Doctor's Orders-Part Two-The New Listening Room Of Steve Williams

The History

Most of you are aware by now that I moved back to Southern California in July last year after a 20 year hiatus in the SF Bay Area. It was there that I built my "dream" sound room. That room measured 18' W x 31' L x 9-12' H (sloped ceiling which was 9 feet high at the window and 12 feet high at the inner wall). My system then consisted of both two channel set up as well as a home theater with an 11' screen.

Here is a link to my prior set up

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...-Of-Steve-Williams&p=3412&viewfull=1#post3412

My wife and I moved to the SF Bay Area in 1993 but with the resolve that we would always move home to Southern California. Just about this time last year our youngest daughter was graduating from the University of Boulder. It was then that not only were we aware of our empty nest but also that a few homes in our neighborhood were listed for sale. It was then that my wife suggested we consider listing our home. Well after 20 years in a home that I had built it was a difficult thought for me to consider as I loved our home and it was a source of wonderful memories. As a result, even though I always wanted to return to Southern California I was so attached to our home that I agreed to list the house for sale BUT only at a price that I felt it was worth rather than being dictated by the comps in our area (as I was torn about moving). As a result I listed the house at $200K over any comparable sold home in our area. We left for Boulder on a Thursday. The house was listed on the MLS the following day. The next day I was called by the broker to tell me that 3 people wanted to see the house on the Monday when I was back home (3 days after I listed the house). That next afternoon 3 different families toured the house and that evening I had 2 offers on my house, one which was $50K shy of my list price and a second which was not only a full list offer but so also a 30 day escrow. My wife and I took a deep breath as we suddenly realized that my wildest dream had become reality and that we were moving in 30 days. We now had to find a home to buy. We could have rented but I was opposed to this because I hate moving. Even if it is to the house next door it is still moving so we made a few day trip back to South Orange County and as luck would have it we found a really nice home of about the same size as the one we were selling. Both houses are ~4600 square feet but the new home did not have a dedicated room that I could convert to a new listening room. We moved in last July 6th and for 8-9 months my entire system sat in crates in one of our garages. Once settled in the house I started worrying because I coud see no option as to where to put this room. Believe it or not we considered moving but we really liked our new home. We live in the master planned community of Coto De Caza where my home sits on the 5th fairway of the south golf course. Even though both houses were about the same size the lot sizes were much different with that of my newer home sitting on a smaller sized lot. This pretty much excluded building "onto" the house as the rear yard was all landscaped with a pool. We have 3 garages and for a brief while I considered building the room into one of these garages but after working with an architect this just wasn't feasible. I must admit I was getting depressed about the distinct possibility, that after over 50 years in this hobby and always with a dedicated sound room that this was just not going to come to fruition for this one last "hurrah".



I did a lengthy search of acousticians as there are excellent ones who are members here at WBF. After a 4 week search I realized that if I were to do this any sound improvements put into the room could not be like my last room which was much larger. As a result every precious inch became valuable and I just couldn't spare any extra which would take away from the size of the room. My search brought me to the acoustician I finally hired. Bonnie Schnitta is a Phd in acoustics, electrical engineering and mathematics. It was with this knowledge and while working with the DOD and underwater sound mapping that she wrote a program which provides for mathematical mapping of a room's sound response. When she left the DOD, Bonnie took with her that part of the program which was hers and launched her business Soundsense based in New York city
www.soundsense.com

Her proprietary acoustical things are made through her company

www.noiseout.com

Dr. Bonnie Schnitta is the founder and president of NoiseOut as well as SoundSense, LLC – an acoustic consulting company she formed in 1981. Over the last three decades, Dr. Schnitta has headed hundreds of noise abatement and acoustic management construction projects in homes, churches, synagogues, theaters and recording studios. A CEDIA member since 2001, Dr. Schnitta holds a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Purdue University, a bachelor's and master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and an interdepartmental Ph.D in Math, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering with a special emphasis in signal processing. She began her career working with ship designers, controlling the acoustics of oceangoing tankers. Although she originally focused on commercial projects, assisting restaurants and auditoriums with noise problems, Dr. Schnitta has branched out into the residential market. “I was just heartbroken to discover that homes were being designed with so little regard for acoustics,” she says.
Dr. Schnitta holds several patents, including an acoustical plumbing trap system, a method for analyzing activity in a signal, and the Paradise Effect™, a proprietary algorithm for the creation of an acoustically-correct and soothing environment. Dr. Schnitta has authored a number of articles on such topics as signal processing and acoustics management.

Bonnie made a site visit to my house in December, took measurements and then upon her return to NYC, plugged all the data in and called me a few days later stating that not only would things work but the room would sound very good. I guess this is what I wanted to hear. Sort of like asking an orthodontist if you need braces :)

The next post will contain all of the ideas and sound treatments added to the room as well as aesthetic treatments. I will follow that post with a synopsis of treatments that Bonnie has provided to me in a write up and I will follow this with several photos of the build out and the finished product

The room was finished end of March and I have been fine tuning the speaker placement, taking measurements and finally adding a pair of JLAudio F113 Fathom subs. I did have a pair of Gotham subs in my last room but I sold these as they for sure were just too much for the room
SoundRoom_zpscaeadf08.jpeg
 
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Comments

Apr 21, 2010
279
5
18
Dallas,Texas
Steve,
I apologize for not keeping in closer touch with you. I'm here in California again and if possible I need to listen to your system please? If you have the time? I will bring vinyl this time. When Ron mentioned listening to Light my Fire, I can still remember the demo you played of the Doors on reel to reel! ;)
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Vern

Message me as to your availability next week. January is best as I will be in New Zealand for almost the entire month of Feb
 

Joe Whip

Active Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,128
18
38
Wayne, PA
Ah, New Zealand. One of the most if not the most beautiful country I have ever visited. Have fun. If only the real estate was not so expensive there. I would love to spend part of the year in Queenstown, even though I am a tad old for the general population there.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
It's been awhile since I have had any comments involving my system. That doesn't mean I'm not listening to it just that my status quo has kept a smile on my face.because I am still enjoying what I am hearing. I still have 2 empty shelves on my horizontal CMS rack whch are there for a purpose and my 2 year search is almost over. Those racks are destined for a new DAC and a new music server and my decision is almost finalized so I'd like to reserve comments until I have more to report

Nonetheless I would like to suggest a remaster of a very old album which I preordered through Acoustic Sounds over a years ago and it was finally delivered a few days ago. Frankly I had forgotten about it

For all of you Hendrix fans this album should bring back memories. Chad Kasem has reissued The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis:Bold As Love

Acoustically the music is spectacular especially when Hendrix played. Dynamics are superb and the drum solos were exceptional.

Chad has released the album already in mono and it is sold out as I expect this stereo version to be shortly

Although it isn't one of my favorite Hendrix albums I have listened to it several times already and would definitely recommend it

IMG_8727.jpeg
 
May 30, 2010
15,506
715
113
Portugal
(...) Those racks are destined for a new DAC and a new music server and my decision is almost finalized so I'd like to reserve comments until I have more to report (...)
Great - I am really curious to know which DAC you choose for the Lamm LL1/ML3!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
+1!
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,633
498
83
North Shore of Boston
Very exciting Steve. I look forward to reading what you decide. I guess it can't be one of those multi box DACs like the Select II if you only have two shelves available. Or perhaps you could stack them.

Is it just me or does that second tonearm in your photo look really low? I can barely see it. Which arm/cartridge combo are you listening to these days?
 

RogerD

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2010
3,482
124
63
BiggestLittleCity
It's been awhile since I have had any comments involving my system. That doesn't mean I'm not listening to it just that my status quo has kept a smile on my face.because I am still enjoying what I am hearing. I still have 2 empty shelves on my horizontal CMS rack whch are there for a purpose and my 2 year search is almost over. Those racks are destined for a new DAC and a new music server and my decision is almost finalized so I'd like to reserve comments until I have more to report

Nonetheless I would like to suggest a remaster of a very old album which I preordered through Acoustic Sounds over a years ago and it was finally delivered a few days ago. Frankly I had forgotten about it

For all of you Hendrix fans this album should bring back memories. Chad Kasem has reissued The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis:Bold As Love

Acoustically the music is spectacular especially when Hendrix played. Dynamics are superb and the drum solos were exceptional.

Chad has released the album already in mono and it is sold out as I expect this stereo version to be shortly

Although it isn't one of my favorite Hendrix albums I have listened to it several times already and would definitely recommend it

View attachment 51386
A new DAC digital system...congtrats Steve. I’m sure you have auditioned a few. I wouldn’t suggest a lean to the dark side...lol. Nice to see you upgrading the system.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,675
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
I will be very curious what you decide to get, Steve!
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I will be very curious what you decide to get, Steve!

So will I ;)
I have it narrowed down but I have to admit it’s not happening imminently as I have to regroup as we just finished a huge demolition and remodel of our kitchen and family room over the past 6 weeks which wiped me out
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Very exciting Steve. I look forward to reading what you decide. I guess it can't be one of those multi box DACs like the Select II if you only have two shelves available. Or perhaps you could stack them.

Is it just me or does that second tonearm in your photo look really low? I can barely see it. Which arm/cartridge combo are you listening to these days?
I see what you mean but it is the angle in which I took the photo
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I received 2 of Ed Pong's 5 recent tape releases and finally got a chance to listen to these tapes.

Ed continues to amaze me with the talent that he finds for his recording sessions . Not only are they superb musicians but the music picked has always been new treasures for me as I find myself listening to his tapes countless times and hearing something new with each listen.

The quality of the recordings are second to none and at last count I have 18 of Ed's tapes. Each and every one of them continue to occupy top shelf in my tape collection

These last 2 bring two new artists Alena Baeva on violin and Vadym Kholodenko on piano

I thought both tapes were excellent but I especially liked the Schubert Rondo recorded live at Ed's famous recording studio at his home outside Toronto

I found that both performers brought with a totally different style than the two Ed has previously recorded over the past few years. Narita was my favorite violinist but listening to Alena play it was simply beautiful

Both these tapes should he heard if you are a classical music fan. Ed has enlightened my senses and knowledge of Classical music and for me this is a very good thing
 
Likes: ack

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,775
928
113

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
How's the MSB DAC?
Actually I could care less what Steve thinks of the MSB...LOL
Do either of you have point that you are trying to make in my system blog. Is there somewhere in my system blog where I mention I have an MSB DAC or are you just being inflammatory

This is the type of stuff that I find bothersome and offensive

In the other thread to which I am sure you allude HiFi Guy said I played music in an MSB and things lit up

I corrected the issue by stating he was hearing the music through my very old Playback Designs and suddenly the both of you have something to say that is truly bothersome and so out of line it needs notice

Both of you should read this. Once you do you might want to look on the mirror

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/observations-and-suggestions.28270/
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,775
928
113
no one has any ill will here Steve.

you are the one teasing with talking about space for a new dac. i saw Kingsrule's post and just innocently +1'd. nothing more. i had not seen Mike's slip up.

it's really not a big deal.

certainly delete this post and my other one if you prefer. i respect it's your system thread and you don't want to derail it.
 
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