Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Room Acoustics Part 2

Some background reading..............if you like.............

Three Acoustical Issues that Room Correction Can’t Correct

In a nutshell............

Issue number 1: place a subwoofer at the corners of the room.

To reduce the problem of speaker boundary interference
response(SBIR for short).

/I choose to have 1 subwoofer each in the front section of
room, 1 on the left corner and 1 more on the right corner.

/That's will be 2 subwoofers specifically used to for this
and not doing the main task of reproducing enough
bass contents
to add to the sound of the main speakers.
This helps explain 1 of
several reasons for the introduction
of additional subwoofers for
the sole purpose of reproducing
bass contents to emerge with
those of produce by the main
speakers, ie. integrate the bass
contents. A total of 7
subwoofers are in placed at the time of

Issue number 2: reduce/control of early sound reflections
the many surfaces of the room relative to those direct
from the speakers.

/Work out a suitable combination of direct and reflected
for that particular small room with acoustic treatments.
The level of reflections can only be controlled through
appropriate use of absorption or diffusion or by selecting

/I choose the use of the ceiling treatments for a small room
at the 1st reflection point from the position of the speakers.
the choice of speakers happens to be very unorthodox.

Issue number 3: rt60 cannot apply in a small listening room.

The decay time of the room can only be brought to the level
needed for high quality sound reproduction through
decorative choices, furnishings and the use of

/A simple hand clap will tell! Reduce the long reverberation
time to bring up the sound quality, by reducing any overlapping
of sound to perceive much readily the time gaps between
individual sounds if any.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Audio Terrorists of Blogs

There are audiophiles and there are audiophiles of many kinds.
One of the modern day of internet, found only in the audio
circles are the 'audio terrorists'!!! The kind that is utterly
unhappy about what is written except maybe the sort of writings
that he/she tended to write or want to be able to endorse, to
be allowable to the audio public for reading. The vigilante who
goes around reading the various blogs to check out and weed
out those he/she deemed who do not conform to their way of
thinking and verbal expression.

1st these audio terrorists will when first appearing at a blog
will at the very start, antagonize the writer/ blog owner while
at the same time wish to get information useful to himself only.
That's the sign number 1. Whether this being a personal attack
on the writer is yet another issue, someone the writer knows
and that they have never agree on many issues. A audio
terrorist who is vindictive and has a long memory of past
unpleasant events. A person who is badly hurt perhaps and
can't let bygones be bygones. On the other hand if it's not
a personal attack but one out of habitual/obsessive impulses,
then I recalled psychiatrist called a manifestation of a troubled
childhood, one of a failed sex life or an inability of a shared
married life.

2nd, sign number 2, they usually are not able to relate themselves
to the topic writer, being unable to communicate their intent(s)
and purpose, they tended to show some sort of aggression in
their line of questionings and think that anyone they encounter
on the 'net owes them a favor/an answer/an explanation/a
greeting. Never thought that they have to be nice to others
to be able to receive the same treatments.

3rd the audio terrorist take it upon themselves to be the
vigilante to 'clean up' the seemingly mess he thinks has being
around long enough. Anyone else who gets in their way will
also be brutally 'mulled' down. It will be always their world
with the exclusion of all others they don't like. Sort of the
pond is not big enough for all fishes!

If these sort of repeated attacks keep appearing on blogs,
and seeming from the same persons, then it only go to show
there is harboring of deep hatreds and if built up over a
period will tended to hurt the audio terrorist psychologically
more than the readers of the blog who would usually enjoy
a good fight if there is one, if not amusing and entertaining
at times. At the most readers & writers alike will just disregard
and ignore the comments of the audio terrorist, with absolutely
no feeling whatsoever.

Here is another disadvantage, a non benefit faced by the
audio terrorist is that, even if he/she stops momentarily
or absent from the blog for even a short while, and if
another different audio terrorist comes into the scene
and does almost similar misdeed or mischief, readers of
the blog would just simply 'lump up' all the uncalled for
events and placed it into the 1st terrorist 'account'.....
...and anymore audio terrorist attacks forthcoming too
get dedited into that account. So the 1st terrorist will
be 'surfing around' the internet with a couple of knives
on his back without him even knowing about it. And if
he really does appear again, some readers will just give
him a piece of their mind out of disgust.

So it does not pay to be a 'audio terrorist'! Do consider
how much psychological damages the audio terrorist
would have sustained over the period he/she terrorizes
the blog! The rest of the readers, writers and blog owners
included just sit back and enjoy the fiasco, especially
when blog master do not intend on strict censorship.

That Vintage Feel part 2: The Complete Metamorphosis

In the previous article I mentioned the changes that have taken over the years on this particular setup. The changes have being very gradual and spaced out over a couple of years. It is during this time that the listening and at the same time the enjoying of the music, has brought about many critical listening on the part of the owner and many of his visitors who have given valuable feedback and suggested likely directions that could be taken.

The sound has taken a change from that of lack of bass contents to finally today a setup that has enough bass to give a very enjoyable musical presentation. It takes someone brave enough to try unchartered territories, such as attempt to work with a subwoofer. The integration of which many would probably know it isn't easy, and takes time and effort to work out a workable solution, perhaps even a workable compromise to provide a presentation the owner could enjoy most of his collection of music software. And it was also during this time, that the owner tried variously different equipment isolation devices such as the Qi cones, marble and granite slabs.

Besides this there is the issue of speaker placements, which I personally witness has taken many different positions and the tirelessly tried and tested placements of late being one of the best for that room. Not forgetting that the sitting position has to couple with the speaker placements, make for a long process over the years. With this done, next came the room acoustics, and how much to do and how much of it to be left alone. It's not surprised I find bricks, wood, additional carpets over carpet floor, and more recently diyed helmholtz resonators. And check on the room acoustics with test tone cd when tuning those resonators.

And finally, I find a setup I could sit down to listen for hours. And some of the time, I get to know some of the owner's other hifi buddies and friends. Least to say the tea session that always follow after the listening has always being interesting. I thank Koo for the permission to write this 2 parts article and him being a gracious host all these many years.

Friday, September 17, 2010

That Vintage Feel

We audiophiles like to listen to the music of our choice most of the time(some music lovers said more like the sound of audiophiles' choice and forgotten about the music!). How true could this be, depends if we are already practicing it without knowing it! So whenever I want a different diet of music I will make a choice as to where I will go listen for the evening if not I will remain at home and listen to my kind of music presentations the way I have chosen to live with, that is listen in my own 'hifi cave'!

So on 1 particular day, I choose to visit my good friend and hifi buddy I met on the 'net at the Star Forum a long time ago. The drive was an easy one, as he lives in the next neighbourhood of Cheras, just a short drive from Setapak, in Kuala Lumpur where we stay. When I first met him, he was into open baffle with Isophon single drivers and he has always sign off his chat in the forum as 'crossoverless', as the setup he had then hasn't any crossover circuitry at all! Then much later he moved into horn loaded fostrex speakers with external tweeters and still running with the 0.75w darling amplifier. Then he began signing off the chat sessions as 'crossoverleast'! I always thought it to be amusing way of slowly getting people to get used to his changes in his setup.

Just about less than 2 years ago, he made a dramatic change when he bought a 50 years old vintage Isophon speakers and shortly after being influenced by me with the use of subwoofers(I'm using multiple subwoofers), he bought a subwoofer to integrate with the pair of vintage speakers. Till date the integration of the main speakers and the 8" Audiopro 175w subwoofer has being a great success!

And of late I was to be in for more changes and surprises!!! He bought a QUAD 306 solid state amplifier which he and his friends thought it'a one of those amplifiers that sounded with much less solid state sounding characteristics. There were more surprises as soon as the integration of the subwoofer and main speakers was completed. I heard it several more times to know for sure it is!!! Though I was (still is) of the opinion that it's different kind of bass sound from that of a 10" subwoofer or a 12" subwoofer, different roll off point I reckoned and different drivers with their own inherent sizes driver sound with different behaviour and characteristic sound! Now his friends called him "crossallover"!!!!!

Then there he was test listening various different CDP used as transports into his diyed non oversampling DAC, that has gone thru several changes (of metamorphosis) including the use of different valve tubes and changes of premium parts and the addition of a buffer stage. There was this Pioneer dvd 310, the much rave about in the 'net, the Marantz 63(his resident CDT) and the vintage Philips CD 160 with the time tested CDM pro 2 mechanism. One thing I noticed haven't being changed, moved or displaced or replaced is a 'ferrite clock' design which I especially designed and made for his setup, it's a device for power conditioning making use of the electronic clock timing mechanism, to remove part of those uneasy to the ears type of electrical harmonics in the main power supply, if anyone wants something better than what I have mentioned, he has better get one of those megabuck power conditioners.

All in all, he has a not so expensive costing setup to suit his musical tastes and preferences which at the same time it's a system that many of his friends would like to come by for a listen, eventhough it may not be a setup they may want to have or live with in your own home!!! Again it comes down to personal preferences.I would agree with many of his friends that the system sounds musical(again it's so subjective that much arguments can go a long way) and enjoyable. So those looking for lots of bass to shake everything else in the room will probably want to come listen only once. However, those who are looking for 'lusty vocals' will come again and again!!!! Those who like to listen to soundstage will also come again and again!!! And those who are diehard hi end brand seekers will probably not even give a second thought about asking for a listen. We know what we are in for whenever we decide to go for a listen at some friends' place don't we?! We always do!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Logo

It been a year and it is time for me to update this blog with a new logo.
It means listen with your ear, close your eyes and other senses.
Hope you like it.


Thirst for more 'Hakka Song".

Lately i've been listening to a lot of hakka song.
But the hakka language that i know is different.I can't understand any of the lyric but it would not prevent me to enjoy the music
Ah Tao hakka song.If you don't own this you have miss alot of music.

I come to this cd  when i ask Jo ki any alternative good hakka song beside Ah Tao.Thanks Jo,you should get the "getting dark" CD.

Planting trees album

The first cd is "chung su" means planting trees by Lin Sheng-Xiang and by 2 japanese guitarist, Takashi Hiroyasu and Ken Ohtake.(I'm surprise )

Lin sheng-xiang, Ken Ohtake and Takashi Hiroyasu
Although only using with a pair of guitars, i can felt like i'm easily been "absorb" in that environment.A very involving album.Superb recording.I can play both of this cd over and over again and the!  i want to listen again tonight.This song arrangment is good.

My only grin is the whole cd tempo almost the same.Why this album use less instrument?.

Getting dark album
The 2nd cd is "lim am" means getting dark also by Lin Sheng-Xiang.
Use more instrument but the guitar is better play in the "chung su' cd.Song is arrange with more variety.


Monday, September 13, 2010

My Room Acoustics

 Ceiling treatment behind listener

It's not often one writes about his/her own hifi setup, details of the gears or even about the room where most part of the listening are done. However, after all a blog is like one's diary in which case a written records of one's hifi journey, seems quite proper, irrespective of whether any readers may or may not like what he/she reads or find the article not of any use at all, or even at times deemed offending to some particular readers!

 From listener's position

What I have in mind is a brief write up of my hifi journey in room acoustics. It may not be any readers' idea of room acoustics, and may even be deemed doubtful as to its effectiveness for the purpose of enhancing the listening pleasure of any listeners in the room! No 2 ears are the same, so probably no 2 persons could agree on what he/she may perceived of the sound. And lastly I'm not here to suggest that having a room made acoustically 'comfortable' for even a brief period of listening can replace the need for really good sounding hifi equipments and any ancillaries used with those hifi gears! So if one thinks getting the best equipments one could afford is the first and foremost the most important factor over room acoustics or nevermind the room acoustics, and the need for room acoustics treatments are not that important to him, there is no need to argue on this till the cows come home. It's your listening time, you could do whatever 'floats your boat'!

My involvements with room acoustics started with the need to address the already bad echoes and bass sound in my 8ft by 14ft smallish room with a sloping ceiling. The cross section of which depicts the shape of a true trapezium! There I was deciding to live with the disturbing sound from the system's playback, or do something about it! Doing something would seems to, going to take forever........a really daunting idea, and really frightening at that time!!! So it was decided, at some time 3 years ago, that I would do the surface treatments of the ceiling as there isn't enough floor space in the room to do anything really significant. Neither could I do anything much to the walls of the room because of the width of the room, though the first reflection points in the room as regards to the placement of the speakers have to be addressed properly, accurately or not, I thought that may be another issue.

Off I went to collect recyclable materials of cardboard, pieces of wood and even foams made from different materials, from electrical shops, and asked friends for these recyclable stuffs. When I have gathered enough of these materials, it was time to sit down to look at them and to get ideas and raked thru the brain for any useful data and information. Took about a couple of weeks of material collections and doing google search of information on room acoustics to finally come up with some idea of doing ceiling treatments. Then the need to have those designs hold up to the ceiling permanently, and came up with the idea of using very thin metal wires to hold them against the ceiling surface, and should be removable in the event of wrong placement or the wrong design and to even cover the worst of my thoughts, to have them removed and reused in the event that I have to shift house!!!

Side panels: Composite design

So after much experimentations, with design and choice of placements, finally came up with a design that was kept till this day. All in all it took just about 100 manhours to complete the task of doing the ceiling treatments. So far the room could now 'support' the use of multiple subwoofers reasonably well(meaning it's just about tolerable), I could do better if I had tried other ways, but there is no way to find out now for sure, I thought. So ended the 1 major project I have ever undertaken, and I considered it 1 big step for me along the way of my hifi journey.

 Written by Uncle Vic

Monday, September 6, 2010

Music Exchange at the KL Performing Art Centre, Sentul West

There I was on sunday, 5th september 2010, at the Sentul West, at the Performing Art Centre(PAC) with other writers of the H1F1 blog. Earlier Erik Goh had called up the group to inform of a music performance by the KLPAC orchestra and the visiting Penang State Symphonic Band(or PESSBAND) at the PAC. It was a music exchange program cum charity drive. So we quickly got together at our meeting place in Rampai, Setapak for a drink with the 'Wise One'(a very close and good friend of the group), check our stuffs/ photographic gears, etc., got a drink and grab a bite, and off we go to meet Erik who was already waiting in his car near the Sentul West to go with us to the PAC.

The PAC is situated in a pristine, clean and peaceful place with lots of greenery and open spaces, just the right place for an auditorium for music and play performances! We don't feel the need to do things here in a hurry which includes parking our cars and the slow walk into the PAC, followed by a short climb up to the 1st floor entrance, where we were greeted by some young people presumably from the young peoples' music groups. Entrance was by donations only into a donation box for disbursement to charitable organisation(s). So there were no ticketing and it's free seating for all.

We were guided into the right side of the auditorium and we had a pretty good view of the performance area. I thought it was just about right as I need to take some really neat pictures of the performances without disturbing the audiences. I had brought along an Olympus DSLR camera that has a very low level of shutter noise and I have taken along a AF ED short range zoom lens and another longer range lens for that really close up shot to capture the scene with the available ambient lighting as it's simply not right to use a strobe light for photography during the music performance proper.

Most if not all the performers were very young people, I reckoned in their late teens and very early 20's! The performers(combined Penang musicians and those from the Klang Valley) included the string section of violin and cello group, other group further into the performance area included wind instruments group of flutes, the brass section of trombones, saxophones and the timpanis are on the left with the electric guitar and the hand drums and modern drum set and percussions on the right. Several conductors took turns at directing the group performances.

The music presentations and performances reminded me of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)performing classic rock music from the likes of Beatles, ABBA, Rolling Stones and Stephen Bishop and music from the movies as well as TV themes!!! If you could take out your CD of LSO performances you will surely know how I felt about the music being performed. It's very own style of presentations and not an exact duplication of the original music presentation as per the movie or tv theme! Very original style and presentations.
After the music performances, the crowd were simply exhilarating and there were shouts of encores!! Probably most of the people from the crowds were the parents, relatives and friends of the performers and many more regular visitors to the PAC.

 Photography sessions soon followed and the atmosphere was filled with an air of joy and jubilation!

From left to right, Uncle Vic,Uncle Chew,Eric Goh,Kenneth Lau, Yee

Our group too took the opportunity to have some photographs of ourselves taken too.

By: Uncle Vic
Edited by:KLau