Sublime Sound

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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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.
Thanks. The interesting thing is that Jim Smith approached the problem from the very beginning. He was working within the restriction that I told him which wall the speakers and the listening seat had to be on. From there he went to work and we ended up moving the listening seat back 12 inches closer to the back wall. That was pretty major. He then went about positioning the speakers.

In Steve‘s room, it seems as though David worked within the existing conditions of the speaker positions and walked around the room with music listening for a better listening seat position.

Both approaches seem to work given the conditions and constraints. And it seems to me that Wilson could do either of these or at the very least discuss with a little bit more detail the importance of the listening position.
 
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christoph

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Jun 13, 2013
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Gesundheit!
 

christoph

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christoph

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christoph

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Sorry, Peter :oops:
 
May 30, 2010
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(...) 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. (...)
After Peter referred to it in WBF many years ago I have bought the Jim Smith book and DVDs a few years ago and watched them. If I did not move to Wilson speakers I would have probably tried the method, but I was happy with WASP and the Jim Smith method needs considerable effort and time for a first time use. However, please read the first testimony of an happy user that Jim picked for his site:

My initial thought as I sat there listening was "I don't hear the room anymore." We had amazing depth, nuances in songs were jumping out where before they were hidden. We had pinpoint imaging and vocals were the right size. We also had layering and layering in terms of soundstage. Jim's efforts produced sonic improvements greater than any new amp, preamp, cable, DAC, etc. COMBINED.

IMHO in this hobby we can't have it all. This is an hobby of compromises. If I had paid Jim Smith to place my speakers I would not change the speaker placement "a little" to please my curiosity. His method is very rigorous and aims at a specific result. I am sure that if Peter McGrath or Bill Peugh could fly too my space they would do a better set up than me, but I have to live with my limitations, as I am not going to buy WAMM' s or XVX's !;)

From what I have read David, Jim Smith or WASP methods and objectives lead to very different approaches in stereo reproduction.
 

PeterA

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No worries. My mother grew up in what was east Germany, so it’s in my blood. She is from Saxony and my father’s ancestry is English. She told my father upon meeting him, “Ich bin Saxsich.(sp?)” He then promptly asked her out on a date.
 
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Bob,

RPG BAD Panels consist of a binary amplitude template attached to a porous absorbing core, typically a rigid fiberglass board. They are essentially a digital and artificial device o_O Do you expect them to help a room to sound natural? ;)

View attachment 70363
Bonnie’s BAD panels were made on-site using a template she provided. The wall cavities between the studs were filled with “blue jeans” recycled denim cotton insulation, then mass loaded vinyl was applied before the sheetrock was hung. After that, the custom BAD arrangement, covered with a fabric wall.


E69381EC-CCDD-46A0-81DE-D8CC937BAA6E.jpeg

(Notice the panels have a different drilling pattern of about 18” centered on seated ear height.)

8ED7DF5C-1120-4D68-B699-FFE5061E608C.jpeg

As I walk outside through one of the doors and speak a few words, then come back in I have to admit my voice loses a bit of air and , dare I say, sparkle. In the music room my voice is perhaps a wee-bit richer and warmer. The feeling isn’t one of ‘damped’ per se, and not muted as there doesn’t seem to be loss of volume. That being said, if I use the sound outside as the ‘natural’ reference, in the music room it is not the same.
 
Rockin' Dopsie And The Twisters ?
Tim, I don’t know that band, but a brief view on Youtube tells me I’d have a good time hearing them live.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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I had skipped over this post and just now came to read it.

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".
I don't want to get between you and Francisco, but having gone three times through the WASP process with Wilson employees, perhaps the "how can you do this if you need Both the chicken And the egg at the Same Time?" confusion could be soothed with some clarification.

Different users have different levels of experience and maybe not every single detail is in a manual or a third-party article. Wilson sells through dealers and expects them to provide value beyond generating an invoice.

First, keep in mind that various steps in the WASP process can be iterative.

Once the speakers and the listening seat (assuming just one) are within the 'zone of neutrality' (watch for Romulans) and the speakers initially positioned based on voicing, the listening seat can be positioned per the not more than 1.1 to 1.25 times the distance between the tweeters and more than 14" from the rear wall. That's a starting point. None of those positions are final.

From there it's a process of continual refinement. All three objects can be shifted within a limited region and the adjustments become smaller and smaller. At some point the height of the listener's ears are measured and the mids+tweeters are adjusted. Since that height stays pretty much fixed, if the speakers or the listening chair get moved again, the mid+tweeter adjustments are easy to modify. Wilson engineers provide a matrix of the various distances for making the speaker adjustments. From what I"ve seen, toe-in is usually the last step. If something goes Terribly Wrong, adjustments can go in reverse then start over again at some point. Adjustements are based on listening.

Once the set-up person and the end-user are satisfied, the configuration is given a grade (don't know if I'm supposed to say that) which along with all the information about the set-up is recorded and kept by Wilson in case they or the dealer need to return and re-work the set-up. Given the variability between rooms, I believe they offer the best that can be done using the factors on hand and their methodology. Some rooms are better than others. From my experience set-up can take about a day or slightly more.

Apparently the Wilson method has the success that is reflected in the overall success of the brand. And we agree there are other ways of going about this - people doing set-up as a service have methods they believe in. Many routes to satisfaction.

What I'm saying here has not been vetted by Wilson and perhaps I got some part wrong - I do not represent them. It is based on my experiences with the set-up of my own speakers, reading their manuals and talking with Wilson personnel.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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As I walk outside through one of the doors and speak a few words, then come back in I have to admit my voice loses a bit of air and , dare I say, sparkle. In the music room my voice is perhaps a wee-bit richer and warmer. The feeling isn’t one of ‘damped’ per se, and not muted as there doesn’t seem to be loss of volume. That being said, if I use the sound outside as the ‘natural’ reference, in the music room it is not the same.
Whatever effect you hear in your voice is what the room will have on sound of your system, specially in a typical setup.

david
 
Whatever effect you hear in your voice is what the room will have on sound of your system, specially in a typical setup.

david
Umm, yeah. That much I pretty much was able to understand on my own. My setup, from the accounts of who’ve heard it here in Portland area, rates one of the best they’ve heard. Portland not teeming with sophisticated systems, but even the small subset I run with who do have better rigs love the sound.

That said, it does invite some exploration. For every give there can be a take away, so it’ll be a cautious exploration.
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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Umm, yeah. That much I pretty much was able to understand on my own. My setup, from the accounts of who’ve heard it here in Portland area, rates one of the best they’ve heard. Portland not teeming with sophisticated systems, but even the small subset I run with who do have better rigs love the sound.

That said, it does invite some exploration. For every give there can be a take away, so it’ll be a cautious exploration.
In all the years in this business & hobby Bob, I've only come across two rooms that were perfect and didn't pose some kind of setup challenge, it's just how it is.

david
 
In all the years in this business & hobby Bob, I've only come across two rooms that were perfect and didn't pose some kind of setup challenge, it's just how it is.

david
The question then becomes what were the key characteristics of those two rooms? In what ways were they similar, and in what ways do they differ from “typical” rooms?
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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The question then becomes what were the key characteristics of those two rooms? In what ways were they similar, and in what ways do they differ from “typical” rooms?
Nothing in common, one was the living room in a 1920's house on Long Island and the other was a brand new high end construction but both were eye openers and I learnt a lot from those installations.

david
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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I just went around my house doing three tests: finger snapping, hand clapping, and speaking. I can hear almost no difference between the sound of my voice or the other tests when sitting in my listening seat or sitting in my bedroom, dining room, or kitchen. The rooms are more or less the same size. The sound changes when I’m standing up or sitting down, because my ceilings are so low in this 220-year-old house.

The kitchen is the most lively because of the metal and it’s smaller with a lot of glass. My listening seat is a 72 inch wide sofa for three people, so it is the most absorbent and that probably contributed to the biggest difference In what I heard. But all of the rooms really sounded very similar.

This was not the case a year ago when my listening room/living room was much more damped than the other rooms in my house.

That was a pretty interesting experiment.
 
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ddk

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May 19, 2013
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I just went around my house doing three tests: finger snapping, hand clapping, and speaking. I can hear almost no difference between the sound of my voice or the other tests when sitting in my listening seat or sitting in my bedroom, dining room, or kitchen. The rooms are more or less the same size. The sound changes when I’m standing up or sitting down, because my ceilings are so low in this 220-year-old house.

The kitchen is the most lively because of the metal and it’s smaller with a lot of glass. My listening seat is a 72 inch wide sofa for three people, so it is the most absorbent and that probably contributed to the biggest difference In what I heard. But all of the rooms really sounded very similar.

This was not the case a year ago when my listening room/living room was much more damped than the other rooms in my house.

That was a pretty interesting experiment.
The rooms that I mentioned above were both living spaces and not "designer" listening rooms, between the dimensions and their construction you could almost throw the speakers anywhere and get great natural sound. That's where you've ended up a normal living space and given the home's age it was already built correctly.

david
 

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