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The new "Listening Room"


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Apologies to Andy for diverting away from his thread :)

 

NP, David.  Unlike some here, I fully expect threads to diverge temporarily ... before they come back on track.  :D

 

And of course, we Melbournians have to make allowances for Sydney folk.  :P

 

Andy

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Andy - Thanks for the thread. What was the reason for selecting the Mini-DSP 10x10HD over the DDRC-88a which uses Dirac designed combined FIR/IIR filters?

 

Ignorance!  :(   I will have to research the DDRC-88a.

 

 

Thanks,

 

Andy

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Andy - Thanks for the thread. What was the reason for selecting the Mini-DSP 10x10HD over the DDRC-88a which uses Dirac designed combined FIR/IIR filters?

 

Reading the spec sheet (but not going so far as reading the User Manual) the DDRC-88A (as David suggested) seems to be oriented towards a multi-channel scenario ... rather than what I want - which is a 4-way active stereo system?  With DSP FR 'tweaking'.  :)

 

 

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I've now had a few weeks listening to my sub-enhanced system ... and the bass 'heft' that the Maggies now deliver is entrancing!  :love

 

I wanted them to enhance my enjoyment of my Bach organ music - and that they deliver on! :thumb:   But just about any music that I've listened to, sounds better with the subs - like 'Bladerunner' that I've just put on.  To say nothing of DSOTM ... or Mr Marley! :party

 

A 20Hz foundation is the key to happiness, IMO! :D

 

 

Andy

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I just had a short holiday from my Maggies and have been enjoying the extra bass I get from my Viennas. Went back to the maggies today and remembered why boxes aren't really an option, but I do envy you that wonderful bass. As soon as I get some clear time I'll be exploring potential subs.

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Well, I've now had a few weeks listening to my sub-enhanced system ... and the bass 'heft' that the Maggies now deliver is entrancing!  :love

 

I wanted them to enhance my enjoyment of my Bach organ music - and that they deliver on! :thumb:   But just about any music that I've listened to, sounds better with the subs - like 'Bladerunner' that I've just put on.  To say nothing of DSOTM ... or Mr Marley! :party

 

A 20Hz foundation is the key to happiness, IMO! :D

 

 

Andy

Well done Andy, sounds like you are having a great old time with the subs there. Paul does a really good job too.

Cheers

Matt

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  • 1 month later...

Well, today I had a small gtg - invitees were: @Runaway, @martykt, @Red MacKay, @Max054 and @Keith_W.

 

Mun ('Runaway') had heard my system before in the new listening room - but before the subs were installed; Martin ('Max054') had heard my system in the place we were renting while this new one was being built - so before a lot of new things; Keith had heard my Maggies in my last house, 4 years ago - so even more things were new - and for Red & Marty, it was a completely new experience.  :)

 

We played a wide variety of music over 4 hours or so (ranging from some sublime Bach organ music to June Tabor) and we did a couple of experiments.  I am interested in whatever people decide to contribute - good and bad (because 'bad' offers a way to improve!) - but I think I can say the following:

  1. The way I now have the subs programmed (with the miniDSP), they integrate with the Maggies very well.  You can't "hear" them directly, they don't overpower the music ... it just seems the Maggies now have bottom-end weight.  :thumb:
  2. There are no frequency anomalies, top to bottom.
  3. The Maggies sound much more dynamic than they did before.
  4. The soundstage is nice and wide ... but depth is the next challenge.  IMO, this is due to the fact that the panels are - due to the room dimensions - too close to the front wall.  :(  So front-wall dispersion is what I am thinking of, to increase soundstage depth.

The 2 experiments we did were as follows:

Wood Blocks:

  • My system config is: phono stage --> preamp --> miniDSP 10x10, providing 4-way XOs and room correction --> power amps.
  • When I put 3x Cardas "Golden Cuboid" myrtle wood blocks under the miniDSP unit ... the SQ improved.  Better decay of instruments.  (The theory is that a hard connector between the case and the benchtop provides a pathway for case vibrations to travel to ground - which rubber feet prevent.)
  • But when I put 3 more Cardas wood blocks under the preamp ... we couldn't hear any difference.
  • Likewise with my 'Muse' phono stage.

Sub weight:

  • The miniDSP 10x10 unit has a very useful feature - there is a front-panel switch/knob which allows you to select 1 of 4 different stored configurations to use.
  • The config we started with (#3) had the level of the subs set to what I thought it should be ... compared to the Maggie bass panels.
  • Config #4 raised the level of the subs by 1dB.
  • This widened the soundstage - logical, when you think about it, because the subs are each located about 1.5m sideways (out!) from the Maggie bass panels ... so if more dB is coming from the (wider apart) subs ... the soundstage will become wider.
  • Yet the extra 1dB did not overwhelm the Maggie bass panels - although this was music-dependent. 

There are several more experiments to be done, including:

  1. See whether a lower sub-bass panel XO frequency is better.  (Paul set this to his normal frequency of 100hz (24dB slopes) but it is possible that it is worthwhile using the magic "Maggie bass" down lower.)
  2. See whether the Maggies sound better using the modern 6db XO slopes (used in the ".7" models), rather than the 18/12dB slopes which are currently configured - which I've been using for 15 years.

 

Andy

 

 

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Thank you Andy for a fine afternoon.

Your passion definitely shows through in your system.

A very different approach to my system but very pleasing none the less.  

It goes to show that there are many different approaches to building a system and Andy's system has a wonderful smoothness which makes for a very relaxing afternoon listening to fine music with a nice drop of red and excellent cheeses.

Yes the subs work well with the maggies. 

They definitely don't draw attention to themselves and add more to the sound than they detract.

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Hi Andy,

 

Thanks for your extreme hospitality and awesome tunes.

 

I was serious (despite the wines) when I said other than one other system Ive heard (maker of univector arms) yours is the only system I wanted to take home with me! Once that sub was boosted 1db it came to life and my what tunes we heard - I ran the album you lent me at home last night and yes it still sounded awesome but I guess it was missing something undefinable in the definition sector.

 

I would love to come over again and hang out with my own collection of tunes just so I could drool some more!

 

Cheers Martin.

 

 

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Thanks for a great afternoon Andy, and sorry I couldn't stay for long. I was pretty impressed with the way you managed to integrate the subs with those maggies - certainly not something easy to do. As I mentioned, every bass note in that pipe organ came out with the same volume - a sure sign that the bass response is smooth and not lumpy. The mods you have done to your Maggies since I last visited make them sound more dynamic and more extended than before. Agree you have room issues, but then there are not very many listening rooms in Melbourne which are as good as your old one. 

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2 minutes ago, Keith_W said:

Thanks for a great afternoon Andy, and sorry I couldn't stay for long. I was pretty impressed with the way you managed to integrate the subs with those maggies - certainly not something easy to do. As I mentioned, every bass note in that pipe organ came out with the same volume - a sure sign that the bass response is smooth and not lumpy. The mods you have done to your Maggies since I last visited make them sound more dynamic and more extended than before. Agree you have room issues, but then there are not very many listening rooms in Melbourne which are as good as your old one. 

You missed the best part when he kicked in the extra 1db on the subs it stretched the sound stage and compensated for a less than perfect sitting distance!

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A belated thanks for a very pleasant afternoon.  There is a noticeable change in your system from the last time I heard it.  The integration flawless, the details, pace and timing really nice, carried through quite a wide variety of music.  The pipe organ music sounded incredibly atmospheric.  

 

Well done!

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24 minutes ago, Runaway said:

A belated thanks for a very pleasant afternoon.  There is a noticeable change in your system from the last time I heard it.  The integration flawless, the details, pace and timing really nice, carried through quite a wide variety of music.  The pipe organ music sounded incredibly atmospheric.  

 

Well done!

 

Thank you, Mun - it was a pleasure! :thumb:  That Mark Levinson organ LP of the "Schubler Chorales" was one of the reasons behind my desire for subs (well, that and "Yello"! :D ) and I think they have delivered.

 

As for pace and timing - weeell, you know that is because the core components of an LP12 lie at the heart of my TT.  :love   (@Tasebass is in for a shock when he eventually makes it down to Melbourne! :party )  Now that the subs are behaving themselves, there's lots more playing around with the miniDSP to do - like, 6dB slopes, for instance (like the more recent Maggies have) ... so you might like a return visit when Torben gets back from OS?

 

Regards,

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had an interesting problem with my TT, recently - thankfully, now solved with Steve Tuckett's assistance (the designer of the AC motor speed controller I am using).

 

A couple of weekends ago, I played some 45s.  Now, my ear is close to the RH panels when I switch the speed controller on and off, and I noticed that - only when the speed was set to 45 - I could hear a slight increase in the background noise level when I hit 'On'.  Which stopped when I hit 'Off'!  Not something you could hear from the listening sofa - but it annoyed me.

 

Then one night last week, I sat down to listen to a 33 - and it sounded distinctly weird.  Yet when I checked the speed with my strobe disk - it was dead on 33 (+1/3rd!).  So that was a mystery.  :(

 

Anyway, Steve came over for a diagnosis session on Monday and after an hour's experimentation (was it RFI from the speed controller getting into the panels ... was it something upstream in the signal chain (so we swapped interconnects left to right at the power amps and then the at preamp) ... or was it careless cable dressing?), we found that the noise was actually caused by the rear motor - ie. it had developed a fault.  Luckily, Steve had a spare in his car and when we connected this up in place of the original one ... there was no noise at 45rpm! :thumb:

 

So last night when I got home from work, I spent an hour and a half fitting the new motor and re-levelling the TT.  I also had to connect my PC to the speed controller, in order to reduce the voltage I am feeding the 24v Premotec motors - reducing 32v to 30v - just in case the higher voltage is causing a problem with the motor ... and it is back sounding the way it should.  Which is a relief, as I have a small gtg, this Sunday.  :D

 

 

Andy

 

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32 minutes ago, Metamatic said:

Hey Andy

 

Always a PITA when some annoying noise enters the system for some seemingly unknown reason.

 

Even better when you find the fault and have it corrected.

 

What happened to the motor?

 

Hi Shane,

 

Steve has taken it and will send it back to the factory, with a request to find out what's gone wrong with it.

 

According to the factory, driving a 24v Premotec at 32v is perfectly fine (and, as we heard, delivers better SQ) but, just in case the higher-than-normal voltage is the problem, I have now slacked it off to 30v.

 

Getting towards the end of my dual Muse build, btw.  Just a few more weekends work - then i'll have to run in each pair of boards (these are 51dB MM and 60dB MC*) for 2 weeks each.  So if you're still interested, I should be able to ship it to you by end Nov.

 

unfortunately, with the design I used for this build, I can't get it up to the 63dB needed for your 0.15mV MC - 60dB is the max!  :(  I can get this higher gain but I need to change the 2nd gain stage, slightly, to achieve this.

 

 

Regards,

Andy

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  • 1 month later...

Well, yesterday, I finally found the LP of Bach organ music that, as a filler, has a test track with 16hz, 12hz and 8hz organ tones (the latter, I believe from a 64' pipe!).  The organ is in Liverpool Cathedral (having nearly 10,000 pipes!); the LP is: Chalfont SDGX 306/307.

 

If you like organ music then this is a must-get - together with the Mark Levison LP of Bach's "Six Schubler Chorales" on MAL 1.

 

Well, I'm delighted to able to report that @Paul Spencer has exceeded his brief, with my subs!  :thumb:  I had hoped to be able to hear the 16hz note ... but the 12hz note came out strong too!  The Stanton WOS CS100/ Magnepan Unitrac combination tracked flawlessly and, Paul, at the level I was listening, I would think that the excursions of the Ultimax drivers weren't even half XMax!

 

So a very pleasing outcome to my sub journey!  :thumb:

 

 

Andy

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today, Steve Tuckett (the designer of the "Number9" AC motor speed controller which I use) came over and we experimented with the delay applied to the Maggies by the miniDSP, to compensate for the fact that the subs are further away from your ears when in the 'sweet spot'.

 

I had calculated the delay should be 4ms (based on the extra physical distance of the subs) but last time Steve was round, he felt that the delay needed to be more - as the harmonics of a drum-strike were hitting the ears before the fundamental came through.

 

So we tried increasing the delay a number of times (in the end by only 0.5ms increments) and 9ms is the magic number!  We were using a CD of the Sheffield 'Drum Record' and at 9ms delay, the centre image of the kick drums was the most solid.  A most interesting experience!  :thumb:

 

Next up is choosing whether to keep the current 24dB LP & HP slopes for the sub/bass panel XO ... or changing to 12dB or even 6dB HP slope.  ;)

 

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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