Do you guys subscribe to Cardas math for speaker distance from front wall?

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Nyal Mellor

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Nyal,
Geezus, cultists eh.  How funny!!!
You are overstating the bass response issue.  Finding the "smoothest bass" is not the same thing as trying to make significant changes to bass response, as you are suggesting.

Also, I thought you were going to give things a go a month or so ago.  You've spent some time writing, though not near as much as some others, and it really isn't all that hard or time consuming to give things a go. What the hell do you have to lose?????  It's just speaker setup and music.

Yes, this is an acoustics forum, but the thread is about the Cardas setup and someone mentioned Master Set, and I chimed in some time ago.

Steve

PS. BTW, I'm not the one writing negative things about what other people do, and have no desire to do so.  It's just speaker setup and music.

I got as far as buying the CD you recommended, but the time I hoped for over the holidays didn't materialize...it is on my 'to do' list and first I need to finish getting the room setup as per the way I do it; once that is done I'll have a baseline to compare cardas, ms and other methods too. I'm interested in it from a research perspective, and I want to talk to the guys at Sumiko too to understand their reasoning behind it.

I take on board your comments about me writing negatively. But in return it would be good if every post of yours wasn't an advertisement or preaching about MS.

stvnharr

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I take on board your comments about me writing negatively. But in return it would be good if every post of yours wasn't an advertisement or preaching about MS.

Okay.  I didn't refer to anyone in particular about negative writing.  Most of my posting has been about how to do the procedure. Yes, I'm enthusiastic about what I hear, that's all.  But I can give it a rest.

gerald porzio

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The MS has assumed the reverence of a Santaria ritual. The only missing ingredient is the chicken blood.

macrojack

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Chicken blood was replaced by bull shit.

stvnharr

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WOW, what deep thoughts!!!  And with a wonderful light hearted and witty sense of humour!

vinyl_lady

I am in Colorado this week and visited Rod at Soundings on Monday afternoon. He had just finished a Master Set on a pair of Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands showing one of his employees the technique. I spent an hour listening to these small speakers throw an incredible soundstage with height, width and depth. We listened to rock, jazz, classical and even an opera track. The "wall of sound" coming from these $3,500 speakers was amazing. The speakers truly "disappeared." It was a very emotionally engaging listening experience with lots of detail, clarity and bass extension and slam--far more than I would have thought possible from these speakers.

I am looking forward to this weekend when Rod will be in Spokane to Master Set my speakers. I will give a full report next week. BTW, the right speaker was 1.125" farther out into the room than the left.

Laura

jimdgoulding

Hey, Laura, how far were they out from the walls, please?  Near placement will tilt the lower end of the balance up adding warmth and fullness.  Seductively, sounds like.  It will also give you more of a wall of sound effect.     

vinyl_lady

Hey, Laura, how far were they out from the walls, please?  Near placement will tilt the lower end of the balance up adding warmth and fullness.  Seductively, sounds like.  It will also give you more of a wall of sound effect.   

I don't know for sure as I didn't ask--maybe 2 to 3 ft--just a guess. I'll ask Rod when I see him tomorrow evening. I'll get his room diminsions too. Here's a pic I took with my Blackberry


 

jimdgoulding

I don't know for sure as I didn't ask--maybe 2 to 3 ft--just a guess. I'll ask Rod when I see him tomorrow evening. I'll get his room diminsions too. Here's a pic I took with my Blackberry


Thank you, Laura.  That doesn't look all that foreign in respect to frequency balance given the size of the mid/bass drivers. 

jhm731

I spent an hour listening to these small speakers throw an incredible soundstage with height, width and depth. We listened to rock, jazz, classical and even an opera track.

Laura

A microphone cannot hear up or down, only left, right or distance, which is time.

The imaging you heard was probably largely phase shift from the near wall
reflections or the higher order crossovers in Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands.

Look forward to reading about your home MS experience.

Dan

J. Royce Baron

I’m the only one here with dipoles interested in Master Set - the negative feedback from members with similar speakers in regards to the backwave / distance from front wall with the method is fully justifiable.

Laura... once Rod has yours dialled in can you ask him what tips he might offer placing Maggie’s/Dipoles perhaps he can eleborate on the subject of Master Set / Dipoles.   

Steve asked Rod regarding dipoles; his answer is below from a quote from Steven.

Quote ... “So I specifically asked Rod if he had done a Master Set on any of these types of speakers. And his answer was that his Third Master Set was on a pair of Martin-Logan electro stats. So, yes, Master Set does work with speakers other than forward firing cone speakers in a box.” end Quote

 

 


vinyl_lady

Laura... once Rod has yours dialled in can you ask him what tips he might offer placing Maggie’s/Dipoles perhaps he can eleborate on the subject of Master Set / Dipoles.   

Steve asked Rod regarding dipoles; his answer is below from a quote from Steven.

Quote ... “So I specifically asked Rod if he had done a Master Set on any of these types of speakers. And his answer was that his Third Master Set was on a pair of Martin-Logan electro stats. So, yes, Master Set does work with speakers other than forward firing cone speakers in a box.” end Quote

Royce,

I will ask him tomorrow.

We spent about 2 hours listening tonight so he could get a feel for my room and the sound of my speakers at their current location. He thought my current location was pretty good, better than most homes he has been in, but is quite confident that he can improve the sound especially in the bass extension and midrange. The first thing he said after listening to several peices of music he brought was that my speakers were too far out into the room and that I am losing an octive or two of bass. I am looking forward to tomorrow morning. Fellow ACer JakeJ is driving up from the Tri Cities to watch and experience the Master Set technique.

Jim--the Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands in Rod's store were about 30" from the wall behind them.

Laura

« Last Edit: 15 Feb 2010, 06:20 pm by vinyl_lady »

J. Royce Baron

Thank you

My main interest is how he manages to lose the sweet spot. 

vinyl_lady

Today was Master Set day in Laura's Music Room. Fellow ACer JakeJ drove up from Richland this morning and brought a couple of his favorite albums. Rod, Jake and I spent about 30-45 minutes listening this morning before Rod began setting the speakers so we would have a good reference point with which to compare the Master Set location. I noticed we had to turn the volume down to carry on a conversation, which was different than my experience in Rod's showroom and different than the experience in my room after Rod finished setting my speakers.

It was truly an amazing experience. I have gained two octives of bass that were missing in my music room (before the Set, I had heard those bass notes when I was upstairs in my house (there is a double window-wide opening between the music room and the 2nd floor located just under the peak of the cathederal ceiling), but couldn't hear them in my listening room), better integration of bass, mids and highs, the vocals are less strident, the soundstage is wider and the vocals and the music have height in the room. It is a very 3 diminsional sound. Before the Master Set position, the music was much lower in the soundstage. The bass is now smoother with more extension and slam. Timpany drums just rocked and the speakers completely disappeared no matter what music we played. Detail and clarity, which were good before, improved. The music became more emotionally engaging. Every aspect of the listening experience improved. I am just amazed at what I was missing and what I am hearing now. Last night we had to turn the volume down to carry on a conversation, but not today after the Set. Last night vocals were sort of up front and in your face--almost shouting at us compared to how smooth and natural the vocals sound after the Set.

For those wondering about the difference in speaker location before and after the Set, the left speaker was 43.25" from the wall behind the speakers (front) and 34.5" from the side wall before the Set. The right speaker was 42.1875" from the front wall and 33.3125" from the side wall. After the set, the left speaker was 24.5" from the front wall and 20.75" from the side wall; and the right speaker was 23.375 from the front wall and 31" from the side wall. All measurements are from the outside corner of cabinet that is closest to the relevant wall. The speakers are 123.25" apart after the Set, about 18" farther apart than before the Set (from inside front corner to inside front corner of the cabinets). The couch is approximately 166" from the speakers. My room is 25' x 17' with a cathederal ceiling (17' peak with a 9/12 slope). Pictures are posted in my gallery showing room treatments, equipment racks, speaker location before the Set (modified Cardas) and speaker location after the Set. Here's a pic taken after the Set from just behind my sectional couch listening to and watching the David Gilmour In Concert DVD :thumb:



Rod began the process by taking the speakers off the stands and turning the right speaker about 45 degrees toward the right side wall so we could focus on the information coming from the left speaker which became our anchor speaker. Rod started with speaker against the front wall. We listened to the Jennifer Warnes cut Steve has mentioned over and over and over and over. That cut has an excellent bass progression that is easy to focus on, especially before the background vocals kick in and the song becomes more complex. We started it over a number of times. Rod was on the floor with the speaker and Jake and I were sitting behind each other listening. Rod started moving the speaker out into the room as we listened for the 3 bass notes. Rod would pause and we would listen. He would mark the spot and move the speaker farther out into the room about an 1/8 to a 1/4 inch at a time relying on Jake and me to make sure the toe in remained constant. Rod kept repeating this process and asking us which location we liked while focusing on the bass. (If you wear glasses, it was much like the experience of being fitted for glasses where the optometrist asks you to compare lens one with lens two, then to compare the lens you selected with another adjustment until he/she gets the lens just right.)

We also listened to Jennifer's vocal as he moved the speakers. It was easy to tell when her voice was harsh and not in sync with the bass. The more Rod moved the speaker into the room, the better the bass sounded and he finally found a location that had great bass sound and extension (smooth and extended). We were hearing bass notes we did not hear where I had my speakers set before. We also found the spot where the vocal integrated with the bass and the rest of the music and sounded very natural. Rod marked the spot and moved the speaker farther into the room and we lost the magic we had at the previous location and the speaker was moved back. Rod marked the spot and we placed the left speaker on the stand at that location. While I didn't time it precisely, it took about an hour, maybe a little longer to find the right location in the room for the anchor speaker. The interesting thing was that Rod, Jake and I were in complete agreement about the location. You really have to experience the process and hear the difference that tiny movements make in the bass response and how her voice integrates with the instruments.

With the anchor set we took a little break and then Rod began working with the right speaker, which he called "swinging the gate." He had us verify that the toe in was equal to the anchor speaker and began moving the spekaer into the room as we listened for the vocal to move from the left speaker to a center image postion equally between the two speakers. After a little trial and error of moving the speaker into the room and then back, Rod found the spot where the vocal imaged in the center. He marked the location and then listened for himself. Next he would move the right speaker farther from the left speaker as we sought the widest soundstage without losing the focus of the vocals in the center. Again, the movements were very small-1/8 to 1/4 of an inch at a time. as soon as he moved the speaker too far, we knew it because the vocal became less focused--more vague if you will. Rod next started listening for balance between the speakers and the room. this required a few more minor movements and it was apparent when we found it. This spot was marked and the speaker was placed on its maple/walnut stand with spikes. In addition to the vocal centering and becoming focused, we heard the bass energy improve.

Next Rod put on several different pieces of music and listened from the couch as we sat behind him. He was listening for dynamics, full bass extension, integration of bass, mids and highs, balance, three diminsionallity and to see if the speakers disappeared. He then took a level and checked each speaker to ensure that it was level side to side and front to back. We listened some more and there were a couple of things that just weren't right. The vocals were too low in the soundstage and when you stood up it seemed as though the music lost some of its excitement. That led to adjusting the rake angle of each speaker a little at a time until the right rake angle was found. We listened some more, Rod did a few more very minor adjustments and VIOLA!--We found the location where the speakers were acting as one. Rod checked this with a level and several different peices of music and told us he was done.

Now it was time for me to listen to music I play all the time which meant it was time to  :rock: Cuts from Eric Clapton Pilgrim; Lindsey Buckingham Out of the Cradle; Wilco Sky Blue Sky; Mark Knopfler Kill to Get Crimson; The Decemberists The Hazards of Love; U2 The Joshua Tree; David Gilmlour In Concert DVD; Leonard Cohen Live in London DVD. I was grinning from ear to ear and just giddy with what I was hearing. My speakers and system had never sounded this good. The sound is very 3 diminsional and it is so easy to close my eyes and get lost in the music.

Jake put on a Telarc pressing of Peer Gynt by the St. Louis Symphony and a Nautilus Super Disc of The Moody Blues On the Threshold of a Dream and both sounded fantastic! One thing Jake noticed was that when I had my speakers in their pre Master Set position, when someone walked in front of the speakers he could tell a difference in the sound, but in the Master Set position when someone walked in front of the speakers, it made no difference in the quality of sound reaching his ears. Also, you could walk from one side of the room to the other or sit anywhere on my sectional and the sound remained focused and emotionally engaging. The "sweet spot" had widened to the width of the room. Rod explains that it is because my speakers are now in sync with each other and acting as "one." Phase distortion between the speakers has been elimnated.

We started the process at around 8:45 and Rod finished the Set a little after noon, then we listened until about 1:30 when it was time to take Rod to the airport. I now understand why Steve is so passionate about the Master Set technique. I didn't know what to expect before Rod started, but I had an open mind, a willingness to listen and trust my ears, and a nothing ventured, nothing gained attitude, and I am sure glad I did. I never imagined it could make as much difference as it has. As jimgoulding says,"listen to your music, not your speakers." I am and loving every minute of it. The Master Set cost me $500 and it was more than worth every penny. Maybe the best $500 I have spent to improve the sound of my system. I also now realize just how good Lou Hinkley's Daedalus loudspeakers are :thumb:

Thank you Steve for mentioning the Master Set technique in this thread and a big thank you to Rod Tomson, my system has never sounded better. I am one happy lady :D :bounce: :guitar: :drums: I may stay up all night listening as I am rediscoveing my music collection.

Boyce, I asked Rod about Maggies/dipoles and he said the Master Set technique works with dipoles. He said he uses the same process of small movements and the "swinging the gate" process with the non anchor speaker is a little trickier. Email him at sales@soundingshifi.com

Happy listening all,

Laura
« Last Edit: 16 Feb 2010, 06:46 am by vinyl_lady »

satfrat

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   Cardas before Set
 
after Set
 
How's this Laura for a side by side comparison?  :D
 
Cheers,
Robin
« Last Edit: 14 Feb 2010, 05:35 pm by satfrat »

vinyl_lady

How's this Laura for a side by side comparison?  :D
 
Cheers,
Robin

GOOD JOB ROBIN! :thumb: That makes it easy to see the difference in placement after the Master Set. Thanks

Laura

TooManyToys

Excellent write up Laura.  Thank you.

jimdgoulding

I'm happy for you, too, Laura, and as much as I'd like to hear your system, I'd like you to hear mine.  You've added a good deal more of the front end of your room into the mix with your new placement.  My room is quite a lot smaller yet reflected waveforms are arriving later.  Me and the dimensionality and instrumental realness in my recordings and room are very happy tho in your large room, perhaps not.  Listen well :thumb:.

JakeJ

Hello Fellow Audiophiles,
 
Vinyl_lady has just given an excellent write up of the mechanics of what Rod did with her speakers so I will focus on what the concepts are and Rod’s explanations of how Master Set works.  He has done over five hundred Master Sets with every kind of speaker made from single driver to panel to large complex multi-ways.  Monopole, dipole, or bipole makes no difference.
 
I’ll start with the statement Rod made to us in his opening explanation.  “You must throw out all your current accepted speaker placement knowledge as it is wrong.”  Pretty strong words but he’s absolutely right and he proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt to both of us.
 
First he explained that the MS placement’s primary goal is for each speaker to pressurize its half of the room.  As a driver receives its signal from the amp it compresses on the positive half of the wave and rarefacts (sucks in) on the negative half.  Our eardrum follows this process and, through the miracle that is the ear, we perceive a sound.  Another part of the equation is that nothing in nature creates its sound in stereo.  All sounds are in mono.  This one took me a minute to wrap my brain around but if you think about it it is true.  When a lightning bolt cracks the sky and it is follow by its thunderclap is there two or one?  When a foot crunches the snow does it make one sound or two?  Then why do we have two ears?  So we can correctly locate the source, that’s why.  The point of all this is to illustrate the necessity of correctly placing both speakers so each pressurizes its half of the room equally and work in unison to create one sound.  This is paramount to a correctly set up pair of speakers.
 
Another misconception is reflection points.  No such thing.  They are pressure reinforcements and, likewise, there are rarefaction reinforcements.  Rod easily demonstrated this by turning and facing the sidewall next to the left speaker he was starting with and spoke to us in a normal tone of voice.  As he moved closer to and further away from the wall surface his voice got louder and weaker, providing more or less pressure reinforcement.  Then as Rod continued talking he moved his head through the turn of the corner to the front wall and spoke into the built-in bass trap his voice got softer due to rarefaction reinforcement caused by the absorption of the trap.
 
The first maneuver, as Laura explained above was to find the anchor speaker’s spot that achieved the deepest bass extension.  Next through minute movement he dialed in the midrange so that it was perfectly integrated with the bass.  While he was finding the first point at which the bass extension became apparent he told us that with just a slight movement forward the midrange would integrate but at that first point of bass extension the midrange was hard and somewhat shouty.  This is normal until the second bass extension point is found and the midrange integrates with the bass.  The speaker was then marked and he placed it on its isolation base.

Next he dialed in the bass and midrange of the right speaker the same way.  Once completed he moved the right speaker left and right slightly until we heard Jennifer’s singing come from the center of the soundstage.  Up on its isolation base and that balanced the vocal height with respect to left and right stage.  Rod used some other material at this point to confirm the bass extension and midrange integration was good and the vocals were correctly placed.
 
The last stage Rod adjusted was rake of the speaker, i.e. how far to lean the cabinet back to raise the vocal height as well as open up the soundstage height.  This adjustment was so miniscule it almost couldn’t be seen but it sure could be heard.  Jennifer’s voice went from dead between the midrange drivers to just above the tops of the cabinets, about a foot and a half in elevation and gave her vocals a much more realistic placement just like a singer in the room.
 
Again Rod played some of his discs, one of which was a classical piece with full choir and orchestra complete with pipe organ.  This one really grabbed my attention as the voices of the choir were beautifully delineated between the sections as was the orchestra and when the organist hit a low bass pedal note the whole room was energized with it.  These deep bass notes simply were not present in the old position.  In addition tympani now had that realistic slam I am familiar with and love in classical music so much.
 
So now, do I think I can go home and dial my own speakers in in a three and three-quarter hour time frame just because I watched a deeply trained and experienced professional do it?  Heavens no!  I do think I have the basic building blocks to start learning the process myself and with hopefully a minimum of paid consultation phone calls I just may be able to master it but it took Rod a couple of years to get the knack so I know it’s not going to come overnight.  But I’m sure gonna try!
 
The Cardas math setup is, in my opinion, great for setting up a nearfield listening system which is fine for my office rig but it isn’t what I want for my primary critical listening system.  I know what I’m after now and I will just have to find the patience to figure it out.  That or hire Rod to do mine.
 
Rod did tell us that he is ramping up training of his staff so they can do more Master Sets as demand is increasing.  He is charging ~5% of the retail value of the speaker to be set.  If, say, several people in a common area wanted the MS performed they could pool their resources for travel and lodging the technician providing the service will do one after the other.  Let’s say three audiophiles in Dallas want to have the service done the tech would come on a Wednesday and do one system per day consecutively then fly home on Saturday.  These are hypothetical scenarios and contacting Rod at Soundings Hi Fi is the best way to work out the details.
 
Now to my own defense, I have done my best to convey the concepts and some of the methods needed to perform the Master Set.  I fully expect my little essay to be picked apart and microscopically analyzed, then disputed and refuted until the cows come home. I will not argue, condescend, or be ridiculed for what I have written.  The naysayers will say nay and throw it all out with baby and bath water.  It’s your choice to not learn.  Laura offered for me to bring three other people along.  I put out the invite to more than a half dozen audiophiles including one in the industry and two reviewers.  Not one taker.  They like the naysayers have learned all they wish to know about music reproduction in the home.  I have not and am comfortable with the knowledge that I never will.  That’s one of life’s greatest rewards, that we have the opportunity to learn from beginning to end of life.  That is my choice.
 
Thanks for reading this.

macrojack

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From Spokane, Rod went on to Vancouver. The Winter Olympics need snow and The Olympic Committee has recognized that Master Set is a very effective snow job. Prepare for a blizzard in Southwest Canada.