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February CDApS Meeting (Read 87643 times)
Palomino
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February CDApS Meeting
02/06/17 at 19:02:04
 
We had a short but fun CDApS meeting at Aaron's house (not sure of his screen name here).  El Presidente and I loaded up our cars and headed 30 or so miles north.

First off, it was the most aesthetically pleasing meeting place we've had.  Aaron's house is decorated in a contemporary fashion with a great color palate.  Not that I am an interior designer or anything but with me having four kids and giving up on decorating our home, it was nice to see a neat, artistically decorated home home with well attended to details.

Aaron showed us his metal working studio where creates jewelry and artwork out of a variety of metals.  He also showed us a few of his guitars which were absolutely gorgeous.  

We then got down to listening to his main system which was driven by his Torri IV and his DIY sealed box speakers with Tang Band W8 1880 and SVS sub.  I came away impressed by the sound he was getting from this combo, especially how smooth his Tang Bans played.

But with few room treatments and lots of bare walls/windows we felt his soundstage was limited and too much sound waves crashing into each other so Eric asked if he could bring in a few room treatments.

We positioned two Styrofoam diffusers at what was probably the primary and secondary reflection points and two in back of the room.  We also had some absorbers but the diffusers did most of the work.

To make a long story short, the soundstage with the diffusers extended beyond the speakers and reached out into the room.  Aaron seemed impressed and we definitely gave him something to think about.  I think the most important was the realization that these diffusers can be hauled out for a listening session and then be put back away again, thus not marring the overall vibe he had going in his living room.

Aaron also has a mini Torii system with some small DIY kit fostex speakers and an inexpensive Dayton Audio sub in his studio.  It sounded really fine.

It was fun to hear his system and see what just a few treatments can do for the sound of a system.  So we may have another diffusers convert out there.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #1 - 02/07/17 at 20:30:14
 
I guess it's my turn to chime in, and hopefully Bad Wolf has something to say (and hopefully even positive! LOL). We do kinda roll into an audio situation like we own it.  ;D

I really didn't take many photos, so I'll share what I have. I too love Aaron and his girlfriend's aesthetic. If you notice in my home theater thread, I'm all about blues, deep purples, and warm oranges. So I felt right at home with the purples, lime green, and modern style of their place!

Anywho, on with the show. I didn't tell Aaron, but I loaded up the mobile diffuser lab. Having visited him once before to drop off some speakers as a favor to Bob, I knew it was going to be a very live room  - so i added four 2" thick acoustic panels along with the six 2' x 4' general purpose diffusers.




Lovely, modern room, and nice colors.










Even had the requisite lap warmer.





Did some listening, enjoyed the sounds. And then politely asked if he could move some furniture and allow me to deploy the diffusers I had in the car.  I'll be honest, he looked nervous...but it's OK, I'm a professional, I know what I'm doing (yeah, but a professional WHAT is anyone's guess)






Had Aaron take the hotseat for a listen - but we all knew the second we hit PLAY, even standing back behind the listening position the sound was completely different.




Added some absorbers (the diffusers were really doing the heavy lifting). And did our Bobsled thing where we line up the chairs to sit in at different positions of the "sweet spot"




Not pictured, after a few minutes of each of us in the hotseat or bobsled, we started trying to describe the sound of the changes (or changes in the sound? LOL), I then spent a minute explaining *why* there was such a drastic, positive change in sound with just six diffusers. I didn't feel the four absorbers made a large impact in sound - there just wasn't enough surface area to make a big impact on all the reverberation in such an open, modern style room with wood floors. But the key to the change is comb filtering and how the diffusers are letting you hear a more even frequency response from your speakers in situ.

I could practically see the gears turning in Aaron's head, but at the same time he almost had this deer in the headlights look. I think we may have changed his (audio) world view a bit, and it can be overwhelming. I tried to soften the blow by mentioning how you can make absorbers with stylish colored cloth or even custom printed cloth, and lightweight diffusers like my "mobile lab" can easily be deployed for critical listening, and put away when done to keep the aesthetic.  

I'm looking forward to having a future meet at Palomino's place and showing what room treatment can really do (since his room sounds the best).  

Thanks again for having us over, Aaron. It was was very enjoyable and we love sharing this crazy hobby of ours...especially with someone that has such similar interests as I do!


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Matchstikman
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #2 - 02/07/17 at 21:28:33
 
Is that cylinder to the right a trap or subwoofer?
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BadWolf
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #3 - 02/07/17 at 23:36:06
 
Thank you for the complements. They’re great to hear.

The difference the treatments made was incredible. I expected that to an extent, but I didn’t think a car load of them setup around the room in a few minutes would do so much. It made me entirely forget about any changes I was considering making to the system. With the treatments it will be exactly where I want it, and actually considerably better than I expected.

I’ve always planned to add more room treatments but now I’m thinking about how I can get them done as soon as possible. I think I’ll add as much as I can without ruining the ascetic, which will help with everyday listening and home theater, and then have some portable ones to bring in for the more serious sessions.

I’d like to thank Palomino and Lonely Raven for not only an enjoyable experience but also a far more educational one than I expected. I had no idea what either one of them might bring, I thought maybe a DAC or something along those lines. The portable room treatment was most certainly a shock but was best thing that could have been brought.

Matchstikman the cylinder is the sub I’m using with the Torri.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #4 - 02/08/17 at 08:51:42
 

I'm really glad I brought the diffusers then! And very sorry for sending you down that rabbit hole.


Not really sorry.


Ping me if you have any questions. I've already pointed you to the diffusers - you just need to figure out how to integrate them (I would love to see them painted up like your skyline diffusers! Oooh that would look neat!)

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Palomino
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #5 - 02/08/17 at 19:06:39
 
Good to hear and thanks again for having us.

Nice pictures Raven.  Also, your explanation of comb filtering was the first one I have heard where I actually understood.

I was thinking that with your artistic skills and some of Steve's diffusers Aaron, - you could have something pleasing on the walls between the windows.  Id' bet you could even do something by painting the kid of diffusers that Raven brought over (just in case they weren't put away at night after the listening session).
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BadWolf
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #6 - 02/08/17 at 23:58:27
 
Thank you for your suggestions. There are so many possibilities.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make some of the styrofoam ones myself.

LR that was a great explanation of the comb filtering and more. I wish I had recorded it. You very clearly explained several things that I had very little understanding of.
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Dave1210
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #7 - 02/09/17 at 12:01:40
 
Great thread guys.  My setup is similar enough and I have had a couple of observations that I would like to run past you guys.  

I’m curious if you tried anything in the front of the room.  Below is why I ask.

I have spoken to at least one person, including Steve, that suggested treating the front of my room would be transformational.  Of course, there is one glaring problem at the moment (i.e. the TV) and maybe a few other smaller problems (like equipment racks).  

I have a couple room treatments from GIK (bass traps, absorption panels, Q7D diffusers).  For this experiment, I didn’t move the Soffit bass traps I have in the corners.  But I did try covering the TV with both my Q7D diffusion panels and my absorption panels.  

Both treatments change the sound/soundstage, etc at the listening position.  There is no doubt about that.  Neither option was an improvement though.  Below are my observations:

Absorption: deadened the sound, negatively impacting micro and macro detail.  Soundstage depth was negatively impacted as well.

Diffusion: I either placed the panels on my equipment rack, in front of the TV, or on the floor in front of the equipment rack.  Frequency balance/timbre was unnatural.  

I was only sitting about 8 ft back from the diffusers, so I wonder if they didn’t have enough space to do their job without negative effects.  I remember seeing a video once that talked about listening to sound too close to a diffusion panel (I’ll see if I can dig it up).  

Thoughts?
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Palomino
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #8 - 02/09/17 at 14:57:36
 
Hi Dave,

I think it was because of the TV and limited number of diffusers we had in Raven’s rolling diffuser lab, we stuck to putting them on the side/back.

Eric is the technician here and can explain the details, but I feel I get good results from QRDs in the front of the room.  I have not just found that QRDs help with soundstage width and depth, but also the type of QRD matters.  

As far as the front of my room I have 2 QRD7s there, but the three 3 QRD13s up front are what I think does the heavy lifting.  I combine that with the cheap Styrofoam diffusers up high and those seems to increase the height of the soundstage.

You may not have enough room on either side for QRDs to be effective on the sides of the room.  Eric runs QRDude for our designs and it tells you the minimum distance for the diffuser to be effective.

My evolution of diffusers started with a single QRD13 in the front of the room.   I felt it was effective in the front or rear of the room but I liked the in front better.  

I think the next step was the Styrofoam fractal diffusers I bought across the back wall.  I think they help, but not as much as a single QRD13.  

So then I built two QRD13s (which were a pain but turned out fairly nice) and used them up front.  Big gains there.

Then to try to come up with a way to build cheaper diffusers easier, I built two QRD7s from off the shelf material from Menards.  Eric backed into the design using QRDude given that the slatboard I used had set spacing for the fins.  

I put these up front along with the single prototype QRD13 and then put the other two QRD13 at the second reflection point on each side and absorbers at the first reflection point.

Raven and I then started experimenting with foam in the builds and I built two QRD23s using this material for the well faces along with underlayment for the fins (it’s pretty straight).  

Going to OB speakers changed everything and I now use most of my absorbers all stacked together in the rear of the room in an attempt at an effective bass trap.  I also have small bass trap type absorbers in all 4 corners but generally I agree with your observations on absorbers.

So now, my diffuser formula is three QRDs up front in the middle along with two QRD7s flanking them.  A couple of the foam diffusers up top and the QRD23s at the first reflection points and then I experiment with the positioning of the other foam inverse fractals.  I actually have one hanging from the ceiling at the first reflection point.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #9 - 02/10/17 at 07:22:19
 

Dave, what's the back of that room look like?

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Dave1210
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #10 - 02/10/17 at 11:51:11
 
Here is one angle, as you can see it opens up to the kitchen on one side, so the rear of the room isn't symmetrical.  The white treatments in the back of the room are GIK bass traps with scatter plates.  I will sometimes move the panel on the left (sitting on the floor) into the corner...
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Dave1210
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #11 - 02/10/17 at 11:53:01
 
Here is another angle, showing the opening into the kitchen, hallway to the right of the couch (if your looking towards the back of the room).  The room is approximately 12.5 ft wide, 25 ft length, and the ceilings are 10 ft high.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #12 - 02/10/17 at 19:54:33
 

Nice looking place, but unfortunately (as with my room), you're *probably* never going to get truly holographic because your asymmetry. This includes the front of the room where you have that 3/4-wall on the left. Having all that open space does help with your bass, but it's much harder (less predictable) when your listening area lacks symmetry.


Let me back up a hair and explain why this is.

Our goal, is to hear our speakers (the source wave), equally in volume, frequency, and *time*. Our brain is is constantly calculating location and distance, according to what the ears are hearing - So to be able to project and interpret a stereo image, both speakers need to be equidistant from the walls and the listener, the frequency and volume needs to be as flat and equal as possible, and the timing of the reflections is as important is the direct sound from the speakers - the reason being; if the sound of the reflection is too close to the original wave, or the volume is louder on one side, or one speaker is closer- it blurs the timing and you lose focus of location. e.g. your ears/brain can't tell if the sound is emanating from the speaker, or emanating from 3 feet to the right of the speaker (your wall), and kind of mushes those multiple sound-locations together smearing your image.


So how does all this relate to what I see in Dave's pics above?

Let's assume you've done your due diligence, and those speakers are measured out to the millimeter from the back wall and side walls, and you've played with toe in and seating position to get the best, fullest sound and image you can; remember, the room is as much a part of the system as anything else!

So, looking at the images above, we've got a 3/4 wall on the left, glass on the right, and that big screen between the speakers. For the most part, I'm betting that 3/4 wall isn't a huge issue - you're just throwing away some in-room volume, and the reverberation will be off on one side, and the bass has more room to stretch out. You'll probably find some really great bass sweet spots....on the other side of that wall! LOL But the concerning part is the narrow width, and big screen in the middle. Thinking about what I've said about timing above; the timing of the reflection off the side walls is almost on top of the original wave...so much so that your brain can't distinguish the two. And when I say two (original and refelcted) I'm being very general - because the walls are getting sound saves from *both* speakers plus the reflections of other walls, plus the ceiling, plus that nice big TV in the middle which is like having a mini-wall 2' closer than the real wall! So your reflections are MULTIPLIED. This is one of many reasons why small rooms suck for dedicated listening rooms.

Here is a visual example of what I'm talking about - remember Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon - the fight scene in the room full of Mirrors, how confusing that would be for your eyes? Which is the original, and which is the reflectionreflectionreflectionreflectionreflectionreflection - that's what your ears are dealing with without room treatments.



Part 2 in my next post, I need to get back to work.   Cheesy

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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #13 - 02/10/17 at 20:58:29
 

Reflections and Frequency - AKA Comb Filtering.

OK, so I'm assuming we all know the basics of subwoofer placement, because that's the example I'm going to use to set a foundation of understanding. Because a subwoofers wave is so large, it can stretch out to the back wall of the room and back before the wave is fully developed. The big wave bumps into itself in the room, causing a bump up where a positive wave hits another positive wave (at the same frequency), and a dip (or deadspot) where a positive wave hits a negative wave and they zero out.  +1 and -1 = 0  (Yes, I'm being very general, but you get the point)

Quick side story - when I built my home theater and I first put the big 21" subwoofer in, everyone who came over for movie nights was asking "why put the subwoofer on the side wall 1/3 back from the mains, and facing forward!?" - well, I had some blue painters tape drawing a little X in several spots in the home theater, kitchen, and even another room(!), and I'd instruct my guests to go from one X to the next, and tell me what they hear, then come to *my* seat and sit down and listen.  They'd go to a spot in the kitchen by the back door and they'd be shouting at me "Oh My GOD is so friggen loud right here". Then they'd go to a spot marked in the home theater and it's a weird eye-of-the-storm dead zone. Then of course they'd sit in my spot...the tuned sweat spot and everything was in balance, the bass was fast, full, and deep.



Well, of course, the same thing happens all throughout the frequency range, but because the size of the wave and energy isn't as large as in the subwoofer range, we don't experience it as a node of boom or a node of silence, but as dropouts at very specific frequencies that (not surprisingly) match up to the length, width, and height of the room. Not only that, but comb filtering happens from any reflective surface; even sound bouncing back and forth between your speakers, or off a TV screen, or coffee table!



If you look at this measurement (random image grabbed from the web), those jagged dips are the comb filtering. The middle and upper frequency sounds are bouncing between reflective surfaces and canceling themselves out. It almost looks like some cruel bastard snuck a 33 band parametric EQ into your system and hacked out some frequencies!  It's called comb filtering because it looks like the jagged up and down of a comb in your frequency response.

Again, not surprisingly, everything from your bass booms to your notched frequency response corresponds to the dimensions of your room, and other reflective surfaces.



When we have listening sessions at Palomino's place, I can't stand when his little drink table is in the room...*this* is what I mean when I say "I can hear that table".  And I also believe it's why windows (like all of them on Dave's right wall) mess with sound so much. Not only are you getting high frequencies bouncing off the highly reflective surface, but I'm betting the glass is vibrating at some crazy frequency which is affecting the reflective sound - imparting a "glassy sound" to the room.

So to sum up - all those reflective surfaces are working against you, chopping up your frequency response and not letting you really hear your system!!

Part 3 I'll get into sound treatment
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Lonely Raven
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #14 - 02/10/17 at 21:45:58
 

Hokay!  

Hopefully I'm not talking to myself at this point, and I hope I'm imparting some knowledge for those of you still awake.  ;)  I ask WHY a lot, and part of what I love about talking with Steve, is he usually *knows* why, or if he doesn't he's got some amazing ideas that are conceptually valid!  That's what got me down this path.

Ok, quick refresh:

Our ears/brain use timing and volume to figure out location - that's why speaker placement, symmetry, and balance is so important to holographic imaging, and why the walls, ceiling, and floor (especially in a small room) are working against you.

Those sound waves bouncing to and fro in our room is bumping into itself and causing Parametric EQ like notches in our frequency response - pretty much ruining the beautiful flat response of our multi-thousand dollar systems.

So our solution? Anechoic chamber!!!



No, no no no!

True, it would allow you to hear your speakers *perfectly*, but it's terribly un-natural.  Wanna see what this is like? It's actually quite easy - find yourself an empty field, and setup your system in this open field, listening chair and all - and you'll hear your speakers with only the ground reflection. Actually, this would probably sound pretty good. Anechoic is just simply unnatural. In fact, if the clever dude at the mixing board in the studio did his/her job well, you'll need *some* reflective sound in your room to trick your ears into hearing the reverb in the recording as if you're in *that* room that it was recorded in.  True, some people love a really dead room and you'll see them bragging about it in the intarwebs - it's probably simply because it lowers the noise floor of the room *and* allows you to really hear the speakers frequency range and your gear. Sounds good? Yeah, but it's missing something.


We know how our room is messing with our sound, smearing time, and notching the frequency (this, by the way, is why I scoff at "reviewers" who have $50,000+ systems and no room treatment). So, do I just fill the corners with insulation for bass and wall paper the walls with egg cartons for diffusion?  While that might be *better*, thats like taking a lot of medicine  without knowing what the illness was...it might do something, but is it what you want?


Now, before I go any further, I need to say something you don't want to hear. I came to this realization myself many years ago, went through the 7 stages of grieving, and I'm OK with it now. You ready?

You need a dedicated room of decently large dimensions, it needs to be symmetrical and therefore predictable (sonically), and I don't give a damn what your significant other thinks - there is no WAF (Wife Acceptance/Approval Factor) here! That's really the only way you're going to truly hear your system.

That knocks 98% of us out of the running, doesn't it?


Ok, I'll give you time to grieve then I'll move on below. I've got 15 minutes to kill before I need to jump into the car for a long drive, so I'll continue in the next post and probably have to add on later tonight.

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #15 - 02/10/17 at 22:23:05
 
Dave, that room while homey and comfortable looks too small. I don't think you mentioned the dimensions of the room. After all that I've typed above, you probably understand why room dimensions are so important. The smaller your room is, the tougher it's going to be to get your reflections tamed in the time and frequency domain.  To do this right, in a way you'd really be happy with the sound, you'd probably need to line the walls with absorption panels, *and* distribute diffusers in key areas. Plus deal with the windows, and the TV. The goal, basically, is to remove the walls (as best as you can) from the equation, but without making it dead sounding.  I can't even guess what the bass needs because of all the openings; that makes the bass unpredictable...but also give the bass room to stretch out so it may work in your favor.

IMHO for immediate improvement without completely gutting the room and starting over; you need *more* diffusers, and they need to be broadband. QRD7 diffusers are actually pretty narrow in the frequency range that they can truly affect. The depth and width of the the diffuser effects how deep it can go, and the number and width of the the wells effects how high in the frequency range it can go. I ran the numbers for a 24" wide QRD7 for Palomino the other day, and the math said it would only really work in about one octave, from 808 to 1616. To me, that's not super useful. (Note: I'm not saying the GIK stuff isn't useful or a poor design - they squeezed out as much as they could and they do work better in groups - but broader bandwidth is better!).  

So how is that going to help? Well, just like we did at Bad Wolf's place, which I knew to have good symmetry (up front) decent (but not great) dimensions, and very live reflective room; we need to break down those hard reflections and turn them into many smaller reflections. And in your case Dave, if we can add more time delay, that adds up to diminishing the comb filtering, and the time delay allows your ears to differentiate the direct speaker sound from the reflected sound.

I would recommend *starting* with 3 pair of QRD13 or bigger diffusers setup on the side walls. The "wells" of the QRD diffusers allows the sound waves to bounce around before being redirected in a different direction, breaking that *direct* reflection between you and your speakers and delaying the sound just a couple milliseconds...plus, because the sound is not 100% coming your way but being spread out over 180 degrees, the apparent volume of the reflected sound will drop as well! The time delay and apparent volume drop of the reflection allows your ears/brain to differentiate the source from the reflection better. The scattering of the waves over 180 degree arc breaks up the comb filtering.

I'd also try and make that TV disappear, either literally, or with absorbers. I think it's too close to the speakers to use diffusers...I know in my room diffusers so far into the middle of the room just didn't work as well as I wanted. If you could roll your TV out of there for critical listening lets say, then I'd take your GIK diffusers and put them on the front wall between the speakers. or try GIK bass traps, or both! See what sounds good to you. I know Palomino has gone through many permutations as he mentions above.

If I was going to go a little more balls out, I'd make a fake wall out of diffusers as far back behind you as I could, and have spare absorbers handy to put around the room to taste. The wall of diffusers would be to help simulate a predictable rectangular room, and keep the reflected energy in your listening chamber, but in a way that *you* control. The result of that is more of a pseudo "you are there in the recording" surround sound - but it does take many diffusers to really get it right.

I would also consider some small, light, inexpensive absorbers up on the ceiling, just to lightly make it less of a reflective issue. Ceilings really need to be 11' (or better) to be far enough away to not really be an issue.  Your side walls and TV in the middle are your #1 issue - you need to address those reflections.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #16 - 02/10/17 at 22:30:51
 

Sorry for the Will-level of word count, but I wanted to get my thoughts out before I hit the road...about 30 minutes later than I wanted. LOL

Please, feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions. I know my posts can be like drinking from a firehose, and I'm sorry about that. It's just that I feel if I don't get the concepts out and clarified, you won't be interested in stepping up to more treatments. Plus I wanted you to know *why* I suggested what I did.  

While I'm not schooled or classically trained in acoustics, I have a really good grasp of the concepts and have been able to predict and prescribe pretty successfully. Just ask Palomino how many times I've said "I told you so"   Grin
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #17 - 02/10/17 at 23:14:23
 
See Dave, I told you he could provide the technical...
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #18 - 02/11/17 at 02:15:07
 
LR...I need to gather my thoughts, but most importantly wanted to say THANK YOU!  I appreciate your well thought out responses.  

Your passion about the topic easily shines through and you explained the concepts in an easy to understand manner.  You aren't talking to yourself and I'm quite certain there are others on the forum listening!

My room is about 12.5 feet wide, 27.7 feet long and the ceilings are 10 feet high.

I don't think I have ever heard a good room.  Therefore, I lack the experience/perspective on what is actually possible.  In general, there are so few in this hobby.  Finding a well treated room seems to be even further from the nanostream.

I have been in denial thinking the front of my room is symmetrical.  My overly simplistic view of shape (ignoring the opening at the top left), and excluding material differences, etc.  It's no wonder I'm often distracted during a listening session.  

I will continue to experiment with what room treatments I have and determine where to go next.  

Please keep going with your posts.  I think they are very informative...    
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #19 - 02/11/17 at 07:42:12
 
I hope I didn't sound like I was smashing your dreams - I didn't mean it that way, but we without dedicated, symmetrical rooms really need to see the reality.

All that said, there is still a lot you can do, it will just take more effort and treatments.

The acoustics books typically recommend 25% of the square footage be sound treatment (just a very general rule of thumb). It really takes that much to have a strong effect on the room itself. Go look at Palomino's room and you'll see what I mean. LOL
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #20 - 02/11/17 at 12:45:15
 
Another option depending if you do most of your listening solo is a kick ass headphone setup. Decor stays beautiful, it's minimalist and you can keep your speakers for social settings.

JD
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #21 - 02/11/17 at 13:29:58
 
i don't know if i'd be comfortable with this "bobsled" seating, particularly with LR behind me!  lol
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #22 - 02/11/17 at 13:46:11
 
LR…

We have music on more for appreciation of the art, than my sitting in the sweet spot for a listening session.  So with that in mind, no dreams have been crushed here.  That said, my drive to make the room sound better or hear a great room and/or holographic imaging hasn’t diminished.   So the journey continues…

During previous listening sessions it has occurred to me that the soundstage is either shifted in one direction or imaging will move when listening.  I had attributed this to my mental instability and obsessive thinking about imaging and sound staging, but it appears those ugly comb frequencies are at play, and my mind might not be completely unstable after all.  

A couple of things that I am trying or may try…

-I currently have a set of ERRx speakers.  I brought these it to try and achieve holographic imaging in my room that has some obvious challenges. I plan to write up my overall thoughts on the experience, but I have a lot more experimentation to do first.      

-I think the other obvious thing to do is move the TV/stand, etc out of the room, move a few other things around and get some diffusers up on the front wall.  I have been dragging my feet on this one, but know it needs to be done.  What do you recommend for QRD13+ broadband diffusers?  

-I know this is a dirty acronym, but I wonder what the power of DSP could bring for a serious listening session.  There seems to be fairly divided camps on this, but I imagine with a little help from some room treatments, the signal processing might have to work a little less and could help smooth out the response at the listening position.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #23 - 02/11/17 at 16:56:33
 
JD...I like the idea...I have never really given headphones serious thought...but they certainly take the room out of the equation!
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Reply #24 - 02/11/17 at 20:32:16
 
ERRX Headphones:  I'm currently listening to the ERRx near field (5ft from me) with the diffusion panels covering the TV...
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #25 - 02/12/17 at 07:16:53
 
Quote:
What do you recommend for QRD13+ broadband diffusers?  


If you have money, Acoustic Fields stuff is great! Otherwise I'd be trying DIY.

These are an option, but because they don't have wells, there's no time delay with these like you would get from a proper QRD diffusers. These are the exact ones I brought over to Aaron's house. (of course I painted them as well)

http://www.piaudiogroup.com/Sound_Diffusors.html

Quote:
ERRX Headphones:  I'm currently listening to the ERRx near field (5ft from me) with the diffusion panels covering the TV...


And??!? Don't leave us hanging.
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Reply #26 - 02/12/17 at 12:37:11
 
The Acoustic Fields stuff definitely isn't cheap and DIY is likely out of the question at this point.  Shouldn't you be in the diffuser business by now?  

ERRx headphones were my lazy approach to get diffusion in the front of the room, but not actually move anything heavy.  So lets just  get that out of the way.  For my longer listening session, I ended up putting the diffusion panels on the floor in front of the equipment stand, vs. on the stand  

The ERRx's work surprisingly well in the 'headphone' configuration.  The speakers completely disappear and the soundstage was set well behind the speakers.  You would never know the speakers were sitting so close to you.  Soundstage width wasn't impressive in this configuration (spread wide the ERR's create a massive SS), but I can certainly experiment for balance.  

I was getting very good separation of instruments and it was easy to listen for an extended period of time.  Imaging was stable and I didn't have the sense that instruments/voices were moving around when they shouldn't be.    

The diffusion panels worked much better in this setup.  I still think they need a little more room to breathe.  They tamed the brightness of the screen and didn't alter the frequency response in a way that seemed unnatural.  

I did confirm the panels sound terrible in front of the stand with the speakers pushed back towards the front wall.  I think the sound is bouncing in between the TV and back of panel, which is just terrible.    

Overall I was quite surprised with how well this setup worked.  And it wasn't a lot of work to move things around to get things situated.      

I listened to a range of music and everything sounded very good.  I think it gave me a better sense of what would be possible if I actually gutted the front of the room.   Bass was great too.  I'm hoping to spend more time experimenting today...but those are my initial thoughts.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #27 - 02/12/17 at 12:48:20
 
Also, you can't see both windows in the picture above, but they are currently both covered with GIK 244 Bass Traps w/Scatter Plates.  In my room, nothing I have done to the rear of the room as had any dramatic impact.  Maybe once I get the front of the room situated.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #28 - 02/12/17 at 14:01:32
 
Dave,

Switch the positioning of the diffusers with the absorbers. Put one diffuser on each side of your listening position relatively equidistant to the angle of the ERR, so that when music heads towards the walls it is dispersed back towards your listening position instead of being absorbed.  You can do this with a mirror, laser or someone to help. Play around because I have found moving my ERR's make HUGE differences in sound. You can slowly move the diffuser down the wall towards the speaker in an attempt to increase soundstage.  Also try without any absorbers and if possible put a couple absorbers in the back of the room, or diffusers on one side wall with absorption on the other.
ERR's love tons of space. They are the speakers I use. In my 14x17 room I have 12 of Steve's diffusers and although it took me a couple of years my sound is sublime. I have a few absorption panels that most often sit unused in another room.

Check out the section of the decware website rooms, I've read most of Steve's papers multiple times to help me try to get a grasp on acoustics. A good read is the masters handbook of acoustics 5th edition by everest but I get lost easily with advanced math.

JD
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #29 - 02/12/17 at 19:06:32
 
JD...I think I got a little flavor of what you are talking about regarding ERR positioning during my listening sessions yesterday.  At the end of my listening session I opened up the ERRx Headphones a bit (i.e. spread them out wider) and pushed them towards the diffusion panels/front of room.  Soundstage width seemed like it grew exponentially.  It was pretty awesome.  I listened to the first half of Another Stoney Evening from Crosby & Nash and got lost in the recording.  

I would love to have my front wall covered in diffusers.  I have been talking to my wife about moving the TV and doing just that, but the suggestion is being met with a fair amount of resistance at the moment.  My latest suggestion was to have one of our artist friends paint a mural on acoustic fabric that could be draped over the panels.  We'll see...

If I do gut the room, I want the amp to be the only thing in between the speakers and that will require moving the other gear off to the side, which is something else I have been thinking about.  

I have the ERRx's pulled way out into the room right now and it looks ridiculous!  I will likely move my ERRx observations over to that forum.  Thanks for your perspective and I'll give what you were describing a try.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #30 - 02/12/17 at 19:18:06
 
LR...when looking up the specs for the different diffusers on the Acoustic Fields website, below is what I found.  Is this about what you expected based on your calculator?

QRD7: Frequency Response: 850 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD11: Frequency Response: 375 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD13: Frequency Response: 280 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD17: Frequency Response: 225 Hz. – 3,450 Hz.
QRD23: Frequency Response: 185 Hz. – 3,450 Hz.

GIK is quoting a Frequency Response of 350 Hz. - 3,000 Hz. for their Q7D.  The low end may be a bit of a stretch.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #31 - 02/12/17 at 19:40:22
 

Quote:
The Acoustic Fields stuff definitely isn't cheap and DIY is likely out of the question at this point.  Shouldn't you be in the diffuser business by now?  


I am really close. The problem isn't building diffusers, it's shipping them. I sent eight 24" x 24" x 4" diffusers to Florida recently, and it cost nearly $200 with insurance. (sigh) At that rate, it would make more sense for me to ship on a pallet. This is the reason why Steve's diffuser design is smaller and designed to attack the upper-mid and up frequencies. They are smaller, lighter, and thinner and get you a good bang-for-the-buck when you have enough of them (it takes a lot unfortuantely).  My designs however are intended to be very broadband (like the Acoustic fields ones). If I had my own CNC router, I'd be cranking out flat-packs all day long and shipping them all over the lower 48.


Quote:
I did confirm the panels sound terrible in front of the stand with the speakers pushed back towards the front wall.  I think the sound is bouncing in between the TV and back of panel, which is just terrible.    

Overall I was quite surprised with how well this setup worked.  And it wasn't a lot of work to move things around to get things situated.      

I listened to a range of music and everything sounded very good.  I think it gave me a better sense of what would be possible if I actually gutted the front of the room.   Bass was great too.  I'm hoping to spend more time experimenting today...but those are my initial thoughts.


This right here tells me you read and understood everything! I actually feel accomplished!! LOL

Ok, so now knowing that you *can* do real improvements with so little, imagine what a little bit more than do? I'd try out a couple boxes (about $400 shipped) of those PI Audio diffusers. Just take the time to paint them and try not to bump into them and break pieces off (don't ask how I know LOL).  I think the more diffused and symmetrical you can get your front end, the more engaging and enjoyable you'll find your music. It get's to the point where I truly understand what Steve means by out-of-body experiences...that is no hyperbole. The imagine starts to get so 3D and detailed, that you close your eyes and you concentrate on bits...like the bowstring on a cello and the woody sound of it, you hear the artist suck in a breath and hold it for this on intense passage...then next think you know in your minds eye you're zooming in to take a closer look as if you walked up on stage to squat in front of the artist and really watch (listen) to them do their art.

I'd consider that pretty engaging.

Quote:
Switch the positioning of the diffusers with the absorbers. Put one diffuser on each side of your listening position relatively equidistant to the angle of the ERR, so that when music heads towards the walls it is dispersed back towards your listening position instead of being absorbed.  You can do this with a mirror, laser or someone to help. Play around because I have found moving my ERR's make HUGE differences in sound. You can slowly move the diffuser down the wall towards the speaker in an attempt to increase soundstage.  Also try without any absorbers and if possible put a couple absorbers in the back of the room, or diffusers on one side wall with absorption on the other.
ERR's love tons of space. They are the speakers I use. In my 14x17 room I have 12 of Steve's diffusers and although it took me a couple of years my sound is sublime. I have a few absorption panels that most often sit unused in another room.

Check out the section of the decware website rooms, I've read most of Steve's papers multiple times to help me try to get a grasp on acoustics. A good read is the masters handbook of acoustics 5th edition by everest but I get lost easily with advanced math.

JD


Great suggestions - always go with the "what ifs". Try it out, you've already got the gear and it only takes a little time to move them around see what happens!

I too find the back wall does very little, at least at this point. My (L shaped and open) room is about 15' wide and 25' long, but it's open to a dining room, kitchen, hallway, and stairs down behind the seating position. So to me it seems working on the front end (or the openings specifically) imparts a bigger change. I'm betting that at a later date when I have the front end settled better, and I build a much bigger, much broader band diffuser on the back wall I'll finally see a big change.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #32 - 02/12/17 at 20:03:52
 
Quote:
LR...when looking up the specs for the different diffusers on the Acoustic Fields website, below is what I found.  Is this about what you expected based on your calculator?

QRD7: Frequency Response: 850 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD11: Frequency Response: 375 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD13: Frequency Response: 280 Hz. – 3,400 Hz.
QRD17: Frequency Response: 225 Hz. – 3,450 Hz.
QRD23: Frequency Response: 185 Hz. – 3,450 Hz.


That seems a little conservative on the top end for the AF stuff.  I think what they are doing is describing only the *diffusion* range, and what GIK is is describing is the diffusion range PLUS the diffraction range.  

See, true diffusion is a calculated and specifically effected frequency range and direction. Where as diffraction is just redirection of the energy.  Technically all diffusers will diffract (if I remember correctly) one octave below and at least one octave above the actual diffusion range. And there is a point where a diffuser will just act like a flat wall from a really oblique angle or if the wells are too small (width wise).

That said, when I run the numbers, they don't exactly match up with Acoustic fields size and shape - which tells me they've modified the designs a little to suit their needs (in the case of the QRD23 it would be a 36+" panel if they made it exactly to the math and they show 27 1/2" width). I've done this as well to tweak a design to fit a certain size, shape, or aesthetic. For example I have a QRD7 that has 8 wells, because I wanted it to be pretty close to square.

Everything about Dennis and Acoustic Fields tells me they are the most legit QRD builders I've seen so far. I'm sure there are custom builders like me, but Dennis knows his stuff and applies it very well in a format that works in real life. That's really what you're paying for - the fact that you can just buy his stuff and set it up according to his suggestions and you know you're going to get a noticeable improvement.

GIK is good stuff as well, I've chatted with Ethan a few times. I think they are more practical about their diffuser designs and are limiting them to easily shippable dimensions etc.

Anyways - I think Dennis' goal is to get the big diffusers to go deeper in the vocal and instrument range for detail and clarity down low. Check out this chart and you'll see what I mean.  The diffusers I designed for Palomino were more focused on the higher frequencies (mostly because he gave me a 6" depth limit, and low frequency diffusion is dependent on depth and width over the overall device). So his QRD23 goes closer to 400hz to 7000hz

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #33 - 02/13/17 at 02:12:37
 
Wow...LR...you are really loading a lot of great information into this thread...I hope others are reading!

One thing that has stuck with me throughout the day was the acoustic bass in Kind of Blue, in particular the size of the instrument.  With the speakers pulled out and diffusion in place, it was the first time the bass seemed life size.  I could actually picture someone playing stand up bass in front of me.  Well, ~10ft or so away from me.

I just looked at the specifications for the AF QRD17 diffusers and they weight 110 lbs each.  Holy $HIT.  Those are almost 3X the weight of my speakers.  My GIK diffusers weight 35 lbs, and even those I worry about falling.  No wonder why they don't let you click to order without talking first with them.  Probably costs a fortune to ship.

It has been a busy day and I am finally sitting down to listen and I am enjoying Fleetwood Foxes "Helplessness Blues".  The sound has engulfed me and the listening room.

My listening has continued throughout the evening and nothing has changed.  Incredible sense of hearing deeper into the music with a huge soundstage.  The ERRx's near field, in an open room, with diffusion in the front, has been ear opening for me.  This has been a breakthrough...

Thanks to all that have contributed...



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Reply #34 - 02/13/17 at 03:36:25
 
Quote:
This has been a breakthrough...


Wow, no kidding! I'm getting goosebumps reading your description!

I was traveling this weekend so I didn't get any time to work on my of my projects...but I'm hoping to get caught up to you soon and get diffusers setup in the front of the room as well as on the sides.
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Reply #35 - 02/13/17 at 20:58:55
 
LR, thank you for sharing your in-depth knowledge on difusers.  You mentioned that 7 well difusers do not have much frequency response.  Using an online calculator I came up with a frequency response of 969-6780 hz for a 7 well using a depth of 4" and a well width of 1".  Building a difuser with two iterations of 7 wells would be around 18" wide by 4" deep.  This would be fairly light and easy to move.  What do you think?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #36 - 02/14/17 at 03:06:29
 
Which calculator are you using? . I recommend using QRDude.

When I mentioned the  QRD 7 diffuser was only 1 octave, that was for a 24" wide one. If you make it with smaller width wells, it shifts the frequency up, but then you get 9.5" wide overall width.

If you don't mind building a fleet of them...small 9" diffusers means you need to make twice as many! Remember, a few diffusers isn't really going to get much impact.

Add to that - when you have a fleet of identical diffusers, you can get what's called lobing.  Basically,  you have 7 wells, each well is "tuned" to a specific frequency and together they diffuse across a specific bandwidth. But when you have a dozen of these, all "singing" at those 7 specific frequencies....you start to hear those 7 frequencies hotter than the rest of the diffused sound.  

I hope I explained that well enough.  

If I didn't - lets try this - say you have a speaker that you really like, and it's got a slight bump at one frequency - by itself, that bump is unnoticable unless you're measuring - but if you had 12 of that same speaker, that little bump is now 12 little bumps all at that same frequency...it get's noticeable.

So how do we combat that?  Well, if it were me, I'd build something big and complex and have fewer of them.  :)   But if you were married to your QRD7 at 4" deep, we'd use a couple tricks of mixing up the QRD7 with variants. For example, you could make an exact inverse which has the 7 wells at slightly different frequencies! Then you just mix the two types of diffusers up!  

REGULAR


INVERTED



So yeah, they'd work and cover an OK frequency, but you'll need a lot of them.


If I were to build something along similar dimensions but higher QRD, I'd build fewer of them and have very similiar results. But if I just add one more inch of depth:

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #37 - 02/14/17 at 03:12:56
 
Great thread.  I have always wanted to do something's with room treatment but my setup is in my living room.  This gives me so,e ideas about trying portable diffusers that can be hidden away when not listening.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #38 - 02/14/17 at 19:39:21
 
LR, thanks for your post.  I did not know about lobing.  The way you explained it makes sense.  The calculator I used is at: http://www.digitalaudiorock.com/cgi-bin/qrd.cgi
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #39 - 02/14/17 at 19:43:20
 
That one looks pretty straight forward.  QRDude is more robust (like material thickness), pretty easy to use and easy to explore options.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #40 - 02/16/17 at 00:57:33
 
Quote:
LR, thanks for your post.  I did not know about lobing.  The way you explained it makes sense.  The calculator I used is at: http://www.digitalaudiorock.com/cgi-bin/qrd.cgi


Ha, they even mention QRDude at that site you linked to!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #41 - 02/27/17 at 23:35:50
 
We had a late February followup CDApS meeting Sunday.  Raven wanted me to hear his Omega Superhemps he just traded for and I wanted him to hear the comparison between the Betsys and the Tang Bands.

We ended up doing a 3 way comparo among the 3 drivers and it was interesting.  To summarize, the Betsys were big on soundstage and musicality, the Tang Bands were best at detail and precision imaging and the Omegas were in between to two offering some of the best instrument realism I've heard with a large OB like soundstage.

All three needed bass augmentation (at least to my liking) and I ran my Augies for each test.  All three were pretty easy to blend as we did minimal adjustments to crossover.

I think there is more to the soundstage possibilities with the superhemps as we did minimal work on their positioning.  It was my first listen to anything Omega and I wasn't disappointed.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #42 - 02/28/17 at 05:20:40
 










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Reply #43 - 02/28/17 at 05:22:44
 















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Reply #44 - 02/28/17 at 05:23:51
 










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Reply #45 - 02/28/17 at 11:47:56
 
I guess you took a few snaps while I was upstairs drinkin'.  

Believe it or not people, there is room to sit.

Another highly educational session.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #46 - 02/28/17 at 22:06:02
 

Well, you left me alone for a few minutes - it was the least amount of trouble I could get in.  ;)

Last time someone left me alone with their gear, I blew up a $20,000 OTL amp!  ;)

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Reply #47 - 03/03/17 at 18:10:25
 
Small update to this -

A few weeks ago I dropped off my Zen amp to Steve for the UFO mod. Multiple times since the UFO mods came about he suggested I just go ahead and do it.  (which is funny because he grumbled at me when I picked the Zen up that this was the *only* SE84A that has this mod and completely changes the amp - he kept saying "since *you* wanted the UFO" like I broke a cardinal rule or something LOL).

Well, it does in fact change the amp, and I did tell him "do what you want, just make sure you're happy with it, so I know *I'm* happy with it". Well, ouch, that hurt my credit card but OH DAMN! This is a nice amp!

See, I was concerned after our last CDApS meet because Palomino's Rachel amp with 807 power tubes was just barely enough to "wake up" my Omega SuperHemp 8" speakers - we had to peg the volume, and I joked about how if this were my Rachel, I'd just completely bypass the volume pot and be happy with the Rachel driving the Omega SuperHemps - it was truly a great sound!  But then it dawned on me...crap, I just spend $700 having a $499 amp upgraded, and it might not have the juice to wake up the Omega speakers considering the Rachel is what...6 watts and the little Zen is 2.5-3 watts? Crap!

Yeah, it took all off 3 seconds for me to pick my jaw up off the floor and turn the volume down(!) on the little Zen amp and stumble back to the listening chair and just enjoy.

I'm not sure what all Steve did, he just brushed some of the details off as "well you said  do what I want", and I honestly didn't press him. He joked about how I can't have the amp back, and I really see why now. But here is what I do know:

UFO mod as usual, but since my amp is the first and only A model to have this done, he had to play it by ear (pun intended). The A Zens had a more robust power supply...overbuilt...but that also makes the amp "slower" than the newer B and C models that got faster and more transparent. Steve mentioned my A version is "more forgiving". Well, it's not anymore! (ouch, sorta - more on that later).

Along with the UFO mod he changed me out to VCAPs - I guess they were samples he got from them, so not a regularly stocked item (this particular model), and he mentioned too stupid expensive to put into production, but suited this one-off build.

Moved RCA to top of amp like newer models - shorter distance to input tube I assume, just like the newer Zens.

Stepped attenuator - I was surprised by this, but Steve assured me this was integral to getting the amp where it's at, and not an extravagant expense. He also mentioned no grid resistor - less in the path. I'm not sure if that was because of the stepped attenuator, a means to an end or what, but he knows I'm all about purity and fewer parts.

The result is a faster, much less forgiving, but so very neutral Zen amp that sounds *way* louder than any Zen amp I've ever heard! It is *exactly* the amp I wanted to be! Hell, this thing is even less forgiving and more neutral than the ZMA!  It's like it has a Napoleon Complex after being pushed aside for the ZMA, and got all roided out and cut and now punches out of it's weight class! LOL

I mean, I liked my little almost 20 year old Zen A - but after the ZMA the little Zen A was Meh. Now I'm going to have a hard time deciding between the ZMA on my MG44 "main system" and my cut and roided out Zen and Omega "second system". This is going to be an amazing small room, low level listening rig and absolutely worth the cost!


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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #48 - 03/03/17 at 18:23:34
 

Two things I forgot to mention above (which was supposed to be a small update).

#1 I wish the amp had balanced inputs. At that point I might as well have just bought a Zen Select or whatever the super-souped up top Zen amp is. I'm probably going to build one of those magic boxes that Steve uses for balanced to RCA conversion since he'd probably be pissed if I drilled holes and tried to integrate balanced transformers in this 20 year old, reborn masterpiece. I do miss my balanced inputs, and I think that might push this great little amp up a notch further!

#2 I don't want to give away too much, but Steve said that going over this amp, doing this mod on an early version of the Zen with his current knowledge may have inspired a small batch run of Zen amps in the future. That's all I really know, and it's not like it's going to be anytime soon, but the seed has been planted. I think it's a great idea and will be worth whatever Steve's asking, for those of you that are die-hard Zen amp lovers.

After I pay down some credit cards, I'll need to be seriously looking at a budget DAC for this second system. The more I think about it, the more excited I am about getting the spare bedroom fixed up, lined with room treatment, and this little Zen/Omega setup barking!

We're going to have some fun CDApS meets in the near future!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #49 - 03/03/17 at 18:24:21
 
That's very cool Eric. I have a Rev. A, the 27th amp Steve built that I had him upgrade to A status when that became available. . . . Though I can't really say I have it as a friend of mine has had it for a decade, ever since he "borrowed" it to try it out. Smiley They are great little amps and it doesn't surprise me that with Steve making it "be all it can be" it would turn out to be an amazing mother of an amp! I know that the credit card took a big hit, but don't think about that and enjoy the music!
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