Sublime Sound

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spiritofmusic

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Maybe I've been tweaking too long, but I find the Borg Queen hugely natural.
 
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I didn't change subjects, I answered your question on Steve's room, commented on your article and didn't get involved in your conversation with Bob. I see an insincerity and deliberate put downs in many of your posts here and asked you a sincere question about your intent!

david
Sorry you see "insincerity and deliberate put downs" in any question related to what is being discussed in the thread that does not agree with your views.

Stereo is an extremely subjective affair, with many ways. You often criticize with strong words and vehemence the current mainstream way of high-end - people accept it and argue agreeing and disagreeing with your views. I can't understand why posters in this thread wanting to question the arguments and facts being presented are immediately suggested to go elsewhere or considered insincere.
 
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I don't remember from yr system description if Wilson or a Wilson dealer set up your Alexias in your new/re-done room, but they probably set up the Alexias somewhere for you when you bought them. The vocal technique that @ddk discusses and that you pick-up here is very similar to part of the Wilson 'WASP' method developed by Dave Wilson. I don't think it is unique to any one set-up person. If nothing else it gets one to hear the difference in his voice according to where it is in the room and the impact that standing closer to walls (back & side) has on the way it sounds. (...)
The Wilson "vocal method" being described is used only to locate a broad area where the speakers will be positioned, not to fine tune the speakers. The fine tune is carried in this zone aiming at a precise tonal objective with specific recordings. It is mostly a way to reproduce the conditions to listen to Wilson speakers in the way David Wilson anticipated, but some people prefer an alternative positioning.
 

PeterA

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The Wilson "vocal method" being described is used only to locate a broad area where the speakers will be positioned, not to fine tune the speakers. The fine tune is carried in this zone aiming at a precise tonal objective with specific recordings. It is mostly a way to reproduce the conditions to listen to Wilson speakers in the way David Wilson anticipated, but some people prefer an alternative positioning.
I saw a Wilson video of this process. What does Wilson say about selecting the listening seat position? Some consider that to be critical for good sound.
 
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I saw a Wilson video of this process. What does Wilson say about selecting the listening seat position? Some consider that to be critical for good sound.
It is a two phase process. We can read about it at https://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html or in the section WASP of their manuals, freely available in their site. It is a complete receipt to carry the positioning - I do not reproduce it here because it is copyrighted material.
 

PeterA

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Thanks, Peter. I kinda thought that's what you would say. The reality of live sound in the venue where it occurs no more, no less - what else could be natural.

While we don't have ready access to most of the venues we hear on recordings, I believe we have a 'composite' in our heads aggregated across multiple experiences, from a string group in a church or living room to a large concert hall or playing an instrument ourselves. The sound of a cello - it's not that cello (unless it's playing before you) or a specific cello (unless it is very familiar), but the recollection of various cellos over time. What do you think? (or anyone?)
Tim, I do not think I answered your question very well, certainly not completely. Referencing live music and comparing it to reproduced music is certainly my process, but having thought about it a bit more now, I can be more specific.

Natural Sound:

I agree with David that everyone knows natural sound when he hears it. However, as he also states, there is more to it. I think about his comment that "music is not bits and pieces". We collectively as audiophiles have been taught to think of bits and pieces - the breaking down of music into sound into sonic attributes. We have a glossary of audiophile sonic terms. We have books that keep being referenced. We have reviews that go into much detail about aspects of the sound. There is so much "flowery prose" as Fransisco, Kedar and others mention. I know I am just as prone to this as others.

Years ago, after I began to attend Friday afternoon concerts at the BSO with my father, and on occasion Madfloyd and Al M., I remember always returning to one strong impression of the sonic experience of such an event: The sound is so clear. I always return to that one impression. It overrides all other impressions. Some might find it vague. Having talked to David over this last year, simplifying my system, understanding natural sound, I realize that David is right: music is not bits and pieces.

When I say the sound at the BSO is so clear, what I am also saying by omission, is that I don't think of the sound in that great hall in terms of sonic attributes, the audiophile glossary of terms, or broken down into bits and pieces. I think of the whole, the holistic experience, the gestalt. This is what natural sound means to me.

I never think about frequency response, tonal balance, "tight" bass, poles of articulation, grain, etch, fatigue, brightness, slam. When sitting in my seventh row center seat, I take in the sound, the music, and its overwhelming clarity. Clarity because this is energy at its source in a well designed real space, not some semblance of that energy after manipulation through the recording and reproduction chains.

David also talks about listening to a system or a component and hearing if anything draws attention to itself. As soon as his mind goes to some aspect of the sound rather than the gestalt of the music, he gets concerned. This is an indication that there may be something now quite natural. If the listener pay attention to a frequency range, or some specific detail, and keeps returning to that, it is not natural sound.

When I told David that I was now hearing "more" of what is on the recording and is sounded more convincing, he told me that was "natural resolution". A. J. van den Hul writes about getting more information from the grooves from his latest designs. Natural sound is the embodiment of energy being set free in the listening room, and of extracting the information from the recording. There are degrees of this. A modest system can do it as long as this energy and information is not corrupted. This goes back to the idea of doing no harm to the music. It it just that better components, a better system, better set up and a better room, all contribute to a better, more complete and more natural listening experience.

I knew I was getting closer and closer to natural sound during my period of experimentation when I thought less and less about sonic attributes, and more about the music. When Al and I sit in my room and he requests some violin concerto or choral piece, and we just sit and listen and talk about how brilliant Bach or Holst was, that is an indication of natural sound. When Al could no longer hear a high frequency accent from my vdh Grand Cru or Magico tweeter, that was an indication of a more natural sound. When we discuss Art Blakey's drum solo and the rhythm and impact of his sticks on the skin or metal rims rather than the tight bass or sparkly cymbals, that is natural sound. When we listen to Holst's chamber opera and marvel at how Death moves forward on the stage, and we are moved by Savitri's love for Satyavan and her fear of the forest creatures, that is natural sound.

This was made super clear to me the other night when I visited Al to hear his isolation transformers. With the transformers in place, I heard "tight" bass, a focused organ and voices, a slightly harsh triangle, a sharp trumpet, a restricted soundstage, and focused images. Without the transformers, I heard an expansion of energy in the room, a more convincing presentation of musicians on a stage, and the music, not the sonic attributes. This is how I knew that his system sounded more natural without the transformers.

The overwhelming impression for me at the BSO is one of clarity and the sheer energy from the instruments. When I can hear some of that in my listening room with much of the information intact and uncorrupted, I know the system is getting out of the way, my mind is not focusing on specific sonic attributes and the glossary of audiophile terms is the last thing I am thinking about. That is when I know the sound is approaching a sound that I perceive as natural.
 
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PeterA

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It is a two phase process. We can read about it at https://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html or in the section WASP of their manuals, freely available in their site. It is a complete receipt to carry the positioning - I do not reproduce it here because it is copyrighted material.
Ok, thank you. I thought you might simply paraphrase in your own words what you have learned about it from following the advice while setting up your listening room. I will find the article and read through it.
 
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Ok, thank you. I thought you might simply paraphrase in your own words what you have learned about it from following the advice while setting up your listening room. I will find the article and read through it.
Sorry the method and its essence can't be summarized in a few words, particularly in a thread where words meaning is forcefully vague and the conclusions are sometimes taken on just the casual similitude of terms. There are several important details that must followed strictly, otherwise the process is not convergent. Every time I carry it I get the Wilson manual and re-read it.

I addressed the points relevant to this thread in post https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/sublime-sound.12853/post-680669. A typical set up using WASP carried by experienced people can take a full work day.

See the movie that Steve has posted in WBF ten years ago https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...ies-a-marriage-made-in-heaven.1668/post-19393- it shows the detail of the process and many other interesting things, the recording we listen in the end is often the choice for the voicing of the system during positioning.
 
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Maybe some nice accordian music?
Zydeco usually includes accordion, and I’d be happy to have a beer and rock out to a zydeco band anytime. Good times!
 
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PeterA

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It is a two phase process. We can read about it at https://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html or in the section WASP of their manuals, freely available in their site. It is a complete receipt to carry the positioning - I do not reproduce it here because it is copyrighted material.
Fransisco, I asked you what Wilson says about selecting the listening position. You responded with this link and a suggestion to read the WASP section of one of their manuals. I read the tnt article in the link, and I read the WASP section of the manual for the Alexia 2 speaker.

I now suspect that you did not answer my question directly because both the tnt article and the Wasp procedure are extremely vague on the matter. In fact they hardly mention the topic of how to best locate the listening location or why it is so important. This does not surprise me actually, because I once sat through a Wilson video on WASP procedure and I do not remember any mention of the importance of the listening seat position or how to locate it. The video was disappointing. Had I learned more from it, I might not have needed to ask you about the listening position.

Here is what the tnt article states specifically about the listening seat location:

1. The triangle in the drawing is a fine starting point to help you locate your listening seat prior to utilising WASP.
2. As for the distance of the ‘speaker to rear wall and the side walls, well, WASP helps determining those distances exactly
3. With the aid of a friend who does not mind feeling foolish, place yourself in the target listening position while your assistant speaks in a moderately loud voice at constant level, projecting into the room.


So, the drawing illustrates specific ratios for distances from the speaker location to the listening seat. The second point suggests that WASP indicates precisely where the speakers should go. From there, I presume one can then precisely locate the listening seat. However, point 3 suggests you sit in the target listening position BEFORE determining the speaker locations in their zones of neutrality using the WASP procedure. This left me confused.

The Alexia 2 manual does mention the importance of the listening seat location and does get a bit more specific. Here is what I could find specifically from the manual about the listening seat:

1. The location of your listening position is as important as the careful setup of your Wilson Audio loudspeakers.
2. It is helpful to have another listener seated in the listening position to assist you during this process.
3. The listening position should ideally be no more than 1.1 to 1.25 times the distance between the tweeters on each speaker.
4. Our experience has shown that any listening position that places your head closer than 14” from a wall will diminish the sonic results of your listening due to the deleterious effects of boundary interaction.


The manual indicates that the listening position is AS IMPORTANT as the careful set up of the speakers. Fine, but why and how do you locate it? They suggest having someone sitting in the listening seat to help position the speakers, but how do you know where that is? They describe the distance ratio for the speaker and listening seat locations, and finally, they do not suggest placing the listening seat closer than 14" from the wall behind the listener.

This advice is also vague and confusing. How can one locate the listening seat before the speakers are positioned if one needs to sit in the listening seat to hear the best locations for the speakers? Suggesting a ratio for the distance of one to the other is helpful, but that implies that the listening seat is dependent on where the speakers are located and therefore is determined AFTER the speakers are positioned. This contradicts the notion that a fellow listener is already seated in the listening seat prior to the listening tests of the voice when determining the "zone of neutrality".

Because you like precision and measurements and the "whys" of sound, and because you own Wilson speakers, I asked you to share on this thread what your speaker manufacturer thinks about the importance and location of the listening seat. David Karmeli relocated Steve W.'s listening seat to achieve better sound in Steve's room. All of this made me curious to know more about what Wilson says about this important set up parameter, because their WASP procedure is often mentioned as an excellent guide and reference.

After listening to my system, Jim Smith thought about how to improve it. When he arrived the next morning to begin his work, the very first thing he set about doing was locating the listening position. He said this was the first and a very critical aspect of his set up procedure. He played a digital recording of pink noise and arranged his measuring equipment on one side of the room. Using his microphone and looking at the response below 300 hz in various locations in my room, he worked until he was satisfied. When he found the smoothest response below 300 hz, we moved the listening seat to that location. He had told me to raise the seat a few inches based on what he had heard the night before. This location with the smoothest frequency response, the least variance between nulls and modes in my room, determined where to position the listening seat. Having located this position, he could now proceed with the rest of his work to reposition the speakers.

As you did not answer my question about what Wilson says about this topic, I read the two articles you referenced. Wilson claims that the listening seat location is important, but they do not say why it is important nor do they describe what to listen for when locating it. They are not clear about when the listening seat should be located during the set up process. They do suggest that one should not sit too close to the back wall, but they do not really explain why or what happens to the sound if you do. They do suggest a listening seat to speaker position ratio but never explain why or what to listen for. I found the advice, at least regarding the listening seat location, to be unhelpful.

David used his ears while walking around Steve's room to find a position at which the sound from Steve's system seemed most natural. I presume he was locating a position which had the smoothest response, just as Jim Smith did with his measuring equipment and pink noise.

If you want to get further into this topic of natural sound and set up, I would think that you would want to discuss things clearly with ideas about what to listen for and what methods are successful. Here I describe two processes, one using ears, the other using measuring gear (at least for the low frequencies) and both arriving at a listening position for better sound. This is the "how-to" type of discussion that @tima mentioned appeals to people. Your telling me to read two vague and confusing articles and avoid sharing your own thoughts on the topic is a bit disappointing.
 

wil

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Tim, I do not think I answered your question very well, certainly not completely. Referencing live music and comparing it to reproduced music is certainly my process, but having thought about it a bit more now, I can be more specific.

Natural Sound:

I agree with David that everyone knows natural sound when he hears it. However, as he also states, there is more to it. I think about his comment that "music is not bits and pieces". We collectively as audiophiles have been taught to think of bits and pieces - the breaking down of music into sound into sonic attributes. We have a glossary of audiophile sonic terms. We have books that keep being referenced. We have reviews that go into much detail about aspects of the sound. There is so much "flowery prose" as Fransisco, Kedar and others mention. I know I am just as prone to this as others.

Years ago, after I began to attend Friday afternoon concerts at the BSO with my father, and on occasion Madfloyd and Al M., I remember always returning to one strong impression of the sonic experience of such an event: The sound is so clear. I always return to that one impression. It overrides all other impressions. Some might find it vague. Having talked to David over this last year, simplifying my system, understanding natural sound, I realize that David is right: music is not bits and pieces.

When I say the sound at the BSO is so clear, what I am also saying by omission, is that I don't think of the sound in that great hall in terms of sonic attributes, the audiophile glossary of terms, or broken down into bits and pieces. I think of the whole, the holistic experience, the gestalt. This is what natural sound means to me.

I never think about frequency response, tonal balance, "tight" bass, poles of articulation, grain, etch, fatigue, brightness, slam. When sitting in my seventh row center seat, I take in the sound, the music, and its overwhelming clarity. Clarity because this is energy at its source in a well designed real space, not some semblance of that energy after manipulation through the recording and reproduction chains.

David also talks about listening to a system or a component and hearing if anything draws attention to itself. As soon as his mind goes to some aspect of the sound rather than the gestalt of the music, he gets concerned. This is an indication that there may be something now quite natural. If the listener pay attention to a frequency range, or some specific detail, and keeps returning to that, it is not natural sound.

When I told David that I was now hearing "more" of what is on the recording and is sounded more convincing, he told me that was "natural resolution". A. J. van den Hul writes about getting more information from the grooves from his latest designs. Natural sound is the embodiment of energy being set free in the listening room, and of extracting the information from the recording. There are degrees of this. A modest system can do it as long as this energy and information is not corrupted. This goes back to the idea of doing no harm to the music. It it just that better components, a better system, better set up and a better room, all contribute to a better, more complete and more natural listening experience.

I knew I was getting closer and closer to natural sound during my period of experimentation when I thought less and less about sonic attributes, and more about the music. When Al and I sit in my room and he requests some violin concerto or choral piece, and we just sit and listen and talk about how brilliant Bach or Holst was, that is an indication of natural sound. When Al could no longer hear a high frequency accent from my vdh Grand Cru or Magico tweeter, that was an indication of a more natural sound. When we discuss Art Blakey's drum solo and the rhythm and impact of his sticks on the skin or metal rims rather than the tight bass or sparkly cymbals, that is natural sound. When we listen to Holst's chamber opera and marvel at how Death moves forward on the stage, and we are moved by Savitri's love for Satyavan and her fear of the forest creatures, that is natural sound.

This was made super clear to me the other night when I visited Al to hear his isolation transformers. With the transformers in place, I heard "tight" bass, a focused organ and voices, a slightly harsh triangle, a sharp trumpet, a restricted soundstage, and focused images. Without the transformers, I heard an expansion of energy in the room, a more convincing presentation of musicians on a stage, and the music, not the sonic attributes. This is how I knew that his system sounded more natural without the transformers.

The overwhelming impression for me at the BSO is one of clarity and the sheer energy from the instruments. When I can hear some of that in my listening room with much of the information intact and uncorrupted, I know the system is getting out of the way, my mind is not focusing on specific sonic attributes and the glossary of audiophile terms is the last thing I am thinking about. That is when I know the sound is approaching a sound that I perceive as natural.
Great description. Clarity is another good word. In an audio system, to me it means where the distortions inherent in reproduced sound and playback gear are as minimal as possible.

Beyond live music in a good venue, my ultimate reference for totally un-corrupted sound is found in listening to the 360 degree sonic sphere in nature. It's infinitely more subtle, dynamic and clear than we can ever hope for from an audio system, but each small step in that direction is to be celebrated.
 
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(...) While we don't have ready access to most of the venues we hear on recordings, I believe we have a 'composite' in our heads aggregated across multiple experiences, from a string group in a church or living room to a large concert hall or playing an instrument ourselves. The sound of a cello - it's not that cello (unless it's playing before you) or a specific cello (unless it is very familiar), but the recollection of various cellos over time. What do you think? (or anyone?)
IMHO we do not need to have a re-collection of particular instruments. From our daily experience with sounds we know how life sounds (and this includes amplified musico_O) and we we look for some implicit verisimilitude in sound reproduction, as it helps enjoying music with the famous emotional response. Audiophiles, however, educate their preferences according to the type of music they listen, what they read, what the enjoy creating, all with the target of maximizing the enjoyment of music in their hobby.

Sometimes I focus on past live experience and put some extra weigh in a few recordings that I particularly enjoy - but for me it is a personnel preference.
 
Peter, I agree with you wrt to the WASP. In my opinion the WASP is about getting the speakers to sound their best, in your room where you choose to sit. Many Wilson installations I know of are not in optimized listening rooms, so speakers are placed where they have least interaction with the room (per the protocol) then final tuned to sound the best at the listening position. A good setup guy/girl will suggest moving the listening position to some degree as the speakers are dialed in.

Now, having heard of Jim Smith first determining listening position, I’ve grown curious to dig a little deeper into my own setup. But, my setup guy has invested about 8 hours over a couple visits fine tuning setup and in the listening chair everything comes together in a most pleasurable way. Winter is coming, I’ll spend more time listening, so we’ll see if my curiosity causes some exploration.

Regarding energy, our Portland club has had musicians come by and play in our super shitty meeting room. But even in that venue the energy of the cello is remarkable and I have yet to hear a system (even MikeL’s) that recreates that energy. (Though MikeL’s system is remarkable in every way.) I am not sure we have a way to capture that energy in the recording medium, so I have considerable tolerance when it comes to playback. Unlike many here (hear) I don’t have occasion to hear much live ‘un-amplified’ music as I’m much more a rock and blues guy vs classical music. Jazz is probably the closest I come to unamplified music but often, depending on venue, there are still pickups and amps employed.
 
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Fransisco, I asked you what Wilson says about selecting the listening position. You responded with this link and a suggestion to read the WASP section of one of their manuals. I read the tnt article in the link, and I read the WASP section of the manual for the Alexia 2 speaker.
My apologies Peter, I misread your question - and I really answered about the speaker positioning twice.

The Wilson writings and method assumes that you have a known preferred listening position, and tells you mostly what you should avoid for the listening position. They know that the best listening position is too dependent on room characteristics to establish a firm rule. In fact, if you have to compare two listening positions you have to carry WASP twice - I did it several times in my room. In fact in most rooms, including mine, the room disposition and other constitutionalisms limit the range of listening positions - also anyone wants it to be as symmetrical as possible considering reflections, and following the 1.1 to 1.25 rule given by their manual we usually end with a small interval for listening position. WASP positions speakers, only indirectly the listening position. I have seen the 9" apart between speakers distance suggested in their manual is considered as an optimum starting distance by some authors.

Please note that the method of finding the zone of neutrality is not excessively dependent on the listening position - we can carry it alone, just listening to our voice, but needs some experience. In fact, although you optimize for a determined precise location, once properly set up you get the same balance in a large area - something I love in the XLF's and the Soundlab's.

Just my old findings, it would be great if Bill Peugh could comment on them.

The TNT article also has a starting suggestion with a picture.
 
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tima

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The Wilson "vocal method" being described is used only to locate a broad area where the speakers will be positioned, not to fine tune the speakers. The fine tune is carried in this zone aiming at a precise tonal objective with specific recordings. It is mostly a way to reproduce the conditions to listen to Wilson speakers in the way David Wilson anticipated, but some people prefer an alternative positioning.
Yes, the so-called 'zone of neutrality' - the initial positioning of the speakers and listening position relative to the acoustics of the room is part of the process. Given the wide variety of customer rooms, the Wilson people I've worked with don't approach the job with the notion they have free reign to re-position furniture or change the orientation from a den or family room into an audio room. Often the listening position(s) are already set in a multi-use room.

They try to 'blend' the speakers with the room and its lifestyle purpose. If the room is dedicated to audio, they try to work with existing electronics placement; in such a room typically the customer has more flexibility than with a family area. If a dedicated listening seat can work better in a different fore-aft position they will suggest trying it. The Wilson techniques usually yield best results for the room they have to work with. Once the speakers are placed relative to the walls, then there is an iterative listening process of refining the speaker placement, usually culminating with very fine 1/4"-1/2" adjustment. The top models allow front or rear porting. The top and mid-tier models allow two or three dimensional adjustment of the mids and tweeters. Listener ear position plays a role with those adjustments. Optimal sound does not require absolute symmetry. The toe-in on mine is different for each speaker. Every adjustment is based on listening.
 

tima

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Thank you Peter for the time and thought you put into your follow-up. I enjoyed reading it. I won't reply to all the various points you make, but I will share my angle on one area. I do not think we are in disagreement, although I think about this stuff somewhat differently. What I write here is not meant to be at odds with your message.

I agree with David that everyone knows natural sound when he hears it. However, as he also states, there is more to it. I think about his comment that "music is not bits and pieces". We collectively as audiophiles have been taught to think of bits and pieces - the breaking down of music into sound into sonic attributes. We have a glossary of audiophile sonic terms.
When I say the sound at the BSO is so clear, what I am also saying by omission, is that I don't think of the sound in that great hall in terms of sonic attributes, the audiophile glossary of terms, or broken down into bits and pieces. I think of the whole, the holistic experience, the gestalt. This is what natural sound means to me.

I never think about frequency response, tonal balance, "tight" bass, poles of articulation, grain, etch, fatigue, brightness, slam. When sitting in my seventh row center seat, I take in the sound, the music, and its overwhelming clarity. Clarity because this is energy at its source in a well designed real space, not some semblance of that energy after manipulation through the recording and reproduction chains.
First, some of what you are communicating is what I tried to represent by citing quotes from two reviews I wrote 5 and 10 years ago. Cf. 1797 and 1796. I read what you've written lately and often nod my head in agreement as I have gone through my own process of discovery/realization and I find similarities between us at least in terms of coming to understand (or appreciate) where we are now relative to where we once were. In your case that discovery/realization seems more recent and may not have taken as long. And maybe I have 'swung back' a bit to my roots, either as a result of further reflection or a being a bit less ideological. Believe me, this is not meant as criticism or anything negative.

All music is sound but not all sound is music. Of course everyone knows natural sound when they hear it. That's pretty broad, so I'll put it differently - I have not met anyone who mistakes reproduced sound for live direct sound, certainly no audiophile who does. Wanting a natural sound from one's stereo is wanting it sound like live direct sound, not sound like reproduced second-hand sound. There's lot's of ways to further describe natural sound, but to me that's the jist of it.

Here's more:

All audiophiles love music but not all music lovers are audiophiles.
Many audiophiles describe music in terms of a listening experience and also describe music as sound.
Many audiophiles love both music and sound.
(Those sentences are not meant as a logical argument leading to a conclusion.)

Reading your post now and prior recent writings here in your system thread and elsewhere, I see you sometimes use the words 'sound' and 'music' interchangeably and sometimes not. We talk about "natural sound" versus reproduced sound. Then we offer certain homilies? appeals? as "music is not bits and pieces". I believe you sort of acknowledge this when saying as audiophiles we have been taught to think of bits and pieces.

To my way of thinking music appreciation can include an understanding of music that is not necessarily identical with a personal listening experience. And one doesn't need to be a musicologist to appreciate music but you can do both - if you find yourself thinking "that's not really good sonata form" when you listen to Haydn, then you're not being 'taken' but you still may be enjoying the concert. As I wrote earlier, there is a language of music and there is a language of sound. To a musician, composer and conductor music certainly includes bits and pieces. To an acoustician, sound as a phenomena and sound within a room can be broken down into elements that describe it and how it behaves.

And there is a language of audiophiles, some of which includes the languages of music and sound. I don't know that as audiophiles we have been taught to decompose music into sonic attributes. Yes, there is certainly an audiophile vocabulary and we can debate the merits of every entry in it. Some use that vocabulary to describe what they hear. When someone uses words such as 'timbre' or 'micro-dynamics' or 'forte' or 'glissando' you might say they are decomposing music or decomposing sound. And they may be describing a piece of music or describing what they hear. In my mind, none of that detracts or lessens the personal music listening experience nor are those words identical to it.

If one comes to music enjoyment from the audiophile perspective, one may first rely on the audiophile vocabulary because it is the most prominent language used by audiophiles and we see it in publications from writers held in some esteem. Hopefully one goes on to a broader perspective, maybe even discover music appreciation. One may go on to uncover why music sounds as does acoustically in one's room or anywhere. None of that detracts from a love of music or the experience we have in the concert hall.

I'll break this in two, part 2 later.

Edit: ... then again, maybe not - this is Peter's thread, not mine for editorializing.
 
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Fransisco, I asked you what Wilson says about selecting the listening position. You responded with this link and a suggestion to read the WASP section of one of their manuals. I read the tnt article in the link, and I read the WASP section of the manual for the Alexia 2 speaker.

I now suspect that you did not answer my question directly because both the tnt article and the Wasp procedure are extremely vague on the matter. In fact they hardly mention the topic of how to best locate the listening location or why it is so important. This does not surprise me actually, because I once sat through a Wilson video on WASP procedure and I do not remember any mention of the importance of the listening seat position or how to locate it. The video was disappointing. Had I learned more from it, I might not have needed to ask you about the listening position.

Here is what the tnt article states specifically about the listening seat location:

1. The triangle in the drawing is a fine starting point to help you locate your listening seat prior to utilising WASP.
2. As for the distance of the ‘speaker to rear wall and the side walls, well, WASP helps determining those distances exactly
3. With the aid of a friend who does not mind feeling foolish, place yourself in the target listening position while your assistant speaks in a moderately loud voice at constant level, projecting into the room.


So, the drawing illustrates specific ratios for distances from the speaker location to the listening seat. The second point suggests that WASP indicates precisely where the speakers should go. From there, I presume one can then precisely locate the listening seat. However, point 3 suggests you sit in the target listening position BEFORE determining the speaker locations in their zones of neutrality using the WASP procedure. This left me confused.

The Alexia 2 manual does mention the importance of the listening seat location and does get a bit more specific. Here is what I could find specifically from the manual about the listening seat:

1. The location of your listening position is as important as the careful setup of your Wilson Audio loudspeakers.
2. It is helpful to have another listener seated in the listening position to assist you during this process.
3. The listening position should ideally be no more than 1.1 to 1.25 times the distance between the tweeters on each speaker.
4. Our experience has shown that any listening position that places your head closer than 14” from a wall will diminish the sonic results of your listening due to the deleterious effects of boundary interaction.


The manual indicates that the listening position is AS IMPORTANT as the careful set up of the speakers. Fine, but why and how do you locate it? They suggest having someone sitting in the listening seat to help position the speakers, but how do you know where that is? They describe the distance ratio for the speaker and listening seat locations, and finally, they do not suggest placing the listening seat closer than 14" from the wall behind the listener.

This advice is also vague and confusing. How can one locate the listening seat before the speakers are positioned if one needs to sit in the listening seat to hear the best locations for the speakers? Suggesting a ratio for the distance of one to the other is helpful, but that implies that the listening seat is dependent on where the speakers are located and therefore is determined AFTER the speakers are positioned. This contradicts the notion that a fellow listener is already seated in the listening seat prior to the listening tests of the voice when determining the "zone of neutrality".

Because you like precision and measurements and the "whys" of sound, and because you own Wilson speakers, I asked you to share on this thread what your speaker manufacturer thinks about the importance and location of the listening seat. David Karmeli relocated Steve W.'s listening seat to achieve better sound in Steve's room. All of this made me curious to know more about what Wilson says about this important set up parameter, because their WASP procedure is often mentioned as an excellent guide and reference.

After listening to my system, Jim Smith thought about how to improve it. When he arrived the next morning to begin his work, the very first thing he set about doing was locating the listening position. He said this was the first and a very critical aspect of his set up procedure. He played a digital recording of pink noise and arranged his measuring equipment on one side of the room. Using his microphone and looking at the response below 300 hz in various locations in my room, he worked until he was satisfied. When he found the smoothest response below 300 hz, we moved the listening seat to that location. He had told me to raise the seat a few inches based on what he had heard the night before. This location with the smoothest frequency response, the least variance between nulls and modes in my room, determined where to position the listening seat. Having located this position, he could now proceed with the rest of his work to reposition the speakers.

As you did not answer my question about what Wilson says about this topic, I read the two articles you referenced. Wilson claims that the listening seat location is important, but they do not say why it is important nor do they describe what to listen for when locating it. They are not clear about when the listening seat should be located during the set up process. They do suggest that one should not sit too close to the back wall, but they do not really explain why or what happens to the sound if you do. They do suggest a listening seat to speaker position ratio but never explain why or what to listen for. I found the advice, at least regarding the listening seat location, to be unhelpful.

David used his ears while walking around Steve's room to find a position at which the sound from Steve's system seemed most natural. I presume he was locating a position which had the smoothest response, just as Jim Smith did with his measuring equipment and pink noise.

If you want to get further into this topic of natural sound and set up, I would think that you would want to discuss things clearly with ideas about what to listen for and what methods are successful. Here I describe two processes, one using ears, the other using measuring gear (at least for the low frequencies) and both arriving at a listening position for better sound. This is the "how-to" type of discussion that @tima mentioned appeals to people. Your telling me to read two vague and confusing articles and avoid sharing your own thoughts on the topic is a bit disappointing.
Peter, I think your criticism about the vagueness of listening position in the WASP manual is spot on, and you describe solutions to the problem by Jim Smith and David that make sense.
 

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