The Shun Mook Affair JS Again page 2
We listened carefully to the system in its present configuration. Acoustic treatment is relatively light in our live listening room. We've pulled the behemoth Avalon Ascents well out into the room, so we're no longer fighting the natural acoustic---as we were when they were deeper into the L-shaped portion of our loft. Now mostly unencumbered by side walls (and their reflections), the Avalons can breathe, sounding much more expansive and spacious. With just a slight toe-in, the soundstaging is staggering, if I do say so myself.
It's a big sound, with images forming well out to either side of the now-more-prone-to-disappear Avalons, and set well around and behind them as well. My thanks to the Audio Gods above who have paired me with such an understanding and music-loving wife who lets me make such wholesale rearrangements of our living quarters with so little complaint.
There are a number of RoomTunes EchoTunes at the ceiling/wall juncture in the "box" behind the speakers. There's also a trio of RoomTunes rear-wall center, positioned in a flat-pointed V. Those "seeing" and hearing a Michael Green installation at any recent CES, or at Stereophile's High-End Hi-Fi Show in Miami in April '94, will have an idea of what this arrangement is like. Engineering types gasp and cover their ears, muttering "This can't work!" Audiophiles and music mavens love it. This arrangement works as long as you sit forward enough from the rear wall to avoid the effects of comb-filtering in the upper frequencies caused by the delayed bounce from the rear wall. I've tried damping the wall at ear height, but it robs the music of much of its energy. More experimentation is in order. So far, using Green's tuning techniques and his massive, positively rooted to the center of the earth and tuneable ClampRacks, we commonly achieve a length and breadth of performance that's addictive.
Our super-comfortable listening chair, a bright orange '60s Ribbon Chair from France (discovered by Kathleen in a thrift shop), sits close to the end wall defining the length of the loft where it opens out under the skylight. The place once was a ribbon factory---one finds many such converted buildings as this in the upper West Village (the "Photo District"). Plenty of models lugging their portfolios and hangers-on around with them. But I digress.
We installed the Spatial Control Quartet and listened intently once again. Andy Chow, of Original Cable Jacket fame, sat in the super-comfortable listening chair giving suggestions as initial tuning commenced. After the boys relinquished the listening chair to me, I complained about this or that: "bloat in the lower midrange," "loss of image specificity," "not open in the highs," "not tight enough in the bass." (Note that the very installation of the Spatial Control Quartet appeared to create these problems in their unoptimized positions. We are beyond asking if these devices have an affect. The question is, how much of an effect?) To address my quibbles, Dr. Tan and Bill Ying made small and careful adjustments in the placement of the brackets on the base and the shelf, along with small changes in the height of the shelves.
The result of all this Monkish manipulation was that things started sounding prit-tee good. (Don't worry, I've not morphed into Stereophile's Manchurian Candidate---yet.) Good, but not yet ideal. Dr. Tan then beat his breast and prevailed upon me to allow the removal of the three RoomTunes sitting at the rear wall center. More careful tuning ensued, small incremental adjustments made while I listened to recordings I know intimately.