AUDIO FORUMS >> Member's Systems Picture Gallery >> Flick's Chariot

Message started by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:14:34

Title: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:14:34

Hello all, a short history.

Ever since I can remember physics has drawn my attention. Around 5 years of age, I was folding newspaper into boxes, stacking like bricks building walls in the living room of my parent’s small apartment. At 8 my favorite read was Edmund scientific catalog with visions of actually creating some sort of laboratory in my bedroom. In my earliest teens, when not in the woods with friends cutting wood, making secret hideaways, or enjoying berries and fruits from bushes and trees, I was at home building a table saw from a TV cabinet console. It was the result of my failed attempt of repairing the TV that was giving up by dad and the instinctive nature of making something that can be used out of junk. Heck, I remember making a working steam engine out of a tall #3 tin can. It worked until the rubber washer used in the piston swelled and seized causing enough back pressure to blow the #3 vessel. Mom was not too happy with the loud explosion coming out of the back yard! I remember sitting in 7th grade class, looking out a window at workers replacing the roof on a house that was a few hundred feet away. We did not have AC in those days at school so the windows were open and the sound of hammering was present. It struck me odd that the hammer sound did not match what the worker was doing with the hammer. I think at that moment my curiosity was set with the physics of sound. Over my lifetime, the curiosity has leaded me to many endeavors building personal speakers, audio systems, and listening rooms.

Fast forward to the turn of the 21st century:

My 3 beautiful daughters were just about to leave the nest, 2 in high school, 1 entering college. I was a maintenance manager for a local grocery chain that gave me the freedom and means to build a complete wood shop. The family room at home was a theater of sorts with 36" JVC tube and audio components to match. The front speakers were a set of refrigerator sized Cerwin Vegas and Radio Shack center with a custom sub. A set of Bose 901s complimented with Death Boxes filled in the rears. A Wicket One coupled with the vaulted ceiling made the .1 sub. I also installed some tactical transducers in a love seat facing the JVC tube. The sound system rocked the house. In hindsight, I think it was my way of preserving dignity amongst the opposite sex ::)

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:16:10

I needed to remove the system from the family room to make the room more presentable. The basement of the house was never finished so it was logical to move the system to a custom room downstairs. The height was not ideal. I was moving from a 13' high vaulted ceiling to 7' and less height. The thought of extending the height was entertained but dropped because of the cost involved and the need to budget funds for other parts of the basement. Hopefully this limitation could be overcome by shaping and sizing the room. Flick's Chariot was conceived and plans were drawn. Flick is an appendage of my last name given to me by friends at work.

The dimensions are Front 12’W X 20’D X Back 16W’

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:18:10

Elevation Profile. Note the front wall is not canted and ceilings are flat in the final build.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:19:39

Two issues needed correction before building the room. 1) All electrical junction boxes needed placed in an accessible location as well as plumbing valves being the self supported ceiling span would be finished drywall. 2) A support posts would need moved to give space needed for the dimensions of the isolated room.

A steel beam being placed along side the wood beam. Notice the stacked of drywall, fiber board, and plywood. This was not done in a haphazard way. It was stacked to accommodate the installation once the walls and ceiling was built.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:21:08

The beam in place and the old support post removed

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:22:32

A view from the length of the beam.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:24:06

2X6 stud framing was used for the walls. The beams to support the ceiling are placed alongside ductwork and new beam. Careful consideration was given not to have any of the Chariot structure come in contact with any part of the house structure.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:25:26

I knew the HVAC would be an issue with unwanted noise but one willing to dismiss.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:26:41

As you can see the area got very tight.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:28:11

The Chariot as it looks 20 years after construction. The side and back inside walls are two ˝” drywall panels sandwiched with one 1/2” fiberboard. The front wall is concrete earth backed block with furring strips spanned with foam board and covered with ˝” drywall. The ceiling is ˝” plywood placed on top the walls and wood beams flanking ductwork and steel beam. A fiberboard and drywall layer is added to finish the ceiling. Outside walls are skinned with two ˝” sheets of drywall. Fiberglass insulation was added to the wall cavities as well as placed on top of the plywood ceiling. All seams and unavoidable contact points were either treated with caulking or foam tape. There are two doors custom built to match the wall structure. One leading to a storage area has cam pivot hinges and a gasket seal. The other gasket custom door is for access to the HVAC system.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/15/20 at 15:29:38

The entrance door is a stock sound proof door that was purchased at Home Depot. All electrical fixtures are placed on the surface of the interior walls/ceiling. Three circuits feed the room. One home run circuit is used for the electronics. An oil filled electrical heater is used for heat. Air condition is not needed being that the basement is 75% under the surface of the ground and I spend most of my time outside during the warmer months.



Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Donnie on 02/15/20 at 15:33:35

Be careful I think that there might be an abductor following you around.
A plain white windowless van with "Free stereo gear" stenciled on it's side might be a little on the sketchy side. Be wary!

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/23/20 at 21:03:38

Exactly Donnie! I need to clear out some stuff. Good old fashion garage sale will be done this spring and is being staged to the left. Those shelf's are earmarked for the storage area via the door on the right. The storage area is full of a DJ setup that needs disassembled and re-purposed. Unless you know someone interested in a system that could entertain a thousand or so? Pardon my mess but brighter days are on the horizon.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/23/20 at 21:39:19

The Chariot does meet my expectations. It can be used anytime at home without interfering with normal activity. During the day music can be playing at 90 db levels in the room and not be heard at all upstairs. In the dead of night, the sound can migrate upstairs but not enough to interfere with anyone sleeping or trying to sleep. There are hardwood floors upstairs which the better half will not be without. I tried so may times to get carpet without success. A heavy walker upstairs can be detected in the Chariot. In hindsight, the floor joist could have been treated but was not. Not a big issue anyway as it stands. My closest neighbor is about 150 away and if he plays his boom box outside it is way more disturbing inside our house than the Chariot. The outside walls of the house consist of 1" fiberboard, 3/4" half lap pine siding covered with aluminum siding. The inside walls are 1" plaster. Windows are insulated double pane. So much for construction details. Power source filtering coming up.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/24/20 at 00:27:48

Growing up in an era when tube electronics were rapidly being replaced with transistors, unused tube radios/stereos/tvs were handed to us inquisitive kids. Most of  the equipment had seen better days and did not work. Actually, I am surprised my life did not end with electrocution as many times my hands where in the box, power on, trying to wiggle the right tube to make the thing work again. I did learn some good life saving respect for electricity when one of my adventures abruptly sent me across the room with my back hitting the opposing wall then sliding down to the ground on my arse! Dazed and confused, it was about that time the thought of making a table saw came to mind.
Anyhow, there was this one working radio we kept up in my cousin’s room that had an aux input we used to play 8 track tapes. The radio worked OK, but on one of our overnight tinkering sessions the FM radio seemed to become haunted with holographic music. We looked at each other in amazement and listened intently until falling asleep. We were totally disappointed the next morning when the FM just sounded OK again.
The quest began to find out why. Well it seemed to be a couple factors. A perfect FM signal being fed and amplified using clean AC. The airways were clear of electrical interference as well as the AC grid power during the wee hours of night.
Building the Chariot, it was one of my goals to supply the electronics with clean AC power within budget. Searching the internet produced an article written by Magnan Audio Cables, “Recommended Audio System Tweaks”. The suggestions presented seem reasonable and within means. Basically the filtering tweaks adding film caps between hot to neutral and another with neutral to ground all over the house to eliminate the grunge in AC supply. I did not like the idea of adding custom built modules to outlets as described in the tweak but believed running a home run power source to the Chariot’s audio equipment and adding the hot to neutral treatment to that circuit could be just as effective. The neutral to ground receptacle modules could be eliminated by adding the capacitors to different circuits at the breaker panel. 320uf of capacitance was added to the Chariots audio feed and 6 separate circuits were treated at the breaker panel. When complete there was a noticeable improvement with soundstage presentation and more detail (blackness). That was almost twenty years ago!
Along with my respect for electricity, I pursued a couple years of training in electronics and held jobs that required said training. Over the years troubleshooting, there has always been this nagging wonder of why neutral to ground voltages were present and the same always fluctuating. Well there are many reasons and surely many of you engineers can fill a book of causes. But the fact is it’s there, can not be eliminated, and causes inaudible/audible effects with sound reproduction. This led to the next tweak for the Chariot – Balanced Power. I used Jon M. Risch recommendations for balanced power. At a risk of speaking out my league this is what I know:
Using the center tap of a balanced AC transformer the tap reference is effectively at 0 volts; 60 volts on the sine wave upswing and 60 volts on the down swing. Connect the grounds of equipment to this reference point makes all the equipment ground at 0 volts eliminating ground loop cause of stray voltages. Connect this 0 point reference to earth ground shunts grunge lowering the noise floor.
These tweaks along with a new ground rod were added and silently served well over the years, I think! Often over the years, I wondered if that box next to my circuit breaker box was still doing its duty! Quite frankly, I forgot exactly what it did until now. More on that later.

Neutral to ground box with cover removed.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/24/20 at 00:34:13

Hot to neutral bank inside AMC CD player.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/24/20 at 00:43:49

5 hot to neutral modules in a DAK switching platform. The two end modules were removed from the top of the DAK cover which dislodged the insulating tape.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/24/20 at 00:56:47

Signal Transformer SU-2 wired for balance power rated at 16 amp load.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/25/20 at 21:49:21

Two months ago I was cleaning up favorites in a browser and clicked on an old Decware link. Since that time the audiophile spirit was rekindled creating a desire to finish the Chariot project’s detail abandoned 15 years ago. The Chariot has seen plenty of use since it's completion but the room was never really dialed in for the best music reproduction. As it stands, the room sounds very good with the Jordans. The last couple of months going thru the music collection totally enjoying it, I fully understood it could be further improved with added sound treatment.
I finally started by moving the home theater electronics to the storage room and hanging the LED TV on the front wall eliminating a 2' deep Metro rack. This would give better access to the music reproduction gear for tweaking. The Acoustic Handbook was ordered and consumed. A plan was starting to form. But…

Except for a few TV upgrades and the shelving on the left this is how the Chariot looked for the last 15 years.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/25/20 at 21:53:40

After hanging the TV, there was a very noticeable change in the sound presentation. My feet stopped tapping, the presentation seemed dull, and I became too analytic. The music was not enjoyable anymore. I thought maybe removing the rack had something to do with it or the TV wall mounting? Baffling.
I have full intent of driving the system with one of Steve’s amps but his backlog will not fit my timeline this year. I may even build the Zkit1. A local guy was selling an updated Heathkit SA-2. I jumped on it and brought it home. It did improve the mid range but the music was just not fully engaging most times. I repositioning the Jordan’s and changed cables which helped somewhat.
Then it happened, a light bulb lit up between my ears, aha moment, damn it - kick in a butt, dumb stupid shit feeling when I saw Steve’s posted picture of the opened Zen Line Conditioner combining with the fact that I’ve been looking through old project pictures. By moving the HT gear to a different locating and powering it with the closest available plug which happened to be the protection circuit side of a UPS, I effectively eliminated 60% of AC filtering. The DAK switching base which all HT electronics are plugged into (the main reason it still is in the system) also house 5 modules of hot to neutral filter capacitors. Plugging into the UPS totally eliminated any AC filtering action from these banks with the Chariot home run circuit because of the noisy electrons in the battery backup device! It might have worked if a normal outlet was used for the DAK but probably not as well as being connect directly in the dedicated circuit.

The new location for HT electronics is in the storage room. The DAK is the catawampus bottom piece.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/25/20 at 21:55:02

I quickly removed the modules from the DAK and plan to permanently mount them inside the Balance Power SU-2 cabinet. Temporary paralleled with the SU-2 the Chariot is sounding like it did before moving the TV. Even better! I attribute the addition of the SA-2 helped the increased refinement.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 02/25/20 at 21:57:56

The proof is in the pudding! My better half happened to stick her nose in the Chariot just about the time I finished hooking the caps back in. The short video shows here involvement. Seeing her involvement tells me I’m moving in the right direction.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 03/07/20 at 07:39:59

Back on track with refinement of the Charoit, a post from Steve set in motion another project to eliminate the Radio Shack center channel speaker. The RS center was a left over when the system was moved from the family room. It does not fit in the current scheme and has questionable voice reproduction. It use to nest in a custom subwoofer when used in the family room.
This video sparked my imagination of using the Tang Band T2-2136SA driver in a custom enclosure to replace the RS speaker:

A Parts Express order was placed for a set of these drivers with the recommend 80hz high pass filter. A sketch was drawn. Searching thru old gadgets and wood laying around produced enough to get the project up and running.

The result is very good already outclassing the speaker it replaced. It was designed to enhance the human speech range of 100 to 3000 hertz coupled with Chariot dimensions. Speech is much more clear than its replacement. Tweaking will commence as well as a finish to match.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 03/07/20 at 08:39:20

Eliminating the center channel RS speaker with a wall hanging unit will give access to the platform on top of the DAC to continue the Charoit build adding a ZKIT1. Most all parts arrived yesterday. The Edcor trannies will arrive in a couple more weeks. Current production has a three week lead time.
I was hoping to get the board built this weekend but the move to silver solder changed my plans. I have 25 and 75 watt soldering irons. The 75 watt iron just has one huge tip and the 25 watt is under powered for silver solder. A new soldering station is on order and will arrive next week. In the mean time, the board can be populated and cabinet made.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 03/14/20 at 11:14:51

Spent some time buttoning up the IP tranny adding 4 hot to neutral moduals and salvaged Isobar box(circuitry removed) with 2 isolated ground recepticals.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 03/16/20 at 12:21:58

Sheldon Stokes DAC with the last hot to neutral modual added.
After 18 years I finally can call this DAC project complete! This was a kit supplied with the board, drawing, and parts list. The toriod tranny was hand wound and the case crafted out of 1/2" corian. It is a fine DAC and served well over the years. I finished installing parts on the backplate this weekend.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBbuzz on 03/26/20 at 17:16:22

I just completed a new addition the ZKIT1. It's burning in and getting meater by the hour.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 04/12/20 at 10:22:07

This shelter in place thing is sure giving time to finish projects long overdue!

This is my latest tweak for the Charoit.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Geno on 04/12/20 at 15:54:23

Very nice, John. I know it sounds great!

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 04/18/20 at 09:48:19

Thanks Geno. The vinyl rig just got a boost in sound.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Geno on 04/18/20 at 16:25:43

Awesome! The ZP3 is a fantastic phono pre. I recommend GE JG-5751 black plates in the first two positions, and a RCA 12AU7 clear top side getter for the third.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 05/05/20 at 11:10:12

The latest views of the Chariot. I've have since added a ZSTAGE, set of low pass NE5532 preamp boards to the AKSA amp, and 6 PE project boxes for capacitor modules(mounting the capacitors in the SU-2 cabinet did not play well with the tranny  :( ). As you can see, the room is less cluttered. Room treatment is the next single most bang-for-a-buck improvement that is in the planning stage. I am going to start with 40 square feet of P13-12 diffuser panels placed at the side, front, and back surface reflection points. Absorption panels will be better for the ceiling points because of height restrictions in the Chariot.

Rear View



Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 05/06/20 at 20:09:34

I mentioned above that the SU-2 balanced power transformer did not play well with the hot to neutral capacitor banks. It seems that orientation of the components matter very much to the point that the interaction of magnetic flux and capacitors can create a circuit that draws current...a lot of current! When I placed the capacitors on the board on top of the SU-2 there seemed to be no problem. When the capacitors were mounted inside the case it conducted 7 amps without any load. I only found this out when adding the AKSA in the circuit for use as a sub amp. This caused the overload to initiate. It was pulling 14 amps with all equipment running! Normally it would be 6 or 7 amps.

I purchased some project boxes and and dug up TV power cords along with extension cord ends to make the modules as shown. Now, all is well with the capacitors plugged into the dedicated outlet.

New hot neutral module scheme.

Temporary setup after capacitor removal from SU-2 case.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 05/06/20 at 20:38:08

I got some time on my hands and found out how easy it is to post pics in the subject excuse my rambling ;D

After calculating a parts list for the 1312's, I quickly realized that using hand power tools would add up to self abuse. So I am waiting for this guy to come home from work to pick up the single best stationary tool for the job. It will also come in handy for another project in mind.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Archie on 05/07/20 at 00:03:22


How do you post more than one picture per reply?  I've never figured that out.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 05/07/20 at 00:16:51

Use the above in each line as many times as the pictures you want to post here in this field.

I had to do a screen shot to show you.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Archie on 05/07/20 at 00:34:49

So, this works for file sharing sites only?  I don't do any of that but I've been posting pictures from my computer, but only one at a time.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Donnie on 05/07/20 at 01:16:40

Yes if you use a file sharing service it opens up all kinds of possibility's.

Also if you want to attach a photo that you see on the internet, just right click on the photo and copy the image address.

Then hit the insert image icon and hit control V and Bob's your uncle, you got a picture in your post, or multiple pictures.


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 05/07/20 at 04:30:00

What Donnie said on posting pics.

I picked up my new 1968 Craftman saw. Spent the last couple of hours cleaning her up. She is a diamond in the rough! The extras are just gimmicks...especially the sabre saw attachment. The past owner and I had a good laught talking about that attachment. She is tight and cuts square. What more can a man ask for.

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 01/07/21 at 15:17:10

The radial arm saw has come to be an invaluable tool for Chariot updates and rekindled my desire to have access to a complete maintenance shop. I spent the last 8 months converting my garage into a very versatile work center. I built, among other things, diffusers for the Chariot.

I posted about the P1312 diffuser build here.

Since the build, the forty P1312's were stacked flat(live edge serving no purpose but stability) on a side wall of the Chariot.

I received over a hundred LPs from my son-in-law this past spring and got the urge to give the vinyl a whirl. After about going through half of the albums, it dawned on me to make use of the diffusers to see if there is an ultimate position in placement.  I proceeded over the last month positioning the diffusers at various locations in the room. It turns out that some placements had little effect on the sound while others profound. This exercise gave me more insight on the workings of the room with sound.

The construction of the walls in the Chariot aids in the softness of the room except the front wall which is backed by concrete block. The ceiling for the most part aids to the warmth except the middle third which has metal duct work above. The concrete floor with thin carpet and pad adds to the hardness of the room.

The placement of eight 1312s flanking the first side reflections toward the sweet spot increased intimacy with vocals and broadens the sound stage somewhat. This placement also added detail for the high end of the home theater system.
Stacking the remaining thirty two 1312's two feet out from the front wall basically did nothing. Maybe increased the sound stage a little.

Moving the diffusers onto the floor in the area below the ceiling created more mid/low bass to the point of not needing sub augmentation with the Jordan speakers. This also made more apparent the transmission line configuration of the speaker system which reinforced my desire of moving to open baffle.

Moving six diffusers from the floor to directly behind the sweet spot was the most profound to date! This increased the soundstage wide and far. Detail increased to the point of unveiling information. For example, Holly Cole's version of "The Tennessee Waltz" on the "Don't Smoke In Bed" CD always struck me having a flaw about a minute into the track. Where she sings "my friend". Turns out after my placement of the 1312s, the phrase is a second dub of her singing at a slight delay. Maybe still a flaw or her heated subconscious of the situation.

The use of the 1312s is giving me great insight of the workings of the Chariot. I am now formulating a plan to completely finish the sound treatment of the room using mostly materials laying around. Including shavings from planing oak! Stay tuned.



Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Rivieraranch on 01/07/21 at 16:45:25

Swing low, sweet chaaariooo-tt!

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 01/30/21 at 11:28:04


Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Archie on 01/30/21 at 17:52:43

Love your door!   :)

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by piezoman on 01/30/21 at 20:36:00

very very  8-)

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 01/31/21 at 10:20:32

That door with chair art weights well over a hundred pounds. When first installed it worked well until a failed sump pump swelled the jamb and door. Had to reinstall it after rework. Then the AC condenser pan rotted out. Repeat. Hopefully no more issues arise. The door seems to get heavier with age ;)

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by Archie on 01/31/21 at 18:23:20

The door seems to get heavier with age

It is a proven fact that gravity is relative and increases with age.   ;D

Title: Re: Flick's Chariot
Post by JBzen on 02/09/21 at 12:24:08

Things are starting to gel![/size]

Listening to Miles "Kind of Blue". Finding it very hard to form this post! Crystal 10's in the Netherlands  cabinets...Nice :D[size=24]

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