Master Set Revisited - 2019

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rwolters

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #20 on: 20 May 2019, 03:34 am »
As a follow-up question, what about other changes to a system? Will replacing a solid state amp with a tube amp, or upgrading a cartridge on a TT, change things such that re doing the speaker set up procedure would be required for best performance. I think it's this kind of stuff, where my system never seems completely stabilized, that's prevented me from bringing a local dealer in to perform this setup. It's always seemed like the Master Set should be done when a person is almost completely satisfied with their system and is looking for that "final" touch.

Bob

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #21 on: 20 May 2019, 04:40 am »
The speaker set up is both speaker and room dependent as it is the speaker-room interface. Thus if you change speakers you need to set up the speakers all over again from scratch. Moving a piece of furniture, or some other room change, may or may not affect the sound. The sound will tell you most certainly.

Changes in the audio system do not require a speaker set up change. In fact, since the speakers are set in perfect phase then you are more able to properly evaluate any system changes, such as they might occur.

BTW, I posted my simplified my procedure I posted it here as it is very DIY friendly and anyone should be able to do it with good success. One thing to remember is that if you go the DIY way, be sure to mark the old position of your speakers as a fail safe in case it all doesn't happen quite right for you the first time. And even if you do it and it works perfectly, keep the new marks in place or carefully measure the position of the speakers in case the speakers get moved.
« Last Edit: 20 May 2019, 05:50 am by stvnharr »

rwolters

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #22 on: 20 May 2019, 06:07 am »
Thanks for clarifying. I kind of thought that would be the case.

Bob

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #23 on: 20 May 2019, 10:59 pm »
Thanks for responding to my questions. As I was typing I had a number 3 question but got called away and forgot the question. I remember so here goes.

You say you know the set up is complete when the image stays in place as you move the listening position. I do have a very strong center image if the singer is centered. A friend who has heard my system a couple times commented just how well Cat Stevens was centered on his first listen. So after reading this thread yesterday, I went and listened closely while moving out of the sweet spot. Of course the vocal doesn't stay centered as I moved outside of the speakers.

My question is how much movement is acceptable before you say more adjustment is needed?

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #24 on: 20 May 2019, 11:57 pm »
There should be little to no movement. It does depend a little bit on the room a bit.
FWIW, my speakers are about 7 feet apart, center of speaker cabinet to center of speaker cabinet. I don't sit in the center between the speakers as there is a fireplace right in the center. So I sit off to the right, and I am pretty much in front of the right speaker. I have a perfectly centered stereo image. I have a number of mono jazz discs and a few classical mono discs. The mono discs are perfectly centered too.
BTW, it's not just the centered image that stands out. Each instrumental image also changes and becomes a single sounding instrument that is easily heard as such.

As an experiment, you can do a shortcut procedure perhaps. If you can determine if your speakers are in the Zone of Neutrality. Just do as the guy in the Wilson video did, and determine the minimum distance out from the rear wall. This is usually about 2 feet, but don't assume. If your speakers are out in that zone, then you might be able to just move one of the speakers a small amount and see what happens. Say if you move a little to the right and the voice moves with you, just move the right speaker about 1/4 inch toward the wall and note any difference. If there is less movement, then move the speaker again, though maybe a little less. If there is more movement, then move the right speaker out 1/4 inch from original position and note what happens.
If this shortcut procedure does not get you anywhere, you just have to do things from the start.

BTW, you do not necessarily have to use the Ballad of a Runaway Horse song. But you do have to have a song with a perfectly centered voice. The BRH song just makes things easy as there is nothing conflicting with hearing the voice.

Then as I wrote the above, I remembered you asked about a diagonal set up, so maybe you have that and my shortcut procedure likely would not help you.
« Last Edit: 21 May 2019, 01:50 am by stvnharr »

jhm731

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #25 on: 21 May 2019, 08:48 pm »
"Vowelling-In" a Loudspeaker:
 
First of all, you have to realize that the boundaries are the enemy: they reflect sound, and most dynamic speakers are not designed to compensate for these reflected sounds. Of course, by definition, all rooms have boundaries. There are two ways to approach the problem of boundary interaction: one is to alter the boundary itself—make it so absorptive that it has no reflective quality. Or, you could make it so randomly diffusive that it breaks up the comb-filter effect and the standing waves. The approach that I use, however, is based on my observation that most end-users don't want to turn their listening rooms into anechoic chambers or studio environments. They want to incorporate fine audio equipment into their homes so they can enjoy music—it's that simple.
If you can't alter the boundary, you have to alter the speaker's relationship to that boundary. Now you don't really have any latitude in changing the speaker's relationship to the floor; that's essentially designed into the architecture of the speaker—the same is true of its relationship to the ceiling, obviously. The boundary behind the listener—the far wall—is so far away from the speaker that it doesn't have a primary influence on the response of the speaker. So we concentrate on the speaker's position relative to the walls behind it and to its sides.
You have to deal with those boundaries separately because they interact with the speaker in different ways. First we get a general reading of the room with voice. We find a "zone of neutrality" by speaking while we walk into the room, starting at the wall behind us. We know that a boundary will interact with a sound-source in predictable ways, so if you stand near a boundary and speak, you can hear it interact with your voice. As you slowly move away from that boundary, still speaking, you can hear that interaction change. Finally, you reach a point—somewhere out into the room—where there is very little perceived interaction. We mark that point with tape.

Walking farther into the room, you find that for a distance of a few feet, there is little change in the voice. Eventually, you get far enough away from the wall behind you—and close enough to the wall in front of you—that your voice takes on an echoey quality. We mark that point with tape as well. Using that marked area as a reference, we go through the same procedure from the side wall, again marking where the interactions change—we call the area bounded by our tape markings the "zone of neutrality," and the rest of the process consists of determining exactly where within it the speakers should be placed.

First, we adjust for the wall behind the speaker. Differences here of as little as an inch make a great impact on the bass-response of the system and the soundstaging. As the speakers are moved closer to that rear wall, they get more low-frequency reinforcement—sometimes actually becoming boomy in the upper bass—and the soundstage narrows. Pull the speakers toward the listener, and the soundstage gets wider while the deep bass loses reinforcement. You have to use your judgment, but as you become accustomed to this procedure, incremental changes produce predictable and recognizable changes in the sound.

We then adjust the speakers' relationship to the side walls without changing the distance we've established for the rear wall. We do this one speaker at a time, disconnecting the other one—using Ragtime Razzmatazz, a ragtime piano recording I made back in 1980. In establishing the purest harmonic structure, differences of as little as a quarter of an inch affect the purity of the sound. I call this "voweling" because I listen for the tones to change from "aaa" to "eee" or "ooo."

There are many methods of establishing speaker placement. In one approach you use a mirror to look at the speaker's reflection on the wall—which primarily works in the bass. A cable company recommends a method based on ratios, which has a great deal of validity if your room happens to be a rectangle. Even then, it works best in the lowest three octaves. But few setup methods address the midrange harmonic structure the way ours does. I'm not saying that our system's effective with dipoles, because they interact with the room in a different way, but for our speakers, or Thiels, or the other dynamic speakers I've had experience with, this really works well.—David A. Wilson

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #26 on: 21 May 2019, 10:13 pm »
Ah, so this is all a quote from the Late David Wilson. Very informative reading.
Dave Wilson is one of the few who really spent a lot of time learning about how to place a speaker in a room, as did the Sumiko guys Stirling Trayle and John Hunter. There does seem to be many similarities in approaches. It would interesting to have someone who went through MASTERS to post here.

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #27 on: 22 May 2019, 01:20 am »
I watched both videos in the OP. Other than the precision and scoring system, the Wilson video seems pretty standard information. The Herb Robbins talk is interesting. I suppose he's purposely vague in the talk as he's selling the specifics of his method on his web site.

After watching the videos I checked my system to see how it sounds and whether or not the center image stays centered which it doesn't. I prefer my speakers with some toe-in, which of course ensures the center vocal will move if the listener moves. Both speakers are producing equal output to get the vocal center, and in a setup with slight toe-in as you move left, you are closer to the left speaker, and further from the right speaker. It's louder from the left which equates to an off center vocal.
I did some toe-in adjustment and got a center vocal to stay centered with extreme toe-in. As I move left, even though I'm closer to the left speaker, the right speaker's output is directed at me while the left is firing away from me = center image stays put. I hope that's not the solution because it looks terrible to me and it sounds terrible as well. I'd prefer a 2-3 foot wide sweet spot where everything is perfect. If I'm listening critically, I am in the chair anyway. If I'm walking around the room, I may be enjoying the music, but not listening critically.

Here's a pic of my setup. Not exactly up to date, but you get the picture.



I checked stvnharr's gallery and see pics of the Master Set. I understand what you're doing now. As I sit centered, I don't think it's for me. Very educational thread though.

Before our recent move, my system was in a perfectly square room which was very hard to get good sound. I was inspired to try the diagonal configuration for speakers after reading some threads about it. This article on the Decware really talked me into it: http://www.decware.com/paper14.htm
With a diagonal setup, other than the ceiling and the floor, room boundaries have very little affect. I have GIK 244s on the ceiling and carpet on floor.

If your room supports it, you really should give it a try. If soundstage and imaging are high audio priorities, especially image depth, you'll love it. 2-3 hours on a rainy weekend is worth it.

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #28 on: 9 Jun 2019, 11:33 pm »
Long time to reply as I have been far away for a spell.
First, my AC gallery page is 10 years old and lots has changed so could use an update one of these days. I used a lot of toe in with the Osborn speakers to get decent sound that I wanted, but toe in is not the best way to adjust sound. Current speaker set with the new speakers has little toe in and proper sound.

Perhaps you would find it worthwhile to email Bob Robbins with regards your diagonal speaker placement. Bob is helpful to diy'ers and quite supportive.

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #29 on: 10 Jun 2019, 11:33 am »
Take a few minutes and post a current pic. You know the old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words."

I will contact Robbins. I'll post the results of my query.

Letitroll98

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #30 on: 10 Jun 2019, 12:51 pm »
I've been down several of the same roads as you timind with the diagonal set up and the extreme toe in.  45° toe in does spread the sweet spot as you noted, but does wonky things to the soundstage, so I've reserved that placement for home theater in which a wide sweet spot is more important than soundstage or frequency response.  The diagonal placement works wonders for soundstaging as first reflection (there is one) is very close and oblique from the speakers reducing high frequency reflections where most of the soundstage queues are.  However I found it created a lot of bass issues, I wonder what you've experienced.  I'm also wondering what Master Set placement would do for a diagonal arrangement.

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #31 on: 11 Jun 2019, 01:06 pm »
I've been down several of the same roads as you timind with the diagonal set up and the extreme toe in.  45° toe in does spread the sweet spot as you noted, but does wonky things to the soundstage, so I've reserved that placement for home theater in which a wide sweet spot is more important than soundstage or frequency response.  The diagonal placement works wonders for soundstaging as first reflection (there is one) is very close and oblique from the speakers reducing high frequency reflections where most of the soundstage queues are.  However I found it created a lot of bass issues, I wonder what you've experienced.  I'm also wondering what Master Set placement would do for a diagonal arrangement.

I initially used the diagonal set up in the 12x12x8 room to improve soundstage, and only later worked on bass. By the time we moved I had what I thought was exceptional bass in the square room. I had bass trapping in all 4 corners as well as some other bass trapping at wall/floor junctions. The room was dedicated to the system with only 2 chairs so aesthetics were not an issue. I was in that room for 7+ years.
 
It took me a few months of trials before going to the diagonal set up after moving into this 24x27x8 basement room. At this point, and after a lot of position tweeking, I feel the soundstage is as good as I've ever had. As for the bass, it's still a concern in this room. The bass is clean, but nowhere near as deep as it was in the small room. I'm thinking this is probably just a matter of the larger space not being pressurized as firmly.

Couple more things about the basement. In the basement, I have bass traps in 3 corners instead of 4. I wonder the how effective they are as the corners are quite a distance from the speakers. Also have absorption on the ceiling at first reflection points which I did not have in small room.

I tried the extreme toe in after looking at stvharr's pics. It did help keep the enter image centered, but threw off what I thought was the natural soundstage. Although it was fine with one vocalist and bass, when complex music was playing, it didn't sound right.

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #32 on: 12 Jun 2019, 10:21 pm »
Okay, here is a pic of my new setup. Pic is taken from my listening seat. As you can easily tell, I'm sitting in front of the right speaker. Pity that I don't have a more wide angle view, but I don't. You can also see that I don't have much toe in, certainly nowhere near as much as I originally did with the Osborn speakers, though over time I did take some of the toe in out.

With regards the diagonal setup............here is something you can try.
Recreate the first step in my set up procedure. Move the right speaker over to the wall, right up against it. If your left speaker is decoupled from the wall behind it, then all sound will be heard as from that speaker only. Anything else means the left speaker is still coupled to the wall and would need to be moved out from the wall.
Because I have never done diagonal walls I really don't know how this would work. This is why I suggested contacting Bob Robbins.

Steve






timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #33 on: 13 Jun 2019, 01:09 am »
Thanks for the pic. It was helpful for me to understand what you're getting at. Actually though, your speaker positioning isn't much different than mine. The difference is I sit dead center on my speakers. After looking at your pic I went and gave a quick listen to my system with a seat outside the speakers (both sides) as you do. I have to say I was surprised to hear a dead center vocal with the Ballad Of A Runaway Horse track while sitting that far from center. The vocal was centered unless I was positioned pretty much directly in front of one of the speakers.




stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #34 on: 13 Jun 2019, 09:44 am »
The trick is to set the first speaker totally decoupled from the walls. Then you can set the second speaker in a perfect phase position to the first speaker. In that small zone of perfection the image stays very stable.

BTW, you can only tell just so much from a picture.

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #35 on: 13 Jun 2019, 09:24 pm »
The trick is to set the first speaker totally decoupled from the walls. Then you can set the second speaker in a perfect phase position to the first speaker. In that small zone of perfection the image stays very stable.

BTW, you can only tell just so much from a picture.

What I can tell from your pic is those speakers are probably too close to the back wall to be fully decoupled from it. Maybe it's an optical illusion and they're further than they look, but I don't think so. Anyway, if it sounds good to you, I say enjoy.

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #36 on: 13 Jun 2019, 10:53 pm »
It is an optical illusion. For the record, the speaker baffles are just over 2 feet out from the wall.
It also looks as if I am really close to the speakers, but I am not quite so close.
Decoupling is done by sound only, whether by the first step in the procedure, or by doing like in the Wilson video. The decoupled zone in small rooms is generally about 2 feet out to about 3 feet out from the wall. I have my speakers close to the minimum as the room is so small. I would like to have them maybe a little more out into the room, but that creates other issues and makes it harder to get right. It works and works well where they are at now.

Letitroll98

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #37 on: 14 Jun 2019, 12:31 am »
I've seen a few Master Set rooms and they all seem to have the speakers much closer to the wall than I'm used to.  And yes, they are about what you described, front baffle 2-3' out.  IME speakers need to be much further out from the front wall, does the "in phase" principal override the need for more space behind the speaker?

timind

Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #38 on: 14 Jun 2019, 01:53 am »
It is an optical illusion. For the record, the speaker baffles are just over 2 feet out from the wall.

No, it's not an optical illusion. I would've estimated about 2 feet from the wall. As Letitroll98 says though, they're closer to the wall than one would expect, especially for speakers as large as those.

stvnharr

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Re: Master Set Revisited - 2019
« Reply #39 on: 14 Jun 2019, 03:08 am »
Here is a little tidbit from long ago, right after I first heard Master Set at RMAF2007, and only had minimal information and great desire. I understood that you start with both speakers against the wall. play this Ballad of a Runaway Horse song and then move the left speaker out into the room until all sound comes from that one speaker. I didn't have the song, but I did have a jazz tune that had a one minute double bass introduction which I put on repeat. I moved the left speaker out from the wall and got several inches out before anything changed. Then the bass slowly moved toward the left speaker. Then like real suddenly one move and all sound came from the left speaker with both playing, just like Rod said. I kept moving the left speaker out and about a foot later into the room, the sound quickly centered once again. Thus, when you get the first speaker too far out into the room you go out of the decoupled zone that you need to be in in order to get the speakers set correctly. Just remember those tape marks in the Dave Wilson video for the Zone of Neutrality.

My little above note is why you do not go with what you think "should be", you go with what you hear.
The sound all comes from the speaker baffle. The space behind the speaker box doesn't really matter much, especially with a closed box speaker like I have. With a rear port you would want at least a foot of space behind.

My speakers are not really "That" large.  Actual dimensions are 9x13x44 inches. However the speaker part is 9x13x24. The lower 20 inches is a built in stand. These speakers are re-creations of a standmount speaker Rick Craig designed for me in 2003 when I lived in the US. With this re-creation speaker I debated buying new stands or building stands into the box. I chose the later option.