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bblesser
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Choose to become an aural architect

Most audiophiles focus on the best possible sound system configured exactly as recommended. But there are several unexamined assumptions when trying to achieve these goals. Sound reproduction, like gourmet food, interior design, musical traditions, and automobiles have always been a matter of taste.

We sometimes hear the assertion that sound should be reproduced exaclty as intended by the manufactuer or professional expert. In the case of surround sound, however, there is no objective truth because the spatial experience is very dependent on the listening environment, which is controlled by the user, not the equipment designer. Hence, regardless of our goals, we are always functioning as aural architects.

In order to understand the issues involved in creating a sound experience at home, one must place these choices into the context of aural architecture. Throughout history, cultures have experimented with multi-media audio-visual experiences, beginning with cave art in pre-history.

If you want to understand the larger picture, take a look at my recent book, Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture. You can get more information at the web site www.SpacesSpeak.com where you can find podcasts, articles, reviews, discussions, and several chapters for downloading.

Liberate yourselves from "truth" to become an aural artist!

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Thanks for posting that link. I'll definitely check it out when I get a chance.

- Jeff

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

I like to make the sound flat and neutral with ERS Paper and Magix levitation feet, and then I add some coloration with the silver plated Valhalla cables because the sacrifice in resolution with Valhalla isn't as big as with different isolation feet.

I make the transients thinner and faster with modified Nordost Valhalla cables, there is lack of bass but then I boost up the bass with PS Audio's MWave4 setting (P300 Power Plant with MultiWaveII). MWave4 also has the most low-level detail out of all the settings.
I tried the new Premier Power Plant but since it didn't have the MWave4 setting it didn't work good with Valhalla cables. I went back to P300 Power Plant and modified it instead... Bass transients are crazy fast now.

If you add coloration somewhere in the system you need to compensate for it elsewhere to get synergy.

CECE
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Sounds way too complicated...get better speakers, more watts...leave all that hocus pocus to the magicans out on the street. Synergize this, move that over hear, you're spenading a lot on voodo power supply stuff. What amps and speakers are you using?

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Sounds way too complicated...get better speakers, more watts...leave all that hocus pocus to the magicans out on the street. Synergize this, move that over hear, you're spenading a lot on voodo power supply stuff. What amps and speakers are you using?

More watts gives worse sound in my experience. Less watts sounds cleaner and more transparent for all the gear. More watts makes it muddy and edgy, but since it gives synergy it's hard to hear the lack of resolution.

For the transport more watts just increases jitter. I underclocked the CPU of my computer and got smoother and cleaner sound. But when my system was muddy, I preferred a jittery transport because it gave better synergy.

I'm using AKG K1000 earspeakers and ICEpower amp (PS Audio GCC-100). I believe the wattage draw is in the single digits.

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:

Quote:
Sounds way too complicated...get better speakers, more watts...leave all that hocus pocus to the magicans out on the street. Synergize this, move that over hear, you're spenading a lot on voodo power supply stuff. What amps and speakers are you using?

More watts gives worse sound in my experience. Less watts sounds cleaner and more transparent for all the gear. More watts makes it muddy and edgy, but since it gives synergy it's hard to hear the lack of resolution.

For the transport more watts just increases jitter. I underclocked the CPU of my computer and got smoother and cleaner sound. But when my system was muddy, I preferred a jittery transport because it gave better synergy.

I'm using AKG K1000 earspeakers and ICEpower amp (PS Audio GCC-100). I believe the wattage draw is in the single digits.

So, as the Watts approach zero, the sound approaches cleaner/clearer acoustic reproduction (fidelity), but the synergy between system components is decreased?

Marvelous. Simply marvelous. I'm going to try to listen to my music with the HiFi system's power off from now on. Then I won't have to worry about either synergy or jitter, since that will eliminate both at once!

I'll tell you what though, more watts always feels better when I stick my tongue into the electrical outlet... Talk about synergy. I simply explode with all of that "foot tapping" kinetic energy moving through me. I even hear cleaner/clearer music for about an hour afterwards! What sweet, sweet music. That will get anyone's foot tapping again, even if they just had a heart attack in the last 7 or 8 minutes (after 8 minutes, the chances are that they are brain dead, in which case their foot probably won't tap, though it is still possible that it might). The cool thing is, your formula is still correct, it will create more synergy at the cost of greater jitter.

BTW, I'm J/K (Just Kidding). Don't try anything in this post at home!

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
So, as the Watts approach zero, the sound approaches cleaner/clearer acoustic reproduction (fidelity),


If you have a different nuclear power plant powering each component then the extra watts doesn't matter as much because the noise from the components don't interfere with each other.

You could also add a filter between the components but it sacrifices a lot of dynamics. I had a filter (Ultimate Outlet) between P300 Power Plant and wall, I thought it made it better but it just made it worse in every way, everything was quiet and dull (it gave the illusion of "decay continuing forever") and I needed to compensate for it by adding jitter with the transport.

Also, the more watts the amp takes, the bigger the vibration and EMI will be, and it interferes with other components inside the chassis and outside it. The vibration of the AC cables matter also... The less watts the better.

Even with my low wattage gear I got huge improvements when moving the transformers out from the chassis and separately isolating them from vibrations. I added many times longer cabling in order to do that, and it still made the biggest improvement I have ever heard. Nordost cabling is great because they don't sacrifice much resolution...


Quote:
, but the synergy between system components is decreased?


High wattage makes the amp itself sound muddy (or "warm") because it has a bigger power supply and longer signal path which reduces transparency. The extra load from the AC line reduces a little dynamics as well. So you need to compensate for it by adding edginess to the sound with AC connectors, RCA connectors, binding posts, fuses etc. which is what most audiophiles like to do.

There are many combinations how you can color the sound. You can add EMI into the system which covers up the frequency extremes, but you can compensate for it with isolation feet which emphasize different frequencies. Getting synergy is very difficult if everything is colored. The simple way is to fix all the problems and you get perfect synergy automatically.

For over a year I used a twice more expensive Krell KAV-500i power amp which used 200 watts even with my headphones, synergy was great and I didn't think anything was wrong, until I tried an ICEpower amp which I only bought to save electricity. I got bad synergy from it and for a year I needed to tweak my system to fix the problems that the new amp revealed. The muddiness from the Krell amp was hiding all those problems.

Now I need to warm-up the system for a week until it properly reveals my transport so I can tweak it. When I make a change to my transport I need to warm it up for 3 days until I can hear the improvements. Cold capacitors cover up all the low-level details with smooth and dull openness which is hard to hear because the synergy is still good. When you turn off the power to the capacitors for a few minutes they need to be burned in again.

For the transport, you need a different power supply for each component, otherwise you get edginess from jitter. But the good thing is that no amp or DAC is perfect, they are all muddy from the 2 dimensional circuit boards where EMI interference between the components roll off the frequency extremes. So adding little jitter to the transport compensates for it.
I have the circuit boards jammed with ERS Paper and it fixed most of the problems, but it wouldn't have been possible with class A amps because of the heat.

Audio isn't the same as Formula 1 racing where more power is better. For some reason those who drive powerful cars like "powerful" audio systems as well.

I can't find a reason why more watts gives better sound, unless the buyer tries to justify his purchase...

BTW. My 5 star under my name suddenly changed to 1 star, I guess someone doesn't like the truth.

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Here is my PS Audio GCC-100 ICEpower amp. ERS Paper fixed the rolled off frequency extremes, and it didn't cost much either.
It sounds very clean and revealing now, I don't hear anything wrong anymore.


CECE
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Welcome to the land of OZ!!! Holy Moly...Well I'll be heading out tonight to see some LIVE music from Dick Dale and AMtt Oree at teh Surf Club in Seaside N.J.....i bet them amps are cranking some watts....Into yet another set of amps called teh PA. Dick Dale had like 3 amps across the stage each one mic'd, I think he gets the echo surf sound, very full, lotsa SLAM...He created the "surf sound"....Matt Oree will blow the roof off the joint!!! www.mattoree.com No speaker I know of ever moved properly without LOTSA WATTS making it move....more WATTS more speakr better sound. If teh air don't move, there is no sound.....I think even teh cavemen knew that.....so simple concpet, even a caveman knows. More WATTS, better sound. I keep my transformers in teh chassis, the fan keeps em cool....these things get going on high speed, all kinds of wated energy, in heat....but what is going to teh speakers is incredible.....not LESS WATTS more WATTS. this is not Bizzaro world is it? Less is more more is less?

CECE
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Somebody forgot to remove the shipping material on this stuff!!!!!! I do the same thing with my toilets, I leave them in the box, absorbs the noise of a FART. But it tough climbing over teh top flap of teh box everytime I gotta go....but I guess I realize the benefits outweigh the stupidity.

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Welcome to the land of OZ!!! Holy Moly...Well I'll be heading out tonight to see some LIVE music from Dick Dale and AMtt Oree at teh Surf Club in Seaside N.J.....i bet them amps are cranking some watts....Into yet another set of amps called teh PA. Dick Dale had like 3 amps across the stage each one mic'd, I think he gets the echo surf sound, very full, lotsa SLAM...He created the "surf sound"....Matt Oree will blow the roof off the joint!!! www.mattoree.com No speaker I know of ever moved properly without LOTSA WATTS making it move....more WATTS more speakr better sound. If teh air don't move, there is no sound.....I think even teh cavemen knew that.....so simple concpet, even a caveman knows. More WATTS, better sound. I keep my transformers in teh chassis, the fan keeps em cool....these things get going on high speed, all kinds of wated energy, in heat....but what is going to teh speakers is incredible.....not LESS WATTS more WATTS. this is not Bizzaro world is it? Less is more more is less?

The lower volume you use the cleaner the sound will be. So you need to adapt your ears to lower volume by locking yourself up in a quiet room. If you are out partying every night it's not good for the ears. Eventually you get deaf and then you need enough "WATTS" to hear/feel the "SLAM".

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Here is my PS Audio GCC-100 ICEpower amp. ERS Paper fixed the rolled off frequency extremes, and it didn't cost much either.
It sounds very clean and revealing now, I don't hear anything wrong anymore.

Are you sure your ears aren't lying to you, because you missed a few spots?!?

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
BTW. My 5 star under my name suddenly changed to 1 star, I guess someone doesn't like the truth.

I'm the one who gave you the 5 star rating... Looks like someone didn't like my post either. Perhaps the same person didn't realize the humor of it all. Oh well.

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:

Are you sure your ears aren't lying to you, because you missed a few spots?!?


I didn't want to go overkill because I needed a little space left for airflow.

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:

Quote:

Are you sure your ears aren't lying to you, because you missed a few spots?!?


I didn't want to go overkill because I needed a little space left for airflow.

My bad. Good thinking.

CECE
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Last nite was Grrrrrrrrrrreat...Matt was Smooooookin!!!!! Then over 2 hours of some great Dick.....he is a really cool entertainer. Lotta energy for an older dude. It was loud. I never leave home without ear plugs. Just read some stories by teh guy from The Who ....even Shure Co. promots proper ear stuff.

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


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Then over 2 hours of some great Dick.....

Hehehe... I wouldn't say that in the wrong company!

That belongs in another forum. I think perhaps the "Choose to become an oral architect" thread.

ethanwiner
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Here is my PS Audio GCC-100 ICEpower amp. ERS Paper fixed the rolled off frequency extremes, and it didn't cost much either.

OMG, I thought you were poking fun at audiophoolery in your first post:


Quote:
I like to make the sound flat and neutral with ERS Paper and Magix levitation feet, and then I add some coloration with the silver plated Valhalla cables because the sacrifice in resolution with Valhalla isn't as big as with different isolation feet.

I make the transients thinner and faster with modified Nordost Valhalla cables, there is lack of bass but then I boost up the bass with PS Audio's MWave4 setting (P300 Power Plant with MultiWaveII). MWave4 also has the most low-level detail out of all the settings.
I tried the new Premier Power Plant but since it didn't have the MWave4 setting it didn't work good with Valhalla cables. I went back to P300 Power Plant and modified it instead... Bass transients are crazy fast now.

If you add coloration somewhere in the system you need to compensate for it elsewhere to get synergy.

--Ethan

absolutepitch
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

What mechanism of action does the paper enact and for what intent? What physical, electical, mechanical, etc., process were you trying to modify to achieve what you heard?

cyclebrain
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


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Bass transients are crazy fast now.

So, bass means low frequencies. Low frequencies have a long, ie slow time constant. Fast Bass is an oxymoron.

cyclebrain
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
[So, as the Watts approach zero, the sound approaches cleaner/clearer acoustic reproduction (fidelity), but the synergy between system components is decreased?

Marvelous. Simply marvelous. I'm going to try to listen to my music with the HiFi system's power off from now on. Then I won't have to worry about either synergy or jitter, since that will eliminate both at once!

I'll tell you what though, more watts always feels better when I stick my tongue into the electrical outlet... Talk about synergy. I simply explode with all of that "foot tapping" kinetic energy moving through me. I even hear cleaner/clearer music for about an hour afterwards! What sweet, sweet music. That will get anyone's foot tapping again, even if they just had a heart attack in the last 7 or 8 minutes (after 8 minutes, the chances are that they are brain dead, in which case their foot probably won't tap, though it is still possible that it might). The cool thing is, your formula is still correct, it will create more synergy at the cost of greater jitter.

BTW, I'm J/K (Just Kidding). Don't try anything in this post at home!

But since the value of the noise level is fixed, reducing the signal level will decrease the S/N ratio. When the signal level reaches zero the S/N ratio will become very poor. Then again with much of todays so called music, that might be a good thing.

Patrick82
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
What mechanism of action does the paper enact and for what intent? What physical, electical, mechanical, etc., process were you trying to modify to achieve what you heard?

http://www.partsconnexion.com/audiogon_pix/ERS_MAIN.htm
ERS Paper reduces EMI.

Magix levitation fixes ground vibrations, ERS Paper fixes EMI, power conditioner fixes AC problems. Those are the 3 big tweaks, they make the differences between high-end gear insignificant.

Now I have also found mass damping , and it fixes internal vibrations!

absolutepitch
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

If those things fix the effects you list, then great. Many of latest gear don't have the solid build that older gear may have, or the shielding.

Mass damping helps in many ways, even on the CD transport on mid-fi CD players, which are improved with this. Sounds like you're on the right track. Can you qualify or quantify the improvements you hear?

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Can you qualify or quantify the improvements you hear?

People can't qualify and quantify the differences between speaker cables and similar power/quality amplifiers, why would you expect him to be able to quantify and qualify his improvements? You need to have faith and believe! Let the healin' begin.

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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Can you qualify or quantify the improvements you hear?

If the component is too light it will make music sound tinny and open. If the component is heavy it will make music sound heavy and dark. If you place round objects on top, then it will sound rounder. But if you place flat weights on top (like books), then the frequency response will sound flatter but more boring.

PS. I don't read books, they are boring. Maybe it is all placebo...

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
But if you place flat weights on top (like books), then the frequency response will sound flatter but more boring.

PS. I don't read books, they are boring. Maybe it is all placebo...

Well, perhaps you are using the "wrong kinds" of books... Try comparing how "Romance Novels" sound on top of your equipment with how "Technical Manuals" sound. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Perhaps you will find that one is more musical while the other is more analytical.

Sometimes you can't judge a book by its cover either. I've heard it rumored that the trashiest books often bring a mediocre component back to life and improve its performance. While some modern classics can permanently kill what were once considered top of the line pieces of kit.

absolutepitch
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect

Jeff, maybe I was not clear in the question. I wanted to know if he can describe or measure any change he heard. In some of my equipment tweaks, I can hear the difference, and it is consistent in the sound quality (i.e. qualitative) difference from before the tweaks. I did not know what to measure that would cause the difference I heard. If I knew what to measure, I would be able to match a given tweak with a particular sonic improvement. Wouldn't that be nice for advancing the state-of-the-art?

jkalman
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Re: Choose to become an aural architect


Quote:
Jeff, maybe I was not clear in the question. I wanted to know if he can describe or measure any change he heard. In some of my equipment tweaks, I can hear the difference, and it is consistent in the sound quality (i.e. qualitative) difference from before the tweaks. I did not know what to measure that would cause the difference I heard. If I knew what to measure, I would be able to match a given tweak with a particular sonic improvement. Wouldn't that be nice for advancing the state-of-the-art?

Keep reading his posts, he describes it a'plenty. Perhaps he will even post some diagrams he created of his experiences. A picture says a thousand words.

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