The Story of an EAR-diophile ... and the humor and insanity ! (long fun read)

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C.A.P

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With today's ever detailed orientated consumer and the many tweaks to choose from. We sometimes opt for $1000 cords $ 2000 speaker wires, room treatment,costly stands and custom spikes or dampening pads. We are constantly striving to fool our ear brain continuum into a better sounding system

We often forget the simplest one.. SET UP and PATIENCE.. Understanding your room and its acoustics


There are three types of consumers. The first are ones who will buy speakers based on budget..Budget minded isn't always the cheapest purchase but rather what fits the room or that WAF thing.. The second is the Ego type who tends to buy the biggest or what the latest audio reviewer raves about and will stuff them into any room and turn them up as loud as they can for friends..

The first kind will research his decision and decides thoughtfully whats best for them.. Some actually figure in the room size and layout.. They tend to not be so cable, wire or tweak orientated. They are not usually opposed to smaller tweaks of value or room treatment if there is no WAF.

The latter is more concerned with wowing their friends or their ego with garden sized cables and shiny things of large size..They are usually not detailed tweakers but like what was said in a review about them or what their measurements read.. These people love to quote the reviews and opinions of them to prove their purchase price

This brings me to the third type THE EAR-DIOPHILES..They buy with a distinct ear and whats the best for their room. They will try to synergize everything to get the whole thing working as one.. Usually less closed minded as anything can help is worth trying. The set up is not just a hap hazard where it fits and hope it sounds good.. They will take time and listen to many opinions drawing their own theses and trying some things and dismissing others.. Usually Very open minded these type are..

Now in life we all know a 1/2 inch can make a huge difference, but many never take the time or have the patience.. Its very easy to get room or system burn out as setting up can be VERY frustrating and time consuming with less than favorable results.. This is devastating to the Ear-diophile and not so much to the first type and the second type dont care at all as long as the neighbor comes in and is wowed by the big shinny things in his den

This brings me to my point of SET up and P A T I E N C E ! Did I say Patience... Now we all get advice based on our purchase or past systems and set ups.. Let me say this NOW.. With ML throw it all to the way side..

I have done a few posts through out the years on accuracy and measuring to the nearest 1/8 of in inch.. When setting up a room and new speaker expect it to be 70/29/1 experience .. When you first get new ML you can get 70% of what they can do by setting them up with manufactures recommended positions within the first 24 hrs of owning.. Will you be satisfied.. maybe , maybe not as we as humans are creatures of desire and we all want more or better.. Most will start the long and arduous process of the final 29% by moving them here and there and listening for a week or so.. When time and PATIENCE gets the better of them most will settle out of frustrations of not getting any gain or feelings of loosing gains.. This is where the first type will stop and put the spikes on and call it good..

The second type never got past the 70% point as the Reviewer said that is where they sound best and measured in the anechoic chamber..

Now we have the EAR-diophile who will be unsettled but not unhappy as he knows that there is more! The Last 1% which 99% will not weather through to get as its weeks or months of constant MICRO adjustments and listening.. He will settle in and stop things and listen for a week at a time and realize ear brain receptors are getting the same sound and all the while making notes of each movement and adjustment.
When I say this many do not realize that the slightest timing cues and positioning can make that big of a difference.. IT CAN..

So I am on the sixth month anniversary of my new to me Odyssey and new gear set up.. These were hand selected for room size and potential performance as I had a set of Prodigy at my beck to buy and passed as I felt bigger isn't always better.. Like I stated.. Sometimes the biggest in a smaller room will suffer far greater than a well placed set up smaller speaker of the same family.. This is ESPECIALLY true for ML as Panel sound is house familiar.. Its size of panel to stage and reflection area to the room.. Having owned big 48 inch CLS panels in a largish room and heard many ML from TOTL to starter series.. I have been amazed at some of the former in a smaller room and disappointed by the upper models in smaller rooms..

ROOMS are HUGE part of the potential possible rewards so I picked a speaker that had what I thought would synergize with my room.. 12 inch panels with room to breath so I could get 24 inches away from side walls and 7 feet from the rear wall.. YES you can get better bass if you get them out from a rear wall.. The Odyssey are NON powered woofers so room placement is more important than the powered subs in today's ML series.. DSP and powered on board subs make it a tad easier.. Many frown on the use of the rear wall to help..

I have moved and re positioned these so many times that I can attest I wanted to puke.. They are not light and add spikes do a wonderful job of distressing your floor.. However I consider my self a EAR-diophile.. Laser tapes and string as well as levels and protractors,enough blue tape to cover the room, and a well recorded note book posting all measurements and adjustments.. Yes I to get frustrated and sometimes get those less than desired results when a tweak or move does not result in a positive experience.. However I am a EAR-diophile and I recorded and measured everything down to the nearest 64 of an inch. Al way's having facts to go back to what sounded best. This was insanely repeated for the last 6 months.

After Knowing I have 99% of what these can do with what I have now feeding them and where they are an how the room is treated. I was dying for that last 1% as Im a EAR-diophile and we NEVER quit trying. Here is where notes are mandatory.. As sometimes you need to do the not so ordinary and try some things that are not as one would usually think ordinary.. Really what ordinary person stares to a clear panel with a smile !
I decided to play with odd rakes and slight off set on toe. Yes not all rooms will be set up with perfect laser measurements as some have openings and walls that will improve or suck out image.. Remember EAR-diophiles are open minded and will try almost anything. We do have notes and can always go back to past perfect ..

I challenge every one of you to not give up on your ML or your room.. The first type to be a bit more open minded and try that cable (or tell the wife I love audio more than you and you will soon have a lonely personal listening room). Expensive tweak but last resort ! Keep moving and measuring and don't always think that perfect triangle is key. Toe, rake and distance can take a poor sounding speaker in a average room sound fantastic..
If your the second type Room or time cant help you, The reviewer already proved it ! The Neolith is what you need for your den

Us EAR-diophiles are still busy trying for that 1% and will stop at nothing as we are PATIENT and in this hobby the turtle will always beat the hare..

For the record I am done moving these beasts for the next few months as I have found peace for now
and ended up at the same place to the 64 of an inch several times. Its not by accident and notes have proved this..However I did adjust the rear rake 1/4 inch back with positive results after spending a long day with the CLX /twin depth subs set up to slightly raise the image ..

Remember you paid for all of your speakers get all they are capable of with patience and time and proper set up.
 

khenegar

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With today's ever detailed orientated consumer and the many tweaks to choose from. We sometimes opt for $1000 cords $ 2000 speaker wires, room treatment,costly stands and custom spikes or dampening pads. We are constantly striving to fool our ear brain continuum into a better sounding system

We often forget the simplest one.. SET UP and PATIENCE.. Understanding your room and its acoustics


There are three types of consumers. The first are ones who will buy speakers based on budget..Budget minded isn't always the cheapest purchase but rather what fits the room or that WAF thing.. The second is the Ego type who tends to buy the biggest or what the latest audio reviewer raves about and will stuff them into any room and turn them up as loud as they can for friends..

The first kind will research his decision and decides thoughtfully whats best for them.. Some actually figure in the room size and layout.. They tend to not be so cable, wire or tweak orientated. They are not usually opposed to smaller tweaks of value or room treatment if there is no WAF.

The latter is more concerned with wowing their friends or their ego with garden sized cables and shiny things of large size..They are usually not detailed tweakers but like what was said in a review about them or what their measurements read.. These people love to quote the reviews and opinions of them to prove their purchase price

This brings me to the third type THE EAR-DIOPHILES..They buy with a distinct ear and whats the best for their room. They will try to synergize everything to get the whole thing working as one.. Usually less closed minded as anything can help is worth trying. The set up is not just a hap hazard where it fits and hope it sounds good.. They will take time and listen to many opinions drawing their own theses and trying some things and dismissing others.. Usually Very open minded these type are..

Now in life we all know a 1/2 inch can make a huge difference, but many never take the time or have the patience.. Its very easy to get room or system burn out as setting up can be VERY frustrating and time consuming with less than favorable results.. This is devastating to the Ear-diophile and not so much to the first type and the second type dont care at all as long as the neighbor comes in and is wowed by the big shinny things in his den

This brings me to my point of SET up and P A T I E N C E ! Did I say Patience... Now we all get advice based on our purchase or past systems and set ups.. Let me say this NOW.. With ML throw it all to the way side..

I have done a few posts through out the years on accuracy and measuring to the nearest 1/8 of in inch.. When setting up a room and new speaker expect it to be 70/29/1 experience .. When you first get new ML you can get 70% of what they can do by setting them up with manufactures recommended positions within the first 24 hrs of owning.. Will you be satisfied.. maybe , maybe not as we as humans are creatures of desire and we all want more or better.. Most will start the long and arduous process of the final 29% by moving them here and there and listening for a week or so.. When time and PATIENCE gets the better of them most will settle out of frustrations of not getting any gain or feelings of loosing gains.. This is where the first type will stop and put the spikes on and call it good..

The second type never got past the 70% point as the Reviewer said that is where they sound best and measured in the anechoic chamber..

Now we have the EAR-diophile who will be unsettled but not unhappy as he knows that there is more! The Last 1% which 99% will not weather through to get as its weeks or months of constant MICRO adjustments and listening.. He will settle in and stop things and listen for a week at a time and realize ear brain receptors are getting the same sound and all the while making notes of each movement and adjustment.
When I say this many do not realize that the slightest timing cues and positioning can make that big of a difference.. IT CAN..

So I am on the sixth month anniversary of my new to me Odyssey and new gear set up.. These were hand selected for room size and potential performance as I had a set of Prodigy at my beck to buy and passed as I felt bigger isn't always better.. Like I stated.. Sometimes the biggest in a smaller room will suffer far greater than a well placed set up smaller speaker of the same family.. This is ESPECIALLY true for ML as Panel sound is house familiar.. Its size of panel to stage and reflection area to the room.. Having owned big 48 inch CLS panels in a largish room and heard many ML from TOTL to starter series.. I have been amazed at some of the former in a smaller room and disappointed by the upper models in smaller rooms..

ROOMS are HUGE part of the potential possible rewards so I picked a speaker that had what I thought would synergize with my room.. 12 inch panels with room to breath so I could get 24 inches away from side walls and 7 feet from the rear wall.. YES you can get better bass if you get them out from a rear wall.. The Odyssey are NON powered woofers so room placement is more important than the powered subs in today's ML series.. DSP and powered on board subs make it a tad easier.. Many frown on the use of the rear wall to help..

I have moved and re positioned these so many times that I can attest I wanted to puke.. They are not light and add spikes do a wonderful job of distressing your floor.. However I consider my self a EAR-diophile.. Laser tapes and string as well as levels and protractors,enough blue tape to cover the room, and a well recorded note book posting all measurements and adjustments.. Yes I to get frustrated and sometimes get those less than desired results when a tweak or move does not result in a positive experience.. However I am a EAR-diophile and I recorded and measured everything down to the nearest 64 of an inch. Al way's having facts to go back to what sounded best. This was insanely repeated for the last 6 months.

After Knowing I have 99% of what these can do with what I have now feeding them and where they are an how the room is treated. I was dying for that last 1% as Im a EAR-diophile and we NEVER quit trying. Here is where notes are mandatory.. As sometimes you need to do the not so ordinary and try some things that are not as one would usually think ordinary.. Really what ordinary person stares to a clear panel with a smile !
I decided to play with odd rakes and slight off set on toe. Yes not all rooms will be set up with perfect laser measurements as some have openings and walls that will improve or suck out image.. Remember EAR-diophiles are open minded and will try almost anything. We do have notes and can always go back to past perfect ..

I challenge every one of you to not give up on your ML or your room.. The first type to be a bit more open minded and try that cable (or tell the wife I love audio more than you and you will soon have a lonely personal listening room). Expensive tweak but last resort ! Keep moving and measuring and don't always think that perfect triangle is key. Toe, rake and distance can take a poor sounding speaker in a average room sound fantastic..
If your the second type Room or time cant help you, The reviewer already proved it ! The Neolith is what you need for your den

Us EAR-diophiles are still busy trying for that 1% and will stop at nothing as we are PATIENT and in this hobby the turtle will always beat the hare..

For the record I am done moving these beasts for the next few months as I have found peace for now
and ended up at the same place to the 64 of an inch several times. Its not by accident and notes have proved this..However I did adjust the rear rake 1/4 inch back with positive results after spending a long day with the CLX /twin depth subs set up to slightly raise the image ..

Remember you paid for all of your speakers get all they are capable of with patience and time and proper set up.
Very well,done I fall in one of the groups and have enjoyed every minute of my tweeking, but I'm limited because I have my video system in with my audio system. I recently quit using my processor for audio and bought my myself a nice two channel tube amp and a nice tube line stage for two channel listening! Straight ananlogue processing. Use the processor only when I want to listen to surround sacd or etc. I use the home theater bypass in the linestage and use the front speakers for the surround features like sacd, video. I'm one of those people that's never satisfied but I think I got it now! my front l/r speakers are summits.
 

twich54

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Good write up Chris !
 

C.A.P

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Thanks guys.. It was a long conversation with a friend on setting up a new set of speakers that sparked it! I could not iterate enough that it will take a while to adjust..
 

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I have spent many hours at a time tweaking my speaker position and have measured position, angle, rake and run frequency sweeps with a calibration microphone that allowed me to visually see the relationships between my changes and eventually I learned how to tweak them for my room. Lastly I've tested the interactions of other furniture and recently learned that moving my large TV forward had a profound impact on the stereo imaging.

I agree that room placement is an enormous part of the sound quality you can get from speakers, and much more so with ML's than any other speaker I've ever worked with. I would argue much more so than many of the component changes people make.

I think your percentages may be very representative. Suggesting that 30% of your sound quality is based on setup doesn't seem far fetched. I would argue that people spend huge amounts for 1-2% differences when there is much bigger low lying fruit with proper setup.
 

C.A.P

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I would place measuring to a fraction of an inch in the same category as $1000 cords.

That shows your lack of passion and determination... Category one you fit in !.. Why would you not give your highly placement sensitive speakers a fighting chance and take any FREE variables out of the equation.. DID I SAY FREE!! Not $1000 hope !!

Its OK that you feel that way but cutting your nose off to spite your face is your choice.. If someone said I can improve something for free I would not discount without at least trying !

DID I SAY FREE!
 

Gordon Gray

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Talk about something that is not free but pretty dam cheap depending on product purchased.

Vibration attenuation devices under all your hardware.

The gains to be had are enormous for pennies on the dollar.

Anyone who places their components on a shelf (with the manufacturer supplied feet) without trying to minimize vibration with the many devices available has not heard the potential system performance.

PS: Same is true regarding the rack your equipment rests on.
 
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Bernard

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Great write up Chris (but I hope we don't get anyone else unnecessarily quoting it - one of my pet peeves on any forum).

I have a question (and I am not being facetious or sarcastic by any means): after you have tweaked to that accuracy (and I confess to not having the patience for it), are you then required to have your head in a specific, fixed position, and not move at all? The human body is such that you HAVE to move to be comfortable, and I would not enjoy the music if I could not move my head 1/2 inch.

Compared to your painstaking setup, mine was lackadaisical, but yesterday, having lucked into a third Foundation Research LC1 conditioner/power cord, this one for my DAC, I heard a track where I would challenge anyone to identify where the speakers were. If that is the required end-result, did we not achieve the same thing by approaching music listening (notice I did not say setup) in two different ways?

Perhaps you need a fourth category? The music lover whose enjoyment is based upon enjoying a sufficiently realistic recreation of the original sound, without worrying that he is missing the ultimate 1%? I would fit squarely into that.

Or am I missing the whole point?
 

Bernard

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Talk about something that is not free but pretty dam cheap depending on product purchased.

Vibration attenuation devices under all your hardware.

The gains to be had are enormous for pennies on the dollar.

Anyone who places their components on a shelf (with the manufacturer supplied feet) without trying to minimize vibration with the many devices available has not heard the potential system performance.

PS: Same is true regarding the rack your equipment rests on.
Gordon, if it's pretty damn cheap, I'm in, so spill the beans......what are you recommending without naming it, old buddy?

Roberto recommended pine blocks under my power amps, but not touching the rubber feet, and they seemed to improve the bass, but made the amps physically unstable, so I removed them.
 
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RCHeliGuy

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FWIW when I moved my speakers around I wasn't doing it by any less than half an inch at a time, but when you are adjusting the width between them, distance from the wall, toe in to the center position and rake, that's still a lot of adjusting.

I'm not claiming to have taken the time that C.A.P. has.

What I did was enough frequency sweeps to characterize what was happening when I moved the speakers.

In some cases I was just changing where the ringing was taking place at different frequencies so the averages seemed to create a straighter "average" frequency response.

Electronic components don't sound different if they are still or shaking around wildly, so I consider damping an amplifier another old wife's tale.

Bernard, I agree that there is a big difference between someone who get's things dialed in and calls it good and people who are in it for the quest and who have to keep experimenting because they consider that fun. Honestly I think they have to keep experimented to stay excited about things which makes the music sound better to them.

Since I move my speakers into another room for 2 months each year, I do have baseline measurements to start from and then spend a little time tweaking them in each year. This year I may just put some masking tape on the floor.
 

Gordon Gray

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Electronic components don't sound different if they are still or shaking around wildly, so I consider damping an amplifier another old wife's tale.

Mark,

With all due respect, your statement is simply untrue.

And I assume your position is based on something you've read (and subsequently believe like your feelings about wire) without any personal effort to audition in your system to make an informed decision. Something I will never understand. :cool:

Best,

Gordon

PS: As one example, to say that you can "shake" a CD player while it is playing a disc and have the movement not impact the sound is absurd. And then there is analogue playback along with the need for tube dampers in tube preamps to prevent micro phonic induced distortion. All gear is negatively impacted by vibrations (internal and external) regardless how small. Talk about old wives tales and uninformed opinions.
 
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Gordon Gray

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Gordon, if it's pretty damn cheap, I'm in, so spill the beans......what are you recommending without naming it, old buddy?

Bernard,

Assuming you can buy from Music Direct, there are two inexpensive options. Check out their website. BDR and Vibrapods.

A set of three Vibrapods (cone and feet) will set you back $42.

And the nice thing, you can buy, audition, and return for full money back. Probably too much trouble for some people because they will have to use their ears to decide efficacy.

Gordon

PS: And there's Mapleshade brass cones. A bit more expensive but I use extensively in my system. Please see system pictures. Same money back gaurantee. Or I will gladly send you some to try if you would like.
 
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RCHeliGuy

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PS: As one example, to say that you can "shake" a CD player while it is playing a disc and have the movement not impact the sound is absurd. And then there is analogue playback along with the need for tube dampers in tube preamps to prevent micro phonic induced distortion. All gear is negatively impacted by vibrations (internal and external) regardless how small. Talk about old wives tales and uninformed opinions.

I would consider electronics to be a DAC, amplifier or preamplifier. A CD player like a record player is not pure electronics. It has moving mechanical parts that could obviously be impacted and made to skip tracks or grooves as the case may be.

Unless there are loose parts with intermittent contact, having a purely electronic device vibrate in place can not impact the flow of electrons or music.

If you are swinging your amps around in a circle through strong magnets than I might concede this point. Otherwise the science says it has no impact.
 
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Bernard

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Bernard,

Assuming you can buy from Music Direct, there are two inexpensive options. Check out their website. BDR and Vibrapods.

A set of three Vibrapods (cone and feet) will set you back $42.

And the nice thing, you can buy, audition, and return for full money back. Probably too much trouble for some people because they will have to use their ears to decide efficacy.

Gordon

PS: And there's Mapleshade brass cones. A bit more expensive but I use extensively in my system. Please see system pictures. Same money back gaurantee. Or I will gladly send you some to try if you would like.
Gordon, I have a set of four puck-like rubber Vibrapods that I bought used cheap (20 bucks or so) that I haven't yet experimented with. I should.

I also have a few cones that I experimented with years ago that are lying unused. I may well, however, take you up on your offer of the Mapleshade cones as some manufacturers don't like to ship stuff cross-border for trial.
 

Bernard

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I would consider electronics to be a DAC, amplifier or preamplifier. A CD player like a record player is not pure electronics. It has moving mechanical parts that could obviously be impacted and made to skip tracks or grooves as the case may be.

Unless there are loose parts with intermittent contact, having a purely electronic device vibrate in place can not impact the flow of electrons or music.

If you are swinging your amps around in a circle through strong magnets than I might concede this point. Otherwise the science says it has no impact.
I used to have a Conrad Johnson pre-preamp that used nuvistors, which were acknowledged to be microphonic, so CJ went to the trouble of suspending the circuit board using elastic bands, so that vibrations would have minimal impact. And my Audio Research amplifiers were supplied with tube dampers to minimize the impact of vibrations on the tubes.
 

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I used to have a Conrad Johnson pre-preamp that used nuvistors, which were acknowledged to be microphonic, so CJ went to the trouble of suspending the circuit board using elastic bands, so that vibrations would have minimal impact. And my Audio Research amplifiers were supplied with tube dampers to minimize the impact of vibrations on the tubes.

Sorry, always I think in terms of IC's and solid state parts.

My initial thought is that you would want to eliminate components that behave like a microphone.

I wasn't accounting for poor design. I realized that my idea of poor design may differ from others, but any electronic device that is susceptible to introducing artifacts into the signal stream because of vibrations seems like a poor design to me. When I say signal stream I mean both analog or digital.
 
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Gordon Gray

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but any electronic device that is susceptible to introducing artifacts into the signal stream because of vibrations seems like a poor design to me. When I say signal stream I mean both analog or digital.

Please tell that to the many folks that own and like tube gear for their sonic contribution. Myself included. Your conclusion that equipment that employs tubes is poor design is again absurd.

The obvious question. How many tube components have you heard to justify your statement that it is poor design? What are your personal experiences? Please cite specific examples.

PS: By your own admission, you are what many would call a "passive listener" and who does not sit down and listen to music as a sole, one on one activity on a regular basis. Fine with me but it certainly does call into question your credibility as a critical / experienced listener and your ability to make definitive judgments regarding alleged poor design.
 
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Gordon Gray

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G I may well, however, take you up on your offer of the Mapleshade cones as some manufacturers don't like to ship stuff cross-border for trial.

Bernard, please PM your postal ship address. I can send you nine (3 components) to audition.

Best,

Gordon
 
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