Getting closer to ideal

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Getting closer to ideal
In yesterday's post, I detailed the problems we were having in Music Room One that we hoped to have solved when we moved across the street to Music Room Two: Uneven bass response because of massive standing waves. Unfortunately, the problem with the bass didn't magically get solved, it just shifted from piles of standing waves to a completely skewed midbass hump that stood out like a sore thumb. Upper bass plucks and even the bottom of voices sounded way out of proportion with the low end. We maneuvered those 400-pound woofer towers around in a desperate effort to fix the problem but with only minimal results. After a few days of wrestling with placement, I went home depressed about the new room. Much was great but with the bass so bloated and out of whack I couldn't appreciate the better imaging, the cleaner tonal colors, the deeper soundstage. I was fixated on that bass problem. Mastering Engineer Gus Skinas had recommended that we angle the long wall of the listening room to eliminate the parallel surfaces which are the cause of standing waves. His advice was easy enough to follow when building the new room, yet seemingly ineffective given the new bass problems I was hearing. Yes, low bass was less problematic—it was remarkably even anywhere I walked around in the room—but there was that damned upper bass bloat I just couldn't seem to push from the room. And then it hit me. All the subwoofer crossover controls were left the same as in Music Room One. In a desperate attempt at lessening the bass problems in the speaker's first home, I was forced to add an unnatural 12dB of extended boost to the woofers. This added boost, in combination with careful seating placement to be right in the null of a major standing wave, offered a decent presentation of bass in that room. Step out of the null and the bass was exaggerated and sounded…yes…just like what I was now hearing in Music Room Two. The solution just appeared in front of me on the drive in to work. I rushed upstairs, fired up the system, and in a few minutes had the bass level reduced by 12dB via the IRS crossover's controls and bingo! the bass was perfect. That upper bass bloat was completely gone. There was one last worry. By turning the level of bass down so much lower than where it was, what would happen to the extreme low bass that we so depend upon for organ pedal notes and environmental cues of the recording venue? Would they still be present? I punched in James Taylor's Gaija from his Hourglass album and scrolled ahead to about the 4-minute mark and clenched my jaw in anticipation. I was rewarded with perfect low bass like I had forgotten this system was capable of. Wow. Unbelievable. I spent the next few hours in sonic ecstasy. A simple twist of the knob was "all" it took to tame that problem and appreciate the perfection of Music Room Two and its speakers. I hope you can come to visit.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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