CI Audio Dac that I have. It has really been tranformed with the new transport. I emailed Dusty a few weeks ago to see if any changes had been made in design in the VDA-2's that were shipping now, as opposed to when I purchased mine 4 years ago. The answer was supprisingly, no. He is working on a USB DAC now (due out next month), but the VDA-2's shipping today are the same as the one I own. In a world of ever evolving product lines, that's refreshing. Given how well it sounds, I can't think of anything in that price range ($600) that would sound any better. I know I haven't heard anything that touches it. I've tried music in 44.1/16, 88.2/24, 96/24, & 192/24 and they all play beautifully.

Thanks for your assistance Jan, it was very helpful. Once I get the traps covered, I'll post some new pictures.

Now, about that turntable.....
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17090
Registered: May-04
.

If you haven't reached a point with the traps where further changes are impossible, you can now make the traps a bit more effective by dropping a piece of rigid fibreglass down the center of the tube. It should be (roughly) centered in the tube and stretch (more or less) from side to side. It's not a dramatic change from what you have but one that might be worth experimenting with. Otherwise, glad it all worked out for you. Most especially in a small room treatments of some sort are a necessity. The trick in small rooms is to have just the right amount without having too much. Listen for a while and then slowly remove a few traps to see whether you have the right formula or whether you need to recalculate.


What do you want to do with your table?



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1499
Registered: Jul-07
I want to get the TT properly setup. With the way I have my room now, the only easy option is a floor mounted stand of some type. Wall mounting isn't an easy option, as there isn't sufficient space unless I have very long interconnects. I've read all kinds of suggestions as to the proper setup for a TT. Everything from a very light wall mounted shelf, to massive concrete structures. Since I have a concrete floor in the basement, it would be easy enough to build a platform out of cinder or cement blocks to place it on.

I had it wall mounted before, on an mdf shelf, and I'm quite certain I wasn't hearing the best it had to offer. But I may be getting ahead of myself. My Rega Planar 3 was purchased in 1985, and other than a new belt (last year) it hasn't been serviced. I had a new cartridge mounted (also last year) and the tech did some basic alignment, but he didn't have anything apart for cleaning or lubrication as far as I know. I checked the Rega site and read some of the basic maintenance procedures, and frankly there were enough warnings to make me wonder whether I want to try my hand at it.

I also understand there is an upgrade kit that is available, but I want to get the best out of it as-is, before spending any money on upgrades.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1500
Registered: Jul-07
I meant to mention, I placed a couple of tube traps in the very centre of the front wall (in front of my amp) and holy crap, what a difference that made. It completely locked in the images, and the layering of the soundstage became so clear and obvious it is a treat. When listening to a live recording especially, you know exactly where every instrument is, both left and right, and front and back. And when I say back, I mean waaaay back.....like out on my front lawn. I removed them just to see the difference, and things get far more vague. I tried them directly between the speakers but like them pushed back as far as possible.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17091
Registered: May-04
.

We've got some storms headed our way tonight and tomorrow. I'll get you a few answers whenever it looks like the AC won't go crashing down.

This is what you do when you live in tornado alley.




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1501
Registered: Jul-07
Stay safe.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17092
Registered: May-04
.


There's not much maintenance to a Rega table. The first thing I would do is get a good alignment gauge and check anyone's work when it comes to aligning a cartridge. Most salespeople/techs setting up arms are pretty lazy about getting the alignment just exactly right. There are actually several types of alignments you can perform on a Rega arm and, if you want to get serious about this, then you can explore each to see which might provide the advantages you desire; http://www.needledoctor.com/Feickert-Universal-Protractor?sc=2&category=422 Otherwise, a good two point gauge will be fine.

You can clean your belt plus the edges of the pulley and subplatter with isopropyl alcohol and then use a small plastic bag with a few tablespoons of talcum powder inside to re-dust the belt. Just drop the belt into the bag and shake a few times then remove the belt and away from the table shake the belt to get all but the residual powder off the belt before your reinstall it. The talc gives the belt a bit of "tooth" and provides a better grip on the pulleys.

You should clean out the old grease from the main bearing shaft and replace it with fresh lubricant every five years or so. The grease tends to get thicker and sticky-er as it ages. Bicycle chain grease works, you can buy the grease from Rega or my preference is a lubricant with Teflon in it. When you remove the platter, be very careful not to loose the ball bearing at the bottom of the bearing well. Then you take a cotton swab and some alcohol and just start getting the old stuff out. Clean until you can clean no more. When you refill the well, do so slowly and allow the platter to settle fully before you take it out to check for the level of the lubricant - which you’ve made note of before you removed the old grease. When the platter is spinning it should come just about to the top of the well. Too much and it will spill over and you'll have a complete mess to clean up off the plinth.

You can play around with how snug the nut on the bottom of the tonearm is adjusted. It should never be overly tight and many people - myself included - prefer to lightly finger tighten the nut and no more. It should never be so loose the arm slides around when you cue it but the arm will sound different with the amount of torque on the nut. Adjusting arm height on a Rega arm is difficult but there are a few mods you can use to zero in on the correct height. An elliptical stylus doesn't respond to the micro-adjustments of height as will more exotic shapes. If the cartridge you’re using doesn’t sit parallel to the record surface, then you should probably investigate changing the tonearm’s height. Rega sells spacers but they’re generally either too much or not enough. Using a Rega cartridge should assure the proper vertical tracking angle for the stylus. Check the height of a Rega cartridge against the height of the cartridge you’re using to get an idea of how much you’ll need to shim the arm if your cartridge is too tall. If the cartridge is too short and the arm rides up in the back, there’s not much you can do to change that on a Rega.


If you can find a heavier counterweight for the arm, it is, IMO, a worthwhile mod. Placing the counterweight closer to the main bearings of the arm will lower its effective mass which will make the arm more responsive to the groove. This will also make the arm less prone to mistracking or just random motion on off center or warped discs - both of which are pretty much every disc you own to some extent.

http://www.vinylengine.com/michell-tecnoweight.shtml

http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/heavyweight_e.html

There are numerous mods you can apply to a Rega table. I would opt for a DC motor with a controller; http://www.turntable-power-supply.com/index.htm

Origin also does extensive upgrades to the basic Rega arm.


The subplatter can be changed along with other mods; http://www.recordclean.com.au/3/20840/20842.html A belt, pulley or subplatter machined to tighter than OEM tolerances will have less noise and greater speed stability which will always benefit the music.

A diy mod you can try is to damp the arm. You’ll need a small trough to hold the damping fluid. This will sit behind the arm and must have the capacity to track the curvature of the arm’s movement. The damping device is made up of a 3/4 to1 inch nylon washer attached to a stiff wire. Bend the wire at the bottom to come under the washer and glue the washer to the wire. The upper end of the wire will attach to the back of the tonearm. You can use some BluTak to experiment with. Then, when you are satisfied with the position of the damping device, you can glue the wire to the arm with any glue which you can easily remove should you change your mind. A light weight oil is your starting point for damping fluid and, if you like the results, you can experiment with heavier weights or different fluids. If the washer is mounted parallel to the track of the arm, it will pass easily through the damping fluid in the horizontal plane. By adjusting the angle of the washer, you adjust any wobbling in the arm - though wobbling is typically a sign of a mismatched cartridge/arm resonance. When the arm must track a warp or a highly dynamic groove modulation, the damping fluid can pass through the washer in the vertical plane while still providing some stability to the arm by more rapidly damping any extraneous resonance. It’s a fairly easy tweak and one that normally pays off in benefits to many areas of reproduction. Until you finally cement the damping paddle to the arm, also it’s completely reversible in a matter of seconds. Be sure you rebalance the arm for the weight of the paddle before you add the damping fluid. First, check the amount of flexure in the cantilever of the cartridge as it settles into the groove before you attach the damping device. You can begin to see just how much flex you want for the type of sound quality you desire. It is almost always best to track the cartridge at the high end of its tracking range. Therefore, after you’ve settled on the look of the cantilever without damping, that is also the amount of flex you will want after applying the damping fluid.

Finally, if you haven’t been told yet, never play your table with the dustcover in place. The dustcover is a large, flexible area which collects any pressure waves in its vicinity. Remove the cover for playing and replace it at the end of the listening session.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17093
Registered: May-04
.

.


Different tables will respond best to different supports. Unless you can get long lag screws into the studs of the wall most wall mounted shelves do more harm than good. Like a Linn a Rega table will do best on a light but extremely rigid support. The idea is to allow the support system to resonate due to the lightweight but to control the resonance through the rigidity of the structure. By doing so the support will resonate to some extent but the resonant frequency will be higher due to the weight of the support and the rigidity of the structure will allow any movement of the support to pass quickly through the system. This will have the effect of aligning it to be more in time with what is occurring at the stylus tip. You can certainly use the concrete blocks as a base for your support but the table should be isolated from the base to some extent. You'll probably need some way to level the table in the first place since concrete blocks aren't manufactured to any exacting specs. So a few sheets of MDF with a damping material between each layer would be appropriate above the base. Normally, mass will work against you with a Rega but in this case the mass of the concrete blocks will be very difficult to excite into resonance. Two thin sheets of MDF with a damping material (cork works well here) between them will be better than one thick sheet as long as the two thin sheets are not warped or bent.


Whether you use the concrete base or not I would normally suggest you begin with a sandbox for the Rega; http://cognitivevent.com/sandbox.html In fact, I would prefer you begin with nothing other than a sandbox as your baseline for experimentation with further supports. This can be nothing other than a sufficiently large box to hold four or five inches of sand with a board set atop the sand and leveled. My preference is for an inert wooden shelf rather than any glass or polycarbonite. You can make the shelf more stable by attaching a few "paddles"¯ to the bottom of the shelf which you can sink into the sand. If your cables are long enough to sit this on the floor and still connect to your pre amp, just listen to what this minimum amount of support sounds like. That's the sound you will be trying to recreate with any other support system you concoct.

If the support system does its job well enough, the Rega's rubber feet are all that will be needed to complete the support system - as long as you can level the table with a bubble level. There are just about as many diy support systems for a Rega as there have been Rega users. My personal preference is still for a more compliant footer but compliance in this area can work against you. Understand that any random motion in the closed loop of the table will result in random motion at the stylus tip. That first means that any eccentric motion of the thrust bearing will be transferred to the platter which will eventually be traced by the stylus as motion in the record groove. How far you want to take this is up to you but this is largely the difference in design and execution between a Rega P3 and a more expensive table. This begins with the motor and how much it deviates from absolutely dead on centered rotation. If the motor jerks even the slightest bit to one side, that motion will result in a change in the movement of the platter. If that movement is caused by, say, stylus drag, the effect will once again be out of time with what is occurring at the stylus tip. If the belt doesn't attack and release from the main pulley without sticking or slipping, that motion will be translated into the platter. If the main bearing isn't sufficiently snug in the bearing well, it will have a small amount of wobble to it as the stylus tracks dynamic or deep bass grooves resulting from stylus drag¯.

This goes on and on in the table with each component part of the support/table/motor/platter/mat/arm/cartridge/cantilever/disc contributing their own amounts of random motion. So keep in mind the platter and motor are spinning which will direct some energy into the table's plinth and it's footers. If the footer is too compliant, then the result is very small movements in the table which will send the suspension of the cartridge in a side to side movement. This results in random motion and random motion results in either lost information from the microscopic groove modulations or more noise from what the cartridge's magnets see as random signal. Of course, normally both occur and neither would be desirable in a high end system. Therefore, minimizing random motion of each component part of the the table and its support system is the ideal. There's a thread somewhere in the archives where I went into further detail about this if you care to hunt it down.

As you think about footers for a Rega you should keep in mind just how compliant you want the support to be. You are in effect adding a suspension to the table and the resonant frequency of the suspension will determine the resonant frequency of the table/cartridge/arm suspension also. In the extremes you can think of a very low compliance cartridge in a high mass arm mounted on a very springy suspension to the table. This is like the road boat cars of the 1960's with their enormous size and long wheelbase riding on a "jet smooth"¯ suspension. When the car tracked over a speed bump, the mass of the car kept it moving up and down for several seconds after the car had moved beyond the disruption. When the car is at its extreme of movement, there is minimal control of the suspension on the mass of the car. This is the same effect on the stylus when it tracks a dynamic groove, deep bass or an off center/warped disc. If the suspension system is not sufficiently taut to filter out the random motion created by a slight disturbance to the tracking of the arm (which rides in the groove on the spring suspension of the cantilever), then the back and forth will continue for awhile after the disturbance occurred with minimal control of the cantilever/stylus. If the suspension system is too taut, then no filter exists and all disturbances will end up in the motion of the stylus.


I'll leave it up to you to decide just which type of suspension/footer you think will work best in your set up. If there is very little you can hear through the stethoscope when listening to the final shelf for the table, then you will need as little as you can get by with. Always check the plinth of the table itself with music playing. If you hear noise in either location, where I would start is with a racquetball suspension under the table. Take three racquetballs and cut the ends off each of them so they will sit flat on the shelf. The round end of the ball (facing up) will have minimal contact with the apex of the ball's curvature and, therefore, minimal transfer of energy to the table. This is a fairly high Q damping system which will filter out a fair amount of motion while having a rather quick damping of any resonance coming up from the shelf. What this lacks to some extent is a system which can also drain the motion of the table's plinth away from the table itself. If you've modded the table to a decent degree with minimzation of random motion as your prime objective, there won't be much you need to deal with in this regard. For greater damping of the plinth you'll need to either add more surface area to the face which sits under the table's plinth or a more compliant material than a racquetball. Or you could try screwing the ball into the plinth by substituting the ball for the rubber feet. As you can see this is not a fixed science as what you do to the footer will change the music in subtle ways. You could also try Vibrapods with a cone which should work well if the support system is providing a quiet shelf for the table to sit on. For my VPI Scout (which also lacks a suspension) I used racquetballs sitting on top of plumber's QuikCaps. The Quikcaps can be found at most home supply stores. They are a fairly stiff neoprene which allows minimal side to side motion and they have a concave inset to their top. This provides some resistance to the racquetball's desire to roll in any direction even in minimal amounts. The size of the cap determines the compliance of the final suspension. You 'll also find that racquetballs result in a slightly different sound than tennis balls. So experimentation is the key though none of these suggestions are expensive to play with. Look at item #PQC-102 on the second page of this search; http://www.homedepot.com/Plumbing/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbqew/Ntt-pipe%2520caps/searchNav- true/h_d2/Navigation?keyword=pipe+caps&selectedCatgry=Plumbing&langId=-1&storeId =10051&catalogId=10053&omni=Plumbing&Ntpc=1&Ntpr=1#/?c=1&Nao=24


The OEM Rega platter mat is always a point of disagreement with users. It's main problem has always been the amount of static electricity it attracts and the amount of dirt and crud the static electricity will place on the disc's surface. Some listeners prefer the softer sound it provides while others think it is too soft. IMO ditch the OEM mat and find a better solution. My preference would be the RingMat but you can experiment with diy options here. Try this; divide the glass platter into an odd number of sections, three or five works well. Using either adhesive felt or cork pads (try both) about 3/8 inch in diameter (easily found at the home supply store as slides or bumpers for furniture), place one pad at your division mark for section number one. This pad should be placed just where the record groove would hit to provide a level surface for the disc. If you go too far towards the bearing, you'll hit the raised area of the disc at the label. Place the first pad at the division mark of your section number one and then place the next pad in the direction of the outer edge of the platter. You want to make a very gentle curve with the number of pads you use so the final pad toward the outer rim will be just slightly behind your next division mark. So looking down on the platter you'll have three or five sets of pads with each set curving gently in the direction of the platter's rotation under the stylus (counterclockwise) with the last pad in a set ending just behind the next division point. That make sense?


This is a "mat"¯ which allows the disc to resonate and makes little attempt to damp that resonance. If you have a minimal amount of pads, the same logic applies to the disc as we thought about in the support system. You cannot prevent resonance, you can only try to use what must occur to your best advantage. This will be a lightweight support for the disc which will allow resonance to exit the disc quickly and in time with what is occurring at the stylus tip. Whether you prefer this sort of result is up to you and your system. If you think this is too lively due to the disc resonance, then you can easily go back to another mat. I would, however, avoid mats which want to damp the disc too much.


Above all else, buy a record cleaning system and use it.

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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17094
Registered: May-04
.

"When listening to a live recording especially, you know exactly where every instrument is, both left and right, and front and back. And when I say back, I mean waaaay back.....like out on my front lawn. "



This is impressive and to a certain degree lots of fun. However, keep in mind just what you would have heard at the live performance. The drummer wouldn't have been out on your lawn while the rest of the band was in your room. Strive for what serves the music and not the hifi.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17095
Registered: May-04
.

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/68488.html#POST110902

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/56618.html#POST111597




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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1502
Registered: Jul-07
Thanks Jan. I have some thinking to do. I'll start with confirming alignment and setup, and maybe try some of the servicing...since I know it's sorely needed after nearly 30 years. 1985 doesn't seem that long ago.....but here we are. What the he!! happened.

The setup part in the room will take some percolating on my part. You've given me lots of ideas, and I've been reading through the forums on other sites as well. I'll get a plan together.

""When listening to a live recording especially, you know exactly where every instrument is, both left and right, and front and back. And when I say back, I mean waaaay back.....like out on my front lawn. "



This is impressive and to a certain degree lots of fun. However, keep in mind just what you would have heard at the live performance. The drummer wouldn't have been out on your lawn while the rest of the band was in your room. Strive for what serves the music and not the hifi. "


I understand your point, however it seems to me that everything lines up pretty well to whatever is on the recording. Some recordings are actually very flat. For instance, the Bill Evans Trio - Waltz for Debbie (192/24) is a live performance in a very small venue.....and you completely get that. It's live and I'm at the front table, maybe 10 or 15' from the performers. Bass and drums to my left, piano to my right. Drums are only slightly right and back of the bass player, and you can hear them talk back and forth occassionally. It's a wicked recording. The ambiance of the room is portrayed marvelously, complete with the distracting dude with the smokers cough, and periodic glasses clinking. However on Herbie Mann's Caminho De Casa - the performers are well behind the speakers, and I feel like I'm sitting mid hall, maybe 15 or 20 rows back. On Maria Schneiders Sky Blue, the band is layed out left and right, front to back, with the percussion deep in the soundstage (yes, out on my lawn), but in relative terms, that's about right. Anyway, it doesn't seem overdone to me. It just seems to follow the performance you're listening to.

I'm going to pick up an SPL meter, as I think I've got a bit of a hump in the upper registers somewhere. I notice it on piano mostly, but soprano sax as well can get a little aggressive. On the piano, the first octave above middle C seems fine, it's the next octave and a bit that's got a little more bite to it than seems natural. This is a bit of a trait to the fostex drivers in my speakers, and may have less to do with the room. Anyway, I'll measure things out and see whether my ear is playing tricks on me or not. Toeing the speakers out a bit more might help, or a bit more experimenting with the rotation of the tube traps.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17096
Registered: May-04
.

What other maintenance issues have you seen discussed on other forums? Can you give me a link to what you're seeing? I'm not arguing, just curious. There's just not that much to do on a Rega which qualifies as "maintenance".

I'm only familiar with the Bill Evans recording which has been a long time reference for many listeners; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMHsz5VqLhM It is historically important since it represents the last time this particular grouping of players performed together in front of a live audience. IMO it can be argued that LaFario and Motian were even better musicians than Evans. For jazz drummers I don't think it gets any better than Motian. The communication between artists is palpable with this grouping and the recording is worth every penny just for that alone. I don't know what information you have about this recording but it is, I would say, somewhat different than your other selections if for no other reason than its age. "Stereo" meant something not quite like what we expect today from a recording as this was still the age of two track open reel field recorders along with ping pong games and passing trains on LP to test your system's "separation". It was also a somewhat hurried recording made largely on the fly with no real experimentation in mic plaement other than previous experience in the Village Vanguard's unusually shaped space. None the less, even a mono version of this music is worth having and returning to as a baseline for other recordings.


Yes, most full range, single drivers have that tendency to shout through the upper mids. Pull out your LP cover again and start moving it around your head to check for possible room issues. If you finally suspect the driver's inherent tone to be your problem, you can also consider a discussion with this company; http://www.planet10-hifi.com/ regarding their treatments of the Fostex drivers.





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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17098
Registered: May-04
.

Mose Allison is far more an acquired taste than is either Evans or Mann and in more ways than one. He is most often challenging in his lyrics, his scope, in his paring down while sizing up plus his (most normally) utter simplicity of style(s). However, to hear Motian place an upbeat where none had existed before (while never drawing attention to himself), you might want to try this album; http://www.amazon.com/GIMCRACKS-GEWGAWS-MOSE-ALLISON/dp/B000005GW0

Allison has been around for decades and he is a bit of cult figure who doesn't fit neatly into a particular genre. LIke many such performers, the players who want to work with him are at the top of their game. Motian appears on several of his albums.



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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1503
Registered: Jul-07
Thanks for the suggestion on Mose Allison. I'll look into it. Always looking for something new to listen to.

I've dealt with Planet 10 before, and had asked them about potentially getting the enabled version of the drivers I have, but I didn't think they offer the fe127en anymore. I don't know whether that's temporary or not. I'd love to get the "en" version of the drivers, but I'm not sure where else I'd get 'em. I might talk to them and see if they would treat my drivers if I shipped them out to them.

In any event, the speakers do so much well, I should probably leave well enough alone. I'm sure I could niggle about something with just about any speaker. I'm pretty sure it's not the DAC, since I had the same issue before when the Minimax was in place. BTW, if you're interested in the Minimax or my Vista Audio EL84 amp, let me know. I'd make you a helluva deal. I'm going to put them both up for sale on CAM here shortly.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1504
Registered: Jul-07
I see HD Tracks has a couple of Mose's disks.....

https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=artistdetail&id=9843
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15322
Registered: Feb-05
The most recent remasters of Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard are excellent and very inexpensive.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1505
Registered: Jul-07
"What other maintenance issues have you seen discussed on other forums? Can you give me a link to what you're seeing? I'm not arguing, just curious. There's just not that much to do on a Rega which qualifies as "maintenance". "

Mostly just been going through the Vinyl Engine forums. I had also found an excellent document which layed out step-by-step processes for servicing (with pictures), but for the life of me I can't rellocate it. It went through the things you talked about above, as well as setup procedures. It was very good. No matter what I search on now I can't find it. I found numerous debates about what oil to throw in the bearing shaft...pretty funny stuff.

" I don't know what information you have about this recording but it is, I would say, somewhat different than your other selections if for no other reason than its age."

Yes, I had read about the significance and age of this recording prior to acquiring it. And yes, the presentation is quite different, with almost everything distinctly left or right.....very little in between the speakers, except for a few of Motian's cymbals. The sound quality is actually very good though. I find a lot of re-masters either very dull sounding, or overly bright, with tizzyness to the higher frequencies. None of that on this one.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17102
Registered: May-04
.

"I found numerous debates about what oil to throw in the bearing shaft...pretty funny stuff."



That is at times what makes audiophiles look like fools to the "outsiders". To the rest of the world who either have nothing or think that an $89 turntable is just fine, the argument over which bearing oil is superior is just too much to take. I find myself feeling the same way about food writers for example. Being Italian in ancestry and an organic gardener in practice I believe soil, growing conditions and freshness results in a distinct difference in food quality and desirablility. For example, I taste the varieties of sea salt available before I make a purchase as some are more suited to a certain recipe than others. However, I am always put off by the extreme pursuits some people go through to have just exactly the highest perceived superiority in a simple item such as a specific crimini mushroom from a specific region in SouthEastern Europe which was harvested by a specific method at a specific time of day and brought to market within a specific number of hours to be sold by a specific retailer to a specific buyer. Not that I feel a few producers are not consistently capable of turning out a superior product, they are for many reasons. The issue I find over the top is when it reachs a level where it is no longer about what is desirable and what man should strive to create but when it manages to be all about what you have - "my experience is better than your experience because ... " - that someone else cannot obtain. Food and music should be universal in their nourishment of the human spirit. Neither should be turned into wallpapered commodities nor extreme leverage points.

I suppose I shouldn't be the curmudgeon I can often times become since we live in a world - here in the US at least and like it or not - where people text to tell others what they are eating at that moment and then send phone based images of the dish on their table. It happened to me the other night when I had prepared a meal for some neighbors. I was pleased they enjoyed the food but then it quickly went over the top. A few minutes later that person took a phone call at the table to explain to the recipient of the images just what they were eating and asking me to tell the person on the other end of the conversation what exactly went in the dish. (Actually, pretty common stuff though the cheese didn't come from Kraft.) Just that a specific mobile phone can be your most important communication device and how you judge yourself is a subject I will not get into on this forum.


So, which lubricant did they decide was the "very, very, very, very, very best" of the just "very, very, very best"? Or, couldn't they come to a conclusion since they all felt what they had used was superior to all others?

LOL! (That is not an answer I really want to hear.)



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17103
Registered: May-04
.



I read this "review" awhile back and, in the end, could do nothing more than feel saddened - and just a little bit upset - by the reviewer's perspective on so many things. What upset me more than anything else was the writer didn't really seem to care to talk about the music as portrayed by the Rega DAC itself. Everything was about the Rega DAC plus this cable or what this special person - that most of you won't be able to contact - had sent him. And, when all is said and tweaked and then tweaked again, ridiculously expensive still wins out no matter what he had heard prior to.

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue53/rega.htm


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Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1506
Registered: Jul-07
I'm not sure how he could assign responsibility for ANYTHING he was hearing, given the chain he had woven together.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2677
Registered: Oct-07
Jan, about 3 weeks ago you answered my CD player from the past lament.
Yeah, I guess it's time to just let it go.
Sure was good while it lasted. Just doing a demo with that machine, when new, was enough to probably have sold a half dozen players which friends bought, if only to make GOOD cassettes for the car.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17105
Registered: May-04
.

We all have to let go sometime, leo.
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