Ron's Speaker, Turntable, Power and Room Treatment Upgrades

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#1
I have enjoyed our hobby for 27 years.

This is how the front of my listening room looked until 2014:

RonR room.jpg

Due to a flood in this listening room in 2014, and to some ongoing repairs to my house, my stereo has been disassembled and has been stored under protective tarps for almost two years. Shortly after the flood I sold my turntable/tonearm/cartridge which I had enjoyed for about 15 years. (I got tired of certain things about the VPI TNT MK. IV.)

The work being done to the listening room, which is a mess and which currently has no sheetrock on the front wall, and which will take nine to 12 months to sort out, offers me the opportunity to:

(i) remove bookshelves and increase the width of the room by two feet,

(ii) install a balanced power system,

(iii) add additional dedicated AC lines,

(iv) hire an acoustic consultant to analyze the room and to recommend a comprehensive plan of room treatment,

(v) implement the acoustic treatment plan,

(vi) upgrade or replace my Aesthetix Io phono pre-amp,

(vii) research and purchase the last turntable and tonearm of my life, and

(viii) research and select a new cartridge.

My room currently is 17.5' wide, 25' long and 14' high. It is a dedicated space but not a closed-off, simple, rectangular room. The floor is wood planks over concrete slab.

The rear wall is a pair of glass patio doors with drapes over them.

Front the front wall, the right side wall is sheetrock for about two-thirds of its length, and then the last third, to the right of the listening position, opens into an adjacent room, about 10' wide and 25' long, in which I have located the turntable and phono pre-amp and LP storage. This set-up means that I pretty much sacrificed this adjacent room for any other use, but I like that the turntable is completely out of the line of fire of the speakers.

From the front wall, the left side wall is 1/4 bookshelves, then it opens to a narrow hallway to the left (which is to the left of the left speaker), then there is a narrow wall with an electrical panel, and then the last half of the room toward the listening position is open to my kitchen.

I am considering removing the bookshelves which would effectively increase the width of the entire room by two feet, to 19.5' wide. According to one room dimensions acoustic analysis calculator increasing the width of the room by two feet increases some theoretical acoustical problems (I think because increasing the width would make the room more square) but I cannot help thinking that the extra two feet of practical width would be beneficial, and that any theoretical disadvantage would be ironed out with the room treatment.

I have hired an acoustic consultant to analyze the room. She is unable to begin her work, however, until the sheetrock is back on the front wall of the listening room.

After consulting with several kind and helpful WBF members, and with Ross at Torus Power, I have decided tentatively to have an electrician run a new, dedicated 240VAC line into the listening room to power a Torus RM100 BAL. This would be a floor-mounted, not a wall-mounted, unit. (I am not yet sure how I am going to get a power cable from the Torus to the analog front-end in the adjacent room.)

I have one of Jim White's earliest Io phono pre-amps (with volume controls). I love the Io and I think it deserves an upgrade after all this time. I am considering (i) upgrading the Io to replace various capacitors and wiring with Aesthetix's highest grade components and (ii) adding a second power supply. Of course this also is an opportunity to consider other tube phono-preamps.

During the last few months I have enjoyed greatly the search for my ultimate and last turntable and tonearm. I have been struggling to choose between the Basis Audio Inspiration with Superarm 9 and the TechDAS Air Force One with Graham Phantom Elite. They are two of the finest record-playing systems ever made. At this level of excellence I believe there is no such thing as a wrong choice.

After extensive discussions with both A.J. Conti and Bob Graham (each of whom is an incredibly gifted and successful designer and a true gentleman!) I decided to order a Basis Audio Work of Art with Superarm 9.

The cartridge selection remains open.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#2
Fantastic and congratulations Ron. We all can't wait to see pix. Bonnie will be terrific for the acoustic analysis
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#3
Thank you Steve, and thank you for all of your advice! I am excited to start working with Bonnie!
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,353
296
83
Manila, Philippines
#5
WBF's first BAWA! Congratulations Ron! I'm extremely excited to see the end results.

I was a flood victim too and it took about as long to get my room and system back up and running. You are doing the best thing, you've turned misfortune into a great opportunity!
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#6
Dear Jack,

Thank you very much! I appreciate the understanding and support!

I am trying to make the best of it -- being excited to have all of this time to enjoy leisurely and to savor the process of working on the room and making the electric power and equipment upgrades.

When I get back to Los Angeles I will post a current photo of the room, so you see how bad the "before" is at the moment.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,353
296
83
Manila, Philippines
#7
You're gonna rock it Ron. I just know it :D
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,633
498
83
North Shore of Boston
#8
Congratulations Ron. You've got a wonderful project and it seems like you have done sufficient research in how to move forward. I'm very excited to read that you are getting the Work of Art. I have met AJ Conti and had a tour of his shop. He is extremely talented and dedicated to pursuing excellence. I will revisit my cartridge comparisons between the MSL Signature Gold and the AirTight Supreme and share with you my impressions. AJ, as you know, is the distributor for MSL. Congratulations. This will be a fun system to watch come together. Enjoy.
 
#9
Hey Ron, I think you will enjoy working with Bonnie. She visited yesterday and said my room wasn't too bad after all, had some issues when the volume went up (as I had known and experienced), that she could make the room sound good even with a large glass window and two glass doors behind the speakers. She told the interior designer to go ahead and design the space, she'd make it sound good. She was a delightful woman passionate about her work and seems to have a real desire to get great results and make the client happy.

Brilliant!
 
May 30, 2010
15,508
716
113
Portugal
#10
Ron,

Great to see your system - the Prodigy's love space and power and you can supply it in abundance!

I am very interested in knowing how your acoustician will treat your room. It seems we can assume that being a she also meant you hired someone sensitive to decoration, a must in my opinion in a listening room.
Yes, most of the time the eyes also listen. :)
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#11
Thank you, Jack. I will do my best to make you proud! :)

Thank you, Peter, for being so enthusiastic! I will rely upon you to help me make the cartridge decision!

Bob, thank you for that very encouraging report on Bonnie. She sounds terrific (as Steve has always said as well)! As you will be going first I am excited to see what she will recommend with your room and how it differs (if at all) from what she designed for Steve.

Microstrip, as you surmised correctly, I, too, hired Bonnie. I have not thus far been concerned with decoration (as you see from the photo of my former front wall) but we will see what Bonnie suggests. I wonder if she will suggest cleaning up the multiple openings in my room by designing (as she did for Steve) an acoustic drape for the side walls and the rear walls covering the various openings, and thus creating a clean acoustic rectangle. We shall see!
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#12
Ron,

Great to see your system - the Prodigy's love space and power and you can supply it in abundance!

I am very interested in knowing how your acoustician will treat your room. It seems we can assume that being a she also meant you hired someone sensitive to decoration, a must in my opinion in a listening room.
Yes, most of the time the eyes also listen. :)

Precisely the reason I used her. Not only a brilliant acoustician but has a woman's flare for design and imagination. She picked a whole different carpet for my room as well as different fabric for the drapes that I chose but in the end I couldn't be happier as the room measures pretty darn flat
 
#13
I think every room will present different challenges. In my space, the openings are behind the listening position. We can't really close the space completely due to the stairway that floats down into the room, so it looks like we'll be using some curtains across those openings, to keep some sound in, and some sound out. Fortunately, the openings are somewhat opposite one-another. And with a wall of glass behind the speakers, absorptive features in the rear will work well. Bonnie did say if I'm going to be cranking the volume, pulling curtains in front of the glass will help, but at reasonable volumes she felt the view out the windows could be preserved.

The great thing is my interior designer is also a singer, so she is very excited to work with Bonnie on this project. I have no worries the two of them will work fine together. Bonnie's approach seems different from acoustic folks promoting one brand of product or another. And nice too it seems a room can look like a 'normal' space and still be made to sound really good. I know my wife would much prefer we not see a bunch of diffusors and bass trap 'thingies' all over the room.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#14
I think every room will present different challenges. In my space, the openings are behind the listening position. We can't really close the space completely due to the stairway that floats down into the room, so it looks like we'll be using some curtains across those openings, to keep some sound in, and some sound out. Fortunately, the openings are somewhat opposite one-another. And with a wall of glass behind the speakers, absorptive features in the rear will work well. Bonnie did say if I'm going to be cranking the volume, pulling curtains in front of the glass will help, but at reasonable volumes she felt the view out the windows could be preserved.

The great thing is my interior designer is also a singer, so she is very excited to work with Bonnie on this project. I have no worries the two of them will work fine together. Bonnie's approach seems different from acoustic folks promoting one brand of product or another. And nice too it seems a room can look like a 'normal' space and still be made to sound really good. I know my wife would much prefer we not see a bunch of diffusors and bass trap 'thingies' all over the room.
I can tell you that you won't see any of her acoustic treatments as they are all hidden, The only thing I have of hers which can be seen are two small tuning tubes in the rear corners of my room otherwise nothing else of hers is visible

IMG_1190.jpg

IMG_1196.jpg
 
#15
Ron, Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

Given that dipole line sources have very particular treatment needs, which way are you leaning in terms of managing the rear-wave?
Absorption, diffusion, reflection?

Post modifications, will the room perfectly symmetrical at the front (i.e. the first 12 to 15' of lateral length)?

For dipoles, symmetry leads to more balanced soundstages.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#16
I am not big on internet stuff -- I am not on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. I truly do not even watch TV.

I discovered WBF just a few months ago, and I think it is absolutely wonderful how much members help each other and how friendly and delighted members are to share valuable insights and experience. It is great to see how interested members are in each other's systems and how genuinely enthusiastic members are to share and participate in the excitement of other member's high-end audio journeys. I am grateful for the numerous new friends I have made from WBF, and for their guidance and genuine interest in accompanying me on my journey towards my ultimate system.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#17
Dear Jonathan,

In each of the rooms in which I have used electrostatic speakers the front wall has always been plain sheetrock. I do not believe in absorbing or diffusing the rear wave from the MLs. I believe in locating the dipole speakers far enough into the room so there is enough of a delay between the front wave reaching the ears and the reflected rear wave reaching the ears to create the illusion of a three-dimensional soundstage.

I cannot fill in the first 12' to 15' of sidewall because, on the left side, that would mean closing and blocking up a hallway entrance. That is why I have been wondering if Bonnie might design a rectangular drapery system which would create artificially a clean rectangle in front of the various openings.
 
#18
Hi Ron, since your room is indeed big enough to allow the appropriate positioning of the speakers away from the boundaries, the preference for reflection can yield a good soundstage as you've experienced.


The desire for symmetry on the walls flanking the speakers can be met by measuring the reflection path from the panel, to the front wall, the ricochet onto the lateral and the eventual bounce back towards the interior of the room. This is a function of the amount of toe-in you use, so factor that.

Ideally the lateral reflection point and a couple of feet beyond are perfectly symmetrical side-to-side. After that, openings, while having an impact, will be much less critical. But 3 or 4' of variance in the lateral reflection point will skew the soundstage as the reflections on the side with additional depth will have 3 or 4ms longer delay. If the additional delay also happens to align the inevitable dipole comb-filtering with some room mode, then you also get frequency disparities between sides.

Even if the acoustician places a drapery system across that opening, the delays will still be there at frequencies that can traverse the drapery (a function of how heavy the drapes are, but much of the HF will be cut), So I'd suggest some self-standing panels placed behind the drapes to achieve the symmetry at the lateral reflection point.

As you probably know from reading about my system, I'm very much in the absorb it all camp, but then my priority is high-performance multichannel which requires more emphasis on the direct sound. But I get why some prefer the 'dipole ambiance' effect. It's just that if going that way, I like to help people understand the importance of rear wave management in that context.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#19
If Bonnie uses the same design principal as mine the drapes are not simply drapes but because of the large 2.5:1 horizontal pleating as well the drape being lined with her OEM Lumitex

http://www.soundsense.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Lumitex™.pdf

which essentially turns the drapes into a large bass trap. She uses other materials in the floors (Noiseout) as well as front wall treatment with another OEM called Paradise Foam

IOW after her treatment there are no frequencies which can traverse the draperies. People always comment about how they anticipated the sound in my room would be dead because of the heavy treatments but after they hear it they always say that "she nailed it. People always warned me before I went down the road to build my room that the sheer weight and size of my speakers and their proximity to the front and side walls would blow the back end of the room off. Quite the contrary. The room measures quite flat across all frequency spectrums. I guess I got lucky BUT having said that she knows what she is doing. She has a combined pHD in acoustics, mathematics and electrical engineering which allowed her to write a program for mathematical room mapping. I've told this story before but initially where I placed my main equipment rack along the side wall later showed by her mathematical mapping that by moving the rack 6" towards the rear wall it would obviate a room mode. Further, with the drapes behind me (IOW in front of the rear wall and door) there are absolutely no issues even with me sitting very close to the rear wall. I don't think Ron will have the same issues I had due to the size constraints on my room but I also use another of her OEM products called High Hat Mufflers that sit in my attic above each "high hat"light fixture with each one acting as Helmholtz resonator. I also have many of her tuning tubes in the corners of my rooms, NoiseOut under the floor carpet etc, etc.

I don't think Ron will be disappointed
 
Jul 25, 2012
2,541
5
38
NY
#20
Does SoundSense sell the fabric by the yard?

How wide is a bolt?

Can you buy it already dyed to various colors?
 

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