My Session With Jim Smith
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  1. #1
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    My Session With Jim Smith

    Ever since I first read "Get Better Sound" by Jim Smith and put his procedures into practice, I've been a believer. I had always wanted to have Jim come and do a voicing, but I never kept a pair of speakers long enough to do so.

    So, just after getting my Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD's, I immediately thought of Jim. Jim was the distributor for Avantgarde for many years and has set up more pairs of Avantgarde speakers than anyone on the planet. Also, Jim is the only one to receive repeated standing ovations for his setup of Avantgarde's at CES many years ago. So the decision to hire Jim was a no brainer.

    Jim arrived at my house on Tuesday. Jim brings his equipment - DAC, cables, measuring equipment, etc. in multiple suitcases. After our initial greeting, Jim proceeded to plug in his DAC, cables and other equipment in order to get them warmed up for tomorrow's work. On Tuesday, we simply listened. Whatever I played was fine. Jim didn't say a word, he was quite stealthy in what he was thinking. He was simply processing information on what he was hearing. After a fun session of listening, we went for dinner along with Mark (MDP) and John Chait (a local audiophile friend).

    JIMSMITH6.JPG

    After a good nights sleep, Jim got to work early. Jim begins by connecting his DAC, cables, Laptop, software, etc. to my system and cycling through dozens and dozens of test tracks he brought. Sometimes he listens to 30 seconds, sometimes several minutes of a song, but many times, he goes back and listens to the same song over and over again to verify what he's hearing.

    Jim Smith5.JPG

    After about two hours, Jim moves to his next phase of the process: measurements. Out come the tripods, laptop, proper measuring equipment, microphones, etc. Jim begins measuring and analyzing the room. He is looking for the best place in the room to sit. Forget about the speakers for the meantime, where you sit in the room impacts EVERYTHING. Sometimes the best spot is not the most practical, but regardless, Jim will find the best spot that is the most practical. We were able to watch in real time as Jim moved microphones around and we achieved the best spot. It was amazing to see the dips and peeks change as we moved the microphone around to eventually achieving a relatively flat bass response for the best seat.

    Jim Smith 2.JPG

    Now we move the seat to the ideal location and listen again. Jim once again cycles through his songs and various test tracks.

    Next up, Jim gets out more tripods and his lasers. By the time he's done, my room looked like a scene from the Matrix. There were lasers pointing at lasers, pointing at lasers. Jim is all the while writing down detailed measurements of the room. He is trying to find the "center" and many more data points.

    Jim Smith1.JPG

    After that, we move the speakers to a location based on Jim's instructions and we use the lasers to ensure accuracy within 1/64 inch or less! In my case, the speakers were moved a little closer together and moved closer to the listener (since the ideal listening spot was back from where I originally had the chair). Once done, we listen, we measure and we listen more. We fine tune the speakers locations. We also fine tuned the rake angle of the speakers. For several hours, we are making minor tweaks.

    At this point, we have achieved a huge improvement in sound. My initial thought as I sat there listening was "I don't hear the room anymore". We had amazing depth, nuances in songs were jumping out where before they were hidden. We had pinpoint imaging and vocals were the right size. We also had layering and layering in terms of soundstage. Jim's efforts produced sonic improvements greater than any new amp, preamp, cable, DAC, etc. COMBINED.

    Jim Smith3.JPG

    In most cases, Jim would have been done, but not so with the Avantgarde XD's. Using the PEQ functionality of the speaker, now we could really fine tune the speaker to the room. For the next several hours, we measured, adjusted, listened, measured, adjusted, etc. until we achieved yet another level of improvement: perfect integration of the speaker into the room using the Avantgarde XD's new PEQ functionality.

    As we approached early evening, we were done and Jim was pleased. I was delighted! The sound had improved 10 fold. Mark (MDP) was with me and witnessed the entire setup from Jim. Jim is focused, methodical and determined to achieve perfection. He does not stop for lunch or take a break. He gets into the zone and keeps going until he achieves perfection.

    Hiring Jim smith was the best money I have ever spent in high end audio. The investment you make in Jim pales in comparison to the money we spend on a pair of speaker cables or new interconnects.

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you invest in a proper setup by Jim Smith. You won't know just how good your system can be until you do. That, I can guarantee.

    Jim Smith4.JPG
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: AAvik Electronics, Aurender, Ansuz Cables, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Bryston, Chord, Crystal Cable, Dali Loudspeakers, Entreq, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Loudspeakers, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Gryphon Audio, iFi Audio, ISO Acoustics, KEF, Kimber Kable, KLAudio, KR Audio, Kronos, Lampizator, Lumin, Magico Loudspeakers, Manley Labs, Melco Audio, MicroMega, M2Tech, Ortofon, Pass Labs, PlayBack Designs, PS Audio, Quadraspire, Raidho Loudspeakers, Rega Turntables, REL Acoustics, Shunyata Research, Siltech, Small Green Computer Company, Solid Tech Racks, Sonoma Acoustics, SOtM, SRA, Straight Wire, Stillpoints, T+A, Tannoy Loudspeakers, Transfiguration Cartridges, Trenner & Friedl, Triode Corporation of Japan, VAC, Vandersteen Speakers, Vicoustics, Vitus Audio, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WyWyres Cables, ZYX Cartridges.

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  2. #2
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    After reading Jim Smith's book "Get Better Sound" twice I hired Jim to come out to Chicago about a year ago.

    My results mirror yours. It is the best money I ever spent. Jim has set up more high end systems than anyone else I am aware of. He did an outstanding job for me.
    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

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  4. #3
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Mike.......Sounds like a rewarding event that produce excellent results. Thanks for all the photos. I like what you have done with the Wavewood and curved panels on the ceiling angles. I also have Jim's book and have learned much from many of his techniques.
    Dan

    STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, PurePower 2000, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario

    LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC452, MR85, Olive 04HD, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113

    VINTAGE - McIntosh MA230, Tandberg 3011A tuner, Olive 04HD, JBL 4312A

  5. Thanks Mike, dimfer thanked for this post
  6. #4
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    That's pretty interesting Mike. Reminds me of when I had my TV calibrated, the before and after difference was amazing. Obviously, changing speakers will affect the setup, but did you get any idea as to how adding/removing furniture, or making other changes, will affect the setup.

    I just ordered the book. Used copies are selling for twice the price of new on Amazon. LOL.
    Bud

    Lumin S1
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    Shunyata Z Anaconda XLR analog ICs, Z Anaconda speaker cables
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    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.

  7. #5
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Mike, great choice with getting Jim to do your set up. I've learnt a whole heap from his book & dvds

  8. #6
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Brilliant, thanks for the write up Mike and congratulations on the sound improvements.

    Interesting to read of the melt between objective measurements and subjective listening.

    IF audiophiles were capable of finding the best place in the room to place their listening chair - they could save thousands in equipment upgrades - the benefit of which is largely masked by poor room acoustics.

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  10. #7
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Great writeup, Mike, thx for sharing! Interesting stuff.


    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi_1282001 View Post
    Brilliant, thanks for the write up Mike and congratulations on the sound improvements.

    Interesting to read of the melt between objective measurements and subjective listening.



    IF audiophiles were capable of finding the best place in the room to place their listening chair - they could save thousands in equipment upgrades - the benefit of which is largely masked by poor room acoustics.
    Totally agree!


    Allen

    Speakers: Magico S7
    Amp: CH Precision A1
    Preamp: Trinity Preamp
    Phono: Trinity Phono
    TT: Kronos Sparta, Helena arm, Airtight PC-1
    Cables: Various: Nordost, Shunyata, Unity Audio, Ansuz



  11. #8
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Thanks Mike for sharing that experience. One question , why did Jim bring HIS DAC ? I thought you had a decent dac.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE ,Bryston BCD-1, Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e22. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen HT: GE Triton 2's, Denon4311, OPPO105.,

  12. #9
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Thanks Mike for sharing that experience. One question , why did Jim bring HIS DAC ? I thought you had a decent dac.
    Ah! Good question! Because he knows EXACTLY how his DAC sounds.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: AAvik Electronics, Aurender, Ansuz Cables, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Bryston, Chord, Crystal Cable, Dali Loudspeakers, Entreq, Esoteric, FirstWatt, Focal Loudspeakers, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Gryphon Audio, iFi Audio, ISO Acoustics, KEF, Kimber Kable, KLAudio, KR Audio, Kronos, Lampizator, Lumin, Magico Loudspeakers, Manley Labs, Melco Audio, MicroMega, M2Tech, Ortofon, Pass Labs, PlayBack Designs, PS Audio, Quadraspire, Raidho Loudspeakers, Rega Turntables, REL Acoustics, Shunyata Research, Siltech, Small Green Computer Company, Solid Tech Racks, Sonoma Acoustics, SOtM, SRA, Straight Wire, Stillpoints, T+A, Tannoy Loudspeakers, Transfiguration Cartridges, Trenner & Friedl, Triode Corporation of Japan, VAC, Vandersteen Speakers, Vicoustics, Vitus Audio, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WyWyres Cables, ZYX Cartridges.

    www.suncoastaudio.com
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  13. #10
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    Re: My Session With Jim Smith

    Mike,

    First of all, I'm glad you are very happy with the setup. I know that room has given you a hard time acoustically to set equipment in the past.

    I spoke with Mark on Friday and he was blown away by the transformation.

    I'll be visiting Tampa in May and hope to come over and listen to your system. Now, the question, will you still have this speakers then?

    Glad that you are happy with the results Mike. Clearly a super endorsement for Jim Smith.
    Last edited by MDP; November 9, 2015 at 10:05 AM.
    _______________

    Mike

 

 
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