Sublime Sound

Ron Resnick

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It sounds like y'all had a very fun day and evening, Peter, Al and Ian!
 
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MadFloyd

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It was a very fun day! Beautiful weather added to it as we took breaks from listening and sat outside to discuss.

I remain extremely impressed by Peter's system. It may be the most detailed presentation I've heard; the separation of instruments and musicality is truly great. When I saw the lack of room treatments, especially the absence of tube traps in the corners, I expected to hear issues but the bass was very articulate. The low registers of forte piano was both clear and authoritative so my brain had to accept that Peter knows what he's doing.

I think Peter has used his exile from other audiophiles to carefully tune his system and it's yielded wonderful results.
 

Al M.

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Yes, it was a fun day! Dinner was nice too. I was also impressed with Peter's system. Three things stood out for me:

1. Upper frequency extension:

There is an added air in the uppermost frequencies, which did improve by removal of room treatments. I did not hear it equally on all music, but it could be very beguiling on, for example, some trumpet, flute or massed strings.

My own room is more damped, and the sound lacks that extra bit of extension. The highs are by no means dull, and high-pitched percussion can sound energetic, sparkling and even airy, but overall the sound lacks that last bit of upper air on the instruments that I mentioned, and on other material perhaps as well.

The acoustic treatment is necessary in my room to avoid artificial depth with too recessed images regardless of recording, and I'll gladly sacrifice that last bit of air for the advantages that the room treatment, also in other areas, confers to my room situation. I would not confidently say that there is less upper air from the sound of my system than in Boston Symphony Hall when it is packed with people, and certainly there is not less than in the somewhat dry acoustic of the Ayer Mansion in Boston where we have enjoyed several concerts of chamber music (in both those venues you can have lots of HF energy, which is not quite the same as "air"). However, with that extra breathing of music in the uppermost frequencies in Peter's system, I can clearly see also in this respect where he is coming from when he says he now has a more natural sound. It is indeed beguiling, and also adds to some sense of resolution of sound.

In Peter's room the removal of room treatment clearly has no detrimental effect. Ian mentioned that bass was great, and rhythm & timing was outstanding as well. In my room the latter collapses when I remove the corner TubeTraps. There is no hard and fast rule if room treatment is beneficial or not; every room is different. It makes no sense to be dogmatic about it either way. Whatever works, works.

2. Definition in the low register of piano:

Ian mentioned this in his post as well. It was incredibly easy to follow the lines in the left hand playing the low keys of the piano, which were clearly separated from the upper lines. Pitch definition and delineation of sound was superb; in the other thread about Magico "house" sound there was a comment about "one-note piano", which in light of this experience seems exceedingly funny to me. As Ian said, the low register was also authoritative. Low register of piano is good in my system, but the one in Peter's system is clearly superior, as is the one on Ian's Magico M Project speakers.

My next post will discuss the third point that stood out to me.
 

Al M.

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We also compared the vdH Grand Cru on the SME 3012R arm to the MSL Signature Gold on the SME V-12 arm.

I think the general consensus was good. They remarked on the sheer amount of “detail” they heard. We disagreed on which arm/cartridge combination sounded more tonally correct, but we did seem to agree that the vdH conveyed more of the music's energy.

They preferred the presentation of the MSL Signature Gold on the V-12 arm. I preferred the vdH Grand Cru on the 3012R arm. I think they liked the warmer tonal balance and felt is was more timbrally correct, while I thought that combination was a bit warm and slightly soft sounding with slightly less energy.

I think of the vdH/3012R as cool clear bottle of water during a lovely afternoon sail. The MSL/V-12 is more like a warm bottle of Sake with a delicious sushi dinner. It is a matter of preference and taste.
This gets to the third point that stood out for me, which is the difference between the two cartridges.

Yes, I strongly preferred the MSL Signature Gold cartridge. Peter told me that he found it sounding much better than the last time he had it in his system, which is also when Ack and VLS had come over. I don't remember how it sounded then or if I even heard it at the time, but on prior occasions the cartridge always had made a great impression on me.

I strongly believe the MSL sounded more tonally correct. It was very linear sounding; I would say neutral with some natural warmth, more like I prefer in my own system as well. In the new context of Peter's system, with new preamp, new cables and removal of room treatments, I found it not the least bit euphonic or 'syrupy' sounding, attributes that some ascribe as a general sound characteristic to Japanese cartridges (perhaps Lyra excluded), and the sound was extended in frequency response, most notably in the highs. I might have heard some euphonic character before, yet not this time. It also sounded very dynamic. There was no softness of transients, rather they were portrayed with natural speed and incisiveness, without exaggerated edge (granted, we did not perform the acid test on Janaki String Trio). There was highly resolved detail, yet presented in an unobtrusively natural way. Overall, I found the sound with the MSL Signature Gold in Peter's system surprisingly comparable with the sound of Ack's Ortofon cartridge in his system.

On the other hand, the sound of the vdH Grand Cru was very different. That cartridge constantly presented itself as "detail king" as Ian would say. It was incredible what this cartridge could extract out of the grooves of Uranus from Holst's Planets, for example. The detailed skin sound of the timpani, the high-pitched percussion, detail on low brass tone were all etched out in an enormously impressive manner.

Yet note that I said "etched out". Herein lies the problem in my view. It was a hyper spotlighting of detail as I do not hear it in unamplified live music. Also transient edges did seem etched, which could lend extra 'detail', for example, to violin tone on Beethoven's string quartet op. 59/1 (Quartetto Italiano). But I did not find that to sound real.

The frequency area of upper midrange was also spotlit, and the upper treble seemed a bit detached and 'tizzy'. Overall, I could not escape, the more I listened, a certain 'nasal' quality of the sound.

Bass was phenomenal, and the low register of piano was perhaps even more sculpted out than in the already impressive performance with the MSL cartridge. Yet again, this seemed more like an 'etched' type of thing, so I had mixed feelings there too.

Do not take my impressions as a definitive statement on the cartridge, and Peter certainly disagrees with me. I am also not certain if the last word is spoken on the setup of this cartridge. Peter worked hard to tame sibilance on it, and I think he has been successful. So perhaps even more progress can be made, and one thing to further explore might be cartridge loading.

All in all, to me the vdH, as I heard it, seemed to provide an enormously impressive "hi-fi" sound, whereas the sound with the MSL was very natural. It was with this cartridge that to me Peter's system was, indeed, having a sublime sound.
 
Thank you Tang. Yes, I think we do have similar preference in sound, perhaps even music.

I have had ZenWave D4 IC and power cables in my system and heard them in my friends' systems. I like the D4 but do not know if I have heard the silver gold cables.

I chose my current cables and connectors very carefully and am quite satisfied. I appreciate the suggestion.
The silver gold ZenWave cables Tango is referring to is the ZenWave D4 cable. Dave Calhoon has proprietary silver/gold alloy wire made for him by Neotech. This alloy wire is used in the D4 and D5 interconnect cables along with pure silver Neotech UPOCC wire.

So you have heard the cables Tango is refereeing to in his post.
 
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Al M.

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For the sake of precision, I should add that of course I meant the cartridge/arm combinations. Yet I have heard the vdH Master Signature on both arms, and there is a common sound to the cartridge on both.
 

Ron Resnick

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Very, very interesting Al and Ian.

I find the various subjective sonic views on the vdH Master Signature cartridges to be fascinating.

Ian, what were your impressions of the sonic differences between the cartridges? Which one would you "take home"?
 

PeterA

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Al and Ian,

It was nice to see you guys yesterday and to spend time listening, discussing and then having a nice dinner by the seaside afterwards.

I am glad that my system and room changes did not interfere with our abilities to clearly hear distinctions between the two arm/cartridge combinations. This is why I made the effort to design and have built an outboard armpod on which to mount a second tonearm. I am beginning to appreciate having choices.

I have five cartridges now, two Japanese ones from the same mind, and three vanden Hull Colibris. They all sound different, and then there are the two different SME arms. I may well revisit the Grand Cru/3012R to see if I can improve on the set up, but right now I am pretty happy with each of the rather distinctive presentations.

My goal has been to change the overall sound of my system to a point where I am listening more to the music and less to the sound. These many changes are moving me in that direction. I appreciate the candid feedback as I was beginning to feel a bit myopic in my listening experiments given the imposed stay-at-home orders and an inability to listen to live music or even a friend's audio system.

Your feedback was valuable in assuring me that I am not falling off the deep end into the quagmire of endless audio confusion and wavering satisfaction. We are hearing similar things through the lenses of different preferences and tastes. This is what makes it a fascinating hobby and one very worth sharing with friends.
 

MadFloyd

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Very, very interesting Al and Ian.

I find the various subjective sonic views on the vdH Master Signature cartridges to be fascinating.

Ian, what were your impressions of the sonic differences between the cartridges? Which one would you "take home"?
Ron, my impressions mirror Al's. The perceived resolution and speed of the vdH is phenomenal but to my ears it is missing energy in the midrange and as a result doesn't sound natural. By comparison I found the MSL (which if I recall was brighter than Peter's Airtight and therefore was the detail champ before the vdH arrived) to be very balanced tonally. It isn't slow, syrupy or euphonic, it just sounds natural to my ears (in his system).

So unless I had a system that was overly lush/generous in the midrange I would take home the MSL.
 

tima

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My goal has been to change the overall sound of my system to a point where I am listening more to the music and less to the sound.
Do you think you are caused to do this, or, if a choice, what leads to making it one way or the other? So much of the discussion from all of us here (WBF and your own thread) is about sound and equipment. Can changing system 'orientation' (or whatever is the right word for the type of changes you've made lately) cause or lead one to focus less on equipment and sound?

I'm less inclined to think of this 'focus' as intentional or a choice. Having had enough gear pass through my system over the years I find some of it simply makes me think less about it and more about the music - and some it just the opposite. We know it when we hear it.

Your approach seems to be about changing the set up of the components you have to achieve the goal. Do you think that one can achieve the same goal with different components or can any components lead to the desired result by changing their setup?
 

bazelio

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Looks like a fun gathering. It's interesting the difference in perspectives regarding the carts. If the MSL Gold (which I've not heard) shares the same "unetched" character of the MSL Platinum (which I have heard), then my perspective is that the MSL is overly smooth while the Master Signature (which I've also heard) is crisper and more realistic. I love the retrieval of inner detail by the MSS also, particularly sustain and decays which to me are the hallmark (or not) of a high resolution system. Without this resolution, I personally find the listening experience lacking. Incidentally, I'll have a new Gran Cru in my system soon....
 

Mike Lavigne

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i have a couple of 'disturbing' Japanese cartridges, and recently had the MS. i get totally what Ian and Al are referring to. and my Japanese cartridges certainly more resemble the tonality of my tape than the MS. not that the MS is lacking in qualities. it's just a little different. have not heard the Gran Cru.
 

Tango

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Looks like a fun gathering. It's interesting the difference in perspectives regarding the carts. If the MSL Gold (which I've not heard) shares the same "unetched" character of the MSL Platinum (which I have heard), then my perspective is that the MSL is overly smooth while the Master Signature (which I've also heard) is crisper and more realistic. I love the retrieval of inner detail by the MSS also, particularly sustain and decays which to me are the hallmark (or not) of a high resolution system. Without this resolution, I personally find the listening experience lacking. Incidentally, I'll have a new Gran Cru in my system soon....
It is great that people who dont own a Vdh get to hear the Vdh and make honest comments from what they hear. Apart from the favorable and unfavorable aspects of MS many people have mentioned, I also learn that the MS has this unique clarity of air in musical scene. From other excellent carts from East or West, I can get super air clarity from the front of musicians. This makes me feel " Great! This is a transparent cart." But once I play MS, this air clarity goes between instruments and beyond more noticeably than other carts. This more transparent clean air (not black quietness black ground) help make sound of an instrument more dimensional and as if it is originated from that point of space. I am not saying the MS makes instruments in the back pop up more. What is in the back I still hear as it is in the back and shouldn't be heard distinctive as what in front if it wasnt intended to. Just the clear air around and beyond that I am talking about. It is pretty much the same type of stand out transparency that I found separate AS2000 from my other tts at first heard. Bare naked not necessary beauty. Japanese carts all try to suppress or mute surface noise. The VDH does not seem be designed to do that. So not a quiet cart is another aspect.
 

PeterA

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Looks like a fun gathering. It's interesting the difference in perspectives regarding the carts. If the MSL Gold (which I've not heard) shares the same "unetched" character of the MSL Platinum (which I have heard), then my perspective is that the MSL is overly smooth while the Master Signature (which I've also heard) is crisper and more realistic. I love the retrieval of inner detail by the MSS also, particularly sustain and decays which to me are the hallmark (or not) of a high resolution system. Without this resolution, I personally find the listening experience lacking. Incidentally, I'll have a new Gran Cru in my system soon....
Brian, I completely agree with this assessment. The MSL is indeed "overly smooth" to my ears (in my system on the V-12). I do not think I would describe the Master Signature or Grand Cru as etched in any way. Rather, I find them less smooth, more natural, more crisp. They both portray the energy of the instrument or voice more realistically and they convey more "inner detail". And the vdH cartridges are also clearer sounding to me, just as I hear the sound of live music. Natural resolution and clarity.

Another way of describing the difference is that one is more forgiving while the other is more ruthlessly revealing. On some music like the great choral pieces on Cantata Domino, there is real beauty. On others, like some rather aggressive string quartets, the vdH does not sound beautiful. It sounds clean and revealing with lots of string texture and wooden body resonance. I follow the music, enjoy the composition, but I don't revel in the beauty. The MSL makes most recordings sound more beautiful. To me, the vdH is more open, more clean, more alive.

When I think of my perception of the frequency response of the vdH and the MSL, one reminds me of a large snake. The other is like a large snake with a rodent somewhere in the middle trying to get out.
 
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PeterA

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Do you think you are caused to do this, or, if a choice, what leads to making it one way or the other? So much of the discussion from all of us here (WBF and your own thread) is about sound and equipment. Can changing system 'orientation' (or whatever is the right word for the type of changes you've made lately) cause or lead one to focus less on equipment and sound?

I'm less inclined to think of this 'focus' as intentional or a choice. Having had enough gear pass through my system over the years I find some of it simply makes me think less about it and more about the music - and some it just the opposite. We know it when we hear it.

Your approach seems to be about changing the set up of the components you have to achieve the goal. Do you think that one can achieve the same goal with different components or can any components lead to the desired result by changing their setup?
Tim, those are some good questions. In a sense, it is a choice, because I chose to make changes to my system after years of listening to live music and realizing that something was not right. This is an audio forum and I think people come here to discuss and to learn by asking questions. It is not surprising that some of the discussion, even most of it, is about sound and equipment. I have found that when the system sounds more natural, more like real music, I tend to focus less on the gear or sound, and more on the music. It is more relaxing, less effort. I don't know if this is a conscientious decision or not. It just seems to happen.

You review gear and have had much exposure to different designs and sounds. I tend not to change gear often, nor have I had a lot of exposure to different designs. I have decided to learn more about the effect of set up on sound rather than chasing a lot of gear. I witnessed how Jim Smith improved the sound of my system simply by improving the set up and not spending any money or switching any gear.

I have friends who buy a lot of gear. I do less of that for a variety of reasons. It is easy to swap gear and chase different sounds. It is harder to understand the goal and figure out how to get there without swapping a lot of gear. Sometimes it means one must go against convention and break from what he has learned and read and expected. Getting the system to sound natural through proper set up is a bigger challenge, IMO. I have learned that set up can have at least as profound an effect on the overall sound as buying better gear. And that has been a deliberate inquiry.
 
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tima

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I tend to focus less on the gear or sound, and more on the music. It is more relaxing, less effort. I don't know if this is a conscientious decision or not. It just seems to happen.
That is what I was after when I asked "Do you think you are caused to do this, or, if a choice, what leads to making it one way or the other?". I was talking about the listening experience. I suppose when listening one can puposefully keep a focus on the analysis on sound - when reviewing equipment some of my time is dedicated to that and when I like what I'm hearing I must remind myself to remain steadfast to the task. So in that sense it's a decision. But reviewing is something of a one-off activity, some might even see it as a burden, which it can be. If we sit to listen without an agenda, as it were, are we led to think of sound and equipment or does the music take us away. There, I don't think we normally make a choice.

I imagine there are audiophiles who ... how do I say this ... are 'concerned' about how their system sounds versus either a) what they read/hear from other audiophiles or reviews - "what should I be hearing? I"m not hearing a soundstage depth like he described" or b) versus their intentional goal for their system whether that be their own notion of what they like or a reference they adopt such as the sound of live acoustic music. In those instances one is choosing to think about sound out of uncertainty or as an assessment.

As for components and setup, I don't care for the locution "chasing a lot of gear". That phrase suggests one does not know what one wants and one must chase, then capture it to find out what it is. I don't think you were gear chasing when you recently bought new electronics. Nor was the purchase an alternative to tuning the former piece. I wasn't setting up a competition between learning what one likes through equipment or tuning - to me it seems obviously both. And I don't believe achieving one's goal is any easier or harder or more praiseworthy if one finds it through buying components or adjusting one's system I've heard a fair number of components and every once in a while there will be a significant one where after a week or so I'll know it brings my system (and myself) closer to my goal. I also believe there are some component aspects of a system that no amount of tuning can bring them in line with one's goals.

What I am thinking (and tried to draw out your view) is that the recognition of one's goal and meeting it is not so much a choice but an event of satisfaction or dissatisfaction in one's mind while listening.. As you put it: "It is more relaxing, less effort. I don't know if this is a conscientious decision or not. It just seems to happen.", or as I put it "You know it when it happens." When that satisfaction does not occur is when attention turns to sound and equipment and tuning.

How did you come to realize your system was not meeting your goals and begin to re-orient it in the ways you have recently? What led you to that revelation?
 
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PeterA

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How did you come to realize your system was not meeting your goals and begin to re-orient it in the ways you have recently? What led you to that revelation?
Hi Tim, MikeL thinks I ask the tough questions. These are good ones, and they are not so easy to answer. It has been a gradual and deliberate process, with a few significant moves that led to a revelation.

I touched on some of this in my report on the Pass Labs XP-32 preamp. Years ago when I really started getting into this hobby, I bought specific gear thinking it sounded good. I enjoyed playing my old records, buying new ones, and very incrementally improving the sound of my system through the occasional upgrade.

About eight years ago two things happened: Jim Smith came to voice my system to my room mainly by adjusting first my listening seat position (height and location) and then my speaker position. He demonstrated a very methodical process which resulted in a more engaging listening experience. From reading his book and then spending a weekend with him, I started thinking of music reproduction in his simpler terms: Tone, Dynamics, and Presence. Progress from here involved improving one or more of those attributes.

Around this same time, I visited an acquaintance in Vienna who subsequently became a good friend and audio mentor. He introduced me to a behind the scenes exploration of music making in one of the worlds greatest music venues, the Vienna State Opera. He suggested I listen to the energy created by the cello and various other instruments in the pit and to the voices on stage and how that energy expands through that hall. He taught me that there is no absolute sound. He taught me about the origins of sound and its essence. The sheer beauty of sound in that hall is amazing. Rehearsals in an empty hall heard from the edge of the pit to performances at night at the back of the hall in the Director's box. Sound during the day, music at night. I began to understand better grasp the distinction.

Then, about a year ago, I started to pay attention to ddk's ideas. I had always wanted to try a second tone arm and my questions to him about the SME 3012R led to many discussions and the further reading of his posts here on WBF. The concept of something even simpler than Tone, Dynamics and Presence became "Natural".

With the memories of years of listening to live music, friends' systems, and my own system, I began to realize that the reproduced audio I was hearing was pretty far removed from what I heard live, in Vienna, at the BSO, at small chamber settings, and at jazz clubs. With other hobbies, sailing in particular requiring more resources, I decided to try to change the sound of my system without spending much money. I talked more to David and sought out his advice.

I realized that the conventional way I had been doing things was not getting me closer to my goal of a more natural sound. David encouraged me to experiment by ditching some of my long held beliefs and to reassess everything with the very simple question: "Does it sound more or less natural?"

I started by removing things from the room and system: acoustic treatments, audiophile signal cables and power cords, isolation platforms. I then repositioned my speakers to face straight ahead. Each time I did something, I simply asked myself if it sounded more or less "natural".

That was the first basic move. It was not easy, it took time and a lot of experimentation, particularly with speaker position. I have found that with zero toe in, finding the right location in the room is considerably more challenging than when the speakers are toed in to meet a foot or two behind the listening seat. The interactions with the walls and resulting room reflections takes more fine tuning to sound right. This process took a long time and there were setbacks. Audio friends did not like the sound, but I continued in this new direction anyway.

With these changes the system sounded much more natural to me. I was reminded of what my mentor taught me in Vienna. My room was more energized, the music was more engaging and I was less conscience of the gear and system and room. This led to the second effort.

Once the room was energized and the music more alive, I wanted more of the clarity I heard from the BSO. This lead directly to the new preamp and signal cables. The vdH cartridges were actually the first hint of what was now possible in terms of clarity and natural sound.

That is a long history of the evolution of my system and my methodology, but it basically comes down to this: natural sound (ddk), energy (Vienna), and clarity (BSO). I think David would refer to it simply as "natural resolution".

The revelation came from hearing the results of my willingness to experiment with ddk's advice and to try something less conventional, even against the conventional wisdom. It was a kind of disruption or break from my long held audio beliefs. I now listen more to the whole rather than to the parts and have a clearer goal of where I want to end up.
 

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Hi Tim, MikeL thinks I ask the tough questions. These are good ones, and they are not so easy to answer. It has been a gradual and deliberate process, with a few significant moves that led to a revelation.

I touched on some of this in my report on the Pass Labs XP-32 preamp. Years ago when I really started getting into this hobby, I bought specific gear thinking it sounded good. I enjoyed playing my old records, buying new ones, and very incrementally improving the sound of my system through the occasional upgrade.

About eight years ago two things happened: Jim Smith came to voice my system to my room mainly by adjusting first my listening seat position (height and location) and then my speaker position. He demonstrated a very methodical process which resulted in a more engaging listening experience. From reading his book and then spending a weekend with him, I started thinking of music reproduction in his simpler terms: Tone, Dynamics, and Presence. Progress from here involved improving one or more of those attributes.

Around this same time, I visited an acquaintance in Vienna who subsequently became a good friend and audio mentor. He introduced me to a behind the scenes exploration of music making in one of the worlds greatest music venues, the Vienna State Opera. He suggested I listen to the energy created by the cello and various other instruments in the pit and to the voices on stage and how that energy expands through that hall. He taught me that there is no absolute sound. He taught me about the origins of sound and its essence. The sheer beauty of sound in that hall is amazing. Rehearsals in an empty hall heard from the edge of the pit to performances at night at the back of the hall in the Director's box. Sound during the day, music at night. I began to understand better grasp the distinction.

Then, about a year ago, I started to pay attention to ddk's ideas. I had always wanted to try a second tone arm and my questions to him about the SME 3012R led to many discussions and the further reading of his posts here on WBF. The concept of something even simpler than Tone, Dynamics and Presence became "Natural".

With the memories of years of listening to live music, friends' systems, and my own system, I began to realize that the reproduced audio I was hearing was pretty far removed from what I heard live, in Vienna, at the BSO, at small chamber settings, and at jazz clubs. With other hobbies, sailing in particular requiring more resources, I decided to try to change the sound of my system without spending much money. I talked more to David and sought out his advice.

I realized that the conventional way I had been doing things was not getting me closer to my goal of a more natural sound. David encouraged me to experiment by ditching some of my long held beliefs and to reassess everything with the very simple question: "Does it sound more or less natural?"

I started by removing things from the room and system: acoustic treatments, audiophile signal cables and power cords, isolation platforms. I then repositioned my speakers to face straight ahead. Each time I did something, I simply asked myself if it sounded more or less "natural".

That was the first basic move. It was not easy, it took time and a lot of experimentation, particularly with speaker position. I have found that with zero toe in, finding the right location in the room is considerably more challenging than when the speakers are toed in to meet a foot or two behind the listening seat. The interactions with the walls and resulting room reflections takes more fine tuning to sound right. This process took a long time and there were setbacks. Audio friends did not like the sound, but I continued in this new direction anyway.

With these changes the system sounded much more natural to me. I was reminded of what my mentor taught me in Vienna. My room was more energized, the music was more engaging and I was less conscience of the gear and system and room. This led to the second effort.

Once the room was energized and the music more alive, I wanted more of the clarity I heard from the BSO. This lead directly to the new preamp and signal cables. The vdH cartridges were actually the first hint of what was now possible in terms of clarity and natural sound.

That is a long history of the evolution of my system and my methodology, but it basically comes down to this: natural sound (ddk), energy (Vienna), and clarity (BSO). I think David would refer to it simply as "natural resolution".

The revelation came from hearing the results of my willingness to experiment with ddk's advice and to try something less conventional, even against the conventional wisdom. It was a kind of disruption or break from my long held audio beliefs. I now listen more to the whole rather than to the parts and have a clearer goal of where I want to end up.
To Ron and Steve: There should be a WBF of "Hall of Fame" posts. This one should be in it.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Peter, isn't Al describing in what he hears from the VdH as what you're trying to get away from? You don't like that "hifi" etched hyper realism/over detailed sound. You're moving away from it. But that's what Al is describing, and declaring he prefers the other cart as more "natural".
 

PeterA

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Yes Marc, I think you can interpret it that way. However that misses the bigger picture that the system still does what it does with both cartridges and so everything I describe above is what I am hearing with my preferred cartridge. You would have to ask Al what he thinks. We just happen to have a different opinion about the two specific cartridges. The cartridges are responsible for only a small part of my system sound evolution.

I think Al and I hear things slightly differently but he hears something with one cartridge and I think I hear a similar thing with the other cartridge. My system is moving in a direction that we might both agree is toward a more natural sound. It is an ongoing process.
 
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