Room symmetry, soundstage symmetry, phantom image symmetry, amps and speakers symmetry in front on me… symmetry is my obsession. Ops… was my obsession, now it’s my pleasure.
Frankly Donald my thought I’m happy to share here is: no tweak or cable or dac or amp or whatever stuff I invested in has been able to change (for the better) the music representation as much as the ROOM. That’s my personal experience along this crazy journey since a few years.
I believe that for sure. I am still planning to get a vacation home in Henderson (near Las Vegas) area for a few reasons:
- Tons of golf courses
- No State tax (CA is high)
- I can get a huge house for the same price as a tidy
condominium in SF area. Imagine what I can do with the
audio setup in a big spacious room.
But it is over 100F 2/3 of the year, and I am not sure my wife will like the idea.
She can buy a new wardrobe with Taxes you save.
Can’t imagine how I understand you, after my summer trip there last year… and I’m italian, pretty comfortable in every hot weather.
But the listening room… mmm it’s a real temptation. It would be a second home, might worth a thought!
Nirvana, here I am!
What happened? Just found the perfect compromise between a better focused image (exactly centered) and a wide soundstage, revealing superb separation of instruments. You can say I invented the hot water, I know. But all the effort spent during last months seems to worth now the challenge.
I am obviously talking about fine tuning, at zero cost. Toeing in my speakers just a few more degrees (how many tape strips on the floor!) I got it. Voices are really realistic, with a lifelike singers’s mouth finally. In the meantime the holographic image extends from left of the left speaker to right of the right one, the oval shape has a more correct size. The overall dimension of the scene brings a pleasant and coherent musical projection, or illusion if you want.
Once again my conclusion is that the room and set up are crucial, far more than expensive tweaks (that I love and continue to adopt, of course) but today, right here and right now I’m experiencing one of those rare “happy moments”!
How a wonderful hobby!
I hope it will be of help to those reading this testimony who want to experiment with tenacity, in short, I hope it will be of encouragement for those who are wavering with some audiophile headache.
Nothing of this could ever been possible without your help, Paul and other members around here… A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!
I say, time to write your audio book
Great idea but I’m still at the very beginning of my journey, my friend! Maybe I could just write the first chapter. Thanks.
It is so nice to hear you have some solid results for all of your effort and experimentation. Enjoy!
Congratulations luca…what a journey yours…
It is amazing what speaker placement does for
Congrats Luca. Your description, analysis and solution, and the way you presented it all to us was very well done, very patient, and very polite. Thanks your for the huge dose of humanity.
Luca, I always look forward to your posts - so thoughtful, so passionate, so open to new ideas. As I’ve read about your audio journey, I’ve wondered how your focus on room modifications, DACs, amps, power delivery, and tweaks have influenced the performance of your speakers.
I seem to recall that you’ve been using Sonus Faber Olympica Nova speakers (if I’m remembering right). Have your changes in electronics or room design caused you to consider changes in your speaker selection as well? Are there areas where you’ve started to wonder if you speakers are able to keep up with your other equipment - or are you even happier with your speakers than you were before, now that you’re sending an even better signal to your speakers?
Thanks for any further comments on how your speakers are fitting into your evolving audio system.
Thank you so much.
I have to admit that so many factors impacted my journey at different degrees that is difficult answering your question.
Working on room is the biggest challenge, it requires some professional advice and measurements that implies the help of competent people, at least in my case. But it brings a significant improvement, it means the most significant improvement.
Secondly the DAC, it certainly was the component of my system that brought a tangible step up in performance.
Within next August I’ll receive the MSB S202 stereo amp, I hope it will give me an answer.
As for speakers I never thought about a possible upgrade, because my Olympica Nova III were always able to change dramatically the musical representation each time I worked on set up, room or different components. They probably still have more to bring before considering a replacement.
You are too modest to call yourself a beginner. With your significant room and system upgrades, you have moved 20 years ahead in terms of audiophile quality than most of us!
I am still playing with fuses and wall outlets which is laughable in comparison.
Las Vegas area has two weeks straight over 110F, so the plan to move over there is pretty much dead (to my wife for sure). Bay Area’s weather is heaven really. Italy is having record heat wave too. Its great that you have music and icy cold white wine to cool you down!
you have created a great listening room. The dim lighting also helps to immerse yourself in the music. Like you, I’m in search of the perfect illusion. After I was able to experience this in the listening room of Progressive Audio (Padis) the German Furutech distribution about 4 years ago. Singers walked the stage. You could not only hear the footsteps across the stage and the tugging of the microphone cable, you could see them in your mind’s eye. Since installing my Dragon XLR and SR Master with reasonable burn-in time, I’ve been amazed and amazed every day. Even if I slide to the right or left in the listening position, the musical illusion remains perfect. I used an Isotek test CD to align the speakers. There is a voice and castanets moving from right to left and back to front. 360 degrees etc. So I can easily hear the tonality, position and align the speakers. Congratulations on getting so close to your goal. Greetings Andrew
You have worked so hard to pursue your dream, and finally, you have achieved nirvana. I’m so happy for you and I wish you many many many hours of listening pleasure.
Luca, you write that you moved your speakers slightly and it finally clicked.
For me, too, things got noticeably better after the SR-Master and a bit of turning.
At the moment Vmax is still frustrated by the master and reports contrary to our experience.
That makes me think. When I wanted a master and spoke to a few different dealers, one said to me: "Other fuses are nonsense and only change the phase of the signal and you can also position your speakers differently to achieve the same effect. "
Especially with this sentence I ask myself whether there is a grain of truth in it?
Maybe you can get the same results by moving the speakers around? Only the available space shows us the limits of how far we can move our loudspeakers.
Could it be that another fuse can come in handy and save us from having to move the speakers?
This one fuse fits better in one case and less in the other system. Maybe it’s because the backup virtually moved the speakers in the wrong direction?
As a reward for your effort and work, I wish you lots of joy with the fruits.
Thank you all, guys!
In my experience there are two different layers of improvements.
- Image quality
I started this thread and a long journey working on my room because of an incorrect image that it was driving me crazy. Symmetry was the goal initially. And in general the size of the scene or better the ability to see in front of my listening position a scene as much realistic as possible. 3dimensionality of the representation, depth of the stage, location of the instruments all these factors contributed to enhance the holographic image to a higher level of realism. Moving the rack on the side wall, getting rid of a plethora of objects and barriers in the room, studying accurately the reflections and the treatments to apply have been the strategies I adopted to improve the sound. It took months literally to find the correct position of the speakers to get a palpable voice in the center and a size of the singer’s mouth just right as it should be if closing my eyes the artist was there in the room. I was very close but still I heard something unreal or not perfectly centered until my last set up correction. Room and set up can play the biggest role on this side, without spending money, just an enormous amount of time.
- Sound quality
This is another layer of the never ending challenge of my journey achieving a better pleasure from my listening experience. Tonality, naturalness, openness, airy are the goals. To enjoy more the music, really feeling in contact with it, I needed to avoid fatigue, bass exaggeration or treble harshness, boring and mudded mids. In that area the components play the biggest role (DACs in my case) but there still was a sort of imperfection. Maybe there will always be, to be honest. Anyhow the tools I had on my hand to work on this issue were fine tuning with: tubes, cables, tweaks, fuses. How to achieve that silky sound, the right degree of warmth without losing details, that pleasant sense of liquidity when the music seems to float suspended or the profound silence from which the notes emerge that we usually call black background. While I found that the amplification (and in part regenerators like the P20) can produce the richness, when the music can fill every little atom of air in the room, the controlled and relaxed feeling or that vibrancy in your chest as if it was the main gate to reach directly and immediately your soul.
Long story short: I used mainly room and speakers/subs set up to achieve a more realistic image while gear and tweaks to work on sound qualities. I know I’m still at the very beginning of this long long route and lots of improvements are ahead but it is truly gratifying to realize that you have climbed even one step after so many experiments and tiring attempts, often marked by mistakes and disappointments (unfortunately sometimes very expensive).
My previous post (and this entire thread) was therefore the heartfelt testimony of a small (temporary) success, to spur and inspire those in trouble to insist and not give up. The best is yet to come.
you are not only a true audiophile, but also a wise man. Your experience and reviews seem to be always on points and makes great sense!
I may need to find a cheaper solution. I am going to either adopt Al, or to get a magic black box (a white one actually) that he said is better than the magic tower/fuses. Well, I am not as logic as you, and my thinking makes less sense (often).
Magic box? Synergistic Research and Al? I need to study this new thing, immediately! Does it improve also Supertramp albums?
It will make Supertramp sounds like Pink Floyd! But seriously, your room is too perfect that the box will “destroy” the balance.