The Method of Tuning

System Playback has been evolving ever since the first stereos came out. Folks who have success can’t imagine listening to a system that has not been tuned, folks who haven’t been as successful in their listening tend to go off on their "snake oil" rants. People who buy from the "Recommended Component" list have their Plug & Play approach. The guys using measuring have their camp certainly, and there’s several other audio types out there that have their beliefs to add to the mix. Who’s correct? Well if we can remove our personal egos from this question, they (we) all are correct. The approach that you take as a listener is as legitimate as the next guys, to you. We try pushing our particular belief system on others because we are passionate about it. We have our likes and dislikes and we also have our own reasons why something does work or our blames why it doesn’t. The audiophile world has as many chapters as religious believers has denominations. It’s just the way our minds are built, you grew up on skippy, you peter pan, and you jiff. The audiophile world forgets sometimes just how many opinions and beliefs there really are, until they meet up on places like these audio forums and begin to mix this big bowl of ingredients together.

I’ve started this thread so I can share what I have learned through watching all these mixers turned on and being stuck in the bowl with each other and also from the point of view of someone who has "Tuned" many thousands of you, and have picked up on your own personal developments as masters of your own systems. So before we get going let me tell you something important. No one on the planet of listening "does" audio the way you do. You are unique, and you are a specialist when it comes to your audio adventure. You are all a salesman, because you want others to have that same level of success you enjoy. Audio reviewers, recording producers, component designers and end users are all in the same boat. You might have one or the other on a higher level than the rest, but that really has little relevance when your sitting there with your system and it’s just you and it.

What I would like to do with this thread is level the playing field and talk to you about the oldest technology in all of music (both playing & replaying). Tuning is the most basic and the most advanced technology in making fundamentals and harmonics work in support of each other and every single one of you (us) Tune. We may want to call it something else that sounds more HEA (high end audio) ish, but no matter what we choose to call it, it’s all about taking the audio variables and making them work together. This is what I have been doing all of my personal and professional life. This is also what you have been doing ever since you started to play or playback music.

Just some ground rules for this thread.

First have fun. No one gets anywhere in music if their not enjoying it. If your a sour puss, don’t be surprised if we call you out as one. Personally I don’t mind or care if your a sour puss or not, but speaking for myself, I only have so much time in the day, and if this thread gets too sidetracky & tacky I’ll have better things to do, like making music money, which is a ton of fun.

Second I’m a designer/manufacturer. I am Michael Green of RoomTune and Michael Green Audio. I would imagine over the years 10,000-15,000 Agoners have used my products, maybe more maybe less, maybe only 2 people here have bought some of my stuff. The point is we sell audio products and if someone happens to buy them from this thread don’t get all bent out of shape, sales happen. Also if other designers come up and share their ideas, again try not to get all bent out of shape. Every single one of you are going to have and or get ideas from this thread or about this thread, or about the length of my hair (lol). As far as I am concerned everyone who has a stereo system has a product they want to sell, either physical or intellectually. So? It’s all part of the same soup as far as I am concerned.

Third I and others who come to this thread are free to post long posts. Some topics are not one sentence topics, and this will probably be the case here simply because we will be talking all things audio. And I should throw this in, let me the OP decide if something is off topic.

And last, if I disappear don’t take it like I don’t care. I’m a busy son of a gun and sometimes need a week or 2 to get caught up. Lately I’ve been posting and boring you a lot up here, but when the bell rings for me I’ve got to answer. I work on the US during the day and overseas during the night so that only leaves room for cat naps at best. Everyone here is important and I respect that, and I apologize in advance for my tardiness at times.

I’m ready for some fun are you?

Michael Green

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Let me start off by telling you a couple of things about audio. Audio isn’t a solid mass without motion. 1hz-30,000hz is motion. It’s called lots of names, signal, oscillation, frequencies responses, variable dynamics and dozens more. Whatever your favorite terms are they probably apply. The point is we are on a moving, spinning and timely space. Because music is on the lower end of the frequency scale you are going to have motion and audio itself as part of that motion as an energy source. Now I don’t really care how some of you want to debate what the audio signal actually is. I’m more interested diving right in and you showing yourself that audio is motion. Best way to show you that audio is motion is something you all have already done. Take a component of yours (can be electronic or speaker or whatever) and move it from one surface to another and listen to how the sound has changed. It may be very little or it may be a big change, but a change happened. If you didn’t hear a change we’ll get to that, but most of you can hear the difference. This is your simple test to prove to yourself that audio is motion.

Since audio is motion (you heard it yourself) that means that audio conduits are tunable. No need to over think it, motion and the movement of motion means variable, and that means tunable.

So lets knock out our first fact.

The components you have at your place (environment) taken to a different space will perform differently. Again maybe slightly and maybe a lot. Go ahead and do it. Setup a system in one room at your house and then take that system and set it up in another space. It’s going to sound different. Your system performs Acoustically, mechanically and electrically different when it is in a different environment.

think about that one and I’ll be back

Michael Green

Hi Michael. May I ask, what (band/genre,etc.) is your music preference? Curious because - among other reasons - the music I prefer and listen to regularly is live (recorded) Grateful Dead and extended family. That stated, you mention tuning as being the most basic and the most advanced technology in making fundamentals and harmonics work in support of each other. Joni Mitchell is within the scope of Grateful Dead extended family, and she regularly and purposely tuned her guitar "out" of tune. It sounds spectacular, actually. To your statement about audio being in motion, unless this is applicable to my listening while driving, no, the simple act of moving my amp, DAC or whatever from shelf one to shelf two has no effect. If you get confused, listen to the music play. Best.

So Michael, your telling us stuff we already know.

Yep, this is pretty easy stuff, no mysteries and no debate. Every time any of us move our system around we get a new sound. Now lets get into something else.

Lets play 5 different songs. They all sound different right? Each one of them has a unique arrangement of notes and everything that associates with notes. Now lets take 5 different recordings from different LPs (can be CD vinyl or whatever). Notice that the recordings all sound different? So, each song sounded different and each recording sounded different. Now if you have eaten your wheaties move that system into another space. Play the same 5 songs and then play the same 5 LPs. Yep your right, they all sounded different than in the original space. Go ahead, move your speaker placement around, they still sound different. Bring the same audio furniture into the room, they still sound different. Go ahead and build 2 identical rooms next to each other, and yep rats, they still sounded different. No matter how many different configurations you play with something is different.

Take a look at your music collection. Every single one of these songs sound different, and every LP and every system location sounded different. The reality of playback is if you think about it, there are billions of variable variations. The chances of us playing our whole collection on one stereo to our liking is impossible. We can spend the rest of our listening lives replacing components and we will never come to a completely satisfying set of results. Why? Because audio is variable, audio systems and environments are variable, and we ourselves are variable, and what's more the Earth is variable.

Michael Green

Hi gdhal

"Hi Michael. May I ask, what (band/genre,etc.) is your music preference?"



" Curious because - among other reasons - the music I prefer and listen to regularly is live (recorded) Grateful Dead and extended family. That stated, you mention tuning as being the most basic and the most advanced technology in making fundamentals and harmonics work in support of each other. Joni Mitchell is within the scope of Grateful Dead extended family, and she regularly and purposely tuned her guitar "out" of tune. It sounds spectacular, actually."


Yep, I love Joni too. 

"To your statement about audio being in motion, unless this is applicable to my listening while driving, no, the simple act of moving my amp, DAC or whatever from shelf one to shelf two has no effect. If you get confused, listen to the music play. Best."


What is your amp and DAC? I have never heard an audio component not change sound when moved from one place to the next. Nor has any client I have or any person I know, but that's ok. If your setup is playing all your recordings to your liking you are in a good place.

Michael Green

We can spend the rest of our listening lives replacing components and we will never come to a completely satisfying set of results. Why? Because audio is variable, audio systems and environments are variable, and we ourselves are variable, and what's more the Earth is variable.
Or we can spend the rest of our listening lives just listening and being content with the fact that it's one more day we find ourselves alive.

Yep, life is good!

However, most of the folks who contact me want to go deeper into their listening experience.

Let me give you a recent example. A fella from south america (recording artist) has been looking for a system that lets him focus more on the acoustical guitar and certain drums and cymbals overtones and space. With a tunable setup he was able to do this plus a lot more that makes his contentment level even more rewarding.

As I said in my OP all is ok, but everyone has their own all. You having yours makes me nothing but happy for you. At the same time I doubt this particular listener down there would be very content without having the flexibility he is now experiencing.

Michael Green

What is your amp and DAC? I have never heard an audio component not change sound when moved from one place to the next. Nor has any client I have or any person I know, but that's ok. If your setup is playing all your recordings to your liking you are in a good place.

Musical Fidelity M6si amplifier and Schiit Yggdrasil DAC. And yes, my setup is playing all of my recordings to my liking. 


Thank you for your posts. Saves me buying a book, or hunting down previous posts on similar subjects. I don't mind folks having their say either. I personally (I hate those 2 words together), would like to see if I can get the most out of my system. Even if I am in Australia, I can listen (to my music), read your posts (and learn), and if needs be, do business if I think it will help. Oh, And I love all music, but I am a baby boomer so I have the 60, 70 and 80s preference!


Hi Michael

First of all great to see you here !! I for one have been listening to what Michael have been saying over the years about the methode of tuning. Its amazing as I began this hobby mamy years ago from a basic understanding and concept of listening and tuning my system based on first reflection, moving  speakers away from boundries etc etc. I guess most of us here have read and performed this many times. Only when Michael started talking about pressure zones/laminar flow and on how its affecting our system that took me of to another world of tuning in this hobby. Im sure hell thankful on how much you have contributed over years and giving an in depth understanding on the methode of tuning.

Now to answer about what Michael has been saying that music is always in motion, correct me if im wrong but I believe you are talking about bubbles of pressure zones within our listening area which are affected by objects that are placed within those zones. If that area is of high pressure area (near walls, tri-corner regions) the effect will be more pronounced and if that area is not so pressurized there will still be an audible change but the impact maybe lesser. Now I never realized about it untill I started paying more attention to it after reading about it more on your website. Just by moving my platforms slightly forward or back it had a profound effect towards my soundstage. Over the years of messing around my listening space using your concept has brought out the best listening expereince I have ever had in my system. Some of those recordings that sounded pretty awful now just sounds amazing.

This is where it truly got me thinking on what actually affects the most in our listening expereince (equipments or tuning) !! 
To make it more graphic if I am correct, air pressure waves are similar to water? watch a small wave reflect off the hard surface it meets? And the gets jumbled up in corners or other obstacles? I hope I am on the right track...

Hi Adrian

Here is some reading you might find helpful while I'm doing this thread.

Also while your on TuneLand, you can read up on listeners Tuning their systems in real time pretty much all the way back to 2004, when I started the first TuneLand forum.

One thing that I have always found interesting is, even though there were many reviews on me (and products) and many reports of me at Reviewers' homes or recording studios tuning, somehow HEA as a whole hasn't made Tuning a declaration or connected the dots that Plug & Play is just the beginning of this hobby. And it's not just about me, but think about how many manufacturers and DIY products and projects there have been, and are, that allow hobbyist to change their sound. And another interesting thing to me is, when people try stuff in their systems to see what it does most of the time they're not thinking about the big picture of "everything affects everything else". Plugging or placing something in the audio chain is only the first step in working with our systems as a whole. There's a thread that goes from the beginning (studio) to the end (ears & brain) that is fragile and extremely flexible. Too much of something will make distortion and too little will do the same. That's why I'm going to get into things like the Recorded Code, Audio Code, Audio Chain and Audio language. Any of these can be easily confused. Like for example, a common problem for folks when talking about the audio code many don't understand that the word analog is used as an audio signal term and an audio language term. Analog and Digital are audio languages, but as soon as that language starts to travel through a conduit hosting it, it is now analog the signal. There's a ton of this stuff in our hobby that get intermingled and with that topics and debates can spin all over the place and they don't really need to.

We have 3 basic parts to audio Acoustical, Mechanical and Electrical (the audio trilogy) and they really aren't all that difficult to understand and put to use. But the nature of many EEs get things screwed up, and fast. I've worked with some EEs and they get it and others that have never had a clue how the audio chain works as a whole. But we hopefully will cover all of this here.

Michael Green

Tj, it is great to see you!!

Tj is a "Tunee" (we call ourselves), a member of TuneLand and someone who has recently installed his Tunable Room. Tj is a serious audiophile using Sonus Faber, Audio Research, my stuff and other goodies. What he has to share is possibly more important than me, because he has that 3rd person experience that I think is so important when a designer is presenting something.

So Tj this should be lots of fun.

Yes, I am referring to the Acoustics and also the whole audio chain.

Michael Green

Thank you Michael...
Hi Adrian

Yes in a more descriptive manner thats more or less correct. Picturing it in a more 3D fashion will be like looking at it in a form of bubbles with rippling effects towards the entire listening space in your room.

That being said now imagine placing your sensitive equipments around the area where pressure zones are more concentrated at. What is happening now they are recieving more vibrations. This will cause them to vibrate more. Hence to the next topic that Michael talks about and that is mechanical tuning whichs deepens your tuning towards vibrations that is affecting your sensitive equipments. The method of tuning them is another ballgame all together. Which has another level of profound effect towards your listening expereince.

I am an engineer (or was...retired) but a civil one (not against an uncivilised one), so I understand the physics and air, sonics, some audiology and so on.

I have NEVER given a thought to my stereo or how the speakers are positioned, and what the soundwaves do with the various pieces of furniture, rugs, windows and the odd cat strolling through...

This subject is timely as we are building our dream house (did I say I was retired) and in it is a dedicated sound room, for what my lovely wife calls your boy stuff; until Bach or Beethoven gets turned up. Even the cats come in!

Keep this thread going, please keep it positive (naysayers), I at least want to learn about something new and educational. Most of all, I might get more out of my current system (which changes when the new room is able to be occupied). Adrian

My pleasure Amg

As you do some reading there you will see that I use water as a model a lot. It's a great visual aid when talking about the room.

It's one of those areas where the different handbooks and articles should have explored more, now we will. For years you would always hear or see written "my speakers sound like" as if we hear our speakers. We don't hear our speakers, we hear sound pressure caused by the entire environment. If we begin talking and walk into every room in our house our voice changes. The exact same thing happens if we move our speakers into every room in our house.

How many times do we read what a speaker sounds like? Well that's kind of silly when we know that speaker is going to be play in no two equal environments. All speaker designs probably sound really good in the designers own room, but we're not invited to live at that designers home and whatever space we listen to that speaker it's going to take on the sound of the new place. So in reality we can't really say a review is the golden standard for choosing speakers. And this is where I come in with Tuning. If the speakers are tunable and free resonant they have more of a chance to play in more rooms, and consequently more of the recording and more recordings.

Now in Tj's case, he has a tunable room, so he can virtually put any speaker in his room and come very close to the sound of the designer. The room is the speaker and the speaker is the room.

Michael Green

Hi Adrian 

Hey that's cool and am very happy for your future dedicated room. When I was up and ready to build my own dedicated room the first person I consulted was Michael himself. It was based on his design I built my tunable room and I couldn't be happier with the results im getting.

I am really looking forward to it. I love the expression that the "room" is the stage and what makes that stage is what I am learning.

Cheers A.

Hi Guys. Great post. I must missed it being overly tuned into my other posts lol

Hi Vinny

Welcome to the thread!

Michael Green

Inevitably folks will be coming up trying to get me to compare $100.00 amps against $50,000.00 ones. Let me cut this off at the pass. Cost is not a consideration for me when I’m tuning. I’m looking for how easily a signal will tune with any component. That usually means I have no interest in a good looking massive faceplate and chassis. I look for a very simple design that is lower in mass, a transformer that is easy to move around and I usually like the sound of circuit boards that are not too thick and have a nice low tone when you tap on them. As I’ve mentioned before, if you look inside of the Sherwood 4105 receiver your looking at a nice piece to practice tuning on. There happens to be tons of lower mass amps out there right now to tune with. I’m not necessarily brand loyal although once I find a unit I like using I will give more attention to it’s other family members. I also gravitate to designers more simpler models, before the pressure is put on them to become over built. Over built products are not very appealing to me, too many parts crammed together and usually too close to the heat sinks, chassis walls or transformers.

Michael Green

What is important is whether your ears are sensitive enough to guide you in the tuning.  It is no use talking about tuning if one cannot detect subtle differences in the sound, sound stage, etc.  

Hi Michael

I read your tuneland post and found it extremely enlightening. But it stopped!

I see that there are many aspects to tuning a room, but knowing what to tune and the products where necessary to use is the challenge. I imagine it is going to be a very iterative process.

I really like what you are talking about here and “get it”. I have two questions.

- For those of us who do not have dedicated listening rooms and cannot, repeat cannot, place all manner of boxes, platforms, blocks, panels, topless gear, etc... in/on our living room walls and floors. What is the answer? Many of us cannot place even one box, platform, or panel in our living spaces. Your solutions, as viewed online, unfortunately use these additional devices which are “banned” for some of us 😁

- I find the room correction software used by Lyngdorf in their 2170 one piece solution to be a great alternative and at least part of the solution. It is unique to Lyngdorf and the best digital room correction I have used. It removes sound degrading room interplay and assures your speaker sounds as intended by the builder. Love to hear your comments on digital, and invisible, room correction.
This should be an interesting thread to follow and/or take part in especially when it further develops :-)

Hi AGon

It's cool being here, you guys have been great! I want to and am going to continue my posting if that's ok with you. I've been enjoying it very much.

I know with a subject like Tuning when you get into it you realize how big of a picture it is. It's a completely different listening paradigm than the Plug & Play world you have been use to.

This last week I have been flooded with your emails, so I'm trying to figure out a way to respond and as well get you started, and also help you start or finish your projects. I have a recommendation. If you are starting your tuning quest think about starting your own thread on TuneLand and we can meet there more system specifically. If that doesn't work for you I will do my best to give as much of the answers I can here.

Also, for you doing your room projects, I'm excited that you have contacted me and I'm thrilled to be part of your room design.

Hi Amg

Thanks for visiting TuneLand. Back in 2004 I had to face the fact that I was not going to able to be everywhere and answer every question as they came up so I started TuneLand the forum as a place where I could build the basics of tuning and do the Q&As and also give a place for folks to have their own tuning threads. The first forum (now archive) grew to over a few hundred thousand members so fast that I was overwhelmed. There were several great friends who helped keep up with the flow, but after time it was too much. I had to seriously rethink how to help folks. I started the newer forum and things settled down to a more manageable pace, sometimes lol. Now I do a lot of short stuff on Facebook, while I and web guy build both the forum and website to accommodate.

Here's another older step by step

In this one you can see some of our actual testing setups. I need to put a disclosure here. These pictures are based on our testing and not for the public to try at home. Always consult and use a certified electrician when making electrical changes to your audio system.

There are many of these articles and threads on TuneLand. As Harry Pearson said to me "I never get finished". He would start a concept or writing thought but by the time it needed to be published he was out of gas on that review and always wanted to come back and finish but rarely did. That's how TuneLand seems to me sometimes "it's all there" just putting it all in one place is massive job, because there are endless variables when you consider that everyone is wearing a different and unique set of ears. However if you look on TuneLand at the basics it's all very simple. Someone can get a simple tuning system and be done with all the super tweaked out stuff.

I'm now working on the Rev Combo step by step, which is where most folks buy in at. It's a very powerful yet affordable way to do a high rez tunable system that covers outlet to ears.

Michael Green

Hi Grannyring

Room correction has come a long way over the past 20 or so years. All of the past attempts have added a little more to the solution. Lyngdorf and some of the now next generation products are going to become the norm and very quickly. It's literally a new generation of listening. As I have done the steps physically technology has also been taking the steps for you to be in control. Some folks are going to go the physical route for the sake of purity. There are simply some tones and structures to the music that you can't really do without the real materials and designs to do it with. But, think of all the guys out there that have bought into HEA and have never had the chance to get the most out of it. Seriously almost every one has gone through this, and sadly defended "not the best of sound" forever.

I say this and truly believe it "we are experiencing the new audiophile revolution in real time".

Michael Green

michaelgreenaudioRoom correction has come a long way over the past 20 or so years. All of the past attempts have added a little more to the solution.

I would say that this is partially true what we have now is a system known as Tru-Fi but even that has been enhanced with the discovery of the ICSS factor and this allows those working with Music Reproduction Systems to not practice trial and error modifications, adjustments, and enhancements but to apply properties of the actual components contained within the system to develop realistic reproduction including soundstage of realistic proportion. Those not working with Tru-fi are like children who cannot understand what they are doing within their  Music Reproduction Systems because they lack the understanding of properties that are part of the Tru-Fi experience I am currently working with a pattent attorney so that my ICSS factor knowledge, science and practices do not conflict, impinge or violate preexisting rights that may somewhat overlap with ICSS and of course I will keep all here posted.  

Now, if I can address this statement...

"Your solutions, as viewed online, unfortunately use these additional devices which are “banned” for some of us 😁"

HEA is heading quickly into this new chapter. I believe there is no way, or should we want to, stop it. What this also does though is change the landscape of component and speaker design. For many years HEA has been designing products on a "Fix it" basis. With the new paradigm some of the old theories and maybe even myths get to fly out the window, that's the part I'm mostly interested in. Follow me on this.

On a moving planet, subject to the four fundamental forces of physics, there really are no such things as "inert", "isolation", "discrete" and others in the truest sense. These are terms that HEA designers have thrown at you for quick fix compulsive sales. If you setup a test lab right now with me we would discover, and fast, that "everything affects everything else". Your not going to isolate your component from this planet, because your on this planet. You can dampen your signal or you can tune your signal, but your not going to isolate your signal. In the truest sense of the word, if you would build something that was "inert", that would mean that the only thing that it could rest against would be something else that was "inert". A set of real inert speakers for example would crash through your floor and probably end up somewhere under the surface of the Earth's crust. Now the next one is a real doozy. "Discrete", I hardly have the words to describe how this term has misguided the HEA. Discrete should never had been made into an audio term. I understand the need for terms and my terms sometimes get tortured by others. Like the word "code" , but, audio does not work off of the principles of discrete nor can they because as soon as an audio language (analog or digital) starts interacting with a mechanical conduit it turns to signal, and signal takes on the character of the fundamental forces. In audio there is no discrete.

let me give you an example on this one

Someone the other day said something like he would never use an Equalizer and thankfully I didn't need to respond because one of you answered him back saying "what do you think a crossover is". Our audio chain is made up of parts. Once these parts are energized they interact with the language to become signal (I call it code and will get into why). When that happens everything in the audio pathway becomes an equalizing influence.

What I hope to do is reach a common ground between all of us. There's really no reason for debating over things that don't even matter. What does matter is letting a more realistic side of the hobby to shine through and be used. As the "Tunees" have found, and you will too, it's time for a practical empirically science based hobby to replace all the parts and pieces that got us here. This hobby, more than most, has a tendency to over engineer itself, leading to a world of fixing the fixes. There's no need for this. Physics is only difficult if you make it so.

Michael Green

Thank you guys for letting me do this thread at my own pace, speed and way. Sometimes in this hobby of forumizing the temptation to jump in and be a part doesn’t always go as planned. There’s a sidetrack waiting around every corner and opinions and ideas generated by others that are just going to bust out of the chest like an episode of alien. I just want you to know "it’s all good". I’ve been doing this since 1981 everyday so believe me, I’m in no hurry. As you have ideas, comments or been there done that moments, it’s all part of mingling. If I had more than one brain I wouldn’t know where to put it, so having your brains on this thread is welcome.

So this next part gets a little tougher, but it has had to happen sooner or latter.

HEA is cool, it looks cool, it sounds cool and it’s in a way like a status trophy (for guys mostly). It’s just plain cool! But what happens when the paradigm shift takes place and it becomes all about the soundstage? For example, what if someone told you, you had to place your equipment in the closet so that you could hear the soundstage better? Some of you are freaking out right now, I can see you lol. Your running to your key board to tell me where to go lol. Well, what if you walked into your room and all you saw was the soundstage. You and your wife sitting there enjoying the concert, either looking at a screen/wall to go along with the stage or just the soundstage by itself? I need to tell you that day happened a while ago, but it’s being refined to the place where the connection between audiophile and videophile has met. In fact in a short time from now you will be able to take in your concert by means of hologram, yep right in your living room.

But lets back up to now. What if you were asks another question, what if you were told you would get a better sound and able to play more of your music collection by mounting speakers on the wall? Do you know that most of you who have floorstanding speakers in a room with furniture are loosing at least half of your soundstage and music content? I get emails every week saying "what can I do" from folks who are trying to make a dedicated room speaker work in a living room environment. So that’s two simple things right off the bat, do you have the right room and do you have the right room setup. Why spend years trying to do something that wasn’t meant to be, simply because something got a great review at someone else’s place? One thing we need to rethink is we are not going to force physics.

OK I realize I’m jumping around a little but it’s important to paint these pictures.

Michael Green

Now you have gone too far! LOL! So speakers, both stand mount and tower, in the same room as furniture, are missing at least 50% of the soundstage and music? There is no hope and I am rushing to get a nice BOSE Wave radio. Just kidding. However, you now need to explain why wall mounting is better with furniture. How high? Higher than a floorstander I presume? I would think the negatives would outweigh the positives. Perhaps you are just giving us “suppose” hypotheticals that are not really true and I am taking your post too literally.

Hi grannyring

Yep, I’m a terrible guy, I know. LOL.

Here’s a simple test you can do in your home, and I have many do, as they take one of my field trips. Put on a piece of music and enjoy it in your listening seat for a while. Now go back to that same piece and start it again only this time listen to it standing up. In most listening rooms with furniture and carpet, when you stand up you hear a completely different opening effect than when sitting down. Tell us what you hear if you want, but no need if you don’t. If you play that piece and slowly repeat sitting down and standing up you are going to hear how the room is reacting to the speaker/room/ear combo. You’d be absolutely amazed at how many people get a hold of me to make the speaker/room/furniture judgement call with them.

I did one of my field trips at a fairly well known HEA audiophile here in Vegas not too long ago. He had me come over to check out his gear and stuff that he had been working on, cool guy! He put on a cool piece of music and invited me to evaluate his system (let him know what I thought). I think he was expecting me to sit in the sweet spot and do all my thinking from there.. So, I listened and took in some cues. After I heard what was going on, I got up and started checking out his space so I could see (hear) where what I was hearing was happening. It took me about 3 minutes to see what was holding the recording back and what was working well, at least enough to get started. He invited me back to the chair to listen to his digital setup. I basically did the same thing. I believe that really puzzled him and it seemed maybe no one had ever done that with or for him before.

Grannyring, I think that so many HEA folks have got that mental picture of a system in their minds that they somehow forget what is going on with the physics of replaying a recording. The common sense factor gets thrown out the window, and somehow they try to create some kind of system that defies the natural laws of our world. My job as a designer is not to create a system of HEA looks or, if I may say, a Stereophile-ish cookie cutter stereo. My designing is all about reproducing the soundstage, and how to do it in a repeating consistent way. Looks of course is a big part of the hobby and I work with a lot of interior designers, but the hobby of listening comes down to one thing, that stage. It’s easy to get so into this thought of a HEA system and completely miss what a stereo is intended to do. Many of my system designs are obviously used in a dedicated sort of way with one listening chair and a SAM directly behind the listener, but not every audiophile lives inside of a Michael Green Audio environment. And many listeners end up frustratingly spinning their wheels when their soundstage is waiting for them.

Michael Green

Good to see you here -MG.

when are you going to update the music section of your forum?
I would be interested in reading about titles in rotation in your system.
Happy Listening!

Hi jafant

Now that's the question of the decade! I keep putting in my request for 72 hour days, but so far the lord has not seen fit to grant it.

I do try to post them more on my facebook, but even then, it's not enough. What's even worse, is I have moved into a place so I could be on the strip and also close to the arts district here, where I plan to put some of my systems into the galleries. So (arrrggg) I've moved from my 6 listening rooms to this little space, which I'm enjoying but miss all the rooms. I have a feeling in the future I'll do more rooms here or rent a place above one of the art galleries on one of the streets here. BTW if any of you visit Vegas, come on the 1st Friday of every month and hang out with us on what is called "First Fridays". The town is completely restoring the off strip from Sahara to Downtown. I grabbed one of the Apartments down here so to be close to the action. The property manager was also nice enough to let me rent another apt here which I'm using for a wood curing space but will be putting another system in there for visitors as well when the space is not being used. Would be kind of fun to have a place where audiophiles could come to and have their own little private listening hang out, we'll see.

Anyway back to music, yep I'm pretty serious about getting my listening in. Last night was "Close to the Edge", the stage was huge. The electronic effects were coming from way behind me and then into the frontal area and then by my head and back behind me again. It reminded me of playing "wish you were here" where at lot of stuff starts behind you and come wushing onto the stage in front. I give a lot of credit to the SAM setup and the new Revs.

fun times in Vegas for sure!

Michael Green

You can see my system under virtual systems as an FYI. When I stand the music does sound different in three major ways.

- it becomes more centered on the upper bass and lower mids with female voice and instruments becoming lower in tone. The ambient air is lost and the music is happening below me. Details are lost. Darker sounding presentation.

- bass, especially mid bass is more pronounced. Not sure there is any more bass, but the absence of additional upper frequency detail gives that impression.

- less intimacy with the event. Sounds more distant.  

To me all or most of this is due to my ear’s relative position to the tweeter.
Excellent! MG
good to read that the High End is returning to Vegas. I know that you will play your part in making it happen.
Happy Listening!

Hi Grannyring

Your house has plaster walls?

If you were my client, based on what I am looking at and hearing from you, I would say speakers on the floor like you have them and not mounted on the wall. I like the area around the speakers and that your speakers are on platforms. Those are platforms correct?

I also love working with hardwood floors and you have done a great job of using the wood/rug arrangement. If you ever ran into things closing in a little or getting bright, I would have a few things to bring up on the vibratory side, but to me it looks like you have a certain sound you like and have tuned your system to that sound. I would probably want to have you do a couple of listening references for me and see if you want to explore making the system a little more variable, but that would mean changing out some of the equipment dampening you have done.

That said, that’s a cool looking rig you’ve got there sir. You’ve done a great job of putting things together. A system to be proud of and many hours of great listening. Now what’s for diner, I’m coming over.

Michael Green

The walls are common sheetrock and a new build. I am open to changing out equipment damping. System is very open sounding. However love to learn more about vibratory considerations.

I will  plan on reading all I can from your Tuneland. Am I the only one not able to access Tuneland with my Apple devices? I get this error “ Safari cannot open the page as a server cannot be found”.
It opens the site for a split second, then quickly goes to the error message above. Not something I experience elsewhere.

Thank you for the kind words! 

Hi Grannyring

Oh, that's good news (the sheetrock). The floor, is it on joists or is it on concrete? Also if you don't mind can you email me a 360 view of the space.

I've also sent out an email to my IT, hopefully we can get this Safari loading figured out. I know recently the hosting company did a domain name change on TuneLand so I'm even wondering if this is the case. Any way it goes, we'll get it figured out.

On the vibratory side of things, absolutely! We will need to use your ears as my test equipment. If it's ok with you I will start a thread on TuneLand so I can keep track of where we are through pictures and words. Hopefully we can get the web thing figured out but in the meantime it will help me not loose info we share about your progress. Just let me know if that's ok first. thanks

Michael Green

25 years ago, the audio "experts" were telling folks to "kill the room". Of course you can’t really cut off a rooms acoustics. Can you imagine lol, if you some how turned off the room’s acoustics the room itself would collapse. There isn’t a home in all the Earth, that has walls, that doesn’t have pressure. On Earth pressure is an important energy conduit that helps to equalize the Earth’s surface. Yet the HEA’s trusty handbooks have said "kill the sound". The method of Tuning says "tune the pressure". The relationship between the speaker and room and the ear works the most efficient when they are all tuned together. Let me show you how this works.

I (RoomTune) took several bandrooms and did an experiment. We treated the bandrooms with regular direct absorption products and had the students hold a practice session. The sound wasn’t echoing anymore, but the music sounded dull, lifeless and it was hard to tune the instruments. It was also hard for the director to close his/hers eyes and point to the instruments that needed to be tuned up. We then took down the dampening panels and installed RoomTune. The room became sonically organized, more dynamic, and non-fatiguing, the students could now easily tune their instruments and when we did the close your eyes tests with the directors, they were able to point out any of the instruments. This was documented by UMI (united musical instruments).

When you place a speaker in a room, it takes on the character of that rooms "pressure". If you direct dampen that room you dampen the music content itself. It’s just like dampening the inside of a speaker. If you talk into a dampened speaker you will hear the sound of the fill material. Likewise if you walk up to an acoustical product using Guilford cloth or acoustical foam you will hear your voice dull. Same will happen if you talk into your stuffed cloth chair and sofa. And while your at it get down and talk to your padded carpet (don’t let your wife or friends see you). The same sound you hear your room’s fixtures soaking up are the same sounds that will be gone in your playback. Most rooms are like a variable version of LEDE, only it’s all around you. Your speakers, have been voiced to the factory’s dampening, diffusion, reflections, playback system and personal taste. If you have heavy stuffed speakers with not much sound when you tap on them, they are the most locked in sounding speakers and usually require more work finding the right place to put them per recording. They also are commonly the most revealing sounding "fixed" speakers on certain music but play fewer recordings, because they are so particularly voiced in. They can be heaven in the right room/right recording, and hell in the wrong/with the wrong.

Most of us have dealt with many different types of speakers in many different types of rooms and already know the obvious "the room/speaker/ear are all one". They all three are dependent on each other and are all three unique to every listener. When your at a buddies house or show and it sounds horrible just keep in mind to the next guy walking in it may sound the best he's ever heard. When you get past the "one sound system" stage in your hobby things start making more sense. One of the major realizations is listening subjectivity. When I hear someone say "that's a bad recording" or "that component sounds awful" I don't necessarily roll my eyes, but I'm thinking "to you". There's a few things in this hobby that I think are (no other way to put it) weird, and someone judging the sound for the next set of ears is one of them. That's absolutely a discussion for the beginners. You can be in this hobby for 50 years but if you make a judgement call for somebody else's hearing your in a different hobby than individual listening. Doesn't mean your wrong just doesn't make you right, for them.

On this thread you will see that tuning is for the individual. Maybe the rest of the room may enjoy an over all sound, but it doesn't have to be the case. Tuning is about being able to go anywhere.

Michael Green

OK, ready? Now I need to cover this. This is a biggie and can change the hobby for you.

Folks ask me all the time why I choose what they would call "Mid-Fi" over High End. They get upset that I like the sound of inexpensive products over the mega buck ones. Well hopefully I can answer this with enough detail. Have you ever closed the door on your Maserati and realized you’ve just left the keys in the car? You walk around it scared to death your going to damage it getting back in. You notice you’ve left your phone in there as well. And your standing in a parking lot that you know if your wife finds out your going to be served.

Well, think about that for a minute. High end audio is full of folks who have never setup their system to the max. Their scared to death of the warranty being void, so they never undo the shipping state of the unit. There goes a third or even half of the performance. At best they plug & play their system together as if it does magic tricks, like tuning itself to the recording playing. And, after spending all that money don’t even dare to challenge the WAF. That’s called locking your keys and phone in the Maserati
and worried your wife will find you in that parking lot. Your thinking "well at least I have a class A recommended system". My friends (I say this as nice as possible) that’s not an active system able to play all music. That’s an audio museum that a few times a week gets taken out for a ride down virtually the same road every time.

Having an expensive system, has very little to do with sound performance. Please no tomatoes! Don’t get me wrong, that system may very well be the best audio system in the the designer’s home, with the designer’s ears, with the designer’s favorite music. And, before you shoot me, maybe you happen to have the same hearing, home designer and favorite music collection (as your designer), but what if it comes up that there is the slightest of chances you want to be able to focus on the hall of that live recording just a little bit more than the acoustical guitar? You know it’s on the recording, cause you’ve heard it before. Are you going to plug in another amp, move your speakers all over the place, change out the cables, feet....? The question is really, what if you had an infinitely variable system? For myself, I don’t need components with big over built chassis, I don’t need heavy dampened speakers, I don’t need huge crossovers to fix my complicated drivers. I don’t need thick cables to carry the fragile signal or stands made out of space age materials. I certainly don’t need huge capacitors and transformers (I’m only using 1 cap in my speakers). I don’t need to keep adding dampening materials to my room. The brakes squeal till the car comes to a halt, Wait A Minute! Why do I need a complicated system if audio isn’t that complicated?

My friends we have completely over built this hobby into a plug & play nightmare. HEA has gone way overboard and turn the hobby into EE fix it’s. They’re not needed! If you think about it, they’re not even wanted. We’ve got guys who only understand amps dictating to guys who only know speakers, playing in rooms that are over dampened, with equipment that only has one volume control trying to play recordings that all are recorded differently. And to boot we all have different hearing. It’s not complicated that we need, it’s simplicity. If you have a variably tunable simple system, you will out perform that Maserati sitting in that parking lot, every time.

The big overbuilt HEA is fun, it's cool, it's manly, it's also not needed to get great sound and to play more music. In fact the over build fix it part of the hobby has taken over the hobby itself. All of these complicated crossovers wouldn't be needed if the room and speakers worked together. You can see the logic here right? The reason folks are leaving the HEA part of the audiophile hobby is because they are finding that simplicity with a variable method out performed their expensive system. Like I've been saying this is happening in real time. The more people convert to simplicity and control over their hobby, the more they are moving away from pricy band aids.

Michael Green

Hi Michael,

Well, you did it there. Honestly, a lot of this hobby has long been about showing off how much one can afford. There's a lot of the overblown and pompous, not everywhere, but there's too much of look at what I've got and not enough fun. That drives people away.

I remember in 1974 or so I went to see Mott the Hoople and second on the bill was Bachman Turner Overdrive. Nobody took them seriously. Honestly, three fat guys from Canada with a drummer. Three bass players, really. Easy to laugh at for deep musical involvement and serious art.

They were fun though. That's something about fun, when you start taking it seriously it stops being fun. I thought that BTO was great for just that reason. I look at a lot of HiFi as serious art, the fog starts to drift over the stage, here we get a statement from an artiste intent on passing a message.

Sorry, sometimes I'm in the mood for that. Usually I'm not. There was an old truism in the sixties that went something like this "when they stop dancing and sit down to intently listen the part is over". It's been a long time so I know I've got the quote wrong but not the intent.

I like looking at the pretty and overblown exotica as much as anybody in this hobby. I stopped worshiping it long ago. It's not about equipment. Equipment is the means to an end. I can frequently have as much fun building an amp in the garage while listening to some old Sansui speakers on a cheap receiver as I can get while listening to fancy pants stuff in the living room. Check that, I usually have more fun in the first situation than in the second.

It's all in what you want, what makes it fun for you.

Have they stopped dancing?

Think I'll take a look.

Hi Lance thanks for joining the thread!

On this thread it's time to compare 2 systems to see who's would be the best at playback.

System (A) or system (T)

System A consists of any combination of discrete componentry plus "factory tuned" speakers we choose with a $1,000.000.00 limit.

System T consist of a limit of $200.00 for receiver or integrated amp, $50.00 for CDP. $6,000.00 for tunable speaker/sub combo and another $6,000.00 for wires, cables, platforms, tuning blocks and acoustical treatments.

A couple of times on this forum comments have been made that there is no way the budget system can out perform the all class A million dollar all star system, but in doing the actual setups over the last 20 years system "T" has been chosen over 90% of the time (the 10% never took the challenge serious).

Your thinking "how can this be"? Well look back at what an audio system is. An audio playback system is an electrical, mechanical and acoustical audio chain (including environment), that host a variable signal. The signal itself is tunable because it is being hosted by physical conduits. When you have a system that is variably tunable playing a variable signal you are able to "tune" the system in to the signal, and the signal into the system. It works just like tuning instruments. When your looking at strictly performance, the best sounding componentry are the pieces that get along with the fundamental forces and not against them. A system for example that is in-tune and 3db up doesn't need over built crossovers, or chassis or heavy parts, it simply needs to play and play in-tune with the recorded code. If you tune your system to your recording and room, you will have an accurate reproduction of the performance.

HEA's version of playing music isn't necessarily the highest level of performance. In fact in most cases the HEA mega over built high buck systems have limitations that you don't find with "system T" types. One of these limits is when we are dealing with signal/field interactions. Another one is vibratory structure matching. And a huge one is speaker/room interfacing. HEA created a world that isn't needed to playback recordings more accurately and musical. Remember, not too long ago folks were saying "Kill Vibrations", "make a dead room" and "shield magnetic fields". All of these subtract from a recording's signal. These aren't necessarily bad things if your trying to focus in on a particular part of the recorded code, but if your wanting to open up that same recording you will need to be able to go in the opposite direction. In other words we're squeezing and opened up the signal to give different results in our soundstage. But where HEA went overboard is when they made units that squeezed the signal so much that it started creating sonic holes in the soundstage among other problems. In the end of all the squeezing you end up only being able to play fewer and fewer recordings with a believable sound.

You can take these same recordings and put them on a low mass system and tune them in to the point where you can virtually create any size stage you want and as well as much focus as you wish.

Michael Green

Bad recordings Vs Non-playable recordings.

Back in the early 90's I traveled around showing reviewers how to tune in recordings. You might be surprised to hear this from me but go back and read about it in the Audiophile rags. Yep, Stereophile, TAS and the others didn't know recordings could be tuned. Or should I say that systems could be put in-tune to a particular recording. I spent 3 years traveling & tuning, showing folks that simple systems could out perform the more expensive over the top built ones. Some of you might remember me coming to your store. When I was allowed, I would do my talk in the ultra high end rooms, but also did a simple setup in usually smaller out of the way rooms with inexpensive systems the store had. I'm not sure the store owners were very happy with me at times, but the response to these setups, one sold tons for the store, and two showed another more practical side to the hobby. I remember back then the industry would try to separate the "audiophile cheapskate" from the HEA recommended components, but the truth of it was almost always the less expensive systems (made tunable) beat the tar out of the big boys. Back then I wasn't setting out to put down the expensive components, I was simply making the best sound. This became a source of conflict between me and the HEA to a degree, but I always knew things would work themselves out in the end. Ultimately audiophiles are going to come home to their first love, their recording collections and their favorite ways to play them.

Did you ever think about this, why do folks go to such pains to cry "Bad Recording" whenever their system can't play it? In the last 15 years this has gotten really out of line, to the point where folks have created their own out saying "my system is revealing" to the point that it can pick out bad recordings. My friends this is an HEA myth from hell and if you are stuck in it you could use an audio priest. Yep, there might be 1% of copies or recordings that have fallen between the cracks. And I'm not saying you might have bought that 1% in your life. What I am saying is, beside factory defects, chances are almost every recording in your collection is just fine. So why all the bad sound? That's a question you should be asking HEA. The answer is a simple one, if a system is not able to play a recording successfully it means that recording has not been "Tuned" to that systems setup.

If we took a field and built 1000 identical rooms and put a different system in each room, and took your "bad" recording and played it in those rooms that recording would sound bad like you've described in some rooms, but probably to your surprise that same recording would sound between Ok to audiophile approved in some of these rooms, maybe many of them. And I guarantee would sound fantastic with the tunable systems. How is this possible? Or the better question is, how has HEA failed to discover and teach you this reality? How can HEA sell you a component that is limited in playing back music? If you think your one sound system is able to judge recordings come on up to the check out counter, your done. HEA has successfully sold you your cats meow. But you know what, most of you would be lying through your teeth. Most of you are still going round in that HEA revolving sales door hunting for the next component. That's ok if your a component collector. But what about if you want to play that recording and your system is not allowing that to happen? Well some of you have bought several copies until you find one that works for you. But lets say the store is closed and your stuck with the bad sounding one? Again most of you are going to say, it's the recording and you would be right, at least half right. One of these things is not working. Either the recording is not working with your system or your system is unable to play that recording. That exact recording played on another system will sound fantastic, happens all the time, all day long.

Michael Green

Hi Michael: This is getting interesting.

I think most acoustic engineers would agree that mounting your speakers in the wall solves the SBIR problem and provides a smoother low end frequency response.

Your bold assertion that “Mid-Fi” electronics can deliver great sound if the system is set-up well goes against the grain here. However, the fact the HEA is a declining hobby is in part a testament to that reality and a lot of people agree with you. HEA and the supporting ecosystem jumped the rails a long time ago.

I don’t think playback equipment can be divorced from recording quality since they both make up the system. Different speakers can put a different emphasis on a recording. My old Klipsch Heresy speakers are a good match to the old rock albums of the 70‘s and 80‘s. Play those same songs on my Sonus Faber speakers and all I hear is Billy Joel telling me I can get more milage from a cheap pair of speakers. To me, the impact of recording quality is self evident when you play CD’s from Blue Note or Chesky as a comparison.

I just listened to a YouTube presentation by Mark Waldrep talking about High Res Audio and there are clearly ways to screw up a recording. And those subtractions cannot be recovered even in a “tuned” system.

Hi Mike

Thanks for taking the time to post on this thread.

What you said is very important and is why I am here with this thread. The hobby has had enough time and experience now to move from a fixed approach "plug & play" to a variable one. For example, what if you had a 3rd option? You have the Heresy (great speakers) and you have the Sonus Faber (also great speakers). What if you could make the Sonus sound like the Heresy and vice versa? What if HEA was variable instead of fixed? Listeners walk into music shops every day and tune the instrument they are about to play. Once the paradigm shift happens from fixed to tunable, we will be looking back at speaker design (as a example) and wonder about the days when they were built for one sound.

Keep in mind I'm not saying a Gibson is a Fender, but what I am saying is they both need to be tuned to play the same note.

I'll take a peek at Mark's video, thanks.

Michael Green

Hi Mike

I just watched Mark’s video and my take away was somewhat different from yours, but that’s ok. From what I saw him saying, red book CD has more than enough info to tune. The other comment I would make about Mark’s video is he doesn’t tune his playback setup, so it’s a little of an apple and oranges thing, which is ok too. Now if Mark and I did a tuning session together that would be more interesting for me at least, but I didn’t see him getting into playback. BTW, I was a tape runner as well so can relate to his style, which is cool. I'm all for recording improvements for the now and future and also love tuning a system to the recordings past. Mark and I are on the same page CD vs Vinyl, I prefer CD Redbook to vinyl (tuning dependent of course).

Michael Green