Sublime Sound

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,836
580
570
Pleasanton, CA
I think your VTA is off by a micron or two. You should take care of that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lagonda

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,312
2,510
710
North Shore of Boston
I think your VTA is off by a micron or two. You should take care of that.

HA. There was I time when I would have thought you were serious. Now I smile and realize you are joking. How long have you had your SME 30/2?
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,836
580
570
Pleasanton, CA
HA. There was I time when I would have thought you were serious. Now I smile and realize you are joking. How long have you had your SME 30/2?
Hmm, 15 years? It's in the box back from the repair shop. I thought i wore out the main bearing because the platter support started scraping, but they said the pillars needed new fluid and rubber bands, the main bearing was OK. I am scratching my head over that, but guess I have no reason to doubt until I try it out again.

I guess I'll find out next week when I re-install it. If it still isn't working, I suppose my monthly lease payment was reasonable for how long I had it and what I paid for it.

In the meantime, a vintage Sony PS X70 and an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A cartridge have been doing yeoman service and sound better than they have a right to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: morricab

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
5,248
951
325
Eastern WA
Interesting choice for the 180/200g and standard, I would have suspected the other way around.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,312
2,510
710
North Shore of Boston
Interesting choice for the 180/200g and standard, I would have suspected the other way around.

I find the 3012R is easier to adjust VTA, so that is the one that is most flexible and should allow me to quickly go from thick to thin whereas the V-12 is a bit more difficult to raise and lower and get back to the exact same place. This is a cinch with the 3012R. So, in a sense, the V-12 is going to be set and forget at thin LPs while the 3012R will be my more flexible arm.

Both arms sound excellent, IMO, so it is not a decision based on preferred sonics but rather which arm is easier to switch back and forth. It might also change over time.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Folsom

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
5,880
1,306
453
Greater Boston
On Tuesday I had the pleasure to hear Peter's system again. Even though the weather was colder, we had another nice outdoor dinner, pandemic style, at a favorite restaurant with view on the harbor. But it wasn't that cold yet, and while they had installed a heat lamp, it was not strictly necessary.

After dinner, we listened to Holst's chamber opera Savitri and the Six Choruses for male choir. This was followed by Haydn's Harmoniemesse (Harmony Mass) with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (cond. Sir Neville Marriner) and the Cambridge Singers. It was gorgeous how some voices chased one another in the Gloria. We then heard Frans Helmerson playing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi (as I found out later, a digital recording from 1984), and closed with Maurizio Pollini playing Beethoven's piano sonata op. 109. The system sounded better than ever before, and perhaps Peter can describe the most recent changes.

Everything sounded lively and engaging, but there was more. There was an effortless richness to the sound. It was not just a rare harmonic richness, especially evident on the orchestral music. There was also something that Peter aptly calls “atmosphere”. Each recording has its own unique atmosphere which is basically the dimensions and character of the space in which the musicians and singers are performing, and how the sound fills that space. This was never so apparent. The rich timbral contribution of this atmosphere completely melded with the harmonic richness from the instruments in a unified manner that was rather reminiscent of the concert hall experience, and which is as such rarely heard from a system. It was quite astonishing.

Interestingly, even though the sound was enormously resolved in fine timbral detail and separation of performers, there was no perceived emphasis on the treble and no 'brightness' whatsoever. Yet still there was a tremendous amount of air to the sound. That air was combined with great body in the orchestral power range (low mids/mid bass) in a way that again, you rarely hear from a system, where it is usually either more body or more air rather than both, but which was a sound much more familiar from what you hear in a concert hall. There you also usually do not have any brightness despite a marked sense of air.

It could also be said that there was a great "bloom" of sound, in the best sense of the word, even though there is not a single tube in the system. There is, of course, outstanding vinyl playback. I have to say that I am astonished by the sublime way the vdH Gran Cru cartridge now sounds -- what a long way from my first unfavorable impressions back in July where also the tonal balance was completely different. The integration into the system is now so much better, also with a new AC power structure feeding the system, and with I think some modifications to the cartridge by van den Hul.

David Karmeli (ddk) speaks about "managing the energy of the sound in the room". Peter has worked on this, and perhaps a key to getting such a sound that more resembles a concert hall experience is to get a free, unperturbed flow of sound energy into the room and to the listener, a flow that preserves all the information that is all there on the recording but lost so easily.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,410
4,888
940
London
Al, You hear flow now?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al M.

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
12,107
2,800
653
E. England
Flow without analog.
Bloom without tubes.
Impressive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PeterA

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,836
580
570
Pleasanton, CA
After a certain age, achieving flow rather than staccato is a major badge of honor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: the sound of Tao

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
2,333
2,137
470
On Tuesday I had the pleasure to hear Peter's system again. Even though the weather was colder, we had another nice outdoor dinner, pandemic style, at a favorite restaurant with view on the harbor. But it wasn't that cold yet, and while they had installed a heat lamp, it was not strictly necessary.

After dinner, we listened to Holst's chamber opera Savitri and the Six Choruses for male choir. This was followed by Haydn's Harmoniemesse (Harmony Mass) with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (cond. Sir Neville Marriner) and the Cambridge Singers. It was gorgeous how some voices chased one another in the Gloria. We then heard Frans Helmerson playing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Jarvi (as I found out later, a digital recording from 1984), and closed with Maurizio Pollini playing Beethoven's piano sonata op. 109. The system sounded better than ever before, and perhaps Peter can describe the most recent changes.

Everything sounded lively and engaging, but there was more. There was an effortless richness to the sound. It was not just a rare harmonic richness, especially evident on the orchestral music. There was also something that Peter aptly calls “atmosphere”. Each recording has its own unique atmosphere which is basically the dimensions and character of the space in which the musicians and singers are performing, and how the sound fills that space. This was never so apparent. The rich timbral contribution of this atmosphere completely melded with the harmonic richness from the instruments in a unified manner that was rather reminiscent of the concert hall experience, and which is as such rarely heard from a system. It was quite astonishing.

Interestingly, even though the sound was enormously resolved in fine timbral detail and separation of performers, there was no perceived emphasis on the treble and no 'brightness' whatsoever. Yet still there was a tremendous amount of air to the sound. That air was combined with great body in the orchestral power range (low mids/mid bass) in a way that again, you rarely hear from a system, where it is usually either more body or more air rather than both, but which was a sound much more familiar from what you hear in a concert hall. There you also usually do not have any brightness despite a marked sense of air.

It could also be said that there was a great "bloom" of sound, in the best sense of the word, even though there is not a single tube in the system. There is, of course, outstanding vinyl playback. I have to say that I am astonished by the sublime way the vdH Gran Cru cartridge now sounds -- what a long way from my first unfavorable impressions back in July where also the tonal balance was completely different. The integration into the system is now so much better, also with a new AC power structure feeding the system, and with I think some modifications to the cartridge by van den Hul.

David Karmeli (ddk) speaks about "managing the energy of the sound in the room". Peter has worked on this, and perhaps a key to getting such a sound that more resembles a concert hall experience is to get a free, unperturbed flow of sound energy into the room and to the listener, a flow that preserves all the information that is all there on the recording but lost so easily.
Always good to see the long term camaraderie here. Having a good buddy to share audio stuff with makes the world of difference in the fun and to help get perspective.

Al and Peter, you guys have seemingly moved increasingly to holistic assessing ala David and that’s very much become my basic platform over the last few years as well. I also think in terms of the energy in the room, it’s nature, it’s outcome on the experience of different types of music.

Without sending your system thread off on a detour and getting into any specifics I’d just like to say that when I read your holistic descriptions I find them very easy to understand and to correlate to a sense of the experience. The enjoyable backstory on your having something to eat and your choice of music builds the scene but when you move across to communicate the flow and energy of what you hear and in the music it really does then come together in wholeness.

Communicating experience is the hard part in this business but you guys demonstrate that if you keep at it you can become strong with it. Way better than just saying that A is better than B in my books at any rate.
 
Last edited:

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
4,109
3,963
495
Bangkok
Must be so transparent to make Al or anyone experienced it said the word "air."
 
  • Like
Reactions: the sound of Tao

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
7,312
2,510
710
North Shore of Boston
Must be so transparent to make Al or anyone experienced it said the word "air."

Sound is energy and energy disturbs the air the way a rabbit leaves foot prints in the snow.

This is on the recording, and I am only now beginning to hear it fill my room.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tima and Lagonda

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
4,109
3,963
495
Bangkok
Sound is energy and energy disturbs the air the way a rabbit leaves foot prints in the snow.

This is on the recording, and I am only now beginning to hear it fill my room.
Although your associated gear all make contribution, It is the Vdh that crates that degree clear air. I mentioned before that after it has done some time it would get that level of air ahead of others. Al also mentioned the instrument separation. It seems we hear the same as I wrote and posted a video on Holst Chorus. The very same record we listened to. Once got accustom to this sound, switching a cart and you will hear what is missing.

Edit: Excuse me. I meant instrument differentiation not separation.
 
Last edited:

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
2,080
1,655
435
the Upper Midwest
Sound is energy and energy disturbs the air the way a rabbit leaves foot prints in the snow.

This is on the recording, and I am only now beginning to hear it fill my room.


"There's something in the air besides the atmosphere."
- Lena Lovich, Lucky Number

A fascinating topic and two fascinating sentences. Don't know if I agree with the first one, but I like it. :) None of what I'll write here is meant as a criticism.

Been some talk about 'air' lately. Peter, I'm interested in exploring your experience more, in light of my own, so that I can understand better what you're saying and perhaps refine my own vocabulary. You write with well constructed sentences. What is interesting is your indicating you are 'only now' beginning to hear it' fill your room. So the referent of 'it' is ... what? Air, sound or energy. I'll speculate that referent is 'air'. Is that right? Kindly bare with my analytics.

I read you as saying the experience of air is new for you. This is the part that is puzzling within my own experience. I've never thought of 'air' as something unusual to hear or experience from my own or other audio systems. I agree that it may take a certain level of system to sense it or experience, but nothing particularly fancy; I'm guessing the majority of systems here on WBF are capable of revealing it from a recording that has it. So I ask myself is Peter talking about the same notion of air that I have, or is this something either new for me or that I call by a different name?

Air is the media on which sound energy travels. (No air no sound.) It's in the hall. I think of it in terms of being part of the venue context. The air is defined by what contains it, the inside of the building that holds it. That containment influences the sound energy in a particular way that (partly?) differentiates from sound energy outside, concert in the park, etc. I hear the interaction of sound energy with its context, it reflects off the hall's walls, ceiling, floor, etc. Curtains, baffles, carpeting, etc. influence that to a degree that each venue, each hall, has a fairly unique sound/influence of its own. But virtually all venues yield some sense of air. Well, maybe not an anechoic chamber so much; there the air is typically dead.

I also hear some sound from an orchestra that is less influenced by its containing venue, moreso from the interior of the orchestra, furthest from the walls. But there is still plenty of air there. I hear sound energy rising up, into the air as it were. I usually describe that as a transient cloud above or harmonics hovering over the performers. Sometimes I have a sense of the air separating performers or sections and what happens in that space when either, say, one or both play. Quartetts, Trios are an example too.

There's the sound of air in a venue further enclosed by an instrument. The tube of a flute or clarinet, the wood body of a cello. Hearing that is what I sometimes describe as a "lit from within" quality, or as Nora Jones describes, "the dark and shady corners of a violin", the woodiness of an instrument.

I suspect to a degree, that how we hear 'air' is tied to timing. Reflection off a back wall, etc.

Yes, it's on the recording. (The 'mixing' of the performance's sound energy with the air in one's audio room impacts the way wed hear the recording, but let's leave that for another time.)

The capacity to reveal air from a recording is I believe a product of the recording and the source. One's analog front end is critical and obviously some gear is more revelatory of what's on the recording than other gear. There is some gear that is known for it's ability to render air and spaciousness; whether that is homogenizing or revealing is another topic. Holt doesn't discuss "air" but he defines "airy": Pertaining to treble which sounds light, delicate, open ... Apparent airiness can be exaggerated by a rising HF response or excessive L-R content at high frequencies - both typical of many moving coil cartridges." Well perhaps ... low frequency instruments can 'have air' too.

So, Peter and @Al M. , is any of what I've described similar to what you're talking about hearing?
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
5,880
1,306
453
Greater Boston
"There's something in the air besides the atmosphere."
- Lena Lovich, Lucky Number

A fascinating topic and two fascinating sentences. Don't know if I agree with the first one, but I like it. :) None of what I'll write here is meant as a criticism.

Been some talk about 'air' lately. Peter, I'm interested in exploring your experience more, in light of my own, so that I can understand better what you're saying and perhaps refine my own vocabulary. You write with well constructed sentences. What is interesting is your indicating you are 'only now' beginning to hear it' fill your room. So the referent of 'it' is ... what? Air, sound or energy. I'll speculate that referent is 'air'. Is that right? Kindly bare with my analytics.

I read you as saying the experience of air is new for you. This is the part that is puzzling within my own experience. I've never thought of 'air' as something unusual to hear or experience from my own or other audio systems. I agree that it may take a certain level of system to sense it or experience, but nothing particularly fancy; I'm guessing the majority of systems here on WBF are capable of revealing it from a recording that has it. So I ask myself is Peter talking about the same notion of air that I have, or is this something either new for me or that I call by a different name?

Air is the media on which sound energy travels. (No air no sound.) It's in the hall. I think of it in terms of being part of the venue context. The air is defined by what contains it, the inside of the building that holds it. That containment influences the sound energy in a particular way that (partly?) differentiates from sound energy outside, concert in the park, etc. I hear the interaction of sound energy with its context, it reflects off the hall's walls, ceiling, floor, etc. Curtains, baffles, carpeting, etc. influence that to a degree that each venue, each hall, has a fairly unique sound/influence of its own. But virtually all venues yield some sense of air. Well, maybe not an anechoic chamber so much; there the air is typically dead.

I also hear some sound from an orchestra that is less influenced by its containing venue, moreso from the interior of the orchestra, furthest from the walls. But there is still plenty of air there. I hear sound energy rising up, into the air as it were. I usually describe that as a transient cloud above or harmonics hovering over the performers. Sometimes I have a sense of the air separating performers or sections and what happens in that space when either, say, one or both play. Quartetts, Trios are an example too.

There's the sound of air in a venue further enclosed by an instrument. The tube of a flute or clarinet, the wood body of a cello. Hearing that is what I sometimes describe as a "lit from within" quality, or as Nora Jones describes, "the dark and shady corners of a violin", the woodiness of an instrument.

I suspect to a degree, that how we hear 'air' is tied to timing. Reflection off a back wall, etc.

Yes, it's on the recording. (The 'mixing' of the performance's sound energy with the air in one's audio room impacts the way wed hear the recording, but let's leave that for another time.)

The capacity to reveal air from a recording is I believe a product of the recording and the source. One's analog front end is critical and obviously some gear is more revelatory of what's on the recording than other gear. There is some gear that is known for it's ability to render air and spaciousness; whether that is homogenizing or revealing is another topic. Holt doesn't discuss "air" but he defines "airy": Pertaining to treble which sounds light, delicate, open ... Apparent airiness can be exaggerated by a rising HF response or excessive L-R content at high frequencies - both typical of many moving coil cartridges." Well perhaps ... low frequency instruments can 'have air' too.

So, Peter and @Al M. , is any of what I've described similar to what you're talking about hearing?

Tim, of course 'air' is nothing unusual to hear from an audio system -- and as you quote Holt, it even can be exaggerated too. I have heard air in Peter's system on previous occasions as well (and also with other cartridges, by the way).

Yet I have described in paragraphs three and four of my post what I think sets the current experience in Peter's system apart. I also say there that 'atmosphere' was never so apparent; I don't say that there was never any before.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,410
4,888
940
London
Al, let's just accept that air and flow always existed, you just hadn't experienced them but you like to argue. Nothing wrong with that hobby
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
5,880
1,306
453
Greater Boston
Al, let's just accept that air and flow always existed, you just hadn't experienced them but you like to argue. Nothing wrong with that hobby

Didn't I just say that experiencing air from a system is nothing unusual?
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
2,080
1,655
435
the Upper Midwest
Tim, of course 'air' is nothing unusual to hear from an audio system -- and as you quote Holt, it even can be exaggerated too. I have heard air in Peter's system on previous occasions as well (and also with other cartridges, by the way).

Yet I have described in paragraphs three and four of my post what I think sets the current experience in Peter's system apart. I also say there that 'atmosphere' was never so apparent; I don't say that there was never any before.

Sure, Al. I read your report and Peter's comments. I was not questioning the experience either had, but wanted to learn if I understood both of you by describing my notions of 'air' then hearing your feedback on whether I was using 'air' in a way that was similar, or that each of you could relate to. Seeing if we were on the same page or if there was something I didn't 'get' about the description you gave. I guess I was thrown off by Peter's comment which I interepreted as hearing something new, that he only now was beginning to hear. So, I asked. Sometimes it's worth (to me anyway) learning if we are communicating or at least if I am understanding what others say.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing