About those DIY Facebook pages.

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Danny Richie

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About those DIY Facebook pages.
« on: 19 Dec 2017, 10:38 pm »
Recently some of my customers asked me to join in a discussion on a Facebook page involving DIY speakers. They had posted pics of their build and were being asked some questions. I don't mind joining in and answering questions. So no problem. I have a GR Research Facebook page, and I am involved in several racing pages so I do drop in on Facebook several times a day.

Follow the page: https://www.facebook.com/grresearch/

Then I was asked to join several more Facebook speaker building groups by those that saw me there.

Next my news feed is flooded with DIY builds from all over the world. And a lot of these guys are noobies trying all kinds of crazy ideas not realizing what the results will be. I feel for these guys, and try to give some direction when I can. I could spend all day helping these guys if I had nothing better to do. But Facebook is not a good place for this stuff. After a day any response can be so far down in the news feed that it is never seen again. So good information is lost quickly. Here at the Audio Circle information posted can be readily found, seen by many, and many can be helped. It can even be searched for later. This is a much better format and place for exchanging information. So I want to encourage you guys to send folks here when you can, and it should be a lot more helpful for them and others.

The next thing I noticed right away was the prevalence of what I call the flat-Earth guys. To me those are the guys that let preconceived ideas get in the way of learning and bettering their systems. It's the same old story from years ago.... They are basically against or religiously opposed to anything high end audio. We've all heard it. Anything expensive is snake oil. Speakers don't burn in your ears do, so nothing burns in. Wire is wire, and expensive cables are all snake oil. Expensive components don't sound any better than the cheap ones. Iron core inductors sounds just as good as air core inductors. If you can't measure a difference then it won't sound different. Blah, blah, blah...

And don't recommend anything that might make a sonic improvement or they'll all jump on you and call you names. A few guys even took name calling to PM's.

My goals are and have been the same for many years. I strive to bring up the performance of everyone's system in any way that I can. I love helping someone reach that next level, and opening their eyes to new performance bench marks. And through the years I have help more than I can ever count move a little closer to their audio nirvana. And I have moved many a nay sayer from the dark side and turned them into listeners.

Funny thing is this hobby is all about listening and enjoying music. But according to the flat Earth guys you can't listen to something and decide if it is good or better. It is too easy to fool yourself into thinking that any one thing is better than another. It's all the placebo effect you know. You need a double blind panel of people to get a statistical analysis of whether or not there is an audible difference in something. And any observance that you may have made is just an opinion and you have fooled yourself into having it...

I admit that over the years of doing this every day I have learned a lot of tweaks and some of them may have seemed a little crazy at the time. But these tweaks have taken me a long way. And there is also valid science for all that I do. If it makes an improvement there is a reason for it whether that reason is easy to measure or not.

And because of what I have learned, and because if what my industry friends have learned, GR Research and friends have consistently done really well at the audio shows, and won tons of awards for having the best sound. And I know that if you were to take away the power conditioning, the really good power cables, the really good interconnects, the speaker cables, USB cables, tube connectors, high end internal wire, digital front end tweaks, room treatments, diffusers, special capacitors and components, and replace them with the generic budget versions, we wouldn't be so far ahead. We'd be right there with everyone else. If I pulled all of the stuff out of my system that the nay sayers say doesn't matter then I wouldn't even be able to listen to it any more. I can't go back that far.

Sean Foley posted this. I love it and had to use it. "Suffice it to say, plateaus are meant to be climbed, step by step. The higher you go, the closer you are to the next plateau. Keep going until you can't go any higher. Once you've reached that point, measure where you are & look back to where you started from. Then you have the before & after". 

That reminds me of when I first got started good in this industry and I thought I had a pretty good sounding system. Then Dave Elledge came over and dropped in a couple of his power cables in place of some el cheapo stock power cables that I was using, and it changed everything forever. Suddenly a new plateau was reached. And it just never stopped. Several years ago we went through a revolution of improvements in the digital domain. Every few weeks there was another improvement. My inner circle of guys working in the digital area were just coming up with new advancements constantly. It was great!

I look back now and feel like I have come thousands of miles. Even since I last exhibited at RMAF, and had the best sound that we've had in years, and won "best sound cost no object" by the Absolute Sound, my personal system has moved up many plateaus since then. Some of it has been little tweaks here and there but some of it has been big jumps in speakers too. I am literally way past my personal best of a few years ago that was already really good.

I can't wait to have more people over and share every tweak there is to help everyone I know move up to a high plateau. So I don't understand the motivation behind the guys that adamantly want to keep themselves and everyone else in the dark. They'll fight tooth and nail to their cause. They are dumbing down the industry. They even kicked me off of one of the Facebook pages for mentioning higher quality components and A/B listening comparisons.

And trying to show anyone the light just starts an argument that I simply don't have time for. I am still a member of a lot of those groups, but I have turned off notifications and set preferences to un-follow. So I don't even see that stuff anymore. It's just not worth the battle and not worth the time to help those with closed ears or closed minds. They don't listen anyway. So in the future if you need me to respond to something on a FB page then I will, but I am not going to get into a daily battle of trying to teach those that don't want to learn.

So in light of that let's make this a learning and sharing thread. Post and tell everyone about your favorite tweak or something that moved your system to the next plateau.

And if you read all of this, thanks for following along.

zoom25

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #1 on: 19 Dec 2017, 10:56 pm »
Well put and wholeheartedly agreed with all the points you made.

Tyson

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #2 on: 19 Dec 2017, 11:30 pm »
The sad truth is that most people are prisoners to their pre-existing cognitive biases.  If they believe there's no difference between cables, then they will never, ever be able to admit that there is, in fact, a difference.  Because any evidence that contradicts pre-existing conclusions gets discounted by the person with the bias.  And the more evidence you present, the more they just dig in their heels. 

It's not just audio, either.  Have you ever argued with a creationist about evolution?  Same dynamic.  A climate change denier?  Same dynamic.  A anti-vaxxer?  Same dynamic.  A vegan about the health benefits of meat?  Same dynamic.  And on and on and on and on.  People's ability to engage in selective insanity is rather breathtaking. 

Dieterle Tool

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #3 on: 19 Dec 2017, 11:40 pm »
I feel your pain Danny. I commend you for being part of the Facebook ridiculousness. I have followed your threads and speaker builds for many years but have little interaction (134 posts in 5 years). I find it difficult to respond to meaningless posts and flat earth idealism. Doesn't mean there are not many valuable threads here and educated posters. I just don't have time for all the other nonsense.

My contribution to this thread would be what I have learned from building quality power supplies... The implementation of amorphous core transformers (Lundahl), Sansui (Hashimoto) and dual wound toroidals coupled with large capacitor banks from Jensen (4-pole) and Black Gate, are the foundation for building quality gear for music reproduction. Coupled with the use of high quality OFC copper. It's not about the thick chassis and face plates, gold plated binding posts and expensive pieces parts. Sure those are great to have, but meaningless without a solid power supply to build from.

Thank you (and Captainhemo & mlundy57), for all the time and effort you put into helping us. Your kits represent some of the best that the audio world has to offer.

-Dieter


SoCalWJS

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #4 on: 20 Dec 2017, 12:48 am »
Very good post Danny. That's a lot of typing!

I learned a long time ago to throw out most conventional wisdom about Audio and measurements. They can tell you many things about a given component, but not the whole story. Then there is the whole interaction/Synergy dynamic. Room interaction.

The main thing I learned though is that I truly believe that some people just hear things differently than I do. It may be due to an actual Physical factors (hearing range, stuffed sinuses - whatever) or it may be based on what they have become accustomed to during their lives. Personal preferences. Other factors.

I know what I like, and I don't mind discussing why I like it or trying to persuade others, but I gave up trying to convince them. Main reason I started visiting this Forum and went away from AVS.

Doublej

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #5 on: 20 Dec 2017, 01:12 am »
The sad truth is that most people are prisoners to their pre-existing cognitive biases.  If they believe there's no difference between cables, then they will never, ever be able to admit that there is, in fact, a difference.  Because any evidence that contradicts pre-existing conclusions gets discounted by the person with the bias.  And the more evidence you present, the more they just dig in their heels. 

It's not just audio, either.  Have you ever argued with a creationist about evolution?  Same dynamic.  A climate change denier?  Same dynamic.  A anti-vaxxer?  Same dynamic.  A vegan about the health benefits of meat?  Same dynamic.  And on and on and on and on.  People's ability to engage in selective insanity is rather breathtaking.

You may be demonstrating some of your pre-existing cognitive biases here...

flavo

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #6 on: 20 Dec 2017, 01:14 am »
Where's the like button?
I read the whole thing, and I thank you for helping me whenever I've had a question I allowed myself to actually ask you. I hate bothering people.

SoCalWJS

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #7 on: 20 Dec 2017, 01:41 am »
You may be demonstrating some of your pre-existing cognitive biases here...
.....kind of what I thought as well, but.....

NavyDoc

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #8 on: 20 Dec 2017, 01:56 am »
Very good post Danny. That's a lot of typing!

I learned a long time ago to throw out most conventional wisdom about Audio and measurements. They can tell you many things about a given component, but not the whole story. Then there is the whole interaction/Synergy dynamic. Room interaction.

The main thing I learned though is that I truly believe that some people just hear things differently than I do. It may be due to an actual Physical factors (hearing range, stuffed sinuses - whatever) or it may be based on what they have become accustomed to during their lives. Personal preferences. Other factors.

I know what I like, and I don't mind discussing why I like it or trying to persuade others, but I gave up trying to convince them. Main reason I started visiting this Forum and went away from AVS.

I am also spending much more time here and less at AVS. As a professional scientist I have a skeptical eye, but an open mind to realize that not everything that matters can be measured (yet) and not every thing that can be measured matters.  Double blind testing has its utility, but it is very demanding and not often done well by lay people.

Danny Richie

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #9 on: 20 Dec 2017, 02:20 am »
Where's the like button?
I read the whole thing, and I thank you for helping me whenever I've had a question I allowed myself to actually ask you. I hate bothering people.

Real questions from people that want to learn are never a bother. That's why there is a forum here.

mlundy57

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #10 on: 20 Dec 2017, 03:04 am »
You may be demonstrating some of your pre-existing cognitive biases here...

Sounds to me like he is just describing "confirmation bias" which is well documented in social science research.

For me a big eye opener was the pair of modified Behringer speakers Danny sent around for people to listen to. These had 2 crossovers inside, the stock crossover and one Danny built with upgraded components with identical measurements to the stock parts. There was a switch that allowed you to listen to listen to each crossover separately. For me I definitely heard a difference.

I would have to say the biggest leap in my musical enjoyment has come from being introduced to open baffle speakers. My introduction to OB was indirect in that I first heard a pair at LSAF 2014, which I found out about through this forum.

Mike

Tyson

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #11 on: 20 Dec 2017, 09:38 am »
You may be demonstrating some of your pre-existing cognitive biases here...

Well, it really comes down to "the weight of the evidence", doesn't it?  On every issue, there's evidence that favors one conclusion over the other.  The real test is "do you change your conclusions when presented with new evidence?"  Or, do you never really change you mind on these types of things?  Speaking only for myself, I have changed my mind on just about all of them (plus a lot more other things). 

So the question isn't "am I right", but "am I willing to adjust my thinking, when warranted".  The answer for most people is "no".

Put yet another way - many people "stick to their guns" and refuse to change, so that they can "be consistent".  I find that that's really just a reason for them to be dogmatic.  Being able to fluidly adapt and adjust thinking and conclusions fairly easily indicates much better mental facility and suppleness in thought (and a relative lack of strong cognitive bias).

Or, put yet another way "strongly held convictions" are exactly what causes things like strong cognitive bias.  People with strong convictions quickly become rigid in their thinking.  70% of the evidence may be against this person's views, but they'll grab onto the 30% that conforms their pre-existing views.

THROWBACK

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #12 on: 20 Dec 2017, 01:50 pm »
Danny,

"And don't recommend anything that might make a sonic improvement or they'll all jump on you and call you names. A few guys even took name calling to PM's."

No one in the industry is more generous with his time, his ideas and his help than you are. The selflessness and enthusiasm of industry guys like you contributes mightily to making and keeping our wonderful hobby enlightening, rewarding and fun. Thank you.

And I agree with you about tweaks. Some of them make a bigger difference than you would have imagined. But the efficacy of many tweaks may be system dependent, so it is probably wise to plan a way back to the original configuration in case a tweak doesn't work as well as was hoped or expected.

corndog71

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #13 on: 20 Dec 2017, 02:54 pm »
Cables made the first real impression on me and turned me into an audiophile.  Compared to cheaper cables the good ones just get out of the way of the music letting more detail shine through.  I did a lot of testing considering how divisive these things can be but kept finding the same results. 

Being on the broke side has lead me to try lots of tweaks.  Most of them I think fall into placebo effect.  At a certain point I had to look at the things people recommended that seemed extraneous but had the measurements to back them up such as room treatments.  I started with a couple of panels and when placed at first reflection points made an incredible improvement in clarity.  Adding more to my room just made my speakers sound better and better!  Definitely recommend them.

Reading this forum and learning more about speakers gave me the courage to improve the speakers I had.  Better crossover parts and No Rez easily took them beyond their off the shelf performance.  Eventually I replaced all of my speakers with something Danny designed as they compete with much more expensive speakers but at prices that are reachable even with my modest income.  I had to stretch a bit for the OB subs but now I'm set for bass no matter what I mate with them.

Finally, Isoacoustic stands are another very cost-effective tweak which have made my speakers sound even better.

I've been hanging out here for a little over 9 years and I'm still learning.  Thanks for doing what you do, Danny.  :thumb:

mlundy57

Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #14 on: 20 Dec 2017, 04:15 pm »
And I agree with you about tweaks. Some of them make a bigger difference than you would have imagined. But the efficacy of many tweaks may be system dependent, so it is probably wise to plan a way back to the original configuration in case a tweak doesn't work as well as was hoped or expected.

Chuck,

Really good point here. I've noticed that the improvement of any particular action/tweak/component is related to how much it addresses a weak link in the system (I include the room in the system). Once you have improved a part of the system to the point it is no longer the weak link continuing to upgrade that part will not produce further benefits. At that point it is time to switch efforts to what is now the weakest link.

The question becomes where to start. For my money, start with probably one of the most overlooked tweaks, proper speaker placement. As many others have said, take the time and put in the effort to get the speakers in their best performing position given the limitations you have to work with.

My next step would be to address any room issues as well as you can. Once placement and room issues have been addressed then it's time to address the system.

Mike


zoom25

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #15 on: 20 Dec 2017, 04:32 pm »
You can fill the Isoacoustics with sand. They sound better that way. I used kitty litter in mine.

HAL

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #16 on: 20 Dec 2017, 04:49 pm »
If I had not discussed and heard Danny's ideas and creations, I would never have decided to build my line arrays.  Anyone that does not pay attention is at a loss for better sound. 

Best thing I do is say, don't believe me, come over and listen.  But now I tell them to bring extra underwear, they are going to need it!  :)

Even put them in front of a pair of X-LS and watch what happens.

Keep doing what you do so well!

Dieterle Tool

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #17 on: 20 Dec 2017, 05:33 pm »
^ :lol: If I was anywhere close to you HAL, I would bring a diaper and sit and listen for hours.

Hypothetical question... If you have all the right gear (that you have meticulously researched and purhased) and now have a brand new room (completely empty) and OEM power cords and run-of-the-mill cables...
Do you spend your next $1-1.5k on cables or room acoustics? Only one correct answer here.  :slap:

-Dieter

HAL

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #18 on: 20 Dec 2017, 05:47 pm »
Room acoustics.

thunderbrick

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Re: About those DIY Facebook pages.
« Reply #19 on: 20 Dec 2017, 06:03 pm »
Well put and wholeheartedly agreed with all the points you made.

+1!   :thumb:

And the parallels in political discourse are over the top.