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  1. #1
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    A Day With Jim Smith

    A couple of weeks ago I booked a RoomPlay Reference session with Jim Smith at his home in the Atlanta area.

    Get Better Sound - RoomPlay

    I have to say it was an experience like I've never had before. Jim's expertise in room setup is well known in the audio community. I had purchased his book and DVD, "Get Better Sound", a couple of years back. And it has been a vital tool in helping me set up my own system.

    As some here know, I have moved to a new home in Georgia. It's much different than my house in Texas, room wise. The new home has a VERY open floor plan. And it's also a much livelier room than my old room. Susan and I like to have our system in our main living room, instead of a dedicated room, because we love to listen to music and enjoy a cocktail while I prep and then cook dinner. It's the way we love to live each day. This room is a challenging room to set up. But I feel much better about how it sounds now after spending the day at Jim's place.

    When I arrived a Jim's, we sat and talked a while about various things. He explained his thoughts on setup, and the things he listens for when setting up room. He explained the 3 things he listens for. Dynamics,Presence, and Tonality.
    We then entered his listening room for my session. He proceeded to play selected tracks to highlight each of the" Holy Trinity", my words not his. I truly have never heard a system do the things that his did. It was absolutely amazing.
    We all talk about how a speaker disappears, but I never experienced it to this degree. It was so spooky that in the first few moments I started to giggle uncontrollably. Simply amazing.
    The best part of the session was that I learned what to listen for in my own system, and it has helped me immensely.

    I'm now confident that I can make my new room sound the way I want to. But I still am going to have Jim come to my house and tune my system to my room. If I can get half of what I experienced at his place, I will be thrilled to death.

    Jim, if I made any errors about your thoughts, please chime in.
    Mark

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  2. #2
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Thanks for the write up! I would love to have Jim come to my house to tweak things. I love his approach.
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  3. #3
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Mark.......Very interesting. I also have Jim's book and have taken advantage of a number of his suggestions while setting up and dialing in my two channel system in the studio. There is much to be gained from putting Jim's knowledge to good use.
    Dan

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  4. #4

    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    I would love to have Jim optimize my speaker position. I spent quite a bit of time dialing my speakers in, but still feel I'm leaving something on the table. Bet Jim can get that last few %'s that's missing...


    Allen

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  5. #5
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Sounds like a great time Mark!
    Jock

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  6. #6
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Very cool, Mark, and thanks for sharing. I too have his book and DVD and have learned a lot from them. My current project has been getting my electrical plugs in proper phase and polarity based on his advice.
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  7. #7

    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Mark...thx for sharing. Hope you get the system dialed in as you want in the new place and since he will be coming to your house, sounds like he should be able to get them to sing when it's all said and done.
    Cyril
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  8. #8
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    This is fantastic Mark! When is Jim coming over to your house? Can't wait to hear the results when we visit in December.

    Keep us posted!
    _______________

    Mike

  9. #9

    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Mark, I too have Jims book & dvd they are top notch & look forward to your update on this thread.

  10. #10
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Pretty cool Mark. Sounds like a wonderful experience.
    Chris

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  11. #11
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by JJinID View Post
    Very cool, Mark, and thanks for sharing. I too have his book and DVD and have learned a lot from them. My current project has been getting my electrical plugs in proper phase and polarity based on his advice.
    When we built the new house, my guy set up my dedicated lines in phase also. He said it really makes a difference.
    Mark

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  12. #12
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritmo View Post
    This is fantastic Mark! When is Jim coming over to your house? Can't wait to hear the results when we visit in December.

    Keep us posted!

    Jim's wife is going through some medical issues, so it will most likely be some time in October.
    Mark

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  13. #13

    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Mark- glad you had a great time and look forward to hearing about what happens when Jim shows up at your house.
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  14. #14
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by MDP View Post
    When I arrived a Jim's, we sat and talked a while about various things. He explained his thoughts on setup, and the things he listens for when setting up room. He explained the 3 things he listens for. Dynamics,Presence, and Tonality.

    Jim, if I made any errors about your thoughts, please chime in.
    Hi Mark,

    As you mentioned, when voicing, my goals are primarily to address Dynamics, Presence, and Tone. Of course there are other considerations, but these are ultimately what I have found to yield the greatest improvement in musical involvement.

    Although most of the usual 'audiophile sound effects' (that we all sometimes listen for) do materialize at a high level, I do not voice to achieve them.

    I will add one thing - I call the sum of these goals Realistic Stage Presence. If the above three are maximized, then Realistic Stage Presence is a given. I've never had a client for whom we were able to achieve this level of Stage Presence who didn't become much more deeply involved in his or her music.

    I could go on and on, but instead, I will just say thanks for your kind comments!

    Best,

    Jim
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  15. #15
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Hi Jim,
    A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of attending your Room Play session in your original location and before your Dueland
    crossovers. I hope to come hear your new setup some time...

    Everyone else, Jim is a very gracious host and a true source of great knowledge. Use him if you can!
    Tannoy Canterbury SE's, Nottingham Analog Studio Space 294/12"Anna arm/Grado Gold1, Ah! Njoe Toeb 4000, MF M1DAC, AVA Transcendance 8+ pre,
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  16. #16
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Thanks for sharing Mark! I didn't know the guy but I have ordered the book and DVD's
    Hans

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  17. #17
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    I've had the pleasure of hearing Jim's system and it was one of the best systems I ever heard.

    I also had him voice my system (about 3 speakers ago) and it was a great investment. I learned a lot. Highly recommended!
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  18. #18
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by madfloyd View Post
    I've had the pleasure of hearing Jim's system and it was one of the best systems I ever heard.

    I also had him voice my system (about 3 speakers ago) and it was a great investment. I learned a lot. Highly recommended!
    Ian, I agree, Jim's system is just fantastic to hear. If I can get just half of what I heard at his house it will be worth every penny.
    Mark

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  19. #19
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Mark ,thanks for posting some time back you and i discussed Jim's approach to system set up. Its great to see that this truly works.
    since I moving to DFW, i am in the process of buying a home and working on dedicated lines that are in phase ( new learning curve) chime in on this with
    any helpful knowledge. I am sure that the new home will need to be check for the amount of amp usage first before adding breakers and lines into a room.
    thanks again.
    Kevin

  20. #20
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    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    I had Jim Smith out to my Chicago land residence just about 12 months ago. Jim was very methodical in speaker placement once he arrived.

    Before his arrival to my residence he encouraged me to slide my big monster speakers to different walls to hear the differences. "But Jim I protested, my super deluxe speaker cables won't reach that far."

    Jim was very insistent about this approach. He encouraged me to go to Home Depot and get a roll of stock speaker wire. Because the best speaker cables ever made won't overcome the laws of physics. Read: best speaker position in your room. So I went thru the exercise of moving the speakers 90 degrees of "my most optimal" position and also 180 degrees to were I had them. This was an eye opening exercise.

    Once Jim arrived he was very deliberate in his approach. He took critical measurements at the listening position. We put tape on the floor and started to zero in on the best listening chair position and speaker locations. He was very careful about the measurements. When he left there was spike tape on the floor to preserve his work.

    I've learned that you can have the best equipment in the world and it doesn't matter one whit unless the room is right.

    A big step up in sound quality was achieved after Jim's visit. Investing in Jim's visit was a worthwhile and rewarding experience.

    Another takeaway from reading Jim's book "Get Better Sound" for my Austin residence was getting the rack out from the middle of the speakers! It interferes with the imaging of the speakers.
    Le Roy

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  21. #21

    Re: A Day With Jim Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by MacFly View Post
    Mark ,thanks for posting some time back you and i discussed Jim's approach to system set up. Its great to see that this truly works.
    since I moving to DFW, i am in the process of buying a home and working on dedicated lines that are in phase ( new learning curve) chime in on this with
    any helpful knowledge. I am sure that the new home will need to be check for the amount of amp usage first before adding breakers and lines into a room.
    thanks again.
    My recommendations: install a whole house surge protector, install a ground filter, install an isolation transformer, then feed all your equipment off that isolation transformer. Isolation transformer should be sized based on system requirements.

    If you go to my blog there are some good articles What is whole room power conditioning? and the power and grounding primer.

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A Day With Jim Smith

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