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  • Room AC vs. Acoustics

    I think it's an absolute myth that audiophiles don't pay attention to their room acoustics. Say something a million times and all of a sudden it's fact, regardless of whether or not it's true. It's no different than saying audiophiles only own 20 audiophile LPs or CDs to play on their systems. Total and utter BS. The simple act of spending time situating your speakers (or matching your speaker to current living conditions) is paying attention to room acoustics. Even simple things can make big differences in room acoustics and you don't need "sophisticated" DSP (where the cure is often worse than the disease) to get the most out of your system. Or $20,000 worth of room treatment. I think we've all heard as many rooms with tons of room treatment, DSP, etc. as "untreated" room that are absolute and total sonic catastrophes.

    On the other hand, I don't think enough audiophiles pay attention to the juice they are feeding to their gear whether it be AC receptacles, dedicated lines, power line conditioners, regenerators, what's being fed into the room, etc. After all, one thing that brings our systems closer to real music is reproduction of subtleties--information on the order of microvolts and often just above the noise floor. That's in part why when you improve connections, receptables and AC supply, those little things all of a sudden start to pop up from no where. Plus the better the connections, the better the system dynamics. It's not only dirty connections but lack of good connections, types of metal being used that have a significant impact upon our system's sound.

    Whatsmore, investing in something like a power line conditioner only pays rewards down the line. Long after the equipment that you presently have in your system is but a pleasant memory, you will still have your power line conditioning gear around. That investment will also help you realize all the potential in the gear you own and ROI!
    17
    AC more important
    5.88%
    1
    Room acoustics more important
    35.29%
    6
    AC and room acoustics equally important
    58.82%
    10
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Apparently suffering from some form of discontextualization, it took me 'til the second paragraph to grasp that you were not talking about air conditioning.

    And being in a feisty mood, I challenge the survey. It should also include 'isolation / vibration control' as an item for prioritization. The three-legged stool of audio room infrastructure includes: power, acoustics, isolation. This, imo, is fundamental. You will not get your money's worth from your expensive gear nor you will experience the intent of your component designers without paying attention to all three. So there.
    Last edited by tima; 05-31-2016, 02:29 AM. Reason: syntax

    Comment


    • #3
      To be honest, I view power conditioning or high end power strips as something to get at the end of all the major purchases are done: amp, phono stage, turntable, cartridge, cables, cd player/dac, music server, audio rack, speakers. To be an audiophile, there are so things to cover, and power conditioning is at the bottom of my list. I think if someone has a budget for a full system, be it $2000 or $20,000, it is hard to set aside a decent amount for AC power. If you give someone the choice of a nicer turntable, better cartridge, or better speakers with that $3000 - $5000 vs getting a cheaper turntable, etc and a power conditioner, I don't think many would do the power conditioner option. I think it is something we all would like to do, but budget constraints make it difficult. I would love to hear some suggestions for good power strips or power conditioners $1k or under, new or used. It is something I would like to do, but there is always another upgrade around the corner and it gets pushed to the side.

      Comment


      • Steve Lefkowicz
        Steve Lefkowicz commented
        Editing a comment
        Even a budget system can address AC Power conditioning. Years ago I bought a Monster HTS2000 for about $200. It has reliably taken care of most egregious noise issues, though I still test every change in equipment as to whether it sounds better plugged into the Power Conditioner or not. Testing with an Audioprism Noise Sniffer showed that it really cleaned up the noise from my rooms AC almost completely.
        I would someday like to move up to a better unit, but for now I'm satisfied with the results and convinced it is a benefit in my system.

    • #4
      There are 3 factors equally important for the final system sound.
      Clean AC receptacles including power cables, separation transformers and filters and a earth ground loop.
      Speaker placement in the room at hand, differences from good to superb sound are measured in millimeters, you can hear when the speakers connect to the room.
      A simple way to control this, stand by first the left speaker and then the right speaker, if the speaker are set up right for the room used, you will hear the full soundstage in both these positions
      As a result you will hear the full soundstage anywhere in the room, even if you stand be twin the speakers with the back to the system and any seat in the room.
      I will have to draw a sketch on paper to illustrate what I mean and how it is done and what you are listening for during the process.
      I use this method every time we go to the shows with our products, there are no "bad" rooms, only bad setting up.

      Lastly vibration control, here in particular digital resources need vibration control.

      Now we are ready to listen to music.
      Last edited by banditcat200; 05-25-2016, 04:53 AM.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by tima View Post
        Apparently suffering from some form of discontextualization, it took me 'til the second paragraph to grasp that you were not talking about air conditioning. [head-smacking icon-thingy goes here]

        And being in a feisty mood, I challenge the survey. It should also include 'isolation / vibration control' as an item for prioritization. The three-legged stool of audio room infrastructure includes: power, acoustics, isolation. This, imo, is fundamental. You will not get your money's worth from your expensive gear nor you will not experience the intent of your component designers without paying attention to all three. So there.
        Agree with your sentiments but wanted to reduce the number of variables here. But your statement about a three legged stool would also make for an interesting discussion Tim.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          Understood. I've been thinking the whole issue of infrastructure is now accepted with the current, er, battle being over is it an accessory or a necessity. A sub-theater engagement is whether a record cleaner is optional.

      • #6
        I know the DSP people don't want to hear this but much of that missing or non-linear bass response, upper octave issues and lack of dynamics doesn't always have to do with room acoustics. Hearing is believing!
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • #7
          I voted room acoustics more important but only in general terms. The real answer is that it depends. Lamm in particular has very good power supplies. That goes for both the tube and hybrid products. Having used various conditioners for the past 10 years or so out of necessity (before individual dedicated lines- I have 12 from a siemens breaker) I would say with confidence that the use of conditioners at least with this line of products results in different but not better. In some cases even worse than straight into the wall. That said, our native voltage is 230v. That alone carries an automatic amperage advantage.

          As an acoustician myself, however I also feel that for normal domestic applications, I see a lot of treatment overkill. Again it depends a lot on the speakers' polar patterns, their placement and more importantly the room's shape, dimensions, construction and existing furnishing. Obviously a concrete box is going to need work but spaces with existing diffusive and soft elements as well as possible placement positions where there is symmetry will need far less, sometimes not even any treatment to get good sound in the most used listening spot. This is by the way what I refer to as normal domestic use.

          Now if one wants to go flat out and one does build a room properly then we get a chain reaction. The room now allows one to hear much more of the acoustical output, both good and bad. It's a be careful what you wish for scenario. Here the small stuff is magnified. The same can be said for nearfield setups where the room is taken out of the equation by design.

          Ultimately, IMO, the changes in sound from acoustic work is generally more obvious than power work in a normal setting. That is unless the power in the area in question is abnormally dirty, so much so that noise rejection of onboard power supplies can no longer filter the nasties out.

          Another factor is a human one. Power is more likely to be of greater concern for those that place microdynamics high on their list of priorities, less so for those concerned more with tone and overall timbre. Personally I'm a "give it to me" kind of listener as opposed to a "I want to scrutinize every little bit" kind of listener. My choice of gear has for some reason been excellent on the PS front be it Lamm, KR, LH, or CHP. Being underground I'm also pretty well protected from RFI and EMI. Power wise I'm on the same grid as a major hospital so the utility pays special attention to this particular area.

          Comment


          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
            Editing a comment
            "... the use of conditioners at least with this line of products results in different but not better. ..."

            If you have dedicated lines I come closer to agreeing. If not, I found real improvement from the M1.2Ref with a Shunyata Typhon plugged into the same wall duplex that takes the amp.

            As for relative priority my experience has Lamm gear more susceptible to isolation than power conditioning. Cheers.

        • #8
          I can't vote Myles.
          Chris
          ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by cpp View Post
            I can't vote Myles.
            Did you register as an Independent?

            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #10
              It is always interesting how you hear something and over the years you tend to forget. The first time I heard the Tice Power Block and Titan combo, I was floored by what this PLC did for among other things, the frequency extremes. I was reminded of that again listening to the AudioQuest Niagara this past weekend. There was another octave of bass and what bass was there, was far better quality. Far more detailed and capturing the music's beat instead of sounding mushy, ill defined and boring.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                Did you register as an Independent?
                No just a retiree LOL but if I could vote, I would pick door number 3 " AC and room acoustics equally important"
                Chris
                ----------------------------------------------------------------
                Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                Comment


                • #12
                  Over a period of many years I lived with the exact same gear in good rooms and bad rooms. Any reasonably designed and constructed filter/conditioner can clean up most of the issues with power, but a particularly egregious mismatch between a room and equipment (basically the speakers) just can't be corrected.

                  As I recall, in that particular instance the only workable solution was to set up things up for near field listening. Or headphones.

                  So IMO if you don't have a decent acoustic space to begin with the rest doesn't much matter.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    I think many audiophiles (myself included) tend to focus on the 'tangibles' than the 'intangibles'. Buying gear, buying tweaks, and buying acoustic treatments outpaces investing in your AC delivery, your speaker setup, optimizing cart setup, or even cleaning your LPs. It all matters, but taking out the CC is a quicker and easier path to audio nirvana.

                    I've mentioned in other posts I'm pretty happy with my system but for a slight incisiveness in the upper octaves from time to time. First reaction was to change cables, cart, or maybe amp/preamp to a lesser exten. Could well be cleaner power is the right thing to do for a smoother top end...
                    Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      I was interested in the Audioquest Niagra 1000 which retails for $995, If I can find a dealer demo or a could price on one, I think I'd pull the trigger on it.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Originally posted by JackD201 View Post
                        I voted room acoustics more important but only in general terms. The real answer is that it depends. Lamm in particular has very good power supplies. That goes for both the tube and hybrid products. Having used various conditioners for the past 10 years or so out of necessity (before individual dedicated lines- I have 12 from a siemens breaker) I would say with confidence that the use of conditioners at least with this line of products results in different but not better. In some cases even worse than straight into the wall. That said, our native voltage is 230v. That alone carries an automatic amperage advantage.

                        As an acoustician myself, however I also feel that for normal domestic applications, I see a lot of treatment overkill. Again it depends a lot on the speakers' polar patterns, their placement and more importantly the room's shape, dimensions, construction and existing furnishing. Obviously a concrete box is going to need work but spaces with existing diffusive and soft elements as well as possible placement positions where there is symmetry will need far less, sometimes not even any treatment to get good sound in the most used listening spot. This is by the way what I refer to as normal domestic use.

                        Now if one wants to go flat out and one does build a room properly then we get a chain reaction. The room now allows one to hear much more of the acoustical output, both good and bad. It's a be careful what you wish for scenario. Here the small stuff is magnified. The same can be said for nearfield setups where the room is taken out of the equation by design.

                        Ultimately, IMO, the changes in sound from acoustic work is generally more obvious than power work in a normal setting. That is unless the power in the area in question is abnormally dirty, so much so that noise rejection of onboard power supplies can no longer filter the nasties out.

                        Another factor is a human one. Power is more likely to be of greater concern for those that place microdynamics high on their list of priorities, less so for those concerned more with tone and overall timbre. Personally I'm a "give it to me" kind of listener as opposed to a "I want to scrutinize every little bit" kind of listener. My choice of gear has for some reason been excellent on the PS front be it Lamm, KR, LH, or CHP. Being underground I'm also pretty well protected from RFI and EMI. Power wise I'm on the same grid as a major hospital so the utility pays special attention to this particular area.
                        Well reasoned as usual but I'm not sure if I agree with everything.

                        1) I've heard pretty dramatic improvements in gear in minimally treated rooms dating back decades.
                        2) I don't think power is a greater concern for those who prioritize micodynamics. Actually, to my ears it's the other way around. Addressing power quality affects both micro and macro; but to my ears, it actually has a much bigger effect on macrodynamics.
                        3) I would also aver that power conditioning and treatment would be high on the list of those who value PRAT or what I want to say the heartbeat of the music. At the recent demo, it was shocking how boring the music sounded with the AQ Niagara.
                        4) Again from what I've heard over the years and again very recently, I have to really ask myself how much of the low frequency issues normally attributed to the room is really a function of AC line quality.
                        5) The whole system must be plugged into whatever one is using to get the full benefit.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • JackD201
                          JackD201 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I guess it really depends on the type of noise riding on one's particular power lines. Over here it is grit and hash, micro killers. Being 230v macro is almost never a problem given amps, speakers that match up in an appropriate room. It is only by these narrow parameters that I base my observations. They are in no way definitive much less meant to be.

                        • MylesBAstor
                          MylesBAstor commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Or common vs transverse mode noise. IIRC Jeff Rowland once mentioned that TMNR is the killer.
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