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bierfeldt
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My Unusual Setup Delivering Great Results

As discussed in the greatest issue facing audiophiles thread, here is a thread where I am providing the details of my two channel system in my living room which is my primary audio system. I also have a 7.1 channel theatre system in the house and two inexpensive setups in other rooms for convenience.

If you would like to provide thoughts or comments on what I may be able to do to tweak or improve the system that would be great. Or if you have questions or thoughts.

Here is the equipment list and in nauseating detail with a brief explanation roughly in the order the units appear in the photo album shown below-

Revel Performa3 M105s - selected due to the expected unorthodox speaker placement. These speakers perform extremely well off axis compared to their peers in price. Due to the tight proximity to the wall, I do have the port bungs inserted. The center of the tweeter is 14" below the ceiling and they are angled down toward my primary listening position.

Ayre Acoustics K-5xeMP Preamp - I listened to a bunch of units and this one delivers deep, enveloping sound with a monstrous soundstage.

Carver TX-8 AM/FM Tuner - wonderful little unit that I have had for more than 20 years, features Carver's Sonic Holography which again, delivers an awesome soundstage.

Rogue Audio Hydra Power Amp - Class D Hybrid, I picked it because of a stellar review at The Absolute Sound, a recommendation from Needledoctor and now that it is in the system, wow is this an awesome power amp for the money.

Marantz NA7004 DAC/Network Player - purchased on clearance at an absurd price. I like the sound of Marantz's DACs in general, it has a killer feature set including Apple Airplay and is connected to the network and my iMac via an ethernet cable.

Marantz C4003 5 Disc CD Changer - I like the convenience of the changer and have it connected to the DAC via a Toslink cable. I rarely listen to CDs as most I have converted most music to ALAC files which are sitting on the MAC in the room.

Sunfire Tru SuperJunior Sub - 1500w sealed sub featuring Bob Carvers Tracking Downconverter. I intended to buy and HRS8 when this got discontinued and I was able to pick it up for $150 less than the HRS8.

Rega RP3 with an Exact2 Cartridge - I also have a P3-24 with an Elys2 in my home theatre. I really like Rega's sound and that Exact2 delivers clean, clear bass.

Vincent PHO-8 Phono Stage - recommended to me by Needle Doctor. A darn nice unit that I can't say enough good things about.

I am currently using Monoprice balanced cables to connect the preamp to the tuner. I Monoprice single end to balanced cables to connect the tuner to the preamp due to the limited # of inputs on the Ayre.

I am currently using Monster THX Certified RCA cables to connect the Vincent and the Marantz DAC. I have a few Audioquest Cables that I used in prior systems that won't work with the Ayre because the right and left single ended connecters are really far apart and the Audioquest cables won't spread apart very far.

The subwoofer is connected via speaker wire directly from the back of the Rogue amp.

The speaker wire was a premium, shielded wire that I got from Radio Shack. It was a step above the white shielded Monster shielded cable that Radio Shack carries.

I am using a $30 Toslink cable I also picked up at Radioshack. i do not recall the brand.

The rack is a Sanus unit purchased from Needle Doctor.

in the attached link, you will find an album that show my extremely unorthodox setup.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/137366829@N04/sets/72157659497675493

The speakers are sitting on top of bookshelves that are 6' high. The center of the tweeters are 14" below the ceiling and I have the speakers angled down and toed toward the primary listing location. The subwoofer is along the wall about 6' in front of the speakers angled against a cabinet. Sunfire recommends the angle and I have tried it horizontally.

Other than what I have described, I have no other room tuning elements included. I currently do not use any tweaks and all of the equipment is plug & play. I primarily listen to vinyl or ALAC files streamed off the iMac using the Remote app via an iPad or iPhone.

I listen to Classical, Blues, Jazz, Psychedelic, Punk, Metal & Progressive Rock. In now way shape or form have I altered my musical tastes due to what why system does well. I have focused on making adjustments to my system to ensure that it plays the music I like. I have two recording that I can think of that I listen to moderately frequently that sound awful but I believe they are bad recordings - specifically Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath which sounds flat and lacking in bass and the digital version of Iron Maiden's Seventh Son of the Seventh Son which I think the slave used to make the copy was just too far from the original master as the vinyl version of the record that I just got sounds great but was recorded from the original master or more likely, a slave directly from the original master (pardon me if I mangled the proper language) but you should get the gist.

I am really happy with the sound I am getting from this system. I have altered the setup in this room dramatically including setting things up optimally with my recliner about 10' away from the Revel speakers spaced about 8' apart on MDF stands. Ignoring the fact that this was not convenient and bordered on hazardous, I found the "optimal" setup underperforms my unorthodox approach.

I was convinced I needed to get a new phono stage and DAC for the longest time but the more I listen to this( I am a few months into the Ayre and Rogue), I am less and less convinced. I may opt for a new DAC/network player to get a different feature set or I may opt for a new phono stage, particularly one that lacks an on/off switch to make it easier for my wife but those will be for technical reasons, not because I think I will get better sound. In fact I am nervous about upgrading simply because I don't want to degrade my sound.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or comments.

michael green
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Excellent!!

Probably one of the most important things the Stereophile Forum can do is have discussions on our systems including pics. As bierfeldt mentioned this is something that came up on the "the greatest issue facing audiophiles" thread.

I hope this encourages people to start their own forum threads. Speaking for myself the above post and pictures tell me more about Bierfeldt as a fellow active listener than reading many posts. As I read Bierfeldt from now on I have a reference and insight (all though brief) into where he is and how he got here. I hope to get to know more about his listening and maybe even get a chance to reference some music together.

One thing if I may ask, could you take some time telling us how you ended up with bookshelf/sub as your speaker types as opposed to the typical on ground floorstanders? In other words if you could explain how you set your system free from boxed in, to open soundstage.

thanks, looking forward to learning about your musical journey

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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Floorstanders vs Bookshelf

There are several reasons:

1. The Revels actually replaced a pair of floor standing Infinity Kappa 8.1s. I still own the Infinity's but they are currently on loan to my wife's cousin. My wife hates those Infinity's because they are too large and sound profile is too bright for her taste. Thus, I wanted to make her happy.

2. You see the room in the attached photos. It is full of stuff and it would be more challenging for me to properly find an environment where I could set up floor standers. Bookshelf speakers make far more sense simply because of the increased level of flexibility. This and my wife are the two primary factors that drove this choice but there were a couple other influences.

3. Cost of both the speakers and amplification. The Revel Performa3 F208 are $5K. The M105s are $1500. I got a deal on that sub at $700 but even if I didn't, at $1150 new I would still have been saving a fortune. Also, I can drive good floor standers with a 100w power amp. Assuming I stayed with Rogue, I would have had to spend $1000 more on a 200w amp if I wanted to drive something like the F208s.

4. The Kappa's were notorious power hogs and have a variable impedance that ranged down to 1.7hz. Those caused me issues and created incremental expense with my old Carver power amps. As a result, I am extremely cautious and hyper aware of variable impedance levels. A lot of floor standers need amps that are stable below 4 ohms while these bookshelf units are fine if it is stable at 4 ohms.

Speaker choice was a journey. What I planned on getting when I started (Kef LS50s) was not what I ended up with because of the room. As I said above, the Revels sound really good off axis and are very satisfying at most any listening position in the room. I found that the Kef's along with the Monitor Audio Silver and Gold, Wharfedale Jades and Dynaudio Excits all sounded great in the sweet spot but when you moved off axis under performed vs. the Revel's. My feeling was that these other speakers would create one killer listening spot in the room and everywhere else (to varying degrees) sound would be less satisfying.

The other speaker I liked as much as the Revels was the Sunfire CRM 2 as they remind me of the old Carver Amazing's (my favorite speaker of all time) in sound profile but they have an odd design and to get them to sound right need optimal conditions. Additionally, despite there small stature, they require a monstrous amount of power to drive well.

This is all very simplified but reflects the real factors that were in play when I was making these decisions. Through time I have had two Carver Power Amps driving the Infinity's, I tested driving the Revels with a Carver power amp & preamp and prior to my current Ayre/Rogue combo I was using a Rega Brio R to drive the Revels.

michael green
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paints the picture

Hi Bierfeldt

I have to get ready for a listening session and will be back later, but I couldn't wait to stop by and see your post. I'm so pumped that you have started this and hope it becomes the trend here. I truly believe that personal system threads here will turn around the forum as far as activity and experienced info. They will also build a more positive community approach.

Hope I'm not asking too much of you, but would be interested in your listening bio. What got you started and some of the systems along the way, rooms included.

Also pretty hip you mentioned The Needle Doctor, we're making goodies for them now to tweek their main room.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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My Listening Bio

I have loved music since I was little kid. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a fan of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, AC/DC etc... I tried heavier metal and didn’t like it and moved to classic rock. I also started listening to classical. During college I became exposed to a much broader universe of music and started listening to Jazz (Miles Davis and John Coltrane), blues (BB King, Muddy Waters, John Hiatt) and folk (Bob Dylan & Warren Zevon). My taste continues to broaden but I have never been able to embrace rap/hip hop, country or disco.

My first "system" was my older brother's Soundesign All In One radio, cassette deck and turntable. It sounded awful but it was about the music. I had a couple boomboxes, all of which were mediocre. I finally got my first audiophile grade system while I was in college saving up every nickel I had to sink into it.

The system was 5 channel, and consisted of the Infinity Kappa 8.1s and an SM series center channel and SM series bookshelf speakers. The hardware was all Carver, my TX-8 Tuner, I am drawing a blank on the model of the preamp, an AV405 power amp and a TFM-15CB that were bi-amped to the Infinity's. A Carver Cassette deck which I still have and a Carver 5 disc changer. Along the way, I also bought an inexpensive Technics turntable. I had this system together for almost 15 years through 6 moves and as a result, a lot of different rooms. The amps, particularly the AV405 began to have issues. I had a choice between doing a complete refurb or replace. I listened to music in 2 channel and movies in 5 channel.

The one wonderful thing about the Infinity's Kappa’s was the dispersion of sound. Additionally, they had an L-Pad for the tweeter and super tweeter which allowed you to make fine adjustments to the sound and adjustable feet so that you could tweak where they were focused. Due to excellent dispersion of sound and the ability to make fine adjustments made them extremely flexible.

Listing rooms through time were an odd shaped dorm room. Never could really tune in great sound but volume is where really mattered at this point. Next was a 12’ x 20’ living room in an apartment. 10’ ceiling and the outside facing wall was all glass. I had blinds o it, but again there was only so much you could do. I then moved into an apartment that had a 10’x15’ living room with 8’ ceilings. The stereo and the sofas were along the 15’s walls giving me my first, semi ideal room design. I had a 15’x 20’s room with a cathedral ceiling and a 10’ x 20’ living room with 7.5’s ceilings. Other than one apartment, rooms have been far from ideal and the Infinity’s served me well.

I finally moved into the house that I currently live in. We have a finished basement, and were in the process of refreshing it and I suggested that we do a true home theatre. My conditions set by my wife were that I needed to find something smaller than the Infinity's that sounded better. After a lot of research and listening I found two speakers that I thought she would like. The B&W CM line and the Sunfire HRS line. She loved the sound of both but fell in love with the small stature of the Sunfire's. To drive them, I bought a Marantz MM8003 power amp and a Marantz AV7005 Pre/Pro. My feeling was that I could use this for both Video and Audio. I added a Rega P3-24 and the Marantz C4003 CD Player. This system is together.

The room is 20' x 20' x 7.25 with a drop ceiling. Because of a staircase going upstairs and some exercise equipment, I use about a 12' x 20' portion of the room.

This is setup close to "optimal" by THX's definition of optimal. The front HRS SAT 4s are on the matching Sunfire stands to either side of the television. The Center Channel is wall mounted above the TV. I have the matching dipole speakers for surrounds set about 6" behind the primary listening location about 1' below the ceiling and angled down at the primary listening locations. The rear speakers are front firing setup in line with the front speakers and are about 7' behind the front speakers (Optimal would be about 3' behind primary listening location). The subwoofer is in the front of the room and to the right of the front speakers and is a Sunfire HRS12.

Here is a photo over in Galleries -

http://www.stereophile.com/content/home-theatre#3ekrJWL5rXSPKavG.97

For 5.1/7.1 this system sounds extraordinary. I am sure I could spend more and get a better sounding multi-channel system, but I am certain I would be in a space of rapidly diminishing returns on my investment. Where it falls short is two channel audio. The Sunfire HRS SAT4s are small, extremely inefficient and like power. That Marantz power amp is not ideal to drive them.

I had two other "systems" I was working on. Based on reviews here and at CNet, I bought a Denon AVR-1912. The Denon is one of the best purchases I have ever made. There is no way any unit should sound that good for less than $500. This is in a 12'x15' room with a cathedral ceiling. The Denon is driving a pair of B&W M-1s with a Mirage Omni-10 subwoofer and I have a Zone 2 and it drives a pair of Yamaha Outdoor speakers.

Through all of this, I had a bunch of miscellaneous parts lying around and I decided to throw together a system in my living room (my primary listing room now). I started with an Onkyo receiver and my Infinity’s bi-wired. My wife reiterated her animosity toward the Infinity’s so the B&Ws made an appearance. I simultaneously was trying to figure out how to deliver improved 2 channel sound in the theatre.

With the Infinity’s out as an option, I decided a good integrated amp would be needed. At the time everyone was raving about the Rega Brio R. With the B&Ws, it sounded great and about the same time, commsysman urged me to go out and listen to the Monitor Audio Silver 2s. I did and coincidentally heard the Revel’s at the same dealer. I listened to about 2 dozen speakers in showrooms and settled on the Revels, but instead of for my theatre, (I was going to move 2 of the Sunfires up to pair with the Rega) I decided to really blow out my 2 channel system.

I moved the P3-24 up to this system and wow! I lacked streaming and the bass was muddy. I discovered that Marantz discontinued the NA7004 and I obviously like Marantz’s sound so I picked that up and added it. I moved my Marantz CD player up to this system and added my tuner. I had a Polk PSW-110 sub in the system. I replaced it with the Sunfire Tru when it got discontinued and that was a step forward in bass clarity.

I then posted a, critique my system thread here and got some good and some bad advice. The best was from Michael who strongly suggested critical listening of the system holistically to define what I thought the shortcomings of my system were.

This started me on the current upgrade path that I was (and maybe still am) on. This has led me to listing to countless integrated amps, power amps, preamps, DACs, streamers speakers, turntables and phono stages over the most recent 2-3 years. I have talked to a bunch of dealers who all helped educate me further. I have a much better understanding of what I like and dislike. I have context now when reading a review and when listening to new equipment.

michael green
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Nice read!

This is the kind of stuff I love to read! Those of us who have owned some of these and can visualize the rooms are smiling I'm sure because there's something about that meld that happens when you've been there or start to be able to hear through someone else's ears. That's part of the magic to me. I get bored with just component here or there without context, but when I can see and feel these systems they come to life for me. Like when you say I moved the furniture around to voice the system. Now that starts to make my ears perk up. For me it's like someone out of the blue start talking about an 1960-ish echoplex. I'll listen to these old studio guys going at it, and I'm just dying to jump in. There's nothing like this hobby and it's so much bigger than we think. and the history, wow, so many tones and so many recording cues

speaking of Marantz

One of my favorite amps to strip down and tune is the Marantz MA-700. It was a left over design from Philips that was going to be a super high end amp but ended up being used in the AV models. I must have sold 100 of these, and as a matter of fact when discontinued I bought the rest of the stock. There's a lot of happy campers out there somewhere using these. It's perhaps the tightest Marantz mono-block amp ever made. Super deep and rich sounding. Stock? OK, but tweaked? WOW!

As you know I had several high end audio stores, and loved getting the new models in, but after 97 or so started going back and cherry picking some of those classics and or many times over looked amps. There's something about that certain time of designers that had that golden ear touch. I think Marantz is one of those companies, even though being called less than high end at the time by the snobs, still delivered some magical tunes.

I was looking at a TX-8 and 11 the other day. They were pulling on my wallet, but my Magnum Dynalab loyality got the best of me. Bob's stuff always had a cool sound though, mated well.

see you later bierfeldt, really cool stuff

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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This was a fun exercise

To go back and think about these systems, why I made the choices I made and how much fun this has been over the past 20 years has been a good exercise. I think I need to get a test disc that will help me define the parameters of my soundstage (do you have a suggestions?) and then pick out a recording that can be discussed

That would seem like the next logical step.

That is, until I get a house with a room I can dedicated to listening completely and I find a pain of mint, vintage Carver Amazing's and then I will have to go through the tuning process all over again.

michael green
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the cricket tests

Hi bierfeldt

We have references all over TuneLand, but to bring it to stereophile there's a simple staging test that I have used all over the world for many years to test sound staging. I've done this at Harry's place as well as many reviewers places, listening rooms for designers, stores, trade shows and of course homes.

The cricket tests are done with 3 recordings.

Abbey Road: track 10
Brothers in arms: track 6
Amused to death: tracks 1-4 (important to understand the progression)

For years now I've learned something new everytime I do the testing.

Here's a thread that is kinda weak but gives the idea.

http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t66-abbey-road-experience

My problem is I get started on threads then get pulled away on projects and end up posting the extended comments on other threads (I need an editor lol). But this will give you an idea while I hunt for other threads that I can steel quotes from.

The basics though of all 3 of these is that the recordings are actually so big that some of the cricket (pond, river, neighborhood) content will cover a huge stage even going behind the listener and spreading way out.

This is a pretty simple way to get started in the deeper development of our stages, a lot of fun!

I can make time to do these test on my systems here again, as I think it's important to be able to do these things in real time and on-going as I promote here.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

michael green
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the fun

I wanted to do this as a separate post.

"how much fun this has been over the past 20 years" bierfeldt said

As much as I read audiophiles posturing their latest buys from the monthly "latest greatest" rags, I think it's even more important to think about our path in more of a life cycle and not always what the reviewers say you must have disregarding what you have that is now old news. Truth is, it takes about 2 years for capacitors to really begin to show there stuff and about 15 years to get to their prime. Some capacitors do start to fade but a good sounding capacitor will continue on it's sonic bliss as the years roll on. All audio parts do the same thing, some more or less, but pretty much out of the box to take off doesn't happen within a 45 day return policy.

Nope, this hobby comes down to 2 things for the active true audiophile. In Bierfeldt's case those 20 years is the very foundation of where his listening is today, and where it may be in the future. Where we were before gives us the ability to move forward based on what we did before. I have met very few seasoned listeners who can't go back and picture those perfect listening sessions. We may not always want to share the products necessarily because of those others caught up in that lastest posturing, but we sure do remember those times we thought it could never be better.

This is a big part of why what Bierfeldt is doing is so important to where we are now, right here, right now, on this forum. In a few short posts Bierfeldt has gone from hello to already to reference his stage with us. Take a look through this forum and count how many times this has happened and compare it to what this hobby, and industry is as far as that goes, is all about. This hobby is about that moment of listening. We can debate and spin all day long, but it's not till we get in that listening room, that this hobby is turned on.

I said earlier and will probably keep repeating, this thread should be looked at by all of us. Listening to music is all about passion and that passion is what drives us to explore and share based on our listening lives.

Every week I go to the Goodwill here in Vegas cause this town has a lot of Walmarts, and that means I can usually pick up the discontinued Magnavox CDP's I love to tweak for clients. I usually go on Wed cause I finally made it to senior age, took awhile but finally I get that half price thing :) Yesterday while in there I scored another player. While back in that section a lady turned on a radio, just a small thing. She tuned it in and stood there listening for what seemed like 20 or so minutes. At one time she glanced at me as I couldn't help but watch her. She smiled and returned to her station, I think it was Italian. You could see and sense the passion as she stood there in her own world. I don't think she was there to buy that stereo. What I think was, this classy lady was a listener. A music lover that falls under the spell everytime she gets the chance.

When we share our moments of listening, this is when we are linking listeners to the real product, music.

enjoying this thread

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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So in order

1. Sun King
2. Ride Across the River
3. The Ballad of Bill Hubbard
4. What God Want's Part 1
5. Perfect Sense Part 1
6. Perfect Sense Part 2

I do not have Abbey Road so I will see if I can get Her Majesty off HD Tracks. The other two I have on CD (and in the case of Bother's in Arms on Vinyl too).

Might get to it today or tomorrow. I will read the attached string and will take notes as to what I am experiencing.

bierfeldt
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So I started this

So...this requires an ultra quiet house which is harder to achieve than I would like. You need both a bit of volume and no one else around.

Fascinating series of recordings. I don't believe I am getting a 50' a cross, 25' in either direction. That is extraordinary. My initial reaction is 8-10' in either direction but again, the house wasn't real quiet and my volume was lower than I would like. Will provide an update when I get a pure listening session. I will also make fine adjustment to try and maximize performance.

michael green
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fun stuff

Hi bierfeldt

This is fun stuff!

looking forward to hearing more of what you are getting and maybe we can even take some looks at effects or instruments together.

On Abbey, if you want you can go back to the end of track 9 where the crickets start and flow into track 10. That way you can hear the whole picture.

I bet we can spread out the width with a little ceiling trickery.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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Finally got to do a couple listening sessions in a quiet house

I don't get a lot of alone time but holiday shopping has created a few Windows where I was able to sit down and do some real listening. I did a benchmark test and noticed the soundstage to the left was bigger than that of the right. Took some fine adjustments to get things balanced.

I am hearing crickets about 12' directly to my left and right. Music is spread out above and below the speakers. The only thing that seems to be localized at the speakers is vocals. The TV sounds on amused to death come from unpredictable places.

The soundstage feels like it's a half circle or maybe horseshoe shaped with me balanced between two sides. When you really get a chance to listen without distractions, the experience is deep and immersive.

Now it gets fascinating IMO.

Yesterday, the family popped out to shop and I wanted to validate what I was hearing. So I got my moving pads out and rearranged the room. I moved the speakers to stands 8' apart and 18" from the wall. Took out the port bungs and listened to the same tracks with my recliners 8' from the speakers and tinkered with toeing and width. 12' is where I ended up because of room limitations with nominal improvements.. Soundstage shrank and went from being horseshoe shaped to flat and maybe extended 6' beyond the speakers to either side. Those tv sounds on amused to death came roughly from the speakers or maybe a foot or two to the right and left.

It just sounded flat and lacked life. Like listening to 2 channel audio in my home theatre. I am starting to think I was too hard on my Marantz pre/pro when evaluating my Rogue power amp. I moved the Rogue to it and listened in "ideal" conditions when I was trying to decide if the Rogue wasn't a very good sounding power amp or if it was my preamp choices. I have no regrets getting the Ayre unit I settled on as my sound is light years better than it was with my Rega Brio R. I also got a killer deal but my concern over getting just the right preamp may have been unjustified. in the end, the thinness of sound I heard with the Marantz pre/pro may have had more to do with speaker placement than with the pre/pro. It is way too big of a pain to move it to test this out, but I am intrigued. And ultimately, that system is for 7 channel which means tweaking speaker placement is not really possible. I may look at some tuning items to enhance my two channel sound in my basement.

Needless to say, the room was put back together and I am back to a fabulous soundstage. I know less about acoustics than I do about electrical engineering (which is nothing). Is what I am experiencing being driven by the speakers proximity to the cieling causing sound to bounce off it and spread out?

michael green
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soundstaging

Hi Bierfeldt

It's like a light turns on when we make the connection between our system and room. The answer to your above question is, the room is your speaker. May be a bit confusing at first, but the easy way to understand is to keep reminding yourself that you have two ears, and second, you are listening to pressure.

It's a wildly fun ride when the whole tuning thing starts to sink in. All of a sudden you visualize your system differently than only fixed components, and your room with one sound.

We have been slammed with orders and the CES is approaching with us having 4 locations this year, so I'm planning on limiting my posting to links here. Would love to have your thread on TuneLand where I will be needing to spend my time, but if not I'm looking forward to checking in on what your up to on your personal thread. Fun stuff isn't it?

have a great Christmas & New Year Bierfeldt

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well

Michael,

This last test was very illuminating. I totally get what you are saying about someone not liking the sound of their system after having spent a fortune on it. If I had an "optimal" room setup, you might periodically find me in that room weeping having spent almost $10K if this system sounded like it did during my test. I am on the fence regarding further equipment "upgrades." I may seek out a couple new features but my elaborate upgrade plan is completely on hold.

One thing I am really looking forward to is that I am getting a new copy of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on 180g vinyl and the pressing is supposed to be closer to the original master. This is one of the lingering outliers of recording I have never been able to get to sound good without a graphic equalizer.

I will try and get out to Tuneland. Time is precious though so building things out there may take some time. I will get to it eventually.

bierfeldt
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Picked up a new DAC

So I picked up the Marantz Reference NA-11s1 Network player to replace my NA-7004 and wow. First off the build quality is absurd. I think the DAC weighs more than my Rogue Hydra power amp.

I haven't run any hi-res files through it yet but the detail, separation and expansion of the soundstage is amazing, even on CDs and ALAC files. Particularly in depth of soundstage. Listening to Miles Davis Kind of Blue is completely immersive, even off of a CD. I am pleased, particularly since I found this unit used from an extremely reputable dealer for $2K.

mooster1223
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Marantz & 851N

Thanks for the update. I'm wondering if you ever got the chance to audition the 851N. I'd be interested in hearing your take.

bierfeldt
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I never did

I could not find a displaying dealer and when it came time to buy, I found the Marantz for $200 more and I know how awesome it was and figured I may as well get it. I did get to hear the Marantz at a Displaying dealer. Had I not been able to get the Marantz for such a good price, I was going to buy the 851N and do an in home demo.

mtymous1
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Reminder: Galleries
michael green wrote:

Probably one of the most important things the Stereophile Forum can do is have discussions on our systems including pics.

This might be the perfect time to divert from the recent onslaught of posts within the forums and (re)discover the galleries:
http://www.stereophile.com/galleries

If a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps thoughts can be better expressed there.

michael green
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would be "huge"

When it comes down to it, what you are saying mtymous1 is the only way to get from one place to the next in the hobby of listening. For those who came here during the trolling wars it's a good thing to keep in mind that the issue that started that whole distraction came about when I and other members made the suggestion that we listen to the music together, share pictures and even do long distance referencing. The suggestion of establishing something more than spins here didn't go all that well two years ago and many listeners left the forum. The members who did talk to me about it said it was a waste of time for them to come to a place of sharing the joys of music only to be trolled.

saying this

What I found on the TuneLand forum is the system sharing threads are by far the most visited and knowledge based. Practical application trumps talking spins every time.

example

We did AXPONA this week. Could you imagine doing this trade show without the systems playing? One of the weirdest sights in this hobby would be to experience an audio show without audio. That's what got things off track here. There's absolutely no way the serious guys are going to spend their time at a place that never gets down to the doing of the hobby. The mere non-audio spin is enough to shut down the doors, and that's exactly what happened.

Not only does this forum need the galleries to come to life, but system threads. Threads that show the on-going practices and participation of our hobby.

Take a look at this

http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/f3-home-audio-systems

and

http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/f10-audio-around-the-world

If these types of threads happened here you would see the views and posting volume go off the charts.

I'm happy those of you who come here to help get the ball rolling do so. It's what I attempted to do as I said 2 years ago and others have been doing ever since (can't speak about before I was here). I'm hoping it's only a matter of when and not if, but either way mtymous1, I hope my first few interchanges with you can now be seen in the context intended. I'm all for the "doing" and "seeing" the doing. TuneLand is an extremely good karma part of the world. The reason why, we spend our time experiencing the ride and love hanging out with the rest of the listeners.

again thanks for your thoughts

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

bierfeldt
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Galleries

I do have Galleries posted above. One is at Flickr, others are in the Galleries here at Stereophile. I know some of this strings are long but the links are in the first 5 posts I think. Unfortunately they are a bit out of date as I have moved and added in a Marantz Reference Network Player.

michael green
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yep

If people look at bierfeldt pics and read the posts it gives a good idea for how bierfeldt achieves his sound. At least it did for me.

personal system threads are the best!

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

geoffkait
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Photos

It's what you cannot see that can be the biggest problem. I'm sorry to be so disagreeable but there are too many things that photos cannot capture, that are in fact invisible, to be able to put so much emphasis on system photos as my fellow posters. I think I can say this without any fear of contradiction - I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday and have been a card carrying audiophile since the day I stumbled into the place on top of Red Mountain in Aspen where Dave Brubeck and his group oft went to practice and well, kind of get away from it all. The system on Red Mountian was the most incredible (all tube) McIntosh electronics and speaker system you ever laid your eyes on. I wishing had a picture. Lol. Some things I'm referring to that CANT BE SEEN in photos:

The direction of cables and fuses, magnetic fields, especially of Large transformers, electrostatic fields, morphic fields, absolute polarity, dynamic range compression, the condition of electrical contacts, including all wall outlets in the house, local seismic vibration, local RFI/EMI flux density, things of that nature.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
No goats, no glory

michael green
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different strokes I guess

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Personally I love being able to be involved with other listeners systems and them with mine. By phone, video, skype, photos, threads, referencing music together and visiting in person. I find that a lot of times not showing systems and having reference interactions, leads to people being less specific and I enjoy those specifics.

I think this is also a benefit of being in the recording side of the hobby as well as the consumer side. On the recording side, as well as live your looking at a soundstage all the time. Playing the music back same thing. After a couple hundred setups you develop a sense for the sound, especially as others describe what they are hearing while your looking and listening in real time to a system, be it in your studio or home. Experience is the only way you develop these skills of course and this experience comes in very helpful when sizing up the sound. Photos, if talking to someone by email or on a thread is a powerful tool for understanding.

here's an example with Geoff kait and May Belt, for myself

For about 2 years on this forum a huge circle of un-intelligible posts and threads were made. None of this would have happened if photos would have been shared along with referencing specific pieces of music together. All of those threads well documented came down to two sides. One side listening to the music, showing pictures of current in-room setups and talking from the view point of practical applications in real time involving others. The other side was talk only. As a result more spins were created and chased away countless members from even wanting to be here vs people going to other forums posting their systems with pics and getting involved in the sharing of systems and music with an enthusiastic outlook of the hobby.

I have no problem with the side of talk, but I'm personally enjoying the sharing of music, system and experienced listening of the "doer" side far better.

no big deal really, it's different strokes

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

geoffkait
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Michael wrote,

Michael wrote,

"here's an example with Geoff kait and May Belt, for myself

For about 2 years on this forum a huge circle of un-intelligible posts and threads were made. None of this would have happened if photos would have been shared along with referencing specific pieces of music together. All of those threads well documented came down to two sides. One side listening to the music, showing pictures of current in-room setups and talking from the view point of practical applications in real time involving others. The other side was talk only. As a result more spins were created and chased away countless members from even wanting to be here vs people going to other forums posting their systems with pics and getting involved in the sharing of systems and music with an enthusiastic outlook of the hobby.

I have no problem with the side of talk, but I'm personally enjoying the sharing of music, system and experienced listening of the "doer" side far better.

no big deal really, it's different strokes"

Still posting defamatory remarks and outright lies I see. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
No Goats, no Glory

michael green
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Nah....

...most just believe sharing your personal stereo system is part of the fun.

as a note: it's cool that Stereophile takes the time to not only point to full range main speakers but also shows in the recommended component lists speakers that might be best used with subwoofers. I think that's one of the more useful parts of the lists. More times than not, room/system matchups do better with the flexibility of subwoofers, especially in cases where lifestyle dictates certain restrictions of speaker placements.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

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