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Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!

 
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 09:55 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Canare 4s11 speaker cables are great and it is not expensive. Regards to interconnects, Canare GS-6 guitar cables, it doesnt get much better than that and its inexpensive.

I own an Eico ST 40 tube amp as well as vintage speakers from ESS labs. These days you dont need much more than a Blue Ray player. Turntable is American as well AR ES-1.

Cables do alter sound and can ameliorate the sound of a system. Its not necessary to spend a lot of coin on cables.
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 10:22 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Wow, I didn't even think there were any audiophiles anymore! I kind of lost interest in it when recording studios started to compress the crap out of music until it sounded like distortion with a beat. Not to mention when the auto-tune acopalypse stroke. I almost forgot about my love of music when that happened...

But back when I last cared about my listening gear, I used a pair of Dynaudio BM6A speakers:

[link to dynaudioprofessional.com]

These are active studio monitors, which means they have active filters and two amps built-in, one for the bass, and one for the treble. This sounds MUCH tighter than ANY conventional speaker setup ever will, because there is extremely little resistance between the amp and the speaker element, which gives an amazing damping factor.

In a conventional speaker, you have several meters of cable, plus heavy condensers, resistors, and inductors forming a passive filter. Lots of resistance, which makes the amp unable to dampen and control the speaker cone. No amount of money dumped into such a flawed idea will make it as good as just doing it the right way in the first place. Passive speaker filters is just a bad idea.

A proper speaker should furthermore be 2-way, because anything more complex than that costs more money, which would have been better spent getting better elements in a 2-way construction. Instead, keep improving the 2-way construction until you get no further. If the amount of low bass is insufficient, and if you still feel like spending more money, then add a subwoofer.

And the bass element in a 2-way needs to be small, max 6.5", so the crossover frequencies are handled properly. But you can still get surprisingly massive amounts of clean bass out of such a small bass element, if it has a sufficiently powerful magnet system (the dynaudio element has a massive magnet and a 3" coil, which you'd more typically find in a 12" element).

Dynaudio also happens to be one of the absolute best speaker element manufacturers out there, many of the most ridiculously priced audiophile speakers have dynaudio elements in them, because there's nothing much better to find at any price.

Put all these things together, and buy a speaker from the element manufacturer themselves, instead of from some a 3rd audiophile company, and you'll get AMAZING performance for your money! That's what this little speaker gives you.

Let's just say that the Dynauido BM6A was used in many recording studios, and especially in mastering studios, where the final tweaks to the mix are made, and where absolute perfection is required from the speakers!

If it's good enough for that, then maybe, just maybe, it's good enough to enjoy the end result, what do you think?

There is a downside to this kind of absolute perfection though - such a speaker will mercilessly reveal everything in the source material. A bad singer will sound like a bad singer standing right there in front of you, nothing more, nothing less.

I had to throw away much of my music collection because of this nasty side effect of "too much hi-fi goodness". Michael Jackson for instance sounded like a mentally unstable freak on these speakers. Because that was what he actually was, and the Dynaudio's revealed the truth to the point where it was painful to listen to him, even though he sounded "cool" on lesser speakers (even of "audiophile" caliber).

But on the other hand, truly good music never sounded better!
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 12:22 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Wow! You guys have some KILLER gear! It's so hard to be into this stuff and on a budget!

I've lately been thinking about a less expensive (< $500) power conditioner, can anyone practically speak to their experience with these?


Hey Audiophile, those cheap speaker wires from Menards work just has good as $1,000 exotic garden hoses you run.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43844538


Yeah they do. There's a lot of BS voodoo out there. I read fencing wire conducts just as well.
 Quoting: Fret Wiz

Welllllll yes and no

The wire effects the amplifier performance and can make a huge difference in sound quality but yes "audiophiles" can be tards.

I make a straight wire phase correction time lock for one guy and epoxied it in a can.....the guy was tickled and still brags about it.

chuckle
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


That's pretty damn funny. I have a pretty large room where my 5.1 setup is & I ran the rears under the floor into the basement. Length if the run was a big concern for me, so I went w/ a ridiculous gauge (maybe 8?). I always love hearing how the simple solution beats the big $ one!

I have a big PA and some awesome digital recording gear....Also many, many amps and guitars...I also write and perform my own music, you can hear it at:

[link to www.cdbaby.com]
 Quoting: Mattfig


I'll check that stuff out tonight for sure. I've got lots of new listening to do after this thread, thanks!

Canare 4s11 speaker cables are great and it is not expensive. Regards to interconnects, Canare GS-6 guitar cables, it doesnt get much better than that and its inexpensive.

I own an Eico ST 40 tube amp as well as vintage speakers from ESS labs. These days you dont need much more than a Blue Ray player. Turntable is American as well AR ES-1.

Cables do alter sound and can ameliorate the sound of a system. Its not necessary to spend a lot of coin on cables.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 21500116


I'll look into them, was not familiar with that name. I'll be setting up a kitchen system soon, that's good info!

...
These are active studio monitors, which means they have active filters and two amps built-in, one for the bass, and one for the treble. This sounds MUCH tighter than ANY conventional speaker setup ever will, because there is extremely little resistance between the amp and the speaker element, which gives an amazing damping factor.

In a conventional speaker, you have several meters of cable, plus heavy condensers, resistors, and inductors forming a passive filter. Lots of resistance, which makes the amp unable to dampen and control the speaker cone. No amount of money dumped into such a flawed idea will make it as good as just doing it the right way in the first place. Passive speaker filters is just a bad idea.

A proper speaker should furthermore be 2-way, because anything more complex than that costs more money, which would have been better spent getting better elements in a 2-way construction. Instead, keep improving the 2-way construction until you get no further. If the amount of low bass is insufficient, and if you still feel like spending more money, then add a subwoofer.
...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


This was really good info, thank you! I've always wondered how studio monitors were such small design (realtive to my 3-way Allison beasts) and sounded so good. I think I've fallend into the trap of believing more drives=more crossovers=less work for each driver. I'm overloaded on speakers now, but I'll look into active monitors should I ever be back in the market!

Now my listening is only in my car - whoever said that music sounds best when burning petroleum products -
they're right!bike
 Quoting: beeches


Hi, beeches!

Cars can sound so very good in that small space, the separation really stands out so well! I hope you've replaced your stock speakers with ANYthing aftermarket! What a remarkable upgrade for relatively little money!
Fret Wiz

fw_calvin_sig

"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 12:28 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Hey Audiophile, you ain't got two servers set for the big screen yet. Mi has 2.5 terabytes. lol
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43844538


Working up to that! I'm so tired of all these optical discs and their cases taking over my space!
Fret Wiz

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"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 12:40 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Hey Audiophile, those cheap speaker wires from Menards work just has good as $1,000 exotic garden hoses you run.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43844538


Yeah they do. There's a lot of BS voodoo out there. I read fencing wire conducts just as well.
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


Welllllll yes and no

The wire effects the amplifier performance and can make a huge difference in sound quality but yes "audiophiles" can be tards.

I make a straight wire phase correction time lock for one guy and epoxied it in a can.....the guy was tickled and still brags about it.

chuckle
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


Actually, if you want a really cheap solution for speaker wire that actually enhances sound use twisted pair telephone wire - solid core copper works great - way better than your standard Radio Shack or Monster speaker wire
ANHEDONIC

User ID: 26795689
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07/25/2013 12:52 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Wow, I didn't even think there were any audiophiles anymore! I kind of lost interest in it when recording studios started to compress the crap out of music until it sounded like distortion with a beat. Not to mention when the auto-tune acopalypse stroke. I almost forgot about my love of music when that happened...

But back when I last cared about my listening gear, I used a pair of Dynaudio BM6A speakers:

[link to dynaudioprofessional.com]

These are active studio monitors, which means they have active filters and two amps built-in, one for the bass, and one for the treble. This sounds MUCH tighter than ANY conventional speaker setup ever will, because there is extremely little resistance between the amp and the speaker element, which gives an amazing damping factor.

In a conventional speaker, you have several meters of cable, plus heavy condensers, resistors, and inductors forming a passive filter. Lots of resistance, which makes the amp unable to dampen and control the speaker cone. No amount of money dumped into such a flawed idea will make it as good as just doing it the right way in the first place. Passive speaker filters is just a bad idea.

A proper speaker should furthermore be 2-way, because anything more complex than that costs more money, which would have been better spent getting better elements in a 2-way construction. Instead, keep improving the 2-way construction until you get no further. If the amount of low bass is insufficient, and if you still feel like spending more money, then add a subwoofer.

And the bass element in a 2-way needs to be small, max 6.5", so the crossover frequencies are handled properly. But you can still get surprisingly massive amounts of clean bass out of such a small bass element, if it has a sufficiently powerful magnet system (the dynaudio element has a massive magnet and a 3" coil, which you'd more typically find in a 12" element).

Dynaudio also happens to be one of the absolute best speaker element manufacturers out there, many of the most ridiculously priced audiophile speakers have dynaudio elements in them, because there's nothing much better to find at any price.

Put all these things together, and buy a speaker from the element manufacturer themselves, instead of from some a 3rd audiophile company, and you'll get AMAZING performance for your money! That's what this little speaker gives you.

Let's just say that the Dynauido BM6A was used in many recording studios, and especially in mastering studios, where the final tweaks to the mix are made, and where absolute perfection is required from the speakers!

If it's good enough for that, then maybe, just maybe, it's good enough to enjoy the end result, what do you think?

There is a downside to this kind of absolute perfection though - such a speaker will mercilessly reveal everything in the source material. A bad singer will sound like a bad singer standing right there in front of you, nothing more, nothing less.

I had to throw away much of my music collection because of this nasty side effect of "too much hi-fi goodness". Michael Jackson for instance sounded like a mentally unstable freak on these speakers. Because that was what he actually was, and the Dynaudio's revealed the truth to the point where it was painful to listen to him, even though he sounded "cool" on lesser speakers (even of "audiophile" caliber).

But on the other hand, truly good music never sounded better!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


I got offered a very good deal on purchasing some Dynaudio speakers several years ago but I decided not too because I didn't feel like investing the money into new speakers at the time. I've never sampled them but my research led me to many favorable reviews and I've heard good things about the company.... If I were to buy new speakers again Dynaudio would definitely be near the top of my list to explore.

Last Edited by ANHEDONIC on 07/25/2013 12:54 PM

"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger"
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 300884
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07/25/2013 12:56 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
...
These are active studio monitors, which means they have active filters and two amps built-in, one for the bass, and one for the treble. This sounds MUCH tighter than ANY conventional speaker setup ever will, because there is extremely little resistance between the amp and the speaker element, which gives an amazing damping factor.

In a conventional speaker, you have several meters of cable, plus heavy condensers, resistors, and inductors forming a passive filter. Lots of resistance, which makes the amp unable to dampen and control the speaker cone. No amount of money dumped into such a flawed idea will make it as good as just doing it the right way in the first place. Passive speaker filters is just a bad idea.

A proper speaker should furthermore be 2-way, because anything more complex than that costs more money, which would have been better spent getting better elements in a 2-way construction. Instead, keep improving the 2-way construction until you get no further. If the amount of low bass is insufficient, and if you still feel like spending more money, then add a subwoofer.
...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


This was really good info, thank you! I've always wondered how studio monitors were such small design (realtive to my 3-way Allison beasts) and sounded so good. I think I've fallend into the trap of believing more drives=more crossovers=less work for each driver. I'm overloaded on speakers now, but I'll look into active monitors should I ever be back in the market!
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


That's what I would recommend to everyone. Studio monitors are surprisingly well priced, I think the fact wealthy audiophiles will pay anything for their placebo cables has inflated that part of the speaker market A LOT.

The Dynaudio BM6A I spoke of is still manufactured, but in a MkII version, and a pair can be bought in Europe from thomann.de for 1258 Euros (1664 dollars). That's not bad, considering you get audiophile quality speaker elements that are rugged enough to handle the incredible abuse they get in a professional recording studio, with built-in 2x100 W amps for the woofers, and 2x50W amps for the tweeters (with well-tuned electronic protection cirquits). An active crossover to feed an optional subwoofer is included too, in case you need an even bigger sound (but believe me, these little things pack a lot of punch as it is! People use them to for instance check the sound of the snare drum soloed, before compressing it to make the signal "tame", so any studio monitor needs to be able to handle high sound levels at low distortion).

You'd be hard-pressed to find any speakers that sound much better, at any price, for the simple reason that the speaker elements are about as good as they come.

There are other models of studio monitors to choose from as well of course, but not all of them are in the same class soundwise. I'd avoid brands such as KRK, Tannoy, JBL, well most of them really. The ones that make GOOD speakers are the Danish Dynaudio, and the American Genelec. Both make divine speakers, but Genelec have near monopoly on the US studio market, and they have inflated their prices accordingly. Dynaudio is the better deal, just as good speakers, just better prices.

Then, when you have a pair of really good speakers, don't forget to do some acoustical treatment of your listening room! That alone will make an immense difference, they don't custom build mixing rooms in recording studios for nothing!

I can write down a couple of hints on how to do this properly, if anyone is interested!
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 01:28 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Then, when you have a pair of really good speakers, don't forget to do some acoustical treatment of your listening room! That alone will make an immense difference, they don't custom build mixing rooms in recording studios for nothing!

I can write down a couple of hints on how to do this properly, if anyone is interested!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Ha, I don't think my significant other would go for that, but one day I'll build out my basement studio and then IT'S ON!

banana2

Actually the size of my LR attributed much to my choice in the Allison One/Two setup, because they disperse so well w/ their triangular fronts. It's about 24'x25', has 30 foot ceilings, cedar walls and one corner is glass up to about 18'. Certainly not ideal! Thanks again for all the knowledge!
Fret Wiz

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Anonymous Coward
User ID: 300884
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07/25/2013 02:32 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Then, when you have a pair of really good speakers, don't forget to do some acoustical treatment of your listening room! That alone will make an immense difference, they don't custom build mixing rooms in recording studios for nothing!

I can write down a couple of hints on how to do this properly, if anyone is interested!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Ha, I don't think my significant other would go for that, but one day I'll build out my basement studio and then IT'S ON!

banana2

Actually the size of my LR attributed much to my choice in the Allison One/Two setup, because they disperse so well w/ their triangular fronts. It's about 24'x25', has 30 foot ceilings, cedar walls and one corner is glass up to about 18'. Certainly not ideal! Thanks again for all the knowledge!
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


Since you seem interested in these things, I'll take the liberty to talk some more! ;)

I think I should explain exactly WHY a good 2-way design (with optional subwoofer) is inherently a better choice than the 3-way (or even 4- or 5-way) setups audiophile speaker vendors love to build.

It has to do with how human hearing works. You may have heard that we hear from 20 to 20,000 Hz, but our ears are actually very poor at both extremes of that range. Not surprisingly, our hearing is optimized to hear human voices, and more specifically to make out what people are saying.

And the human voice produces sounds roughly in the 100 to 10,000 Hz range, but the essential language sounds that encode the information we are designed to pick up, are in the range 300 to 3,000 Hz.

Old telephones were designed to let through that range only, because it was enough for the purpose.

We want more in a hifi system of course, but the fact remains - the human hearing only really cares about the 300 to 3,000 Hz range, anything lower is booming "bass" to us, and anything higher is swizzling "treble".

It's certainly nice to have good bass and treble too, but we just aren't very sensitive to subtle details at the extreme frequency ranges of our hearing.

The KEY to solid musical performance from a speaker, is that the 300 to 3,000 Hz range comes through as clear and uncompromised as possible.

Flat frequency response, low distortion, even spatial dispersion over the range, all of it must be as perfect as possible. And the easiest way to accomplish that, is to make sure we have no crossovers between different speaker elements in that range!

That's where 3-way speakers miss the mark. There will be a crossover between woofer and midrange speaker somewhere right smack in the middle of the critical frequency range.

You can make the transition more or less seamless through careful design of the crossover filter, but there is one crucial problem you can't fix - the low and mid frequencies beam out from different points.

This means you'll get a phase shift when you listen from a higher or lower position than straight forward. And this phase shift translates to a disturbed frequency response curve with dips and valleys. Right where our human ear is at the most sensitive to such things.

No worries people used to think back in the 1970's, just design the response to be correct straight ahead, and it will be fine as long as you sit down in front of the speaker.

But now we know that the human ear actually integrates early reflections together with the direct sound, and this means a speaker MUST behave well off axis, or it just won't sound right!

This teaches us that a 2-way speaker with a crossover at 3,000 Hz is inherently a better solution - it works with the quirks of human hearing.

In real life though, it is often desirable to put the crossover at say 2,500 Hz instead, this is because a speaker element has a very flat response at its lower end, but gets wobbly higher up, where the cone or dome stops moving in unison over the entire surface because of less than infinite stiffness.

A 6 to 7 inch woofer paired with a 1 to 1.25 inch tweeter, with a crossover at 2,500 Hz is very near the optimum solution.

That's incidentally just how the ubiquitous small active studio monitors are all designed. Coincidence? I think not!

The biggest downside of this 2-way design, is that a 6 to 7 inch woofer has limited output at the low end. An overpowered magnet system helps, but there is still a physical limit you can't get past.

The solution to that problem is to add a subwoofer if you need more and deeper bass, because that crossover will be well below 300 Hz (usually 80 or 100 Hz), so it will not cause any problems.

P.S. There is another solution to the phase shift problem, common in modern audiophile designs: double up midrange and bass speakers both above and below the tweeter! That way, the phase shift will be compensated automatically, leading to a stable imaging and perceptively straight frequency response.

Of course, that problem costs a lot more, especially if you aren't going to compromise on quality of the speaker elements. There's just so many of them to pay for now, and so many filters, and so many amplifiers!

I'm not going to say such setups can't sound amazing, because they certainly can, but I'm going to tell you the cost is prohibitive, and most of us are much better served by a really high-end 2-way design, plus optionally a subwoofer.
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 02:44 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Personally I can't live without these [link to www.amazon.com]
Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 02:47 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Schumann Resonator is the holy grail to true AVphiles.
you ppl don't know the missing link to maximize the av gear, is the schumann resonance to the human wellbeing.
sound will open up and be transparant lifelike, even low range gears will sound better overall and with added benefit, you'll feel healthier and sleep better.

few months ago bought the cheapiest resonator from ebay and now i leave it 24/7 on, its amazing tech.
even nasa use it in their spacestations, go figure...
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 03:43 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
I think I should explain exactly WHY a good 2-way design (with optional subwoofer) is inherently a better choice than the 3-way (or even 4- or 5-way) setups audiophile speaker vendors love to build.

It has to do with how human hearing works. You may have heard that we hear from 20 to 20,000 Hz, but our ears are actually very poor at both extremes of that range.

We want more in a hifi system of course, but the fact remains - the human hearing only really cares about the 300 to 3,000 Hz range, anything lower is booming "bass" to us, and anything higher is swizzling "treble".

It's certainly nice to have good bass and treble too, but we just aren't very sensitive to subtle details at the extreme frequency ranges of our hearing.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884

Yes, I've heard all of this before, and a similar argument could be made that this was ingrained into our heads as part of the Redbook CD spec (sorry, I'm straining to find a conspiracy & I despise CD's these days!).

Now, I'm not saying these numbers are false, but there is a way that these frequencies outside of our optimal range resonate and interact with one another to create a more ethereal (for lack of a better word) effect on our listening experience.

I'm not certain that my ears can hear the difference between a 40hz or 20hz cutoff, but my body feels it, and it adds to the overall listening experience, because I'm vibrating more.

Would you argue that hi-res digital formats sound no different than a Redbook CD? I can really hear the difference, and I think it's those frequencies above/below CD's ceiling that make the difference (even if I can't hear them individually), in addition to the added bandwidth the formats provide in the analog to digital transfer, which is the big win of these formats.

The KEY to solid musical performance from a speaker, is that the 300 to 3,000 Hz range comes through as clear and uncompromised as possible.

Flat frequency response, low distortion, even spatial dispersion over the range, all of it must be as perfect as possible. And the easiest way to accomplish that, is to make sure we have no crossovers between different speaker elements in that range!

That's where 3-way speakers miss the mark. There will be a crossover between woofer and midrange speaker somewhere right smack in the middle of the critical frequency range.

You can make the transition more or less seamless through careful design of the crossover filter, but there is one crucial problem you can't fix - the low and mid frequencies beam out from different points.

This means you'll get a phase shift when you listen from a higher or lower position than straight forward. And this phase shift translates to a disturbed frequency response curve with dips and valleys. Right where our human ear is at the most sensitive to such things.

No worries people used to think back in the 1970's, just design the response to be correct straight ahead, and it will be fine as long as you sit down in front of the speaker.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


They definitely do, yes. Mine have convex mids & tweets which were designed to fix this, but I can definitely hear it from anywhere about 3' in to the front of the unit, but I'm not usually that close, nor are my ears that low. In a focused sitting environment, like in front of a mixing board, this would probably annoy me!

But now we know that the human ear actually integrates early reflections together with the direct sound, and this means a speaker MUST behave well off axis, or it just won't sound right!

This teaches us that a 2-way speaker with a crossover at 3,000 Hz is inherently a better solution - it works with the quirks of human hearing.

In real life though, it is often desirable to put the crossover at say 2,500 Hz instead, this is because a speaker element has a very flat response at its lower end, but gets wobbly higher up, where the cone or dome stops moving in unison over the entire surface because of less than infinite stiffness.

A 6 to 7 inch woofer paired with a 1 to 1.25 inch tweeter, with a crossover at 2,500 Hz is very near the optimum solution.

That's incidentally just how the ubiquitous small active studio monitors are all designed. Coincidence? I think not!

The biggest downside of this 2-way design, is that a 6 to 7 inch woofer has limited output at the low end. An overpowered magnet system helps, but there is still a physical limit you can't get past.

The solution to that problem is to add a subwoofer if you need more and deeper bass, because that crossover will be well below 300 Hz (usually 80 or 100 Hz), so it will not cause any problems.

P.S. There is another solution to the phase shift problem, common in modern audiophile designs: double up midrange and bass speakers both above and below the tweeter! That way, the phase shift will be compensated automatically, leading to a stable imaging and perceptively straight frequency response.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Yup, but still a good sized hole between the mids and woofers: [link to www.woodworkingtalk.com]

Of course, that problem costs a lot more, especially if you aren't going to compromise on quality of the speaker elements. There's just so many of them to pay for now, and so many filters, and so many amplifiers!

I'm not going to say such setups can't sound amazing, because they certainly can, but I'm going to tell you the cost is prohibitive, and most of us are much better served by a really high-end 2-way design, plus optionally a subwoofer.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


I think my point is that you need to have room-appropriate speakers. I need the big boys just to push enough air to fill the huge volume of my listening space.

When I build the kitchen (soon! YAY!), I'll use some two-ways and likely skip the sub, because I'll still be getting the effect from my LR.

You haven't convinced me that 2-way is categorically better than 3-way, but I do see your point about the differences ranges and cutoffs of the crossovers. You're just being a bit more scientific about it than I would :) I think the listening space in question is just as valid of a consideration.

What I am going to do is heavily consider the Dynaco's in my future studio build. Even if I decide to use something else, your points are valid, but I am pretty sold on having amps in the enclosures. Active pickups have a far more punchier sound, too - this just makes good sense to me

I'll probably use 2-ways there, but I think the slightly narrower frequency response is also useful in getting the mastering job better done to match the equipment that most casual listeners are hearing your recording on. I'll have a decent sub in the studio, and just turn it off if I want to master for a CD or similar format.

You need to get back in the studio, my friend! All these new hi-res formats, and the resurgence of vinyl (they master these differently, and the only compressed ones I have are the older pressings from the 80's) are right up your alley!

The loudness war is on! Jump in!

[link to turnmeup.org]
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]
[link to www.dr.loudness-war.info]

5a
Fret Wiz

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Fret Wiz (OP)
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Personally I can't live without these [link to www.amazon.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 27992199

That review was pure hilarity. I see this stuff all the time in the catalogs I get. I can't imagine how many tens of millions I'd have to be worth to feel comfy dropping $13k on speaker cables!
Fret Wiz

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Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 03:49 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Schumann Resonator is the holy grail to true AVphiles.
you ppl don't know the missing link to maximize the av gear, is the schumann resonance to the human wellbeing.
sound will open up and be transparant lifelike, even low range gears will sound better overall and with added benefit, you'll feel healthier and sleep better.

few months ago bought the cheapiest resonator from ebay and now i leave it 24/7 on, its amazing tech.
even nasa use it in their spacestations, go figure...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1230294


Interesting. It's almost too cheap not to try, gonna research this a bit more, thanks!

So, it's still working all the time...how does it interact with the music, just responding to the outputted sound? I don't see it working inline yet....okay, off to research!
Fret Wiz

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Anonymous Coward
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07/25/2013 04:54 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Yes, I've heard all of this before, and a similar argument could be made that this was ingrained into our heads as part of the Redbook CD spec (sorry, I'm straining to find a conspiracy & I despise CD's these days!).

Now, I'm not saying these numbers are false, but there is a way that these frequencies outside of our optimal range resonate and interact with one another to create a more ethereal (for lack of a better word) effect on our listening experience.

I'm not certain that my ears can hear the difference between a 40hz or 20hz cutoff, but my body feels it, and it adds to the overall listening experience, because I'm vibrating more.

Would you argue that hi-res digital formats sound no different than a Redbook CD? I can really hear the difference, and I think it's those frequencies above/below CD's ceiling that make the difference (even if I can't hear them individually), in addition to the added bandwidth the formats provide in the analog to digital transfer, which is the big win of these formats.
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


I'm going to state that no, we don't hear frequencies above 20 kHz, but yes, they do still affect the sound!

This seeming contradiction can be proven with a simple experiment. If you're like most people, and not still a teenager, then you can't actually hear a 20 kHz tone. Set up a sine wave generator at 20 kHz in your left speaker and listen to it. You shouldn't hear anything. Now turn it off, and set a 21 kHz sine wave generator in your right speaker. You still won't hear anything.

Now listen to both at the same time!

You will suddenly hear the intermodulation distortion product that is created inside your own ears, because of the non-linearity of the human hearing system!

So, a pure 20 kHz+ sine wave can't be heard, but several high-pitched frequencies that can't be heard separately can still affect the sound together. That's why it's possible the Redbook CD standard is not quite enough for full fidelity.

I'll also agree that a speaker system that goes all the way to 20 Hz with low distortion will give a completely different weight to music. It's not that such frequencies are played much in music, but a sharp pulse actually contains all frequencies down to zero Hz, and a pulse is for instance created by the thud of a drum, or any other kind of sudden hit on something.

Electronically created music may often have deep bass notes, but the subsonic parts of clicks and thuds tends to be filtered out. But well-recorded classical music will contain such information, and if it is reproduced down to the limit of human hearing, a completely new sense of reality is achieved.

Yes, even a grand piano will sound more natural with a subwoofer, even though it produces no audible sine waves in that range!

Anyway, my point was just that the human hearing is extremely sensitive to the finest nuances in the range 300 to 3,000 Hz. The highs and lows are more a matter of if they're there or not in some reasonable amount, it's not at all as critical how perfect the reproduction of them is.
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/25/2013 05:44 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
I'm going to state that no, we don't hear frequencies above 20 kHz, but yes, they do still affect the sound!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Thanks for nerding out with me, I've enjoyed it a lot!

Hope you have a static IP so I can find you when it's time to soundproof the studio!

hf
Fret Wiz

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Anonymous Coward
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07/26/2013 06:57 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
I'm going to state that no, we don't hear frequencies above 20 kHz, but yes, they do still affect the sound!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Thanks for nerding out with me, I've enjoyed it a lot!

Hope you have a static IP so I can find you when it's time to soundproof the studio!

hf
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


Haha, I'll just post my advise right here, so you can bookmark it for later use!

When it comes to building a studio (and I've personally built several), there are three acoustical aspects to get right:

1. Isolation from the outside world.
2. Good acoustics for the recording room(s).
3. Good acoustics for the mixing room.

I'll deal with these points one at a time.

First, isolation is usually needed, whether it's to avoid getting traffic noise polluting your acoustic guitar tracks, or to keep your neighbors from going insane.

The key to accomplishing sufficient isolation, is to understand a little about acoustics.

Sound is a mechanical vibration in the air, this vibration makes the wall move, and the the moving wall radiates sound on the other side. It takes more energy to move a heavy wall back and forth more times per seconds, so the isolation is worst for the lowest frequencies, but the situation progressively improves up the audible range.

The only way to make the wall radiate less sound on the other side, is to make it move less, and the only way to do that, is to make it HEAVIER!

But there is a diminishing return to this. Doubling the weight of the wall will only reduce sound transfer by a small fixed amount, and it's obvious you can't keep doubling mass forever, there are practical limits here!

There is also a phenomenon called 'incidence frequency' or something like that, which makes sound at a particular frequency pass through the wall more effectively. This effect is quite unfortunate, because it is dependent on wall thickness, and a typical thick concrete or brick wall will have this resonant effect at about 100 Hz.

This is at the low end where the wall isolates poorly to begin with, and right where kick drums produce a lot of energy, to make matters worse. That's why you'll always hear the thump of the kick drums when the neighbors play their stereo!

To get this resonant frequency up to where it doesn't harm isolation too much, the wall should actually be made much THINNER, which goes against the demand to make it heavier! Or you could make them so thick the troublesome frequency gets under the subwoofer range. A 5 foot thick concrete wall should be enough!

Which isn't very practical. Sigh.

There is a solution though: use thin sheets of gypsum board instead. They have a lot of mass, and are thin enough to get the resonant incidence frequency out of harm's way. You can stack three layers on top of each other - this does not affect the resonant frequency, as long as they are not firmly glued together to a solid whole.

The layers should be mounted pretty freely so they can slide against each other, the resulting friction gives the wall inner damping, which is a good thing here. When you knock on such a wall, you'll hear a very muted dull thud.

That makes for a good wall, but it will still have way too little isolation. The solution is to have double walls, with preferably at least 6 inches of air in between them (stuffed with glass fiber). More air is better, because once again, two wall layers with air in between causes a resonant energy transfer somewhere at the bass end, and you wish to get that resonant frequency low enough.

Then you build the two wall layers as two shells, one inside the other. Same with the floor and ceiling! You wish for as little direct transfer of vibration between the inner and outer shells as possible.

There are some additional aspects to consider. Like doors and windows.

You MUST use sound-isolation graded doors! Ordinary household doors are practically useless, but there are heavy doors with tight seals around them that are used for office buildings that are suitable.

You need TWO such doors, one for the inner shell, and one for the outer shell. The best solution is to have a small doorway with three doors - one mounted in the outside shell, one mounted on the mixing room shell, and one mounted on the separate main recording room shell. That way, you have great double wall isolation, not only between the outside and your studio, but between the recording room and the mixing room as well.

You probably won't have windows to the outside, but if you have a window between the studio rooms, then you need to have double glass panes, mounted in each shell. Use THICK glass, 1 inch is good! There are thick bulletproof glass sheets made from thinner sheets glued together, these have better inner damping, and are the best choice.

Don't connect the glass panes with an inner lining to make it look pretty, use some kind of fabric instead, so that sound trapped between the panes gets in acoustic contact with the glass fiber in the wall cavity surrounding the window opening, that helps dampening air resonances between the glass panes.

The last thing to remember, is that the shells MUST be absolutely airtight! The smallest hole or crack anywhere will transfer lots of sound, completely negating all that mass you put in the walls!

Now you have excellent sound isolation, but no ventilation whatsoever. That is not good, so you need to build a ventilation system. The fan in this will make noise, so make sure you use silent slow-spinning fans, and wide airducts with glass fiber dampening on the inside. Low air flow in the ducts makes it silent, it's easier to build something suitable yourself that to buy a noisy ventilation solution and try to fix it.

To stop sound from entering or leaving via the ventilation ducts, make them much longer than needed, 20 foot is good, and make them pass through several sharp 90 degree corners on the way. And don't forget that they must be lined with glass fiber on the inside!

Phew! Building a good studio is complicated, and we haven't even started on the actual acoustics inside yet!

I'll deal with that in another post.
Anonymous Coward
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07/26/2013 07:08 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Just proof reading, I saw I said use 1 inch glass panes, I meant to say 1/2 inch!

Moar is always better, but there are practical limits!
Anonymous Coward
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Japan
07/26/2013 07:11 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Are there Bars for Audiophiles in your Hometown?

We have a few Bars spec. designed for Sound instead of Drinks,
some of them are great where they use the whole Building for Sound.

I will look later for some Info because the Idea is imho. amazing!
Anonymous Coward
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Sweden
07/26/2013 08:23 AM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Are there Bars for Audiophiles in your Hometown?

We have a few Bars spec. designed for Sound instead of Drinks,
some of them are great where they use the whole Building for Sound.

I will look later for some Info because the Idea is imho. amazing!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43952097


Japan is the Mecca for all kinds of weenies, geeks, nerds, and dorks. Those of us social outcasts who don't live there don't have the luxury of socializing with others just like us, we're isolated in our own basements for the most part!
Anonymous Coward
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United States
07/26/2013 12:34 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Do Audiophiles have masturbation fantasies about their equipment?
Anonymous Coward
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United States
07/26/2013 12:36 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Hey Audiophile, those cheap speaker wires from Menards work just has good as $1,000 exotic garden hoses you run.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43844538


Yeah they do. There's a lot of BS voodoo out there. I read fencing wire conducts just as well.
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


Welllllll yes and no

The wire effects the amplifier performance and can make a huge difference in sound quality but yes "audiophiles" can be tards.

I make a straight wire phase correction time lock for one guy and epoxied it in a can.....the guy was tickled and still brags about it.

chuckle
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


Actually, if you want a really cheap solution for speaker wire that actually enhances sound use twisted pair telephone wire - solid core copper works great - way better than your standard Radio Shack or Monster speaker wire
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 2941214


HAAAAAAaaahahaaaaaaaahahaaaaaaaaa you are what used to make me a lot of money in repairing Brystons
Anonymous Coward
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07/26/2013 12:40 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
I'm going to state that no, we don't hear frequencies above 20 kHz, but yes, they do still affect the sound!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


Thanks for nerding out with me, I've enjoyed it a lot!

Hope you have a static IP so I can find you when it's time to soundproof the studio!

hf
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


Haha, I'll just post my advise right here, so you can bookmark it for later use!

When it comes to building a studio (and I've personally built several), there are three acoustical aspects to get right:

1. Isolation from the outside world.
2. Good acoustics for the recording room(s).
3. Good acoustics for the mixing room.

I'll deal with these points one at a time.

First, isolation is usually needed, whether it's to avoid getting traffic noise polluting your acoustic guitar tracks, or to keep your neighbors from going insane.

The key to accomplishing sufficient isolation, is to understand a little about acoustics.

Sound is a mechanical vibration in the air, this vibration makes the wall move, and the the moving wall radiates sound on the other side. It takes more energy to move a heavy wall back and forth more times per seconds, so the isolation is worst for the lowest frequencies, but the situation progressively improves up the audible range.

The only way to make the wall radiate less sound on the other side, is to make it move less, and the only way to do that, is to make it HEAVIER!

But there is a diminishing return to this. Doubling the weight of the wall will only reduce sound transfer by a small fixed amount, and it's obvious you can't keep doubling mass forever, there are practical limits here!

There is also a phenomenon called 'incidence frequency' or something like that, which makes sound at a particular frequency pass through the wall more effectively. This effect is quite unfortunate, because it is dependent on wall thickness, and a typical thick concrete or brick wall will have this resonant effect at about 100 Hz.

This is at the low end where the wall isolates poorly to begin with, and right where kick drums produce a lot of energy, to make matters worse. That's why you'll always hear the thump of the kick drums when the neighbors play their stereo!

To get this resonant frequency up to where it doesn't harm isolation too much, the wall should actually be made much THINNER, which goes against the demand to make it heavier! Or you could make them so thick the troublesome frequency gets under the subwoofer range. A 5 foot thick concrete wall should be enough!

Which isn't very practical. Sigh.

There is a solution though: use thin sheets of gypsum board instead. They have a lot of mass, and are thin enough to get the resonant incidence frequency out of harm's way. You can stack three layers on top of each other - this does not affect the resonant frequency, as long as they are not firmly glued together to a solid whole.

The layers should be mounted pretty freely so they can slide against each other, the resulting friction gives the wall inner damping, which is a good thing here. When you knock on such a wall, you'll hear a very muted dull thud.

That makes for a good wall, but it will still have way too little isolation. The solution is to have double walls, with preferably at least 6 inches of air in between them (stuffed with glass fiber). More air is better, because once again, two wall layers with air in between causes a resonant energy transfer somewhere at the bass end, and you wish to get that resonant frequency low enough.

Then you build the two wall layers as two shells, one inside the other. Same with the floor and ceiling! You wish for as little direct transfer of vibration between the inner and outer shells as possible.

There are some additional aspects to consider. Like doors and windows.

You MUST use sound-isolation graded doors! Ordinary household doors are practically useless, but there are heavy doors with tight seals around them that are used for office buildings that are suitable.

You need TWO such doors, one for the inner shell, and one for the outer shell. The best solution is to have a small doorway with three doors - one mounted in the outside shell, one mounted on the mixing room shell, and one mounted on the separate main recording room shell. That way, you have great double wall isolation, not only between the outside and your studio, but between the recording room and the mixing room as well.

You probably won't have windows to the outside, but if you have a window between the studio rooms, then you need to have double glass panes, mounted in each shell. Use THICK glass, 1 inch is good! There are thick bulletproof glass sheets made from thinner sheets glued together, these have better inner damping, and are the best choice.

Don't connect the glass panes with an inner lining to make it look pretty, use some kind of fabric instead, so that sound trapped between the panes gets in acoustic contact with the glass fiber in the wall cavity surrounding the window opening, that helps dampening air resonances between the glass panes.

The last thing to remember, is that the shells MUST be absolutely airtight! The smallest hole or crack anywhere will transfer lots of sound, completely negating all that mass you put in the walls!

Now you have excellent sound isolation, but no ventilation whatsoever. That is not good, so you need to build a ventilation system. The fan in this will make noise, so make sure you use silent slow-spinning fans, and wide airducts with glass fiber dampening on the inside. Low air flow in the ducts makes it silent, it's easier to build something suitable yourself that to buy a noisy ventilation solution and try to fix it.

To stop sound from entering or leaving via the ventilation ducts, make them much longer than needed, 20 foot is good, and make them pass through several sharp 90 degree corners on the way. And don't forget that they must be lined with glass fiber on the inside!

Phew! Building a good studio is complicated, and we haven't even started on the actual acoustics inside yet!

I'll deal with that in another post.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 300884


You have most of it right but to let you know weight does not equal acoustic density.

And don't put glass fibre in an air stream unless you want lung damage.....there are plenty of other solutions.

And please use the proper term you damp acoustics not dampen (wet down)
Anonymous Coward
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Sweden
07/26/2013 01:05 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
You have most of it right but to let you know weight does not equal acoustic density.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


Well, when sound hits a wall, it's the weight of it that determines how easily the soundwaves can move it (in the idealized case of infinitely stiff wall), not the density, so that complaint is a bit on the pedantic side.

And don't put glass fibre in an air stream unless you want lung damage.....there are plenty of other solutions.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


A fair warning, in case anyone though of using loose fluffy glass fiber in the air ducts, I was more considering firm sheets from glass fiber impregnated with glue. But you're absolutely right, use something that will not come off in the wind!

And please use the proper term you damp acoustics not dampen (wet down)
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 42392596


Thanks for the correction!

(My native language is Swedish, and I still have a few things to learn.)
IDW
User ID: 28989642
United States
07/26/2013 01:07 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
When digital media was first introduced, I noticed an artificial nature to the sound which IMO has never been overcome.

It sounds tinny and fake.

If I had any advice to the young audiophiles out there, it would be to try analogue system from the late 70's or early 80's and see how easy and inexpensive it is to obtain superior realism in sound reproduction.

You don't need to be that technical about it, and some of the stuff I've seen posted here leads me to believe people are just trying to sound 'smart'. The human hearing apparatus is simply not capable of detecting the minute problems in sound reproduction many of you seem to think it is, but it is capable of immediately and clearly 'seeing' the difference between digital and analogue recordings. Analogue recordings have hundreds of times as much information in the source signal as digital.

You cannot easily overcome that with technology or by using 10,000 dollar speaker cables. Copper multi stand heavy duty Extension cords work as well as any of the most expensive, it is the speakers that are the single most important element in the system. If you don't believe me, try connecting a small transistor radio to a set of JBL studio monitor speakers.
Anonymous Coward
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07/26/2013 02:23 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
OK, now I'm going to talk about acoustic treatment of a recording room!

The first question you must ask yourself, is if the room is actually big enough to support a nice live acoustic environment in the first place. I'd say anything less than 300 sqare ft, preferably with a high ceiling, is pushing it. You can still go for a semi-acoustic space in a smaller room with standard ceiling height, but the smaller the room, the deader it needs to be to avoid coloring the recordings too much.

If the "room" is barely more than a vocal booth, then you need to KILL it completely! Line walls and ceiling with 4 inches of glass fiber (or your preferred damping material), and put a rug on the floor!

Such a booth will STILL color recordings in the lower midrange and upper bass because of air resonances between parallel walls and the only thing you can do to keep that in check, is to keep the microphone relatively close to the sound source.

You can do all your recording in such a booth and use a convolution reverb to simulate a live environment. Few will notice the difference in the end result, but if you have the space for a proper live or semi-live recording room, go for it! It's MUCH nicer to make music in!

Acoustics in a room has a tendency to take care of itself and turn out great, as soon as you take care of the problem areas. There are three things you need to watch out for:

1. Air resonances in the bass and low midrange.
2. Lack of diffusion in the mids and highs.
3. A nice, even damping from the low mids to the highs.

The first is handled by a 2-step procedure. FIRST you make sure the proportions of the room are as irregular as possible. An assymmetric room with a funky shape is actually best, but if you need to have an ordinary rectangular room, at least make sure the porportions aren't too simple.

A 15x15x15 ft room will produce the exact same air resonances in the x- y- and z-directions, which leads to booming resonances, with deep non-responsive zones in between. Such a room is practically impossible to get to sound good!

A room with irrational proportions is best, like 11x23x31 ft. The key is that there are no common small number factors in the proportions, that ensures that the air resonances hit different frequencies.

The SECOND thing to do, is to add bass traps. Probably!

If the inner shell of the room is made from a relatively pliant material such as wood or gypsum board, then it may already have sufficient damping in the low-mid range. If it is made from concrete or bricks, then it absolutely needs bass traps though, or you'll get an uncontrolled bass response in the room.

A bass trap is simply a wide "pipe" of arbitrary cross-section shape, stuffed with glass fiber, closed in one end and open in the other, and that has a length of 1/4 of the wavelength of the frequency you're intending to "trap".

There's little need for complex calculations here, because the primal air resonance mode between floor and ceiling for instance, is 1/2 wavelength, so you simply need a bass trap of half your ceiling height to damp that air resonance. Sound moves a little slower in glass fiber wool, so you can reduce that by 10 % or so (The exact dimension are not at all critical, the bass trap has a wide absorption peak).

So, you simply build bass traps with slightly less than half the dimensions of the room, and mount them with the open end facing the corners for maximum efficiency! Just play bass notes on an instrument and add more of them until the bass response in the room is smooth!

I promise you, recording a bass amp in a room with this treatment is a MUCH more pleasant experience than in an untreated concrete room!

Next, we deal with the matter of diffusion (and diffraction, for the pedantic). A good-sounding room needs the sound to bounce around in a chaotic fashion, but parallel walls make it bounce back and forth instead. This is the evil we must cure here!

If the room doesn't have parallel walls, and has a sloping ceiling, then you're more or less golden already - the sound will change direction for each bounce, and the result will be quite chaotic. But when did you last see such a room?

There are several ways to break up the static reflection pattern in a rectangular room.

One is to add dimensional irregularity. A normal living room has furniture, and that actually helps a lot. Mount wooden boxes of different sizes on the walls, or buy expensive ready-made diffusing panels for the purpose. Just make sure that the boxes vary in depth (how far they stick out from the walls). It's preferable if they have a slightly slanted top, so the sound that hits them isn't reflected in the same axis, but even fully rectangular blocks will diffuse sound a bit, because of diffraction around the edges.

The other way to break up reflection patterns, is to put up spread patches of damping material in the room, which also provides diffraction around the edges.

Break up ALL big areas of parallel walls (and the ceiling) with irregular combinations of boxes and glass fiber patches of different sizes, until the room has a beautiful smooth decay sound! Clapping your hands is the best ways to hear the room response.

The amount of damping patches required is of course depending on how "live" you want your recording space. It's best to add those first until the room has the length of response you seek, and then add diffusing boxes until you're satisfied with the smoothness of the response. Then check if there is still a problematic resonance in the bass region, if so, add more bass traps to control it.

Moving all of this around for a bit before you screw it to the walls may be a good idea, it's OK to experiment!

Remember that you only need to fix ONE of two parallel walls, because you'r just breaking up the bouncing pattern here. Or you can fix half of it on one side, and half on the other. It is usually a good idea to leave one wall untreated somewhere, that give more flexibility when recording - some things may sound best recorded close to the diffuse wall, some at the untreated wall.

The only thing left to explain, is that the damping patches must be THICK, or the room will be boomy in the upper bass/lower midrange. I'd hang 4 inch thick glass fiber patches at a 4 to 8 inch distance from the wall and ceiling, to make sure they do wide range absorption. Thin damping patches only work at higher frequencies.

This all sounds very complicated, but it's really not, because you already have the perfect instrument to tell you if something sounds good or not - your ears!

Just be systematic and change things little by little until you're happy with the result, and you'll be ... well .. happy with the result!

That's how to create a nice acoustic space to record music in! It may surprise some that this much care is needed, since music sounds fine in any old room, doesn't it? The difference is, you're RECORDING the room's quirky behavior here, and all irregularities in the recorded room response will be added to the listening room response. That's why a recording room needs to be so well-behaved acoustically.

Final note: Make your room as live as possible if you're mainly recording acoustic instruments, and more semi-live if you're mostly going to record rock bands.

I'll speak of the mixing room next!
Anonymous Coward
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07/26/2013 02:33 PM
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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
When digital media was first introduced, I noticed an artificial nature to the sound which IMO has never been overcome.

It sounds tinny and fake.

If I had any advice to the young audiophiles out there, it would be to try analogue system from the late 70's or early 80's and see how easy and inexpensive it is to obtain superior realism in sound reproduction.

You don't need to be that technical about it, and some of the stuff I've seen posted here leads me to believe people are just trying to sound 'smart'. The human hearing apparatus is simply not capable of detecting the minute problems in sound reproduction many of you seem to think it is, but it is capable of immediately and clearly 'seeing' the difference between digital and analogue recordings. Analogue recordings have hundreds of times as much information in the source signal as digital.

You cannot easily overcome that with technology or by using 10,000 dollar speaker cables. Copper multi stand heavy duty Extension cords work as well as any of the most expensive, it is the speakers that are the single most important element in the system. If you don't believe me, try connecting a small transistor radio to a set of JBL studio monitor speakers.
 Quoting: IDW 28989642


Some people who sound smart actually are smart!
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/27/2013 07:45 AM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
Heads up to you guys that I'm on vacation this week & will likely have limited posting/reading/comprehension (haha) abilities, but I'll absorb all this when I'm back home again in a week.

Didn't want anyone thinking I bailed on the thread! Keep it coming, it's not like we have audio-centric bars anywhere where I live to geek out on this kinda thing!
cheers
Fret Wiz

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"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
Fret Wiz (OP)
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07/27/2013 11:56 PM

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
When digital media was first introduced, I noticed an artificial nature to the sound which IMO has never been overcome.

It sounds tinny and fake.

If I had any advice to the young audiophiles out there, it would be to try analogue system from the late 70's or early 80's and see how easy and inexpensive it is to obtain superior realism in sound reproduction.
 Quoting: IDW 28989642


IDW, you know, that's exactly why I began looking into vintage speakers. I knew I wanted to go with tubes, and I wanted to mate it to something appropriate for the era. I fell in love with the aesthetics of these old speakers as I researched them, and preferred the honest materials used in their construction to the poly-whatever-carbonate plastic stuff in use now.

As with any hobby, the rabbit hole got deeper the more I learned. The technical advice I've been getting here lately confirms a lot of the gut feelings I have in spite of my limited ability to express them technically. I'll never be as technical as a lot of this thread's contributors, but I appreciate their prowess, we all have things we want to learn more about.

Vinyl is a new rathole of mine (last 18mos or so), and it's a big and expensive one. I've become so obsessed, that I can't listen to digital media lately without a fair about of EQ, and the compression just fatigues me so much, that I can barely get through a complete disc.

Thanks for the post!
Fret Wiz

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Re: Audiophiles! Let's talk about gear and great audio production!
When digital media was first introduced, I noticed an artificial nature to the sound which IMO has never been overcome.

It sounds tinny and fake.

If I had any advice to the young audiophiles out there, it would be to try analogue system from the late 70's or early 80's and see how easy and inexpensive it is to obtain superior realism in sound reproduction.
 Quoting: IDW 28989642


IDW, you know, that's exactly why I began looking into vintage speakers. I knew I wanted to go with tubes, and I wanted to mate it to something appropriate for the era. I fell in love with the aesthetics of these old speakers as I researched them, and preferred the honest materials used in their construction to the poly-whatever-carbonate plastic stuff in use now.

As with any hobby, the rabbit hole got deeper the more I learned. The technical advice I've been getting here lately confirms a lot of the gut feelings I have in spite of my limited ability to express them technically. I'll never be as technical as a lot of this thread's contributors, but I appreciate their prowess, we all have things we want to learn more about.

Vinyl is a new rathole of mine (last 18mos or so), and it's a big and expensive one. I've become so obsessed, that I can't listen to digital media lately without a fair about of EQ, and the compression just fatigues me so much, that I can barely get through a complete disc.

Thanks for the post!
 Quoting: Fret Wiz


I just thought I'd inject a comment on the idea that 'vintage' was better. It wasn't, really, it just sounds that way!

You see, the reason modern music sounds bad has nothing to do with the fact it was recorded and distributed digitally - it is because it has been processed to death!

In the really old days, no audio processing was available, so people just recorded the instruments as they were. That gave a signal peak-to-average level ratio of about 18 dB for pop music that doesn't have a lot of intentional dynamics (like Ravel's Bolero has, for an extreme example).

In the 70's, people had compressors and equalizers, and the peak-to-average ratio was brought down to 12 dB.

This actually sounds BETTER than reality, when played through speakers! Music that streams through two speakers doesn't have the full spatial information, so things jumble together more than they should. Keeping levels a bit more balanced helps to compensate, making music come through more clearly.

But there is of course such a thing as too much of a good thing. People thought more compression sounded more "modern", and discovered that a more heavily compressed sound came through more clearly on the radio. So in the 80's, the peak-to-average ratio had been reduced to 6 dB.

This still sounds pretty good, but it is on the aggressive side of things, and it is not as 'airy' and 'organic' as a less compressed sound.

But the development did not stop there...

Soon more advanced compression techniques were available. Individual instruments were compressed and limited, then the entire mix went through a multiband compressor, and then the last few surviving peaks were hammered into submission with a digital look-ahead peak limiter, so the the entire recording had a max level of 0.0 dB, and an average level of -1.0 dB!

Now get this, a 1 dB peak-to-average ratio is much LESS than a constant max swing sine wave has (which is 3.0 dB)!!!

This means, the recording can't even reproduce the 'dynamics' of a clean sine wave at max amplitude, it must distort it!

As a result, such music sounds like 'distortion with a beat'. It is EXTREMELY fatiguing to the ears.

This is then made even worse by the use of auto-tune, a tool that "corrects" the intonation of singers, making vocals sound synthetic and lifeless in the process.

With music-as-it-sounded-in-the-70's, you want to raise the sound levels, because it sounds better the louder it is! And the unrestricted peaks in the source material means it will sound even better on audiophile equipment that will not limit or compress the peaks.

But the digitally castrated music of today actually sounds better the less loud you play it.

Not surprisingly, I have found the optimal solution is to TURN IT OFF.

This sound castration was made possible by the introduction of digital sound processing tools, but it is the abuse of these tools that is the problem - not the digital representation itself.

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