Archive for the ‘Room Setup’ Category

Craziest Hi-Fi Room Interference Ever – “Paint Does Matter”

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

I was catching up on my obscure hi-fi blogs last night (is that the only kind?) and ran across this post from the Desirable Audio Boutique blog (I think they’re out of Malaysia and run a print rag called “AudioXpress”). This is definitely a case of taking the room interactions way too seriously. Paint? Really? Wet versus dry? Really?!?

paint does matter: “i just repainted my whole house. based of advice from wong tatt yew, i changed from ICI pearl-glo paint to pentalite, which is supposed to be better for the sonics.

lo and behold, when i switched on my system last night (with all the positionings and furnitures intact), it sounded vastly different and dare i say, slightly worse than be before. the midrange becomes brittle, hollow and slightly grainy and sibilance was high; it just doesn’t have the solidity and concentration of the previous sound.

i am no sure if that is caused by the new coat of paint not fully dried up but it certainly is an ear-opening experience for me. i suspect the moisture in the paint creates havoc in the sound reflection on the wall and maggie being a dipole, is one well of a sensitive speaker.

p/s i tried listening again tonight, it is much better now with the mids getting fuller and more bodied. amazing!

latest update: this is the 3rd day, and the sound has more or less come back in full force. i marvel the experience!”

I am painting my utility room this week and it is adjacent to my listening room, I can only hope that the new paint job doesn’t ruin my next listening experience (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

(Via Desirable Audio Boutique 欲望音响.)

Popularity: 33% [?]

Russ Andrews Microphonic Equipment Placement and Time Smear

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Hi-Fi News’ Russ Andrews has a system set up column, “Russ’ Top Tips,” where he has suggested that music listeners should place their equipment rack in between the left and right loudspeakers. Many readers wrote in not liking the idea and Mr. Andrews defends the placement in his latest column (at least the issue available in the US, Feb. 2007, page 98, maybe the UK is a month ahead).

According to Andrews, you need to place your equipment rack dead center and maybe a little nearer the front wall of the front loudspeakers (at least behind the front baffles to avoid imaging interference) because that is the quietest and most in time place in the room when music is playing. Huh? I’m not sure how the spot between the speakers is the quietest (though we could all easily check with an SPL meter), but lets take his word for it. What I have a problem with is his reasoning behind the “quiet” spot: all of your equipment’s internal components (diodes, caps, etc.) are microphonic, meaning they are reabsorbing the sound waves out of time and this is distorting the music. Isn’t that called feedback? Shouldn’t we all be dealing with shrill whines from our loudspeakers that change depending on placement?

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Cost No Object Music Room Shames Mortal Audiophiles

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007


A friend tipped me off to this amazing music room built into a barn or guest house. Follow the link for loads of pics of five-figure turntables, loudspeakers, tube amps, CD players and cables. This guy has really bought into the “cables and isolation accessories make a difference” with interconnects and speaker cables that resemble vacuum cleaners, ceramic cable lifters (I guess DIY cable lifter kegger cups wouldn’t blend well with surrounding décor) and tank-like turntable isolation rack sitting on top of a granite tile (which I assume must be twice as thick as normal granite judging by the overbuilt quality of the rest of the room).

As impressive as the audio system components is the acoustic construction of the room, all built-in scalloped acoustic chambers on the walls and ceiling. I love the floor to high ceiling LP and CD storage that he needs those elementary school library rolling step stools to reach the highest shelf.

Too bad he’s not listening to phase and time coherent loudspeakers. All that money spent on massaging the perfect signal through four carat phono cartridges, preamps, amps and cables only to have the listening experience mangled by the loudspeaker. Heh, if you can hear the difference (I would hope this system to be punishingly revealing).

What a Fortress of Solitude (Auditude?). What’s this guy escaping from? (Not to judge, I’m just overcome with envy.)

Popularity: 17% [?]

Oyaide Carbon Fiber Wall Plate – The $200 Tin Foil Hat of Audiophile Tweaks

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006


The Oyaide Carbon Fiber Wall Plate, available through Music Direct, has me scratching my head. I cannot figure out how an aluminum and carbon fiber AC receptacle wall plate can have any effect on the sound of your hi-fi.

Music Direct’s copy:


Not only the coolest looking wall plate ever designed, this one has technology to back it up! The Oyaide Wall Plate Mounting Frame is milled from 13mm thick, solid aluminum, machined from a single block. Check out the picture of the rear, this is not an outer frame, but an essential part of the rigidity and resonance damping properties of the wall plate! The Carbon Fiber front panel is fully shielded, non-resonant and non-magnetic. This is the first link in your entire audio system, so don’t skimp on the A/C connection! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Note: Although the picture shows an Oyaide XXX inserted into the wall plate, the Wall Plate does not in fact come with an outlet.

Continue reading Oyaide Carbon Fiber Wall Plate – The $200 Tin Foil Hat of Audiophile Tweaks

Popularity: 20% [?]

Nucore Cathedral Sound Room Dampening Panels Too Good to be True?

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

My DIY acoustic panels and bass traps are a burden. They are too ugly (according to my wife, I think they're works of art) to keep in our listening room when not in use. So every time I want to begin or finish a listening session I am forced to drag the panels and traps between the utility room and the listening room. It's my cross to bear.

What if I could have the same effectiveness of the bass traps (wave absorption below 200 Hz) but in a much smaller and inconspicuous package?

Continue reading Nucore Cathedral Sound Room Dampening Panels Too Good to be True?

Popularity: 19% [?]

DIY Acoustic Panels Reveal Depth and Clarity in Orchestral Recordings

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

You may have guessed by now that I own very few jazz or classical music albums. Anime soundtracks featuring Yoko Kano compositions dominate my catalog, but I’m always wary of the CD’s fidelity (it’s hard to tell if your buying a Taiwanese bootleg or the Japanese original). The original Broadway recording of West Side Story is the one non-anime album I have (recommended by some audio magazine a few years ago as a great recording, so I can trust it to reveal system change benefits).

With my six acoustic panels in place I sat in my sweet spot Saturday morning to listen to the Broadway soundtrack. I was curious if the panels would clarify the soundstage of complicated recordings like an orchestra and a musical theater cast.

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Popularity: 17% [?]

How To Build Jon Risch’s DIY Acoustic Panels

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Jon Risch’s DIY acoustic panels have changed my system more than any other tweak and component upgrade. After placing the panels at my listening room’s early and diffraction reflection points (two behind the speakers and four on the sidewalls (the two panels closest to me actually sit in easy chairs because I can’t move the chairs out of the way)) I heard these improvements. Since that initial listening session I’ve had mixed results from CDs played in my Pioneer DV-47ai and Taddeo Digital Antidote II: certain frequencies and instruments are too laid back. I’ll remove the Taddeo and see if I get the same great performance as from my Airtunes playing MAX ripped Apple Lossless tracks.

Read on for my tips and tricks to build these panels yourself and save up to 90% over commercial acoustic panels.

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5 Hi-Fi Listening Room Habits for Healthy Audiophiles

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

I’ve made major improvements to my music listening experience over the last year, some at no cost. The following distills the top five guidelines I’ve followed to optimize my enjoyment.

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Why You Must Acoustically Treat Your Hi-Fi Room

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Holy crap! My DIY acoustic panels (following Jon Risch‘s recipe, my own how to experience coming soon) have improved my listening experience like nothing else. You have got to try these. I wish you could borrow mine. For the price of two sets of Black Diamond Racing Cones you can change your whole music listening experience for the better. This is the most noteworthy upgrade I have ever made.

So, what am I hearing that’s got me so excited? Clarity. Attack. Depth. Smoothness. Scale.

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Popularity: 14% [?]

How the Room Equalizer Wizard Woke Up My Subwoofer

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

You’re not going to believe this, but dialing in the volume, crossover and phase on your subwoofer with a computer running Room Equalizer Wizard (REW) is totally fun. I walked a mile back and forth between my Hsu VTF-2 sub and MacBook Pro last night. I enjoyed every pace.

Here’s my formula for fun:

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