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Describe the perfect sound? How does your system sound? Do you strive for realistic sound or unrealistic sound?


Please describe what methods you used for speaker placement. Cable selections. Add-On's. Why did you use these methods...or what did the product offer to your system that you didn't have before?


Last but not least...how many times did you add something new to your system and you had to alter something (speaker position as an example) in order to be 100% satisfied?


I'm looking for all types of opinions and methods.
 

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I've tried a few things. I've switched cables a few time and do hear differences. But not enough for me to warrant spending mega bucks. The best cables for the money that I have tried have been Dh labs stuff and Lat International stuff. The sound of each couldn't be more different. I found the Dh labs stuff to be more detailed but not as neutral. The Lat stuff is the best compromise that I have encountered. I use the IC-200MK II interconnects and SS-1000D speaker cables. What I don't use is their digital cable. I absolutely can not tolerate it. Of all the cables that I have tried, I hate it most. It produces the most annoying sound that I have heard. Wireworld Silverstarlight seems to work best for me. Optical connections seem to lose some detail in my system. As for speaker placement, I have often had to change toe-in and distance with a component change. When I switched from an Aragon amp to a California Audio Labs one, I didn't need as much toe-in. I did have to move the speakers forward some as the Aragon had a deeper sound field but the Cal seems more accurate. When I changed from a Proceed AVP to a Cal SSP, it also resulted in me having to re-position the speakers. The Proceed seem to have a greater emphasis on the low end which required the speakers to be moved further away from the walls to avoid a bass hump. With the CAl I moved them back slightly as it seem to have a more balanced presentation. You most likely have heard this before, but I'll say it again. The biggest tweak has been room treatments. I added some echo busters to my room and it certainly made an improvement. I could hear more detail in the system. It was not a drastic improvement though. The biggest improvement has come from me adding drapes with black out panels behind them. I am preparing for a front projections system. I have a large sliding glass patio door flanked by two tall windows. Mini blinds were in place but I removed them when I installed the drapes. It came as no surprise that all of that glass was affecting my sound. One benefit of the black out panels that is advertised on the package is that they dampen sound. They do indeed. The room became immediately quieter. Most likely I had learned to ignore the noise coming from outside. I still hear some but the panels introduced a silence that was readily apparent. They cost 40.00 at Linen-n-things for two panels which cover 54 inches. I have them on all windows with drapes. They are a lot cheaper than echo busters and seem to offer an even greater benefit than the echo buster panels for my particular situation. I attend a lot of live Jazz concerts here in New Orleans. So I like the dynamic range that I know that high hat strikes and drum solos generate as well as the rhythm and pace of live music. The biggest step forward in my current set-up has been the addition of the Cal MCA amp. My weakest link are my speakers, PSB stratus gold(i), great for what they are, high value to performance, but outclassed by the amp. With SACD and the right set-up, it is amazing how close you can approach live music. A friend has a pair of custom built ribbon hybrids with 4 eight inch woofers backing up each ribbon panel. There is a coloration that I find unacceptable but otherwise his set-up is as close to live music as I have ever heard. I am seeking to have the same but just without the coloration of his speakers.
 

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Oh, I forgot one tweak. My speakers sound better with longer spikes. It seems I was not quite getting the separation that I needed from my carpeted floor. Just adding 1/2 inch longer spikes did the trick.
 

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I fell asleep early last night and nothing to do this early other than give you some thoughts as follows:


Perfect Sound.........I visit a small club here in Houston that seats about 60-70 people and not much of a sound system is necessary and most instruments used are acoustic.....Sound in the room is amazing and is one reason that Nanci Griffith, Steve Fromholz and others have made recordings there.......This is my reference........


The sound here is pretty good 2 channel and the sound follows me from room to room as I move around the house, a great sign.........The sound is close the live reference.........I built or highly modified all my gear and wires with the exception of some Rockport Syzygy speakers and Rockport Capella turntable which did not need attention......


Speaker placement in the 15'7" x 23'7" x 8'6" room is 6' from the back wall, 8' apart, 10' from my ears with the tweeter about 2" higher than my ears when sitting down......The tweeters are pointed at a spot about 18" behind my head..............Modified Entec woofers are on the same plain and positioned just outside the main speakers..............The system sits 15" out from the wall on a Fredericksen stand........You can see this at www.machinadynamica.com under installations of note as respects CTC Builders - Houston.........


I have never had to move the speakers when installing a new piece of gear, but will say the prospect of this isn't something I relish as looking at 350 pounds per side......
 

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Hi Alan,

I thought it would be fun to add my 2 cents.


Describe the perfect sound? --I like to have that feeling that the musician(s)is in the room. It only happens briefly & for certain songs, but it is a rush when it does.


How does your system sound? --Detailed, but not bright (Krell, Theta, Dynaudio). Very dynamic if I turn it up. I think the Dynaudio Contours need some juice to really start to play. Fairly neutral - I can definitely hear changes with changes in components/cables/some tweaks.


Do you strive for realistic sound or unrealistic sound? --I am on the realistic side of things. I am a long time owner (17 years) of various Magnepan's/Acoustat 1+1's - still bummed I ever sold those/Apogee's, along with many, many various conventional speakers that I bought and sold while looking for the right combination of planar detail and realism while also giving realistic dynamics. The dynaudio tweeter sounded closer to the planars then anything else I auditioned.


Please describe what methods you used for speaker placement. --Since I owned planars for so long, I started using a tape measure to help with set-up. This was most important with Apogees, as they had a narrow sweet spot and the degree of forward or backwards tilt could really affect the sound. In my cuurent room, I keep the Dynaudios approximately 3 feet from the rear wall (side wall placement is not an issue), 65 inches apart, with 0.5 inch of toe in. I arrived at this over many many hours of speaker movement until one day it was just SO much better than any other placement. I have a 50Hz problem in my room which actually was solved when I found that placement of my sub could null this. The sound waves must cancel each other because now the room is flat at 50 Hz, and I have 20 Hz extension. Cool!


Cable selections --Audioquest/Apogee digital/DIY silver/DIY Belden. I like the bass of the Audioquest speaker wire, I like the smooth highs, the detail and the bass of my DIY silver interconnects. The Belden are somewhat grainy on the high end, but are incredibly cheap to make if you can find the cable, and do sound a lot better than many entry level cables.


Add-On's --I have tried many cheap tweaks. I tried a industrial computer power line conditioner (because it was used and cheap) which made things significantly worse.

-Hospital grade outlets really helped more than I thought they would.

-Added weight (marble tile slabs) on top of my CD player helped.

-Cut up thick mouse pads and/or sobethane helped my turntable.

-I built the DIY Room Lens and was surprised that they made a positive difference.

-Iron RFI clamps did not do much positive, and too many had a negative effect.

-I changed the non removable power cords on all products out of warrantee. On a couple I just cut the cord and attached a hospital grade plug, and that even helped!

-DIY silver cables worked well for my system.

-DIY Belden 89259 interconnects and speaker wire had a very different sound from other cables. The Belden speaker cables have a Very wide sounstage which is fun for my HT sytem, but the high end is a little grainy.

Jeez, when I actually write these down, I can see why my wife and my friends think I am a nut.


Why did you use these methods...or what did the product offer to your system that you didn't have before? --Some added better bass, some better sounstaging, and some a better high end. They did all vary. Tweaking never ends.


Wow, this was longer than I thought.


Michael
 
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