Multichannel surround music with X3

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Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #20 on: 11 Aug 2021, 06:52 pm »
I had an enjoyable morning listening to some wonderful music in 5.1 multichannel surround.  I posted about this new release in the classical music circle:  https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=177443.msg1869287#msg1869287.  Ståle Kleiberg: Concertos from 2L.  Absolutely phenomenal music.  I also posted about it on HRAudio.Net.  Just found out that one of their reviewers, Adrian Quanjer, will post a review when the disc is released next month.  Very excited to hear his thoughts.  I downloaded it in the original recording format:  24/352.8 DXD (FLAC format).

The X3s are back on sliders.  I moved the center channel forward so there is more space to the front wall.  This was a big improvement in soundstage depth.  Now, all speakers are at least 5 feet from the front wall.  Distance to MLP is 10 feet.  I also increased the toe-in on the left and right speakers to about the end of each shoulder.  I am using ROON DSP to adjust for speaker distance variance and volume.  The X3s (97 dB sensitivity) are way louder than my SVS surrounds (87 dB sensitivity).  ROON allows me to boost volume of my surrounds to equalize with the X3s.  Seems to work just fine.

I am pretty overwhelmed by the envelopment of the sound.  The front soundstage is full and robust plus, now, with the surrounds I feel surrounded by music.  Subtle on the surrounds, but it is there.  2L has a lot of experience with multi channel recordings.  This particular album has it all, violin & cello solos, string orchestra and full orchestra.  The sweet sounds of the violin accompanied by plucking of bass strings is absolutely amazing.  The album is on Qobuz.

I sent an email to Mitch at Accurate Sound (https://accuratesound.ca/) asking for his help with DSP once I get the system dialed in.  I'm curious to read his reply.

My bottom line, the system sounds fabulous.  More than I thought possible.

Marcus

« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2021, 10:06 pm by Desertpilot »

abomwell

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #21 on: 11 Aug 2021, 07:03 pm »
Thanks for the great update, Marcus. That's very encouraging to hear!

Al

abomwell

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #22 on: 12 Aug 2021, 12:47 pm »

The X3s are back on sliders.  I moved the center channel forward so there is more space to the front wall.  This was a big improvement in soundstage depth.  Now, all speakers are at least 5 feet from the front wall.  Distance to MLP is 10 feet.  I also increased the toe-in on the left and right speakers to about the end of each shoulder. 

Marcus


Marcus, did the change in toe-in affect high frequency response that you could hear or measure? Normally the farther off axis one listens the more downsloping the frequency response becomes and is a way to adjust brightness.

Al

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #23 on: 12 Aug 2021, 02:16 pm »

Marcus, did the change in toe-in affect high frequency response that you could hear or measure? Normally the farther off axis one listens the more downsloping the frequency response becomes and is a way to adjust brightness.

Al

Hi Al,

I was after soundstage and depth.  I pulled the center speaker out from the front wall and toed-in more aggressively to improve it.  I did not notice increased brightness in the upper frequencies.  But, I was listening for a different change.  I will continue to adjust toe-in to get it "just right".

Marcus

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #24 on: 13 Aug 2021, 02:36 am »
I took a break from classical music tonight.  Played a huge variety of 2.0 channel (Stereo) music from soundtracks to oldies (like Crosby, Still & Nash) to rock (Clapton, Cheap Trick, Rush and more).  Sound was fantastic.  Soundstage and depth were wonderful.  I could swear the center channel was playing music & vocals but no, it wasn't.  The phantom center channel was perfect.  Bass was marvelous and I never felt a need to use my old box subwoofers.

Earlier today, I played an album of Organ music.  Whitlock: Organ Sonata in multichannel (DSD 256).  I plan on adding it to my demonstration classical music thread with all the details.  When I first played it several weeks ago, the X3 subwoofers got indigestion.  But, today, I guess after a sufficient amount of break in, the subs handled it just fine.  Really deep bass notes that created a lot of pressure.  I could feel it in my chest.  This was my first foray in to organ music.  It was fun and interesting.

Marcus

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #25 on: 17 Aug 2021, 10:31 pm »
Of course, I continue to be thrilled with my system.  I purchased Audiolense XO https://juicehifi.com/produkt/audiolense-xo/
for multi channel measurements per advice from Mitch at Accurate Sound https://accuratesound.ca/.  I hope to get the measurements done this week and have Mitch create the DSP filters (for JRiver Media Center and ROON).  I have the speakers pretty much positioned for optimum sound and put some acoustic panels around.  So, DSP is the last step.  He provides two sets of filters.  One set is up to 300 Hz and the other is full range.  He says more than 90 percent of clients prefer the full range filters and I am sure I will too.

I'm looking forward to implementing this final step in my audio upgrade program. 

Marcus

note:  to be honest, there never is a final step in audio.  But, for me, I want to focus on listening and not think about upgrades or changes.

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #26 on: 20 Sep 2021, 04:29 pm »
Time for an update.  Of course, this thread is my personal journey with Spatial Audio X3s in a multichannel surround environment.

Bottom line?  Now with more than 250 hours of burn-in, the X3s continue to amaze me.

I have pretty much locked in my front three speaker locations.  Clayton's owner's manual advises minimum 18 inches from side wall to allow for open baffle side cancellations.  Mine are 21 inches.  Also, minimum 3 feet from the front wall.  Mine are 5 feet.  Toe-in is moderate at 15 degrees.  Burn-in is now well over 250 hours.  I've been living with this location for a few weeks now.  Sounds great and I can't think of any better positioning.  I moved my side surrounds to rear surrounds (better for music).  I agree.  Here is a good YouTube video on speaker positioning, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sjocJvK6rI.

I can't meet the perfect position.  X3s are 11 feet from MLP.  Rear surrounds are 13 feet from MLP.  Left to Right X3 distance is 10 feet.  No perfect triangle for me.  But, both JRiver and ROON offer speaker distance correction which I utilize (corrects for timing).  My DAC allows me to adjust individual channel volume to equalize SPL.  I recently connected my DAC directly to my amplifier (via XLR).  This was a huge improvement in sound quality.

With all this work done, how does my system sound?  I play mostly 5.0 (multichannel surround classical music).  Right from the beginning, I thought horns & vocals sound fantastic.  Burn-in has improved bass.  In fact, I have lowered bass volume twice now, currently two notches below max output.  Toe-in improved AMT driver "brightness".  Music is now balanced and pleasant from the lowest double bass instruments up through Soprano, choral voices, and violins.  They are all blended perfectly.  Going direct from DAC to amp improved piano music.  It's as close to having a concert grand in front of me as I have ever heard.  Soundstage width and depth is superb from solo instruments to ensembles to full orchestras, my entire front wall is alive with sound.  Never any listening fatigue.  I'm retired now and I spend a few hours every day listening to music.  I look forward to every listening session.

I am all digital.  Music is a variety of PCM, DXD and DSD at various resolutions and sample rates.  I always try to download in the original recording format (more and more recording companies are recording and mastering in 32/352.8 DXD).  I converted a five year old Core i7 laptop to a music server for JRiver and ROON.  I cannot hear a difference between the two players.  But, ROON incorporates Qobuz which allows me to sample and play music (all 2.0 channel but high res).  Now, I don't have to buy everything I like (LOL).  Music is stored on a hard drive (NAS is my backup).  JRiver and ROON send the digital file (native format) via AudioQuest Cinnamon A to B USB Cable to my DAC, exaSound S88 multichannel DAC.  The DAC converts to analog and send the signal to my amplifier, Parasound Halo A52+.  Bluejeans 12 gauge speaker cable.  I use the JRiver and ROON apps on my Samsung Pad to select music, control master volume, and if desired, read about the music.

At this point, when I listen to music, I don't feel there is anything missing.  Compared to my old system, there is a lot more musical information.  Will it get better with more burn-in?  Probably.  But, right now, I am in audio nirvana.

Marcus

Edit #1:  Purchased and installed a 4TB SSD drive for music storage.  Removed spinning hard drive and attached the SSD to my computer.  Fast and dead silent.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2021, 09:48 am by Desertpilot »

doggie

Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #27 on: 23 Sep 2021, 11:34 am »
Toe-in improved AMT driver "brightness".

I am finding that some brightness still lingers for me. I probably have 150+ hours on my X5's. The brightness has improved dramatically but I am still hoping it will dissolve entirely. I do realize that many recordings are already bright and that cannot be fixed.

Which direction of toe-in did you find helped for the brightness? My speakers have mild toe-in with the AMT drivers pointed to about my shoulders.

BTW. I love Qobuz. It is a new musical world to explore and a real bargain considering what we spend just for a cable or a vacuum tube.

Thanks!

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #28 on: 23 Sep 2021, 12:35 pm »
I am finding that some brightness still lingers for me. I probably have 150+ hours on my X5's. The brightness has improved dramatically but I am still hoping it will dissolve entirely. I do realize that many recordings are already bright and that cannot be fixed.

Which direction of toe-in did you find helped for the brightness? My speakers have mild toe-in with the AMT drivers pointed to about my shoulders.

BTW. I love Qobuz. It is a new musical world to explore and a real bargain considering what we spend just for a cable or a vacuum tube.

Thanks!

I super appreciate your comments.  My speakers are 10 feet apart.  Toe-in is towards the MLP.  Maybe about 15 degrees.  That puts them pointing a few inches away from my shoulders.  In my case, that provided the best phantom center location and helped with brightness.  The AMT driver is crossed at 1K Hz.  I don't know what instruments play above that level.  I assume violins.  Some recordings sound great, others a bit bright.  Female vocals (both choir and soprano) can sound bright, but again other recordings sound fine.

I believe, as in my case, brightness will continue to improve with more burn-in time.  I'm sure the AMT driver needs it.

Now that I've gone to "hell" and back with system setup and speaker positioning, and I'm happy with where I am now, I do plan on measurements and DSP filters.  I've never done this before.  I have some GIK acoustic treatments but no more for me.  I think DSP is the last hurdle.  My system "sounds" great to me.  But, I am not an expert.  I am doing measurements/DSP just to assure myself that the system is producing the best sound possible.

Thanks again.  I am following your X5 experiences closely.

Marcus

Mr. Big

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #29 on: 23 Sep 2021, 01:50 pm »
All rooms are different, hard to tell anyone how to tame brightness. I do know most rooms need acoustic panels and for speakers that radiate both forward and backward, like panels, electrostatics, and open baffle speakers that is a must. The floor the speaker sits on matters, as well as spikes or no spike in the front of the speakers, all depending on the room. I go with the spikes then I pull them and add only a Herbie decoupling spike in the back of the speaker to dam the crossover box when a normal small screw in a spike would go. The is open, transparent, but with natural high's with a balanced top to bottom.  I have an order from Herbie for Threaded Stud Glider × 4 Regular / M6 / 16mm for my M3's, they say they work better than a spike and I don't like spikes impacts at times, I thought I give these a try.
https://herbiesaudiolab.com/products/threaded-stud-glider?variant=12651506204727

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #30 on: 23 Sep 2021, 08:15 pm »
I was curious about vocals and instruments that reach above 1KHz (AMT Driver).  Quite a few, it turns out.  Female vocals, flute, clarinet, violin, drums, cymbals and piano.

Marcus



« Last Edit: 14 Nov 2021, 08:57 pm by Desertpilot »

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #31 on: 17 Nov 2021, 01:05 am »
I am working on a review of my X3s for multichannel audio.  I thought I would begin by giving you some background that led me to this decision.  To be honest, if I could afford two more X3s to use as surround speakers I would.  But, with a few notable exceptions, surround speakers are mostly for "ambience".  There are a few recordings that put instruments in the surrounds but it is rare.  So, for now, I am using for surrounds an old pair of SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers (which I upgraded with Danny's GR Research crossovers).

Configuration:  X3s are in front (L, C, R).  The surrounds are behind me (rear L & R surrounds).  This is the standard ITU setup for music.  This is the layout for mixing/mastering multichannel music.

Why surround?  I listen mostly to classical music.  Almost all the major classical recording studios release on SACD or download both a stereo (2.0) version and a multichannel (5.0) version.  I have grown to prefer multichannel music.  A couple labels (most notably 2L) will also release a Blu-ray audio disc containing both Auro 3D and Dolby ATMOS tracks.  I've tried it and did not find any value.  For movies, yes!  For music, not so much.

Why invest in such high quality speakers?
-- A reviewer I have always admired, Kal Rubinson from Stereophile.com has the following setup: Loudspeakers: Revel Ultima2 Studio with IsoAcoustics Gaia I isolation feet. Revel Performa3 f206 for surrounds. Two SVS SB-3000 and one SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofers.
-- A recording/mastering engineer, Brendon Heinst from TRPTK, discusses his setup in this YouTube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYCYGlm358Q  He uses five KEF Blade Two speakers.  Other classical recording engineers are similar.
This all sounded like me.

Music resolution.  Up until recently, I typically downloaded the original recording format.  More and more engineers are mixing/mastering in DXD (352.8 and 24 or 32 bit).  I am now downloading the DXD format.  I want to feed my system the highest quality music possible.

Equipment:
-- All music is on a 4TB external SSD.
-- Music server is currently a Core i9 laptop (I want to replace this with a true music server).
----Players:  JRiver Media Center & ROON.  No up or downmixing.
-- USB to my exaSound S88 DAC (Sabre ES9038PRO DAC chip)
---- https://www.exasound.com/Products/s88StreamingDAC.aspx
---- Review:  https://www.stereophile.com/content/exasound-s88-multichannel-da-processor
-- DAC powered by Teddy Pardo 12/2 power supply.
-- XLR cables direct to my amplifier.
-- Parasound Halo A52+ (class A up to 10 watts, then class A/B)
---- Review:  https://www.stereophile.com/content/music-round-91-parasound-halo-52


So that's my system.  I have no regrets.  I look forward to listening to music every single day.  I've owned the speakers since mid-May.  Plenty of burn-in time.  Now I will begin writing the review.

Marcus

Daryl Zero

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #32 on: 17 Nov 2021, 04:48 am »
You said: X3s are in front (L, C, R).

Does that mean you have three of them or are you using two to cover those three positions?

Desertpilot

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #33 on: 17 Nov 2021, 12:51 pm »
You said: X3s are in front (L, C, R).

Does that mean you have three of them or are you using two to cover those three positions?

I own three of them.




Daryl Zero

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Re: Multichannel surround music with X3
« Reply #34 on: 18 Nov 2021, 02:33 am »
Wow!