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audiophile2000
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Room Tuning

While this has been discussed at length throughout the forum I thought it might make sense to try and consolidate it down and really break into what people mean and what is and is not working. While people often gesture back and forth on what’s best, I think we really all have the same goals in mind weather we tune every track or tune the initial setup. Obviously making adjustment for every disk is going to yield the best sound as every disk was mixed on a different system and its naive to believe that there is one ultimate system, but at the same time that prospect of trying to zero in on the engineers setup for every disk seems challenging and time consuming (depending on your definition), with that I imagine a lot of us try to optimize a system that can average between your various setups.

With the above, said, what methods do you use to setup your system (absorption, diffusion, resonators, mass dampening, plinths, electronics, etc.) and what has worked. Also if you tune your system for various albums, what changes are you making, how long do they take.

I think it would be helpful and interesting to see how people have blended the various options together to create their system. Also having a discussion on what people are finding in their setups may help us all narrow in on changes that could take.

audiophile2000
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My Setup

For me, I have a c. 10 x 14 room with marble floors and concrete walls with the system setup on the long wall. The speakers are setup on 1-2 inch high plinths to reduce the boundary interaction for the bass. I used to use brass weights for the speaker but found that while it made the sound very detailed, it hollowed it out a bit and I lose some of the mid-range color. For room treatment I have floor to ceiling bass traps with membranes in all 4 corners, to triangle bass traps behind the couch, 4 7inch traps on the rear wall with membranes, 4 5.5 inch traps on the lower front wall, 4 4inch traps on the front upper wall and 2 early reflection panels on the side. I also added in a large area rug.

Sound in general is very good but can trend to the relax side a bit. I think the membranes have helped on the panels to preserve the HF in the room but still provide the absorption I need for the bass (the room had horrible bass build up issues prior to all the paneling. I’m considering adding in front membranes to the upper 4 panels and or diffusors to preserve a bit more of the HF as the sound can be a bit to relaxed on some tracks

Would be great to hear experience peoples experience with diffusion in the front of the room as you normally see it to the sides or the back, but have also seen it to the front but seems to be more of an atypical setup.

michael green
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My setups

great thread!

I hope listeners take advantage of this.

You guys pretty much know my systems http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/ with the exception maybe of my high end audio one that stays in review mode so I don't loose touch with the latest high end movements.

My systems are designed to be completely variable, so I can add or delete anything to or from the audio signal anywhere in the chain. I use 2 indoor systems and one outdoor, set up like an indoor. I also use a headphone system. My systems are designed based on free resonance so I can add any amount of mass or tension to them during any session. It's basically one big musical instrument.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
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2000

Hi Audiophile2000

You notice how people aren't jumping on board this thread. This is what's wrong with this part of the industry. A lot of guys need to change their frowns to smiles.

talk about your systems a little people, have some fun

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
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A tuning pictorial

Hi Listeners

We read a lot of different guys up here, many who make claims of having systems that are able to do certain things (I'm one of them). I think that it's a good idea to get to know who each other are so we can make judgements on the things that are being said. The internet as we all know are full of people who lift themselves up maybe a little bit higher than who and what they really are (not always but sometimes). But how can we know this unless we take a look at what they do or have done in this hobby or business.

I thought about this today and decided to put together a little pictorial to give folks an idea about me and my listening as well as those who I service. You can visit my forum any time you would like and start a thread or ask questions, but here's a field trip for you http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t249-a-look-at-tunable-systems . I'll try to get around to more pics as I get time but wanted to give you a brief idea who your talking to. Some of these pics are of course my systems and all of them are ones I have tuned or the listener has my product.

take care and happy listening

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

audiophile2000
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Photo's say a lot

Was hoping this would take off a bit more than it did. I think it would be great to hear what other are doing with their rooms. I think seeing what people are doing will expand the knowledge on this subject and hopefully provide some real world experiences with what they are doing and what is or is not working.

For me, my goal that I am still striving for better more accurate sound so the question for me is always what is the weakest link and how do we fix it. I truly think, despite all the discussions the biggest issue people run into is room and equipment setup and I think this is a place we can learn from everyone on. From my above post you can see I went down the path of abortive treatment and can say I prefer my current sound more than my un treated room but believe it could be better. I recently got the room analyzer working and can stay it help confirm that I am reducing the highs (4khz+) a bit too much, by about 8db to 10db at the maximum level. The sound is actually very nice and relaxed but borders are being a bit too relaxed on many tracks. While I still would prefer this to an untreated room, I may try to put up through some diffusors up over the front panels (all the other panels have membranes) to see if this can bring the upper frequencies forward a bit. I’ll report back how this goes

I think in the end, the elephant in the room with all of our systems in the room and speaker interaction. I’m not saying we need to fight it but it’s likely the least refined. In my opinion electronics and speakers have come a long way in design and the single largest limiting factor is likely the room.

Michael – I’m curious to get your thoughts on diffusion (I know you’re not the largest fan but curious why - also think I saw this in one of your photos with diffusion between the speakers, curious how that worked). Also in some of your photo’s you had the speaker at extremely wide angles, do you not run into issues with the off axis frequency response? Also you mentioned you tune your system to different CD’s, what are you are actually changing (speaker placement, acoustic treatment, DSPs, etc.). Also notice how far in your speakers is into the room, is there a reason for this (assuming it is related to the bass?)

michael green
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Q & A

Hi 2000

A very constructive thread! This is why we have our own forum http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/ . If someone reads here for an hour or two then switches to TuneLand it is almost like two different hobbies. I find the Stereophile forum to be the closest to ours and am doing my best to get the "phile" to think more about the system and listening part, as you are doing on this thread. Until the audiophile forums get to the listening and comparing parts to the hobby, listeners will stay in their bubble and that's a 180 from where the hobby was 20 years ago. Many will say the hobby has moved forward but I don't see any real evidence of this in the higher end portion of the hobby. I do see this in the lower price scale though and this is something meaningful for listeners who are ready or willing to go all out for their sound.

Pictures do tell a story. As you can see with mine I'm involved on several fronts. The big studios, the recording teaching facilities, the halls, musical instrument companies (Steinway UMI), privite studios and mastering houses, industrial/fashion design companies (Herman Miller), mechanical testing labs, public facilities and all levels of the home listening, theatres and gaming. I left out the cars, but we have done a few world champs. Pics show where someones rubber meets the road. All the talk in the world, doesn't create the knowledge of a note, but a picture can speak volumes.

you said

"Michael – I’m curious to get your thoughts on diffusion (I know you’re not the largest fan but curious why - also think I saw this in one of your photos with diffusion between the speakers, curious how that worked). Also in some of your photo’s you had the speaker at extremely wide angles, do you not run into issues with the off axis frequency response? Also you mentioned you tune your system to different CD’s, what are you are actually changing (speaker placement, acoustic treatment, DSPs, etc.). Also notice how far in your speakers is into the room, is there a reason for this (assuming it is related to the bass?)"

mg

Some of the pics are what the end user is doing, and in those you will find not only my stuff but other products. I don't want to teach the my way or the highway type of thing cause that is not us. Many people do end up going all out MGA/RoomTune, but this is usually after they do a mix of all worlds for a while, and find the tuning way gets them closer, but we don't twist arms.

If you look at the pictures you will see these 24"x4" wood slats on the walls and ceilings. These are "Sound Shutters", our answer to difussion panels. We don't want to break up waves, we want to organize them. When someone breaks pressure or waves up they (the wave energy) tries to reform because it's part of a range of energy that is almost always present. If you look at the frequency scale starting at 1hz (the earth is between 4 and 7 in constant) all the way up the wave/raye scale you will see there is a purpose for each cycle. When people in the 20hz to 26khz world try to eliminate these units in the direct listening path you will hear something dulled, out of form or out of pitch, always. It's important to not do this cause notes are different than frequencies but depend on the cycles to be whole (completed). What we do that is different is use the best of the room together with the best of the speakers and create a "true" acoustical/mechanical pressure building space. When done the space is a natural amplifier and the listener can then listen to all the frequencies in a proper build. Meaning each frequency has it's size and function not tampered with. At the end of this if you stuck dampening or diffusion panels in the room you would hear the stage collapse immediately. Go to our product pages http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/f7-mga-roomtune-products and you will see that we have developed products and methods that cover the whole acoustical/mechanical scale only a little more refined in practice and design. For example if you put PZCFS's or RTD2's in your room and learned how to voice the room with them doing the barricade method the dulling would disappear and the room would be removed of acoustical distortions, even the distortions that other products add. That's not a sales pitch for my product as much as it is for the method of listening that I built my product around.

You mentioned the speaker spread. This is because these rooms have been set free of the distortions and speaker placement is now extremely flexible. Look at how I treat the center stage http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t243-roomtune-rtd2-roomtune-deluxe-ll and http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t247-acoustical-basics-for-audiophiles . This makes it so there are no holes in the stage, and no banana shaping. As a result you can spread your speakers apart taking advantage of the side pressure areas. This will not only smooth things out but also increase the front to back and side to side staging size, much more like live. With these products and method you can use the room instead of fighting against it. Many people after gaining this freedom move their speakers into the room to take advantage of what the room has to offer. In my own setups I can put these speakers in any of the popular positions at will without dips and spikes.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

audiophile2000
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Comparison

Thanks for taking the time to respond back in length. I added a few pictures of my room in the below link to further the discussion. I think pictures give great incite when you are talking about room design and setup.

I tend to think my approach thus far has been more along the lines of a typical acoustic approach that you see and to be honest it has worked quite well and despite some of the relaxed highs would still recommend it to anyone. From the amount and size of treatment you can see the low frequency issues I had to contend with. (I’ll probably add some diffusors upfront to see what that does and will report back). Obviously I think the largest issue here could be getting an over analytical and relaxed sound, but at the same time the mids sound great and the low end performance is leagues and bounds better than what it was (still not perfect but at this point that is a real world limitation given the room size)

But, I think the big question on my mind is the difference in approach and somewhat of the benefit and contrast to each. I’m assuming there are strengths to both approaches and draw backs. Personally I find there are rarely absolutes when it comes to things and the interesting is understand the best of the approach. While my room is absorption heavy (most of the panels have membranes to prevent overkilling the highs), I have also seen a room that was 100% diffusion that sounded amazing and as a 180 a simple setup in a much larger room with the speakers placed in the center of the room that also sounded great (no formal room treatment at all), as well as the hybrid approach you seem to be taking.

I think it would be great if we could try to figure out what is working with all the approaches and what is not. For me it would be great to see the benefits to try and get a better sense of why you may or may not want to do a setup that way and more importantly to understand what approach may be best in a given situation.

Link to room pictures:
http://auralaid.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/robertson-quay1-1400.jpg

http://auralaid.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/robertson-quay2-1400.jpg

(note: I have since added side reflection panels and two rear bass traps behind the couch which improved the bass response and the imaging)

michael green
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RoomTune Designing

Hi 2000

What your talking about is what got me into the designing biz to begin with. With acoustics, speakers, cables, furniture and electronics, and the construction of rooms, I was not happy with the built-in downsides to products. My choices ended up being modifying existing product the rest of my life or build product for me that I could use in all situations. Keep in mind I was the audio/acoustical engineer responsible for the sound these guys got, so I lived with the problems every day. I wasn't the audio engineer who always wanted to have an audio company past having my own store and studio, so for me I had no choice but to redesign products and begin a method that worked any where I went, and that's really what MGA/RoomTune is. We're not an acoustical company but a tuning company. Acoustics to me is one part of a whole, and that whole can only be done or even figured out if you have your finger in every pie instead of one part. There's a huge difference in trading out sound vs being a part of it, and that's where dampening and diffusion has always had difficulties. The sound of the product always gets in the music mix.

Again everything goes back to the audio field trip I teach my students. If you want to know what something is doing to the sound, get the product, hold it very close to your ear and mouth and talk into it. I take this method all the way to the mechanical end. With my designing I even make platforms that singers stand on that changes the tone of their voices. I make them for all four parts and when the singers stand on them depending on what the instructor is going for, their bodies respond to what they are connected to. Everything in sound works this way and if you put something in your room that is designed to make music that's what you will get. Something to dampen it or diffuse it and the same happens, it will sound dampened or diffused. No matter how long you play around you are always going to hear part of the music sound slightly off (dull or disembodied). That's when people say "well I can live with that" but that's not really what this hobby should be. This is why when people start RoomTuning they experience such a huge difference. If you properly tune your room to the music that's exactly what your going to get. The best way to understand this is to read people who are tuning though. No matter what I say until you or someone else starts to tune it sounds like a sells pitch, but if you read what people who tune do and you start to try it, in no time you get a different perspective of what's going on.

I think for folks who weren't around during the "tuning revolution" (Tom Miiller TAS) it might be harder to figure out where and how RoomTune fits in the whole RoomTuning craze. TuneLand helps to show what was going on. I find that because of me being gone on another adventures RoomTuning took on a slightly different meaning but at one time...well check out a return to RoomTune http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/f8-general-audio-chat-staying-in-tune . This kinda gives a bit of the history of what reviewers were experiencing.

After looking at your pictures, I think you should join TuneLand. I don't want to evaluate things on Stereophile cause as you know they will get caught up in a spin, but I do think if you got to know us a little and based on what you have said and seeing the pics you might be more than surprised.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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