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February CDApS Meeting (Read 87649 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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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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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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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #50 - 03/03/17 at 18:32:06
 
Very cool LR.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #51 - 03/03/17 at 18:58:05
 
I can't wait to borrow it Wink
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #52 - 03/04/17 at 08:28:44
 
Quote:
I can't wait to borrow it Wink


Hahaha, you're a funny guy.

So it's about 2:22am - I've had the amp on for about 30 hours straight I think. I finally got around to hooking it up to my MG944. At first I was like, oh crap, the Omega sound better...but then I put my Demo Tunes on, the same ones I've been playing at Decfest for the past 3 years. And I'll be damned....this amp is so resolving, I'm hearing things jump out that I guess I've subconsciously known was there, but now I can hear it all!

Now, these are tracks I've played to death - I joke about my fiance and I splitting up over hearing Helplessly Hoping and the first three tracks of the first ALT-J album for the millionth time...and every one of my Demo Tunes sounds like it's a new remaster with  more micro-detail and accuracy. Ugh, so amazing.  

Finally this little amp does something the ZMA can't and earns its keep!

Well done, Steve! This is really something!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #53 - 03/04/17 at 08:47:22
 
P.S. the reason I thought the Omega beat the MG944 right off the bat, is due to the amps unforgiving nature - Roon was on random and whatever track that happened to be playing when I brought the volume up was "itchy" sounding. Everything else on my demo tracks was fine.

P.P.S. there is currently only 1.5 diffusers in the room - and only a couple absorbers - so yeah, this is going to get even better once I get the room put back together or this setup moved to a spare bedroom.  :)

OK, back to listening, I'm at the end of my Demo Tunes and about to cue up some Tori Amos.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #54 - 03/05/17 at 17:56:04
 
Quote:
#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.


Quote:
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


Interesting.  You had my Zen for a few days after the UFO mod, so I'm guessing your mod's power/volume exceeds what you remember from mine.  Not sure what other context you'd have in your own system?  While I don't lust for more volume that often, it's really the only thing missing from the Zen IMHO.  I'll be paying attention to see if this goes anywhere.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #55 - 03/05/17 at 23:03:09
 
I don't recall how much time I spent with your amp, but I don't remember it having this much horsepower. I think I do recall it running out of steam, I felt like I was driving it too hard to get it where I wanted it to go.

Up until my Zen amp mod, yours was the best sounding I had heard. Especially on your setup.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #56 - 03/07/17 at 01:22:00
 
I finally got around to moving everything out of the room, with the exception of a few of the room treatments.  The positives of doing this were immediately obvious.  

Stream of conscious thought…and a few (bad) pictures….
-The sound bloomed and the music opened up significantly.  
-I hear better separation between instruments and air.
-Sound was better not only in the sweet spot, but all around the room.
-Everything in the front of the room appeared to be distorting the music, or wasn’t letting the sound waves form naturally.
-Speaker positioning is very important, even with the ERRx’s.  Moving the speakers closer to the front wall caused blurring and confusion.  
-I have increased the width of the ERR’s but they are still sitting fairly close to the listening position.  
-I experimented with removing the bass traps in the front corners of the room and that had a detrimental impact on the sound overall, so those stayed.  
-I’m still not sure how to best treat the front of the room.  After further listening I’m convinced I’m getting some acoustic distortion from the diffusers.
-I have read that sitting too close to diffusers can introduce artifacts such as near field comb filtering.  
-Guideline for QRD diffusers seems to be 3X the longest wavelength diffused
-With this in mind, I’m not sure deep well diffusers would be the best option for me.  
-In smaller rooms it seems that combination absorber/diffuser panels are more typically recommended.
-Or diffusers that don’t diffuse as low in frequency
-If I wasn’t imagining things last evening, the soundstage took on a horseshoe type shape on some tracks.   Absorption in the corners could pin the stage, while the diffusers push through the front wall??  
-I still feel like I am looking to the left and there is still some unbalance, but overall the soundstage is very immersive.    
-Also, the room looks terrible with nothing in it and this setup isn’t going to last very long.
-I’m going to try to build it back up in a way that maximizes sound but also improves aesthetics.
-I’m glad I took the time to gut the room and will have a few weeks to experiment.  It has been another ear opening experience on the journey.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #57 - 03/07/17 at 01:24:09
 
-I moved the TV and stand out of the room, and the audio equipment off to the side, something I have been meaning to do for a while to, so nothing is really in the way of the speakers.
-Surprisingly, the RFI I was experiencing in one speaker seems to be gone.  Not sure what is going on there.  
-I also noticed when moving the ZMA that there is something rolling around inside the amp.  Solder?  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #58 - 03/07/17 at 03:05:17
 
With respect to the diffusers on the front wall, moving them together will dramatically increase the effective diffusion over having them separated.  Also when you put them together, center them in the wall as best you can.  In the white space on either side put soft absorption of some kind, the thicker the better, and then you should be able to tweak the position of the speakers back towards the front wall a touch, and gain overall better focus.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #59 - 03/07/17 at 03:08:55
 
LR - glad you're enjoying it.  Your description is spot on to what I hear over here.  Surprised you haven't looked inside yet... be careful if you do not to let the zen escape.

Steve
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #60 - 03/07/17 at 16:33:41
 
Damit LR! Now, for sure I'm going to Decware this summer by appt., and no stone (stone of tone  8-)) will be left unturned. Geeeez!  ;D

LR wrote:
"#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."
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #61 - 03/07/17 at 16:44:34
 

Dave,

I think it's fantastic that you're experimenting the way you are! Keep at it!
And I agree 100% with what Steve said. Keep the diffusers together and put some absorption up front. You could also try hanging a blanket or tapestry or something on the front wall to tone down the reflections some, then put the diffusers in front of it. You could also try angling the diffusers a bit - maybe make a very subtle V out of them so they are re-directing sound outwards more. Lots of little tweaks you can try to shapre how you perceive the recodings.

The diffusers are also far enough away from your listening position that I'm not sure they *causing* acoustic distortion, so much as because they are cleaning up some of the spectrum for you, you're now able to *hear* the acoustic distortion that particular space has. Just keep playing till your happy (which, for us, IMHO is probably never LOL)

Quote:
LR - glad you're enjoying it.  Your description is spot on to what I hear over here.  Surprised you haven't looked inside yet... be careful if you do not to let the zen escape.

Steve


Ahh, you know me too well, Steve. I wanted to crack open the little grey case before I even left your driveway. The truth is I'm enjoying it so much I haven't given any time to peeking inside of it!

Now, I've heard you say something will blow me away or whatever, but this is the first time one of your projects surpassed your hyperbol. LOL I'm really enjoying this amp, the UFO mod is really something special.

Thanks again my friend!

~Eric~

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #62 - 03/08/17 at 00:04:27
 
Thanks Steve/LR!  

The next step in the journey...

I will listen to this setup for a couple of days and report back...
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #63 - 03/08/17 at 17:30:58
 
So yeah, as soon as I got home last night from business travel, I cracked the amp open. I have to admit, I was kinda hoping to see welded points or something. But it looks like a hand built Zen amp.

I love that Steve took the bottom cover and flipped it over and put a new label on the bottom. That made me smile.  This little guy is crammed - but Steve has it working and I swear it's even more quiet than it was previously. I also noticed that it seems to squeeze more out of whatever input tube you put in there - meaning you can more clearly hear what character an input tube has. Love it!

Edit to Add: I just realized that I've been so enthralled with this amp, that I've not even tried the bias switch on the front, or the 4ohm-8ohm impedance switch on the back! LOL














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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #64 - 03/09/17 at 14:50:19
 
I listened to the Zen till 2am again last night while working on house projects. Just for giggles I hooked up some old (and beat looking) Alesis studio monitors; Monitor One I believe the model is. I honestly forgot I had them connected instead of my Omega Super Hemp or MG944, it simply just sounded good.



I hate to say this, but I've had zero desire to plug in the ZMA - the UFO Zen just sounds so right...though I admit, when I wanted to "crank my jam", I realized I had no room for said cranking. Beyond that, I have not been left wanting.

Oh, I should also add, I've been supplimenting the bottom end with my 18" sealed sub, powered off my crown amp, crossed over at like 53hz or something - just for the real low end. Acoustic bass sounds amazing, because you get the realistic woody detail from the Zen (especially with the Omega SuperHemp), and you get an almost visceral bottom end from the sub crossed over so low. The little Zen reproduces bass exceedingly well for it's flea wattage, and sometimes the Omega 8" feels like it's going lower than the MG944 towers! I'll have to take some measurements eventually to properly place the big sub(s), and figure out the proper crossover point depending on what speakers I'm pairing up with. But when dialed in so low, it doesn't trip up the main speakers, and gives me a fullness that some tracks just don't wound right without. I just might be missing a few notes between the bottom of the mains and the top of the sub frequency, but it hasn't been bad enough to pull me out of the enjoyment of the music.

Edit: Oh yeah, I still need to work on beautifying my Betsy baffles and get those back in circulation with the Zen amp!  

At this point I'll probably stop tacking onto this thread, and I'll return to my home theater rebuild thread since I plan on spending all day Sunday working on building the screen and hopefully pulling the room back together. I feel naked without a room full of diffusers.  :)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #65 - 03/09/17 at 14:54:17
 

Dave, one last point about your diffusers - you might get a little more effect by getting them up higher on the wall. See if you can put them on a box and cover more of the middle of the wall as those are the reflections that are most likely to make it back to your ears (compared to the 12"-20" by the floor)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #66 - 03/09/17 at 21:44:57
 
Your system is starting to look an awful lot like mine and Palomino's, LR!   Grin
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #67 - 03/09/17 at 22:51:13
 

Yeah, the Betsys were the first OBs that didn't make me cringe with the weird single driver honk that drives me nuts.

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #68 - 03/10/17 at 00:17:36
 
Thanks LR.  That is next on my list of things to do.  

I have been pretty happy with the sound of the setup so far, and without a lot of tweaking.  I think there is a lot of tuning that can still be done.  If you could do anything, would it be replacing the absorbers with diffusion on the front wall?  

Also, I am starting to formulate ideas on how to put the room back together, improving aesthetics and maintaining good sound.  I'm thinking...

-Painting the front wall gray, like the left side wall.
-Abstract art acoustic fabric on the absorbers (assuming they stay), to break up the solid wall of black.  I have already looked into getting printed acoustic fabric to do this myself.  
-Painting the diffusion panels white or in a Rothko type look, for a modern art look in the center of the wall.  I could also put an acoustic fabric "mural" over the diffusers.  
-Removing the framed posters from college that are currently hanging above everything  8-)

That said, I don't want to do any of the aesthetic tweaks until I feel I'm in good place with the sound overall.  Oh yes, and I'll likely have some panels made that fit the windows perfectly.  And a new rug...  

Geez...still a lot to do...

Dave



   
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #69 - 03/10/17 at 15:26:11
 

Quote:
 If you could do anything, would it be replacing the absorbers with diffusion on the front wall?


I wouldn't be replacing, so much as *adding* more diffusers. You do need both, and the acoustics books recommend about 25% surface area coverage for proper effect. I also feel that diffusers allow you to sculpt the sound field more than absorbers, so I see them as a correction device *and* a tuning device...whereas absorbers are simply a correcting device.

I love your ideas, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with them!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #70 - 03/12/17 at 21:24:53
 
This thread has inspired me to start looking at my room.  GIK Acoustics recommended laying bass absorption panels down on top of my component rack (this is the shelving behind the speakers.  I am definitely going to do this.  The other recommendation was to set up portable side panels beside the listening chair.  Due to speak and WAF, I can't do this.

I could probably get a corner trap behind the TV so that it would not be visible.  Does anyone else think this might have a benefit?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #71 - 03/12/17 at 21:26:13
 
Here's is another shot of the room from behind the listening chair.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #72 - 03/13/17 at 11:45:33
 
I`m thinking you wont be needing ceiling treatment Smiley)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #73 - 03/14/17 at 02:55:16
 
One step closer...

Ellsworth...your pictures show up 'right side up' on my phone but not on my computer...not sure what is going on there...also, the pictures are YUGE, so it's difficult to see what is going on...
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #74 - 03/14/17 at 16:34:39
 
Sorry about that but I am not sure how to make the pic smaller.  The basic story I see that I have a flat panel tv extending from a corner that takes up much of the space between the side wall and speaker.  I am thinking about trying some type of corner trap behind the tv to see if that helps clean up the bass.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #75 - 03/15/17 at 00:09:02
 
Ellsworth... I am using GIK Soffit bass traps in the front of my room.  I recently tried removing them, but they have such a positive impact, I quickly put them back.   I would think corner traps, even behind the TV, would make be a noticeable improvement.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #76 - 03/15/17 at 00:59:53
 
Dave,
Hope your enjoying the speakers. I miss having the highly figured walnut in my room and seeing them in your room was kind of a tug on my heart but at least I can see they went to a good home. I'm enjoying my Zu's here at my humble abode...😊
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #77 - 03/15/17 at 01:22:16
 
LR that A-Model is the bomb!!!  Love stuff like that.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #78 - 03/15/17 at 02:32:19
 
Rick,

I think I am just starting to scratch the surface of what the ERRx’s are capable of in my room.  I have gone down a rabbit hole breaking down the room to let the speakers breathe in order to get a sense for what they are capable of.    I should have expected they would be as sensitive to placement as other speakers.   Lots more experimentation to go.  That said, I have had some of the best listening sessions to date with the room in its current state.  

Pal,

Not sure if you are following this thread, but regarding continuity of space within the soundstage, I wonder if the below track applies:

-Melody Gardot’s Album ‘My One and Only Thrill’ (Track 4, “Your Heart Is As Black as Night”)
-Specifically, shortly after the opening piano, a trumpet enters (stage left, back) that I can hear echoing off the wall (stage right, side/front corner).    This one seems slightly more obvious to me versus some of the other examples you provided, but I am curious what you think.
-Hopefully you are still streaming TIDAL if you don’t already have this track!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #79 - 03/15/17 at 17:07:04
 
Hi Dave,

I'll give it a listen and report back.  I have that album.

When my trial on Tidal runs out, I will likely pay for a subscription.  Seems worth it to me.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #80 - 03/15/17 at 18:44:38
 
Pal...I'm fully committed to TIDAL at this point.  I think I have over 1500 albums, playlists, saved (I am only 28,500 albums shy of a Lon collection).  I love sitting down with a cup of coffee on Sat/Sun morning and adding new music while the family is still sleeping--music that is just waiting to be discovered at a later point in time.  I recently added a bunch of meditation/sacred tone/solfeggio scale music after reading Steve's latest article.  

Coming back to sound stage continuity,  I'm also curious about your thoughts on the initial piano "hits" at the beginning of Calpyso Minor (from Abdullah Ibrahim's album Sotho Blue).  I'm fairly certain you have that album as well.  

Looking forward to your thoughts...

-Dave
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #81 - 03/15/17 at 19:00:31
 
I will check out Calypso tonight if I get a chance.

I haven't really spent much time learning Tidal.  I usually just search for songs I want to hear and/or listen to playlists in the various genres.  I haven't even put together a playlist myself.

But there is a ton of music there.  I often end up buying some music I hear there which I know sounds stupid, but I don't have Wi-Fi at the cottage and I definitely don't have it at the beach so I buy some of it to have on my iPod/thumb drive.

What is also nice is via Bluetooth in the car, I can listen to Tidal on the mobile ap as I drive.  I also use it with my various boomboxes when I am outside where I can get a signal.

I will always struggle with not having the music file, but I think they got it right with Tidal and the future is now.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #82 - 03/15/17 at 20:41:05
 
So how's your mobile data rates looking then Pal? I mean, cost wise, using all that bandwidth.

~Eric~
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #83 - 03/15/17 at 20:42:56
 
Unlimited plan.  An oldy but goody from Sprint that they keep trying to nudge me out of but I have complained and talked them into letting me stay in it.

Not that sprint isn't making money on me.  I am paying for 6 phones.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #84 - 03/15/17 at 20:52:50
 
TIDAL does have an Offline Content feature for mobile devices.  I listen to my downloaded TIDAL tracks at work and in the car, so I am not using my mobile data.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #85 - 03/15/17 at 20:54:30
 
Interesting.  I'll have to read up on that.  

They are Flac (right?) so they are big files.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #86 - 03/15/17 at 21:09:37
 
I'm not sure how big the Offline Content files are.  It is worth looking into whether they are CD quality.  I only have a small subset of my total collection downloaded, so I'm currently not using up too much space on my phone.  It's easy enough to manage your offline content via the mobile app, so I just add and subtract things when I'm connected to my wireless network at home.

Streamed files are CD quality FLAC, with the TIDAL HIFI subscription. 
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #87 - 03/15/17 at 21:10:11
 
Quote:
TIDAL does have an Offline Content feature for mobile devices.  I listen to my downloaded TIDAL tracks at work and in the car, so I am not using my mobile data.


This, exactly. Saves tons on the data plan.
Download to the phone while on WIFI somewhere, then play via BT while in the car.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #88 - 03/16/17 at 02:28:55
 
Dave,

i was able to listen to the Melody Gardot and yes, the echo is there plain as day.  it really seems to hang there for a while on the second phrase of the solo after the drums start.  That whole track has nice ambient sounds.

On Calypso, the first piano strike starts about mid height stage left and then drifts up and fills the upper sound stage and then dissapates like a cloud of gas.  i hadn't listened to this album in a while and really enjoyed it on the Betsy drivers.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #89 - 03/16/17 at 03:06:32
 
I too had a recent rediscovery of Sotho Blue.  I listened to the entire album last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it (the piano stabs caught my attention and got me thinking about the SS continuity concept you and LR were describing a while back).  I enjoy the music and it is well recorded.  

I appreciate you taking the time to listen and provide feedback.  I am hearing similar things on both tracks.  Would you consider these to be examples of 'soundstage continuity'?  Or are they too obvious?  

The examples you provided in previous posts (sax in Flamenco Sketches, guitar in Gold Dust Woman) were not quite as obvious to me, but maybe I need to go back and listen with my 'new' room.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #90 - 03/16/17 at 18:49:17
 
I think Raven used the term soundstage continuity so he could respond as well, but to me its a seamless overall soundstage where an instrument's note continues in a fluid, natural manner across the soundstage as it would in an actual room.  The notes themselves have lifecycle that is natural and flowing with realistic echo or decay (note my comment about dissipating like gas above).

I have experienced this with rear ported horns, diffusers and now OBs.  OBs + diffusers = the best lifelike and continuous soundstage that I have experienced.  

And in my OBs, the Betsys do this better than my Tang Bands, although the Tang Bands are more precise and realistic to me.  They just don't fill the room the way the Bestys do.  Said another way, Tang Bands are more "focused" and less airy and sense of air is important to maximizing the soundstage continuity concept.

A couple descriptors that Steve once said to me seems to work here:  The Tang Bands are more precise and "audiophile" sounding while the Betsys are more vintage or "Hi-fi" sounding.  It just depends on what I am in the mood for.  

Lately, its the Betsys because they do the soundstage continuity thing so effortlessly and I have been listening to music that "reproduces the room" so they get the nod.

Sorry, wandered around a little there, but you get my drift.  Might be akin to what you get from 944s versus ERRs.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #91 - 03/16/17 at 20:13:32
 
We're in the same place Pal...  and thus why I have no less than 8 sets of speakers at this point in time.  Each one a different design from the others; horn loaded, OB, bass reflex, xoverless single full range driver, sealed infinite baffle, 2-way coax, powered monitor, bi-pole, di-pole.....
Depending on my mood and what music I'm "in to" at any given point in time determines what I have hooked up.

It is my goal "this year" to get down to only 2-3 pair - for the 2-ch man cave system anyway.  HT is a different story.  I predict the Betsy's and my giant OB Trio's have permanent residency... and one other pair - yet to be determined
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #92 - 03/16/17 at 21:01:21
 
Quote:
I think Raven used the term soundstage continuity so he could respond as well, but to me its a seamless overall soundstage where an instrument's note continues in a fluid, natural manner across the soundstage as it would in an actual room.  The notes themselves have lifecycle that is natural and flowing with realistic echo or decay (note my comment about dissipating like gas above).


That's a pretty good description. You've had it right for so long, you might not remember that black hole that was in the middle of your room. You could clearly hear the left side and right side as separate entities. But when it's right, you don't just have vocals/instruments floating between the speakers, but the air that gives you a sense of the room (in the recording) completely fills that left-center-right space as well.

It's like, if you were blind and in cave, you'd be able to *feel* the rough size of your space - and it would be obvious, even though you were blind, that there was a big black hole that you weren't getting reflections from. That black hold would be the broken continuity...it's more about spacial information than just having a center image.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #93 - 03/16/17 at 21:38:13
 
There is still a small problem over there and I am 99% certain its that damn desk.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #94 - 03/17/17 at 00:27:14
 
Just when I thought I understood and had heard the continuity of space across my soundstage with the echoes in those two tracks...

...LR starts talking about black holes and blind men in caves...
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #95 - 03/17/17 at 15:14:55
 
Quote:
There is still a small problem over there and I am 99% certain its that damn desk.


I'm happy to help you move it! Or downsize it or something.

Dedicated audio room, YES!!

Quote:
...LR starts talking about black holes and blind men in caves...


I'm sorry, I hope I didn't muddy the waters - it's just something that popped into my head that might help describe the continuity - it's really about the ambient cues - which I don't think many audiophiles understand, because while they do have a great center image, and spacial cues...but is that ambient space cue contiguous around the soundstage and instruments?

Palomino has had it so right, that you clearly get a sense of the space the recording was done in. Your walls disappear, and that space is overlaid in its place. At Steve's place many years ago, that same ambient information would wrap around you like surround sound to some extent, putting you further into the recording. Granted, his room also had too much reverb time (I didn't understand this at the time, but too much can muddy up things almost as much as naked wall reflections can) - which is why you need *both* absorbers and diffusers in your room.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #96 - 03/18/17 at 19:03:48
 
LR...you didn't muddy the waters.   But, I still don't think I have any idea what you guys are talking about.  I'm fairly certain I just need to hear it.  Maybe one day!

What I am fairly certain about is that my sound is the best it has ever been.  Still more to experiment with and likely improvements to be had.  But, I'll likely never get to the level you guys are describing in my current room.  That said, I'll see how far I can push it and then 'live with it'.

Enjoy the weekend!

Dave  

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #97 - 03/19/17 at 07:29:09
 

I don't know, Dave, from the description of the leaps you've made recently, I'm betting you're a lot closer than you realize. Probably just a few tweaks and/or a couple pairs of diffusers away from it.

Tom, what are some tracks that jump out in your setup, where you can really hear the room of the recording? I know we've had some breakthroughs with Sara Bareilles - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but that one didn't slap you in the face and took a fair amount of work to get there. Anything else you can think of?

My room, unfortunately, isn't as good as Palomino's room. I've got 3X as much $$ in my gear as he does, and I can't touch his (mostly) dedicated room. I'm a firm believer that when the room is setup well, you could put some radio shack speakers in there and they'd sound pretty amazing.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SiMOvWYFmo


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVJd20RBZno


At 7:35, they show the speakers.  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg3_yOYT4OA

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #98 - 03/20/17 at 18:57:52
 
Dave,

Search Tidal for "Live".  These are the recordings that usually provide the most dramatic sense of room:

* Eva Cassidy, Live a Blues Alley.  
* Allman Brothers Fillmore East.  
* Erykah Badu (great bass on this one BTW)  
* Waillin' Jenny's Live.  
* Sara Bareilles, Live at the Variety Playhouse (Sittin on the Dock of the Bay is probably the best "room" song)
* Musica Nuda Live a FIP
* Any live concert recording of Jeff Beck.  
* Minnesota Orchestra Fanfare for the Common Man.

Some non-live tracks:
Cowboy Junkies Trinity sessions (especially Walkin after Midnight)
Joe Jackson, Body and Soul

Basically, these recordings allow you to get a feel for the size and type of room the recording was made in.  For Jeff Beck recordings, you know he's playing a big arena (look for a live recording of Space for The Papa).

When I first heard Joe Jackson Body and Soul I thought that must have been recorded in a really cool, large venue.  Then I read the liner notes and found that the location was a church that had been painstakingly selected to achieve the acoustics Joe Jackson wanted on the album.

When you feel like you are sitting in that room/arena and not constrained to your listening room walls, you have it.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #99 - 03/21/17 at 02:33:13
 
Thanks Pal.  I will definitely check these out.  

I assume that "hearing" the space is not the same as sitting in the room?  

On Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Sessions", in the opening track, I can almost "feel" the space.  There is, what appears to be a subway train, or air conditioner that helps define the vastness of the space.  In addition, her voices seems to echo off the back wall, giving you a sense for how large the venue is.  On Walking After Midnight, again the space seems vast.   The "walking" or foot tapping seems way back stage left and the guitar stage right seems to bounce of the back wall of the space.  And while the harmonica is very clear in attack and distinct, it also seems to bounce off the back wall, giving you a sense that the space is large.    

I can also immediately hear/feel the large space of Ryan Adam's "Live at Carnegie Hall".  A good example is the second version of "New York, New York", where he plays the song on the piano.  The space of the venue seems immense.  The piano seems to take up the entire room and more, if that makes sense (I hear something similar with the piano on "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, but the venue seems much smaller).  You can hear the individual hits and echo of him hitting the pedals on the piano.  The coughs from the audience tend to put the space into perspective as well (almost as if the depth of the coughs put me on stage with him vs. me being in the audience, if that makes sense).  

I still have no idea if I am getting this or not.  But, I must say, I am really enjoying my listening sessions these days.  I will listen to the recordings you mentioned and will try a few more I have as well to try and get a better sense for what is going on.  

Thanks again.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #100 - 03/21/17 at 16:25:15
 

Sounds to me like you've got it.  

As for hearing the room, or hearing yourself *in* the room, that really depends on how the magical mixing engineer did their job, and how your room is setup. Once, when Tom's room was "off", it sounded like you were out in the lobby of a venue listening through opened doors.

So yeah, there is a lot you can do when you move your treatments around - the goal from here is just being pleased with it,and it sounds like you are!  

Pretty good for shuffling around some furniture and room treatments, huh?  Now you get why I'm so fanatical about it. (and why I think it's silly people won't go at least to the extents you have to *see* what the big deal is)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #101 - 03/21/17 at 17:29:14
 
I think there are two stages.  Being able to hear the ambient sound and the second stage is feeling you are in the room.   Being enveloped in the sound.  

I think more treatment may be required for second but I have not spent any significant time with ERRs.   That said I do agree with Raven that the mix makes a big difference.  If it's not in the original recording room treatments or speaker types won't do it.

It is interesting how minor changes in the room and/or speaker placement can impact this phenomenon.  When Raven felt the lobby effect it was due to Being around 1.5 feet back from the optimal chair position, maybe even less.  I say keep futzing it you are so inclined.  I use a lot of painters tape to mark seating positions, speaker positions and even diffuser positions so I can always change back if the team isn't an improvement.

I have seen the Ryan Adams out there on Tidal.  I will check it out.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #102 - 03/21/17 at 22:11:02
 
Quote:
When Raven felt the lobby effect it was due to Being around 1.5 feet back from the optimal chair position, maybe even less.


Ooh, that's right - I forgot what the issue was. You're memory is clearly better than mine. Must be my old age setting in.  ;)  

Also, agreed on the wrap-around "being in the room" sensation. You do need quite a bit more diffusers...oh, and maybe no desk in the back of the room.  ;)  

Damn, now I want to go back to my room and start moving things around. I need to build this damn projection screen so I can get my room put back together...just so much to do!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #103 - 03/21/17 at 22:25:57
 
I just listened to the Ryan Adams disc.  Nice wraparound effect.  Had to turn it up a bit.

My best combo for this is Rachael with Betsys crossed in front of me without the headrest on the Ikea chair (but with my DIY cushion).  I can sense the desk but its still wraparound sound.

I could always use a few more diffusers Wink
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #104 - 03/22/17 at 00:57:57
 
I think I am getting a taste of what you guys have been talking about, but I don't think I have "arrived" at the listening venue just yet.  Like you said LR, with a little bit of work, I am in a much better spot than I was before, and it's so much easier and enjoyable to sink into a listening session.  

One of the reasons I picked up the ERRx's was to further explore my understanding of the concepts you guys have described (blind man in a cave is one of my favorites btw).  I know it's really hard to describe what you are hearing with words and you guys are much more eloquent than I.  I appreciate all of the descriptions, music references and I'm sure many others do to.

The journey so far has taught me that the ERR speakers need to be pulled well into the room, and they greatly benefit from treatments.  Treating the front of the room has been transformational, as many of you have suggested.      

I will continue to explore and see if I can "arrive", but I will need more diffusers.  I have been thinking through what I want to do.  The PI diffusers seem like a no brainer for the cost, but I've also been toying around with getting additional GIK, or even Acoustic Field diffusers.  The latter being significantly more costly than the former.   Also, I'm not sure I would want the entire front wall treated with GIK Q7D's (except for the bass traps which need to stay).  That said, it may be better than the mix of absorption and diffusion I have on the front wall now.  

I appreciate the encouragement and patience.  More to come...  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #105 - 03/22/17 at 04:25:03
 
Very interesting topic and thread .....

Speaking of recordings that have a "wrap around" effect .....

The Cowboy Junkies have an album called "The Nomad Series".
It's actually five CDs in one big multi-disk sleeve.

On the CD named Renmin Park, there is a song named "Cicadas".

The engineers must be doing some crazy phasing trick with the microphones ..... because the sound of the insects is all over the room, including behind my listening seat.

It's almost a little unnerving ..... I keep expecting one of the little buggers to crawl down my shirt collar .....

Randy
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #106 - 03/22/17 at 11:44:19
 
Randy,

I'll definitely check that one out.  I have the CD set around here somewhere.  Separately, I'm definitely not looking forward to the next Cicada awakening!  Every 17 years seems like a long time, but time flies when you're having fun!  

I remember listening to the Ryan Adams disc in your store and the first thing you mentioned was the space in the recording.  I don't remember if I felt as if I was there, but sounds like that is another level.  

The listening session in your store was instrumental in a couple different ways:  It made me realize 1) just how powerful (and fast) the Zen amp really was with the right speakers 2) I was missing a lot of depth/spatial information in my current setup 3) listening to great music on a great system is relaxing and fun and 4) you don't have to pay a fortune to have a great system!

Take Care,
Dave


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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #107 - 03/22/17 at 12:40:16
 
Last night I did a combo listening session of Ryan Adams and Cowboy Junkies.  All from Tidal.  Mostly live stuff.  Extremely enjoyable.  I will definitely have to check out those cuts Randy.

Dave, I think I would lean towards the styro over the QRD7.  They are fragile but work pretty well.  Raven put his in a wood frame which helps keep them in one piece.

I also for some reason, I did a count of diffusers in my room last night.   I've never thought about the number.  Just what kind and where to position them.  Well I officially have 20!

Then I added up what I spent to build/buy them and it really wasn't that much.  The most expensive ones I have built were made from Baltic birch at around $100 each.  But the others were $50 or less.   The foam store-bought ones were around $20 I think as an intro offer.   So all together maybe $800  Lots of time building and painting though but that is fun for me.

So I have gone a bit overboard being under the spell of the room treatment Svengali, El Presidente.  But you don't have to go this far. As we saw at Aaron's house a few well placed diffusers can really enhance your experience.

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #108 - 03/22/17 at 22:17:49
 
Quote:
I could always use a few more diffusers Wink


This is why we're friends.  ;)

Quote:
I am in a much better spot than I was before, and it's so much easier and enjoyable to sink into a listening session


I love this - I've really thought that I've fallen asleep listening, but it's weird because my hearing brain is conscious of what's going on in the room. Normally when I fall asleep, my hearing is one of the first things my brain shuts off. So when I'm really *into* a listening session, I can only liken to to meditation, or as Steve says an Out of Body Experience.  It makes sense now, right?

Quote:
I appreciate the encouragement and patience.  More to come...


Are you kidding, this is great! I love seeing someone else "see the light".  It's going to take a long while, but I feel that someday there will be enough of us that companies will take us seriously and prices on diffusers will come down a bunch.

Quote:
On the CD named Renmin Park, there is a song named "Cicadas".

The engineers must be doing some crazy phasing trick with the microphones ..... because the sound of the insects is all over the room, including behind my listening seat.


That almost sounds like Q-sound processing we were talking about in another thread. There is some processing that's been done on a few albums, that when setup correctly, really does this pseudo-surround sound that is so good it's unnerving.

Quote:
Dave, I think I would lean towards the styro over the QRD7.  They are fragile but work pretty well.  Raven put his in a wood frame which helps keep them in one piece.


I agree - I think the PI Audio ones for example do a lot for the amount of money you put into them. It is a little work to paint them (and frame them if you feel the need to) But if you can mount them on the walls and not bump into them they should be fine!

Quote:
So I have gone a bit overboard being under the spell of the room treatment Svengali, El Presidente.  But you don't have to go this far. As we saw at Aaron's house a few well placed diffusers can really enhance your experience.


Guilty as charged of proselytizing *and* being an enabler, and damn proud of it!  My only regret is how much you've passed me up in how good your room sounds!  I'm just so busy/stressed/exhausted lately, I'm really not making any progress!  Hopefully after Axpona things will settle down enough that I can get serious about my (hopefully) two listening areas/rooms.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #109 - 03/22/17 at 22:23:42
 
Quote:
I remember listening to the Ryan Adams disc in your store and the first thing you mentioned was the space in the recording.  I don't remember if I felt as if I was there, but sounds like that is another level.


I think there is also a learning curve to "audiophile listening".  It's not always slap you in the face apparent like cicadas in 360 degree surround. Sometimes you need to really hear something exceptional in order to wrap your head around it.  I've had the pleasure and crash course audio-education from Steve on diffusers all those years ago at his old place, about density from listening to his master tapes, and liquidity from listening to his OTL amp in the past few years!  It makes me wonder what else there is I need to experience in audio to really wrap my head around "listening". Steve's been my enabler  and audio-pusher for going on 20 years now! LOL
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #110 - 03/24/17 at 01:10:31
 
If I was still living back east, I would be working with my Dad in his workshop to build a few of these quadratic diffusers.  Now that he is retired, I don't see him building me a bunch of diffusers and having them shipped across the country.

I wonder if I could find a local woodworker willing to build me a couple.  Hmmm...  

Anyway, I had ordering PI diffusers on my list of things to do today, but work got in the way of that.  I plan to check it off the list soon.

A few other live albums you guys might enjoy...all can be streamed from TIDAL.

Chick Corea Trio: Trilogy
Crosby & Nash: Another Stoney Evening
Chick Corea & Bela Fleck: Two (Live)
Al DiMeola: Friday Night in San Francisco
Dick Hyman: From the Age of Swing (Keith Johnson Reference Recording)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #111 - 03/24/17 at 01:14:58
 
Thanks Dave.  I will check those out tonight.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #112 - 04/01/17 at 19:34:45
 
Here is a playlist of some of my favorite "you are there" music:



I have my Tang Band OBs crossing about two feet in front of my face and the imaging/effect is outstanding.  

Another key is that I have built a custom head cushion for my Ikea listening chair that takes the place of the top cushion that normally blocks sound from the rear of the room.  Very nice.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #113 - 04/01/17 at 22:50:31
 
Pal...thanks for the list of music.  Hopefully I can add much of your playlist on TIDAL.

How important is the rear of the room in your experience?  Can the wrap around effect be achieved with sufficient distance from listening position to the rear wall?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #114 - 04/01/17 at 23:14:26
 
I think enough distance is important but it has been awhile since I tested having the chair closer to the rear wall.  I originally positioned my chair according to some formula I read.  Later I moved a little forward to avoid a bad bass spot.  Now with OBs the null is gone but I keep it there for soundstage depth.

So a long answer but I think so.  My rear wall also has fractal diffusers.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #115 - 04/02/17 at 16:56:46
 
Quote:
I originally positioned my chair according to some formula I read.


Palomino may be referring to the Thirds rule? Example: If your room is 21 feet long place the listening chair at approximately 14 feet (two thirds the distance) from the front wall with approximately 7 feet (one third) behind you to the rear wall. This is approximately how I have my main listening room set up since it's 22 feet long.

This worked well for me in the past when using Subwoofers since the Subs could produce somewhat muddy Bass near the room boundaries in some areas. Now that I'm augmenting the low end with twin Low Frequency Open Baffles There are virtually no low frequency Peaks or Nulls as Palomino states.



My second room is 12" X 12" with 8' ceiling and is untreated except for carpet. Basically I have intentionally set this room up to be my acoustic nightmare scenario for testing the Lo Frequency Open Baffles I've been building. Given the room dimensions I really have little choice but to sit up against the wall which was horrible when attempting to use a sub in this room (very muddy bass).

The Low Frequency OB's however just disappear in this room. Big, Full, Crisp sound throughout without a hint of mud. The best sound I've ever been able to produce in such a small room with no treatments.

DBC
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #116 - 04/02/17 at 23:43:18
 
Current room treatment models don't know what to do with a room opening up to an L behind the listening position.  At least from talking to the folks at GIK.

Nothing I have done in the rear of the room, in terms of room treatment, seem to make a noticeable difference.  In addition, I have talked to a few folks who have said that treating the front wall will be transformational (rear wall much less so).  That seems to be my experience so far too.  That said, I do need more treatments to continue my experimentation.  

Bass in the room is my biggest "problem" at the moment.  Bass is great at the listening position, but can be somewhat boomy elsewhere (I'm often not sitting in the sweet spot).  I tried a bunch of different positions with my sub, but didn't love any of them.  I ended up with the sub in the front right corner of the room, but it didn't solve my room issues.  Just better foundation at the sweet spot.  At some point I need to give OB bass a try.  

My listening position is currently 13' from the rear wall and 12' from the front wall.  That said, the speakers are only 5.5' from the listening position.  With my current treatment of the front wall, the ERRx's like to be pulled pretty far into the room.  

I am trying to get as close as possible to the wrap around experience Pal and LR refer to.  
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #117 - 04/03/17 at 21:31:18
 

Just for grins, try setting up your room to the rule of thirds.

Set the speakers up 1/3 in from the front wall, and setup your listening chair 1/3 in from the back wall. See how that sounds. You'll most likely have to completely re-deploy your sound treatments though as all your reflection points have changed drastically.  You might even find having diffusers directly to your left/right sounds pretty amazing (assuming you have enough space between you and them)

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #118 - 04/05/17 at 00:54:07
 
LR...I'm fairly certain that would push my wife over the edge.  She already thinks I have gone off the deep end with the current setup (in our living space).  

The ideal future would be to attain beautiful music with holographic imaging in an aesthetically pleasing, livable space, attainable by everyone, everywhere.  Break the tradeoff, and you have a breakthrough product.  

Physics, is, well, physics!  Could it be done with more sophisticated DSP models?  A room canceling algorithm?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #119 - 04/05/17 at 18:59:07
 

Yeah, sorry, I think in terms of dedicated rooms or "what If" experiments.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #120 - 04/05/17 at 21:08:24
 
LR, yeah, sorry, I jumped into an idealized state not possible (assumed) with current technology or, well, physics.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #121 - 04/05/17 at 21:17:51
 
Stepping back into reality...what do you guys think about a portable diffuser matrix that could be rolled in/setup directly behind the listening position?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #122 - 04/06/17 at 17:33:58
 

That's what the PI Audio diffusers are perfect for. They are white styro blocks that are CNC "hot wire" cut, and work amazingly well. I put a lightweight poplar box/frame around a pair of mine so I can carry them out and quickly easy setup or hang on a wall.  

I'll have photos of this eventually, but I need to break it down, sand and clear coat the wood, and touch up the damage to the paint and foam from 2 years of being moved around indiscriminately and going on tours to other people's houses.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #123 - 04/07/17 at 02:52:39
 
Thanks to this thread, I have made my first foray into room treatment.  I created two 2, 2 by 4 bass traps using FR703 and simply laid them down flat on top of the stereo rack behind my speakers.  Pretty nice improvement for 30 minutes of work and less than $150.  

Due to WAF, I am only going to be able to treat the front of the room using materials that are not going to draw attention to the treatments.

If I can find something that fits under my couch, I may try something to help,the room opening that is immediately to the right of one of my speakers.  Well worth the effort so far.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #124 - 04/07/17 at 16:41:39
 

I'm working on sound absorber panels with artwork (photos of tubes) screen printed on the cloth. I'll have some posted for sale eventually, but it will have to wait till after Axpona audio show when I have more time to devote to this.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #125 - 04/10/17 at 22:34:22
 
I decided to post the link to the new room I had Dennis build for me.  I finally have a room now that even Raven could live with:

http://www.acousticfields.com/dedicated-music-listening-room/
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #126 - 04/19/17 at 17:25:05
 
Yeah, I could be happy with that.  :)
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #127 - 04/19/17 at 20:49:27
 
Quote:I'm working on sound absorber panels with artwork (photos of tubes) screen printed on the cloth. I'll have some posted for sale eventually, but it will have to wait till after Axpona audio show when I have more time to devote to this.

Would love to see these.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #128 - 04/20/17 at 16:52:24
 

It's been in the works for ages - I keep thinking they'd make great Xmas gifts and try to have them done by November...then get derailed by personal stuff and next thing I know it's spring...kinda like right now! LOL

I hope to have more on this soon. I've already started setting up my photo booth for the intricate tube photos - unfortunately my box of vintage tubes with pristine logos had an accident, and I lost some of my best photo subjects. I *really* want to do all original photographs for this project.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #129 - 04/20/17 at 17:00:09
 
We'll have to try for another CDApS once things fall back into line for you.   Must.  Hear. Modded. Zen.  I'd also like to see the updated Raven's Multimedia lair.

Things are really sounding good for me now.  I have stopped fiddling for a while although I did make new power cords using - supposedly- Rhodium plugs and WE wire.  Big if on the Rhodium, but they look right and sound great.  I made them for the cottage system, but I will be keeping them here.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #130 - 04/20/17 at 17:36:19
 
Rhodium plating is what they use on white gold rings to bring back the luster - so I figure it's not much of a stretch to have Rhodium plated pins on plugs. Chinese shops are probably being hired to make them for big industry somewhere, and just churning some out on the side for someone's budget plugs.

According to Paul McG - it's really the cable that makes the big difference, assuming you have solid connections - the cable design is like a water filter at the end of all your pipes.

That said, I had already cut and started making an 8AWG Zen Styx power cord since I need to move my gear about 7' further away from my filtered plug. I'm having trouble finding plugs that can take 8AWG that I can actually afford! I'm almost tempted to just get quality industrial plugs made for high current 120v machines.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #131 - 04/20/17 at 18:09:50
 
Yeah, good luck on finding something "audiophile" that will take 8awg.  I have made PCs using the silver coated copper wire, but it was 10awg.

I didn't go looking for Rhodium per se, I just thought I would try some cheap plugs.  I saw the Rhodium on some cheapies and said, what the heck.  The plugs look like they have good surface contact area so that may be helping.

What does it for these cords is the WE wire.  The bass is not as full on my 16g version, but the timbre is great.  I actually made one of them a while ago but pulled it because I thought it was the source of some feedback.  I repurposed the plugs on it to another PC.  But it turned out to not be the source of the feedback so I got the new plugs.  

So I have two cords - one that is 16awg and one is 10awg.  Bass is fuller on the 10awg but not as musical.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #132 - 04/20/17 at 21:56:36
 

Even going through your Power Regen?


I think I'll swing by Meijer tonight and see what kind of plugs they have that I can use, that might fit the 8AWG. I don't think I have any 10AWG left even if I wanted to use it.

So much I want to do, just not enough time and funds.  :P
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #133 - 04/20/17 at 22:03:41
 
Yes, even with the P5 I can hear the difference in power cords.  Mostly tightens or loosens the bass, but being a secret bass-head I appreciate it.

I am going to put in the 10g in a few minutes to see if I experience the same increase in bass intensity but a little loss in focus that I did last time.

Rob heard this 16g cord and felt is was pretty decent.  His cord that day did not have synergy with my system at all.  I think it was a Triode Wire labs.  I know it sounds good on his system.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #134 - 04/22/17 at 01:49:44
 
GIK just added skyline diffusors to their line of products...

http://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gotham-n23-5-inch-quadratic-skyline-diffusor...

These would look pretty cool on the front wall!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #135 - 04/22/17 at 04:07:07
 
I was impressed by Gik at axpona last year.  Decent quality, cool styling and fair price.  I think they will be there this year as well.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #136 - 04/22/17 at 13:53:22
 
Just bookmarked GIK. I need to graduate from my poor man's acoustic treatment. Fair price Pal, yes!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #137 - 04/24/17 at 01:11:56
 
Wow, those are well done!
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #138 - 04/24/17 at 06:39:27
 
The GIK products look great aesthetically (and functionally), which seems like the typical sacrifice when committing to room treatments - at least from the majority of setups/products that I have seen.  

Their service seems pretty stellar.  Great online form with key questions to gather enough details to get as much or little room treatment advice based on your exact room.  It also has a section to upload photos.  I filled it out late Saturday night.  A gentlemen responded the next day and said someone will have the information in a day or two as to what they recommend for my room.  They asked some really good pointed questions to help cater their solutions to my room/equipment/sound issues.  They even asked how important aesthetics are, so that was comforting.  Not a hardline choice of form OR function.  

I am eager to see what they come back with.  This is the last step for me after several significant equipment upgrades.  My room is in dire need.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #139 - 04/28/17 at 08:15:38
 
see what your playlist did?  (note the time of post)

Great stuff.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #140 - 04/30/17 at 01:02:40
 
I got a nice compliment from my oldest son yesterday.  He ventured in to my room and wanted to have a listen.  He dies this from time to time.

He sat down and right away he said "wow, you have created quite the sound meditation chamber."

The room is sounding really good.

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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #141 - 05/02/17 at 18:31:51
 

Time for a meet? Maybe this Sunday? Or are you playing sailor?
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #142 - 05/02/17 at 18:57:32
 
Possibly.  I am playing lawn boy or deck refinisher -- depending on if it ever stops raining.
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Re: February CDApS Meeting
Reply #143 - 05/02/17 at 23:25:45
 
I'm pretty sure that it is going to rain for 40 days!
The creek is up, the pond is overflowing and the hayfield is a swamp.
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