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dbowker
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"MyPingo" Discs

OK- Check out the project in the DIY user galleries.
DIY Gallery

The wood is the actual East African Blackwood that are used for the Shun Mook discs. No plain old ebony here! They were made to the specifications sited in reviews, although they of course don't say what the "special" finishing process is. I used traditional hard rubbed furniture oil so we'll have to consider that a slight variable.

I made up four discs yesterday, and six square blocks (for other testing). The wood is indeed amazing stuff in that it's one of the hardest and heaviest I've ever worked with. When you tap the pieces together they have a great tonality. It feels more like stone of engineering plastics than wood. And yet it sucks up water like a soft wood. It has no repelling qualities like Teak and the oil finish worked great.

I have only done a few preliminary tests with placement on my speakers and my turntable with somewhat inconclusive results. Personally I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic. Usually cables and the like produce an instant difference for me without a lot of straining to hear micro-nuances(good or bad depending on what they are). I want to try out a few different recordings though and see if they simpatico with the CD player as well.

The whole project (not counting the trip to the wood store) took under two hours. Even if they end up working as claimed, $50 a puck is pretty steep. The wood's rare, but you use about $2 worth per disc! If I had it properly set up before hand I could probably crank out 8 an hour...

I'm not sure I have enough to do the "room" treatment but I'll first report on the more direct tests as that seemed like what reviewers responded to more.

Enjoy the pix. That was fun and if they don't work my kid will have the most exotic blocks in the neighborhood!

Elk
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

They look great. I like the picture with maple as a back drop.

Your description sounds like working with "regular" ebony. It is somewhat strange stuff. As I also like an oil finish I commend your choice.

Let's see, at $50.00/each and eight per hour that's $400.00/hour gross. Subtract $17.00 for materials (a nice allowance for the oil and more for shipping . . .

Is your time worth $300.00/hour?

Keep reporting in. This is fun!

bifcake
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs


Quote:
They look great. I like the picture with maple as a back drop.

Your description sounds like working with "regular" ebony. It is somewhat strange stuff. As I also like an oil finish I commend your choice.

Let's see, at $50.00/each and eight per hour that's $400.00/hour gross. Subtract $17.00 for materials (a nice allowance for the oil and more for shipping . . .

Is your time worth $300.00/hour?

Keep reporting in. This is fun!

It's the skill that you're paying for. Don't you get that, man? And what about the capital investment in the milling machine and the electricity. When you factor all of those costs in making the little, round wooden thingies, $400 seems a downright bargain. Oh, and don't forget the cost of the snake oil. Snake oil doesn't grow on trees, you know. Factor in the cost of catching a snake, medical costs of being bitten, shipping and handling and the next thing you know, you'll be losing money on the little round, wooden thingies at $400

Elk
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

I had hoped you would enjoy this one.

bifcake
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Oh, I did! I really did!

dbowker
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Thanks guys- and kudos to Elk for his "Mypingo" pun that I gladly appropriated.

Evaluation Equipment: Well-Tempered Turntable with Grado Sonata MC, Grado Phono pre-amp, Krell KAVxi400 amp, Rega Apollo CD player. DIY Pro-Ac Response 2.5 speakers. Wired with Audioquest King Cobra with Stereovox Firebird speaker wire. Dedicated electrical line with PS Audio in-wall power conditioner with upgraded power cords throughout.

OK- so I had a break this morning and sat down for some serious evaluation and here's what I think: Yes- they ARE doing something positive in the realm of sound stage and imaging when all four are placed on top of my turntable. I mostly used the 45rpm 180 gram version of Chet, by Chet Baker because it has only 5 instruments and incredible natural space and tone. At first I wasn't sure but I couldn't deny that every time I put those discs on the plinth the instruments just dropped back into space farther and sounded more "rounded" or solid if you will. I repeated this over and over until the point that it will be quite a while until I play the first track on that album, haha! I took them off- the sound came forward and was thinner. Put them back and everything froped back and became more solid.

So there you have it. NOT "night and day, best ever, made my system sing like never before" changes- but it DID sound better. I couldn't get around it. Problem is, I don't really like how they look on top, so now I'm stuck!

I put a block directly over the toroidal transformer of my Krell and I though it may have enhanced the above effect, but I didn't spend as much time with that. The CD player seemed to benefit as well although I need to spend more time with that too.

Honestly, I still can't imagine they can do much for the room but I'll try out some experiments when I get the time. When I went and re-read all the past reviews most reviewers, if they heard anything, focused on what they could do for the equipment itself and only one guy really swallowed the whole room treatment thing. He was obviously very susceptible to suggestion with statements like "the doctor's enthusiasm was infectious" etc.

So if I can find a way to accept them on my equipment they will stay. How much would I pay for these things knowing what I know now? $15 per disc I'd say. Any more seems way out of proportion to their usefullness, not to mention their ease of manufacture.

mrlowry
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Interesting results. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I've always been skeptical of the idea that they could affect room acoustics. Using Mpingo discs to tune a room would be like using a squirt-gun to put out a three alarm fire. However, I'm open to the idea they could deaden the top panel of a component.

Too bad you haven't been able to compare them to an original disc, that would be really illustrative. I noticed that there are currently no used ones on sale at a-gon. The formula that I've always heard is that multiplying the cost of raw materials by five pays for labor, machinery, advertising, etc., etc. If they cost you $2 in raw materials a piece that would dictate that your pucks should retail for $10 each. So what is the mpingo process that adds another $40 in value? The only way to know would be a shoot out.

Jan Vigne
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

A few questions:

Where did you acquire your Mpingo lumber? How much per linear foot? Any minimum purchase? How many saw blades did you go through working with the Mpingo? How did you cut the discs to shape?

The original Sun Mook products used above components are recommended in sets of one to three and the disc(s) sits atop the square of Gaboon wood. Any ideas of trying this arrangement? The discs are grain oriented according to Shun Mook's literature and will alter the balance of the system as you rotate each disc, somewhat like choosing the correct sawing technique for wood used in instruments, quarter sawn, plain cut, etc. Have you experimented with orienting the discs or just placed them atop the WTT table? The Resonators, with their embedded steel shaft and diamond tip are meant to be used under a component as a footer. Any attempts at using your discs under your equipment? When you try the discs as room treatment devices do you have any instructions to follow according to the original's method of placement and tuning?

dbowker
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Hi Jan- I was just wondering when you were going to jump in. I'll answer as best I can:

"Where did you acquire your Mpingo lumber? How much per linear foot? Any minimum purchase? How many saw blades did you go through working with the Mpingo? How did you cut the discs to shape?"

Check out the photos I posted for the process. The Mpingo is not sold by the board foot as far as I can tell. Suffice to say the biggest piece I saw was about 1 board foot total and around $95. The pieces they had at Rockler Woodworking were smallish pieces meant for cutting into inlays, or turning on a lathe for small bowls or other spindle shapes. I just squared up my piece and mounted it on my lather and turned it to the diameter spec'd. It's hard, but not THAT hard, so no blades were "gone through" although I'll assume they are a bit dulled. Really, to square it up it was only 4 cuts anyway. I could push a chunk of solid aluminum through too (not a good idea but possible).

"The original Shun Mook products used above components are recommended in sets of one to three and the disc(s) sits atop the square of Gaboon wood. Any ideas of trying this arrangement?"

I'm looking into the tuning aspects but have not tried as of yet.

"The discs are grain oriented according to Shun Mook's literature and will alter the balance of the system as you rotate each disc, somewhat like choosing the correct sawing technique for wood used in instruments, quarter sawn, plain cut, etc. Have you experimented with orienting the discs or just placed them atop the WTT table?"

I have turned them around a bit and was inclusive about any grain orientation effects. I have not used the under anything, just atop components. Turntable: Yes results. CD Player: Maybe positive. Amp: Maybe positive. Speakers: Negligible effect to maybe negative?

"The Resonators, with their embedded steel shaft and diamond tip are meant to be used under a component as a footer. Any attempts at using your discs under your equipment? When you try the discs as room treatment devices do you have any instructions to follow according to the original's method of placement and tuning?"

I don't have the equipment or materials to make the diamond resonators, although I may make myself a Record Clamp. I read every review I could and it sounds like you need more than 4 to really work in a room. I'd also need to make the little maple holder (not a big deal). I have a number of square mpingo blocks I made at the same time though so I might try those out. Even it did work they would not pass the WAF (or maybe even mine) nor the toddler curiosity factor so I'm not jumping on that right away- but I WILL at some point.

Hope that was clear. Someone here asked me to make a set of 4 for him, which I agreed to do for $40 total. It's easier to make bunch than a couple so I'd consider making more if anyone really wanted to try them out. At $40 I'm certainly not looking to make anything on them- it's more for materials and enough on top for me to buy a record or two, heheh.

Jan Vigne
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Have you tried other footers, supports and toppers on your equipment. I also own an Apollo and a friend has a Saturn. Neither he nor I find the Rega players to be extremely sensitive to such changes but audible when we hit the right combination. However, nothing he nor I have tried has made any significant difference and certainly not improvement nor degradation when I place it on top of the Apollo.

dbowker
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

I use Composite Products carbon fiber cones under my Apollo and they work pretty well.

http://www.musicdirect.com/product/71869

dbowker
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

BTW- regarding your questions of actually wood and machining properties- I detailed all my observation about working with the mpingo wood in my DIY gallery photos. Each one has a number of aspects and properties discussed.

Elk
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

There is a Janka hardness rating for wood. It measures hardness as the force required to indent the wood with a ball-bearing. It is not a measure of the resistance to cutting, but it gives one an idea. Ebony is one of the hardest woods there is.

I never have had problems cutting or otherwise working with it however. Sharp tools are always a must so it really doe not matter what one is cutting. With good sharp blades and a hard wood the resulting cut does not need sanding unless you want a mirror finish.

I bet his discs are absolutely gorgeous in person.

rvance
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

dbowker, Congrats for your efforts. Really doing something with your hobby/system is so much more satisfying than talking about it. And wood is a wonderful medium. Good work!

dbowker
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Re: "MyPingo" Discs

Thanks rvance !

I was glad to be able to share the process and, for some people, provide some insight into what they may do.

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