SPEAKER FORUMS >> HR-1 >> HR-1 Break-in

Message started by Archie on 12/27/14 at 18:33:11

Title: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/27/14 at 18:33:11

I got my HR-1s Christmas Eve.  Thanks ZYGI!  I've been hearing some amazing things and some not so amazing things.  The mids seem harsh at times and I'm not sure what the bass is doing.  I was expecting some kind of heavy bass response that I am not hearing.  It's not that the bass isn't there, it's just not pronounced.  I don't know if this is a sign of really good bass or if the passive drivers are not broken in.  I am running them of off a CSP3 into a ZMA so I should have plenty of power.  The speakers come without any feet or provision for feet and I have them sitting on their flat bottoms directly on my wood floor.

Can anyone help me out with an idea of what to expect from the HR-1 during and after break-in?

One thing I found funny is that there was not a single piece of paper in the boxes or mark on the speakers themselves with any information or identification.  Now that's humility!  But I guess that I need a little hand holding!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/27/14 at 18:52:39

Glad you got them.

I'd say what you are identifying are the sounds of these speakers before breakin. I found both pairs of mine took months before they were astonishingly good. They got better day by day til after a few months they were just draw-joppingly good. Play something through them all the time if you can and they'll start ot bloom. Slowly the bass weill deepen and become quick, the midrange will become open and clear and the treble will be sweetening.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/27/14 at 19:06:47

Thanks Lon.  That's what I was hoping to hear.  I already have hints of what these will become and "draw-joppingly good" ;) is about right!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/27/14 at 19:33:37

I'll bet they are with that seasoned ZMA behind them and a CSP3.

I spent three days away from my system, most of the time at my gal's place with the system I put together for her there. A nice system, quite enjoyable. This afternoon I am back at my place for another hour or so, I let the system warm up for a few hours with a few episodes of Torchwood and put on some music. . . .

Wow. I am just always impressed with the sound and I know the HR-1s are a large part of why it's so impressive. They're just what I want from speakers. I imagine around Valentine's Day you'll be saying the same!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/27/14 at 22:33:32

I read some earlier posts where you were comparing the ERRs and the HR-1s.  I got the impression that you gave a slight edge to the ERRs.  Is that still the case?  Steve recommended the HR-1s over the ERRs for me.  The radial driver sound is about the oddest thing I've experienced in HI-FI!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/28/14 at 04:32:53


Are you sure there are no threaded insets in the plinth bottoms for spikes? I actually don't like spikes as well as Herbie's small gliders, but mine sounded better off the floor. You will probably need a couple hundred hours to really start hearing where the speakers will go, but it will get better by 20 hours or so and then progressively for quite a while….I agree with Lon…play them all you can to soften/loosen them up! I have adjusted/tuned mine over time to fit my tastes and space, and this contributes to my amazement every time I listen, but I think it is their nature to just keep getting better.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Chris K on 12/28/14 at 04:35:40

Hello Archie.
You will be surprised at how abruptly these speakers dial in throughout the first few days of play. I literally heard my second pair of these change right before my eyes one day while having had them only a few days. That was two years ago. There is no way to properly access these speakers without a 100 or so playing hours. And after a few days of play they will really change for the better lots. Dont be afraid to crank these up. You need to break in the tweeter longer than the other drivers. The bass should be astonishingly deep and powerful yet subtly fast and tight.
Hope this helps. What part of the country are you in if you dont mind me asking. I'm in Akron Ohio.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/28/14 at 06:31:17

Thanks for all the encouragement!  I looked at the bottoms again and you are right, there are threaded inserts.  I had thought they were just hex fasteners.  I'm not sure what the tread size is and my existing spikes don't fit.  Since I have wood floors I wouldn't use spikes unless I put coasters under them anyway.  I thought of trying some felt or cork pads.  Are the Herbie's that you are using what they call their "Little Fat Glider"?  Is there any consensus whether it is better to couple or decouple the speaker and floor?  My understanding of spikes is that they actually couple strongly but more so in the vertical direction if coasters are used.

I'm in a place called Crested Butte in Colorado.  Just under 9000 ft.  I don't know if the thin air makes any difference to the sound but I'm sure there are some who could hear it.  Looks like a cold night.  Maybe -30.  Good temps for killing off the pine beetles!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 12/28/14 at 13:23:32

OK, here's a question for those more knowledgeable than I, which is about everyone here...hehe.  My Listening Cave is about 11 by 11 with 8 foot ceilings and carpeted concrete floors and no treatments but lots of clutter to break up reflections.  I have my HR-1s sitting on the floor with some toe in maybe 5 or 6 feet from my listening position.  Would I benefit from spikes or coasters or anything else under the HR-1s?  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/28/14 at 15:22:10

Archie, I am using Ingress Audio RollerBlocks under my HR-1s and ERRs and they are the best things I've ever put under a speaker. I prefer them to the Herbie's Audio gliders, spikes, etc.

Not crazy about these under components, but love them under speakers.

I also highly recommend the Mundorf M-Resist Supreme Resistors.

They really improve the tweeter sound.

I think that both the ERR and HR-1 are great speakers. If you listen to a lot of rock, R&B, etc. the HR-1 is a better choice. In the right room with jazz, classical, etc. the ERR is a spellbinding speaker.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/28/14 at 17:05:45

I guess I give up too easily, but over the last few years I have periodically emailed Ingress numerous times through their web form and by email, and not heard back. Admittedly, I don't like this, but I guess the reason I have not resorted to calling is that I like the sound I have a lot…. So I can't compare ingress to herbie's like Lon can.

I have brick floors on sand.

And this has been a long time ago, but I recall being concerned the small fat gliders were too smooth at first after listening for a long while with spikes. They did exhibit that classic thing though...smoother sound but also a sense of increased resolution, the smoothness, at first impression overpowering the resolution. So I continued. Then I adjusted, no doubt playing a little with tubes too, and really came to love the sound.

With the small fat gliders I got the adhesive ones. Having experienced slightly different sound with foot placement changes, I wanted to find the best sound, so I never took off the protective paper, experimenting with placement, also wanting to be able to return them if needed. Then I sort of forgot about it.

Finally I decided to stick them on, but put back in the spikes first just to be sure. At this point, the spikes sounded sort of brash to me…sort of over the top in the more obvious aspects of articulation, by comparison, also exposing subtle differentiation between the drivers. Now I am talking audio talk, they sounded good, but in comparison, the gliders were more facile, subtle, smoother, better driver integration, and I think more resolving….better balance. Also, as the name indicates, the gliders are nice in that you can "glide" them on the floor for speaker placement adjustments.


I can't remember exactly the sound it has been so long, but I did try some small rug pieces under my 944s early on when I was experimenting with them. For me, in this room, the spikes were better giving better articulation, particularly mids down. I think I have proven to myself that with the wood and brick floors, I definitely prefer getting the plinth up, but have not had carpet in any my listening rooms.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/28/14 at 19:30:17

Will and Lon, it seems there is a consensus that getting the plinths up off the floor a little is a good idea.  I'm kind of a sucker for nicely machined parts so the Ingress Egr feet look quite nice!  Both they and the Herbie's seem to more or less decouple the horizontal and couple the vertical.  I don't know if that is important or simply coincidence?  I haven't heard many who prefer the sound when speakers are decoupled or damped both horizontally and vertically (like when sitting on a carpet) and a spike into solid flooring would couple in all three axes, hence the "brashness"?  I might play around with some home brew feet until I get more break in and then get serious.

What I think I'll explore is gaining some height while giving firm vertical support and low friction horizontal resistance.

BTW, my HR-1s have only the four binding posts on the back and came with thin jumper wires between the upper and lower posts.  I currently have them bi-wired with my OFC cables.  I plan to switch to pure silver wires but without bi-wiring.  In my case would the resistor be inside the cabinet and non user changable?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/28/14 at 19:54:08

No, you would run the resistor between one pair of upper and lower settings on either side. This may be why you have a diminished bass response right now, reducing the treble with a resistor would sway the frequency balance a bit more towards the bass.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/28/14 at 20:35:25

I'm kind of dumb about the 4 binding posts.  Are you saying to connect the upper and the lower with a resistor (two per speaker, left and right pair of posts vertically) and then connect the wire to the amp via either the upper or lower posts?  Or would I connect a resistor between the upper pair and another between the lower pair (horizontally)?  This needs a diagram!

As I mentioned, they came with what I thought was a wire jumper between the upper and lower posts (vertically).  Do I have my speakers connected wrong, or just not optimally?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/28/14 at 20:43:16

You have them connected properly but without any attenuation of the tweeters, the tweeters are runnning full bore. I could not handle that in the rooms I have my speakers in.

Just on one side connect the resistor to the top and bottom and the speaker wire to the bottom two. One resistor per speaker, connected in place of one of the jumper wires. That is how it is on my HR-1s.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/28/14 at 21:04:48

That's clear now.  Other question, you are using a 33 ohm while I think Will is using a 2.7 ohm (from searching old posts)?  I have a huge and voluminous room and my upper hearing is likely not super good.  Without having to buy too many different resistors, any thoughts on size?  I don't know if Zygi is doing anything different these day with the HR-1 internals?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/28/14 at 21:09:22

Oh yeah, I may be just exposing my ignorance here but if you put a resistor on only one leg on each speaker, doesn't it get imbalanced?  Would a resistor on each leg but of half the resistance do the same but in a balanced way?

Although I see that's how it's done with the ERRs.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/28/14 at 21:33:54

I don't know all the mechanics of it either, but the resistor on one leg won't sound "imbalanced" at all. Two resistors per speaker are not required.

I seem to be the only one on this forum that needs tweeter attenuation at that level (by some sort of miracle I still have quite a bit of high frequency hearing and I'm possibly a victim of nerve damage that makes me very susceptible to treble volume, grain and grit). I would think in your case a lower value would work best.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/28/14 at 21:57:14

I guess Bob jumped with those small wires to show the single amp system. In that case the hot side would have a resistor to balance the tweeter if you chose rather than that jumper.

Mine are wired differently for single amping and so I can play with resistors and caps. I have four posts also. The amp to speaker red on bottom is jumped straight up to the upper red via the resistor (I also use M-Resist), and then the tweeter cap goes from the top red (resistor out) horizontally to the black top. In this case, the top left post is wired internally to the hot side of the tweeter and the tweeter ground is direct wired internally from the negative speaker wire post (bottom left).

Mine not being set for bi-amping,  can't be sure, but I guess yours Archie are wired with the bottom post pair going to the mid/bass drivers, and the top two to the tweeter, with caps and crossovers internal. So I am guessing you have taken off the jumpers and have one amp to the top pair and one to the bottom, in which case you can balance the tweeter with the amps??? Lon makes a good point…have you explored running the tweeter amp lower and the bottom amp hotter in the balance.

Then if you single amped yours, the resistor would would be used to balance the top, likely wired like mine, from the hot on bottom to the hot on top, and a jumper from the bottom negative to the top negative.

As to decoupling/coupling…I get a little lost in the ideas on this, but go instead by the reputation/reviews of the device and maker, its return-ability, and my ears. On my brick floors, with sharp spikes, I would think I make little contact for floor vibration to rise up, though it would seem it would be draining some energy from the plinths, but I agree, there does seem to be interaction.

Have to check with Steve@Herbie's, but I am pretty sure Herbie's fat dot gliders idea is de-coupling/damping, the primary material being designed to keep vibrations from running either way.

EDIT: Sorry guys, I did not get notification of the last few posts. Sorry for any redundancy. BTW I am using a 2.7 M-resistor

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/29/14 at 23:11:05


I have my HR-1s bi-wired, not bi-amped.  The top posts are for the tweeter though since I can disconnect the lower wire pair and only the tweeter plays.  I plan to go to a single wire at some point.  I'd like to be able to play with the tweeter balance using a resistor.  Maybe I should contact ZYGI to see what he thinks since he knows how everything is wired internally.  Looking over Steve's ERRx page, he suggests that the resistor can be room dependant and may not be needed at all.  My HR-1 connectors look just like the ERRx setup.

I made some feet along the lines of those that Lon uses from Ingress.  I milled hemispherical cups in matching pieces of hard maple and put a 1/2 inch ball bearing in between.  Ingress uses aluminum for the cups.  The feet act as a weak spring in the horizontal direction while giving 100% coupling in the vertical.  Spikes are essentially 100% coupled in all three axes.  It may be counter intuitive but the point does nothing to diminish coupling.  As the area is decreased, the force per area just goes up.  In theory a perfect point on an infinitely hard surface would have infinite load per area.  If you want perfect coupling, go with spikes.  If you want perfect isolation go with levitation in a vacuum.  A weak spring gives good isolation and if the harmonic of the spring is outside of the audio frequencies that we are concerned with (Lon's roller cup feet) than isolation become total for our purpose.  In theory anyway!  Now whether isolation is good or bad in a given situation is an entirely different question.

Since the proof is in how tweaks affect the sound, the principles don't matter so long as it works.  However, in this case, I think I was able to make feet at no cost to me (had the wood and ball bearings on hand) by observing what both you and Lon seem to have in common with the different feet you each are using.

I really appreciate the help and feedback I have been getting.  I don't have the ability to evaluate much of the subtle impacts that resistors and speaker feet might have and being able to stand on the shoulders of you who do, is a real gift.  Thank you.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/29/14 at 23:33:57

Great that you made your own roller bearing feet! Will be interesting to hear your impressions when you have some.

Good idea to contact Bob about the resistors et al. All I know is that if you do go with a resistor, the M-Resistor is a much better one than any other resistors I've used, which were all very cheap. These Mundorf really made a distinctive difference.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/29/14 at 23:51:17


Thanks for your explanation on feet. I too look forward to hearing your impressions once you get a feel for your new ones. I bet they sound good! This is tweaky, but real. If your system is transparent and revealing, you will likely hear different placement under the plinth, though subtle.

I also agree with Lon on the Mundorf M-resistors, but those little (cheap) wire wounds might be a better place to go first in order to see about what resistance suits you. If you are close by-wired, you might want 3 or 6 ohm to subtly, but notably calm the tweeter. I am using just a little resistance 2R7, but it is notable and in my latest explorations, I find carefully balancing the highs is really huge in the balance.

If you search the forum for Mundorf resistor - match both - all posts, you will find a bunch of impressions. I think Bob may already be using Mundorf Supreme caps which are also very good...smooth, open and detailed. I suspect you will prefer at least some slight tuning on the tweeter, but I would ask Bob also if there is already one inside on your speakers.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/29/14 at 23:52:58

Right now with the break-in, everything I do sounds better.  Once I get a few hundred hours on them maybe I can take to feet away and see what happens?  I already like the idea of having the plinths off of the floor.

I was thinking about Will's feet and his situation given that his floor is brick on sand.  That should be a very "dead" floor and he might need something very different from those of us on wood floors over wood joisting.  I know that my floor will vibrate and influence whatever sits on it.  For good of ill.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/29/14 at 23:57:52

With your by-wire cables couldn't you cut off the connections, clean, and carefully twist, then silver solder the now combined ends, making single wires and enabling the resistor experiment?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/30/14 at 20:58:57

I could also combine both wires on one speaker terminal.  I just got my silver wire so I will be making new speaker wires soon.  Then I might try some resistors.  Radio Shack is 30 miles away.  I live outside of the boonies!  Last night I could really hear the tweeters whine on one song but I think the bass is coming in a little bit more now.  I am not unhappy about the sound at this point.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/31/14 at 00:34:49

Archie said "I could also combine both wires on one speaker terminal" I thought that is what I was saying…ah semantics.

Though improving, I find it is amazing that your HR-1s have been bass shy. This is indicative of how variable things are based on system and room. In my system/rooms that tend to accentuate bass, I have worked quite a bit to tighten the bass of my HRs! I bet tweeter attenuation will help yours.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/31/14 at 00:40:15

I agree that tweeter attenuation will help, but as I remember both of my pairs of HR-1s took many hours for the bass to fully present itself. After that, plenty of bass.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/31/14 at 02:01:31

Yes, I agree. The drivers need to wake up from being pushed, opening and tightening and awakening amazing subtlety. I have no idea how many hours are on mine, many thousands, but I swear they keep gathering finesse and ease in the presentation.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/31/14 at 16:05:04

Well, I contacted the Master and he kindly replied saying:

"I can mail you some resistors if you like. You can play with the best value that suits your tastes/room, then if you wish order a Mundorf resistors.

With that said, you have a very revealing amp, which from as long as you have had it should be pretty much broken in, but the capacitors in your crossover for the HR-Ones are Mundorf's as well, and do take a good while to break in. Knowing you had the ZMA I went with the tinfoil caps rather than the supremes, but the tin foil are a little brutal for the first 200-300 hours. The tweeters right now are going to sound constipated, but after break in they should sound like water flowing through them."

I will definitely try some resistors but I get the impression from ZYGI that I should wait until I have more hours on the speakers so I that don't chase my tail.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 12/31/14 at 16:15:31

Well, it seems impossible to me that you won't end up with resistors, but then I have that treble thing that means I have the treble control turned way down on my amp, etc. So good news you have some to play with soon!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 12/31/14 at 22:51:04

Yes, they all take time, the drivers, crossovers, tweeters and the caps. The Mundorf resistors do too. I am not sure it would be chasing your tail to explore a few resistor though, at least it would not be to me. The tweeters will become notably more smooth and liquid with time, but if they hurt the experience some now, exploring something that will calm that for the time being could be fun. This would also get you used to the "language" of what you can expect from light duty attenuation. I hear a difference big enough to make a mark between a Mundorf M-resist 2R7 and a 3R3. I am deeply into refining the high frequency balance, but still, it is there. It is really easy to wire one in and listen for a while. Just replace the hot jumper with a resistor.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/31/14 at 23:25:09

I made my solid silver 14 gauge speaker wires and got to listen to one side of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here before I had to go out.  While it sounded better than I've heard it in 40 years, there was one place where the tweeter sound made me wince.  I know that things will only get better.  And the detail I'm hearing is incredible.  Anyone familiar with the crowd noise at the end of Welcome To The Machine might relate to this.  It used to sound like a confusion of voices whereas now it sounds like I'm at a party and can hear the different conversations without quite knowing what is said.

I am also thinking that what I interpreted early on as a lack of bass is more likely to be a contrast to the relatively poorly behaved bass (boomy) of my last speakers as compared with the exceptionally well controlled bass of the HR-1s.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 12/31/14 at 23:35:16

Bob is mailing me some resistors from 3 ohm to 15 ohm so I will play around a bit.  I keep making changes to my system (wires, feet, more to come ...) and I'm not sure what to attribute some of what I hear to.  Fortunately, everything has been positive so far.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/03/15 at 18:30:35

The subject of speaker feet has come up and I ran across this:  While I am not commenting on their product, I do like their engineering analysis.  It is the same approach I used when coming up with my component bases.  I went with pure isolation using sprung platforms with very low resonance.  They seem to work well for my amps.  These guys seem to be saying that total isolation is a good thing for speakers too:  "The conclusion that the resulting movement is small enough not to cause any trouble is surely correct. One could however get an implied conclusion that spikes could improve things ever so little. This is simply not so. A high Q resonance will multiply the movements until they become quite noticeable. The free floating approach should be the goal."

The proof is in the hearing but I think I'll make some isolation platforms and see what happens.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/04/15 at 00:18:55

So, now my HR-1s are sitting on sprung platforms.  I'd guess that the resonant frequency of the speaker/platforms is just a few hertz so there shouldn't be any induced vibration coming from contact with the floor.  

Results?  My impression is increased resolution/detail with no loss of bass (maybe an increase in bass).  I'd love to hear back from any others who may have tried their speakers on isolation platforms -- all three axes.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 01/04/15 at 01:04:18

Sounds good Archie. I think Herbie's fat dots and gliders are pretty close to the same principle as sonic design. The main part seems to be a dense closed foam along with other damping material. Care to show a pic of your sprung platforms? ;)

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/04/15 at 19:18:07


I agree about Herbie's and Sonic Design.  I didn't have any luck with that approach (isolation + damping) and went for pure isolation via a tuned platform.  Actually, surprisingly simple and a concept I explored in a different context back in my aerospace days during the Reagan Star Wars years!

I can't get any pictures to post in the Forum but if you PM me with an email address I'll send a few pictures.  

One of the things I wonder about is that some are "tuning" their sound by moving their feet around under their equipment.  I have a hunch that by isolation that eliminates any need for damping, the whole problem goes away.  I'd love to hear what others who take or tried my approach think.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 01/04/15 at 19:45:59

I'm not sure what platforms you are using but I haven't ventured far with that because the increased height of the speakers doesn't work with my placement.

I've had really good results with the Ingress Audio Engineering RollerBlocks and have stopped experimenting in this arena now.

I've got sound now that I never dreamed of having before. The PS Audio P5 was the final link in the chain for me, that has solidifed the foundation and boy am I happy.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/04/15 at 20:30:03


I tried making some feet like yours.  I used hard maple instead of Aluminum and I liked that they decoupled horizontally.  I started to think that if that was good then maybe also decoupling vertically would be best.

I made my own platforms and they add about 1 1/8 inch to the speaker height.  About what your feet do, I think.  My platforms will not allow vibration above about 5 Hz to pass in either direction.  They work by decoupling the speaker from the floor and do not use any damping.

From everything that I've read of your system, I wouldn't change a thing!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 01/04/15 at 20:46:55

Yes, the rollerblocks are just a bit lower than that. Really I'd rather they weren't even as high as they are but they work. Not sure if the maple would make a difference in comparison to the aluminum. Cool, I'm sure your platforms work well. I"m not an engineer and often I find that what "science" says will work doesn't compete with what my ears tell me, and those I trust.

My goal in 2015 is to leave my system be and enjoy my music and video. Which I think I will be able to accomplish til this summer when it all gets packed up and moved to another room, a bigger room, and I can get away from near field listening again. Looking forward to that (and to living with a beautiful lover again) but know that there will be some tweaking and changing going on in the new place.

2014 was a year of break-in and tweaking.  Not looking for another one like this last one!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 01/04/15 at 22:35:33

Archie, Great idea on the platforms. Tuning out above 5 Hz should surely do it. That would be a long, slow wave!

It seems no matter what we do in a system we are "tuning," and the moving-feet-tool like Lon and I (and others) use with isocups under Toriis is actually really useful for eliminating most vibration, while also having another subtle tool for tuning between variations of very good, and to our tastes. There is the question of perfection. Does it exist? For example, the right tube implementation is not "perfect" in terms of "correct" sonic presentation, but with its harmonic "distortions" it can more closely match what we hear in nature while also "tuning" out the hardness of what might be considered technically "correct" recordings and turning it into music!

Though admittedly, no vibration sounds like the best vibration….but depending on conditions and gear, who knows. So much of our amazing Decware experience is because of Steve's careful and artful tuning. And he does not use total isolation in this, in fact introducing a huge number of variables in his testing by using his rooms and room treatments, his variety of speakers, his isolation or lack of, his power treatment, his cable and tube variations……..He uses a lot of variations within this as any excellent designer would, trying to make a tool that sounds great with various conditions. But the fact remains that he leaves us with an amp he thinks is as well tuned as possible for us to then integrate in our own environments.

This is not to say that total isolation would necessarily be the best or not, only that it is all dependent on everything else in any system/room….so many things that finally it is a mix of science, experience, and art working together to get the very most from our systems. Who knows, my system could sound better than Steve's for me…or not. But this is a real possibility.

I just think the original parts are only the beginning, and exploring synergy and beauty as we go can take us places we never imagined. A fun thing.

That said, I am guessing you are having a lot of fun exploring the concepts and applications of your experiments, like a lot of us do, but finally, what makes it good is if it helps our sound! I find it all fascinating, extremely elucidating, and finally, being able to experience this level of music at home is a major life improvement. Daily, I am amazed and in Love with the joy of the very real feeling music.

All in all though, I have so many progressively added aspects to my isolation/damping…under the cabinet, the cabinet wood itself, between the shelves, under components, on components, tube dampers, wires protected….and they all are good, though I do prefer tuning with specific feet under different components. But I am going to get some stuff and make a platform or two to compare. I think you are onto something cool. Thanks.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by DBC on 01/05/15 at 12:48:53

Archie Wrote:

So, now my HR-1s are sitting on sprung platforms.  I'd guess that the resonant frequency of the speaker/platforms is just a few hertz so there shouldn't be any induced vibration coming from contact with the floor.  

Results?  My impression is increased resolution/detail with no loss of bass (maybe an increase in bass).  I'd love to hear back from any others who may have tried their speakers on isolation platforms -- all three axes.

Isolation platforms under my Subs made a dramatic difference in my room. I now have platforms under my mains also. I never would have believed how much energy is transmitted from speakers to the floor without actually experiencing the improvements that Isolation made in my room. More details here:

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by marky on 01/05/15 at 17:40:13

I`ve just ordered a set (8 pieces) to try under my speakers Archie.
Everything sounds good as it is but vibration control is something worth trying and at the price it wont hurt (£23.99). I even found Tesco supermarket selling them online which is left field. I`ll report back in a few days time....
I`ll remove the spikes and just sit the speakers on top.
My speakers weigh 100 lb`s so I got the 28-50 kg set.
4x50kg= 100lb apprx

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/05/15 at 17:41:42


I had the same thought that I posted a while back!

As everyone is aware, vibration interaction is extremely complex.  It occurs to me to wonder if how we present our equipment to our own unique vibration environments with respect to how Steve presents the equipment throughout the design phase makes a difference in the ultimate performance?  Maybe all of our tweaks are just to recreate Steve's (or other designer's) net environment?


From a purely theoretical point of view, total isolation makes the most sense.  Less energy lost from the speakers and less weird vibration induced harmonic distortion in the music.  When I first set up my ZMA I had it sitting on my equipment counter and at higher volume I got crushing feedback.  Once I put it on a sprung isolation platform, all feedback was eliminated.

I appreciate the "tuning" that others can do with their equipment feet but I like the simplicity I have.  I also doubt that my room and other "uncontrollable" issues allow me that level of sound refinement.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/05/15 at 17:59:19


My approach is a little different than the platforms DBC is using.  I made platforms that sit on springs.  The springs require no damping and the platform only lets through vibrations near that of it's natural frequency of vibration.  Since my platform can only vibrate at a few Hz, they isolate from all audible frequencies.  It's an old trick.  That said, the end result may be the same.  Although it's pretty cool that while my HR-1s will gently sway if I push on them they are rock solid when they play.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by marky on 01/05/15 at 18:39:49

Archie, when I read your post some months ago re your spring system from a manufacturer I tried to find a seller who sold 1/2in springs @ 1/4 dia thinking if I bought 50 or so I could make my own little units to put under all of my amps. The `spring` theory is a good one as they resonate below audible hearing, something I`m not sure all vibration accessories do without adding a resonant frequency to the equipment, although they may sound pleasing would be coloured and not neutral. Draining the vibration though springs vertically and horizontally without a hard (ish) damper appeals to me more.
My speakers are on concrete slabs on wooden floorboards so the SD  pads shouldn`t get a double helping of vibration...flooboard and speaker.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/05/15 at 19:16:15


One thing that you said (and that I've read in isolation product descriptions on some web sights) that I think could be a misconception is that the springs drain vibration.  Vibration, as for as I know, can only be damped by turning it into heat.  So, we have two choices, tune to be outside of the frequency range that we want to avoid or damp the vibrations after the fact.  The beauty of springs is that they vibrate only at their Natural Frequencies (so they don't "see" any other frequencies to "drain").  I only concern myself with the Fundamental (1st) Frequency since the higher ones are way outside or at minimum so secondary that they are not a factor.  I assume anyway!  I haven't gone into this at that level of detail.  Sorry, I think I may have just added more confusion.

I agree that the dynamic motion of the compliant materials is much more complex.

I view a sprung platform as a vibration filter.  

BTW, I make my own platforms.  They are really easy to make.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Tom W on 01/08/15 at 03:55:30

Hi Archie,

I recently came across your original post re: your new HR-1s and I thought you might be interested in an email exchange I began with Bob Z. (the builder) when i took delivery of mine back in September of 2014. I apologize if some of it is a little cryptic as you're only hearing one side of the conversation - I had compiled this for Bob so we could read the history of the break-in time. I demoed his pair of HR-1s in his listening room a couple times, so I sometimes refer to his front-end Decware amps and other gear during our earlier listening sessions.


Here's a cut and paste of the thread:


Unpacked and hooked up.
No damage as far as I can see outside of a 2 inch surface scratch on the side of one of them - but i don’t think it’s from shipping; looks more like a slight crack in the veneer. It’s pretty subtle - I would never even have noticed had i not gone over every inch because of the UPS factor…

Initial Positioning:
I set them up and listened to them for about 4 or 5 hours yesterday. I think my triangle is around the same size as your space: 6 feet from center cone to center cone, 7.5 feet from tweeter to ear position, 5 feet from rear wall, 2.5 feet from side wall; toed in so the tweeters fire about 2 inches away from earlobe; not on spikes yet; floor is thick carpet, ceiling smooth, wall behind speakers is all Sonex, left sides are mixed surfaces, wall behind listener is split: 14ft behind left ear, 9ft behind right ear. Treated with Sonex here and there at primary nodes and where the wall meets the ceiling.

Associated equipment:
Bi-wire (MIT MH-750 Shotguns) to a
McIntosh MC-302 Power Amp from a
McIntosh C220 Pre-Amp (w/ a matched pair of Telefunken 12AX7 dated Oct 1962, ~300+ hours play time on them)

MacPro: USB to a Musical Fidelity V-Link
Mark Levinson No. 31 Reference CD Transport into a
Mark Levinson No. 360S Digital Processor
(no turntable listening yet)

MIT MI-330 interconnects between processor and pre-amp
Madrigal MDC-1 AES/EBU XLR digital cable between 31 & 360S
AudioQuest Ruby XLR interconnects between pre-amp and power-amp

First impressions out of the Box

1. HOLY SOUNDSTAGE!! As expected, my entire back wall is filled with musicians, left, right, center and DEPTH - something I’ve never really enjoyed. The stage extends beyond the wall and well beyond the width of the speakers. The thing that impressed me the most about them when I first heard it (even set up poorly with what I felt was an anemic tube power amp, remember) was the pinpoint imaging. The detail is really remarkable - I mean, REALLY remarkable. The second listening at your place was with the tube monoblocks - plenty of power, but even then the soundstage wasn’t so surprising - and this was an hour out of the box.

2. The upper midrange is a little forward. I’m sure this will settle down after some break-in, correct? (also, I’m sure the solid state power amp plays into this a little - the tube power amp probably adds the warmth I’m lacking - but I don’t want to give up that detail I’m hearing - acoustic instruments especially are incredibly realistic - and the crack of a well-recorded snare.)

3. The high-end seems pretty accurate - cymbals and reverb sound natural and not smeared.

4. Over all, the speakers sound a little “stiff” for lack of a better word, compared to your white pair. That is probably contributing to the over-emphasis in the mids. I think they’ll quicken over time, correct?

4. The big one: I’m missing a bunch of low-end. Everything below about 60Hz is either missing or much politer than I’m used to - now, part of this is probably because my Meadowlark Herons were too blumpy, so there’s a swatch of information between 40-80Hz that just feels sucked out. (and of course, the subterranean stuff below 40 is gone altogether.) After listening for several hours, I found I missed it less - but certain recordings are missing that wonderful kick drum punch or low-end bed. The system has no “earthy slam” - HOWEVER, I do have a Legacy Audio Point One HD which is completely wasted in my home theater in the living room - I’m thinking if I added that to the mix, I could blend in all the low-end I could ever want. It’s a pretty decent and well-regarded sub. What do you think?

5. I’m going to reverse the bi-wire hookup when listening tonight to see if that changes anything. (If I had some decent standard speaker cables, i’d just use those and the jumpers, but right now, this is all I have)

DAY TWO Listening Notes in no particular order

1. I spent the better part of 4 hours+ listening to classical, jazz and acoustic sources, almost exclusively from the Levinson front end

2. Side Note: I’m noticing that with the detailed (and forward) upper-mids, I’m actually starting to get annoyed by the artifacts coming from my Mac -> USB -> V-Link -> 360S path when listening to anything less than a full resolution AIFF or WAV file - something that was never an issue before either because my Herons were too “forgiving” or because I wasn’t so tuned into it. Anyway, I’m avoiding any kind of MP3 or compression of any kind when using the computer now…

3. The HR-1 does an amazing job with smaller scale ensembles and chamber music. The detail and sparkle of well-recorded violins and cellos is astounding. For instance, I have some Kronos Quartet recordings that I take with me when auditioning gear, and the realism on a good system gives you goose pimples - the HR-1s in my studio sound just so.

4. Larger scale classical sources are a mixed bag - I have a variety of Mozart’s Requiem that I like to rotate: all of them lose a little bit of “bigness” because of the lacking lo-end - but choral pieces from Arvo Part sound phenomenal - you can pick out individual voices across the “stage” and suspend your disbelief that they’re not actually in the room with you…

5. On the jazz side, I have a reference recording of Brubeck’s Time Out that really shines. Miles’ trumpet on Blue in Green from Kind of Blue is a cut I always use as a sonic benchmark - as well as the upright bass and brush on the snare - this recording sounds amazing - a little crisper than I’m used to because my old speakers used to add a touch of blump to bass - I think the HR-1s deliver closer to how it’s supposed to sound. Like I mentioned in my previous email, the upper-mids are little forward - but it’s very exciting nonetheless. I listened to the entire album from start to finish because I was enjoying it so much. The drums on “All Blue” are another highlight - absolutely stunning on the HR-1.

6. I have a favorite performance of Arvo Part’s Fratres that I use to evaluate piano - the only set of speakers I’ve ever heard that have done it justice better were a pair of Wilson Sophia II’s hooked up to a mega $$ front end. Again, the HR-1s do an amazing job with smaller and medium scale classical ensembles - wow, sounds fantastic.

7. Johnny Cash’s American Recordings (the first of the series that he did with Rick Ruben) is one of my "make or break” sources. The jury is still out on this one - when listening, you have to account for the proximity effect on his vocals, but I’ve come to love that extra deep, exaggerated resonance on songs like The Beast in Me and Bird on a Wire. By comparison, the live stuff like Tennessee Stud sound GREAT.

8. These speakers were made for female vocals. I spun Cassandra Wilson, Eva Cassidy, Billie Holiday, Margo Timmons (Cowboy Junkies), PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Tori Amos, Alison Kraus, and even Portishead - next to the Miles Davis LP, these satisfied me the most.

9. Tonight I’m going to see if I can pinpoint better what’s lacking on the bottom with some heavier sources - rock and some electronica. I’ve already spun a couple benchmarks: Metalica’s “Nothing Else Matters” and Queen’s “Dragon Attack” for instance. At first blush, without the low end, these sound brittle and maybe even a little strident - need some balls. I hooked up the sub woofer just to see what it would the results would yield - it was mud, but I think primarily because it needs service: once I get it into the shop for repairs, I’ll be able to dial in just the low-end from, say, 45 or 50Hz down - that would hopefully give me the slam and deep bed that’s missing - whether I can do this without smearing the beautiful soundstage or creating a distraction remains to be seen.


As far as the low end goes, I think there are a number of factors at play:

- the biggest factor i think is the room - I spent years taming the room because there was too much mush and blump - I checked the response from the HR-1s with a demo disc and they’re delivering everything faithfully down to about 35-40Hz just like they’re supposed to. I’m going to slowly “untame" the corners and experiment with placement to see if I can get a little more scrotum in the air.

- as you pointed out, the HR-1s are much truer than my previous pair - I am definitely aware of this because my Professional ADAM monitors at my mixing desk are also unforgiving across the spectrum - I use the ADAMs for mixing and near field monitoring while recording on the other side of my studio  

Here’s a curious thing:
I’m noticing that while listening over time, I’m either hearing more low end, I’m missing it less (depending on the source material) or something blooms in one of the components. For instance, I warmed everything up this morning and put on some music to start my day, but it sounded tinny and thin. Over time I noticed that it seemed to fill out a little, and then after about an hour and a half, I was noticing that I could hear some nice lower-midrange and upper low-end in some rock tracks that I’d played earlier in the morning that certainly was missing from earlier.

Could it be the speaker just needs to pump for a while before the low end blossoms? Is it a break-in issue? Or maybe the tubes in my pre-amp need to do more than just idle for a time?
Or, is my ear/mind playing tricks on me and becoming more forgiving as I become more accustom to the sound of the HR-1?


I’m positive that a tube power amp like the mono-blocs you had installed during my last visit would smooth some of the etching - but there’s nothing like the power of this SS amp when listening at higher volumes - the speakers seem to really come alive at about 3 watts. Bouncing the needle around 3.0 watts and peaking around 30 watts seems to be the sweet spot for most everything. I’m pretty sure that’s a louder level than what we were typically listening to in your room - but these speakers sure do love it - especially on bowed instruments and female vocals.

The toe-in angle seems less critical to the soundstage and center image than my previous pair - placement doesn’t seem as fussy as I would have expected - again, maybe it’s because I’ve not had enough time yet with them and am still distracted by the detail and soundstage.


I’m still experimenting with room placement, treatment and source material - but much less so now that have a few hundred hours of break-in.

Here’s a rundown in no particular order:

- Either the low end has opened up just a little OR my ears have become more forgiving and I’m filling in the missing parts in my mind. Still, I miss that subterranean authority on certain material - even acoustic material where a nice punchy drum is involved or well-recorded upright bass. My subwoofer as it turns out is not working properly so until I can find someone who can repair the electronics, I’ll make do without it.

- The HR1’s don’t seem to be too picky about their placement in my listening room - their stage and imaging is really sharp - noticeably larger stage than your room, but a little smeared compared to yours - probably due to the odd shape and nothing on the smooth ceilings. Still, an undeniable improvement over my previous speakers.

- Whether it is because of their sensitivity, or because of the difference in the tubes vs. solid state, I much prefer the HR1s with my 300 wpc McIntosh Power Amp.  The extra muscle sharpens up some details that I wasn’t hearing when we had your white pair hooked up to Steve’s tubes (or the mono blocks you had - which I prefer to Steve’s)

- In A/B-ing the paper vs. poly - I’m finding it’s really an apple vs. oranges thing - I find the poly a little more forgiving of some material (the entire first half of the zeppelin catalogue for instance, and some of the over compressed rock of the 70’s and early 80’s), but ultimately prefer the detail and “warts and all” presentation by the paper cones. There’s no going back when it comes to strings, acoustic guitar and female vocals of any kind - whether it’s Chrissie Hynde, Bessie Smith or Aretha…

- BTW, I’ve tried two different kinds of Black Diamond Racing cones underneath them - I can’t hear any difference between the two (there’s no way to a/b them obviously) - but both seem to help focus the lower-mids and upper bass a little (just as they’re supposed to). The benefit disappears if I place them less than 3 feet away from the wall - but when I do, the bass has a little more beef, so I’m trying to find a happy medium with the cones.

- If you’re interested, off the top of my head, there are a bunch of tracks that I keep returning to that I feel demonstrate the best of what these speakers can offer - and I’ve been using them as my measuring sticks whenever I make a change to the room or placement:

Morphine - Buena
Peter Gabriel - Mercy Street
Muddy Waters - (anything of of Folk Singer, but especially Big Leg Women)
Doug MacLeod - Bring it on Home
John Butler - What You Want
Tom Waits - Shore Leave
Thelonious Monk - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (wow! that piano!)
Youn Sun Nah - My Favorite Things
Graham Nash - Another Sleep Song
Robert Plant - Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down (nice bass & stage)
Robert Plant and Alison Kraus - Please Read the Letter
Beatles - I’ve Got a Feeling & Two of Us (off of the Let It Be…Naked re-master)
Elton John - Madman Across the Water (typical early 70’s overproduction, but wow - never sounded better)
Janis Ian - At Seventeen (impeccable!)
Fleetwood Mac - The Chain (remastered version)
Arvo Pärt - Fratres (Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarett from the 1984 Tabula Rasa LP on ECM)
Little Odessa Soundtrack - Track 4 - Reveille and Track 2 - Love is Sacred (no idea who the composers are… FANTASTIC!)

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 01/08/15 at 12:08:08

Tom,  I enjoyed reading your impressions but have a question.  When you talk of... "In A/B-ing the paper vs. poly"...what are you talking about?  Were you trying out different drivers in the HR-1s?  How did you finally set up your HR-1s.  Did you tweak the speakers in any way?...many here seem to have added external resistors. I haven't done any tweaking on mine yet. Thanks,  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by ZYGI on 01/08/15 at 17:31:05


What Tom is referring to is the Meadowlark Herons use Vifa Poly coned drivers where as the HR-Ones use paper cones.

Thanks for posting that Tom,I know you're busy.  I would have gotten around to it, really I would have.


Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by marky on 01/08/15 at 20:13:51

Hey Archie, a little off topic `cause I`m not using HR-1`s ( if but I could ) but I slipped in the Sonic Design speaker  damping feet today and am liking them. At the moment I`m resisting the temptation to turn the volume up and compensate now that the music has lost a layer of vibration/noise.
Cheers, Syd

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Tom W on 01/08/15 at 20:16:21

Hi Mark, as Bob stated - he and I were having a separate discussion regarding the nature of sound reproduction in general: paper vs. poly cones in speaker design. To answer your other question, my HR-1s are completely stock with no modifications out of the box save that I have them up on Black diamond racing cones.

Bob - Happy New Year - quit typing and get back to building!

Cheers all,

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/09/15 at 01:01:38

I'm liking my speaker isolation as well.  I haven't noted any negatives so it is staying in at this point.  I plan on trying different regulator tubes in my ZP3 and CSP3 to see if the base improves but I'm not really noticing a "lack" of base.  Like Tom, I don't exactly know if I am just compensating or the HR-1s are breaking in a bit more.

I am not getting the huge soundstage that Tom reports but my room is a mess and I don't see much hope in being able to tune it much.  Still, far superior to my Monitor Audio RX6s that I replaced.

I will try some resistors at some point since so many report good results with them.  Bob told me that he used Tin Foil Mundorf caps in the crossovers to complement my ZMA but that they are a bear to break in.  Until I have over 200 hours on my HR-1s, I don't think I'll know what they really sound like.  I'd have these broken in by now if I didn't have to work!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by ZYGI on 01/09/15 at 01:38:31

Tom, Happy New year to you as well.

Heck I didn't post your emails and all I had to do was copy and paste, and it still didn't get done....I so hate typing these days!!!

Back to work now!!!

Archie, your resistors should be there by Saturday.

Bob Z

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/09/15 at 01:49:02

Thanks Bob!  "Back to work now!!!" I hope you're joking!  It's quarter to 9.  Miller Time!   :D

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/11/15 at 20:57:05

Break-in update.  The bass is coming in!  Everything is getting smoother.  I'm starting to hear/feel the low end.  Despite the solation bases I'm starting to feel the vibration from the lower end.  It's nice to know that it's not just some wierd product of coupling between my floor and speakers.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/13/15 at 01:21:43

Bob sent me a variety of resistors to try.  I first put in 15 ohm.  Wow, really killed the upper end as far as I am concerned.  I next tried the 3.3 ohm and frankly, I can't hear a difference as compared to no resistor.  I like the way the stock speaker is sounding and right now I wont be including a resistor.  But it's nice to have the option.  It's a great tuning device.  Maybe if my ears were younger I'd need less high frequency?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 01/13/15 at 01:25:23

Well, you tried. I can't live without them myself!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/13/15 at 01:32:41


I have a lot of respect for your hearing!  I have too many years around power tools. :(

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 01/13/15 at 02:53:12

Well, my high frequency hearing is still fairly good, I protected it as best as I could during my band years and I used power tools for five years or so but between the ages of 20 and 25. Still, I think I have a sort of beginning tinnitus (that hasn't developed further for about ten years) where treble noise can aggravate me, I hear some treble as gritty grainy noise. My recent audiologist says it can be a sort of nerve damage. . . I can hear but some of what I hear bothers me where it doesn't others. So I find digital treble to be unpleasant at levels others don't. Don't have as much of a problem with analog treble oddly enough. So thank goodness in my case for resistors for the speakers and the treble cut circuit in the amps!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/13/15 at 16:47:05

I haven't had my hearing checked since the elementary school.  My problem tends to be a plugging up with hard wax.  I think noise might cause my ears to produce wax as a defense.  The other day I was hearing a hiss in my HR-1 tweeter with my right ear but I couldn't hear it with my left!  But the real problem is my parakeets.  They like to chirp to the music sometimes and are louder than I can crank my amp!  Some noise floor I got.  

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/14/15 at 23:51:30

Well, I removed the 3.3 ohm resistors that Bob sent me to try and now I miss them!  I think I will go with the 2.7 ohm Mundorfs like Will used.  I'd like to just slightly take the edge off of the high end.  It'd be nice to be able to do it on the fly, as needed.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 01/15/15 at 01:35:29

Makes sense!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 01/15/15 at 01:51:07

Archie. I think with the Mundorf M-Resist 2.7, once you get used to it will sound really good without having too heavy an impact. I don't think you should have to adjust it on the fly once you get dialed in. That said, though there was not a lot of difference between the 3.3 and the 2.7, I really preferred the 2.7 here...with my cap arrangement it was just right in terms of detail balance....

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by beowulf on 01/15/15 at 06:56:33

Have you tried ear candling?  I had swimmer's ear when I was in the Navy from constantly being in the ocean and pool and my mom sent me some of those special candles, I cured my ears after burning a couple, but I was really surprised to see how much wax came out when doing this.

I know there are some places on the internet that speak against it, but I got to say it was very effective for myself.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 01/16/15 at 00:19:29

Don't laugh but I occasionally use my Waterpic.  That's essentially what the doctor uses.  Problem is when the wax gets hard.  Then I use a softener.  I tried candling once but I didn't get any benefit.  I can usually tell when things get clogged and that's when the high frequencies get hard to hear.

I ordered two Mundorf Supreme 2.7 ohm resistors from a German seller on ebay. About $31 delivered.  Pretty reasonable I thought.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 02/12/15 at 23:59:51

OK folks,  an update on the resistor saga.  I ordered 12 values between 3.3 ohm and 33 ohm from .  They emailed me that the 8.2 and 4.7 ohm values were out of stock, so I'm waiting.  They were $3.58 per pair for the 10 watt Mundorf MOX versions...not the supremes...yet.  I have to spend at least several months deciding what value to use.  I'm pretty sure I won't need more than 10 dB cut which is about a 11 ohm resistor.

In the meantime, I emailed Bob Z. and he's sending the resistors Archie had...the cheaper 5 watt versions that are sent out with the ERR speakers.
I found a neat calculator that let me figure out what value resistor is needed for a given dB cut. For example...Lon's 33 ohm resistor gives him about a 17.6 dB cut...a lot.  And Will's 2.7 ohm resistor gives a 3.75 dB cut.  The tweeter is a 5 ohm value.  I've given you the link below so you can play with it. I can't imagine that I'll use higher than a 12 ohm resistor that would give a little more than a 10 dB cut but got several higher just to play.  I also bought two black aluminum Knobs for the voltage controls on the CSP3...Total...$63 plus about $10.50 S&H from Canada.  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 02/13/15 at 06:18:04

Thanks for the info and link Mark. Interesting the actual dB level. I would have thought the 2.7s would be less than 3.75 dB, but I am bypassing the resistor with a cap that lets through the very highs. Looking forward to hearing about your coming resistor adventure.

I like partsconnexion too.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 02/26/15 at 18:20:48

An update...I got the resistors from Bob yesterday and as it would happen, parts connection just emailed me that my order is ready for shipment.  I told them to hold it as I will be making changes.  The four pairs I have are 15, 10, 6.2, 3.3 ohms.  I tried the 6.2s yesterday in the HR-1s.  I played only LPs I remembered as being Hot with lots of cymbals.  The calculated attenuation with the 6.2 ohm resistors is about 8 dB so with the Treble cut on the Torii being about +/- 3dB, I can get a max of 11 db cut or min of 5 dB cut.

The verdict....except for the really hot music matters 45 RPM "Ju Ju", Wayne Shorter's LP with Elvin Jones going at it on the drums, all others were ok with the max attenuation but more was need for the later.  So tonight I'll try the 10 ohm pair giving me about an 11 dB cut with max min of 14 dB and 8 dB cuts.  I can't imagine this not being enough.  I'll have to listen to other LPs that I didn't find too hot...I may find that the treble cut has removed too much.  It's all a game of compromise, after all.  I'll report back.  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 02/27/15 at 17:17:54

The Saga continues...I only had a couple hours to listen in the "Cave" last night with the 10 ohm resistor in place.  I don't think I'll want more attenuation than this.  With Miles' LPs the treble control with no cut was OK but the Hot Blue Note with Elvin Jones, I preferred the max cut.  I need to play some LPs where I thought they were good before the resistors.  If I find the sound is too attenuated, I may go back to a lower value resistor.  I'm surprised how much treble there is with a 14 dB cut but when the drums are the dominant instrument in one channel as with the Blue Note recordings, there isn't much you can do.  I am surprised how this has worked though...since the volume isn't limited by the amount of treble I can tolerate, I find myself increasing the volume with a resultant better Bass performance.  I think I'm getting there.  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 02/27/15 at 17:44:03

This may or may not be on topic but over the years I've had my ears clog up with wax to the point where my hearing was impaired.  I would first notice that I was not able to hear my girlfriend very well.  Her voice was in the higher register.  I would think that once the treble is attenuated that it might be gone and you are trading treble for bass.  I'm not sure that I'd make that trade.

Of course we have different amps.  I am getting the impression that the Torii treble is stronger than the ZMA treble.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 02/28/15 at 01:28:52

With any great amp it is all relative to everything in the amp itself, and everything else in the system and room...then there is how our bodies vary, and then tastes.

With Mark's Siemens/RFT EL34s, the MKIV is really "awake" in the upper mids, but this is not the case with say Genalex KT66 in the same amp. And all the tubes can be adjusted one way or another. Not having heard the Mystery, I can't say, but I have heard a lot of Steve's amps and I don't think any are bright perse. Lucid perhaps. But all could be made brighter or darker with tubes and other things.

As to treble attenuation, it is all relative to all the many things, and again our bodies and tastes. But subtle tweeter attenuation with good resistors is surprisingly transparent and to me, not a trade-off with bass...just a refinement...that is if it is necessary in a given setting.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 03/13/15 at 20:54:59

An Update...I haven't been in the Cave as much as I'd like but I have managed to make a few decisions.  I have ordered 8 different resistor values between 3.3 and 15 ohms.  In addition I ordered the Mundorf Supreme in the 10 ohm version for current use...the others are the version below the Supremes. I thought since I will have three different types of power tubes, I'd buy several pairs so I could tweak the tweeter if needed, in the future.  

The two Quads of Russian 6P3S-E power tubes I bought have made it to NYC and should be in my Amp by next weekend...I hope.  I'll put in the 70's quad first to make sure they work then I'll store them as spares and use the 60's quad for a few months, at least.  Syd's reports have my expectations high.

The problem I thought I had after putting in several Herbies isolation products, seems to have resolved itself.  I think it's a combination of my ears/brain acclimating and re-positioning my HR-1s. Someone here had mentioned that I may be sitting in a Null zone and suggested I walk around my room and see if the Bass was more prominent elsewhere.  It was, right behind the speakers standing near the front wall.  One speaker can't really be moved back but I did reduce the toe-in so it is pointing to a spot 3 feet to the side of my head.  The second speaker, I did the same plus moved it back towards the wall about a foot.  These changes seem to have increased/improved the Bass response. And pointing the tweeters 3 feet to either side of my head, by using almost no toe-in, has reduced the Hot, bothersome treble significantly and also seems to have increased the soundstage and improved imaging.  Until the next report,  Mark.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 03/13/15 at 20:57:04

Good news Mark. Sit back and enjoy!

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 03/15/15 at 19:47:42

... but I did reduce the toe-in so it is pointing to a spot 3 feet to the side of my head.  The second speaker, I did the same plus moved it back towards the wall about a foot.  These changes seem to have increased/improved the Bass response. And pointing the tweeters 3 feet to either side of my head, by using almost no toe-in, has reduced the Hot, bothersome treble significantly ...


Thank you for this post.  I changed the toe-in of my HR-1s as a result and I notice some of the same improvements that you did.  I had increased the toe-in a couple weeks ago and I think the density of the music increased but I seemed to pick up some treble harshness.  I didn't link the two until I read your post.

I don't know very much about the theory behind speaker placement but I have a strong feeling that the HR-1s don't necessarily follow convention.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by will on 03/15/15 at 20:41:28

Mine are pretty close together (5.5 feet maybe), and look close to straight on, but are actually toed out just a touch.

Edit: My MG944s were set up about the for appearance and sound here.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 07/13/15 at 23:01:52

I'm playing with my HR-1 toe-in and I reduced it to zero.  It seems to have decongested the sound stage some but it is still contained between the speakers.  The speakers are about 8 feet apart center to center.

Anybody else with HR-1s doing anything outside of "convention?"  I might try toe-out next.  I can't really change the separation and keep things practical for the room.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by mark58 on 07/13/15 at 23:42:48

Archie, right now I have my HR-1s toed in a little bit...not directly toward my ears but to a spot about two feet to my left and right.  I have used no toe in before with good result...may do it again...each speaker is about 6.5 feet from the corresponding ear and 7.5 feet apart. I think with the omni speaker, placement is less important.  In other words the HR-1s are pretty forgiving of poor placement.  Mark.

PS...I went back and read some older posts where I outline some changes I made...resistors, toe in, placement, etc.  I should point out that since then I went with the Mundorf Supreme 10 ohm resistors though I have multiple pairs of the next lower grade mundorf resistors in many values in case I want to experiment in the future. I also added Sub Dude Isolation platforms under the speakers as well as under an Omega Deep Hemp Subwoofer I added in my listening room.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 07/14/15 at 01:00:41

I have about 1 inch of toe-out (looking at the bases relative to lining up the fronts) and I don't hear much difference from neutral toe.  When I had strong toe-in I had negative effects but so far I haven't found a problem with neutral or toe-out.  I do think the omni makes a big difference and seems to dominate the forward drivers.  I was hoping that I could coax the soundstage outside of the speakers though.

I'm still using the 2.7-ohm resistors and sprung isolation platforms.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 07/14/15 at 12:34:32

Archie wrote on 07/13/15 at 23:01:52:
I'm playing with my HR-1 toe-in and I reduced it to zero.  It seems to have decongested the sound stage some but it is still contained between the speakers.  The speakers are about 8 feet apart center to center.

Anybody else with HR-1s doing anything outside of "convention?"  I might try toe-out next.  I can't really change the separation and keep things practical for the room.

With my HR-1s I found soundstage best with about 2 to 3 inches toe in, and what improved it the most was the addition of Ingress Audio Engineering Roller-Blocks under each speaker, four each. I do get some soundstage outside the speakers. I'm not a soundstage width nut though and I prefer the depth between the speakers that I get in my system, that always wows me.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 07/14/15 at 17:08:10


How far apart are your HR-1s?  I notice that when I see them in pictures at Decware they look to be fairly close together and standing way out into the room.  Neither condition works for me though.

I ocasionally hear things just outside of the speakers.  I'm not really worried about maximizing soundstage but I want to make sure I'm not missing something easy either.

I have gone back to the neutral toe.  Something seemed missing with the toe-out.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 07/14/15 at 17:18:00

At my last place they were set up about six feet apart, about seven feet from me, and about four feet from the back wall, with a corner of a Samson rack behind each of them about a foot. Not at all ideal. At the moment due to the fact that I'm still moving stuff and that my PS Audio P5 is not powering up, they're not at all set up at my new place, and I may have to buy longer speaker wire to get them right there. . . another project to tackle after this one.

The Ingress Rollerblocks made a big difference for me, more than spikes or Herbie's Audio "Gliders". . . I also have a Grungebuster dot the size of the Rollerblocks between the speaker and Rollerblock which makes a subtle difference I think.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 07/14/15 at 17:53:36

Do you find that the ERRs are less sensitive to placement than the HR-1s?  I'm thinking that conventional speakers might be very finicky with the hybrids next and the pure radial most forgiving.  Not that it really matters I guess.

Did your roller blocks affect imaging/soundstage much, if at all?

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Lon on 07/14/15 at 18:19:59

The ERRs and the HR-1s are quite different speakers, and I love them both. For small group jazz and a lot of classical the ERR are just wonderful. They fall a little short in hard rocking and very orchestral pieces, the HR-1s excel at these with their front-firing drivers.

Yes, the ERR I find are less finicky about placement, but by the same token there are definitely great spots for them in a room and some not so great spots. The Rollerblocks I found helped in all aspects, I was very surprised by how they shape the sound of the speakers as I did not like them under components. Everything just seems more spacious and the tonal balance is more natural. Imaging and sound staging. . . well the latter is not my real forte, I'm less and less interested in that aspect, but the Rollerblocks seem to have helped.

Title: Re: HR-1 Break-in
Post by Archie on 08/29/15 at 19:16:54

Now that my HR-1s are well broken in I decided to take out the 2.7ohm Mundorf Supreme resistors from the tweeter.  I thought I might get more sparkle in the high end.  Honestly I don't hear much difference.  Certainly I don't miss the resistors.  My ears are old and I likely don't hear well into the high frequencies anymore and the tweeters might have tamed up a bit.  Anyway,  I am very happy running the stock HR-1 configuration at this point.  (ZP3 into CSP3 into ZMA with Decware silver interconnects and solid silver speaker cables.)

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