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3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii? (Read 15960 times)
orangecrush
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3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
05/28/12 at 02:22:48
 
Thanks to Lon, I ordered a set of Isocups with high end bases and lampblack balls for the Torii. I got four so I can experiment between 3 and 4. Next up, I will order herbies tube dampers!
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« Last Edit: 05/28/12 at 04:25:07 by orangecrush »  
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #1 - 05/28/12 at 02:28:06
 
Alright!  Be sure to let us know your impressions.

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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #2 - 05/28/12 at 02:45:41
 
I started with 3 and ended up with 4 finding improvement with the extra damping. Placement really makes a big difference with mine.
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #3 - 05/28/12 at 03:35:24
 
Likewise I had started out with three, but by the time my Toriis hit the house I'd moved to four. . . .
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orangecrush
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #4 - 05/31/12 at 03:31:04
 
Received the iso-cups today. Experimenting with placement tonight.  :)
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #5 - 05/31/12 at 03:33:42
 
Cool!

I think for me they work best as close to the four corners as I can get them.
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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #6 - 05/31/12 at 04:53:08
 
Sometimes I like mine best near the edges, but most times, I find the what seems the best vibration management, in my setting, something like this:

the back pair in the gap between the wood frame and the base inset and in from the corners... pretty close to under the treble knobs. This is sort of between the weight of the transformers and chokes.

On the front, right now I get the most from having them almost exactly under the front power tubes...just a little toward the input tubes.

This setting seems to give me what i think of as good tube sound, unimpaired by vibration...deep/tight real sounding bass, rich textural mids, and smooth highs.

I guess it depends on tastes, but really it may have more to do with how our individual amps vibrate in our environments. Getting the vibration out of the equation seems to me to equal the beauty sound with no holes in the presentation spectrum.
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« Last Edit: 05/31/12 at 07:25:45 by will »  

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orangecrush
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #7 - 05/31/12 at 05:10:48
 
That's interesting, I played with the front ones all night, and settled on having them right under the front power tubes! Then I came on and saw your post, freaky!!!!

The rear ones are more subtle. I started with them near the corners, and now have them under the rear outward corner of the transformers.
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« Last Edit: 05/31/12 at 05:38:09 by orangecrush »  
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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #8 - 05/31/12 at 07:30:24
 
Interesting, this is a place where my back ones have been a lot too...Under the outer/back corner of the transformers! Will check it out tomorrow.
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #9 - 05/31/12 at 12:53:40
 
Interesting. I have tried those locations and I get the widest, cleanest sound at the corners (but inside a bit as I can't quite get them right on the corners). I think it's quite true that the environment of the amp is an influence. I have mine on top a 4" maple platform! On the top shelf of a Mapleshade Samson rack.

Fun to play around with these.
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Pale Rider
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #10 - 05/31/12 at 19:11:37
 
You guys are killing me. Wink

I don't know whether to be happy I cannot tell a difference in these locations, or to believe that in my setup there is no difference, or whether I was just too happy with morning latté and music. In any case, I use 4 just inside at a 45-degree angle from each of the feet on the amps and Ultra. I can easily discern not having the IsoCups, but am unable to discern any difference on the positional changes.
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #11 - 05/31/12 at 19:40:13
 
The ZStand is doing all the heavy lifting Greg, so the Iso Cups work wherever they are. There. See how easy it is to explain? Smiley
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orangecrush
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #12 - 05/31/12 at 19:43:16
 
I agree, very subtle differences but I also have a good stand, solid maple with a three inch top shelf and brass coned to the floor.

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Pale Rider
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #13 - 05/31/12 at 20:39:00
 
Lon, LOL, I love that explanation! So, my IsoCups are are just cognitive decor. I am good with that.

Speaking of the racks, I just ordered a short ZRACK at 32 inches to complement my two taller ones. I plan to put it in the middle, and have it hold some of the smaller components that are pushing the capacity limits of the taller racks. [orangecrush, I have no doubt your stands are great, but my post and, I suspect, Lon's reply, were written with some humor.]
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« Last Edit: 05/31/12 at 20:41:08 by Pale Rider »  

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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #14 - 05/31/12 at 20:51:30
 
Yes, they were written with humor indeed!

They do make a difference, the differences I found in placement were not too extreme.

I wonder what they are like under a turntable. Maybe I'll find out soon. I'm treating myself to a vinyl set up . . . should be up and running next week.
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orangecrush
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #15 - 05/31/12 at 21:00:29
 
I got the humor Grin

I do think though, that a good stand lessons the impact of the Isocups.
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sberger
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #16 - 05/31/12 at 22:10:41
 
Vinyl??!! Lon you devil. Tell us more. I thought you were done with it from your previous protestations.
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Pale Rider
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #17 - 05/31/12 at 22:26:20
 
Lon, if you have posted it elsewhere, regrets for missing it, but what vinyl rig are you getting?

It also occurred to me that, since I already have Herbie's UltraSonic Rx and HAL-O III tube dampers installed, I could easily be past my point of discernible diminishing returns.
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Pale Rider
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #18 - 05/31/12 at 22:28:07
 
orangecrush wrote:

Quote:
I do think though, that a good stand lessens the impact of the Isocups.


No doubt. In that respect, I am extremely pleased with the ZRACKs that Bob built for me
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #19 - 05/31/12 at 22:57:05
 
Greg, with the Iso Cups, the ZStand, the Herbie tube dampers. . .you're covered!

I didn't mention it actually. Last month a friend asked me to get him back in the vinyl game. He gave me a reasonable budget and I did some research, found some great gear, and I got him set up over the last few weeks. And it sounds damned good. So I decided to do the same for myself: a Rega RP3 with Elys cartridge and TT PSU, and a PS Audio GCPH preamp. I've got the stuff on order and it will start trickling in. Took all my LPS (about 500) out of spare room storage and got them out in the living room and dining room ready to roll. Looking forward to it.
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« Last Edit: 05/31/12 at 23:02:57 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #20 - 05/31/12 at 23:02:15
 
sberger wrote on 05/31/12 at 22:10:41:
Vinyl??!! Lon you devil. Tell us more. I thought you were done with it from your previous protestations.


Yes Sam. My big problem with it before was I couldn't find all the music I wanted on vinyl in this town and/or at reasonable prices. So much was coming out on cd and I went that route, and then I got to trading with musicians and collectors for things on cd that were never released, private recordings, etc. and rare 78s and lps on cdr, etc. and Now I have so much music on digital and one helluva rig to play it on. As I mentioned above I helped a friend get back into vinyl the last few weeks--he has lots of Mosaic sets on vinyl, and some really great stuff, but has been mainly cd for some time as he replaced a Tandberg receiver he had been using since '78 with a Peachtree Audio integrated amp I sold him, and he missed the lps. Got me the hankering, I got paid back some money I had loaned out to a friend, and turned around and spent it.

Shouldn't have, but I did. Looking forward to going through my old records (a lot of which I haven't bought on cd) and acquiring some new ones, like those mono Miles lps scheduled for the fall. . . .

I'm worried just a little bit I'll be a bit unhappy with digital now, but I think I'll weather that storm. It took me a long time to get digital right and enjoy it.
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« Last Edit: 05/31/12 at 23:18:52 by Lon »  

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sberger
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #21 - 06/01/12 at 00:27:46
 
That's great!! A music lover like yourself deserves not to be limited by format, if possible. You'll still use and love your digital rig although I suspect that when the vinyl rig gets put together just the newness alone will have you ignore your other set up for awhile. But while I'm vinyl first I wouldn't give up the enjoyment, variety and simplicity that my digital rig, whether cd, sacd, or streaming, brings me.

Enjoy!
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Fireblade
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #22 - 06/01/12 at 02:20:12
 
Well Lon, I'm as perplexed as the other guys to learn about your 'revolution'  :), good for you!  Did you consider a single preamp to tackle both duties instead of having the new CSP2+ and the additional preamp?  Just curious ... Enjoy it!
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 02:23:42 by Fireblade »  

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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #23 - 06/01/12 at 04:13:53
 
sberger wrote on 06/01/12 at 00:27:46:
That's great!! A music lover like yourself deserves not to be limited by format, if possible. You'll still use and love your digital rig although I suspect that when the vinyl rig gets put together just the newness alone will have you ignore your other set up for awhile. But while I'm vinyl first I wouldn't give up the enjoyment, variety and simplicity that my digital rig, whether cd, sacd, or streaming, brings me.

Enjoy!


Believe me I'll use my digital rig. I'm one of those weird guys who has an audio/visual system, and I'll be using the DVR and the Blu-ray player every day, as well as the Redbook and SACD, I know I will. But it will be fun to revisit my vinyl again, and buy some new as well.
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #24 - 06/01/12 at 04:17:49
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/01/12 at 02:20:12:
Well Lon, I'm as perplexed as the other guys to learn about your 'revolution'  :), good for you!  Did you consider a single preamp to tackle both duties instead of having the new CSP2+ and the additional preamp?  Just curious ... Enjoy it!


Oh definitely, I looked around and honestly I didn't see anything new that I really trusted to be what I wanted and didn't want to go through a lot of trial and error. I know the CSP2+ as I've had my CSP2 for so long, it's exactly the preamp I want with its adjustable input and output gain and its Decware build and sound. And I have experience with the PS Audio phono preamp, it's a fantastic and versatile preamp that sounds amazing, so the combo just seemed to promise better sound and reliability for me than any other possible ones I could afford.
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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #25 - 06/01/12 at 06:44:01
 
Quote:
That's interesting, I played with the front ones all night, and settled on having them right under the front power tubes! Then I came on and saw your post, freaky!!!!

The rear ones are more subtle. I started with them near the corners, and now have them under the rear outward corner of the transformers.


I am right with you orangecrush. Though I have used both the front and rear positions before, I think this is the first for the combination. I had to turn down the trebles a bit, and up the bass a hair, but I really like it!

Thanks for the tip!
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orangecrush
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #26 - 06/01/12 at 07:42:36
 
That's cool Will. Tonight, after another session, I am now sure my soundstage has widened and there is more air or space between instruments.

What are you using under your Tranquility Dac?
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 07:43:40 by orangecrush »  
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #27 - 06/01/12 at 11:59:58
 
When you gents say "transformers" Are you talking about the smallest transformers or the larger ones closest to the right and left sides? I've moved the front to where you have them and the rear to the larger transformers. Interesting. A bit "tarter." I don't have bass controls, so I generally tune to the best bass, and I'm not sure it's here. But I need things to settle a bit to be sure.
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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #28 - 06/01/12 at 14:33:48
 
For me it is the back, outside ones, and a little back from he back outside corners. Are these chokes?  In front I am a little toward the inputs but mostly under the front power tubes. I have not done extensive listening with this position, but first impressions are very good. I would not call it tart on mine, but can get the thought. The sound is quite spacious, with great ambient information, near and far...less smoothed together, and the bass is quite tight, but rich and deep. I find the mids articulate but also rich, and the dynamics are exceptional. I can't really tell improvement on sound stage as my sound stage is sort of off the top anyway, but the black is a little blacker.

Under the Tranquility, I have tried Herbie's tenderfeet, which I liked under the ZDAC, but too soft/organic for the Tranquility. I prefer harder. I tried some carbon cones from Music Direct and they were pretty good, some Synergistic Research MiGs, nice in ways, but a little hard...I ended up with hardwood feet with points from partsconnexion. LIHUA Wood Isolation Foot. Whenever I mess around with what I have, I get back to these. Articulate but organic. I really like them.

Edit: I forgot to mention, I have the Tranquility on top of my ZDAC due to space constraints, and the ZDAC is on Herbie's tenderfeet, no doubt having some effect on the Tranquility.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 14:37:33 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #29 - 06/01/12 at 14:55:05
 
Thanks will. I had the back IsoCups under the furthest back transformers/chokes for a spell and though that was very spacious and dynamic, the bass suffered. The balance was too trebly, and "tart" seemed the right word.

I've now put the back ones about the same position as the ones on the front, in line with the back edge of the side transformers and about an inch and a half in from the edge, and yes, better bass, still very dynamic and spacious. My previous preferred positioning was actually with a different source and different cabling so it was time to experiment. With the IsoCups nearest the corners I get a very classic tube sound, rich and with bloom. Nice but this is a nice change.

I've changed my lampblack "balls" to the old acrylic ones. To my ears these are the most neutral and "quick" with the frosted clear bases.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 15:33:51 by Lon »  

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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #30 - 06/01/12 at 15:40:13
 
Got it Lon. Interesting about the acrylic. I wonder if you can still get them. Could you break down the difference between the lampblacks a little more?

It will be fun to see where we all end up on this exploration orangecrush has revived.

Have you looked at Herbie's lately. I just took a look and did not see the cloudy white silicone, the stainless bases, or the lampblack balls. Now black silicone, and "supersonic hardballs."

orangecrush, didn't you get the high end bases with lampblack balls. Do yours have stainless bases and cloudy/whitish silicone. The supersonic balls look a little matte in the pics whereas my lampblack look shiny.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 15:41:03 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #31 - 06/01/12 at 16:20:36
 
Right will, some months back Herbie moved to the new black bases and new balls and he states these do NOT need the bases.

You can still buy the old material bases and balls though. Click on the "Misc." link under "Contact Us" on the black banner at the top of the home page. You can find the acrylic balls and the high-end base by clicking the "Products" link on the black banner on the home page.

As for acrylic versus lampblack, I first got a hint when I started with my "roller-bearing" isolation support for my ERRs. I used a 1.5 inch concave automotive freeze plug with one of the Herbie's balls on all corners. I first used the acrylic balls I had lying around, and ordered some more lampblack to try as well. I got a very open and clear sound with the acrylic balls, and a very neutral fast signature. When the lampblack balls came and were substituted there was a lessening of the openness and a tilt upwards in frequency. That led me to experiment with the acrylic and lampblack balls in the IsoCups. I came to the conclusion that with the frosted cups and high end bases, the acrylic had a touch more open and fast character, the lampblack a slight brightness. Bright is an enemy in my system. Smiley With older IsoCups that I have (clearer material, with a gray "neutralizing" layer at the bottom) I really couldn't discern a difference.* So I'd say the acrylic is a bit more neutral. I could be wrong about the "neutrality" but it does result in what I think is a more neutral sound.

*But these bases are a bit slower sounding overall. Sometimes a nice tool for the toolbox.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 16:22:19 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #32 - 06/01/12 at 16:24:40
 
will, have you tried the firmer Tenderfeet with the Clarity? Might do the trick and the "symmetry" of the two components stacked with Tenderfeet might be just right. One never knows, do one?
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #33 - 06/01/12 at 18:00:04
 
I ordered the lampblack balls and the clear frosted cups with high end bases simply because I read several people say its a killer combo. It seems the super sonic hardball gets mixed results in direct comparison.

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #34 - 06/01/12 at 18:02:26
 
Lon wrote:

Quote:
And I have experience with the PS Audio phono preamp, it's a fantastic and versatile preamp that sounds amazing, so the combo just seemed to promise better sound and reliability for me than any other possible ones I could afford.


I agree on the PS Audio phono preamp and CSP combo. Though I have never heard them together, I have heard the PSA and I know the Decware sound. It's funny though, because while I was at one time quite a vinyl junkie, having invested large sums in a variety of analogue equipment, even building my own tone arms, modifying cartridges, etc., I have come to the conclusion that vinyl is just another sound, another tonal distortion of reproduced reality. When I was younger, I detested all the electro-mechanical obstacles to good vinyl sound (and let's be honest, there are plenty of crappy recordings and pressings in all media), and longed for something more repeatedly, reliablly accurate. Like any early computer aficionado, I wanted solid state storage without moving parts. I am even of the mind that life is actually more digital than analogue, that digital is the true recipe and that analogue is the imperfect , well, "analog."

Like our Decware tubes, all these devices deliver and impose differing compromises. Paul McGowan recently wrote at length on the topic of tube-vs-solid state, ending with his explanation of why he prefers to engineer in SS. And I thought his points were quite valid, especially those about the inherent "inaccuracies" of tubes. But it doesn't keep me from being much more engaged, in love with my tubes in a way that I never was with even the best of my SS amps and preamps, several costing much more two decades ago than my Decware equipment cost today.

Conversely, I am completely enthralled by my PSA PWD and its sound. So, I have this ultra-simple tube gear and very sophisticated digital storage and rendering device. They both sound great, as I suspect will Lon's new vinyl rig. It's wonderful to have all these delightful choices. It wasn't so long ago that digital was bad enough that it's primary virtue was convenience, even while vinyl seemed to be sinking into oblivion. Thankfully, neither is the case.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #35 - 06/01/12 at 19:03:27
 
Man, just reading at your display of well versed, first hand experience-based accessory discussions, makes me wonder guys. This is such a complex field, that it would probably take years just to start getting a handle on its ever-changing essentials (as the technology keeps pushing new alternatives to try, all the time).

Under this perspective, isn't it complicating matters exponentially when you also decide to go for both existing sourcing setups (digital & analog)?  I mean, shouldn't the goal be to specialize in one of these choices and excell at it?  Isn't the whole objective to achieve the best possible sound, and if so, wouldn't you say this objective would be better served by sticking to one sourcing platform and optimize its application?

Shouldn't one invest time and resources in a matter that maximizes the chances of getting as close as possible to that holly grail of sound?  Do you really need to divest yourself in the pursue of parallel paths, which are theoretically aimed at the same objective?

I guess the answer to this question is always going to be 'yes, if you're having fun at it.'   Smiley

From a philosophical point of view, I agree with Pale Rider's position:  Digital is the best approximation we know of today to portray what the natural sound of music is all about.  Imperfect as it is, IMHO is well ahead of the peculiar physical constraint inheritance of the pressings era.

But hey, don't pay any attention to me ...  I don't intend to be judgemental, just thinking out loud.  Have fun guys!   Smiley
 
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 19:18:54 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #36 - 06/01/12 at 19:13:59
 
Quote:
will, have you tried the firmer Tenderfeet with the Clarity? Might do the trick and the "symmetry" of the two components stacked with Tenderfeet might be just right. One never knows, do one?


Actually, I have to look back on my orders from Herbie's, but I feel sure at least one of my sets are the hard ones...perhaps all.... I will try to figure it out and see about the Tranquility. Thanks for the thought Lon.

Quote:
I got a very open and clear sound with the acrylic balls, and a very neutral fast signature.


Interesting. I am going to have to check these out!
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #37 - 06/01/12 at 19:55:59
 
Orangecrush, Definitely a killer combination. Acrylic balls can be used for a subtle difference that may not be worth it at all, it's all so system dependent.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 19:57:09 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #38 - 06/01/12 at 20:11:30
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/01/12 at 19:03:27:
Under this perspective, isn't it complicating matters exponentially when you also decide to go for both existing sourcing setups (digital & analog)?  I mean, shouldn't the goal be to specialize in one of these choices and excell at it?  Isn't the whole objective to achieve the best possible sound, and if so, wouldn't you say this objective would be better served by sticking to one sourcing platform and optimize its application?

Shouldn't one invest time and resources in a matter that maximizes the chances of getting as close as possible to that holly grail of sound?  Do you really need to divest yourself in the pursue of parallel paths, which are theoretically aimed at the same objective?

I guess the answer to this question is always going to be 'yes, if you're having fun at it.'   Smiley


What if that's not MY goal. That's NOT my goal. I don't want to anally pursue the very best possible sound. I want to get involving and immersing sound that allows me enjoy my recordings and new ones. I spent a few decades getting there with digital. And I left my vinyl behind. I now have over 15,000 digital discs to listen to. And I have the same 500 lps I had when I started the digital journey, and a few more as well. I've ignored those. I did the math: I could seek out digital copies of the essential ones of these and spend about as much or more as the equipment to play them back with great sound. And I get to have fun learning again about analog playback. I like the ritual of discs and spinning; I dislike the ease and convenience of musical files and streaming, PC Audio. This is another world of ritual and artifact to enter into. I have time on my hands. I have a tolerant lover who enjoys the fruits of my labor to bring musical playback into the home. Her first comment when I told her I was going to set up an analog rig was "Oh good, I'll bring records over, I miss my LPs." So it's a win win for me right there, sharing her music with her and my music with her.

I'm not after perfection. I come from a line of German perfectionists. I saw my grandfather just frustrate the living daylights out of himself trying to do everything perfectly, push it to the limits, control it. I swore I would not be that way and I worked hard not to be that way. My audio goal is discovery and enjoyment, not striving for the perfect sound. This journey into an analog realm is par for that course.

Fireblade wrote on 06/01/12 at 19:03:27:
From a philosophical point of view, I agree with Pale Rider's position:  Digital is the best approximation we know of today to portray what the natural sound of music is all about.  Imperfect as it is, IMHO is well ahead of the peculiar physical constraint inheritance of the pressings era.

But hey, don't pay any attention to me ...  I don't intend to be judgemental, just thinking out loud.  Have fun guys!   Smiley
 


I think digital is fantastic, that's obvious, I have all these discs and all these players and I can't not use them. Analog is different. I have to say I relax into good analog tape or vinyl in a way I never quite have with digital. So I'm looking forward to some of that relaxation. I'm not turning my back on digital. I have so much to listen to, a real benefit to my life. I'm just opening up a new realm of enjoyment, analog.
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« Last Edit: 06/01/12 at 20:12:47 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #39 - 06/01/12 at 22:07:58
 
Lon, just relax.  I'm not judging your decisions, I actually applaude your initiatives.  What I meant was that after seeing you discuss sound accessories' positioning (.. an inch here, a corner there ...) for, say, the isocups in your Torii, I felt like there was deep interest in great sound per se, also.

Maybe you're not even aware of it, but you are a perfectionist from what I've seen in your love for sound details, and that is fantastic if you get fun out of it.  Evidently, this does not seem to get in the way of exploring other music reproduction alternatives for you, as I can see.  My mistake.

On the other hand, I'm entitled to have an opinion and I just expressed it.  Peace, my friend.  :)
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« Last Edit: 06/02/12 at 01:14:49 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #40 - 06/01/12 at 22:16:41
 
Quote:
What if that's not MY goal. That's NOT my goal. I don't want to anally pursue the very best possible sound. I want to get involving and immersing sound that allows me enjoy my recordings and new ones. I spent a few decades getting there with digital. And I left my vinyl behind. I now have over 15,000 digital discs to listen to. And I have the same 500 lps I had when I started the digital journey, and a few more as well. I've ignored those. I did the math: I could seek out digital copies of the essential ones of these and spend about as much or more as the equipment to play them back with great sound. And I get to have fun learning again about analog playback. I like the ritual of discs and spinning; I dislike the ease and convenience of musical files and streaming, PC Audio. This is another world of ritual and artifact to enter into. I have time on my hands. I have a tolerant lover who enjoys the fruits of my labor to bring musical playback into the home. Her first comment when I told her I was going to set up an analog rig was "Oh good, I'll bring records over, I miss my LPs." So it's a win win for me right there, sharing her music with her and my music with her.

I'm not after perfection. I come from a line of German perfectionists. I saw my grandfather just frustrate the living daylights out of himself trying to do everything perfectly, push it to the limits, control it. I swore I would not be that way and I worked hard not to be that way. My audio goal is discovery and enjoyment, not striving for the perfect sound. This journey into an analog realm is par for that course.


I'm with you here Lon. While I no longer have any of my vinyl—except my MFSL UHQR Sgt. Pepper disc [any chance you're interested?]—if I did, I would probably be thinking about doing exactly what you are doing. I listen to what I listen to for pure enjoyment. As most of y'all know, I have a sizable Decware investment, though it pales next to what some audiophiles spend. My children love my system and enjoy it. We use it every day, far more for casual enjoyment than for critical listening, and that is precisely how I want it. It is not difficult to hear what is not present in my system. I do not have room shaking bass, nor super highs that could float on a mosquito's fart. But I do have a system that sounds extremely musical, and complements our life. It is quite revealing of recordings and system components, but I suspect that that does not necessarily mean it is accurate, given all the vagaries of tubes, etc. I find its colorations immersive, so I get revelation without ruthlessness.

In contrast, the ritual of disc spinning holds little appeal to me, so much so that I have spent significant time and effort to be able to rip even my SACDs and store them on my server [obviously spinning discs in the process], reserving disc playback only for those discs that require the Oppo in order to be at their best [the Blu-Ray Opera gala is a stunner, just as Paul McGowan recommended, and as you know, I love the AIX 3D recordings]. But on 2-channel, it's zero spinning platters for me, as much as possible. As SSDs continue to come down in price, it won't be long before my network is non-mechanical. But if one finds enjoyment in such activities, I say "by all means, go for it!".

Hardly perfection, and like you, not the goal I pursue. I am looking forward to hearing your listening reports on the new rig.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #41 - 06/01/12 at 23:21:21
 
Lon wrote on 06/01/12 at 20:11:30:
What if that's not MY goal. That's NOT my goal. I don't want to anally pursue the very best possible sound. I want to get involving and immersing sound that allows me enjoy my recordings and new ones. I spent a few decades getting there with digital. And I left my vinyl behind. I now have over 15,000 digital discs to listen to. And I have the same 500 lps I had when I started the digital journey, and a few more as well. I've ignored those. I did the math: I could seek out digital copies of the essential ones of these and spend about as much or more as the equipment to play them back with great sound. And I get to have fun learning again about analog playback. I like the ritual of discs and spinning; I dislike the ease and convenience of musical files and streaming, PC Audio. This is another world of ritual and artifact to enter into. I have time on my hands. I have a tolerant lover who enjoys the fruits of my labor to bring musical playback into the home. Her first comment when I told her I was going to set up an analog rig was "Oh good, I'll bring records over, I miss my LPs." So it's a win win for me right there, sharing her music with her and my music with her.

I'm not after perfection. I come from a line of German perfectionists. I saw my grandfather just frustrate the living daylights out of himself trying to do everything perfectly, push it to the limits, control it. I swore I would not be that way and I worked hard not to be that way. My audio goal is discovery and enjoyment, not striving for the perfect sound. This journey into an analog realm is par for that course.


I think digital is fantastic, that's obvious, I have all these discs and all these players and I can't not use them. Analog is different. I have to say I relax into good analog tape or vinyl in a way I never quite have with digital. So I'm looking forward to some of that relaxation. I'm not turning my back on digital. I have so much to listen to, a real benefit to my life. I'm just opening up a new realm of enjoyment, analog.


Perfectly said from the non perfectionist. Wink

Look it's like I alluded to the other day. Why limit yourself to only one medium when you can have as many as you want. Vinyl requires more effort(although not nearly as much as some would have you believe) for great sound than digital, but digital allows for simplicity and also allows for, although not as much required, playing around to get great sound. If you want to. I personally also like streaming from my Squeezebox Touch because it allows access to 40,000 + songs from my collection instantly. Also solves some storage issues which is helpful for SEF(spousal enjoyment factor...always comes back to that doesn't it?). The bottom line is that you can put together a system that gets you pretty damn close to perfection if you want to for all mediums. Or at least as close as you want. Not really that difficult.

The takeaway here is that there are some very cool, intelligent folks on this forum, and luckily for most of them it always comes back to the music.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #42 - 06/01/12 at 23:35:37
 
I just listen to music. Hell, my stereo probably sounds like crap compared to everyone else's and I don't care. It sounds great to me.
The persuit of perfection is a fools folly. If you can mesure it, it will never be perfect. Just keep adding numbers to the right of the decimal point, sooner or later something will show up as wrong.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #43 - 06/02/12 at 00:14:36
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/01/12 at 22:07:58:
Lon, just relax.  I'm not judging your decisions, I actually applaude your initiatives.  What I meant was that after seeing you discuss sound accessories' positioning (.. an inch here, a corner there ...) for, say, the isocups in your Torii, I felt like there was deep interest in great sound per se, also.

Maybe you're not even aware of it, but you are a perfectionist from what I've seen in your love for sound details, and that is fantastic if you get fun out of it.  Evidently, this does not seem to get in the way of exploring other music reproduction alternatives for you, as I can see.  My mistake.

On the other hand, I'm entitled to have an opinion and I just expressed it.  Peace, my friend.  :)


FB, I certainly wasn't upset. I just didn't want your assumption that I'm looking for perfect sound go unchallenged. Of course I'm interested in great sound, but that doesn't mean one has to be on a perfectionist's search.

Yes, I had fun moving IsoCups around today because I got to participate in this with a couple other audiophiles, it was fun, and it would be nice if I found a new positioning that would get the amp to favor the bulk of my recordings. Interestingly, I ended up with the IsoCups right back where they were beforehand, that's just what seems to work best with my material in my room. I wasn't looking for perfection as much as I was "homogeneity" --- a sound that I could listen to my worst and my best recordings within/through/with. A quest for homogeneity is hardly a quest for perfection!

I know my family members and I know what perfectionism is in this family. If I were to become an audio perfectionist I'd have my house up for sale and buy 30,000 dollars of dcs digital equipment, and/or a turntable a billionaire would own, and I'd hire Steve to spend a month just working for me building me my ultimate amplification and speaker set. Or be on some spiritual quest for the angels to talk to me through a headhone amp and headphones. I'm far away from Armstrong/Cassler family perfectionism. And intend to stay that way. It already cost me dearly in my youth, and my veering away was the best thing I've done.

I just couldn't disagree more with your statement, it's not my way. I can fully respect it as your way or anyone else's.

I've already set up a vinyl rig in my bedroom system, I have an old B&O turtable in there that needs some work, and my PS Audio GCPH arrived and is set up. I also got a homemade preamp that I got off audiogon in the mail today, it was a good delivery day, and so that is all warming up with the Torii Mk II, preliminary sound is really nice. Not the best listening room, but that's fun too. My pal Dave is coming over soon to check it out, we were over at his house yesterday listening to lps on the rig I set up for him, some Crusaders, Burning Spear, Vivaldi and as almost every time we get together, some Miles Davis. I expect by next week I'll have the Rega here and a few cables I ordered, and will set up in the main  system and do some serious exploratory vinyl listening! Looking forward to it. It's my kind of "work." Smiley
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« Last Edit: 06/02/12 at 00:56:13 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #44 - 06/02/12 at 00:29:45
 
Cool, and well-made three input tube preamp I got from audiogon, sounds quite nice. It's not quite a CSP2 (at least not yet) but should tide me over well til my CSP2+ arrives. We'll see. i will say it's very cool to buy it yesterday and have it today! The builder knows what he's doing. Lots of persons build with this circuit.

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« Last Edit: 06/02/12 at 01:01:44 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #45 - 06/02/12 at 00:59:09
 
Wow that looks great. Keep us informed as to how the sound develops.

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #46 - 06/02/12 at 01:40:59
 
That's cool, Lon.  I'm also not interested purely in sound quality, but to enjoy my music, good sound really helps.  So, I agree with your approach.  I just couldn't keep two different platforms concomitantly, it would drive me crazy!

BTW, that preamp sure looks simple and well built. I bet it sounds great.   Wink
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #47 - 06/06/12 at 01:02:33
 
Lon and Will's posts have inspired me to get closer to the music and have it become part of my life again.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #48 - 06/06/12 at 02:02:29
 
It IS such a pleasure to have such enthralling music reproduction in the house! And kind of wild how much feet and foot placement can effect it!~
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 02:05:13 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #49 - 06/06/12 at 02:24:21
 
Yes, it's sort of unsettling how "everything matters" when you get to a certain level of fidelity. But when it's right, the benefit is really big for musical enjoyment.

FB, this preamp. . . well it's no CSP2 or CSP2+. . . I miss a certain tonality that those preamps impart, or lack of one. This one has not quite the bass depth that the Decwares do, nor is the treble as refined. Pretty good overall, and it could arguably be still breaking in. And I might be hearing the lack of tube rectification.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 02:26:48 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #50 - 06/06/12 at 15:26:06
 
Interesting, seems like you're stuck with Deckware gear, then.  I see you're enjoying your new Rega turn table, congrats, but what is the power unit you mention there for (TT PSU)?  Is that for the phono stage?

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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 15:28:12 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #51 - 06/06/12 at 15:53:24
 
I just bought this preamp for a "stopgap" use until I repair my CSP2 or receive my CSP2+ . . . when I don't need this I'll put it into the second system where its short-comings won't be so noticeable, or I'll sell it. For less than a third of the cost of the CSP2, it's quite impressive, and it's very nicely made.

The TT PSU power supply is a much larger external power supply/power regenerator for the Rega turntable itself. By all accounts I've found it creates rock steady speed control for the table (it sure has rock steady speed) and also allows switching between 33.333333 and 45 rpm at the press of a button and not a change of belt pulley. Not that I'll be doing much of that. This table came with it for a very little cost increase so I have it. (Saved about 250 bucks as opposed to buying it later). It's purported to improve the tonality as well, but I don't have a "before" to compare it to.

Photos below are internet photos, not photos of my equipment.

Rega TT PSU


Rega RP3 with Elys2 (not mine):



My phono preamp has a huge torroidal transformer within; don't think a power supply upgrade is needed for that.

PS Audio GCPH:




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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 16:35:43 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #52 - 06/06/12 at 21:23:42
 
Right, I'd forgotten about the need to control a steady rpm on that table.  Shame about the temporary preamp's shortcomings, but beating a Deckware equivalent is kind of hard, even at higher price levels.

You know, it is hard to draw a line and say, well, here's where I stop upgrading.  Take my example: New gear, still not broken-in yet and I keep asking myself whether there's something affordable out there to make it better.

Right now, I feel great about the sound I'm getting, though.  It would probably be enough for me as it is ... Who nows?  :)  Ahh but the music!  It's just great to hear stuff I'm familiar with and still get the sensation of a new audition.  Bass lines, details, separation of multiple instruments in ensemble ... its a whole new experience I had forgotten.

The gear keeps opening up, gradually but irreversibly.  I haven't noticed bad or weird moments, only a gradual improvement over time, especially (I think) from the speakers.



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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 21:42:38 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #53 - 06/06/12 at 21:32:15
 
It's really a great preamp and sounding better today than yesterday. If I hadn't come directly from the Decware the short-comings would have been less noticeable, and I just put a better power cord on it (the cord used cost as much as the preamp) and that has helped. Also by the weekend I'll have a cryoset cable in from cryoset.com to match the others in use with the preamp and that will help. I shouldn't bad mouth this preamp because it really is something. . . and it's no shame to be a bit lacking compared to a Decware preamp.

Can't use the IsoCups under this as it has no bottom cover, and the half inch wooden frame really isn't wide enough. Using Tenderfeet from Herbie's Audio instead.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 21:39:27 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #54 - 06/06/12 at 21:49:49
 
You're probably right, as the device has not even broken in yet.  How important would you say in general these vibration damping feet are, anyway?  Also, I had heard about cryo'd tubes, but cables too?

One should be able to get a disc or something, that will let you find out whats your next best bet, sort of weakest link in your chain.  It would be quite an advantage.  I guess experience brings along identifying these things, just by listening to the gear.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 21:53:18 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #55 - 06/06/12 at 21:50:11
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/06/12 at 21:23:42:
You know, it is hard to draw a line and say, well, here's where I stop upgrading.  Take my example: New gear, still not broken-in yet and I I keep asking myself whether there's something affordable out there to make it better.

Right now, I feel great about the sound I'm getting, though.  It would probably be enough for me as it is ... Who nows?  :)  Ahh but the music!  It's just great to hear stuff I'm familiar with and still get the sensation of a new audition.  Bass lines, details, separation of multiple instruments in ensemble ... its a whole new experience I had forgotten.

The gear keeps opening up, gradually but irreversibly.  I haven't noticed bad or weird moments, only a gradual improvement over time, especially (I think) from the speakers.





Realistically, if it's the zone of affordable you want to remain in, probably you're well set, with power regeneration and cabling being the likely next projects. I had to stretch the boundaries of what was "affordable" for me after this point as I needed a better source to achieve my goals of homogenous great sound.  I bit the bullet and spent money, big money, and got taken to a level I didn't really know could exist in my home. I enjoyed the level before, and the level before that, because I love music, it's a necessary part of my life. I think merging my audio and visual system was also a reason I went for another level. I found that changes in power and cabling were quite visible, and the visible changes led me to explore auditory ones, and also meant that the price range went up. But the pain of the spending is done, and I'm enjoying the fruits and still coping, and now this new vinyl listening component is another exciting realm of discovery, with the nostalgic boost added from revisiting the lps of my earlier life. I've got high quality digital to listen to (and watch) and high quality vinyl. I truly appreciate the situation.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 21:53:49 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #56 - 06/06/12 at 22:00:46
 
Power regeneration sounds great but is too expensive (well done, that is).  Cabling is more affordable, if constrained to reasonable prices.  What about a ZStage or a Preamp, those sorts of things?  I read somewhere (may not be true) that in improving your gear the last thing you want to change is your (decent) DAC (as it brings out only subtle changes compared with other things).

Should I assume that in my chain the amp is the strongest link?  If so, what about Caps replacements for it?  Also, are there tube combinations that improve the sound (probably not, just the timbre or signature I suppose)?

Sorry for all these questions, but as you have become a sort of sound consultant, I'm trying to get advantage ...  ;)  I would like to get a recipe for my 'best bang for the buck' in my gear chain, that's all, and I'm not in a hurry as I'm enjoying this state very much.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 22:08:25 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #57 - 06/06/12 at 22:08:01
 
The feet can make a slight to a significant difference. It's rather situational. It's odd, if you have a great stereo rack, which takes care of a lot of your isolation from vibration needs, the feet still make a difference. I theorize that they make a significant difference for me as well because my house is 80 years old (as old as my parents!) and a pier and beam house, pretty rickety compared to a newer concrete foundation house. Just a theory. I hear less impact using the same feet at a friend's new house, but his system doesn't have the resolution mine does either.

And I don't really know much about the cryo aspect of metal cabling besides my own experience earlier with cryo'd speaker cabling--several of us years ago on the board had some wire cryo'd in a group project and compared to uncryo'd version there was a difference, a positive one. I decided to try to the cryoset cables as when I got my PS Audio transport and DAC I was able to hear the difference in cabling as I never had before, and I had many years of successful dealings with Ron Sheldon over at cryoset.com Prior to Ron's cable I had bought a cryo'd cable from Reality Cables which I found intriguingly different from other interconnects I had. Trusting Ron's ears I tried his, and I have to say these cables just have the right tone and dynamics for my system and needs, and the more I add the happier I am overall with the system.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #58 - 06/06/12 at 22:16:36
 
There may be some merit to the cryo process in metals, as their crystalline structure will tighten together, further than normal and irreversibly, if exposed to very low temperatures, presumably allowing for a more solid, clean sort of 'highway' for electrons to travel through.

When you mention cabling improvements potential, are you referring to power cords, IC's or speaker cables, or all of them?  

Again Lon, thanks for taking the time to answer these nagging questions.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 22:23:09 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #59 - 06/06/12 at 22:21:28
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/06/12 at 22:00:46:
Power regeneration sounds great but is too expensive (well done, that is).  Cabling is more affordable, if constrained to reasonable prices.  What about a ZStage or a Preamp, those sorts of things?  I read somewhere (may not be true) that in improving your gear the last thing you want to change is your (decent) DAC (as it brings out only subtle changes compared with other things).

Should I assume that in my chain the amp is the strongest link?  If so, what about Caps replacements for it?  Also, are there tube combinations that improve the sound (probably not, just the timbre or signature I suppose)?

Sorry for all these questions, but as you have become a sort of sound consultant, I'm trying to get advantage ...  ;)  I would like to get a recipe for my 'best bang for the buck' in my gear chain, that's all, and I'm not in a hurry as I'm enjoying this state very much.  


As I said, I think affordable is a zone you may have to leave in order to make significant bumps in performance. I don't know your amp, and won't comment on it, I have no experience with the MT and it's the one Decware amp I've never been interested in owning. I have not changed any caps in any of my amps, because I just am happy with their influence on the amp's signature and I trust Steve chose them well. Also, I don't want to radically alter the nature of the amp and then reassess cabling and tubes, etc. Tube choices . . . well there's lots of talk on the MT threads about those.

And I don't know how to evaluate your source, DAC, etc. I tried computer audio and didn't like it at all, and beyond taht experience i don't have any. We all also have different tastes in tonal balance and that is a large part of the "right" source. From your descriptions I think your source is probably going to serve you well til you are willing to jump outside the zone of affordable.

I think power regeneration is probably the most significant change you can make outside of a source, and I'd save up for that. In the zone of the affordable, I'd say consider isolation, it will help to maximize what you now have, take an edge off, and will serve current and future components.. . . .Then you can build on that with cabling, power regeneration and beyond as time goes by.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 22:25:20 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #60 - 06/06/12 at 22:27:26
 
Got it, loud and clear.  Makes sense.  Thanks again!
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #61 - 06/06/12 at 22:35:26
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/06/12 at 22:16:36:
There may be some merit to the cryo process in metals, as their crystalline structure will tighten together, further than normal and irreversibly, if exposed to very low temperatures, presumably allowing for a more solid, clean sort of 'highway' for electrons to travel through.

When you mention cabling improvements potential, are you referring to power cords, IC's or speaker cables, or all of them?  

Again Lon, thanks for taking the time to answer these nagging questions.


Well, yes, I know about the science of cryo'ing metal, but my personal experience is limited to tubes and those two instances of cabling. The interconnects are clearly right for me, not sure if the cryo'ing has any bearing on the results.

By cabling, yes I mean all of the cabling.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #62 - 06/06/12 at 22:46:39
 
I see.  Lon, do you recommend Decware's speaker cables?  Have you got any experience with them?  Could I assume my Decware IC's are ok, and so, I should concentrate on the other cables?

As you know, the Mini Torii has tube voltage regulation, both at the input and output stages.  Should this help with the power conditioning problem so I should not need the regeneration plant as much as someone without these regulation stages?  I think Steve mentioned this to me when we talked about the M-T.  Of course, the plant would be the best thing, but given it's cost it may well be a secondary option for me and I should maybe concentrate in the cabling and eventually sourcing first?

I'm sorry, I promise to stop nagging with this last message. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 22:54:51 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #63 - 06/06/12 at 23:02:19
 
Yes, I've had the Decware speaker cables for years now. The damned things took forever to really come into their own (were really bass-shy for months) but when they did they became the best speaker cables I've ever had and I've not been tempted by other cables since. I've practically changed everything else and they have shown me every change and stayed musical and detailed (in the right way, I am NOT a detail freak, but I don't like things hidden either).

If the Decware interconnects are working well with your source right now I wouldn't worry about them til you make other changes and access them again. They served me very well for years, and it really wasn't until I made big changes in power and source that I began to feel I needed different interconnects. They made really good recordings sound fantastic but I couldn't relax into the bulk of the recordings I have the way I wanted to. I'd hang with them right now and maybe you will even longer, they're a great design.
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« Last Edit: 06/07/12 at 00:56:52 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #64 - 06/06/12 at 23:13:18
 
Fireblade wrote on 06/06/12 at 22:46:39:
As you know, the Mini Torii has tube voltage regulation, both at the input and output stages.  Should this help with the power conditioning problem so I should not need the regeneration plant as much as someone without these regulation stages?  I think Steve mentioned this to me when we talked about the M-T.  Of course, the plant would be the best thing, but given it's cost it may well be a secondary option for me and I should maybe concentrate in the cabling and eventually sourcing first?


My Torii has Decware voltage regulation and I found the power regeneration made just as much of an impact with it as it did with my other amps. Have to say I don't quite agree with Steve's statements about this, or perhaps I should say I don't fully understand it. In the Torii the voltage regulation stages make a difference that are only enhanced by the Power Plant. All the amps I've heard sound great, and could benefit from power treatment. Greg has found this to be true as well for the Toriis he owns. Ever since I had one of the first P300s made from PS Audio, I've known that this is an important factor for my systems. And I'm sure that again my old house with its old wiring is a factor. Down the line you could look into one of the PS Audio outlets and the "Duet" power centers. These do about as much as you can before regeneration, and do a lot for the sound.
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« Last Edit: 06/06/12 at 23:56:46 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #65 - 06/07/12 at 01:01:28
 
I have no complaints from the IC's, so this confirms one less cable to replace.  I've heard at least another reliable opinion on Decware's speaker cables and that is absolutely positive too, so we'll be saving for those instead.

On the voltage regulation issue, I forgot the Torii also has those, and I see your point.  I just would like for other Torii owners (I think Greg has everything, and this is wonderful, but not representative) to confirm this, that may not share the same atypical house electrical infrastructure that you describe as a possible factor.  

I'll also check on the duet power centers as a more affordable alternative. BTW, I'm sure Steve's recommendations included the isolation transformer and good power cords, underlying the benefits of the amp's voltage regulation stages in cleaning the noises imbedded in the mains.  This may had not taken into account improvements beyond the de-coupling/filtering attributes, that you have found.

Lon, I thank you for giving me a perspective.  I think you're right on the money on cabling and power treatments (aside from the affordable anti-vibration gadgets) as priorities.  I'll leave the power plant for the future and concentrate on those other more basic (and affordable) weak links.

The way my gear is sounding (progressively better with time), I think I will reconsider the ZStage and other components and straighten out the basics discussed, instead.

I'm appreciative of your insights, Lon.  Have a nice evening.
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« Last Edit: 06/07/12 at 01:02:47 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #66 - 06/07/12 at 01:47:33
 
The PPPs made a significant improvement in my sound. I am considering trading them in for new P5 units, because there is quite a good promo on them now, but I am still lining out the impact on the budget for the rest of the year. FWIW, I have relatively recent and well installed electrical wiring in my home.

Decware,  HCM, and MAC ICs also made a noticeable improvement in the system, but not as much as clean power, and the same is true for the ZenStyx speaker cables. Herbie's isolation devices and tube dampeners even more so.

Tubes of course can make a huge difference, as can synergies between tubes and tube components. But overall, other than the tubes and tube components themselves, nothing else had quite the impact of clean power in my experience. I think that is because clean power positively contributes to the performance of every element in the system. And that is one reason I believe Steve suggests listening late at night when the power grid is cleaner. And the PSA units are such a different approach, that they tend to dwarf other approaches that do not regenerate power. Just my $.02.  YMMV.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #67 - 06/07/12 at 02:53:23
 
Fireblade. I agree with Lon and Pale Ryder that cables, power cleaning, and vibration isolation are all intelligent steps, each having "significant" positive results once you get into the finer details of the last 5-10 percent. And Pale Ryder makes an excellent point about the actual effects of good power improving every bit of the electronic path.

But relative to the origins of this thread. The Isocups...feet also effect every electronic part of your gear. Every foot I have used has a different sound, and depending on the piece of gear, the differences are greater or less, but always discernible. I played for hours over several days refining the feet, and foot placement even under my Mac Mini. Subtle, but not subtle if you know what I mean. Here I am not talking about 5%, but the difference between very real and very, very real. Definitely worth the effort to optimally isolate the Mini.

HerbiesAudioLab feet are really good, as are his tube dampers, indicating that he is a serious developer with good ears. Though I got tenderfeet for my lighter gear (and like them for my ZDAC and Zstage), I tried them under the Torii, and did not like the sound, or under the Tranquility. Too soft. But they were the soft tenderfeet, and as Lon suggested, the more dense ones might work very well. The isocups on the other hand, once I found the right arrangement and adapted to the way they reduced vibration and effected the sound, I like them a lot under the Torii. Detailed, extended, smooth and neutral.

The Torii is heavier than the MiniTorii, but I suspect you could get similar results as the rest of us with Herbie's highend bases, frosted isocups and lampblack balls under your MT. It seems three would be plenty for it. I could tell the difference between three and four on the Torii, enough to be glad I got the fourth, but three was really good, and  the Torii is heavy.

Since Steve @ Herbie's is the expert, it may be worth an email conversation with him about the sound characteristics of his newer, and slightly less expensive Isocups and Hardballs. Here is a quote from a post of his on AudioCircle " Frosted Clear Iso-Cup has been replaced in our product lineup with a newly-formulated black Iso-Cup and SuperSonic Hardball. The new Iso-Cup achieves a sonic result equal to or better than the Clear Iso-Cup w/Lampblack Ball + Hi-End Base, without needing the Hi-End Base."

Not having tried these, I can't comment, and as we have seen, there is the gear synergy thing, but the ones I have are really good. Isocups under the MT, and some tenderfeet under your DAC might be a really good, cost effective next step.

As to power, I have a Pi Audio UberBuss with a Brickwall in front, with a bunch of Alan Maher boxes spread around, and a couple Kemp boxes. This all came in a long progression. Not having tried the PS stuff, I can't compare, but my sound is off the charts all day, unaffected by power line variations. It actually was quite good before the Uber, but the Uber sealed the deal! Interestingly, the UberBuss rendered the Kemp and Maher electronic RFI/EMI cleaning boxes notably less important, but I kept them in in different, more subtle positions, now around the room, instead of in with the gear.

Pi now makes a little surge suppressor Buss (two years development, an effort to add surge suppression without negative sonic impact..the Uber has no surge suppression) that looks interesting, and is supposed to improve sound some too. In a little search I found the following posts indicating (if the time comes for you) that there may be good ways to go rather than the costly, though effective PS power regenerators.

http://www.audionervosa.com/index.php?topic=2124.0
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?raccs&1249671575
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=176

Perhaps some fun territory to explore. Wink
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #68 - 06/07/12 at 14:45:05
 
Lon, the Duets power centers are not on offer anymore.  I could not find anything really useful there, other than the P5/P10, which may be great but are quite expensive pieces of auxiliary gear.  I may have found an affordable alternative, though.

Pale Rider, thanks for your contributions.  It's surprising for me to learn that the speaker cables and isolation devices bear even more importance than the IC's in improving overall sound.  I'm sure about the clean power concept, but I thought I had that covered with the isolation tranny and a hospital grade power cord.  These may not be the best, but should be helping.  As this was underlined by Lon also, I'm already set on getting those speaker cables first, along with the isolation devices (dampers for the output tubes, I suppose, and the feet for the Mini Torii.)

Will, thanks for your usual support.  I checked those links and I'm sold on the Ubber Buss concept.  For a more affordable alternative, I'm considering the Mini Buss new choice (I guess that's the one you were referring to).  Shame this Dave guy is not up and running with the website yet.  It's hard to even find a proper Mini Buss description from him.  In any event, this is on my list along with the above listed priorities right now.

I don't know if you are familiar with my USB/DAC, but it's so tiny, it won't get any advantages of feet under it.  They wouldn't even fit (maybe one?).  We'll see.  On the isocups for the Mini, I certainly need to study them to make sure I choose the right ones in my case.  I actually need to understand and properly select either the harder material tenderfeet or the newly designed isocups.  I have not been able to look deeply into their site yet.

Gentlemen, thanks to all for these viewpoints and for clearing the misconceptions I had.  I think the best approach for me, not in a hurry as I said, is to prepare the ground for those three elements:  Mini Buss, ZenStyx wires and Herbie's isolation gadgets (dampers and feet).  

BTW, would it be wrong to use my isolation transformer to feed the Mini Buss?  I just want to take advantage of what I already have, and it seems to me it is working fine, as far as I can tell, so it should actually help the Mini Buss ...  I guess this is a question for Dave and company, sorry!

Take care now, guys ...
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« Last Edit: 06/07/12 at 22:28:56 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #69 - 06/07/12 at 15:12:06
 
Could any of you using the isocups post a pic I'm having a hard time seeing how these would look under the torii.  I know Herbie's has some great products just not sure I would fing this combo visually appealing.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #70 - 06/07/12 at 15:13:21
 
Too bad about the Duets, they'll show up here and there, they're great.

As for your DAC, look into the Baby Booties from Herbie's. Work very well. I don't think you would need the "firm" feet for the MT. Iso Cups work best on amps, but the feet work well too.
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« Last Edit: 06/07/12 at 15:14:12 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #71 - 06/07/12 at 15:19:17
 
FWIW I recently found a mint Power Plant Premier for more than 60 % off retail so the deals are out there. My first real attempt at addressing my power issues. Haven't received it yet and have no idea how it will help as I have no idea if my power needs help. But figure it was a good price and it can't hurt.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #72 - 06/07/12 at 15:26:37
 
Sam, I think you're in for a surprising change in fidelity, for the better immediately, and even better after a week or so. Good score.

Still enjoying the cryoset cables?
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #73 - 06/07/12 at 16:16:02
 
Thanks Lon. Yes the cables made and continue to make a very nice improvement. I really am looking forward to seeing what the PPP will do in my system but for sure if nothing else it will help with power cord orginization. Again can't be a bad thing.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #74 - 06/07/12 at 16:25:31
 
Glad the cables are working out for you so well. I have my third pair on the way to me. . . and will probably eventually buy another. Smiley

I think the P10 is going to surprise you. Eager to hear the results. Will you have it by the weekend?
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #75 - 06/07/12 at 17:25:18
 
Whoa not a P10. A gently used Power Plant Premier from a few years back. Can't jump into the deep end just yet.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #76 - 06/07/12 at 17:29:45
 
Fireblade. I think you are right, with your transformer (presumably it has surge suppression too???) and power cord, along with the filtering from the VRs in your Mini Torii, you likely have decent power. But it can get better.

Don't know your Kimber Speaker Cables, but they are likely pretty good too. And your ICs are good. Both could be likely better also.

Speaker cables really do effect the sound in different ways making the "good" or "bad" sooooo relative...I have heard Reality, AudioQuest GBC, Clearday shotguns, CAT5 DIY, and Decware in this system, and all were good enough to adapt the system to. Decware is my favorite for their ability to give detailed, and extended presentation that is smooth and warmish...without excess sense of detail, but the home made with CAT 5 cables were close, and the others were all very good sounding in their own way. Don't know how your Kimbers stack up in this, but some food for thought.

Questions become: How much do you like your current system and components? Does anything stick out as lacking? If not, then prioritizing based on cost efficiency may be the best way to go knowing that it all matters with this quality of gear.

I mean, I just replace the AC ends on my first cable feeding the UberBuss from Furutech copper to Furutech Gold and man...nice change. But the copper ends sounded great! For my Tranquility, I added a AQVOX USB power unit (puts clean power to the DAC chip that normally comes from the computer) and wow...great change again. And my system has been amazing to me for a long time. The point being, you can go and go and go.

This thread has segued into several of these areas of fine tuning that take a system into the extraordinary. All important, but some things getting potentially quite costly. And we haven't really touched much on tubes and ROOM. So I get your question. What next?

Adding up costs, and based on what you are now using...Styx, a Mini Buss EDIT: I meant PI Surge Suppressor (designed mostly for surge suppression), feet and tube dampers...this would cost more than a Zstage with some decent cables. Would the combo offer more improvement than a Zstage...it is possible depending on system needs and tastes, but both routes would be really good and I guess finally it would be a synergy/taste thing as to which is better to you.

Since you are generally covering many bases reasonably well...looks to me like Herbie's feet would be a cost efficient improvement. 3 Isocups for the amp, and based on the size of your DAC, as Lon suggests, Baby Booties. A nice inexpensive, but significant upgrade with parts you will likely use for a very long time.

Then, unless you have apparent power or cable issues, since the Zstage is so interesting to you (and a nice piece of gear) I might tend toward the Zstage next. And then look more at power and cabling. Hard to say as you are choosing from all good stuff, and all will help. But this is my thought today.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 15:20:11 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #77 - 06/07/12 at 17:34:09
 
sberger wrote on 06/07/12 at 17:25:18:
Whoa not a P10. A gently used Power Plant Premier from a few years back. Can't jump into the deep end just yet.


Not sure where I got P10 from (unless from your post and you've edited it). The Premier is excellent. You are going to be happy you got it, and at such a good price.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #78 - 06/07/12 at 20:46:29
 
Fireblade wrote in part:

Quote:
Pale Rider, thanks for your contributions.  It's surprising for me to learn that the speaker cables and isolation devices bear even more importance than the IC's in improving overall sound.  I'm sure about the clean power concept, but I thought I had that covered with the isolation tranny and a hospital grade power cord.  These may not be the best, but should be helping.  As this was underlined by Lon also, I'm already set on getting those speaker cables first, along with the isolation devices (dampers for the output tubes, I suppose, and the feet for the Mini Torii.)


I was perhaps sloppy in my writing when I used the phrase "more so" without being clear that I was referring to the relative impact compared to clean power. IOW, clean power is even more important than isolators as compared to ICs from my point of view. I was intending to convey that, in my view, the items in my system like Herbie's gear and ZenStyx can make audible improvements, but their contribution is overall less significant than regenerated power. If I had to do it all over again, I would start with the power first.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #79 - 06/07/12 at 21:30:34
 
I agree totally.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #80 - 06/07/12 at 22:57:01
 
I'd say, it depends on your power.

With a brickwall, a cheap, but powerful Alan Maher EMI filter, and a few Alan Maher boxes of rocks, I had very clean sound. Then by adding some Kemp boxes, it got more refined and holographic. Finally, adding the UberBuss (which is reported as improvement over very expensive power units) took it another step, solidifying my sound and making it more organic and consistent, but it was not night and day. Since PS Audio regenerators are among those others have moved to the Uber from, I am assuming the Uber is in the ballpark with PSAudio.

So, though totally theoretical, my assumption is that my power is pretty good to begin with. This is why I said "unless you have apparent power or cable issues..."

Also, sorry Fireblade, I confused the new PI Surge Protector with the MiniBuss, though it sounds like the Surge Protector MAY do what the Minibuss does along with transparent surge suppression.
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« Last Edit: 06/07/12 at 23:11:43 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #81 - 06/07/12 at 23:52:52
 
Pale Rider, thanks for clarifying.  I certainly didn't get that the first time around, sorry.  No wonder I was surprised about it.  I mean, I used to think IC's were primary in all this chain, maybe only second to power treatment.  With your statement in the right context, I feel now my speaker cables are decent enough not to be a critical bottleneck, and although these could be improved, of course, I may need more of other essentials before upgrading speaker wires, like Herbie's aids.  No doubt power could certainly be improved but again, I'm not totally uncovered in this area either.  Experimentation with the isolation gadgets first may give us some clues.

Will, your analysis is quite sensible.  It is hard for me to answer your vital question, though.  I may not be able to identify what exactly is missing without being exposed to those virtues, first hand (reference).  I know the sound can be improved (as I notice it quite easily just by switching music sources that are recorded differently).  Then there's the never-ending, compounded break-in period uncertainty in my new gear.  Who can tell what would be the final sound on this setup, eventually?  I certainly cannot at this point.

Having said all that, I feel more soundstage and transparency may be wellcome.  Whether this impression is due to the break-in or not, it definitely is something I feel is still lacking.

On the isolation transformer, yes it definitely performs two essential functions:  Prevents surges and limits noise coming from the mains.  As far as I can tell, the Tripp Lite is working without contributing with its own noise.  My speakers are normally dead silent even with my ears very close to the speaker screens, and silence between selections is absolute, so I do not suffer from apparent humming noises either.

I hear you on the isocup feet, as well as those dampers, and certainly could try the Baby Booties, as these all seem cost-effective to me too, especially considering your collective positive sound improvement impressions.

Concerning the ZStage, I just don't know what should be first.  Maybe you guys can lead me into interpreting what I just mentioned about soundstage and transparency.  Now, to be clear, when I stream a very well recorded source, details abound, and the transparency is there, not so much the size of the soundstage.  So maybe the clue for you guys to interpret this is soundstage limitations only?  When the recorded material is suboptimal, though, I have some difficulty separating some frequencies and the music seems to be a little under a 'veil' or maybe coming from a closed container or something.

The potential of this gear definitely shows up with well recorded material, naturally, but the key here would be to extend some of that potential to the bulk of recordings.  Whether break-in, lacking isolation, power nuances, inefficient cabling or foregone benefits of a ZStage is what I could not pinpoint.  Maybe you have a better idea about it.

Finally, as you put it very well, we have not even discussed tubes. I was under the impression tubes may change colors, tones and timbres, but not sound quality per se.  I think what I'm missing relates more to essentials than to these rather more esoteric shades of playback sound.

In the end, a better USB/DAC may be the answer, but I suspect it to be still far up in the evolution yet, as it would not compensate for essentials missing.  So I'm almost back to block one, except for the isolation devices.  BTW, are dampers for the output tubes only (or maybe also the drivers)?

Will, I see you are inclined to suggest the ZStage, assuming no major essential drawbacks.  I give you my earlier sound evaluation for you to maybe confirm or discard that statement.  Thanks again for your insights and patience.   Smiley
 
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 00:21:00 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #82 - 06/08/12 at 00:25:05
 
I actually think that the tube dampers are most effective on input tubes, but they will have subtle effects on output and rectifiers as well. Start wtih the inputs.

If you feel you have good power, I would look at isolation next and think about the ZStage. The ZStage should allow you to tailor in body and tonal texture. . . .
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 00:34:35 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #83 - 06/08/12 at 01:01:27
 
First, your lack of hum could easily indicate decent power, though the intricacies from VERY clean power may improve the finer details.

Second, from your description of sound, how many hours would you guess are on your amp? Could be burnin that is creating the "veil" ...could be source too, but those reviews you posted links about your DAC make it sound pretty good. Then the computer IS part of your source...could be it. Might try some feet under it too. If it is not source, I suspect room is your problem.

And room can be treated in different ways. Speaker placement experimentation is the easiest first choice. The old rules are not always right for a given situation either. In my room, where my speakers need to be (in the center of a wide room, and only 6-7 feet apart) I prefer a very slight toe out from straight on. Not that this is what you need, but to make a point, this is the best way to cancel reflection and resonant issues in this setting, improving image and frequency balance. My soundstage and ability to get great sound from many recording qualities is truly amazing.

Also out from the wall.... and with my room, small changes really matter. An inch here or there....very slight toe changes.

Veils sound like something is killing the mid and upper mids...either too much low mid, or not enough mids and highs.

I am no room expert by any means, but here is a take...If it is low mids, and you are handy, you could make some bass traps. Does your bass sound muddled? And don't forget that comb filtering can happen too, where certain frequency wave forms counter one another creating cancelation. This is where the higher frequency and diffusion treatments come in.

That is a labyrinth though, so I would try speaker placement first...extensive experimentation. This can make a not so perfect room sound pretty good if you are lucky.

I think the Zstage will enhance what you have, including soundstage, but I don't think it is a silver bullet for sound stage. But like Lon said, it will help tailor your overall sound. This could clarify things enough to improve soundstage. We know your amp and speakers are capable of great imaging given a relatively true source and a room that will allow this.

I have always had a good soundstage, but many things have improved it. A Kemp Schumann Resonator is designed to help this and did for me...can't say if it would for you. Also to avoid extensive treatments in my living room, I use Synergistic Research Art Basic. These things may or may not help you, but they did here. We are back to the money thing though.

And tubes...they can make a real mark for sorting out detail to tastes, which in turn can enhance sound stage if density is a problem with your sound, but that is a big playground too. I suppose you could look at the MT threads and see if there is some really good, reasonably priced, and revealing input tube to try. If you get into tubes, it never hurts to have some choices around.

But look at burnin time and speaker placement.

Like Lon, I find the dampers best on the inputs, but I like them on the power tubes, and rectifiers too. I do not use them on VRs. Feet will will cut vibration in the tubes too, so you could start there. But direct tube damping is definitely a good tool.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 01:04:50 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #84 - 06/08/12 at 01:36:45
 
I see your points, Lon and Will.  Let me ask you this: Why is it that the gear sounds sooo good with the proper recordings?  One could assume this could discard most of the suspects here, I would say.  Regarding the break-in hours, I calculate roughly 80 to 90 hrs so far, not much indeed, or is it?

I will try more speaker positions, but so far, straight forward seems the best.  I may even try toe-out a bit, just to check.  Distance from back wall is 18" to 20" max, though. There is a physical limitation there, as I cannot proyect them further into the room than that.  Side walls are not an issue, I think.

I suspect the speakers need more break-in time that even the amp, especially given the Mundorf capacitors upgrade on them.  If you ask my (neofyte) opinion, the speakers are not there yet, but slowly opening, day by day.  I may be wrong.

My laptop-USB/DAC combo is wonderful with great recordings: plenty of details and air.  As stated before, in general no big soundstage though. Everything seems to happen between the two speakers only, and most times sounds are evidently coming from either speaker.  This of course may be the mastering of the typical bulk of original recordings.  I don't feel real soundstage depth yet (I listen to a lot of 60's and earlier recordings).

Bass behaves very well in general, though.  Not too deep, mind you, but natural and tight enough to impart some PRAT and convey the music's rhythm convincingly.

There, I'll let you know more when I go over some of the fast mods first.

Thanks again for your insights!
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #85 - 06/08/12 at 02:17:52
 
Quote:
Everything seems to happen between the two speakers only, and most times sounds are evidently coming from either speaker.  This of course may be the mastering of the typical bulk of original recordings.  I don't feel real soundstage depth yet


This does not sound right. Even with poor recordings, there is no evidence in my system of the sound coming from the speakers. They literally have no apparent part in the sound. And the sound stage varies with recordings, but is always wide and deep relative to the speaker placement.

Tight bass sounds like a good sign. And the best recordings will always sound good as the detail information and balance is more complete, but relatively speaking, bad ones should sound good too.

18-20 inches from the wall is pretty close. It might be interesting just to pull them out to 2.5-3 feet for fun and see if anything changes.

The side wall proximity can effect sound, but a lot of the room stuff is proportions...how the various frequencies bounce around and what happens in that process...heightening some frequencies and reducing others. I thin this is in part what the talk about first reflections is about. they can bounce around pretty fast at important frequencies, so much so, that the mind can't tell where the sound is coming from simply because the wrong reflections sound like the real thing and confuse the image. Offending bounces can be changed some with speaker placement and toe.

80-100 hours is light for burnin, but I think you should be beginning to hear where the sound is going. Even with the Mundorfs. Looking at the real potential, it will get much better over more time though. I think my Mundorfs kept improving for many hundreds of hours, but they always sounded pretty good. Same for the amp and speakers, though I agree with you, the bass drivers loosening up will really be nice.

Your report makes me want to look even more at speaker placement. Width, toe, depth.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 02:33:17 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #86 - 06/08/12 at 02:38:59
 
Got it, Will.  I'll try this right away, and for a couple days more and we'll see.  My speakers are atop of two wooden ramps (hard Teak wood, solid), to provide some inclination upwards.  I recently noticed the two surfaces meeting (top of ramp & speaker bottom) are not exactly leveled.  This may produce some additional vibes as the speaker is not sitting aplomb into the ramps, there's a slight sway play.  Any suggestions?

My room is asymetrical, so theoretically no resonance replication possible as the reflections tend to be at different angles.  My speakers are positioned roughly 5' apart of each other.  I'm afraid you're right about the distance from the back wall.  I will try for fun, but it definitely won't be the normal listening placement, as there's a hallway right in front of the speakers' plane and I just couldn't practically obstruct this passage by moving the furniture table that far into it.

I can try and lift the ramp's angle further, also.  We'll see. Regarding the soundstage, the instruments tend to group themselves next to either channel, from the speaker and somewhat into the center but close to those extremes.  This definitely do not mask the fact that the sound is coming from the speakers.  In vocals, though, solo voices are at dead center, and this is definitely the recording, sending the signal to both channels, so no soundstage merit there either.

I'll let you know when I find out more on placement.  Thanks so much, Will.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 02:51:30 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #87 - 06/08/12 at 02:53:42
 
It's hard for me to say as my ERRs are so different a design, and their casting of the sound everywhere a different method of getting the sound out there, but I agree about getting them as far INTO the room as you can as a comparison starting point--I think that will help with the depth and may help with width as well. And I think you need about three times the hours you have so far before the amp really opens up and that you'll get more sound-staging from that point on.

And as you get hours on, and starting now, I'd try toeing in the speakers bit by bit. That should both fill the center more, and spread some sound away from the speakers' outer edges.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 02:56:29 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #88 - 06/08/12 at 03:02:02
 
Thanks, Lon.  I'll sure try that.  I'm preparing the setup right now, so I'll let you guys know tomorrow   Wink.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #89 - 06/08/12 at 04:56:33
 
For JD:


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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #90 - 06/08/12 at 04:56:37
 
FB,

I can't say for sure, but believe Bob must place these tweeters specifically for soundstage development. It may be that your upward angle is too much???...that the tweeters should be pointing at ear level. So other than toe in and out, and other speaker placement, right/left/forward, I might think about the tweeter projection.

And though asymmetrical walls can help with resonance and reflections, particularly standing waves, if the surfaces are reflective, they will still be there, just running around differently.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 04:59:07 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #91 - 06/08/12 at 12:35:25
 
Thanks Orangecrush almost seems as though the amp is floating. I can really see how they would isolate the amp from any vibration at all...very cool
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #92 - 06/08/12 at 17:16:16
 
Will,

The lift angle on my speakers are directed to my ear levels, that's why I designed the ramps with that inclination.  In my listening room, two of the walls (back one and right hand side) are mostly naked.  The other two have thick drapes.  The floor in front of both the gear and the sweet spot is covered by a thick carpet.  The wall on the right hand side is farthest from that side's speaker (about 6' or 7' away).

Let me elaborate further what I was complaining about yesterday:  Most of my music listening happens to be from older recordings.  Both classical music and Bebop.  I understand about half of these recordings were originally monaural, and the posterior remastering subsided this in most cases by replicating passages for both channels at different intensities (or something of the sort).  This may have produced this sound 'clustering' from the different instruments on each of the channels, depending on the remastering design.

When I listened to normal recordings, there's a more natural soundstage, but never wide or deep enough.  It was even worst when having the speakers toed-in.  When I placed them straightforwards, I found a very tangible improvement.  I did not want to go further (toe-out) because I was afraid of loosing details.

When I listen to audiophile recordings (nothing fancy, not even SACDs, but well recorded stuff, and sometimes 24/96 quality, everything is amazing, including soundstage, although the latter was relatively less pronounced.

Come last night:  I opened up the toeing on the speakers, initially about an inch or so, then a further two inches out.  Things got tangibly better.  Especially somewhere between the 1" and the 2" marks.  I was not able to move the furniture table into the room to increase the speakers' distance from the back wall, as I would have made noises that I did not want that late in the evening.  I'm planning to do that later on today.

So far, the original tendency of my speakers to work better facing away from each other has proven correct and on the right direction.  Thanks to your suggestion (I would have never attempted the toe-out approach), I discovered that this works even better and details remain.

Last night I listened to normally recorded selections, old remastering classical music with bit imaging techniques and some audiophile ones, and they all sounded better (audiophile recordings are so great!), and the soundstage presented itself within the continuum from one speaker to the other one, filling in the gaps and showing some kind of imaging of some instruments.  Definitely an improvement!

I want to replicate that today, listen to other, less fortunate recordings and compare this behavior under daytime power conditions.  We'll see.  Back to the listening room conditions, I haven't mentioned that right in front of each speaker I have two big leather couches (1 seat each) respectively, and a leather long sofa in front of both, at the other side of the room (opposing wall).  I'm worried about those two couches as they are slightly less than 3 feet from the speakers when I push them into the room as much as I can on that same furniture table position.

I will also try moving the whole furniture table holding the gear, further into the room, and see what improvements I make (although, as I said, I would hate to have to do this on every listening!).  I'll let you guys know later on ...
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 20:27:51 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #93 - 06/08/12 at 17:32:39
 
Interesting. I listen to many of the same sort of recordings (and possibly even earlier, into the teens and twenties) and I haven't had to toe out . . .but all our rooms are different.

Should you discover that moving the furniture out into the room makes a sizable improvement, the "Fat Gliders" from Herbie are awesome, they'll not only help the sound from isolation but make it very simple (and relatively quiet) to move furniture or racks about. I have them on the bottom of my turntable stand (which is an old heavy maple piece) and my TV rack (a large cedar piece) and I can move these effortlessly on carpet or flooring.

Little Fat Gliders and Big Fat Gliders are located on this page:

http://herbiesaudiolab.net/spkrfeet.htm
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 17:33:37 by Lon »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #94 - 06/08/12 at 18:11:41
 
Lon, yeah its funny how my speakers just would not take toe-in nicely.  That was my first placement and left it there for 10 days or so, until I decided to put them straightforward.

I'll check on the gliders if I need to move the furniture every time   Angry  Thanks!
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #95 - 06/08/12 at 18:37:17
 
I think you can probably get it without having to move the furniture much...using care for aesthetics, but prioritized toward the best sound. My speakers slowly came out as I adjusted the rest of the furniture in fairly minute ways to achieve visual balance.

If moving the gear table out helps, you can probably do a lot to solve this with vibration control, leaving it close to where it is.

My toe out is only fractional. Perhaps a quarter inch (the speakers look almost straight on), and every quarter inch matters, for refining both soundstage and focus. My reference to inches was in width and depth, but whatever works! Your experience with detail makes sense to me since the speakers are close together and these tweeters have such a beautifully wide presentation.

I am still concerned about the upward angle, though this could be meaningless. But we do rely on good room reflection to create the live sound and this angle in your already complex wall arrangement, could be having a negative effect???. I wonder, just for testing purposes if you could devise a way to get the speakers higher and level with the tweeter at roughly ear level.

Also, since you are close to the wall, decoupling the speakers from your stands is probably a good idea.

But I still speculate that room/speaker placement may be at the core and that all vibration stuff will be icing on the cake...thick icing though. Wink
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« Last Edit: 06/08/12 at 18:39:47 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #96 - 06/08/12 at 19:25:16
 
I know it seems insane how these isolation issues work, but I honestly think if you are going to keep the equipment on that piece, the gliders might be the best isolation piece to try first, they do a good job of decoupling from the floor that will benefit amp and DAC and speakers. You might ask Steve Herbelin at Herbie's Audio for advice, he's got really sensible ears and ideas. When I lived temporarily in Houston for most of two years he gave me really good advice on how to decouple small bookshelf speakers I was using on a music file based system then, the little feet and "dots" he recommended were an inexpensive and very significant improvement for me then, I was actually very surprised how effectively they worked.

I'll just say that in every room I've had a system in two houses over the last twenty-plus years starting out with the speakers a quarter to a third into the room just made them sing properly, and my late wife (who had very good ears, especially high frequency hearing) enjoyed the sound enough to let me arrange the rooms to allow this spacing. There are constraints to imaging etc. when this isn't so. . . .Worth experimenting with.
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #97 - 06/08/12 at 21:20:02
 
Ha Ha!  I just finished my first test session and noticed my spelling on those 'leather coaches'  ... they're really not basketball trainers with a music passion wearing leather jackets and standing in the middle of my living room, they really are couches, sorry!   Smiley

Kept the furniture's original postion in place, just for comparison to last night.  I can say I don't feel I have apparent power issues as night and day behave the same (although I've not played the gear during Frank Sinatra's 'small wee hours' yet).  Everything that went ok last night behaved the same noon time.

My currenty preferred toe-out is just a few degrees out, which, if you estimate the distance traveled by a fixed point on the speaker's bottom square rim it would be close to a 5/8" displacement or so.  No details lost, a continuum of images between speakers ... just fine!

I stll miss some soundstage depth and width (as it stays within that tunnel between speakers, going back just a little for some instruments, usually bass and drums.)  This may indicate the need to displace the speakers further into the room, indeed.  That's my next test later on.

Lon, thanks for clarifying that the eventual gliders won't interfere with the vibration isolation from Herbie's feet and such.  I was about to ask that.  I thought the floor was the anchoring objective in eliminating vibrations, as spikes do on stand alone speakers?  Maybe those gliders make a better contact with the floor, I presume?

I've been considering moving the gear to a spare room.  Problem is, it is too symetrical (almost square area with same walls and a lower ceiling, and I would need to isolate everything there, including the floor.  I'm afraid it may sound somewhat 'boxy' in there.

Will wrote:

Also, since you are close to the wall, decoupling the speakers from your stands is probably a good idea.

Could you elaborate on this?  I don't have stands, just short ramps with the same footprint of the speakers.  These measure 2" up front and 1" on back and they rest on the furniture table as everything else.  Do you refer to these as stands in your statement? My concern with the back wall proximity is the bass hitting the wall too close through the back ports.  I could even dampen those ports with some material in it maybe?  Or is it also that the higher frequencies are involved in this back wall closeness problem? BTW, my bass may be improved, but so far I don't complain.

Lon, I could never bring the speakers that far into the room.  I know what you mean, but unless I buy 20" monitor stands and place the speakers among the furniture in that livingroom, moving them in and out every listening session ... besides, the wife won't buy it!   Sad   Actually, she has suggested having my gear setup in that other room (sort of out of the way   Embarrassed )  Seriously, though, I may want to try that if this does not improve as I'm expecting.

Will, I'll do my best to improve placement conditions, but I'm also considering Herbie's isolators as a potential added benefit.

Thanks again for your support, guys, you have been great!  I'll let you know the results on that furniture displacement test.
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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 01:10:34 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #98 - 06/09/12 at 01:09:11
 
Not conclusive part two of today's test.  A strong thunderstorm prevented me from playing around enough with the placement as I was worried about some damage to the gear.  Not likely, but just a precaution.

During the time I was at it, though, I was only able to distance the speakers from the back wall some further 6 inches, for a total of 24".  I then discovered a very tangible deeper bass across all recordings.  As if the back port had a better chance to improve its job over the larger distance.

Soundstage may have improved too, but I still need to confirm this, as the distance from the back wall was not enough, but a step in the right direction, I'm sure.  Tight bass I had, but now it goes deeper, and will eventually develop further as the speakers (somehow) are placed more into the room.  I hope this will correlate also with a deeper and wider soundstage.

Lessons to take home in my case: Toe-out works better and close back wall reflections make both bass and soundstage flatter. There.  If I can combine this with isolation devices, this would be the answer, I think.
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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 01:13:42 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #99 - 06/09/12 at 05:56:28
 
I see now the set up. One table, all gear, with speakers on ramps on the table. What I meant by decoupling the speakers is even more important now. Before I thought they were on their own ramped stands. But since they are on the gear table, their vibrations are effecting the amp and the tubes. So I think isolation is extra important in your setting.

Lon has a good idea... describe your gear table to Steve at Herbies and see what he recommends. The reason I thought the speakers would improve with decoupling is that the closer we are to walls and corners it seems bass can build up while vibrting the gear and speakers. I think with this setup, by isolating the speakers, the ramps, the amp, the DAC, and computer, you will likely have a big change.

It seems you can't go wrong with vibration control.

My speakers are close to the wall too in a weird kind of way...the wall has multiple levels working in and out. In a roughly 6.5w x 6.5 tall alcove, that is about 3' deep on one side and 2' deep on the other, is my gear cabinet (about 6'h x 4.5'w x 1.5'd old teak). The speakers are in front at the outer edges of the alcove. Directly behind the speakers (in the alcove) THAT wall is a bit over 3 feet behind the speaker backs. But the very close and adjacent bit of wall on the right, the speaker back is about at wall level... and on the left, the speaker is out a foot or so from that wall. Confused yet?

Of course I had problems with bass in the alcove that needed solving, for which I took several approaches, including modding the speakers by decreasing the plinth space, adding deflex panels to cut interior resonance, putting a few Marigo resonance damping dots on the bass drivers and radials, and cap rolling. This worked toward a cleaner low mid and bass.

This makes me think your thought of playing with the ports on your speakers would be interesting. If the speaker proximity causes the low mids/bass to slightly overwhelm the mids and highs, this could muddle your sound stage and give a sense of veils on lesser recordings.

Also for me, more traditional room treatments helped, but the Kemp boxes and Art Basik treatments are undoubtedly a big part of my sound and sound stage, the basiks diminishing reflections at critical points, and the EMI and Schumann Resonance boxes doing things I don't understand, but I hear them.

Anyway, I had a difficult setting to work with too, and with my MG 944s and with my HR-ONEs (at least with this room's attributes) I was able to get very real sound, and a really excellent, saturated sound stage. On big recordings the actual players can spread out 30 feet wide and 12-15 deep, beyond the walls, with ambient information going and going and going.

I go on like this because my situation that could not work theoretically, works exceptionally after a lot of experimentation.

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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 06:00:17 by will »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #100 - 06/09/12 at 13:08:44
 
Will,

Boy, was I wrong! I was missing a very obvious source of sound degradation right there and wasn't aware of it.  Thanks for pointing that out to me.  Now it is of the outmost importance for me to de-couple the speakers from the amplifier's platform.  You see, I was so constrained to adapting the gear to those decor conditions, I missed one of the biggest flaws with it.

No wonder I was suffering from all kinds of soundstage limitations and lacking proper imaging ... with a gear like this it is a crime, indeed.  I feel embarrased!  The funny thing is, it's such a good gear it can fool you with all the other sound benefits in spite of this situation.  This, and the fact that I was blaming the break-in period all this time, man!

I'll have a carpenter build me a couple of 18"- 20" (or 24"- 26" if I don't use the ramps) stands for the speakers and I'm going to use them in the right position (into the room) moving them in and out on every session.  Not the most practical approach but a working tradeoff.  Bass performance will improve also.

The other alternative, as I explained, is to move everything to that small spare room.  I wanted to ask you if you think this may work.  The dimensions on that room are as follows:

Depth: 12'; Width: 9'; Height: 7' 10"  very symmetrical.

I have drapers on the bottom wall (by the window) and can certainly arrange placing some wall carpets or something similar on the side walls, and put a floor carpet covering a good portion on that floor.  I would make a carpenter build me a center rack for the amp, DAC and computer, and two speaker stands as described earlier.  Would this work, you think?

I'm sorry I had you guys study this problem without previously explaining exactly how I had my setup, physically.  Thanks again for your support.
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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 13:41:09 by Fireblade »  

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #101 - 06/09/12 at 15:38:43
 
I don't know how much vibration control will help, but I suspect a lot.

I think I would fully explore the speaker placement, with optimal vibration control, within your chosen space first. The ramps may be fine. Or you may need to level. I really would try the speakers level, and at the right height, perhaps making toe and width tweaking easier also. Or perhaps with new stands, you can find a permanent position that sounds great, even if a little close to the wall.

But here are some good things to look at:

http://www.decware.com/paper36.htm
http://www.decware.com/paper14.htm
http://www.decware.com/paper39.htm
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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 15:39:20 by will »  

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A.L.Tennyson

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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #102 - 06/09/12 at 17:28:02
 
I just don't think it wise to keep the speakers resting in the same table shared by amp and the rest, due to those speakers' vibrations.  I agree with you also on trying to reduce shock waves from the back wall (from the speakers) affecting the amp.  In both instances, isolators would help, but it does not make sense to have the speakers there to start with.

I think I would still require placing feet under the speakers, on top of new stands (just ordered a 26" high pair from a local wood shop, in rustic wood to start with), and also under the amp, as well as dampers in drivers and output tubes.  But I will never place those speakers back in that same furniture table.

With the new 26" stands, the overall tweeter level raises to 40", my ear level while seating.  Since the speakers would be now placed well into the room, the floor carpet should prevent excessive bass reflections from the floor.  This way I can eliminate the need for the ramps and adjust toeing easier, as you said.

The inconvenience with this approach is having to move them back and forth every listening time.  The alternative, again, is the spare room.

Even though I understand your suggestion of trying to keep the speakers where they are, using isolators for every component, I really think we'll be pushing it and the bass cannot develop (and maybe even soundstage) if speakers are not quite removed from any of the walls, which I could not achieve keeping those speakers in the original spot.

Thanks for the references, which I'll check soon enough.  Take care now ...
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Rivieraranch
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #103 - 06/09/12 at 19:22:05
 
"The room" seems like an alternative that is worth exploring. It is The Wife's hidden message to get this gear into one place.
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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Lon
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #104 - 06/09/12 at 21:39:29
 
It's been a week and the homebrew preamp is nicely seasoned in and impressing me more. There's still a fundamental signature difference between this and CSP2, this one is a bit more "midrange oriented" and a touch less open on top and bottom, but that has become less pronounced this week.

One ore cryoset.com cable made it into the system, which really helped raised the sonics from my Denon SACD/DAC into the player, and thus helping the preamp to sound its best.

I've been enjoying SACD releases in the EMI Signature Series today, Lizst, Debussy, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart. Beautiful music, great sound.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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will
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #105 - 06/09/12 at 22:05:25
 
FB,

I said the ramps MAY BE fine (with proper vibration control). And I said "within your chosen space" meaning room, not the exact location. The exact location clearly has issues. But we don't know how much of the trouble is vibration until you solve that, and you could likely decouple things pretty well while giving good vibration resolution with the right tools. I continue to speculate that the down and dirty soundstage stuff is more speaker placement and/or room though. And though I can't explain why, intuitively I have never liked the ramp concept. This is why I keep pointing to level explorations and stands.

The reason I suggested exploring within the room you are in, and with adjusting that general arrangement, is that you chose this in the first place, and that you may be invested in it for various reasons. And it may be possible to adjust this without a lot of messing around like moving the speakers each session, particularly if you can get the speakers on stands.

For myself and my wife, though we have no room for a dedicated listening room, we much prefer having the system in our main living areas because music is a big part of our day, "passive" and serious listening happening a lot. So against odds, I made our living room a dedicated listening room that sounds brilliant, and looks pretty much like a living room.

The links are all about setting up the other room, though the information can be used in your current room. That would be the obvious "audiophile" choice as RR suggests. If the gear or music is a problem where it is, and there is no downside, the dedicated room could be treated aesthetically as such...a music listening room with whatever you need for a good sound room.

I like the idea of the stands and think this is a good move no matter what, but I suspect that some decoupling from them will be good too, either spikes, or one of Herbie's decoupling dots under the speakers and/or decoupling under the stands. I have always found my speakers sound notably better on spikes than not, even with plinths.

Getting up with Herbie's and getting that thing going will be a good move no matter if the gear stays in the room it is in, or moves to a dedicated environment.

Good Luck with it...you will get there.
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« Last Edit: 06/09/12 at 22:08:49 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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Fireblade
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Re: 3 or 4 Isocups under the Torii?
Reply #106 - 06/10/12 at 02:55:15
 
That's fine, Will, I got you the first time, but I insist in not creating problems by design.  The only reason why I wanted the gear in the livingroom, is exactly the one you pointed out, more of a socially oriented activity.  But, all this time I assumed there was nothing wrong with having the speakers in the same furniture table, until you correctly made me realize the vibration issue, which is not trivial by any means.  

The problem is, there's no way I can place those speakers permanently into that livingroom on stands.  Aesthetically and logistically these would be on the way.  Either these remain in that table or on stands, which would have to be placed in the right spot every listening session.  Just imagine the speaker cables crossing through that hallway to reach the speakers' spot!  I mean, I can live with it while I'm listening, but the socially attractive concept went by the window, sort of speak.  Besides, even guiding those cables properly all the way there would take a very long cable also, and won't be aesthetically welcome.

Now, if I were to isolate everything in that table, including the speakers, we'll never fully develop the soundstage and bass potential of this gear.  So, I will use the new stands, level the speakers at ears' height and simply move them back to that furniture table when finished.  The stands are easy to put away.  I would still pursue some isolation under the speakers and amp.  

According to those references, my spare room is almost there (only one foot too large on depth, everything else just fine), so eventually that could be the resting place for this gear.  In the meantime, I will have a chance to corroborate my feelings about soundstage and bass potential improvements with the stands temporarily placed well into the livingroom.

About your suggestion to adapt the livingroom, I would need to re-decor the whole area from scratch, and that's a tougher job than doing it on the spare room.  We happen to like the way the livingroom is layed out and re-designing it may not be convincing, especially because of the stands having to be placed in the middle of the other furniture, having cables running about, etc.

Anyway, Will, thanks to your observations I will be able, eventually, to almost maximize the potential of this great gear.  I just imagine those drivers moving over that table and sending all those vibes to the Mini-Torii.  I can now also 'see' that sonic turbulence created in the back wall and hitting those tiny tubes ... It is actually quite intuitive to assume placing those speakers there is a No-No.  I don't know the capabilities of those vibration isolators, but man, why create the problem to start with.  

Maybe I'm wrong, but I see it this way now, and I may change my mind later, depending on how things work out.   Smiley  My new stands are supposed to be ready by wednesday.

Thanks so much again for your excellent support.
 
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« Last Edit: 06/10/12 at 14:35:56 by Fireblade »  

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