journey to the outer reaches of sound reproduction

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I have been playing with and learning about audio reproduction at home for as long as I can remember. I am not an equipment junkie, although I think I was way back in time, until I finally got to understanding that without getting the speakers perfectly set up in my space nothing else I did truly mattered. There is only one spot for your speakers in your room, that is if there is one at all. I have had this discussion with some of the top set up people in the business and we all came to the same conclusion and that is that the positioning of the speakers is the most important part of getting the best out of an audio system.

I am not trying to say that the rest does not matter but rather I am saying that without the former the latter is always the dog chasing his tail. I think that so many people grind there way through gear and accessories is they know intrinsically that there is something not right, but they do not know what it is or how to fix it. I have heard so many systems I cannot even guess at the numbers any longer, but I do know this, the overwhelming number of them were just not executed correctly. This includes showrooms, listening rooms, show exhibits etc.

Ok, so you may ask how is this possible and I think the simple answer is that most do not put in the work to find the correct location and/or do not know they should. I see hundreds of nice pictures of rooms with lots of beautiful gear that is obvious to me that it is not set up correctly.

Walls are not the friends of speakers and how the speaker you own reacts with the walls, floor, ceiling and the seating position will determine the quality of the results you get. I think that before you go buy something new you might want to consider why you are buying or trying it? I Definitely know that there are sonic differences between speakers, electronics, sources etc. however I know so many people that continually grind gear and never get anywhere. They never arrive because they are just changing to make it sound different and they never solved the basic issue of having the speakers correct. Speakers should couple in a room. The process is not that hard, but it does require some basic knowledge and requires a bunch of time. I don’t believe there are magic beans and numbers to just take them out of the crates and drop them on the floor and viola!!! Changing from brand A to Brand B does not mean that the new one in the same spot as the old one is correctly placed. There are differences between speakers in how they react in a space just as there are difference in how they work technically. A cone speaker reacts differently from electrostatics etc. To position your speakers is somewhat like seasoning a steak, you do not know how much you need to get the most out of the flavor until you have gone to far.

The process to me is a lot of fun and it can be challenging as well. Its fun in a room I know and when I am primarily doing it for my own enjoyment. It is challenging when there are constraints like time and a new space and system you aren’t familiar with. This of course happens at every show I do. My expectations are less at a show because I know that I only have a minimum amount of time to get everything unpacked and installed and working before I can even start trying to get the speakers positioned. I prefer to do this over a period without the stress and pressure. I prefer to do it like this because for me an hour or two at a time works best in keeping my focus and interest. I really respect those who can just go do it as their work and in a very short period of time do it for others and do this after traveling with strange everything as variables.

I do enjoy doing this for my clients on the gear they purchase from me since I am usually very familiar with the gear and how it SHOULD work.

This brings me to my point of the here and know. I have spent the better part of 6 COVID months with the Divin Marquis in my sound room. I did not get he opportunity to do Axpona, L.A., Munich and RMAF so my focus has been undivided here on getting the most possible from these wonderful speakers. I have been thrilled with the result for a bunch of reasons but the first and foremost is that they just work incredibly in my room. I think the size and dimensions of the room lend them selves to a speaker system of this size. I also have over two years’ experience currently with the room, Oliver’s speakers and cables and the CH Precision gear I own. I am a very persistent listener. I mean by that that I listen all the time and do it almost every day for a variety of reasons but first and foremost is to enjoy the music and relax. Music for me is the thing in my life that keeps me sane and grounded. It transports me, changes my mood and allows me to connect with the universe.



OK, the background is done now I want to delve into my latest audio journey. I have been overwhelmed by claims and underwhelmed by reality with the subject of isolating my components from the room and each other mechanically. I have been mulling this over in mind for quite a while and have from time to time tried amp stands, racks, spikes, cones feet etc. I have ignored it recently ( the last few years) but now that I have my system really being magical I wanted to see if I could take it just a bit further without messing up what I had done. I have heard claims by many companies that make incredibly expensive racks, stand, feet etc. and have had some experience in the past with many of them but I was not taken.

I digress. I am not going to say that what I have found is better than something else which I have not tried nor any other pontification as to this the BEST. What I am going to try to describe is what has taken place in my room with these small and affordable devices.

I saw a picture online of a custom-made platform that was being installed under a pair of the new Wilson very large speakers. The platform looked nice and looked like something that I could use and do without going off the deep end financially. I found out that these were from Norm Varney’s company. I know Norm for many years going back to his stint with M.I.T. He has assisted me in the past with help for designing and building sound rooms in my last three locations. I recently, two years or so ago, purchased some Room Damp 2, which we used in the current room and I am thrilled with the results.

I called him and we discussed my system and he suggested I try the EVP under my speakers first and he explained why. I told him that I was more interested in the platform and he explained that they were finalizing how they would work with this product. Custom, pre- made sizes etc. He offered of course to make me a pair to size but since I was not sure whether I would keep them I did not want to make him do that or purchase something I wasn’t sure I wanted. We concluded that using the 4-inch EVP’s under the speakers would show me what the platform would do and if I was happy, we could accomplish this in a few weeks. I received the package and installed the products under my speakers and did a little experimenting as to how I used them. I installed them and turned the system up to let it cook a bit and I went out to lunch. I returned and latter sat down to see what was happening. At first, I must admit I was confused. There was something happening that was beyond what I had expected. I played a bunch of things in a short time to make sure I was experiencing what I thought I was. I walked out of my room and went and asked one of my friends that was here to come take a listen. I did not tell him what or why just come listen. He has heard the system many times through the process of set up and tuning. We listen in the dark just because that is what I do. In about 2-3 minutes he asked me to turn the lights on because he wanted to see what the heck was going on.



So here is where I am at. I called Norm yesterday and asked him to send me some more to install under my power amplifier, DAC and Pre-amp. I am trying to find the words to explain what I am feeling and what I am hearing right now before I try part two of the experiment.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
The word that comes into my mind is MORE. The system is just doing more. The environment has changed. What do I mean by that? I am trying to express myself with clichés. There is more space, more air, particularly in the lower frequencies. These speakers have amazing bass and bass dynamics but then these “things” went under them and it changed, it grew, it morphed, it came alive. I have always found that it was the hardest thing to get right in my journeys to get the bass to sound as transparent and cohesive as the rest of the music. The bass is the area that gives recordings the special ques. I think therefore so many want to add subs to their systems as they realize that the subs add space. I am not sure that they always integrate and do not mess up elsewhere however they do work on space. The you are there sensation is palpable. I played some of my favorite recordings and just sat there with a big smile. The smile lasted for hours. I cannot wait for Friday to see what happens with the additional items.

Its now Monday morning and the balance of the EVP’s just arrived. I am going to use the 2-inch units and place 3 under each of the preamp and the clock. I am also going to install 4 of the 4-inch units under the stack of my Ch C1.1 mono DAC and the Ch M1.1 power amplifier. This means that all my system other than the X-1 power supplies are no sitting on EVP’s. I just turned the system up and I am going to listen in a little while after I finish my morning routine.

The installation of the EVP’s under my preamp, DAC, clock and power amplifier was very straight forward and just took a few minutes. I will continue my thoughts with the same theme I can hear more. I do not believe that these are transformational changes but rather the isolation of the components from external vibrations, some which are obviously caused by the gear particularly from the speakers playing music, makes the system have deeper sense of involvement. My system sounded fantastic before and now it there is just more. Everything is a little more dimensional, more airy, more spacious and more real to me. I love that I can lose myself in the music and forget that I am listening to recordings. It is wonderful to hear the artists intent and skill when playing a guitar or a piano. One of the first things I listened to was Jesse Cook’s album Gravity. I love guitar and played it and studied Spanish/Flamenco when I was a kid. It is a sound that makes me happy and this recording is just WOW. Audio for me is an escape and it transports me somewhere where I can get away from the day and space I exist in and be somewhere else, somewhere where I am in a state of relaxation and pleasure. I think this is where I strive to get whenever I listen and specifically what my focus is when I am setting up a system.

The EVP’s work and they work well. They are easy to use and they do not cost a lot. I purchased more and I called some friends and clients to come check them out because I believe that they will enjoy what they do as well. High end has some crazy and wild expensive items, these are not those. They are simple and work really well. Once they are installed they are hardly noticeable in the physical sense. There is nothing special to do but just sit and listen.
Peace and stay healthy
 

Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
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Who is Norm Varney? What is his company? What are EVP's?
How about a link or two?
 
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BruceD

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Dec 13, 2013
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Yes nice report and excellent précis , they seem viable and deliver as promised--they remind me of the Scottish Black Ravioli ones I tried ages ago.

Good listening!

BruceD
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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Greater Boston

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
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I ordered some EVPs a week ago after trying a set. I did not consider putting them under the speakers as how would you adjust rake and azimuth? Did you put tge speaker feet on the EVPs
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I ordered some EVPs a week ago after trying a set. I did not consider putting them under the speakers as how would you adjust rake and azimuth? Did you put tge speaker feet on the EVPs
the most significant difference IMO was under the speakers. I used the footers on my speakers and placed them underneath so I could make adjustments. You can however use a shim if needed as that will not make the result any different
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
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Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I ordered some EVPs a week ago after trying a set. I did not consider putting them under the speakers as how would you adjust rake and azimuth? Did you put tge speaker feet on the EVPs
what kind of feet do the speakers you own have?
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
448
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I have tried a couple different feet. I had some custom spikes made with a longer thread as the spikes that come with the speakers only have 1/2" of thread. I have also tried the Track Audio mono pods which is what is on the speakers now. They are convenient as I can drag the speakers around with out having to worry about the floor and they are super easy to adjust for height.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I have tried a couple different feet. I had some custom spikes made with a longer thread as the spikes that come with the speakers only have 1/2" of thread. I have also tried the Track Audio mono pods which is what is on the speakers now. They are convenient as I can drag the speakers around with out having to worry about the floor and they are super easy to adjust for height.
Then using them under a foot or footer type device should not cause you any issues with adjustments that you find needed. The EVP is NOT adjustable but the footer is. These items are not designed to sit under spikes. My speakers have a footer and I kept them so that I can keep the fine adjustments I made in my room. I hope that helps you.
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
After listening now for a few weeks I am very happy with the performance of the EVP's and found them to be a very affordable upgrade and very easy to use. The price is increasing Jan1 , a word to anyone interested.
I know there are many products that are being produced to use under equipment and all different price points and perhaps some of them are better, I have no idea, but these are something you can buy that wont break the bank and they do work.
I have been resistant to these type of products in the past admittedly becasue in my mind these are end game items not the cure for some serious issues in the system and proper set up.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays
 

calloway

Well-Known Member
Nov 4, 2011
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Elliot...i totally agree with you as i have the EVPs under all my equipment including my Tidal Contriva Dicer-SE speakers and my Lunim X1, and my REL 212 SE subs x2.They really work for me..
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Elliot...i totally agree with you as i have the EVPs under all my equipment including my Tidal Contriva Dicer-SE speakers and my Lunim X1, and my REL 212 SE subs x2.They really work for me..
Well the end result is we have gone through all of the initial pieces ( 40) and ordered another 60-70 pieces. All the people I sent them to try kept them and ordered more. The items work and are reasonably priced even after the new prices in Jan 2021. I am sure in your case the subs and speakers really changed your listening experience. Enjoy!!!
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
I played some more with the EVP's and added them under my music server, which was the only place I had forgotten other than the 3 X-1 power supplies which I guess now I will try after I get some pieces.
I think the most fun of doing this is having visitors come in and say things like
"gee I feel like I just smoked a joint" "It felt like the band was right there in the room"
I played a few items that would be appropriate for them ( they like rock)
Dem' Changes by Band of Gypsies ( Hendrix and Buddy Miles)
Shame Shame - Foo Fighters off the new disc
and one really well done non rock called Gravity from Jesse Cook ( acoustic guitar)
and one little piece I love
Tenille Townes - Jersey on the Wall ( i'm just asking) Live at the Bluebird- she is an incredible artist with a strange voice but this cut is WOW

I can't wait for Covid to go away so more people can experience the magic here
 

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
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