The strangest tweak ever

May 21, 2014
 by Paul McGowan

While at the Munich High End show in walks Michael and Andreas Jungblut from AHP a small German company known for their fuses.

I was asked if there would be any time to audition a new “miracle” tuning product and, fortunately for us, I said yes as timing wasn’t bad (I usually refrain from this at a show).  So, in walks the inventor of a new product that looks like either an award, a classic bell or perhaps a cymbal mounted on it’s side.  The thing must weigh 20 pounds, machined out of brass.

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Here’s a picture of it.  Now, at first I think this is by far the goofiest tweak I have seen.  Yes, perhaps goofier than wooden block and even dots placed on the walls.  Placed between your speakers, it stares back at you like some piece of Asian dinnerware or ornament.  But holy cow, it works!  Immediately, vocals get more lifelike, the sound sweeter and easier to listen to.

I ask what it’s supposed to be doing and got some long-winded story about a passive amplifier or some such.  Mmmmm, no, methinks not.  But here’s what I do think is happening.  It is a tuned “bell” if you will (it rings if struck) and I believe it is acting as a resonator that is being excited at specific frequencies we all find slightly edgy.  As you put energy from the speakers into this device, its heavy mass simply absorbs that acoustic energy and reduces the peak of said energy.  Its mass is such that it will not put the energy back into the room, thus acting like some sort of acoustic filter.

That’s just a guess, but man oh man does this thing work.

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29 comments on “The strangest tweak ever”

  1. Mmmmmm. Paul, rather than “absorbing” edgy frequencies, is it not more likely that it is simply resonating at pleasant frequencies? (after all, the loudspeakers are scattering all those edgy frequencies throughout the room). Wouldn’t  that tie-in with the German gentleman’s description of it being a passive amplifier too

    1. It’s clearly resonating, but when it does this it absorbs energy in the process.  So I am undecided if it is the energy absorption that does it or the subsequent “ringing” putting energy back in the room.  Since the sound is like you’ve added an acoustic notch filter to the sound, I am assuming it is the former rather than the latter.

    2. IRecently, i had placed big pillows in between my speakers as I thought it would cut down high sound reflections…and this ” pillow absorber” made the imaging much poorer…when I removed them the imaging returned…so this makes sense…. I thought maybe I needed the opposite effect in the back of my mind…huh!

  2. Paul, I’ve had this ‘goofy’ tweak for over a year now.  It is phenomenal passive device that just works–in any system.  Glad you had a chance to get demo of it direct from Mr Jungblut.  You’ve got to give it a try in room #1.tsza

  3. Hi Paul,Looking forward to your video.That “goofy tweak” is very interesting.  Pricing?  Availability?I have some old hub caps I could try, but they are not heavy brass.My wife, also an audiophile, was at some hi end emporium in San Francisco years ago auditioning something or other and saw some wood twisty dowels on a high wood rack.  She asked what they were, she was demoed something weird that worked.  They were a bit pricy at the time so we did not buy, but they made a positive difference that we could hear.  What a hobby!Marcus

      1. Hi Paul, glad you like it. It certainly works, I can agree. May I add some information. The correct company name is HighEnd Novum and the name of the product is PMR (Passive Multi-Vocal Resonator). We’re importing this unique device among other Jungblut  since 2011 and it was reviewed on StereoTimes and in the Stereophile magazin. The correct price in the US is $2390 and it comes with a 30-day Money Back Satisfaction Guaranteed. So no risk for the user.Additional information

    1. I listened to a very nice system for quite some time without the PMR resonator in place (2′ left of the sweet spot). When the resonator was placed in the sweet spot the difference was nothing short of astonishing – it was as if the singer herself had actually entered the room. No other tweek I’ve ever tried has provided this level of impact. I’m not a rich guy but the PMR is on my short list.

  4. The first time I saw/heard those [ a few yers ago] I think the maker was a Chinese gentleman and they demoed them with and without them placed in various positions in the room. Most of us “thought” they made a difference. They were alarmingly expensive.PAULThe resonator has the same effect.Now that you know what to expect, set it up between the speakers and 4-5 feet off the ground. Room-2 might be better as one resonator does about 150 sq ft @8-9ft high.Maybe try it with Scott.OHM

    1. Thanks Gordon.  I have tried the resonator several times and for the life of me can’t hear any difference.  But this bell thing was clear and obvious.  My guess is that perhaps the IRS line source is just too big and overpowering in the room for any of these to work.  Remember that I heard this bell thing with the Raidho loudspeakers which are rather “normal” relative to the IRS.

      Perhaps this resonator would have done the same thing in the room with Raidho’s?

  5. The only thing a resonator can do is resonate. So then it’s adding something to the reproduced sound. Adding can be nice like single ended amps with high second harmonics but additions to a signal are not fidelity in my opinion. I find a beautiful woman to be more beautiful without makeup than with it.

    1. To resonate it must be stimulated.  To be stimulated takes energy, so the mechanism of resonating is absorbing, then “playing back”.

      Where’s Soundminded when you need physics explained?

      Mark, wanna chime in?

  6. This device appears to be some sort of reflector. It is not as focused as a parabolic dish but it will collect and redirect sound energy. Because the energy is redirected over a narrower solid angle that is incident upon it, it is in a sense a passive amplifier or more accurately a sound concentrator. This is hardly unknown. Back as early as 1960 and maybe even earlier, Lafayette Radio marketed a device called “the big ear” which was a parabolic reflector that placed a microphone at its focal point, had a small amplifier and earphones. It sold for about $12. The idea was that this device would concentrate sound too faint to be heard normally. For example you could use it to spy on your neighbors even when they weren’t shouting to the point of killing each other. The fact that this device was machined presumably from an ingot rather than brazed from sheet and its compound angles suggests that a great deal of thought and experimentation went into its exact shape and it is not designed to resonate selectively with spurious tones. If it does resonate, that is store energy and re-release it over time it is likely well damped in that regard. As most speakers beam their high frequencies forward and this device is placed facing forward between the speakers its only high frequency re-radiation will be from high frequencies reflected by the room surfaces in front of it, that is furnishings and the back wall. This should make it somewhat frequency selective. Also its relatively small size may not reflect much in the way of very low frequencies. So in effect it could operate as a passive center channel speaker that is frequency selective might but without any electronic amplification. Just my hunch from looking at it and hearing what you had to say. My guess is that this is likely an interesting idea but I’m skeptical about how useful it would really be over the long term to most high end audiophiles. I suppose the biggest surprise for most people is that it works at all. Like a lot of new “stuff” there is a novelty factor to it.

    1. I like your idea of a reflector. But whether it’s a reflector or resonator or both it’s adding to the signal. And if fidelity is the goal it may sound nice, even nicer, but adding is distortion. Making something nicer is certainly valid especially on an individual basis but it certainly is not reproduction.And there is always the case that change is not always better. It can be better, an even trade off, or worse. And people, including me, tend more towards it’s better when we invest our efforts and especially our dollars into something.

      1. I have given some more thought to whether or not this might be a resonator as well as or instead of a reflector. First a quick review of what a resonator is. Resonance is the tendency of all physical objects from individual atom, molecules, even the entire earth itself to vibrate at and around a central frequency and possibly its harmonics no matter what the frequency of excitation is. The amplitude of the release of stored energy compared to the monotonicity or range of frequencies it is released at is called the Q, the higher the Q, the narrower the range. For example, no matter what frequency of light you excite a laser with, it will produce only one output frequency. The speed at which the resonant energy dissipates or dies out is its damping factor. To produce musical tones we deliberately create instruments that resonate. To change the pitch or frequency we must change the physical properties of what is resonating like the taughtness or length of a string or the length of a column of air. Where that can’t be changed the instrument will only play one tone. Striking a triangle or tuning fork is an example. Each note on a xylophone plays only one note so we must have many. A cymbal superficially resembles this device but it is also fixed in the range of frequencies it can produce. If this device is intended as a resonator, it is a very complex one and far more sophisticated than it superficially appear. Resonance is what we don’t want in sound reproduction systems. To resonate with the same amplitude at all frequencies over a wide range, each of the four sections of this device would have to have a thickness that varies from its innermost diameter to its outermost. An example of how size and thickness of a metal object can change its resonance frequency is the end of a hammered steel oil drum, a common musical instrument in the Caribbean. The only way this device could resemble a very low Q reasonably wide range resonator is through extraordinary mathematical modeling and manufacture with a CNC controlled lathe from an ingot. If it does resonate, that is store and re-release energy over time without spurious resonances, all I can say is wow, what an invention. Even  so, it may not be satisfactory for audiophiles to use in their high end systems.  Hahax, as you know, there are all kinds of resonances in sound recording/reproduction systems. Even in the recordings themselves, objects in the studio or venue create resonances. Same in the listening room. And of course there is the equipment itself. A concert venue can be thought of as a resonant space with damping that varies with frequency.  

  7. Have only seen these in photos from a few years ago and while at my brother’s house, told him. He brought out a fairly large Tibetan prayer bowl that we put in various spots around the room, and, while I can’t say it worked the same as what Paul experienced, there was a very noticeable difference. We also found some ‘bad areas’ in the room where it made the sound worse. It stayed in his living room on top of an end table for a few months, probably until the girlfriend got annoyed with it. A strange thing we noticed with it; it had a small ring for a base and would buzz against the wood end table, so a small pillow was placed underneath it and that end the buzz and increased the effect and we were puzzled by that. If it works by resonating and a pillow slightly damps it (one could tell by tapping the edge), how does it work “better” that way?

  8. If it rings, it is a resonator; but the difference in density between air and brass is such that any resonance effect will be slight.  The shape is also quite rigid and will resist sound energy impinging on the side.  The resonance will shift frequencies absorbed into the overtone series of the object and extend them somewhat as a tuned reverberator.  I hear this all the time from piano strings. drum heads, cymbals, etc.I wonder if perhaps your speakers have sharp edges on the cabinets?  If so, the diffraction off the inside edges interferes with timbral and temporal accuracy and imaging.  An object that disturbs the sound field between the speakers can help.

  9. it seems to me that a bell (which that is) would react to external stimulus such sounds.  i wonder if it were damped that you would still hear what you heard. i can see the shape somehow slightly refocusing sound from the speakers.

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