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A Tale of Two Rooms (Read 1595 times)
Palomino
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A Tale of Two Rooms
11/16/15 at 14:38:05
 
I am fortunate enough (or cursed as the case may be) to have two listening environments.  One is a small, but mostly dedicated room, the other is a large room with vaulted ceilings at my cottage in Michigan.

The two listening environments could not be any different.   The room as home is only 12X16 with a 7’8” ceiling.  It’s heavily treated with more than 12 diffusers (QRD/Fractal), bass traps in all corners and absorbers at the first reflection points.  The noise floor in this room is about 34db.

The cottage is small, but it has a “great” room which doubles as a living room/dinning room.  It’s about 25 X 14 but has a valuted ceiling which opens up into a loft.  It’s out in boonies and the noise level is only 18db.   I knew it was quiet there, I didn’t realize how quiet until I measured this weekend.

The home system is Torii III based, while the Michigan system is Rachael.  Speakers at home are a knockoff of the Decware Monoliths and the Michigan speakers are a variation of the DNA.  They are two way speakers with a minimal crossover using the same drivers as the Trapeziums.  Both systems have the same speaker wire/ICs.

This weekend I took my Mac/DAC/Regen stack and power cords to Michigan to see what a decent source would sound like.  The standard source there is a iPod digital transport doc with a Busmaster II DAC.   Sometimes I use my Bifrost Uber or take my Chord QuteHD up there as well.

The sound of the cottage in Michigan with the better source was immediately apparent.  Everything was better.  I won’t waste time with the details because I wanted to talk more about the room comparison.  Therein may be some insights for others.

At home, the listening environment is controlled, focused, very 3D.   At the cottage it is less controlled, less focused and less 3D.  But, there are several keys to excellent sound at the cottage.

First, the size of the room and the vaulted ceiling give the bass somewhere to go.  I do not feel the need to use any kind of bass trapping in this room.  The bass on the DNAs goes a little lower than the DIY Monoliths, but it’s not muddy.   It's nice a tight and musical.

Second, the best way to describe the soundstage at the cottage is it has “room to breath.”  The transients, decay, etc. floats off into the ether.  Given that the room is much taller than it is wide, the soundstage is a little more alley-like, meaning not as wide as at home, but it is huge up top.  Depending on the song, the singer can feel like they are 12 feet tall.  The illusion of depth as not as far back as it is at home, but the better source helped considerably in this regard.

The room at home in comparison sounds more “in a box” which it kinda is, and the 3D effect and soundstage focus seems to be a little more manufactured like they are in the studio rather than organic like at the cottage.

So two different environments, two different ways to achieve good sound.  I think I still prefer the home setup because of its precision, but I don’t feel I need to do much more to the cottage.  Maybe some absorbers at the first reflection points.  

It has also shown me how much more can be achieved with a better quality source.  But my Mac/DAC/Regen stack set me back a fair amount without power cords.  And that’s with everything except the power supplies being purchased used.  Maybe Steve’s CDP or DSD would be a possibility.  Anyway, just some thoughts from the weekend.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 3, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, TEAC UD503, DIY Belden ICs, Torii MKIII, SE34I.32, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Vintage Western Electric 16g Speaker wires, DIY OB Speakers w/Tang Band/Augies
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Lonely Raven
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Re: A Tale of Two Rooms
Reply #1 - 11/17/15 at 00:03:18
 

Awesome write-up. Would have been a great blog post.  :)

It's pretty amazing what having some good space can do for your sound.

Now imagine what could be done if you had both the space, and the diffusers.  :)
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Palomino
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Re: A Tale of Two Rooms
Reply #2 - 11/17/15 at 15:28:00
 
I have taken absorbers up to the lake but didn't really get to test them.  I am wondering if I can "widen" the soundstage with diffusion.

I am anxious to hear what you can do with the tiny room.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 3, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, TEAC UD503, DIY Belden ICs, Torii MKIII, SE34I.32, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Vintage Western Electric 16g Speaker wires, DIY OB Speakers w/Tang Band/Augies
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Lonely Raven
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Re: A Tale of Two Rooms
Reply #3 - 11/17/15 at 23:32:14
 

Well, you know it's got everything against it (the tiny room). I'm sure it won't get nearly as good as your basement room.

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