Jim Smith @ My House - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Thanks Jim. I'm looking forward to your next post.

  2. #32
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith_W View Post
    Thanks Jim. I'm looking forward to your next post.
    I think we have enough Aussies to share Jim's airfare downunder
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  4. #33
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Looking forward to reading more about this.

  5. #34
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Mark Powers RoomPlay description -

    After arriving at Mark’s on Saturday morning, Nov. 5, I brought in my equipment while leaving my car running, finally unloading my DAC, which had been powered up in the car (12-120V adaptor) during the drive to his place from mine. Took it into the house quickly & powered it up in less than a minute. Prior to the 2-hour drive, it had been on for 24 hours or so at my demo room. As requested, his system was warmed up.

    FWIW – IMO, a DAC, CD player, or other digital signal-processing device should be left on 24/7. Not sure why, but I’ve assumed that the digital circuitry needs to reach some kind of thermal equilibrium. I have also found that they will sound better if they have also been processing a signal for at least an hour or so.

    However, for initial evaluation, I am listening to obvious room/system anomalies. Musical refinement is not yet an issue.

    About the system I was working on - Mark has a Classe’ CP800 preamp, Hegel H30 amp, Revel Ultima Salon 2 speakers, REL S2 subs, Kimber ICs & Speaker Cables. He has a bunch of other cool stuff (that I didn’t address) in his system as well.

    Mark and his lovely wife Susan have a fairly large/open living/listening area, one end of which backs up into their kitchen. That area is behind his listening seat/sofa.

    After pleasantries (hey, it’s gotta happen, as Mark is one of those especially nice people), first thing up was to evaluate his system using my tried-and-true playlist.

    When I had completed listening to a number of the cuts (all of which I know intimately), I was able to give him an evaluation of his system. I have found that when the client has Salon 2’s, if they are set up well (sadly, not at all common), it’s hard to fault their sheer musicality. In that respect they beat out some more costly speakers that deliver greater detail and other sought after ‘audiophile sound effects’.

    Mark’s system was above the average sound quality that I encounter when initially hearing my RoomPlay clients’ systems. But we still had significant issues.

    His system sounded a bit smeared for my taste, lacking focus and definitely lacking the proper sense of presence. We had some boomy mid-bass and the bottom octave was weak. The sound was slightly soft on the top end as well.

    Please understand that my description above is actually pretty mild compared to many systems I encounter initially.

    Additionally, there were audible room reflections, rendering ultimate clarity less than desirable. The effect on solo voices was especially disturbing. I have taken the stance for a long time that “the silence between the notes” is critical to our musical enjoyment. It is not my original thought however, as many famous composers and performers said the same thing well before I ever thought of it…

    After I discussed what I was hearing, and my proposed solutions, Mark was all in.

    Since I am still a bit depleted physically & mentally from my recent voicing session, I think it is best to describe our next steps tomorrow, by which time I expect to recovered and refreshed.

    Thanks again for your patience!
    MBP (2), stripped down for music only; Curious USB; PS Audio LanRover; Audioquest Diamond ethernet; REGEN w/short Curious USB links; Berkeley Alpha USB; Audioquest Diamond AES; Schiit Yggdrasil; Ayre QB-9 DSD; Ayre Codex; ASR Emitter II Exclusive; all electronics on Grand Prix Audio stands; mass-loaded Tannoy Canterburys on custom stands; Outboard Duelund xover bypassing internal Tannoy xover & Tannoy EQ; bi-wired with Duelund DCA16GA speaker cables; mass-loaded REL 212 SEs; Duelund DCA20GA ICs; Stealth Dream PCs; dedicated custom room; various room treatments; etc.

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  6. #35
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Thank Jim, looking forward to your next installment.
    Paul

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    Speakers: Von Schweikert VR-5 Anniversary MK II Front L/R, LCR-35 Center, VR-1 Rear L/R Sub: JL Audio F113
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  7. #36
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
    Mark Powers RoomPlay description -

    I have taken the stance for a long time that “the silence between the notes” is critical to our musical enjoyment. It is not my original thought however, as many famous composers and performers said the same thing well before I ever thought of it…
    Jim, love you descriptions. Very much looking forward to your next installment.
    Le Roy

    Austin, Tx : Soulution 520 preamp, 501 mono blocks, 541 SACD/560 DAC w/ Network Streaming, Raidho D3.1, Lumin U1, Lampi Big 7 SE, Uptone Audio Modded Mac Mini w/ MMK fanless kit & JS-2 LPS, Regen, Ansuz Diamond Loom, Oppo 105D, QNAP TS-451+

    Chicagoland : Soulution 725 preamp, 711 stereo amp, 541 SACD/560 DAC w/ Network Streaming, Raidho D5.1, Naim UnitiServe 2TB, Ansuz d-tc Loom (complete), Teac X1000 R2R, QNAP TS-451+

    Foundation:
    Raidho Rack system, Ansuz (3) Mainz D8 Distribution, 20 amp dedicated outlets via subpanel

  8. #37
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
    FWIW – IMO, a DAC, CD player, or other digital signal-processing device should be left on 24/7. Not sure why, but I’ve assumed that the digital circuitry needs to reach some kind of thermal equilibrium. I have also found that they will sound better if they have also been processing a signal for at least an hour or so.
    This has been attributed to the internal clocks needing a little time to warm up to sound their best. John Swenson mentioned on CA that it could be about 20 hours in some DACs although I will need to look up that number. And as you said, just leaving it on doesn't count - some signal running is needed.

    Regards.

    W10 Transport + JRiver MC 22 or HQPlayer | Audiocadabra Optimus USB | Goldmund Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

  9. #38
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    My experience has been that solid state electronics take more time to warm up than tube based electronics. Don't know where this 20 hrs time is derived from but I also read somewhere that it could take as long as 48 hrs for crystal to settle in. I leave my DAC/Streamer/PC running 24x7.

  10. #39
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Mark Powers RoomPlay description, continued –

    Contrary to what I often see and hear, the critical issue to ALWAYS ADDRESS FIRST when voicing a system to the room is the one that most obviously affects the musical dynamics. Until it is as good as it can be, the music will never have as much impact as is possible. That area is the bass - in the boundary dependent region – from 25-250 Hz or so. We are not looking for the deepest bass – although it is nice when it all comes together – we are looking for the smoothest bass.

    Note – this issue is hardly ever about the speakers. It’s about the room and how it plays with the speakers. When you encounter a loss of smoothness from various frequency response peaks and/or dips in the boundary dependent region (25-250 Hz), it’s nearly always related to room resonances, unless the loudspeaker is somehow defective.

    In case you haven’t seen or heard me say this before – it is relatively unimportant to move your speakers about until you find out what listening position in the room has the smoothest bass. This is about the room and working with it rather than against it.

    Unless you are very lucky (or you knew to do it), chances are that you are not sitting in the best position in the room. I wrote about this aspect at length in some recent Copper magazine articles. Here is the most relevant excerpt:

    "The Anchor – establishing your listening position first

    Last issue, I said the negative effects resulting from not addressing this critical issue simply cannot be overstated.” Basically, our mission is to find the best location/listening position for the smoothest bass in our acceptable listening area (‘acceptable’ due to restraints in décor).

    Of course, if you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated room, and thus you have even more placement (listening & system position) flexibility, it’s even better. Either way, we want to work with our room, not against it (you will hear this statement again & again as I believe that this is critical if we are to enjoy any significant success in getting our music systems to reach a higher, more musically involving level).

    Two proven techniques to achieve the smoothest bass response from our main full-range speakers:

    1- Play a recording that has bass notes that are rising or falling in frequency – or various bass notes in a complex tune – that have approximately the same volume. Last issue, Paul (McGowan) suggested music from Brian Bromberg’s Wood. That’s a good one – I also like his Wood II.

    While the cut is playing, your mission is to listen through a chosen musical section, then move forward and backwards in the room – each time listening to the same selection of music – in what could be an acceptable listening area. Whenever possible, using a lightweight seat that you can easily move so that you can listen at a seated position – which will give a bit more accurate results.

    Walking around can work, but it won’t be as accurate due to vertical standing wave issues. I would suggest not moving more than a foot forwards or backwards before listening to the selection again. The bass will change in its character. You are listening for the smoothest rendition – no notes booming away or almost missing. This is NOT about the deepest bass. We want the main speakers to have no obvious peaks and/or dips in the 25-250 Hz region. When you locate the position that has the smoothest overall reproduction, that is the place where you will locate your seat for serious listening and definitely for your speaker/room tuning.

    As I said in Issue #17, moving your speakers about is important but it is of relatively small importance until you know where in the room you should listen because the bass is smoothest in that listening area. Then, once you have located that position, you can make other adjustments to speaker location without detrimental effects to the overall bass response smoothness… This is why I call the results of this step the Anchor Position. Once you have found it, then you can work on all else – presence, tone, etc…

    2- These days, one can obtain a RTA (real time analyzer) or RTA app for very little expense and sometimes none at all. Why would you want to use one? Most certainly not for measuring your system’s overall response, and most certainly not for ultimate tuning of your system.

    The RTA is great to have because it can save you a lot of time, compared to listening at a number of locations in the room. Although I have an expensive pro analyzer, the latest crop of apps (some free!) for phones and laptops make it easy to acquire and use one. You don’t need to have a technical background to use it at all.

    The inexpensive-yet-more-than-accurate-enough app I use these days is AudioTools from Studio Six Digital. It is exclusively for iPhones & iPads. It cost me $19.95. All I ever use from this suite of tools is the RTA and the SPL (sound pressure level) loudness meter. Although it’s not necessary for our mission, you can purchase a calibrated microphone for your iPhone 5 or 6 or recent iPad from Studio Six/Audio Control for around $200. Their iTest mic has software that automatically calibrates that mic to the iOS device intended for it. I checked it against my much more expensive RTA rig, and it was almost exactly the same!

    There are loads of RTA/SPL apps for operating systems other than Apple. Taking the time to find one on the Internet that you can use will be time well spent.

    Note – at this point, it’s useful to determine what the ambient noise level is in your room. You can measure that with the SPL app. Set it on flat weighting if available. (NEVER on 'A') Measure from the existing listening position.

    Once you determine how loud the room’s ambient noise level is, you want to be sure to run the pink nose about 20 dB over that level, so as to be certain that the measurements you will take will not be polluted by ambient room (or outside) noise levels.

    Now, what you’ll do is simply play pink noise (equal loudness per octave – same as music). There are numerous resources for obtaining pink noise. The Audio Tools app supposedly has a pink noise source, but I have never tried it. (Set it on flat weighting if possible - NEVER on 'A")

    We only want to look at third octaves in the 25-250 Hz band. They are 25, 32, 40, 50, 63, 80, 125, 160, 200, & 250 Hz. Be sure to maintain the mic height at or near seated ear height when measuring. If it is higher, then you may encounter other anomalies in the bass related to the vertical room dimension. Starting at the current listening seat position, slowly move the RTA forwards & backwards and you will see various third octave frequencies rise & fall. You are looking at the room’s effects on your system. Obviously, we want to work with the room, rather than against it.

    Hint – systems in rooms – from 25-250 Hz – almost never look good. The fact is – all of the rooms of the size that we might use in our homes will have problems. We simply want to locate the area where the problems are less objectionable.

    Regardless of which technique you employ, you will have located the spot in the room where you will listen. If you then have to move the speakers a fair amount due to the resulting listening position, the bass smoothness is not likely to change very much. That’s because of the room dimensions, which do not change. Congrats! You are working with, rather than against, the room! However, at this point it is worth a listen to music to see if you want to adjust the seat slightly – a few inches forward or backward – to make the bass even better."

    Here is a link to the article quoted above -

    http://www.psaudio.com/article/locat...tion-location/

    Back at Mark’s

    Using the above technique to locate the Anchor Position at Mark’s, it was apparent that we needed to move the sofa back. I found a location where the issues with the bass had smoothed out.

    Except that now we were beginning to impinge on the open area behind the sofa and the kitchen island/counter area. So we called the Boss. After explaining what we found, Susan reluctantly-but-nicely agreed to move the sofa to that position.

    At this point, my concern wasn’t so much for musical harmony at it was for marital harmony. So we suggested a compromise location – about 18” further forward from our preferred listening location, but still well back from the original location.

    In this location, the bass had a more pronounced peak at 100 Hz, but not as strong as it had at the original seating position. And the 25 Hz region was still diminished, only not as much. All of the other bass frequencies were nicely smoothed out, with no obvious peaks or dips.

    If you have a peak at a room-dependent bass frequency, the excess bass (and sometimes even boominess) will override/obscure the music that the performer and recording engineer meant for you to experience. Put simply, it causes a reduction in dynamic range.

    IMO – dynamics is a – if not the major - contributor to your engagement with the music and its message. Also suck-outs in that region (still related to room resonances) will reduce the dynamic range. As far as the listener is concerned, the diminishing effect on musical involvement is about the same.

    Once we have located the best listening position (usually through experimenting with front-to-back locations, but sometimes off-center as well – if the room is wide enough), we can begin to voice the speakers to the room.

    Sheesh, this turning out to be a LOT longer than I thought...

    In the interest of time and space, and respect for Mike’s awesome AudioShark Forum, we’ll pick up tomorrow on the next part.
    MBP (2), stripped down for music only; Curious USB; PS Audio LanRover; Audioquest Diamond ethernet; REGEN w/short Curious USB links; Berkeley Alpha USB; Audioquest Diamond AES; Schiit Yggdrasil; Ayre QB-9 DSD; Ayre Codex; ASR Emitter II Exclusive; all electronics on Grand Prix Audio stands; mass-loaded Tannoy Canterburys on custom stands; Outboard Duelund xover bypassing internal Tannoy xover & Tannoy EQ; bi-wired with Duelund DCA16GA speaker cables; mass-loaded REL 212 SEs; Duelund DCA20GA ICs; Stealth Dream PCs; dedicated custom room; various room treatments; etc.

    www.getbettersound.co;

  11. #40
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    Re: Jim Smith @ My House

    Thanks Jim! Lots of good stuff for me to start working with. Looking forward to your next post.
    Paul

    l


    Speakers: Von Schweikert VR-5 Anniversary MK II Front L/R, LCR-35 Center, VR-1 Rear L/R Sub: JL Audio F113
    Amps:McIntosh MC452, MC207 Preamp: McIntosh c2500 Turntable: VPI HR-X 12.7 TONEARM (2) and SDS
    Cartridges: Lyra Helikon Stereo and Mono Digital Source: Oppo BDP-83SE NuForce Edition DAC: Anedio D2
    SSP: Marantz AV8801 Cables: Wireworld Electra 7 (P) Wireworld Eclipse 7 (I) Wireworld Eclipse 6 and 7 Biwired (S)

 

 
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