Thursday, March 15, 2018

Room Conditioning

Tweek Geek Sonic Tonic Wallflowers. Part of the Room Conditioning system offered by us.

As audiophiles and music lovers, we've all heard of  and have probably experienced the sonic effects of Power Conditioning, good and bad. My oversimplified definition of power conditioning is:

Conventional and unconventional measures taken to make the incoming AC power to one's audio components more "palatable" for the audio components themselves, yielding sonic improvements in the output of the audio signal through said system. 

Conventional means of power conditioning are foundational to the safety and performance of our audio equipment. Filtering by means of capacitors, inductors, chokes, power regeneration and balanced power. All of these are examples of conventional power conditioning.

Then there are the unconventional means. Passive power filtration, vibration damping, quantum treatments of wire, all of these are examples of unconventional power conditioning that yield audible benefits, but we may not possess the capability to measure their effects ( or perhaps we are measuring the wrong things...).
A Stein E-Pad. An unconventional power conditioning product.

The same can be said of room treatments, or as I like to call it, "Room Conditioning". Absorbers, diffusors, bass traps, all are conventional means of creating the end result of a more listenable listening room. They are foundational to a good sounding audio system just like power conditioning. If you've read Tweek Geek Speek's past blogs, you are well aware of the unconventional room conditioning elements I have been experimenting with. Things like solid oxygen free copper rods, resonators, and harmonizers. In my opinion they are equally as powerful as the conventional room treatments, but at the same time dependent on the conventional treatments in order to realize their maximum benefit.
A diffusor. Used to scatter soundwaves evenly across a broad range of frequencies.

Today I want to talk about a family of unconventional room conditioning products I have developed. Another tool in the music lover's arsenal to help make one's room conducive to creating an immersive, engaging, therapeutic listening experience.

I have three products that when used individually or combined, are very effective at producing this experience. They are all variations of a similar mixture of elements that I discovered over the years with many hours of trial and error experiments, the contributions of my tweak gurus, and others much smarter than I.

Below are listed my room conditioners along with how one may use them to "condition" their room.

Sonic Tonic II Dots
These little 1" hemispheres are small and discrete. They can be painted (with Krylon paint for plastics) to closely match one's decor. By themselves, it would take quite a few to produce a noticable effect on the room, but when paired with the other 2 products, they work to harmoniously expand and blend the room conditioning effects quite effectively.
Sonic Tonic II Dots.

How to use
I use the Dots along all walls in the listening space. Placement: I place them about 3 feet apart along the baseboards of each wall in the space, and also about 5 feet apart near the ceiling. Again if one does only this the effect is minimal, but if combined with any of the 2 items below, they work to stitch an enveloping, holographic soundfield together.

Sonic Tonic II Wallflowers

The name comes from the look. A disk slightly larger than 2" in diameter and 5/16" thick with a detailed flower mandala design on them. They were meant to be placed on walls primarily, so the name Wallflower seemed natural. They are essentially equivalent to 8 of the Dots, plus they have an additional ingredient to further enhance transparency, especially in the high frequencies.

How to use
If  one is creating an entirely passive room conditioning system, these are optimally places at least 5 feet off the ground, one each centered in front of and behind the listener, and two more in front of and to the sides of the speakers (see diagram below)

This is a very generic and basic setup, I always recommend experimenting with placement in one's own room. You may need more, or fewer.

Active Sonic Tonic II - The Magic Maker
This to me is the "Magic Maker". In fact, that's what I named it. The active nature not only makes them vastly more powerful, but it also makes the other Sonic Tonics more powerful as well. One to four of these in a room brings all of the SST's to life in ways that are simply wonderful to experience.
Active SST II, AKA The Magic Maker.

How to Use
1 to 4 of these are used, depending on the size of the room and the desired intensity of effect one wishes to create. Placement is exactly like placement of the Wallflowers. With one centered between the speakers on the wall behind them, one centered on the back wall behind the listener, and one each on the side walls placed about a foot or two in front of the very front plane of ones louspeaker placement.

Mixing and Synergizing
Once the desired number of Magic Makers are placed, I like to fill in the soundfield by placing Dots along the baseboards of the room. I place them about 3 feet apart, and do the entire room this way. The effect is a more solid, and grounded soundfield.

One can place the Dots or the Wallflowers along the walls near the ceiling to add a sense of height to the soundfield. The Dots are placed about 5 feet apart in this setup, the Wallflowers are placed roughly equidistant between Magic Makers.

I prefer to use the Wallflowers on the ceiling. Using 2 to 4 behind the listening position and to the sides of the sweet spot. Again this adds height and wrap around imaging to the soundfield.

What is heard

Specifically, the total effect is one of more phase coherance, which can be experienced as more naturally distinct outlines of instruments and vocalists when listening to complex harmonies or musical passages. This also gives a sense of enhanced resolution.

The music is denser, fuller, and a more immersive experience. There is more flesh on the bones so to speak. I find it more natural, and as a result, a more relaxing and therapeutic experience. I often listen to music to decompress after a busy day. The room conditioners get me there faster, and allow me to stay there longer. Leading me to a deeper sense of relaxation and a more gratifying experience.

I encourage you to try the Tweek Geek Room Conditioners. I offer for audition a kit of 4 Magic Makers, 10 Wallflowers, and 24 Dots. More than enough to do any listening environment.

Please however make sure your speakers are optimally placed, your room is optimally treated with conventional room treatments, and the power feeding your system is optimally conditioned before auditioning the Room Conditioners. We want you to hear the maximum of what they have to offer.