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The Incredible Importance of Finetuning

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  • The Incredible Importance of Finetuning

    Hi All,

    Just sharing personal experience at Myles' kind request:

    - Our system was literally packed up and put in storage for almost 5 months while we moved and went under major construction
    - So a new place, new room and new setup with the same equipment
    - The only change was we went from Transp Ref XLMM2 speaker cables to Opus Gen 5

    So here is the learning experience after having professional Wilson setup (they will come back again to finetune) and help setting up everything in a fashion similar to our old setup (each component in its own 'isolation sandwich' with HRS/Stillpoints isolation under and mass damping (using serious weight/HRS/Artseania) on top):

    - FIRST, the system is changing by the day as it 'settles in', the cable breaks in, and all matter of 'literally physical settling in' occurs (we have solid masonry outer walls, but the floors are 19th Century timber beams over masonry piles...so i imagine adding 2,500lbs of equipment to the floor takes some time to settle in.

    - SECOND, the old system in the old house was there for 10 years, and after the main building blocks (amp, source, pre, speakers, cables) got sorted, we embarked on 3 years of isolation, grounding, room treatments. i have become a big fan of isolation (HRS, Stillpoints, Artesania) as well as Tripoint/Entreq grounding...and i am unequivocal that in that room, if i moved ONE HRS pad 3cm underneath a piece of equipment, you could hear the difference.

    - THIRD, based on the above experience, i would have thought it was the quality of the system main building blocks that allowed me to hear those minute changes. WRONG.

    - FOURTH, in our current system, i have found many of those nuances are gone. I cannot discern moving an HRS pad 3cm anymore. (Sure, we have dedicated power lines now, isolated 16amp line JUST for the Gryphon amp, etc.) BUT, i am NOW convinced that EVERYTHING INCLUDING SETUP ITSELF really, really matters in order for the NUANCES to come out of a system...which is really enjoyable for me.

    - FIFTH, our current room is better, and system overall sounds much much much better in this room, with far greater detail, depth of soundstage, scale, and delicacy in the upper registers. HOWEVER, those nuances from changing isolation are much harder to discern than in our old room...and i am NOT convinced it is because the new room is better. I am convinced it is because i have yet to go piece by piece, and really fine tune every bit of isolation, placement, etc which i had done over 3+ years in being in the old room. (NOTE: we literally have had the system up for 1 week now.)

    - SIXTH, to explore my thesis, we have the Velodyne and Entreq/Stillpoints distributors coming over in the next week or so to help the finetuning process...particularly Entreq/Stillpoints who were the biggest part of the 3-year period of finetuning in the old room. Hopefully, it wont take 3 years this time!!!

    I am hopeful that as we get the system equipment settled in, focus (read: obsess) on placement of equipment, isolation/mass damping, etc and placement of room treatments, etc...we may start to take what is an incredibly good sounding/promising system setup and really get it 'perfect' so that many of those super-subtle changes one makes can once again be instantly detected in the system delivery

    THIS IS AN ONGOING LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR ME...WILL UPDATE...
    Last edited by LL21; 05-28-2016, 09:06 AM.
    SOURCE: Zanden 4-Box Digital
    AMP: CJ GAT2 + Gryphon Mephisto Stereo
    SPEAKER: Wilson X1/SLAMMS + Velodyne DD18+

    CABLE: TA Opus + PAD 25th + Sablon GCUber
    POWER: 7 Dedicated Lines Furutech + Burmester 948 + NordostQX4
    ISOLATION: Under: HRS+Stillpoints+Auralex Top: HRS+Artesania+Entreq+EAT+90kg Mass
    GROUND/SHIELD/TUBE: Tripoint Troy Sig Thor+Entreq Atlantis / Receivus+Everest+Wrap / Amperex+Mullard
    ROOM: Stillpoints Apertures+Acoustic Underlay

    HEADPHONE: Sennheiser 650+Arcam rHead+Apogee Groove

  • #2
    subscribed. Looking forward to the fine tuning, Lloyd.
    Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

    Comment


    • #3
      What a great post and another reason to add to the list of why moving sucks!

      Where to begin because there are so many points being made?

      How playing devil's advocate and asking the question when does one stop tweaking? Achieving audio nirvana is so elusive and fleeting that one change can destroy everything one has worked so hard to achieve. Being audiophiles, patience is not in our vocabulary, and we always know that oh if I just change this one little thing the system will get even better. What happens? Not only doesn't it get better but it gets worse and it takes weeks to get back to the sound we once had and loved.

      Letting the system settle in. What seems to hit me in the face is that part of the reason you aren't hearing the subtle details is that it will take time for your ears to adapt to your new surroundings. Think about how many times you heard your favorite recordings at your old digs. So many times, you have literally memorized the sonics. Going to have to do the same thing all over again too.

      Once again, our lack of patience can lead to tweaking that in the long run will be detrimental. The electrical wiring inside the wall, for instance, takes a good month to settle in. Before that, the system can sound intolerably bright. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the system either.

      Of course, all your attention to vibration control can be thrown out the window because you have new floors, new positioning, etc. That's also part of the problem with tweaking and then substituting new components. Tweaks are so often system and gear dependent (for instance, you may find your like different tubes from what you've been using up to now). It would seem that one has to prioritize what gives the biggest bang for the buck and spend the bulk of the time trying to optimize those variables. Like speaker positioning where an inch or two can make or break the sound. Some mild room treatment. Then optimizing the listening chair position. Organizing your cables. Getting the AC right. Making sure all your connections--especially those of the AC kind--are spotless. Then working on equipment isolation. Then repeat again until get it right.

      Lastly, think of all those exhibitors at shows trying to get good sound in one day. When we spend months, if not years, getting great sound out of our own systems. Talk about an impossible task!



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

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good post placement and fine tuning are as much art as science guys like Rocket Man and Jim Smith know how and what to do. I am pleased when I move something or add something that I have not made it worse. It is, if you can get it, find help in some one who has done it before. I always mark the spot from where I started so I can at least go back to what I had. I always like the storey about guys who have small speakers and spent hours getting them in the right spot only to have them moved 3 feet so someone could clean. Thats why big speakers are better you can not lift them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Garth View Post
          Good post placement and fine tuning are as much art as science guys like Rocket Man and Jim Smith know how and what to do. I am pleased when I move something or add something that I have not made it worse. It is, if you can get it, find help in some one who has done it before. I always mark the spot from where I started so I can at least go back to what I had. I always like the storey about guys who have small speakers and spent hours getting them in the right spot only to have them moved 3 feet so someone could clean. Thats why big speakers are better you can not lift them.
          That's also why it's nice to have your own dedicated room where your wife or significant other (whatever that means now days) isn't allowed to touch anything. I'm planning on retiring at the end of Apr 2017 and possibly relocating to another state. One of the things I'm dreading is the loss of my room and possibly not having a replacement room which is at least as good as I have now.
          Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

          Comment


          • Rob
            Rob commented
            Editing a comment
            maybe you shoulda kept the LS50s...look at the bright side, soon you can 'play' audiophile full time

        • #6
          Thanks for the posts, gents.

          The one thing i can say about my own personal history is that I have usually 'obsessed' about the pre, then then amp, etc...but once i have made my choice, i am 'done' and move on to another element of the system. After the main components went in, we started tackling the room, the isolation and the grounding as well as emi/rfi shielding. Once that was done, the system did not change for close to 2 years. And i just kept buying music and enjoying.

          I have learned a lot about what i 'think' my equipment responds well to in terms of emi/rfi shielding (ie, where), as well as mechnical isolation where (i think) i was trying to take the floor out of the equation as much as possible. The old floor was also wood flooring but on top of concrete (i think).

          In any event, i am definitely gunning to get 'there' faster this time because of this experience of 3 years...we shall see!

          i know what i am listening for in terms of the nuances of certain elements.

          I also suspect that part of the sound is driven by the Wilson distributor coming back after things have settled in to re-tune...i instinctively am convinced we need to change the resistors in the mids to increase by somewhere around 2db or so. That will make a big difference as well.

          SOURCE: Zanden 4-Box Digital
          AMP: CJ GAT2 + Gryphon Mephisto Stereo
          SPEAKER: Wilson X1/SLAMMS + Velodyne DD18+

          CABLE: TA Opus + PAD 25th + Sablon GCUber
          POWER: 7 Dedicated Lines Furutech + Burmester 948 + NordostQX4
          ISOLATION: Under: HRS+Stillpoints+Auralex Top: HRS+Artesania+Entreq+EAT+90kg Mass
          GROUND/SHIELD/TUBE: Tripoint Troy Sig Thor+Entreq Atlantis / Receivus+Everest+Wrap / Amperex+Mullard
          ROOM: Stillpoints Apertures+Acoustic Underlay

          HEADPHONE: Sennheiser 650+Arcam rHead+Apogee Groove

          Comment


          • #7
            One time I farted so hard in my listening chair that it blew it back 1/4" and the soundstage snapped into focus.
            Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

            Comment


            • Garth
              Garth commented
              Editing a comment
              Explains why you are in a dedicated room which side of the door is the lock on

          • #8
            Originally posted by mep View Post
            One time I farted so hard in my listening chair that it blew it back 1/4" and the soundstage snapped into focus.
            Doesn't that violate Newton's Third Law? 😉
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

              Doesn't that violate Newton's Third Law? 😉
              Well, my feet flew forward.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by LL21 View Post
                Thanks for the posts, gents.

                The one thing i can say about my own personal history is that I have usually 'obsessed' about the pre, then then amp, etc...but once i have made my choice, i am 'done' and move on to another element of the system. After the main components went in, we started tackling the room, the isolation and the grounding as well as emi/rfi shielding. Once that was done, the system did not change for close to 2 years. And i just kept buying music and enjoying.

                I have learned a lot about what i 'think' my equipment responds well to in terms of emi/rfi shielding (ie, where), as well as mechnical isolation where (i think) i was trying to take the floor out of the equation as much as possible. The old floor was also wood flooring but on top of concrete (i think).

                In any event, i am definitely gunning to get 'there' faster this time because of this experience of 3 years...we shall see!

                i know what i am listening for in terms of the nuances of certain elements.

                I also suspect that part of the sound is driven by the Wilson distributor coming back after things have settled in to re-tune...i instinctively am convinced we need to change the resistors in the mids to increase by somewhere around 2db or so. That will make a big difference as well.
                I think you are fixated on the preamp because the GAT seems really sensitive to vibration. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense since the GAT only has two tubes but it sure is. The difference on or off the SRA base is day and night. Far more transparent and dynamic. It might be different with another preamp too!

                But I think you've also paid a great deal of attention to your digital source too.

                One thing. The importance of clean electrical connections never ceases to amaze me as I continue in search of the Holy Grail. I know some people think cleaning their connectors every six months or so is sufficient but I think that is a mistake. There is so much low level information, harmonics, spaciousness and transparency being lost in dirty connectors. IMHO, connectors need cleaning at least every two months if not less. And that goes double for AC plugs, possible the most important connection to keep immaculately clean.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #11
                  So Myles, tell us again what you use to clean your AC plugs.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by mep View Post
                    So Myles, tell us again what you use to clean your AC plugs.
                    At minimum, Kontak and a Qtip. There's also that fiberglass tool that I posted a while back in the Accessories thread for cleaning tube pins and AC plugs.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                    -Goldmund Telos 300 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Myles here is a room treatment you should try

                      http://www.catstrapeze.com/en/

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Cute! Luckily we don't have any curtains for them to climb!
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                        -Goldmund Telos 300 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Hi Lloyd, congratulations on the new speaker cable and especially the new home ! I can't imagine being without the system for 5 months and then the excitement getting all fired up again ! Wish you all the best ! I'll be curious as the days and weeks go by if you don't return to that 3cm movement of isolators :-)
                          Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
                          Amps: Nagra HD Pre Amp & HD Amps
                          Cables: Transparent Magnum Opus speaker and interconnects
                          Power Transparent Opus Power Cords & Opus Isolators
                          Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
                          Phono: Grand Prix Monaco 2.0 TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement, Nagra Classic Phono & PSU
                          Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1 (x4)

                          Comment

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