Novum Resonator Alternative


Hi Members,
In the last few years since it has appeared on the marketplace, I have been really curious about this device. Some of you may not know it by name, but it is the bronze circular device that looks a lot like a cymbal used for drums, but with a deeper profile, and an integrated brass stand.
For the average audiophile, the price is prohibitive at around $2,200.00. Based on professional reviews, and comments by actual users, I felt convinced that for whatever reasons, this device worked. For myself, it was out of the question to even consider purchasing one as it is far beyond my budget.
I want to say right here before going on that I am certain the whoever designed this device put time and thought into the size, material and profile in order to produce the desired effect/improvement.
Still, after a couple of years, it occurred to me one day that there was no harm in trying one of several types and sizes of actual drum cymbals that I have to see if they had an effect that was positive. Based on past tweaking experience, I really didn't have any doubt that there would be a sonic difference, it was more a question of good, bad or indifferent.
I am not posting this really as a review, and I have the feeling that there are likely to be hundreds of others who have already tried this. I am really just suggesting that if you are, like me, curious about the effect, you could experiment with borrowed cymbals or ones that you own, and see for yourself what you think.
In my case, I used a wooden fold-out stand that you would use to display a decorative plate, and after experimentation with a medium weight 16" crash cymbal, as well as a heavier hi-hat cymbal, I settled on the crash.
I will say that I started using it three days ago, and for me, that is not enough time for thorough analysis, but I am pleased with the effect thus far, and am leaving it where it is.
My point here is really to see if others have tried it, and if not, to encourage you to do so and reach your own conclusions. Again, in my view, it's a poor man's substitute, and if I could afford the real thing I would, but with that said, I am surprised and happy with the result in my system thus far.
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I know of the device you're talking about. And while I think you'll definitely hear a difference with it in your system, I don't buy the claim that it works as a resonator. To me, it looks like a reflector. A good example would be cupping your hands to your ears when you are having difficulty hearing something. You'll hear more detail and focus.
I agree with both of you.. it is a sound director and an acoustic resonator. While the front side is directive the back side is reflective so positioning to the rear wall is important.

Like Roxy I wondered if this unit could be mimicked in some way with a cymbal many of them being a similar strain of bronze. The Novum does appear to have greater mass and therefore greater energy storage than your typical cymbal. Using a cymbal would give a useful sense of direction and possibility.

What I have done in the past and again just in the last few days is to add Audio Points and even brass coupling discs to 1 or more room surfaces in my listening room.

My room is 27-21.5-9 ft. and you would not think that the acoustic weight or influence of a single brass 1.5 wide body Audio Point would make any difference but it did and does. With my usual audio crew on board I threaded one to a wall panel that placed the point tip a couple of inches above the acoustic center of the tweeter with the tip actually pointed down at the carpeted floor.

The result of this add on was a more direct and focused stage and a sensation that there is less lobing affects from my 1st order crossover. There was a consensus of more acoustic air and a change in the bass that is apparent but hard to describe.

I then went to similar panels on the side walls and added brass but of greater mass and a different shape than the one on the front wall. All of these were at the same height. These additional shapes and mass widened the stage and placed more air overhead. More than real for sure.

I then placed at the back wall one on each of the 2 panels a 2.5 inch coupling disc laying flat atop the frame . If you were 7 ft tall you could see where these were located. These 2 seemed to stretch the sound from front to back creating a multi channel surround effect from my 2 chn system. May use these when watching a movie on a recessed projection screen.

At this point (pun intended) I will keep the single point up front.

I have threaded brass inserts placed into the drywall ceiling out just slightly from the corner molding. In the past I have tried other geometric shapes of various mass and locked into these positions, these also made a difference..Again who would think something so small in an area so large would make a noticeable change.

I also have a few that are designed to increase the volumetric speed and direction of the air flow. With a slight change in the direction face of the aperture you can steer upper frequencies where ever you like or dislike. These can be pretty damn bold and will take careful placement and adjustment before becoming a permanent part of my system.

The point is that all these shapes and masses make for a change in audible and visual perception, in this case they were all immediate. Too much of a good thing even these small things can become a bad thing..but this gives me a basis to move forward with additional shapes and placement strategies. Tom. Star Sound Technologies
Roxy

Looking at your thread 18 hours later it seems as if I barged in. Sorry about that intrusion.

What you have started here is very interesting and your methods and observations should be shared. I for one am not a user of damping materials and I am always looking for acoustic energy reuse redirection and conservation methods in my listening area.

I would like to know if there was a change in sound and what affect there was when you reversed the the top for the bottom of the cymbal as the focal point would have been changed? Also would you consider hanging other cymbals from the ceiling in the corners as these would make for a considerable change in both diffusion and direction of the sound field. It maybe that more is not better overall but the fact that the sound field can be bent and adjusted is a valid use for such devices and their placements versus the more usual overkill. The learning process and observation may prove of value.

I have found that the placement angle of devices in the corners is also very apparent. A variation of a few degrees changes the whole perception and placement of instruments within the recording. Tom
Roxy

I too tried this exact experiment a couple months ago with a very thick 15" crash. Not sure if the effect was resonance or wave focus or both, but after about five tracks I pulled out the cymbal and replaced it with a large throw pillow and the throw pillow has stayed. And it probably will stay until I am motivated to properly solve the apparent bass node problem centered between my speakers.

Just for giggles I moved the cymbal to the back of the room. Standing next to it I could hear it ringing. So it went back into storage.

For the reasons stated up thread this simple experiment does not rule out positive effects from the Novum.
I do believe in Acoustic Resonators & plan to get my listening room treated with resonators from Franck Tchang. Really remarkable products! Better still, I'll have the opportunity of having the master himself personally treat my room...no hit and miss. But of course, all that costs money.

In some ways, using DIY solutions or cheaper generic resonators & experimenting with setup is a more rewarding path as you get a better understanding of why certain materials work and others don't, and learn what works where.
There's a foundry not far from my home that makes brass plates for trophies and such and I always wanted to try one of their products since they're thicker than cymbals and have the desired shape. Looking at this thread reminded me.

There is definitely something going on here with the reflective qualities of these devices. A couple of audio shows ago I was at a demo and one of Tchang's little bowls had fallen over in front of a speaker. There were many placed around the room. Shortly after the music started someone went over and righted the bowl and the sound reacted like someone threw a bowl of cold water on it.

I couldn't believe the difference.

All the best,
Nonoise
Roxy

You could try bolting together a pair of Hi Hat cymbals and hear what happens with this higher mass combo. The pair maybe more similar in weight to the Novum resonator. If they rattle when joined you could place some felt dots between the 2 when screwed together or better yet couple them with a few .2AP.7D's in between. Tom
Thanks to all for the interesting and informative responses.
Tom,
You certainly weren't barging in on the thread. I am honored to hear your comments , having used your products for years now.
I was especially intrigued by the idea of experimenting with others throughout the room, since I had given consideration to that. The idea of suspending them from the ceiling was also interesting, since I look at the original Novum design and wonder how the attached legs affect the resonance, or damp it, as grabbing a cymbal with your hand after striking it does.
The usual questions of how much is too much and optimal placement apply here, and
Thanks to all for the interesting and informative responses.
Tom,
You certainly weren't barging in on the thread. I am honored to hear your comments , having used your products for years now.
I was especially intrigued by the idea of experimenting with others throughout the room, since I had given consideration to that. The idea of suspending them from the ceiling was also interesting, since I look at the original Novum design and wonder how the attached legs affect the resonance, or damp it, as grabbing a cymbal with your hand after striking it does.
The usual questions of how much is too much and optimal placement apply here, and I was wondering about using one on the inside edge of each of my speakers near the midrange horn.
I also need to do much more experimentation on the distance of a centrally placed cymbal on a stand from the back wall, and at the present time, the stand can only sit on top of my CD transport which is probably higher than optimal, but again, I'm in no way qualified to say that.
What I can say is that there is definitely an audible difference to my ears, and that difference seems positive so far, so I am going to try some more experimentation. The idea of putting the two hi-hat cymbals together is a good one, and I'll try it. I'm also curious about trying them on side wall first reflection points, or back corners as you were suggesting Tom.
It's an interesting subject for sure, and I'm still interested in the experiences of others.
Thanks, John
Sorry for the partial post that went up first; I don't know what happened. I looked up at the screen, and it said your comment has been posted. That has never happened before, but the window was still opened to continue writing, so I finished it. Strange...
Brief update:
I spent 5 days off and on experimenting with single and multiple drum cymbals in in between the speakers, at first reflection points on the sides, and behind me. I even put one at the exact height of the center horn on my speakers in between them, on a cymbal stand with the bottom of the cymbal facing my listening position.
My conclusion was that the very first thing I tried was the best. That is a 16" medium crash cymbal sitting on a wooden plate display holder on top of my CD transport, which is far higher than you would think would be its most effective position. It is 59" from the floor to the center of the cymbal, while the distance from the floor to the center of the horn on my speakers is 35".
In this position, there is a very noticeable effect, but it's hard to describe. I would first describe it as more presence, but it goes beyond that. There is no sense of ringing or overhang, quite the opposite. Things seem smooth, but more focused. I still can't really put my finger on the description of the effect, but it is very positive for me, and I am leaving the cymbal in place. I will say that the effect is plain enough to make it audible from another adjacent room.
I want to state again that I don't think that this is a drop-in replacement for the Novum Resonator, although I have never heard one, I'm sure it's probably much better. Still, it was nice to find out that something that costs a small fraction of the Novum is also effective in improving the sound of my system.
I think if you have a friend who can loan you a cymbal, you should try it. I want to mention that I also experimented with single and doubled hi-hat cymbals, which were smaller but heavier, and the effect was not as pronounced or as pleasing. I did not try a large ride cymbal.
Why play games? Just get a gong and do it right.
Zd542,
That would be a little hard to fit in my room, but they are pretty cool. I wonder what that would sound like.
"In this position, there is a very noticeable effect, but it's hard to describe. I would first describe it as more presence, but it goes beyond that. There is no sense of ringing or overhang, quite the opposite. Things seem smooth, but more focused. I still can't really put my finger on the description of the effect, but it is very positive for me, and I am leaving the cymbal in place. I will say that the effect is plain enough to make it audible from another adjacent room.
I want to state again that I don't think that this is a drop-in replacement for the Novum Resonator, although I have never heard one, I'm sure it's probably much better. Still, it was nice to find out that something that costs a small fraction of the Novum is also effective in improving the sound of my system."

The effect is like cupping your hands on your ears when you're having trouble hearing something. Its like what a telescope does. A telescope gathers light and allows you to see things you normally can't with the naked eye. The cymbals are not. But instead of gathering light, they gather sound. You can do something similar if move your listening chair right up against the back wall.
That is not the case at all Zd. If you have not tried it yourself, your theory is just that, a theory.
I don't claim to know how it works, but the effect is not like cupped hands or moving toward the back wall, as I've done both.
"09-15-15: Roxy54
That is not the case at all Zd. If you have not tried it yourself, your theory is just that, a theory.
I don't claim to know how it works, but the effect is not like cupped hands or moving toward the back wall, as I've done both.
Roxy54 (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

You assume a lot for someone who can't explain what's going on. The cymbals are acting as reflective room tuning devices. Take that, and your description of the differences in sound you hear, and its the same effect you get when you cup your hands to your ears. Of course using a cymbal and cupping your hands won't sound identical. The scale is completely different. When you cup your hands, the effect will be much larger because your hands are right by your ears, where the cymbal is far away. Its the same effect, but just less. I didn't go into such detail because I thought you would see that. Its pretty obvious.

Also, I've been playing the drums since 2nd grade.Try the Piaste signature series if you want the best sound.
Zd,
I think it is a shame that you respond to so many posts the way that you do. There are times when your responses are clear, helpful and well informed.
Unfortunately, as in this case, they are sometimes a blend of 80% unsupported opinion, and 20% rancor.
It is fairly clear that neither of us have much in the way of facts, and I have admitted that, but as someone who is using the cymbal, I have told you that it is not the same as cupped hands; and it is not just a matter of degree as you say.
And no, it isn't pretty obvious. They do certainly fall ino the category of room tuning devices as you say, but that is still not remotely close to cupping your hands in back of your ears, which is really amplifying the sound at it's destination, which is quite different.
The point of my posts on this subject was simply to encourage other members to give it a try, and see what they think about the result; not to argue the cause of the effect.
"And no, it isn't pretty obvious. They do certainly fall ino the category of room tuning devices as you say, but that is still not remotely close to cupping your hands in back of your ears, which is really amplifying the sound at it's destination, which is quite different."

Read my post again. I never said it was exact. Regardless of what you say, the cymbals are reflecting sound. Look it up in a text book if you don't believe me. Cupping your hands by your ears is also reflecting sound. Again, look it up. Just because the cymbals don't have the same sonic signature as your hands, the underlying concept is the exactly the same. That would be like listening to a pair of speakers that sound very different than the ones you have, and as a result you came to the conclusion that the other speakers are not speakers.

Zd,
I think it is a shame that you respond to so many posts the way that you do. There are times when your responses are clear, helpful and well informed.

"Unfortunately, as in this case, they are sometimes a blend of 80% unsupported opinion, and 20% rancor."

I don't suppose you can back that statement with some examples? I'd love to know how you came up with an 80 20 split.
Never mind. I guess it's hard to make sense when you're always angry.
No big deal. I sometimes get angry myself. It happens.