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michael green
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Does your system play the hall?

Hi Listeners

Articles are written about the space of a recording and what is to be a "real soundstage". Obviously a real size recording playback is when you have the instruments and the hall or studio the instruments are played in, in proportion to your stage. So have you ever noticed that the sound in your playback goes to the edge of your speakers, maybe a little beyond left or right, it may start a little before your speakers and go behind them maybe 6 feet. Also the height is maybe 6-8 feet high. Think about it. If this was a real stage the sound would go way past the left and right, very deep and also behind you. You would also see the space above you. For those of us who have heard and are hearing those size stages we notice a lot of the problems people have with their sound disappear. For some reason most of the time when the stage is closer to real life tonal issues go away and there are no empty holes in the stage, and things you thought were noise or distortion turns out to be music content, like instruments appear that were never there before.

Have you ever had your stereo stage go behind you and all around your seating area?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

Catch22
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You would probably enjoy reading this piece by J10

Matthew Bond of Tara Labs discusses many of the aspects of soundstaging and the interface that cable grounding plays and why. Seriously, this piece is right down your alley...and anyone else's who remain curious about how a properly rendered soundstage impacts other aspects of the audio experience. You can't read it without appreciating the esoteric nature of some of the things that effect what we are hearing.

http://marcs.members.sonic.net/reviews/sphileRe.html

http://marcs.members.sonic.net/reviews/sphileIn.html

michael green
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Matthew & Merrill

Hi Catch

Yes, I'm familar with these. This is right around the time I was traveling with Matthew and Merrill. We did a tour of Hong Kong and China together.  I was also at the Doubletree when this went down. Great days and a lot of fun.

here's a matter of taste with Jonathan

http://www.michaelgreenaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=124

As you will read tuning has been around a while. In fact Matthew and I talked about tunable cables on our trip from the mainland to Hong Kong on a very cool boat.

enjoy the article

Reading back through these reminds me of how young the industry really is. For example, if I were now building Jonathan"s floor it would be with my Music Ply instrument wood instead of the Hemlock MDF. I also now use Tunable Platforms instead of the ClampRaks. It kinda shows the evolution of purifying the audio pathway conduits and the tuning of the audio signal over the years though. Shortly after these reviews I was called to bigger projects that took up most of my time, but my studies in tuning took the next steps needed to find yet a higher level than those days. Thus TuneVilla was born along with the Tunable Room.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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Link

Thanks for the link - Catch .

I remember reading the artical when it was first printed .

Didn't realize how much I miss J10's flamboyant writing style.

JoeE SP9
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Of course
michael green wrote:

Hi Listeners

Have you ever had your stereo stage go behind you and all around your seating area?

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

Frequently. It is however source material dependent.

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or system dependent

It's not as much material dependent as it is system dependent.

We have become a hobby of fixed sounds. This part and that part equals this sound. However no two pieces of music have the same recorded vibratory codes. The result, a piece of music is trying to play through the systems mechanical conduits and can't. No system that has a fixed sound can play all the music without distortion. However if you make your system tunable like an instrument you can tune in the vibratory codes and the music will come to life. And you can focus on different parts of the music. For example, I'm listening to a piece but I'm in the mood to hear more of the hall overflow with the body of the stings without as much attack in the upper mids of the strings. On a fixed system that was designed to detail the upper part of the strings I would be stuck. With a system that allows me to tune, I can move away from the focus on the strings and bring in as much of the hall as I want.

Having a system that will let you go where you want in a piece of music or any music is very doable. As our music mood changes we should be able to focus on any part of the music we wish and go back to any other setting we want. Just like if you are at the symphony and as listening you focus in on the string section with your eyes. You'll be looking at the first and second, then you decide to bring back the whole picture until another part catches your attention. This is what your audio system can do if it is tunable. The audio signal has far more content than what you are hearing if your system is fixed.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

JoeE SP9
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once again

What a load of nonsense! Vibratory codes? Mechanical conduits? Paleeeeze! Yes, you have a reputation for being able to "tweak" systems and make them sound better. However, your explanations and terminology come off as so much snake oil.

Please tell me where the hall sound comes from with a multi track overdubbed studio recording?

What hall are you emulating (because that's what you have to be doing) and exactly what electronic device(s) and/or signal manipulation are you using to do so?

That's two questions for which an answer would be appreciated.

Having a system produce a deep and wide soundstage from most studio recordings means it was put there by manipulating the signal or added by the system used to listen to it. Neither one is either natural or real.

My system can do it with studio recordings that have been manipulated to have a "pseudo" soundstage. However it's not real (because it's done electronically) and doesn't sound as realistic as a true soundstage that is inherent in the source material. 

OTOH my system doesn't add what isn't there to begin with.

Catch22
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Are we talking about signal preservation or manipulation?

I'm not clear on what the difference is between tuning and signal preservation in this instance.

I very much enjoyed reading that article, btw. Thx. He writes with a certain casual style that is easy to enjoy his enthusiasm for audio.

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sound in motion

Hi Guys

A couple things to cover, thanks for the questions.

First I want to say that this hobby in many ways has been made fun because of the great writers who have a way of pulling us in. For us who have been around a while, we remember the month to month suspense. At times it was almost (I said almost) as fun as the listening.

snake oil

I don't know about other designers, but for myself, I've always been in the position of beginning things or a part of making them known. Because of this I get asked a lot of questions where I have to find ways to say what it is without it becoming too hard to hang on to for the listener or person asking. A good example of this is "Room Tuning". There were all kinds of words floating around but when RoomTune came out at first people said "what's that" now it's a trade word. Another one was when I started tuning in folks way back in the mid 70's in the studios and in some homes. I would pull the speakers real close, spread them far apart and move my head to the rear wall. Asked what I was doing I said "I'm listening extreme nearfield". You should have seen my first trade show. You walk into rooms and the speakers would be against the wall, you walk into my room and there was one or two seats and the speakers were pulled way into the room. Many people who loved the sound  but too lazy to pull the speakers out made up this thing called the WAF.  I'm sure I didn't cause this but I sure heard it alot from guys who couldn't get things to sound right. "I can't get it to sound right because my wife won't let me move the speakers". My answer was "why do you own them than". Makes no sense to own something you can't make sound good. Well their class A. Hello did you read the review, and what the reviewer needed to do to make them sound good at their place? And did you read about the reviewers listening conditions? And if it's a High End Audio designer theirs really no reason why they shouldn't have a help line.

You know there "IS" a lot of snake oil in this industry, some of them being you have to pay tons and buy things with these way over built  chassis and inert cabinets to make good sound. If your calling tuning snake oil, can I buy it by the five gallon cans please.  How do you think I got my reputation? First guy to treat upper corners with a barricade, first guy to make cable grounds, first guy to make a tunable rack, first guy to build a "Tunable Room" .  There's a lot of other first, but that's no different than any other guy who wants to make the sound the best it can possibly be from every angle of audio and not willing to do it without turning over every stone. When we stop learning it's game over and I'm a student of physics and nature. I'm not buying into the audiophile thing because people have made terms that they have made popular. For example "de-coupling". If you want to point your finger at snake oil you don't have far to go. Look at the audio ads about de-coupling or dampening vibrations or regulating electricity.  Sorry I got my reputation cause I know my S***. I also I'm not shy about doing show and tells.

vibratory code (reviewers may borrow this no charge)

I got this term when I was designing stuff with one of the companies that build parts for companies who have to have precision parts made with certain vibratory requirements. We were talking about the need to come up with a term for what the audio signal is (vibrating energy transfering through parts) all the way through the chain including what it is that actually happens that makes all recordings different and all parts different and every environment being different from each other, yet the signal going through all these energy forms being constant or affected. We needed this word for us to talk about the specific signal. They said what about energy code, and I said what about "vibratory code" . Their lab tech said this is exactly what it is and I said "groovy".  Mechanical Conduits is a no brainer.  Are there other words "names" that describe the conduits the audio signal travels through? I don't have a problem looking at other words. And is there another word to describe the energy that is vibrating through the audio system carrying the language of audio that tie in acoustical mechanical and electrical?  I try to use what fits, and I also look them up and ask others who are in the related fields so I don't miss use a word, but I'm sure that still may happen.

"Please tell me where the hall sound comes from with a multi track overdubbed studio recording?"

There are fantastic hall effects that engineers use. And there are tons of methods to lay them down. You can also use the hall itself like we did by placing an ambient mic in the hall. You can do lots of layering with the natural space, and it translates really well on the system. Here again you need a system that can play the info.

"What hall are you emulating (because that's what you have to be doing) and exactly what electronic device(s) and/or signal manipulation are you using to do so?"

None- it's on the recording already. I just have to play it.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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part 2

what is real and what isn't

If it's on the piece of plastic we are playing, it is real.  Saying something that is burnt onto this CD or cut on this LP is not real makes no sense. Of course it's real, it's on there. This hobby is about playing what is on the CD, tape, LP whatever. Unless you have your own studio making your own music you get what is on the source you have on your shelf. It's a romantic notion that we can magically pass the steps of recording and say to ourselves it is because I want it to be, but this is not the way it works. You can't go to the studio and bring the guys home with you and say play. It's going to go through a mic and all the other parts and pieces that make the playback product happen.  Not trying to burst the audiophile bubble but saying this is the only way to do it is one thing but doing it is completely different.  Are we not listening to the same thing? I am listening to air pressure being put on a mic diaphram. As soon as that happens the signal becomes electronic, and what the engineers decide to do with it is up to them. Name me one recording you have in your collection that is not manipulated. Stereophonic sound or, more commonly, stereo, is a method of sound reproduction that creates an illusion of directionality and audible perspective. Anything, even a mono recording is manipulated. I think we get things all turned around. We see the word illusion and we start trying to define a line when it isn't an illusion. At the same time we are hearing something, and if we are hearing it, it is real.  The signal on your copied source is very real and it is very specific, and it is very unique to that particular recording.  If people want to play in this no-real vs real game than they should get real. If they have a turntable or CD player they are hearing a manipulated illusion that is very real. That goes for any recording anytime.

I appreciate the quest for purity as much as the next guy, that's why you will not find a component chassis any where near me, but I am someone who has recorded and got to call it like it is. This whole absolute thing is a quest not reality. The instruments are not sitting in your room no matter how hard you are rubbing your magic bottle. What we get is a signal to play. Simple recordings with acoustical instruments and halls are one form. Recording made with electronics are another form. One does not suggest a more true soundstage over the other. One is simple and one is more complicated, but one is not more real than the other. It's a signal on a playback source.

manipulation

There's a lot of information on a recording, and yes you can dampen a recording and loose some of that signal or have something in your system that is keeping part of the vibrating signal from coming through.  The signal because it is a vibration also reacts to different conduits differently. One capacitor sounding different from another is a good example of that. The reason why your components sound different from each other is not just the design layout but the sound of the parts. This is manipulation of the signal and every body does it. Look at all the components and speakers and cables and so on. This is all manipulation of the signal. Your room having that chair is manipulation of the signal. This is the nature of how audio works from the moment that musician touches that string to the hearing aid in your ear.

You know why I have my own terms, because life is too short to buy into everything High End Audio is trying to sell. The same thing goes for audio engineers sitting in studios that are playing through a system. Stereo is a wonderful thing, every part of it, but when we start making it into something it isn't that's when I jump off the boat. The audiophile hobby is fun, but it's a hobby full of growth just like any other hobby and there comes times when the next steps are needed.

Tonight I'm playing "born in the USA" last night "Pines of Rome". The magic of this hobby is that you can sit and listen to a reproduction of what the musicians and engineers did.  If you want to get technical it is all, every last part of it, an illusion, but so is it when I open my eyes and see the reflection of the colors coming from the objects in my room. You have to make your own judgements on what is real to you but it would be a shame to miss out on music because someone is telling you that the stuff you are listening to is not legitimate. That's just not so. The engineers choose specific placement for those instruments and hall and effects. They are subject to their equipment just like you are but that doesn't make the image any less real.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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part 3 tuning

If you lined up your system and ten others in different identical rooms right next to each other, you would hear a different sound on each one. Of course the one you call yours sounds better than all the rest right :-) . But lets back up and listen to each one and you will hear something different from all of them. Does this mean they are manipulating the sound? Yes, but they are also if you listen playing something better than the one next to it. They are as well (in your opinon) playing something worst, but each one is definitely playing something different. If you took a little from that one and a little from this one and added a little of this you would end up with something pretty good. Well I have good news for you. The good sounds that your picking up from the other systems are in the recording. A lot of people get hung up on the thought that a system may be adding something extra to the sound. They sit there holding their distortion card ready to play it when they need to. The fact is if you were playing a forth of the info on that recording you could sell tickets. Distortion is a whole other issue than music content. Music content is recorded info that when able to pass through the mechanical conduits in the audio chain and in a properly tuned room for the piece becomes extremely life like.

When we started to tune systems we were shocked at how much more information was on recordings than we heard before. It's kinda hard to think about this if your use to listening to your system and what it can do and can't do, but when you hear the sound open up it is much bigger than you would think. The more the system is in tune you can pick up on things like vocal room sizes and the main recording room. Also the patterns of the mics become more clear and you can hear their ability to capture the space. If you were a mic guy you would even start guessing which mics they are using and where the mics are placed in the stage. For example lets say the piano is set up with main mics and two sets of halo mics behind them two maybe 5 feet back and two more 12 feet back. Also a mic on the other side catching the board. When you play this back you might have the piano right in front of you but a hall all around you. Done half way decent and your right in the room with the piano. Is this manipulating sure it is, but is it real? Of course it's real. On electronic music the same thing can happen (it's all electronic), so is it a real soundstage? Of course it is, your hearing it. But like I said if you open up your system the real size real space of the recording gets closer and that's when the fun begins. If your picturing floating around in this distorted like manor your completely off. The images are very exact and move smoothly in a prefect movement through the stage.

Here's the trick to the great stage. Open up your electronics and tune your room to your speakers and your speakers to the room. Don't set up your speakers and try to work around them, and don't throw on your electronics and expect them to play music. I can tell you this for absolute. If you got your electronics and have never adjusted the transformer inside since shipping, your only hearing part of the music. Same goes with your circuit board screws. And the same with every other screw on your system including drivers and binding post. Remember these components are made to be shipped. Also these components are made to sit on something. Very rare to have a component sound good with it's original feet. How does the designer know what kind of rack or piece of furniture you have? No clue, so you may have your component sitting on something throwing it completely out of tune. Tuning goes a lot deeper than this but this is a starting point.

If more people start to post about tuning their system and want to try it, we can pick a piece of music and I'll walk through it with you. Or you can come over to our place where some of you are already tuning.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

JoeE SP9
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answers
michael green wrote:

"Please tell me where the hall sound comes from with a multi track overdubbed studio recording?"

There are fantastic hall effects that engineers use. And there are tons of methods to lay them down. You can also use the hall itself like we did by placing an ambient mic in the hall. You can do lots of layering with the natural space, and it translates really well on the system. Here again you need a system that can play the info.

"What hall are you emulating (because that's what you have to be doing) and exactly what electronic device(s) and/or signal manipulation are you using to do so?"

None- it's on the recording already. I just have to play it.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

You've answered my question with, "Hall effects that engineers use". That says it all. Those effects are what on my system sound artificial and contrived. The fact that you admit that these are "added" to the signal only supports what I've been saying all along. That is, "the soundstage on most studio recordings is added by the use of electronics and therefore artificial. I don't believe that I'm the only one with a system and ears that can hear the difference between a "real" soundstage and one that's added through electronic means.

If it's in the recording because it was placed there electronically. It's nothing more than signal manipulation and not real!!!!

Your answer completely supports my contention that most studio recordings have no soundstage other than what's added "in the mix".

Bear in mind that I've never said that studio recordings can't have a soundstage. I've been saying that it's the product of signal manipulation and (to me on my system) doesn't sound real.

We all want the best sound that we can get from all of our recordings. So please stop trying to infer that those (me) who disagree with you want something other than the best sound we can get.

I'm going to refer back to the original post in this thread which was about poor sounding CD's and or other recordings. To which you responded by pontificating about "room and system tuning". My original response stands. To paraphrase, "there is just about nothing that can be done about a poor recording".  The GIGO principle takes precedence here. Since you seem to prefer non-standard nomenclature I'll say, "You can't make a silk purse out of a Sow's ear".

BTW: I'm a retired EE (BS Elec Eng, MS Comp Sc) and I'm familiar with the technical end of both analog and digital. I've also been playing stringed instruments for 55+ years. I helped work my way through college by playing in bands and doing studio work (I'm an AF of M union member) and still play locally to this day.

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that's nice

It's great that you have a base to talk from such as your background points to. Although we see things differently this gives listeners a chance to look at different views. Looking at different views has been my personal left and right bumbers that have helped me stay on course.

I've studied the sound of the hall pretty intently but I don't see any reason way that should stop. Would you give me the name of one of your recordings on CD that has the proper hall sound to you and I will give it a listen and describe what it is doing on one of my systems? From that point we can talk about the technical part of the recording as well as what we are hearing.

thanks Joe

michael green

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JoeE SP9
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hall sound

In a previous post I specifically mentioned any direct to disk LP and any Groove Note or Maple Shade CD. These and any other recording made live with a minimal amount of studio manipulation have always sounded better (more realistic) to me. Even so, this hasn't stopped me from acquiring a reasonable (3500+LP's, 1600+CD's) collection of recorded music that I enjoy immensely.

Now that you've acknowledged that the "hall" sound (if there) on most studio recordings is added  I can explain my complaint about this practice.

With most studio recordings, if ambience for a soundstage is added there is an inconsistency with the ambience around a given instrument and the ambience of the recording.  The individual instruments are recorded with little or no ambience and they sound that way while the recording itself has "added ambience". This makes it sound to me as if there is a "hall" and it's ambience but the instruments are pasted into the recording. Those instruments don't share the same ambience and don't become part of a cohesive whole. They remind me of cardboard cutouts pasted into the (artificial) "hall" space. This in turn makes the hall ambience sound even less convincing because of the inconsistency of the ambient signatures.

For me this lessens the "you are there/they are here" impression that a good recording should produce.

I became aware of this years ago while listening to a Natalie Cole recording (don't remember which). I was listening with the lights low and my eyes closed and thinking that the recording sounded pretty good if a little flat (depth wise). It was IMO a pretty good studio recording with not a lot of "hall" sound.

When Natalie started singing it was as if she had been pasted into the recording. I immediately got a mental picture of her in an isolation booth singing into a microphone while holding a pair of headphones to one ear. (Yes, that may sound a little bizarre but that's how my mind works.) While her voice and presence was fleshed out, centered and up front the ambience around her voice didn't fit with the rest of the instruments and chorus.

This is the sort of thing that like the ringing of metal dome tweeters once noticed can't be un-heard.

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getting warmer

"Although the spontaneity of performance is preserved, no overdubbing or editing is possible. It becomes more challenging for the musicians, engineers and producers, whose performances will be captured "warts and all". In the event of aborted sides, expensive lacquers are wasted and cannot be used again. According to Robert Auld of the AES: "It was a notoriously difficult way to record; the musicians and all concerned had to record a complete LP side without any serious musical or technical mistakes."

Some artists also maintain that musical instruments may drift out of tune: it is not possible to keep musical instruments in tune for the length of the LP side."

"Because of the limited number of copies that could be made, the format was shunned by established artists, and mainly used by obscure or unknown artists. Most of these albums could be classed as vanity records, and were not well promoted. Music genres included jazz, acoustic folk, classical (small ensembles or soloists), and alternative rock groups with a non-commercial sound.

Another turn-off for consumers was the short playing time. To reduce the risk of a technical glitch in the disc cutting process, sides were rarely more than 15 minutes in length, and could be as short as 10 minutes. When this problem was combined with the records' high sales prices, they were regarded as poor quantity for the money."

I didn't make these quotes, but have worked direct to disc before.

What I see is an audiophile who tries to paint pictures and is not willing to make his system more able to play recordings, so in the reference to them looks at the recording through the eyes and ears of his stereo instead of what the recording actually has to offer.

All recordings (all of them) have good points and bad. My job is to bring the most of a recording to life (all of them). I'm not going to make a recording into what it is not, and I'm not going to put down recordings before I know  what they have to offer. You can sit there and try to build a case for your perfect recordings all you want but all recordings have something to offer and all audiophiles deserve the chance to hear the recordings at their very best.

If your system can't play the hall that's your system but saying because your system is having a problem connecting the dots, that has nothing to do with the next persons system.

When my system doesn't connect the dots, I tune it and the dots connect. You obviously don't do this or you would have a different view of the recordings you mention. You take cute little swipes at me like saying "this is nonsense" and people are right now tuning in their recordings  to a level that goes way beyond a system that can't tune, or isn't in tune. Just like those experts say it is hard for an instrument to stay in tune that long, it is also true that a system out of tune does not play the whole recording.  The good news is the more you bring things up the more people are coming over to learn how to tune their systems and that is why I'm here. Once this industry takes the next step it's going to find all kinds of dots connected over the past. Come on Joe, lets tune your system and find out.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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reading and comprehension

I'm beginning to believe that you don't actually read posts that you don't completely agree with.

Which part of, "it's the recordings that are at fault" do you not understand?

Which part of, "I have a large collection of music that I enjoy immensely", did you not read

The fact that I hear discontinuities between the ambience around various instruments and the ambience of the recording would indicate that my system is tuned fairly well. If it wasn't I wouldn't hear what I've been describing to you.

I'll try again. If you add ambience (hall sound) to a multi track recording, the individual instruments do not have the same ambience as the overall recording. Yes the recording itself may give the impression of hall ambience but the individual instruments which were close miked and/or plugged directly into the board do not have the same ambient signature as each other let alone the recording itself. The only way they could would be if the same ambient signature is added to each track individually. Both of us know that's not how it's done.

Tuning a system to reveal more of any recording (a good thing IMO) makes it easier to hear inconsistent ambient signatures.

The example I gave of the discontinuity between the sound of the musicians, chorus and the sound of Natalie Cole's voice is the best example I can think of. In said recording the "band" and "chorus" have a distinct sonic signature that says "This is a reasonably sized room with musicians and singers in it". When Natalie's voice enters, the sonic signature of her voice is that of someone singing in an isolation booth. Yes, her voice is clean, clear, up front and well centered. However the ambience around her voice doesn't match that of the rest of the recording. It sounds as if her voice was pasted in as an after thought.

As I posted previously and you apparently didn't actually read; this is a recording issue. The better and more revealing the system the easier it is to hear these discontinuities. As I also previously posted; it's like the ringing from metal dome tweeters. Once you hear it you can't un-hear it.

Whether you or anyone else has a problem with the length of direct to disk recordings or the musicians have a problem with playing perfectly for 15 minutes isn't the issue. IMO musicians that can't play two or three songs error free have problems, I won't discuss here. I brought up direct to disk recordings only because, by the nature of the way they're recorded they can't and don't have the discontinuity with ambience that most studio recordings have.

Companies such as Groove Note and Maple Shade seem to have no problem recording their musicians live with little to no studio processing. Consequently their recordings and the instruments in each one have a consistent ambience. Having a consistent ambience IMO results in a more realistic sounding recording. I've never heard a bad recording from either company. I don't always like the music but the recordings are all uniformly superb.

Incidentally, my system is revealing enough ("tuned") to easily hear that Jacintha singing, Our Love Is Here To Stay (Here's To Ben, Groove Note GRV 1001-2), does not natively speak English.

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I do read

Hi Joe

I don't want you to think your posts are being minimized by me cause they are not. I value what you say, but what you are saying and what I do are worlds apart. If you did tune you would not say some of the things you are. And thats ok. If you want to listen to your system interpret music from only one point of view that's cool. No one is going to say that is wrong, for you. However there is not one system on the planet that sounds the same as yours does, so either theirs is out of tune or yours is.

I get mail last night from a listener in Singapore describing his sound a ceratin way. It was different from what I was hearing, so I mechanically tuned my system to do what his was, and said "I see where your coming from, cool". Was his system out of tune, was mine? Was my system out of tune before I made the change, or after, or were we simply tuning our systems to sound more like each others? Neither of us is setting our systems to be out of tune. What we are doing is making our systems able to give us many (variable) points of view to listen to. I could also tune my system to sound very close to yours. To go a step futher I could tune my system to sound like yours and play around any part of Natalie's recording I want to.  Where you would be saying "I hear the booth she is in" I can make that booth more or less a part of the mics response. I can also change her tonality from her nasal, throat or chest, or all with what ever attack of flavor I wish. I can do this with Jacintha or any one else.

Later at night I put on Paul Simon N & L songs, and as this is a CD containing several different sessions and periods. If one listens to this recording they can clearly here the different studios being out of tune with each other. One song would sound better one worse. I was able to take each recorded piece an tune it in to it's studio, making it much more in real space/ real size (sounding as good as any recording on the CD). I could then take the songs and match them to their original CD and not need to tune for that whole recording. I was able to do this with each song and recording. If I listened to this all the way through as was, I would have said this was better recorded than that, But because I tuned each one in they all raised to their fullness and sounded as great as the next. My question is, how could I have done this on a system that only played one sound?

The hobbyist is sitting there playing one sound and they don't need to. The reviewer is listening to one sound and it doesn't have to be that way. A System does not have to be good or bad, and neither does the recordings. If we go the step beyond plug & play and go variable there is a whole hobby waiting that most never get to see.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

geoffkait
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System tuning

Perhaps it might be helpful to a discussion of system tuning, things that are needed to reproduce the hall sound, and get all the reverberant decay and spatial information that is embedded in the original recording to mention the following.  (Now, you might get the idea I believe 90% of the problem lies in the audio reproduction department.  You would be correct.)

1.  Isolating and damping the printed circuit boards of all electronic components.

2.  Wrapping all transformers with mumetal, reducing the unfortunate effects of magnetic fields on components and electron tubes.

3.  Vibration isolation using mass on spring type devices, paying special attention to damping the top plate of such devices to reduce residual vibration.  While Minus K, Vibraplane and some other laboratory type devices might rule the roost there are a number of cost effective and efficacious iso techniques available.

4.  Room tuning devices like Skyline diffusers, Corner Tunes, Echo Tunes and Tube Traps, also a plethora of new tuning devices such as Schumann frequency generators, Less-loss Blackbody, tiny little bowl acoustic resonators, a while bunch of things from Acoustic Revive including crystals for vibration control, far out stuff from Synergistic Research (Tesla Coil), extremely cool stuff from Audio Magic like their liquid filled Super Fuse and Pulse Gen ZX, both of which I own.  I won't even get into all the various and sundry CD treatments, perhaps especially the ones addressing mold release compound.

There are many ways to skin a cat but one thing is certain -  if you don't at least try to skin the cat and are listening to stock, off the shelf components and CDs you have about as much chance at discovering audio Nirvana (and hearing the ambient information of the hall as recorded) as a camel has of passing through the eye of a needle.

 

Cheers,

Geoff Kait

Machina Dynamica

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So much BS

Use high quality cables with low R and low to moderate L/C properties.  Just measuring isn't enough.  You have to listen.  Match them well to your system.  Make sure the total AWG matches the current requirements of your speaker/amp interface.

Try to use the same brand cable and equipment supports throughout - it's not an end all, but it works.  Synergy is very important.  

Also, until you are buying at the esoteric end of the spectrum, there's a reason like branded equipment works well together and like minded equipment works well together - that's how they were designed to work!  So a Rega or Oracle table probably sounds fantastic with Rega or Arcam or Cambridge Audio amps at one end of the price spectrum and Naim at the other end.  Throw in Harbeth or B&W or PSB or Proac.."Oh yeah"... you say... "I've heard those types of systems and boy do they just work".  Because like American solid state amps and French speakers - culture inculcates manufacture and company and national identities come to play.  Values enter in.

Read and understand Golden Ratio speaker positioning.  Start at the Cardas web site.  Speaker positioning is where magic can start to happen.

Also, learn to enjoy your equiment and room within their limitations.  At the end of the day, no matter how good it gets, it's still ONLY AUDIO.

Don't get caught up in the BS.

michael green
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the starting point

The starting point,

is taking the first step. There's a huge range of opinions that have and will continue to debate the Q & A's of "how to" the hobby. My approach is to do the opposite of many. Instead of locking in I open up then tune back in. I did the dampening thing and it didn't work for me. There is a large number of people who have done the same and are now tuning. That said, if someone wants to dampen the door is open to them to come over to our side if they ever want to. We don't get uptight about the direction people go in cause in time many try what I do and come over. However like my friend is saying, if you think stock product is going to magically work I recommend you look at your audiophile friends' component graveyards.  I also believe that if a designer or pusher of ideas doesn't have their own forum where people can come to and share their experiences the public will never really know if they are blowing smoke or not. It's fairly easy for people to come on here or anywhere and make smoke, but the proven results are the guys listening in their homes and sharing what they have experienced with ohters.

Many audiophiles are listening to systems, ideas or products that they defend, but when it comes down to it are they really satisfied with the way things sound, or feel that they are not able to play their entire collection. If you go to my forum you will see that I am actively involved with my listening. I have rooms setup and are being used. If your not listening every day to a room, speakers, equipment, acoustical products, cables, audio furniture and everything else you talk about and don't have others actively reporting in, I personally discount the info you wish to share. Why, because I really have been there. I didn't put on a tweak and go  "oooh" this is it. Music is a little more complexed than that.

I'll confess that I don't believe much of what the audiophile world is pushing, why? Because I'm a listener and have been surround by great listeners my entire musical life. I also haven't built a box around my listening. I absolutely do not believe in fixed tuning. Why? Because I'm sitting 10 feet from a tunable system and you can give me something to listen to and have me go to a particular recorded cue and I can, and make all the changes I talk about, and so can and do the guys tuning. Being in the recording business I know that every recording out there sounds different than every other recording, and if you choose not to believe this that's up to you, but again that doesn't reflect on the truth but the fact that you are choosing to be stuck. But again, you don't have to believe me, go look at the others.

"Synergy is very important"

This is also very true! I use 22 gauge solid core throughout my system. Every time I introduce something different my low mass system lets me know. But I also want to point out that the same goes true for components. Why would you have, heavy components if the audio signal needs very little to make it travel? If the wire is touching something, that something is a part of that cable. Same goes for electromagnetic fields. If you over damp them the soundstage shrinks, do it and see. So synergy is important, but it is just as important to take this through the entire audio chain. Again I say don't believe me, do it. You can also see others who are doing it.

spotting the BS

You know if any of you are tuning with low mass systems you can see when someone is BSing pretty easy :) . So what I do is try to state the facts and let people go where they want to, but be ready when they come back to me. Having a low mass variable system cuts through the bull fast, and when I hear people say things it's pretty easy to tell they haven't gone "variable low mass tuning". They can use what ever adjective they wish, but they haven't been there. They can tweak all they want, but until the fat is cut away and the energy is set free it's just another fixed notion. But that's me and the path I traveled. Moving past stock is the beginning.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

michael green
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I do question this

"that's how they were designed to work!"

From my visits to the factories of the High End Audio products, I have not seen this. Could you point out a factory that follows this principle for me? I'm not getting on your case, but I really have not seen this. For example: go buy a component and see where the power cord comes out the back? Well at that point there is a restraint. Get rid of that restraint and tell me what you hear? See where that transformer is bolted down, remove that harness and tell me what you hear? Take off any tie downs and tell me what you hear? Get rid of glued down areas and tell me what you hear? Rubber gaskets on drivers, power cord ends, over sized parts, chassis, over built heat sinks, thick circuit boards, heavy magnets on overbuilt drivers, speaker cabinets weighing tons.

Also look at the designers place of listening. If someone is telling you to do something they can be the nicest guy in the world, but if they don't have a place of practice for what they are saying and actively practicing do you really want them to operate on you? As you said earlier there's BS out there, well there really is BS out there. People passing around theories like candy, and with no real practicing involved, just talk. Everything and anything in audio will make a change, but do these guys who are building the High End Audio world really know their stuff, really? If so than why is it I have people modding $99 receivers blowing away their High End Audio products? Same goes for a $24 Cd player?

I've got a guy right now who has a tiny inexpensive audiophile amp that he has tuned to blow away his big boys. I won't even mention the product names that are being replaced by these guys cause I don't want to hurt their business. But my friends times have changed and are continuing to change, and the mass production people have caught up and with the same tweaking past the over built stuff. Hey, am I lying? Try it. A well matched (over built) system of yesteryear doesn't hold a candle to the variably tunable systems of today. But I'm only a part of the truth of this. Come look and listen for yourselves. You see tuning has nothing to hide. If you follow the "method of tuning" you will find what these other listeners have found. High End Audio is moving from the high mass to the simple low mass.

this had to happen

It's obvious that industries move forward, and as they did I followed this one. If you look at the mass produced products you will see that they incorporated a lot from High End Audio, but kept their designs simple and lighter. At first I was well these are OK but... . After a while though some of these companies came out with some killer products (from my tuning point of view) and started to beat up on the over built stuff in a big way. Hey it's easier for me to push the big stuff right, so why would I push these mass produced products? Think about it, I tune, I don't care what I tune as far as class goes. I tune for the sound and flexibility. No one pays me a royalty to push mid fi. But why would I want to use something that doesn't sound as good? I don't! I want to use the best sounding stuff to show off what I do. And the best sounding stuff is not in the higher end, sorry. If you want to plug and play, have a blast and I wish you the best. But when you wake up ten years from now and see that your hobby has been replaced don't hate on me. I went with the sound not the BS.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

JoeE SP9
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room tuning agenda

By continually pushing your business agenda (room tuning) you're completely missing my point and the original reason for this thread.. 

This thread was originally about a system producing the "hall" sound. This is a product of good and/or poor sounding recordings. If it's not there in the recording it's simply not there. You've gotten away from that. A poor recording is just that. There is no way to make a poor recording into a good one. By tweaking (tuning) you can sometimes make whatever nasties that are there less obtrusive. You can even make good recordings sound better. However, the "nasties" in bad recordings are still there. They are part and parcel of the recording.

All the "tuning" in the world will not remove the grungy sound that's part and parcel of Sugar Ray 19:59. All the "tuning" in the world will not change the different ambient signatures of the various instruments in a studio recording. They will never sound as if they are a product of the same ambience because they're not.

I want my system to reproduce what ever is on the source material with as little change from it as possible. That is what the "High Fidelity" reproduction of music is supposed to be about. Lest it be forgotten, the term High Fidelity is a shortening of the phrase, "To reproduce with a high degree of fidelity to the original".

I have no interest or desire in making poor sounding recordings sound good at the expense of the good sounding ones. I'm waiting for you to admit that some recordings simply sound awful and nothing, no "tuning", no tweaking can be done about them. That there are many poor recordings is acknowledged by virtually everyone who is either an audiophile, engineer or just a music lover. Why do you have a problem accepting that?

Have you never heard of the loudness wars?

Please tell me and the rest of the world how to compensate for the almost complete lack of dynamic range in many of today's pop/rock recordings.

When you figure out how to "tune" in some dynamic range I'm quite certain that there are plenty of people, including me, who will eagerly listen to your "tuning" spiel. 

Taking every opportunity to push "tuning" as an answer to the problem of poor recordings won't make me a convert. If it convinces others I'm reminded of P.T. Barnum. What you are ignoring is that if my system didn't reproduce sound as well as IMO (and others) it does I wouldn't be complaining about poor recordings.

So, sly digs and veiled criticisms about what you suggest I'm hearing or not hearing won't work. With good recordings I regularly suspend disbelief and enjoy the music (not my system) and hall sound as if they are here/I am there.

The Pizza delivery man asking, "Who you got jammin' in there?" says it all. I can't imagine a better compliment about how real (good) my or any system sounds.

You mentioned several reasons for the lack of new direct to disk type recordings. One of them referred to musicians not being able to play error free for 15 to 20 minutes. IMO, if you can't play three or four songs straight through and error free you shouldn't have left the "woodshed". As for it being impractical; well, Maple Shade, Groove Note and others get by just fine recording live direct to two track masters with no studio "tuning". Their releases sound better than  98% of all recordings. Perhaps using one of their releases as a reference would give you a different perspective.

michael green
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excuse me, knock knock

MG, "I started this thread young man, now take your seat" lol.

The reason for this thread is to talk about the recordings we have and the systems that play them! It's also a place to talk about "tuning" and the advantages of having a system that is able to play all of the halls or any other part of any recording. You want to start your own thread, have at it, but this is what this thread is about. Also I'm perfectly aware of my agenda and it's far more than a business one. I have not attemped to sell one thing up here but the concept of making the hobby a better one. A move that the High End Audio industry must move in, in order to survive. The rest of the hobby is surviving just fine and growing, High End Audio is on it's last leg as far as the boat anchors go. I don't see music lovers as becoming less of listeners but more.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

michael green
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how would you know

Joe says

"There is no way to make a poor recording into a good one. By tweaking (tuning) you can sometimes make whatever nasties that are there less obtrusive. You can even make good recordings sound better. However, the "nasties" in bad recordings are still there. They are part and parcel of the recording."

mg

How would you know, if you've never tuned the signal with all the fat removed. It's hard to say credible things about a topic when you have never done it. Saying "this is nonsense" doesn't exactly come off as credible. It comes off as something is bugging you, but is more of a statement that says to the guy who is tuning, you have fear of it for some reason.

Joe says

"All the "tuning" in the world will not remove the grungy sound that's part and parcel of Sugar Ray 19:59. All the "tuning" in the world will not change the different ambient signatures of the various instruments in a studio recording. They will never sound as if they are a product of the same ambience because they're not."

mg

Why would I want them to be? 14:59 sounds wonderful when it is tuned in. The engineers did some very cool things on this recording. You have referenced this as an example of a bad recording in a past post, so I simply went to my system and tuned it in to sound very nice. Why would there be a problem with that? I might even put in on now while I write this.

Joe says

"I want my system to reproduce what ever is on the source material with as little change from it as possible. That is what the "High Fidelity" reproduction of music is supposed to be about. Lest it be forgotten, the term High Fidelity is a shortening of the phrase, "To reproduce with a high degree of fidelity to the original".

mg

So what's the problem? Are you suggesting my system stripped to the bone and variably tunable is some how less able to reproduce the "original signal" ? Hey, this is becoming fun!

Joe says

"I'm waiting for you to admit that some recordings simply sound awful and nothing, no "tuning", no tweaking can be done about them. That there are many poor recordings is acknowledged by virtually everyone who is either an audiophile, engineer or just a music lover. Why do you have a problem accepting that?"

mg

Why would someone not admit a bad recording is a bad recording? I asked you to show me one, you did according to you, I tuned it in and disagreed with you about it's level of performance. Looks pretty cut and dry to me.

Joe says

"Have you never heard of the loudness wars?"

mg

Yes I know of the loudness wars, and I write about it in detail on my forum. I also have worked with compression extensively in my studio and others, have you? Personally I enjoy less compression, but I also understand why they are doing it. I explain my views and test on TuneLand.

Joe says

"Please tell me and the rest of the world how to compensate for the almost complete lack of dynamic range in many of today's pop/rock recordings.

When you figure out how to "tune" in some dynamic range I'm quite certain that there are plenty of people, including me, who will eagerly listen to your "tuning" spiel."

mg

LOL, where have you been lol!

Joe says

"Taking every opportunity to push "tuning" as an answer to the problem of poor recordings won't make me a convert. If it convinces others I'm reminded of P.T. Barnum. What you are ignoring is that if my system didn't reproduce sound as well as IMO (and others) it does I wouldn't be complaining about poor recordings.

So, sly digs and veiled criticisms about what you suggest I'm hearing or not hearing won't work. With good recordings I regularly suspend disbelief and enjoy the music (not my system) and hall sound as if they are here/I am there.

The Pizza delivery man asking, "Who you got jammin' in there?" says it all. I can't imagine a better compliment about how real (good) my or any system sounds."

mg

This really says little about me and more about your take on me. I doubt you would ever convert to anything that you feel is some kind of attack on you, but I wish you truly nothing but the best and always have.  I have no desire to have you feel like I am giving anything but what I have found to be true and if my wit or lack of it makes you feel uncomfortable I am sorry, but at the same time I don't want to be something or someone I am not, and that is someone who loves this industry and has served it a long time.

Joe says

"You mentioned several reasons for the lack of new direct to disk type recordings. One of them referred to musicians not being able to play error free for 15 to 20 minutes. IMO, if you can't play three or four songs straight through and error free you shouldn't have left the "woodshed". As for it being impractical; well, Maple Shade, Groove Note and others get by just fine recording live direct to two track masters with no studio "tuning". Their releases sound better than 98% of all recordings. Perhaps using one of their releases as a reference would give you a different perspective."

mg

I did not say this, I was simply quoting what experts in the recording business were saying. You can take your issue up with them.

I do use these recordings as references, along with a wide variety of others.  Maybe (I'm only suggesting) you've been missing my points while trying to project yours. There are not a lot of recordings I dislike, and I have explained why. You've made it clear you don't like my reasoning and that I have found a way to make listening to these and every recording at a higher degree of accuracy, along with being able to provide listeners with a method that allows them to enjoy the recordings they thought before were not so good. I get it! It makes you upset or you don't believe it or whatever else is bugging you. That doesn't change the facts that there is a higher level of accuracy available. I'm simply inviting people to explore it with or without me. They are, and they are hearing that what I am saying is true. They my friend are tuning. Not listening to a system and saying "it is tuned", they are actually actively tuning and the results of this is something people are finding interesting and trying. If you look at this as a negative or not true you can pick up your screwdriver or wrench as easy as anyone else, or you can sit there and say it doesn't exist.

This hobby is something we do. If people think they can plug something in and not tune it, so be it. I'm helping people who want to put their systems in tune and keep them intune.  That's all, no arm twisting, just helping them tune their big guitar sitting in their living room.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

 

 

Sonic.Beaver
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How would you know?

 

Hello

I am new around here, just joined today in fact.  Sonic is a user of Michael's equipment and a regular poster over on his site.  I am on a journey from an old audio approach where I damped my room with drapes on windows, carpets on the flooor and foam absorbers to a relatively live room that makes my Magneplanar MG1.5QRs (yes, rather antiquated) sound huge and really sing.

For me i would not want equipment or room treatments to create something that was not in some way encoded in the recording.  Being a classical music listener I would want to hear the ensemble as it was recorded in the acoustic space they played with nothing added or subtracted. If anyone suggested something like "add this piece of gear and the piano quintet you hear in front of you will surround you", that would be dishonest reproduction.  the question is where does the reality we want to reproduce sit? Is it the signal in the grooves of our LPs or further back at the source.  Ideally it would be at every point of the recording/encoding process but that doesn't happen in reality.  Once a signal is compressed, limited, EQed or digitized then something is irretrievable gone at every step.  But for all that our LPs, tape, CDs and SACDs give so much enjoyment.   

On the other hand rock and modern recordings are full of effects put there by engineers that were not on the original performance.  I would venture that in pop there might not have been an "orignal performance", so much is pasted on like Joe observed.  I heard one recording of the Japanese group Shonen Knife where there were vocals coming out of a spot behind my left shoulder.  Weird and phasey but fun for a few minutes.  Aesthetically for rock and pop, the engineering of the recording is as much a part of the performance as singing and playing instruments.

The question I ask when adding any gear or treatment is whether my system and room can better reproduce more of the recording (good and bad, well recorded or botched) or surpressing reproduced information. After all I remember the founder of Linn Ivor Tiefenbrun (as well as others) have observed that in reality our systems are reproducing on a small percentage of the signals in our grooves -- the shortfall could be missing musical lines, even instruments but (in my experience) it is the girth, presence and details that mark out music being made by human beings.   

Sonic

michael green
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well hello

Hi Sonic

Great to see you on the pages of Stereophile!

"Linn Ivor Tiefenbrun (as well as others) have observed that in reality our systems are reproducing on a small percentage of the signals in our grooves" this is a golden statement! And this is why I do what I do.

I can not tell you how many times I have been invited to listen to "world class" systems and whole instruments were missing. This is far more common than listeners realize. If the harmonic structure of a particular recording is not dialed in the instrument never has a chance to form. How many times do we hear the first seats of the violins and violas and by the 3rd row it's nothing but air and fog? We talk about classical music being the perfect reference, but if the stage on a classical piece (full orchestra) is no deeper than 6-8' we never hear the middle and back rows of the sections. It's up front, then it's back to the other sections and never fills out the inbetween. I've sat there with guys saying this is the recording and a few minutes later after tuning in the piece the instruments appear. I've showed this to conductors, musicians and recording engineers and I get the same reaction every time.

The microphone is an amazing animal and picks up more than people give credit to. We play our audio systems and think that the system is giving us a picture of what the recording is. For some reason we have been taught that the system is the reference and not the recording. We think that once the system sounds cool to us that it has the ability on it's own to reveal the recording, but as Sonic brought up experts in the recording and audiophile business have found that "we are only getting a fraction". I have never heard a system on it's own without being specifically tuned into that particular recording give a true reference of that recording. I've been tuning in soundstages all my life and have never heard this take place. Sitting down to a plug and play setup is not referencing. This is the one thing that I do think is over looked with reviewing. If we are going to say reference quality we can't sit there and put a piece of music on and simply let the system play it. There's an obvious step that is missing. It has been my experience that the over built inflexible systems are the worst offenders. The more locked in a system is to "IT's" character, the fewer recordings that sound good on it. This may not be the happiest statement to deliver, but it's the truth none the less.

Sonic, it's very nice to have you here and I look forward to your posts as always.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

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Tuned-in room

Hello all,
I've been in a number of rooms where the system and room have been well tuned-in (including my own), and there is more music revealed in those rooms than if the system/room was just static and untuned. Depending on how it was tuned, the soundstage could extend beyond the sidewalls to the next rooms on either side. I basically heard more of what I think was intended by both the musicians and engineers, including effects. For example, in my own system, the panned crickets on the Beatles' Sun King extended ten feet into the next room. On Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine, the startling machine synth effect 3/4 through the song was exactly parallel to my ears at the side walls. That information was on the recording, or I wouldn't have been able to hear it that way.

Sonic.Beaver
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Subwoofer boom

Hi Michael and friends at the 'Phile

As an example of how effective some of Mr Green's wood products are -- my system has a noticeable boom around 90 hz but one activated only when the note carrying that frequency or it being a harmonic of is sustained. This comes from my Janis W-1 subwoofer system interface because my Magneplanars don’t exhibit this on their own.

Even so the entire loudspeaker system measures reasonably flat in that region tested using 1/3 octave pink noise and measured with the SPL meter.

The boom is not so bad so as to invalidate the use of a subwoofer but it can at times erode the musicality of some LPs (but less CDs).

Then Sonic had an idea – I got three Low Tone Redwood blocks supporting my subwoofer amp (a bridged Rotel). The blocks were completely under the Rotel chassis. I wanted to let the amp to resonate freely so I moved the three Low Tone Redwood blocks from under the chassis to right at the edges (two front and one rear).

So you see a Rotel perched at the edges of three wood blocks 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 1.5 in. And the boom on that sustained note reduced sharply yet without sounding any different on the bass otherwise.

Michael can you explain this. In another world, faced with this problem I as an audiophile will be buying traps, helmholtz resonators, graphic EQs and apps to calculate all sorts of different combinations of speaker placement to kill the boom.

But here is a 2 inch movement of three wooden blocks supporting an amp and the problem reduces to the point it is out of mind.

I have come to expect this from RoomTune products and methods. But before anyone start thinking of snake oil Michael can you give an explanation contrasting this to the world of traps, helmholtz resonators and notch EQs.

Sonic

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same question

The same question was asked on TuneLand and here is my answer.

Think about how much vibration is going into that block from the parts in your component. The block filled with audio signal and then told the parts energy it is Ok to interact with me. I know it seems almost impossible, but you have to let go a let this energy be as alive as it is. If you guys can let go of fixed you will be able to shape your music in so many ways it will blow your minds.

Sonic and guys, I want to show you something.

Harmonics

Harmonics are made every time you play a note. Most of the time, however, you do not hear them. Well you may even hear them but they may be way in the distance. What you hear is the fundamental (sometimes called the first harmonic). The fundamental is the loudest sound produced, but it is accompanied by several harmonics. "Playing harmonics" is the technology of playing fundamentals and the other overtones.

Open Harmonics

Open harmonics as I sometimes referred to as natural harmonics. These harmonics are picked up by the mics and are on the recording and if they make it through the system will reveal (open themselves up) in playback if the system is able to align enough of these over tones. This is where you have to let go of the audiophile stuff. The audiophile gig does "not" talk about music a lot of times as the music world talks about music. It may use a few of the same words but the two worlds are not on the same page a lot of times.

Playing Harmonics

Playing all the harmonics can be hard. This requires not only the playing of a note, but also a "soft touch" with the parts that carry the signal. The audio signal has to be looked at more like preserving notes than passing frequencies or we will never understand how delicate the flow through the system really is. I hate making people mad but it is so easy to squeeze and audio signal and make it only focus on a small part of the music content.

Stimulating Harmonics

When your playing your guitar and you want to play the harmonics over the fundamental or use them to influence what do you do? You use touch techniques to make this happen. You can play that string, or strings many different ways to create more awareness of harmonics that were always there, you just brought them out more or less. This is how you create flavor. Play the same note or same chord hundreds of different ways without changing the note or chord and it will sound a hundred different ways. Play the same note on a different instrument and again it will sound a hundred different ways and flavors. It's not a frequency Sonic, it's a note and all that comes with a note. A frequency is nothing more than a fixed language symbal. It's a measuring cup not the taste of the cake.

Frequency vs Note

A frequency has no flavor attached to it. But, play that frequency through a hundred different systems and I guarantee it will sound different every time. Why?

to be continued.....

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part 2

"Frequency vs Note

A frequency has no flavor attached to it. But, play that frequency through a hundred different systems and I guarantee it will sound different every time. Why?

to be continued....."

If we took a frequency and play it back on any two instruments, it would sound different. A frequency on a trumpet sounds different than on a violin. Hook up your test mic and you will get the same frequency, listen to the different instruments and you will get two different sounds. Same happens when you play the same frequency on two different audio systems. They will measure the same frequency but sound different.

I'm always preaching about how we have over done things in this hobby, and how we generalize too much. We think it doesn't really hurt to lump a frequency in with a note, and so the hobby has created this huge thing about tests and responses and measurements LxWxH and distortions and all this stuff that comes with it. But it's all artifical. These technical lands of theory don't have much to do with sound, other than representing a portion of the measuring of sound. The audio industry has yet to become a real science as compared to music and the musical instrument. People say you can't compare an audio system to a musical instrument, and they would be right cause the audio system has a way to go science whys to catch up with a music instrument.

A note or a sound (audio signal) is still heads and sholders above audio reproduction systems. A note and a sound has active harmonic structures. Not just a structure but structures. There's the fundamental and all the other parts of nature that comes with it. This includes every other form of energy around it. Why does a cello explode with sound? Cause it explodes with vibration and vibrates everything around it that it can stimulate till it dissipates. It creates many layers of energized soundwaves and pressure. If you played one note on that cello, this explosion will happen. You could measure this explosion from many angles and placements and find many sweet spots of the note. Set up a recording test and mic all over this cello playing this one note and you will hear a huge range of different sounds. This is not a frequency, and if your test equipment is measuring all these different sounds as one frequency (which is what is happening) you are not testing the note, but a very small portion of it, maybe 1/100, maybe less.

testing speaker vs cello

When we setup our tests, we brought in the instrument, played the note, recorded it, took out the instrument, put in the speaker and played it. We played the recording back on several speakers and the playback sounded different on every speaker. One note remember. Then we did A/B testing between the live note and the recorded playback. Not one speaker sounded like the cello. It wasn't until we brought in a tunable (vibrating) speaker and tuned it to sound like the cello that we came close. The first thing we noticed with the other speakers were the heavier they were the smaller the sound got. The more dampened they were the duller the sound got and you could only hear part of the note and the rest was gone, like you were listening to a frequency instead of a developed note. The heavier dampen speakers also sounded out of pitch compared to the cello.

Next we played the speaker and cello in the same room one at a time. When the speaker was placed in the room with the cello and we played, the cello went out of tune. We would have to keep taking the cello out of the room and tune it, it would go out of pitch that fast. The sound in the room with the speaker and cello at the same time sounded very off (distorted). We then put in the vibrating speaker and tuned it so close to the cellos note that you could hear both of them oscillating together. Even with one speaker there was size and body, where the other speakers sounded flat small and distorted.

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part 3

part 3

We did a lot of these listening tests and it helped me in my conclusions about the products being built and the audio signal.

The audio signal works more like the musical note than we give it credit. The audio signal is all vibration and if we do things like we did with that cello the same results happen. It takes very little dampening to make these musical notes go out of pitch. It also takes very little dampening or diffusion to cancel waves and pressure in a room or throw them out of tune.

It doesn't surprise me at all that a little movement of a Block can change the sound that much, why wouldn't it? The audio signal has far more to it then we think and as far as thinking if we can get our minds around notes and away from frequencies we will be much further ahead cause a frequency is not a note but a very small part of it.

I need to talk about note and harmonic sweet spots. This is not referring to listening seating sweet spots even though it does affect them. What I'm talking about is the sweet spot of a musical note being produced either by an instrument or the note as it travels through the audio chain or soundwave.

michael green
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[quote=michael green]
michael green wrote:

"Frequency vs Note

A frequency has no flavor attached to it. But, play that frequency through a hundred different systems and I guarantee it will sound different every time. Why?

to be continued....."

If we took a frequency and play it back on any two instruments, it would sound different. A frequency on a trumpet sounds different than on a violin. Hook up your test mic and you will get the same frequency, listen to the different instruments and you will get two different sounds. Same happens when you play the same frequency on two different audio systems. They will measure the same frequency but sound different.

I'm always preaching about how we have over done things in this hobby, and how we generalize too much. We think it doesn't really hurt to lump a frequency in with a note, and so the hobby has created this huge thing about tests and responses and measurements LxWxH and distortions and all this stuff that comes with it. But it's all artifical. These technical lands of theory don't have much to do with sound, other than representing a portion of the measuring of sound. The audio industry has yet to become a real science as compared to music and the musical instrument. People say you can't compare an audio system to a musical instrument, and they would be right cause the audio system has a way to go science whys to catch up with a music instrument.

A note or a sound (audio signal) is still heads and sholders above audio reproduction systems. A note and a sound has active harmonic structures. Not just a structure but structures. There's the fundamental and all the other parts of nature that comes with it. This includes every other form of energy around it. Why does a cello explode with sound? Cause it explodes with vibration and vibrates everything around it that it can stimulate till it dissipates. It creates many layers of energized soundwaves and pressure. If you played one note on that cello, this explosion will happen. You could measure this explosion from many angles and placements and find many sweet spots of the note. Set up a recording test and mic all over this cello playing this one note and you will hear a huge range of different sounds. This is not a frequency, and if your test equipment is measuring all these different sounds as one frequency (which is what is happening) you are not testing the note, but a very small portion of it, maybe 1/100, maybe less.

testing speaker vs cello

When we setup our tests, we brought in the instrument, played the note, recorded it, took out the instrument, put in the speaker and played it. We played the recording back on several speakers and the playback sounded different on every speaker. One note remember. Then we did A/B testing between the live note and the recorded playback. Not one speaker sounded like the cello. It wasn't until we brought in a tunable (vibrating) speaker and tuned it to sound like the cello that we came close. The first thing we noticed with the other speakers were the heavier they were the smaller the sound got. The more dampened they were the duller the sound got and you could only hear part of the note and the rest was gone, like you were listening to a frequency instead of a developed note. The heavier dampen speakers also sounded out of pitch compared to the cello.

Next we played the speaker and cello in the same room one at a time. When the speaker was placed in the room with the cello and we played, the cello went out of tune. We would have to keep taking the cello out of the room and tune it, it would go out of pitch that fast. The sound in the room with the speaker and cello at the same time sounded very off (distorted). We then put in the vibrating speaker and tuned it so close to the cellos note that you could hear both of them oscillating together. Even with one speaker there was size and body, where the other speakers sounded flat small and distorted.

So Michael....
You are saying you got a speaker to resonate in sympathetic fashion with the cello? I suppose that is good if the only thing you want that speaker to reproduce is cello?
Now all you would need is a speaker tuned to each instrument in the orchestra.

I don't mean to make fun, I just have trouble following your train of thought soemtimes.

regards,
Bill

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train of thought

Hi Bill

Keeps life interesting being me LOL. Obviously we did tests on many instruments as well as multiple instruments and whole recordings. If you take a peek at my studio and other facilities you will see how we did this.

What I find interesting is how can an industry that is based on playback not be variable. How can such a neccessity be overlooked? I certainly can't be the only High End Audio designer that understands that the audio signal can and should be variably tuned.

Think about it, you (I'm saying you in a general sense) turn on your system, put on a piece of music and if it doesn't sound right to you, your choices are next to nothing. The guy down the street from you goes through the same situation and variably tunes his setup and gets the sound he wants. Doesn't this seem odd to you? How can he tune the sound in and you not? This is a real case scenario, and audio in general has been in "fixed" (one sound) mode for way too long. It's nice that we have all these designers making all these signatured products but if every product has it's own sound and all these recordings have their own sound, you guys are going to be trading in your components forever. You will never find the absolute sound cause a piece of music is always going to be there that can't be played on the fixed system. I guess you could go through life judging and grading recordings, but what about that guy down the street? Why is he able to play that piece of music and you can't?

michael green
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tonights hall

Listening to Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam

Mendelssohn Bartholdy: The Complete Solo Concertos [Box set]
Felix Mendelssohn (Composer), Lev Markiz (Conductor), Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam (Orchestra) featuring, Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam, Roland Pöntinen, Love Derwinger

Disc: 1

recorded with, neumann microphones, studer 961 mixer, fostex D-10 DAT recorder, and stax headphones

The Neumann's do a great job of picking up this hall. My stage is maybe 30 feet wide 20 feet deep and a beautiful height of I would say 20 or more feet. You can clearly hear the strings haloing off the ceiling with a thick warm harmonic flow that goes well behind me. I'm not looking at the hall but sitting in it. I can see the instruments with good detail and hear how they flow into the space. The soft passages you can sense the pressure but when the dynamics hit there's an immediate filling of the room. A cushion of support, but never confusing as the instruments stay in perfect position.

michael green
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Recording

Joe,

Interesting perspective on the hall effect you were referring to. It actually has an interesting history but if I remember right your direct to LP / Tape recordings were the earliest forum of recordings and for a number of reasons were phased out as technology progressed. I believe you then slowly started getting into more of the modern multi-track recording system that eventually progressed to what we had today. The hall effect you are referring to used to be produced via a reverberation chamber - early multi-track times {essentially playing back a track in a room designed for a reverberation and then re-recorded). I believe that is likely been replaced with plug-in on pro tools or an effects module.

I understand that you are saying instruments seemed placed in modern recordings, because they are, but i think that also adds art to the music. If anything i think it makes the music more interesting since you now have a system where the artist plays it and then it goes to the mix engineer, along with the artist, to fine tune it and really get what they wanted out of it. So I disagree that there us no sound stage or that it is artificial, to me it represents the culmination of many people to get it to where it was and would argue that it is as real as any recorded sound stage. for instance you can record direct stereo with just two mic, but i'm not sure why you would see this is a truer representation of reality since that sound stage now really depends on how the mix engineer position the mics and what kind of mics were used. So you are trading a digital or analog control panel for mic positioning

The truth is, many people expect their systems to produce a sound that is magical but the best you can ever do is get what is on your disk. Also, and this is a big assumption, you are assuming there is a mic that perfectly was able to capture the instrument you were listening to and that there was no distortion in the recording process.

It actually interesting, and i suspect many have not done this, but listen to a few conferences where they have mix engineers come out and talk and you will soon realize that there are an infinite ways to mix an album and short of having the multi-track for pro tools you won't know everything that was done.

Now none of this is saying you have to settle as treating a room and certain tweaks to dial your system to its environment will have massive effects, but the best you will get is the recording. To the point about room treatment and tuning a lot of effects like hall effects are settle items added to a recording to give it character and require a very dialed in system to hear appropriately.

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the hobby

thank you audiophile2000

This is a hobby of exploring, and that was a very thoughtful response! It turned the camera toward the art of recording and listening, and isn't that really the hobbies goal, to explore this wonderful landscape that so many are willing to paint?

michael green
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Listening

Getting back to listening, I was just playing Summertime by Peter Gabriel. Couldn't believe what a wide, deep soundstage this song produces, and I was in my normal seated position 12 feet from the speakers. I sometimes cheat to get a bigger stage and move up close but I sure didn't need to here.

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boy did I need this

Hi TM

Coming up here the last couple of days felt like sitting in the dentist chair (the non-listening audiophile spin does that to me if I'm stuck in it too long). I vented on TuneLand cause I was too weirded out with the phile forum to say anything here lol. But I let the music take me away today, and like the magic it always is, my thoughts started to come from another place that only listening can bring.

this is a great piece of music thanks

michael green
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Me too
michael green wrote:

Hi TM

Coming up here the last couple of days felt like sitting in the dentist chair (the non-listening audiophile spin does that to me if I'm stuck in it too long). I vented on TuneLand cause I was too weirded out with the phile forum to say anything here lol. But I let the music take me away today, and like the magic it always is, my thoughts started to come from another place that only listening can bring.
this is a great piece of music thanks

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

Your quite welcome Michael. Far as I'm concerned there's far to much talking and not enough listening going on here.
Some times when a gaggle of my audio club members come over I can't wait till they leave to really listen to what we've been talking about, don't get me wrong there a great bunch of folks but when we discuss a piece of music then listen to it , long before it's over the nattering starts. Really hard to hear a piece of music with two or three conversations going on and little being said.

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Yep

Hi TM

I find far more peace in the listening than the talking too. Had a studio person here today and right from the beginning she was like WOW! "I'm going to put one of these rooms in my house". I think she was more interested in the way it made her voice sound and feel than even the music although that certainly was a bit of a surprise for her. She fell into her listening zone within seconds and so I left and waiting for her to come downstairs. A little over an hour later it was all smiles and a new friendship was born.

I bring this up because she said something interesting to me. "why do people in the biz get so angry". I told her about this forum and others and some of the music forums, and she was like "I know". We had a good time laughing. Now she is strictly from the music biz side but she said that people who don't really participate are the ones who get mad at the world and try to cause dissension. And I would agree. Someone who talks about music but isn't truly into it or happy with it for some reason is the one who causes the road bumps for others not to take in the joy of it. For me when I hear you or one of the others talk about the music it's like I'm there with you. I want to run to my collection if a have it or my store if I don't.

michael green
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the rock hall of Def

Today while reviewing Dire Straits, I get a post from Singapore. One of the Tunees was talking about Def Leppard's "Hysteria". I had to break pace and check things out.

here was my reply

"This recording has become one of my go to rock references for using effects properly. The last time you mentioned it to me I was listening to "Pyro" and you said do this one instead. Months after I got another copy and it still sat on the shelf for a while. Then the time permitted me to revisit these tunes. "TUNES" what was I waiting on? This is far more than a tribute to the "80's".

Take out a soundstage fork & knife, and you will never stop cutting into thick pieces of juicy, meaningful, rich morsels of rock story lines. Be prepared to have the stage come up and get personal cause it is "huge" and comes at you from all over the place. Some of the best reverb over flow ever recorded.

In fact, I need to put a quick hold on my "dire straits" journey, and do a little Def trip." The thread http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t169p105-hiend001-s-system .

The "hall" created by good engineering is just as much fun (sometimes more) than the natural halls around the world. Soundstage is everything in this hobby, and when it is in place these recordings paint landscapes that live forever.

hope all of you are having a great time listening

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

tmsorosk
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Want to play the hall ?

Try spinning up Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells 2003.

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Now you're making me feel

Now you're making me feel really old. I remember when I got the original Tubular Bells back in '75.

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some fun stuff

That's some fun stuff for sure. In extreme nearfield it even gets a little scary to listen to at night. I'm no wimp but I was looking over my sholder more than once.

michael green
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sharing the stage

Wanted to share this post.

"Hi Michael,

My system is getting better and better everyday Especially the harmonics moving from front stage to the side wall then faded out behind my ear Sometime I was wondering whether the album recording is deem fantastically done by the recording engineer or is it because of my system has become perfectly tuned?

This are the albums I'm really enjoying playing repeat mode again and again.......
- TOTO: Past to Present 1977 - 1990
- Peter Cetera: One Clear Voice
- Foreigner: I Want to Know What Love Is & The Best of Ballads
- Billy Joel: The Ultimate Collection

Talking about Billy Joel, the drumming tone is much different from the rest of '80s artist. Could feel every drum beat pressure very near to my face (in front of me slightly offset to the left from center when played "My Life").

I begin to understand what you mean when you mentioned "having the float with this recording so much front to back movement." I have experienced these effect with the above 4 albums. The effects flow like ping pong panning left and right in waves across the stage and sometimes flow from front to side wall and ended far side behind me.

I believe my system sudden explosion soundstage partly got to do with the LTR blocks grain direction placement and also probably the blocks have finally settle down for the past 4 months.

I'm so excited and eager to play all my hundreds of CDs collection all over again to find out more special effects hidden within the songs............................ "

singapore 8/31/2014

michael green
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realizing

Today I was thinking about something that I haven't spent much time to consider. Here's what I wrote on TuneLand.

"I'm Learning

Maybe I never took the time to think about it much, but this time of reading Stereophile forum more closely I'm realizing that possibly audiophiles have not been taught as much about things from the recording end as they should have been or maybe things were written that they didn't read or pickup on.

I'm not going to go back and check, but sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of the knowledge being shared didn't go back, or back enough into the making of recordings as part of the listening chain. Did most audiophiles start at the storage (vinyl, tape, CD) forward, or did they start from the real beginning?"
___________________________________________

Sometimes when I'm reading here I wonder why aren't the listeners spending time on the real size/ real space of recordings? It's puzzling to me, and is something that has always surprised me, even when visiting reviewers or designers. Why would someone choose to not hear the whole thing? Then the answer comes to me, maybe most don't know or understand the connection between the space recorded in, or created in vs the space being played back in. Honestly even many studio engineers haven't gone that far. They confine themselves to their control room and are making mini choices on the recording without knowing just how big the recorded space really is.

It's not so hard to find out how big the recorded space is, and I think that this is a part of the audiophile world that should be fun for listeners, but why is the talk about it so limited and why do people get so defensive when space is brought up? Trust me, playing in the little audiophile soundstage box and picking each other apart in that box someday will be a joke. Learning about recorded space and pickup patterns is every bit as much of the audiophile hobby as playing back music. People say "how do you know what is real, or what was really on the recording"? This question blows my mind, and I can't figure out why this is not a part of the hobby as much as equipment brand names are. You would think that the history about a recording session would be right up there at the top of the list when dicussing the stage, but instead I see a lot of "after thought" conjecture. People have been playing the game of taste "their taste" on the way the music should be recorded and played back instead of looking at the recording itself and playing it back the way (or close to the way) it was. It's nice to set ideas of what could have or should have been, but don't you think it's more important to look at what is and was? After this shape it however you want and call it "right", but calling it right before knowing what it is looks like a bunch of old men in the home runing into each other in their chairs.

The loudest one wins, nope I disagree. The answer is there for any to visit if they are willing to research. Willing to get out of that box and look at what went into the recordings and learn how to listen to and for what. Not some manufactured idea, but what was and is really there.

This hobby has only just begun for those who wish to pursue it's true meaning and roots, or it can die on the bones by us stopping short of "the absolute sound".

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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