AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> Good "3D" recordings?

Message started by Palomino on 12/09/13 at 17:04:42

Title: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/09/13 at 17:04:42

After my visit to the "Raven's Haven" I decided it was time to enter the world of tuning my room and thus far built six absorber panels.

I am now testing them out and playing with the position/orientation and having pretty good luck getting a better 3D sound stage.

Any recordings that emphasize the 3D effect/placement of musicians you'd suggest listening to?  

I have some of the usual suspects like Pink Floyd and a smattering of live Jazz and well recorded studio jazz (Kind of Blue, etc.).

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/09/13 at 17:19:35

Funny you posted this, I was thinking about posting almost the same thing the other night.

I was popping in some albums and getting mixed feelings about what I was hearing. It seemed to me the instruments with treble (flute, cymbals, shakers, piano) where simply floating in the air. But then guitars and sax were glued to the speaker.

I'm not sure what's up with my Zen amp, but it's blossomed lately. I'm getting some really great sound out of it, and it just makes me crave that 3d holographic rendering even more!

So I wanted to ping the group here, and see what others though of as their most favorite 3D recordings that I could track down and compare notes!

I've made no progress on my diffusers by the way. †:-[

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lon on 12/09/13 at 17:23:14

"Earl Hines Plays Duke Ellington" is a recording of fantastic solo piano by one master playing the music of another master and the quality of the recording can make this sound like a real piano in a room on a great system, worth checking out. There are different releases of this on vinyl and cd, there were three volumes altogether but they all share the same excellence so any and all will serve.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/09/13 at 17:39:19

Thanks Lon, I'll check it out.

I appreciate your contributions to the "what's spinning" thread as well.  Whenever my music gets a bit tired, I get lots of ideas for new music there.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by marky on 12/09/13 at 18:19:27

Theres a lot going on in John martyn`s studio albums (electric period)
Not many guitars at all but so many sounds popping up. A rich tapestry's of, well, I`m listening to this one now

and its always a pleasure to get drawn in.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by busterfree on 12/10/13 at 00:27:21

Paul Hardcastle, The Chill Lounge

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/10/13 at 02:41:39

You could try these...mine are error corrected redbook Cd files.

If you like Bosa Nova in a newish, but more or less old style..."bluebossa" by Ana Caram. Great sound stage width and depth.

Archie Schepp and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson, "Looking at Bird"...pretty mellow Schepp...just sax and stand up bass. Not a huge stage, but just right and a nice recording...holographic.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by tom collins on 12/10/13 at 03:17:37

funny, i have the torii 3 and err speakers and they all sound like that to me.  i do have a little bit of a cheater and those are Argent Room Lenses.  No longer made and hard to find used, but if you ever see a pair, grab them.  With every speaker I have used, they have increased the soundstage width and depth as well as specificity of instrument placement.  They are basically Helmholz resonators that sit next to each speaker.  That aside, any of the Riverside Bill Evans recordings are generally first rate in quality of recording and holographic image.  Waltz for Debby; Sunday at the Village Vanguard; Everybody digs Bill Evans, etc.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/10/13 at 03:57:47

If those Room Lenses weren't so expensive...

I might make a set and see what happens. It's a neat concept, but hard to swallow at $1200 for a set of three...especially when they offered no way for tuning them for your rooms particular nodes.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lord Soth on 12/10/13 at 04:44:17

I've always found Madonna's redbook CDs to contain tracks with 3D effects.

One of my favs is "lucky star".
On a good audio system, one can hear the "star" rotate in 3D space around in an imaginary circle.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/11/13 at 17:06:54

Thanks everyone for your responses.  I think there may be some good examples there of what I am after.  

Maybe a more specific description of what I hear could help one of you steer me in the right direction - via other recordings to test and/or room treatments to explore.

I have now achieved a virtual soundstage that eclipses the entire area in front of my listening chair.  Speakers disappear.  Height and width is only limited by the recording.  Overall depth of the complete stage is good. Within that soundstage, on good recordings, the individual instruments and/or vocals have their own 3D "orb."  They seem to float within that soundstage having their own height, width, depth and radiating decay.

What I feel is still compressed is where those orbs of sound appear in that soundstage from front to back.  So I can't tell for example, where the bass player is positioned relative to the vocalist, etc. in terms of depth.  I know they are on the left side, but front to back on the stage, everything seems somewhat bunched up in the rear of the soundstage.

So I was looking for good recordings that others can definitely differentiate the front to back location of the "orbs" within the soundstage so I could see if I indeed do have a issue to work out.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lon on 12/11/13 at 17:11:52

Try this trio and occasionally quartet recording of Jobim tunes recorded by alumni of his bands in his own private home studio.

Should give you that pinpoint imaging and spatial location.

And is stunningly beautiful music: piano, cello, voice (and a bit of percussion here and there).

Paula sings, Jacques plays cello and arranges, Ryko plays piano and arranges.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/11/13 at 17:35:23

That sounds right up my alley, Lon!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/11/13 at 19:02:31

Thanks Lon.  Also thanks for turning me on to Jobim via the what's spinning thread.

Hey Raven,

You know what I have done with absorbers.

If I still get the "orb bunching" with this fine recording, to your knowledge, would diffusers help the situation?

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by stone_of_tone on 12/11/13 at 19:29:03

....large thread here to check out!

You might not have SDA like I have... . However, with a Decware Amp it is there with these too!

To bad ALL recordings are not as good as a REFERENCE RECORDING, A PROF. JOHNSON RECORDING....BUT, that is where Decware comes in/for my Listening Room & SDA SRS comes in for the Living Room System... .   -S

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/11/13 at 20:35:50

Hey Raven,

You know what I have done with absorbers.

If I still get the "orb bunching" with this fine recording, to your knowledge, would diffusers help the situation?

It's all about time smearing of the original recording. The more you can reduce that smearing, the sharper your imaging will become.

Steve's amps already put you a huge leap ahead of the crowd when it comes to reducing that smearing. Then you have your crossoverless speakers, huge plus. With the absorbers you've added, your already hearing a big improvement due to further reduction of that time smearing.

Diffusers (and absorbers) aren't a silver bullet. It really takes a combination of things (your gear is one of them, and I think you're fine hardware wise) to get the room dialed in so your 3D imaging can happen. I've already mentioned getting your room balanced left to right, and you've already seen what absorbers can do. The next step is to get a program like REW, and a good Omnidirectional Microphone, and start taking measurements! Balance the frequencies, tame and dial in your reflections, and your imaging will come into sharper focus.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/12/13 at 01:17:45

Palamino and all.

My room/system does really well width, height, and depth, with great spacial accuracy and individual player saturation. Though I prefer the sound with HR-1s, soundstage did not change notably going from MG944s to HR-1s in this room. I don't have any official diffusers, but do have round log beams with angled rough wood boards for a ceiling, irregular adobe walls, and open segues to other spaces. I also use Synergistic Research Art Basik bowls (they are placed at first reflection points on the sides, and †front and back) and a Kemp Schumann resonator. Both contribute to a more defined sound and soundstage in this room.

I have used these for years, so thought I should test them. The difference is subtle in ways, but each is quite clear in contributing its own part. The combination is a very real aspect of a great soundstage. As LR said, the Decware is a big first step, but in this room, these tools really help. I can't say how much they do compared with official diffusers since I have none. I also built a small low bass, and a small mid bass trap, and more absorbers strategically placed in areas where sound got bunched up.

One thing I have really noticed in this difficult room is that when my bass/mid-bass is too dominant in the frequency balance, masking the upper mids and highs, at some point it weakens the sound stage. Right now I have a nice warm tube set that is really good at sound stage though, so it depends on tubes here. I do generally use less pushy, less dense OB3s in my Torii rather than OA3s giving a sound that is still warm, but more articulate. Also, this is where the Schumann resonator contributes in this articulates without messing with the frequency balance in any negative way (positive actually, better micro detail rounding out the timbre).... I think anything that contributes to good power treatment and vibration control really helps by cleaning up/articulating what is there.

My other room also has a great sound stage with a similar ceiling to this, and with segues to other spaces, but with flat sheetrock and masonry walls. It does have a lot more speaker placement flexibility though and it has a great soundstage with no treatment at all, not much of a power filter, and no vibration control. I have not put much energy into that system yet, but the room is so easy, and I don't use it as much, so it is not pressing.

I also find the recording effects the quality of soundstage location and saturation, or, likewise, with well saturated spacial information, the plausibility of the player placement is not always great based on engineer choices.

The recordings I mentioned above do width and depth well in my rooms. Don't know if you can play digital files, but if you can get individual songs without compression, "Inutil Paisagem" is the test tune I use on Ana Caram "bluebossa." Not being as saturated and simple a recording as the Schepp one, it is a good test for bass and drum differentiation in width and depth. They are well back through the wall in this room and spatially well placed, the drums further back and right, the bass forward of them and left.

One with big, complex, and layered music is Vision: The Music of Hildegard von Bingen. This is a new style Hildigard thing with additions of bass, big drums, bells, and with the occasional obvious electronic hyped instruments I uncheck in my play lists, but that is me. There is clear attention to sound stage in this production. I use the tune "Praise of the Virgin" as a test tune. Great for analyzing width and depth, bass, soft or hard mids, highs...the lot.

Also Ayub Ogata the tune "Kothbiro." Nice saturation width and depth, and a good test for depth. With subtler depth differentiation on some of the up front voices and instruments (several feet here), it is quite deep on others. For me the piano is about 15 feet behind the speakers and the bass a bit forward of the piano and not far left of it, so a good test for depth and right/left location and saturation.

Good luck pulling in the front to back part!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by marky on 12/12/13 at 19:19:03

Palomino #10 Description of soundstage is much the same as mine.
I use diffusers, 7 1/2 x 4 1/2ft rear, 4 off 4 1/2 x 1 1/2ft side walls, bass traps in corner behind speakers. Depth is more noticable on the sides because, I think, you have the `back soundstage` and the speaker plane`s more apparent. Moving center stage is where you have to take the, how shall I say, `clarity` or `up in the mix more` of the singer as the hint he is in front of the drummer. That you can hear all the drummers work also clearly is 3D ish. My bass player is usually to the right for me (does anyone swap l/r over at times). His notes are thicker bandwidth and intended to radiate so pinpointing is not always possible. You know he`s standing over there and seperate from the drums. If he `intentionally` plays down in the mix then you have to listen more when he goes into the drummers terratory. Again, hear all the notes ( thankyou Decware) Guitars can be anywhere.
The engineer may want to present the band as they appear live even though the recoding is made up gradually.
Some bands will record live, all in the same room, mikes picking up more info which all equates to spatial placing in the recording and playback.
These recordings are I would say most peoples favourites. L. Feat albums
a good example have that atmosphere..and I dont like to say 3D these recordings bring the soundstage around from the backcorners and further along the walls in 3D body.
Front ends lol If I had †a koestsu the singer might be treading on my toes.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/12/13 at 20:15:38

Will, I'm so intrigued by those little bell like cups and stuff you have. I'm very, very skeptical, but very curious.

Marky, you have photos of your setup!? I love seeing rooms with sound treatment!

If anyone is curious, I have a collection of diffuser images I've put up on my ZenFolio gallery. I have a ton more I need to add, but it's my own little collection of "sound treatment porn" LOL

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/12/13 at 21:35:11

Raven said:

Will, I'm so intrigued by those little bell like cups and stuff you have. I'm very, very skeptical, but very curious.

Yes, I get that.....very, very skeptical is a clearly a school of thought in audio land for things that we don't clearly get.... I mean, how can a little box broadcasting 7.83 Hertz (Schumann Resonance) help articulate the sound and therefore the soundstage? You have got me.

Since my system/room has gotten so revealing though, there is little that surprises me any more. I mean there are still a bunch of folks who don't believe different wires, wire configurations, cable ends and so on make a difference, and I hear differences in every cable I have. Perhaps not profound in some ways and some times, but in serious listening, and for the last few percent, meaningful...and in my travels the last few percent are really important.

But if one can't hear it, for whatever reasons, be it system or room issues, attitude, or physical issues......that is as it is. My system lets me hear a lot I tend to check stuff out if there is a compelling reason (like trying to avoid lots of obvious room treatments in the living room), and when I have had enough plausible explanations to believe the possibilities, AND as long as it can be returned!

It is all a lot of interesting exploration to me...this quest for the sense of players in the room. I have been getting that for a long time, and even so, I am always surprised to have it get better with this or that change. Also interesting to see how different folks get there.

Thanks for the treatment pic page by the way. It is nice to see the possibilities of beautifully applied room treatment.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/20/13 at 16:28:28

I am open to any treatments or products that take me from this:

To more of this:

I'm getting a great horizontal and vertical soundstage and good holographic voice and instruments.  I am just trying to get them more separated front to back (with recordings that are engineered this way).

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/20/13 at 22:34:49


Are your speakers turned in that much? I guess you have tried different to-ins...mine are very slightly toed OUT for the best effect in this room. Even a 1/4 inch has some effect....Bound to be variable depending on room reflections, but I would think worth experimenting in small increments from where they are right through to just a bit out from straight on if you have not tried this.

Other than for mid bass, bass, and excess reflections, my "treatments" are 1) the points on the side walls where with a mirror, you can see the tweeter from your seat 2) front wall center and back center.

If you don't have bass issues to muddle the mid-high info, might be worth the experiment to hang a thick towel at the first reflection areas, and maybe in front and back of your head position (tending to highish rather than lowish).... see what happens. Perhaps rugs or carpet parts, or a towel sort of rippled/bunched a little like drapes, for more effect in the experiment.

If this seems to help, and you can aesthetically deal with it in your room, 2" dense fiberglass panels with stretched, musically transparent cloth are not too hard to make. If you have all hard walls and glass now, this cutting reflection with absorber angle could be a pretty good one to play with.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/20/13 at 22:55:16

My speakers are actually toed in about what is showing in the diagram. †I experimented to get to that point but I continue to play with it. †I'll start pointing them further out and see if it helps.

I recently built 7 24X48 2" panels and the results were pretty dramatic. †That is what got me going on this path. †I have one in the middle behind the speakers, two acting as quasi bass traps in the corners, two at the mirror reflection points on the sides, one in the back in the middle and two on the ceiling. †Helped the imaging and tamed the bass. †Best $120 I have spent on audio.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/22/13 at 01:30:20

I bet that was a great audio investment!

I might be inclined to play around with the seat placement a bit, and/or the absorber placement. There is that Rule of thirds thing some folks use.

Whatever though, speaker angle logically effects the trajectory of how the waves bounce around the room and finally to the seat. Also how the absorbers catch, or don't catch waves and reflections. Somewhere in this may be a path for improvement, by changing the toe, or/and the placement of absorbers to catch the waves in a different, but still calculated way.

Again, my system is way better at sound stage when the detail is not overwhelmed by the bass and mid bass. And detail does not necessarily mean bright. For some reason 7Dj8's often bring out the right stuff a little more in my Torii. But I wonder, do you feel like your bass is sorted out? Do you need an official bass trap that goes low?

Or might more absorbers be better used in corners? Or move the front or back one to become a wall/ceiling angled absorber. Also, offsetting the ceiling ones from the the ceiling a couple inches might allow area for some waves to bounce and die, lowering the frequency that they absorb.

I wonder too about the front and back absorbers still mounted flat, but horizontally, but maybe offset them height-wise. I suppose this could give the front to back waves and reflections, whether direct or indirect, a better chance of being caught by one or another absorber. Or...what about putting both vertically on the wall behind the seat (or on the front wall) creating a wider area??? Probably already done this sort of stuff...I am just always inclined to play around to fine tune.

I have a lot of reflection here, but my whole ceiling is in effect a simple diffuser and absorber above of the logs and boards. And my walls are pretty organic being adobe, so reflections are less uniform, but also harder to read. I have a bunch of windows too. I put some resonance absorbers on them, and the sound is not appreciably different with the honeycomb shades down. So my room is very live, but the bass is controlled through traps and EQ. It does have good soundstage depth and width though.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/22/13 at 02:05:31


I just noticed you use a Mini with Audirvana. Audirvana Plus has eq, and may be really interesting to play with. I use AppleAUfliters, which do low shelf, high shelf and three parametric EQs in the middle. With four filters you can do a lot.

To find troubled bass zones I set a narrow Q, like .1-.3 octave, jack up the Dbs maybe 10 Db and slowly slide across the frequencies until the nasty resonant ones show up. I write them down as I go. Then it is easy to keep the Q really narrow and adjust down by sound....or to widen the Q's a bit if necessary to cover larger resonant areas and adjust until it sounds right.

Also interesting to explore small changes in the mid to upper frequencies, same method as above but less Db...maybe up or down 3-5 Db might tell the tale to find areas you might like more or less of.

With the graphic interface in Audirvana, it can be fun to play with it as you listen. Narrow the Q some, widen it, change the cut or hit.

I start with recordings that are good, but may be too bassy, or for mids and highs, that may be too intense or hard. It can be tedious, but if you make small adjustments, it is safe enough and can really improve the sound if your treatments are not quite enough, and do it very transparently for your whole collection.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/22/13 at 13:27:37

You got me thinking on the speaker toe in so I put them flat to a little open and then started toeing them in a bit at a time. I ended up in about them same place. †It was worth a shot. †I am trying to get the right balance between definition in the middle (vocals, etc), depth and width of soundstage. †Not enough toe in yields less definition and a shallower sound stage. †

I've only just begun to play with the absorbers. I am thinking about some dedicated traps. †I also built one diffuser and I'll be working on another today. †I set my distances per some equation. I can't remember which one right now. †I also have some tubes to roll through. †I think I have settled on the best rectifier but will try some different input tubes.

I just got audirvana plus so I will be checking out the eq. †I am having some problems with it locking up when integrated with iTunes. †I think it's locking up when I move from red book rips to high def.

I have some time over the break to play around with this. †Thanks for the ideas. †

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/22/13 at 17:31:24

Looks like you have it all going on. It is amazing how tuning can be so captivating, that bait of better sound always tempting us.

I am not an Audirvana user, so no expert by any means. Though I always like it at first, I tend to go back to Pure Music. Somehow, with this system/room, I get a more authentic, less processed sound with Pure. It is like Audirvana tries to work the "analog" smoothness angle a bit much, along with a bit too much push and definition layered into this effect. Subtle though and I think loads of folks prefer Audirvana, and I have explored Pure more.

You got me experimenting with it. Thanks for the reminder. One reason I really want to go further with it is that it appears to work in integer mode with my Tranquility DAC. So I will see if I can refine its settings to my tastes.

It was crashing at times for me as it integrated with iTunes also. I may have solved it by lowering the memory allocation to it. They recommend at least 2.5 GB to be left for the computer.

I love EQ to finish out my room problems (and preferences), and my settings are minimal (most less than 2 Db). But even if you don't use it in playback, it is an interesting and instructive way to identify problem areas for treatment. Flexes the hearing/perception abilities.

I have not gone with REW as it looks like more of a learning curve than I ever have time for. But I do run measurements with DSpeaker AntiMode 2.0 now and then, which actually works really well on its own for sorting out low frequency troubles. But I go back and forth using it and just straight EQ, liking the sound of the simple signal chain without....

On the other hand, I like the ease of letting AntiMode do the work, and the reenforcement of checking my ear against actual measurement. I was gratified to find that before I bought a used AntiMode, I had the low EQ set very, very close to how Anti-Mode did it. It is harder with mids and highs, I suspect because of the HR-1s radial dispersion making measurement difficult. Seems I can use somewhere around half the adjustments the Antimode perceives to good effect though. That puts me sort of half way back to "by ear" but I like that fine.

I look forward to how your experiments end up!


Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by jorgen on 12/22/13 at 21:03:14

Not sure ill will suggest anything that will meet your needs, but check out kings of convinience ; quiet is the new loud
morphine (obviosly); like swimming
Kyuss; ..and then the circus leaves town

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/23/13 at 02:10:21

Palomino - IMHO, to improve your depth, you need diffusers on the rear wall and front wall. Or at very least on the front wall. A couple 1D QRD on the front wall I think would liven up the ambiance and tighten up the imaging. It would make the reverb in the recordings wrap around the room better.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/23/13 at 13:57:37


I think I am starting to agree with you on Audirvana. †It seems to be trying a little too hard. But the combination of Audirvana and a new DAC I am trying out is giving me better sound than I had via the dock via coax or just iTunes out of the mini using optical.

Everybody seems to have a favorite. †I just tried Audirvana because of the free download and then the initial low price. †I may have to try some of the others. †

Raven, I can try positioning of the absorbers and diffusers. †I should have the second skyline done today. †Only thing is those suckers are heavy. †Also, don't forget that 3/4 of my front wall is covered with my "mathematically placed" VHS tapes ;D  Also, with a little instruction, I think I can build some QRDs.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/23/13 at 17:36:01

Wow 3/4 of the front wall covered with plastic?

I have found an adjustment in Audirvana that helps here. It is in the Audio Filter preference, the sample rate converter. I have not played with anything else, but I set the "filter max length" for "better" - turning it up higher, and liked it less, so went with it lower and like it better. More texture and a more natural sound to me. The default setting is 500,000. With very little experimentation and listening time, I am liking it more in the 450,000 range give or take.

Good luck with those diffusers!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/23/13 at 20:31:49

The VHS tapes are on shelves, are spaced out and are at three random depths somewhat like a diffuser.  I just spaced them out on a lark one day and felt it actually helped so I left them that way.  I'm gradually converting the room to a pure listening room but for now the plastics stays!

I'll try the audirvana tip.  Somewhat frustrated now because it locks up anytime I try to play a high res file.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/23/13 at 20:41:42

Also, with a little instruction, I think I can build some QRDs.

I would be happy to help design, but I've not come up with a building plan I like yet that's fast, easy and repeatable. I'm out of town visiting family, but when I'm back I hope to get more time putting my garage back together, and maybe actually cutting some wood!

I apparently have piles of 1/8" board to use for the dividers, I just need some 1/2" wood for the wells.

Also, a quick and dirty diffuser idea to see if it makes a difference - try a cylindrical diffuser, it would be light, portable, and uses very little material. I would also be easy to breakdown and reuse the materials if you decide you don't like it.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/23/13 at 20:47:16

Also, I was thinking about your ceiling absorber issue. If you feel it's taken too much treble away, you could always cover if it with a partial diffuser. It wouldn't have to be curved like this, but this is what I'm talking about. Just take some 1/8" panel and cut out some sort of pattern on it to increase the reflectivity, but still keeping the absorption.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/23/13 at 21:19:14

I like the curved ones.  I could build those.  The frame would have to be metal though, right?

Jury is still out on the ceiling absorbers.  Now I don't notice as much.  I think I am going to have to get serious and do some measurements.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/23/13 at 21:44:49

Yeah, I'm getting close to the point to needing measurements as well. I'm just saving up for the Herbie's gear to go with the ZMA, so no spending on measurement stuff at this time. We can talk more offline if you're curious as to what measurement gear I'm considering.

No need for a metal frame!

Easy way would be to take a panel, say 2' X 4' - then glue some wood strips along the 4' length on the *face* of your panel. Then take another panel 2.5' X 4' (not sure on the measurement, but it would obviously have to be bigger than 2' to form the curve) and bend it to bit between those two two wood strips.

Looking for photos on - this is kinda close. Just imagine wood strips holding the curve under tension.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/23/13 at 21:47:05

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/26/13 at 22:36:25

I tried this with 1/4 inch ply and it won't bend enough.  Must be 1/8".

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lon on 12/26/13 at 23:13:09

I don't know how 3D this would be in a treated room, because I don't have one in any of the three rooms I listen in, but with the ERR and the modded C amp in my parents' living room this recoding seems to have real solidity and great dynamics and especially the cello sounds very real and present.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/27/13 at 14:49:04

Thanks. I have enjoyed you other suggestions.
I'm finding with the treatment I have done so far every recording sounds better.

I am also listening at about 1/2 to 3/4 the volume which is opposite of what I thought absorbers would require.

Still experimenting. Good winter break fun.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/27/13 at 17:42:10

I'll try the audirvana tip.  Somewhat frustrated now because it locks up anytime I try to play a high res file.

Palomino, sorry I missed this.

Have you emailed audioirvana. Since my stopped crashing with a change in the preference for the "Audio System" with less memory allocated to the app and more to the MAC, I am wondering if it is a memory issue. I use only 44.1/16. I wonder if the + version needs a lot of memory or if something is just haywire?

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/27/13 at 18:51:53

It works fine with 44.1 /16.  It's only an issue with higher res files.  Once it detects a higher res file in a playlist it locks up. He thinks it has to do with the communication with the DAC.  I am going to send him the error log.

I tired out the settings you suggested and I like what I am hearing more now.  Any other suggestions are appreciated.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/28/13 at 23:32:28

Stumbled into this great video just now! The before and after demo around 5:30 is amazing, and exactly what I keep talking about when I'm pushing room treatment!

Notice the measurements show where the problems are, and demonstrate the "ringing" in the room that you can clearly hear in the before and after videos!

I'm only about half way through the video right now, so I'm going to finish it off and see what else they show - I just wanted to post it before I forgot!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by SteveC on 12/29/13 at 00:06:49

This video is an awesome demonstration of room treatment.
(even on crappy laptop speakers. must use headphones next)

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/30/13 at 21:57:21

yes, this is a great video.  I downloaded some of the tracks to see how my treatments stack up against that room.  I have to say, I feel pretty good about the $160 I have spent so far.  I tried to post a video, but the mic on my camcorder is pretty bad and didn't capture what I was hearing in the room.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/30/13 at 23:01:21


I've got a Zoom H2 recorder you can borrow - it's an older, decent digital recorder often used for small session recordings and concert bootlegs. :)  I just need to dig it out of storage.

The only trick is you'd have to figure out how to sync up the H2 audio to your video from your camera if you wanted a proper 21st century multi-media event.  :)

So, I've been thinking about your saying that you find yourself using less volume with the sound absorbers - this happens a lot with home theater guys with ringing rooms. They can't hear the dialog on the center channel - it sounds a bit jumbled and buried - so we turn it sounds a little better...maybe, but still jumbled, so lets turn it up, starting to sound good...but loud...still jumbled, so lets turn it up (ad nauseam) - till they piss off the wife or start feeling the effects of audio fatigue and dial it down a bit and deal with the muddled dialog.

As soon as you clean up some of that ringing, you're not fighting the room for detail and frequency balance; you'll find a more natural listening level that suits the music, the gear, and your hearing tolerance!

Since placing my sound diffusers on the ceiling and absorbers on the side walls, I find more intelligibility in the dialog for HT, and the 2 watt zen amp seems *louder* than it used to...probably because I'm hearing more detail and less smearing.

I really need to get back into the shop and get back to building diffusers...this thread is making me practically salivate at dialing in my room better!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/31/13 at 01:23:40

I have started to look for mics and think I've found one that doesn't require external phantom power and works with REW.

I had a friend over last night for drinks and then got him to come into the basement to listen to my system. †He's and engineer and helped me procure some outlets and such that were hard to find but he could get them from his supplier.

Anyway, he was clearly impressed with the sound and told me so. †Minor victory for me.

From what I hear, I think the highs are pretty tamed and the focus of the soundstage is pretty good. †Still not as front to back as I want, but pretty good. †Some music is better than others.

I was at that Menards today near your house to buy some lumber to prototype some of those bent wood diffusers. †I got the framing lumber, but could not get 1/8" ply. †I think that is what you need to make enough of a bend. †I have some other 1/8 material (not sure what you call it) and will give that a try.

I still need something to keep the bass in line (upright bass booms big time) and am considering my options for corner bass traps. †I'll send you the link to some I am looking at on-line for $60. †Seem a bit too good to be true.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 12/31/13 at 02:10:26

I still need something to keep the bass in line (upright bass booms big time)

If it happens like mine, losing the low bass boom will seriously contribute to resolving everything else.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/31/13 at 06:32:19

I've yet to see anything under a few hundred that would put a dent in *real* bass.

It takes a lot of material, or clever use of specific materials to tame bass. Little pieces of foam the corners are BS. It takes lots of corner traps, and/or helmholtz resonators to get that low bass cleaned up like you heard at my place.

I've got those covered in cloth, and stacked 8' tall, plus I have two of the old Decware designed CWALL, which I'm really having trouble measuring to figure out what they are doing.

Plus have about 30# of insulation behind my 10' projection screen, so it acts as an absorber as well. And I still think I could use some more bass treatment to deal with a 27Hz bump I have.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/31/13 at 06:36:51

Cripes I have a lot of sound treatment! I'm so used to it, that I forget how much I have going on!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 12/31/13 at 13:56:20

Yeah your room was pretty flat.  

I am running out of room now given the relatively small size of my room.  But even those 2" absorbers angled in the front corners help.  I do think I can build some corners traps like you have shown in the pics but about half to 1/4 the height and hang them.  I have a closet on one side and a window on the other so nothing permanent.

Probably should have moved this thread to room treatment. I did get some good recording suggestions though.  Also given the relatively low cost versus big returns I have now joined the room treatment evangelists and wish to spread the word.  For $160 and some elbow grease I have made a bigger impact only sound than anything else I've done except buy a Decware amp.  Thanks for showing me the light, brother Raven.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 12/31/13 at 15:36:35

Yeah, that's my fault, I totally steered this thread to room treatment.

I know I've said it before, but i can't trust any reviewers who don't have *some* room treatment. There is only so much moving about of speakers you can do to mitigate room issues.

If I could find a college course in acoustics in my area, I would absolutely take it. I have a good grasp of the concepts, but I'm weak on the math and measurements...and IMHO, that's what separates the boys from the men.

I think I'm going to shortcut and try a half-sphere diffuser for between my speakers till I can build a proper QRD.

My thoughts/disign - 1/8" bent into a wood frame, Another 1/8" behind it to stiffen it up, then put some acoustic blanket inside the curve to help deaden resonations. I've got some 4' X 4' panels that I've had for years that are destined for 1D QRD diffusers I can use - I'm hoping that will give me enough width to make a difference.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/02/14 at 19:21:59

I built a prototype of the bent wood diffuser. †Pretty easy.

I liked it enough to build a second. †I did not like it in the front of the room. †While curved, I thought it still bounced back to much to the listening position. †I now have them on the sides and there is a noticeable positive effect. †Especialy on live music. †I like the idea of having these with a backing of insulation and holes cut in the front like the combination diffuser you posted above.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/02/14 at 20:59:41

Great! Now I need to get off my butt and make some as well!

Do you have a table saw? The idea I had for mine, was to build a frame as you did, but a little wider. Then use my table saw to rip a slot along the length of the face, then bend the hard-board till it pops into the two slots (left and right) on the fame.

I hope that makes sense. Less parts, and an even curve assuming your frame is straight.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 01/02/14 at 21:03:03


That looks like masonite, and will continue to bend and warp at your connections to the hinges if you have humidity. We used it for arch forms for Kilns and without really complete edge connection (perhaps like the one LR showed where the edge is tucked in and secured to a straight, flat surface) it will move with time...may work just to pull it in between the connections you now have...a couple more hinges on a side.

What effects did you hear. Ethan Winer says those diffuser types are more for bigger rooms with a good distance from your seat....

But I am interested in your experience.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by will on 01/02/14 at 21:04:40

Got in ahead of me LR...not surprising. I think your idea would work well!

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/02/14 at 21:21:49

I don't know what this stuff is, but I think they use it for floor underlayment.  Its slick on one side and more porous on the other.

Its a prototype anyway.  If I decide to keep them, I would replace this material with some good plywood (if it will bend enough).

I do like your design idea Raven.  If I had to do this over again, I would probably keep my design (no table saw) but I would have a separate piece of wood running down each side to prevent what Will is talking about.  It's a pressed wood of some sort and very prone to absorbing moisture.

In terms of big versus small rooms, I would believe that this is better as a big room diffuser, but I can say you can shape your room sound with these even in a small room.  The "tuning" if you want to call it that is done by now much you angle them in to the room.  I haven't settled on a location yet, but I got the best front to back imaging on live recordings last night that I have had to date.  This was angling them in somewhat just past the first reflection point absorbers on either side of the room.  I think they kicked more of the sound waves back to the absorbers on each side and to the front of the room.

I have less than $35 in them so its a cheap experiment.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/02/14 at 21:24:29

This has me pumped. If I can unbury my table saw, I think I'm going to build up a frame and make a couple of these myself. I've got a deadspot on the right side where I don't have a wall (L shaped room), and maybe using these as a false wall/reflection point will help fill that in till I make something more substantial.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/02/14 at 21:35:54

Given your size room and that hole you have to fill, I think this would be worth a roll of the dice.  My only concern is that they are a hard surface and even though they diffuse, they also will liven up your room a little.

If you have the ceiling height, you could make them stackable.   Mine are 48" tall by 28" wide after bending.  

I have some stuff left over and was thinking about putting a couple of small ones on the back wall.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lonely Raven on 01/02/14 at 22:01:00

I have at least 4 panels cut to 4' X 4' - I'll see if a can make a couple and see how they work.

Most diffusion needs some space to work. It could just be that you need more space for these to work well. But then again, since they are smooth, and not "wells" to bounce the sound in before releasing, there is no delay in the reflection time to help your ears differentiate source from reflection; and the smoothness will only diffuse high frequencies.

As you said, it's a cheap sample, but still a far cry from proper QRD.  

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/02/14 at 22:02:54

Most of what I make is a far cry from anything:)

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/06/14 at 16:42:09

Back to the music.  So far the best recordings I have found (one live, one studio) for emphasizing this front to back 3D effect are:

1. Antonio Forcione Quartet In Concert
2. Cassandra Wilson, New Moon Daughter

I still need to check out a few, but some of the music suggested in this thread have huge soundstages and I really like the music in general, but I didn't think they exhibited the effect as well as the two listed above.  Of course this is on my system in my room.

I also found a Chesky sampler which has one track that has a group of people marching up to the mic and then circling it a few times while they blow whistles and make other noise to be interesting for testing out placement of absorbers and such in the room.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by stone_of_tone on 01/06/14 at 17:32:38

New Moon Daughter = ditto

I have all the usual suspects with the great Samplers:

The Ultimate Demonstration Disc-Chesky Records' Guide to Critical Listening

Chesky Records 10th Anniversary Edition 2 Disc jazz & world music celebration

(3) Three Prof Johnson Sampler Discs from Reference Recordings

Numerous, very well recorded Jazz............ .

Now, back to reality of †Recording's in general....and in comes Decware.....and where even the best Solid State ultimately does suck with grain and more grain (even with great recordings too IMHO).

For example: even on a very very good Solid State System, RUSH - Negative Feedback, can not be fleshed out to be musical. †With Alchemy and I mean Alchemy firmly....I have put together Systems with Decware, where you can actually enjoy this 29 minute Disc of covers they played and loved as a bar band coming up... . †That is saying something for a compressed Rock record! Of course, this is just one example...I wanted to use this ROCK...example for obvious reasons. †I have great results with my Contemporary Jazz Discs too....which is my favorite Genre.

Anyway, I digress, however, I love the great recordings in my collection...but ultimately you need to put together a System to play all of it with great Harmonics, decay, imaging with a soundstage.

I have a ZMA coming in a couple weeks & this August I'll order a Torii IV to complete my Decware Stable (with SE84CS & Super Zen CKC). As we know it is about the music here....not about well spec'd odd order sand Amps with oscilloscopes! †


Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/06/14 at 18:16:14

+1 on putting together a system that plays it all well.  That is my ultimate goal.

I figured that I'd start with those recordings that obviously have the effect I am looking for.  A reference point of sorts.  If I can't achieve it with the good recordings, the rest will never measure up.

I am less than one year with Decware.  From day one, I was getting something I hadn't heard in SS.  I tried Class D, T-amps, etc. that promised tube like sound.  One visit to Decware and I knew these amps offered something I hadn't heard yet and "it" was what I was after.
So I started out extremely happy with what I purchased and continue to get great enjoyment out of my system.  After hearing what room treatment can do, I thought it was worth a shot at making something great even better.  Two of the three treatments I have tried have had significant impact.

I am at the point now that I may not do much more to the room.  Maybe some bass traps but I have been able to do some quick and dirty fixes with the equalizer in Audirvana.

Now I am open to building a music library of good recordings.  Any suggestions are welcomed.  I monitor the "What's spinning" thread and check those recordings out frequently.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by marky on 01/06/14 at 20:00:27

This is a great thread palomino. Putting  sound absorber/diffuser/b traps into a room really pays dividends. Empty room..clap hands = tubey echo.
Treat the room..clap hands = no echo. Thats just the start though. I`ve put stuff up (will get pics soon) and do I know what I`m doing ? It`s kind of symmetrical so I`m pondering it still 12 months on. Classic horseshoe soundstage no prob. Front to back between the speakers, well, could be better. I`d like the singer standing more forward etc. The drums are always back, kind of reference + he has as many channels as the engineer gives him. I too would like more back to front. It too has been a goal for a long time. It` unlockable but just listening to the music is fine for now. I did think that I`d have to spend mega on a cart but this thread is slowly sinking in.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/07/14 at 17:33:41

Yeah, I think now I put room treatments first before additional upgrades on most anything.

For example, I thought at 89db my speakers were just not loud enough.  I started looking around, Decware, Omegas, etc.  With even the modest amount of treatment that I have done, I have turned the volume way down and am no longer looking at speakers.

More powerful amp?  Don't need it right now.  Yeah, there are days, but not very often.

New mega expensive DAC?  That was also on the list.  Now I think I'm OK for a while.  In fact, I am experimenting with a less expensive DAC now that I think is fantastic (still don't believe what I am hearing).

So like I said, I am trying move to listening to and buying good music.  I'm also rediscovering lots of music that I always liked the "tune" but now I'm enjoying the "music" because I can hear it better.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/13/14 at 15:02:42

I did an interesting little experiment over the weekend.  I downloaded a cheap, but well reviewed SPL meter ap for my iPhone and Ethan Winerís test tone tracks (  Basically these tones cover the bass frequencies from 20hz to 300hz.   I used these tones because my own ears told me that I had an issue with certain bass frequencies and I donít have any real bass traps in my room.

I used the included pink noise to set the volume to 70db and then played the test tracks and recorded the levels.  While this SPL meter on my phone is hardly a precision instrument, it did show me my peaks and valleys.

To adjust, I moved my absorbers, diffusers around and watched the SPL digital display while playing the offending frequencies.  I was not able to change the offending frequencies by more than 1 db.  Then I used the equalizer within Audirvana to try to tweak the three problem areas.  

I was not able to do much with the lower frequency problem areas, but I was able to take care of one at about 200hz.  I just played the tone and adjusted the slider down until I got closer to 70db.  I went from 79db down to about 74db.

Then I sat down and listened.  The changes were easily noticeable.  Imaging improved a little, but the detail I could hear now was significantly better and the recordings (just about all of them) sounded more real.  An example is being better able to hear vibrato in the end of a verse where the singerís voice tails off.  Not only that, but the tail of that passage is longer than I could previously hear.  I suspect that this peak I had was actually hiding some of the detail present at or around that frequency.

So now I am able to say without hesitation that this was my best bang for the buck audio tweak.  I think the SPL ap was $1.99.  I did probably spend 2-3 hours doing this exercise.

Hereís the catch.  I changed speakers and it was all out the window.  I changed output tubes and to a lesser degree, there was a change as well.  So I will have to re-tune for speakers.  I am not sure I will re-tune for tubes.  Luckily, Audirvana has settings you can save as separate files.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Lon on 01/21/14 at 21:04:32

This newly released cd is a great Redbook demo disc for Zen systems. The original recording is very good, the mastering on this release is really really good. The performances are excellent, they have an exotic feel to them but also are very much in the 'sixties jazz tradition, and very accessible and interesting to rock listeners. The percussion is just stunningly presented and there's real space and texture to the sound.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/21/14 at 21:25:47

Nice, thanks.

Raven was by yesterday and made a few suggestions for improvements, but I am getting good imaging/sound from my room now.

Of course, when he hooked up the ZMA, he spoiled me, but I am still on a good recordings quest and less focused on equipment.

Title: Re: Good "3D" recordings?
Post by Palomino on 01/29/14 at 22:20:50

Here is where I am right now in terms of my room. †I'm getting good 3D from lots of recordings. †It's been an amazing transformation, especially considering how little I spent. †

Very educational too. †Just last night I measured the SPL just two feet in front and behind my listening position and the variance in one of my "offending" frequencies was considerable. †Much louder at the listening position. †

I am now playing with chair / speaker location to get out of that mode.

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