Fine Tunes #27 Page 2

If LPs you have not—Philistine!—and so must go the way of the jewelbox, you might consider purchasing ETF 5.x from Acoustisoft (reviewed by Kal Rubinson in Vol.21 No.7). This impulse-response measurement software and microphone package ("ETF" stands for "Energy Time Frequency") costs $149 and works with most PCs, and now even with game cards. I've got the latest version and a modern laptop; all I have to do is install the software and "ping" my room.

Now an e-mail from enthusiastic tweaker Martin Thomas ( "Jonathan, I have been a follower of your audio reviews for many years. In fact, I have a list of many of your reviews, including your Loft article, that I use as a Tweak Bible. No reviewer includes as much setup information in a review as you do. And once again, my man, your 'Fine Tunes' column has planted a seed in my brain that has grown into a very successful DIY project."

You don't want to see me blush. It's ugly.

"In this case I must give equal credit to your reader Leif Christensen. Recently, I've been toying with the idea of duplicating a Symposium Ultra Shelf to mount my amplifier on. They use layers of aluminum, high- and low-density fiberboard, ridged foam in the center, and a mirror image of the aluminum-and-fiberboard sandwich on the bottom. My big Mark Levinson amp sits in a 50-lb sandbox that couples to the floor with large PolyCrystal cones. I attached two aluminum plates, a ¾" HDF plate, and a ¾" LDF plate with 3M high-strength adhesive, set on a 480/400 by 8 size tube mounted in the sandbox. I got the tube (15" outside diameter) in the Garden department of Home Depot.

"The top plate has boards on the sides to hide the tube, allowing a ½" gap when the tube is inflated. I attached a small section of white plastic ruler overlapping the gap for reference. Somehow, almost rupturing myself, I managed to get the +100-lb amp to the top of the shelf. (I certainly wouldn't want to be a reviewer!) The amp sits on Black Diamond cones; to help load the tube and facilitate balancing, I added two 25-lb weightlifter weights, a trick I learned from the guys at Arcici. It does make a difference. The rest of my components are mounted on an Arcici Air Suspension Rack using Black Diamond, PolyCrystal, and Bright Star products—and, oh yes, lots of weightlifter weights. The guys at the Sporting Goods store can't believe how I can have puny muscles with all the weights I've purchased!

"The amp stand is very effective, and cost a little over a song and a dance. I've painted it black; when my local hi-fi dealer stopped by to hear the system, he thought the stand was a purchased product. The 200W Levinson sounds like 300W on steroids!

"Jonathan, keep up the excellent work—you remain my favorite reviewer. On a scale of one to ten, you are J-10."

He's too kind. (Hey, don't agree so fast!)

Another attractive and easy-to-implement tweak comes to us from the great Pacific Northwest. Kylie Gardner, understanding wife and soulmate of Positive Feedback assistant editor and audio reviewer Rich Gardner, uses glass blocks to suspend speaker cables above the floor. She stands them on end, two or three in a row, to support the Jena Labs cables () fastidiously strung throughout their system. It looks neat...and glass is an insulator!