This is a discussion that for me began on the Stereophile forum which went horribly wrong in my opinion. I was wondering though if this same topic could be discussed here as it comes up a lot in one form or another. My background has been about vibratory tuning as far back as the 70's work in the recording industry and continued into home audio and beyond. The audio signal is one that can be easily tuned, I doubt there is much room there for debate, but we will see, it's Audiogon after all. This being the case I have always concluded that the audio signal is vibratory so has anyone I have ever worked with. It's a common and sometimes even daily practice for someone here to make a vibratory adjustment changing the sound which is obvious to all.
On some of these forum threads however you will see posts saying to get rid of the vibration, without any explanation as to how to remove vibration without altering the audio signal. Every vibratory move I have ever seen done changes the performance of the sound. I've also been a part of the variables of the audio signal during play in real time. If the audio signal is not vibratory how does it change?
I invite you to discuss the vibratory structure and nature of the audio signal.
Sound is, in the simplest term, a vibration. No vibration, no sound.
It might have been inaccurately repeated to "get rid of vibration" and then also oversimplified during reading. Probably the actual "argument" is to leave the outside (not in an audio signal from the beginning) vibration out/suppressed so not to influence the sound in an, presumably, unsatisfactory way.
Now, some may actually find fiddling with "outside" vibration and subsequent results to their liking while some may consider it an anathema.
Of course, the $64K question is whether the audio signal in electronics is vibratory. Everybody and his brother agrees the acoustic waves in the room produced by the speakers are vibratory.
The reason that’s the $64K question for those who haven’t had their pick me up this afternoon, is because of the whole argument as to whether it’s better to let vibrations run free in the system or to isolate electronics from them. Talk amongst yourselves. Smoke if ya got em.
Imo the lack of any clear definition of the "vibration" makes the discussion only marginally useful. Specificity would force a discussion of methodology. A nebulous endorsement or resistance to "vibrations" I find not much more meaningful than marketing. i.e. "Want to banish harmful vibrations? Then you need our product!" :(
Once again, imo, expending one's efforts at "vibration" control as opposed to focusing on the signal path and quality of equipment (i.e. synergy) to be majoring in the minors, and minoring in the majors. YMMV
i.e. When a person elects to use a smallish box speaker and then tune the crap out of the room, the stand, etc. they have already forfeited any chance they had to approach SOTA by the methods used. They have chosen to employ their resources on what is a more negligible aspect of performance rather than vastly improve the overall performance by expending time/money on a far superior speaker, i.e. one that can reach lower in LF.
This is not meant as a troll, but rather a perspective from someone who employ�s radically different means to approach superior sound. One thing is for sure; there are some vastly different perspectives and methods going in this hobby. You pick your authority, and you get your results! :)
Everybody knows phono pickups (cartridges), loudspeakers, and microphones are considered transducers because they convert one form of energy to another; pickups from groove modulations to an electronic signal, loudspeakers form an electronic signal to acoustic sound waves, a microphone acoustic sound waves to an electronic signal. Once acoustic energy has been converted to an electronic signal, to what degree is that signal effected by vibrations?
Power transformers create enough mechanical vibration that removing one from a high-gain component (an RIAA phono stage, for example) may provide a worthwhile improvement. Rich Schultz did just that in his modification of the Audible Illusions Modulus pre-amp. Will lifting the wires in a pre-amp off it’s chassis result in improved sound? Will doing so make a Modulus sound as good as an ARC Ref 5 or Atma-Sphere MP-3?
Douglas’ main point above is very well taken; to focus on tweaking an inherently-flawed product instead of replacing it with a superior one is pretty silly; tweaking can do only so much. A power amp exhibiting poor linearity, stability when clipping, power supply ripple, etc., is not going to be transformed by any form of "tuning"; the amp is still going to exhibit those poor characteristics. Why put high-performance tires on a car with a poor suspension?
The most serious vibrations created by a hi-fi system are those of the loudspeaker in the room (the two are inseparable). Room acoustics products convert sound waves to heat via friction, and are the most cost-effective means of improving the sound of any system.
For myself it’s a no brainer as to what HEA folks want to call things and I don’t much get involved in the debating team. The signal is highly tunable and that’s the part I care about. Saying that, I’ve always studied in the area of the four fundamental forces (interactions) and don’t see many in this part of the industry talking much about this. The basics though are that these are the four interactions that all other interactions boil down to. All of these are forces and motion and all are a part of vibratory structures. Where the audiophile world wants to weigh in on this is really a variation on the variables.
Glupson said "Sound is, in the simplest term, a vibration. No vibration, no sound." and this is the basic building block. No matter what audio science theory wants there are they must be a part of the fundamentals. Everything else is fun but many times speculation.
What I have found to be true is, I feel, most important to audio here’s why. If the four fundamental forces ring true this means there is no such thing as absolute isolation, no such thing as absolute inert, no such thing as absolute measuring and no such thing as being void of motion. This turns many HEA beliefs on their heads and needs to.
The ultimate technology to successful playback is going to be a variable. That means that at the end of the day there is one basic method for dictating how anything sounds if we are going to be in control "The Method of Tuning". This changes our industry paradigm. It changes the way we look at audio because being variable sets in motion a whole galaxy of old rules that we have over looked.
I’ve attempted to present this many times to our hobby and each time there has been a certain amount of progress but in the end the money that ruled didn’t want to take the marketing wheel this direction. It didn’t change the truth but it effected the reality of the marketplace. Now that we have started to move beyond the paperback days and have gone through the internet cycle of trolling we can get down to business and give a righteous birth to our inevitable future "variable audio". We’ve always had it but got sidetracked by Plug & Play and the money game.
Once our technical heads have a meeting of the minds Tunable Audio will become the norm and the (I don’t want to say next) industry will adapt a more physics based path. Not a what if path but a basic fundamental foundation.
My point of this thread is the same as I have been telling, teaching and showing the audio industry for all my life. The method of tuning is the method of audio performance. It's not a fixed quantity but a variable one.
One of the best sounding speakers, if not the best, were my Tonians Labs TL-D1. They vibrated but quickly dissipated the sound much like an instrument would, adding to the tone and realism of the sound. You could even tune the sound by using different sized slats on the rear of the speaker. It was never completely enclosed.
If one were to deaden the cabinet, it would have ruined the sound. Is that what's being discussed?
On these threads there are many debates about the making and use of tweaks, some of them get vary heated. I myself could careless about the heated debates here and who thinks who is right or wrong. I'm here for one purpose and one only. HEA has incompletely manufactured itself. Because of this tweaks came along as correction devices. There are many examples to go through and when the egos settle down and the marketing has run dry on the over built and incomplete designing the correct designing can be made. First we are going to have to find the correct platform to present these things and after that challenge is met the products of the audiophile will take on a new shape form and function.
None of this is new it has just been kept from you as buyers. The internet plus the slow down of purchasing the overbuilt has made way for the next chapter.
Exactly, Tonian is actually one of my reference speakers. In fact when Tony delivered mine I asked him if he minded me making it variable. The Rev6 Signature came out so I hadn’t the chance to explore this further. First thing Tony said to me when he came to my place was "you know I'm into tuning right"
The term vibration is precisely used to describe mechanical oscillation. That's a wiki quote.
Yes oscillation is vibratory. Oscillation is another very cool word. Vibration, oscillation, cycles, field, harmonics, force, motion we have a lot of great words to use in audio.
I know what you're saying though Geoff and have said about vibrations in the negative sense as a random disrupter and don't want to marginalize that thought, because vibration is also used as the word that causes distortions. I give the word more latitude as in being in or out of tune. If a vibration is in-tune it's a great thing but out of tune not so. And tune itself is interesting because something out of tune can still have harmonics (or partial) in action.
I love the whole science of variables and how it works with the audio signal.
It all hinges on how one defines the word vibration. And on how one defines the audio signal. So, unless everyone agrees on terms, which I actually don’t see happening, it will always be a Tijuana stand-off. One way to figure out if vibration isolation is real is to isolate a component and see if it improves the sound. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. 🚀
There are many inexpensive ways to isolate a CD player, preamp or amplifier. Here are a few.
1. 3 Super Balls (1”) in short glass candle holders with inside diameter 1 1/2” 2. Suspension using bungee cords 3. Compression springs of the correct stiffness and geometry 4. Very small bicycle inner tube, inflate to 15-30 psi depending on weight of component, not too stiff, not too floppy
When you did your research on the 4 above you did not find any variables? I have yet to find any audio placements to not be consistent with the four fundamental interactions.
I don't see any differing definitions within the physics teaching here. The laws of interaction seem to have always been pretty clear to me or anyone I have ever studied with. How did you break away from the four fundamental interactions?
Whoa! What! When did I break away from the four fundamental interactions? Them’s fighting words! I embrace the four fundamental interactions. Let me ask you a question or two. Which fundamental interaction is seismic vibration? How about acoustic wave vibration? What about vibration induced by CD vibration or vibration of the CD transport motor? Why are you ignoring those fundamental interactions? More to the point, why do you think the audio signal in wire is immune from those fundamental interactions? Why do you think you are not subject to the same laws of physics as everyone else?
Next up, which fundamental interaction does the audio signal in wires and cable fall into? What about current?
Also next up, can one fundamental interaction affect another fundamental interaction?
Also next up, the difference in physics between a variable and a constant.
This is a great thread Michael! I was always confuse when companies talked about resonance tuning. For example Shun Mook talks about sympathetic resonance tuning, Marigo simply says it as resonance tuning and Harmonix says it as controlling negative and positive side of the energy. Are they all talking the same thing as you have been for the past 3 decades when you say vibratory tuning ?
For the past several years after reading your descriptions regarding variable tuning and vibration control I've tried out more and more of your ways and have found that using even a simple wooden chip placed under an equipment or PZCs on walls can seriously affect the sound. This is not something new but it takes my thoughts all the way towards how much can we tune in our preexisting system and how much of an improvement we can make by applying your methods.
"Are they all talking the same thing as you have been for the past 3 decades when you say vibratory tuning ?"
More or less, yes. Many of mine incorporate variable adjustments much like musical instruments use and not just placing around, but they would be in the same general family of products. My designing also covers a wider range of frequency response I believe. Meaning I start with lower tones and tune up. Plus I variably tune the entire audio chain.
And yes this is RoomTune’s 30th Anniversary (can you believe it). I did tuning long before that but 1989 was when RoomTune hit the scene.
"Michael, and how exactly does that information help your argument?"
Sometimes I copy and paste things directly from the text books so I can avoid any arguments like I did in this case. If someone wants to argue it's not with me.
I find physics to be pretty simple stuff, well documented and easy to demo. I see HEA many times trying to reinvent the wheel, but that just leads to heated discussions and I'd rather be listening to music.
"Michael, and how exactly does that information help your argument?"
Sometimes I copy and paste things directly from the text books so I can avoid any arguments like I did in this case. If someone wants to argue it’s not with me.
I find physics to be pretty simple stuff, well documented and easy to demo. I see HEA many times trying to reinvent the wheel, but that just leads to heated discussions and I’d rather be listening to music.
>>>>>Well, you started the thread. Define vibration. Define audio signal. Otherwise you’re the troll. And you’re the one who asked to keep trolling to a minimum, remember? Don’t be alarmed by the word argument. It’s not supposed to be a threatening word. Well, not usually, anyway.
If you find physics to be pretty simple stuff then you are one of the very few. I think it was Feynman who said, if you think you understand electricity you probably don’t.
And yes this is RoomTune’s 30th Anniversary (can you believe it). I did tuning long before that but 1989 was when RoomTune hit the scene.
Oh wow 30th anniversary thats cool I didn't know that!!. Ever since I have been tuning with your PZC's and using the tunable room that you designed it has brought a new perspective to me towards this hobby and what the variable tuning design can do, it's powerful. Tuning a system base on vibrations or others may say in other ways makes a lot of sense to me.
Am still burning in your Rev 6 Signature speaker hopefully it will be ready for a review soon :).
I think for a lot of listeners it helps following someone who has gone from the typical HEA system to a Tunable setup and seeing the path. As people are emailing me wanting to know more your presence on this forum will be helpful for those on the tuning journey themselves.
I look forward to having some exchanges with you here! It would be great if the Tunees made this a hangout.
Oh man I can tottaly relate to that!! I feel the rev 6 signature has gone into another level of breaking in today. Midrange is sounding so smooth and full. I will let them to settle in more before i post it up :).
Yep, and the pair you’re listening to are from the same run as the ones I’m playing. They’re just now getting into that rich body sound. I went back in and listened to another pass of Tracy, pretty darn good! This next week or two is when the tone is going to really gel. The ones I’m playing now already take the Tonian, and that pair of Tonian are very nice, the best pair I’ve heard. I’m playing the Rev Combo though so that’s not fair.
You wait a couple more weeks, going to be scary. Need to get you the SW15.
As glupson, the first to respond said, "Sound is, in the simplest term, a vibration. No vibration, no sound." I totally agree - no debate necessary! Yes we have the sound waves in the room and the audio signal itself is an oscillating/vibrating signal. So the question is - do we want to use these vibrations which we agree exist, to our advantage, or to damp them out, thereby affecting the musical signal that created them. To me, the answer is obvious - we want to use them to enhance our musical experience. However, knowing how to do that is something very few people understand and even fewer people actually experience it to its fullest extent. Those who don't experience it will always question and debate it. I agree totally that isolating vibrations affects the sound, some think creating a better "sound", others like me, think is just creates a "different" sound. But stepping back and learning how to truly use all those vibrations to enhance the sound is what will drive this hobby to the "fun" place it should be! Michael Green is the only person who has shown me how to do this, and has demonstrated it to me in its fullest extent. Kudos to Michael for starting this thread! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I'm sure plenty of folks will come up here with opinions contrary to mine, and that's fine, that's what this forum is for. Just let me leave you with this final thought - experience one of Michael's fully tuned systems that uses all the vibrations to enhance the music, before you throw rocks at the idea. I'm sure Michael would be happy to have everyone stop by, just not all at the same time! Cheers!
You’re close. Very close. The audio signal in wires in an AC circuit is actually alternating, not (rpt not) oscillating or vibrating. You must have not gotten the memo regarding acoustic feedback to believe that isolation of speakers and components is of the utmost importance. I.e., the audio signal doesn’t like vibration. They clash. In fact that’s why the natural frequency of tonearms and cartridges are designed to be much lower than the lowest frequency almost all speakers are capable of producing. Perhaps you could be open to the possibility you’ve been following the wrong, you know....
"Those who don't experience it will always question and debate it."
First, I'm thrilled to death that you have come up! Second, helping people, especially now, in this industry is paramount in the face of the major changes taking place for listeners. We are at this great moment in the hobby of playback where listeners are moving from very high mass systems to systems that are able to produce so much more music. But listeners need people like yourself to help them make the move to a more practical place.
We went through the age of big robust components and to be honest it was a good time, but now we enter a new chapter. This is the era of the listener and the tools of Tuning. The homework has been done over the past 30 years or so and the demos have been made and continue every day. As you said "Those who don't experience it will always question and debate it." and that's the bottom line. If someone doesn't have a tunable system they're stuck in the world of talking points.
Hi Geoff, with regard to your comments on the best pressures for tubes, 15 to 30 psi seems high, we’ve had great results from extremely floppy tubes probably sub 2psi supporting square slate platforms. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this?
Your isolation table design is very interesting but I understand is no longer available? What are you currently using?
Stacore are getting positive customer feedback, are you aware of their designs? I hope to evaluate soon.
Great question. The ideal internal pressure depends on several factors - the size of the tube or bladder, the number of bladders and the total weight. Design height is the technical term for an airspring height where max isolation is achieved. Design height is a function of air pressure for a given load. However, in terms of sound quality the height and internal pressure can vary. I find a stiffer air tube or bladder or airspring is better than a floppy one. So, the objective is not to have the component “floating on air” as it were but to achieve an optimum mass-on-spring effect, which usually means stiffness is desired. A resonant frequency of 2 to 3 Hz would be a good target. Having said that my guess at inner tube pressure could have been too high, it depends on load. If the load is relatively low then the internal pressure could be low and achieve proper stiffness.
You can measure the Fr by bouncing the component up and down on the air tube and timing the cycles per second. But because there are a lot of variables involved, including how the component is mounted on the air tube, how the air tube itself is mounted, where it’s mounted, etc.
Furthermore, an inner tube is not an ideal geometry. An ideal geometry is low surface area on top and large volume. A long vertical tube would be ideal in terms of geometry but would be very difficult to work with because it would be very floppy. My original Nimbus Platform used a single air spring, which is relatively floppy so the design needed a secondary horizontal sprung system to build up lateral support. The Nimbus airspring was fitted with a large auxiliary air canister to provide a high effective internal volume of the airspring.
Addendum: one big issue for inner tubes and air bladders in general is that air leaks out through the rubber fabric, just like it does in bicycles. To maintain proper isolation (design height/stiffness) one must pump up the %@&$% inner tube every other day. That’s one reason why I eventually went to mechanical springs.
Another problem with the tube is you need to keep your room climate controlled and you can't used the device with any components that produce heat if you're hoping to keep a consistent interaction. Same holds true for any device that is in contact with a surface.
If you are using a tube component with springs and turn off and on your unit the sound will slightly can daily. Same with Class A and some warmer running A/B.
Most audiophiles have a thermostat. Besides, unless there are very big swings in temperature it’s not really an issue. The same applies to the speed of sound in air. Maybe Superman would worry about it in his Fortress of Solitude. But not the average audio dude. Not an issue audiophiles should worry about. If that’s your best argument against isolation it’s not very convincing. It doesn’t make sense and if it doesn’t make sense it’s not true. You cannot fool a thermodynamicist!
Where are you placing your springs? I have always found them to be very sensitive and very equipment dependent (one size or type does not fit all). I've also found them to be material dependent depending on the types of materials being used in the components themselves.
Also with the air tubes you didn't mention that the component needs to be properly weight distributed. The bladder products perform very inconsistent because of the distribution of weight most heavier components have.
When you do your testing do you use more than one bladder. Reason I ask is because using one bladder doesn't seem to work very well because there is less pressure being applied to one area of the skin than another. One part of the bladder may have 8 pounds sitting on it and another may only have a few ounces.
Geoff in regards to isolation you don't believe in the audio signal being vibratory I take it? How do you describe the variable interaction the signal has with the fields, or as some would say field?
In our stage testing we have been able to establish such control as to virtually be able to shape the soundstage by using the audio signal's variables without distortions. With isolation as you term it how are you able to make compensations to the sound. I have never heard any two "isolated" systems to produce the same sound. If a system is isolated you would have the same sound would you not with any other "isolated" system, which has never happened to the best of my knowledge.