Friday, July 2, 2021

Transform the Benefit of Your ADD-Powr Sorcer or Wizard With This Tweek


Fuse Rolling On The ADD-Powr Sorcer

Recently I was methodically adding QSA fuses to the components in my system, and experincing truly amazing results, which have been documented in my blog and in a StereoTimes Review of the QSA Fuses. I had been running my ADD-Powr Sourcer X4 with the metal top off, and was in the process of  installing the black plexiglass top when I realized that the Sorcer took a fuse. A 5x20 mm, slow blow, 500 milliAmp fuse was in my Sorcer X4, begging to be replaced with a QSA. 

I wasn't sure that this would be a good thing, since Bill at ADD-Powr likes his devices plugged straight into the wall with no power conditioning. My logic was that if this fuse does any type of filtering it will diminish the effect of the Sorcer X4.

I was so wrong. But that is why we experiment. The QSA Violet fuse that I installed had an immediate "holy shit" effect on the sound of the entire system, and seemed to do 2 things: 1, it magnified the effect of the Sorcer X4, almost doubling or tripling it, and 2, it gave the midband and top end of the music a beauty and clarity that I was not prepared for. Mind you I already had a Red/Black QSA fuse in my Innuos Statement, and a Red Fuse in my Audio Hungary Qualiton XP200 integrated amp. What happened was transformational. Once again these tiny devices proved themselves to be worth the price of admission. 

Fuse Rolling On The Wizard

With such great success on the Sorcer, I took a fuse home to install in the ADD-Powr Wizard I have on my home AV system as well. The same transformation occured in my home system as well with the addition of the fuse to the Wizard. The sound was if I had added another Wizard, plus the added clarity and sweetness to the midband and highs had my home system performing at a level well above it's cost. 

If you own a Wizard, a Sorcer X2, or X4 the 5x20mm, 500 milliAmp QSA  fuses are an absolute must. Every level of fuse will provide you with improvement, even the $28.50 black fuse. But the magic really starts to happen with the Violet, Red and Red/Black fuses. Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Fuses for Audio Components: Determining What Your Component Has

 Common Types of fuses used in Audio Components

Size

Fortunately for mainstream audio components, there are (usually) only 2 sizes of fuses, and even among those two sizes, most newer components are opting for the smaller 5mm x 20 mm size. 



5mm x 20 mm - Known as the "Small" fuse in our industry. Most common in all newer components
6mm x 30 mm - Known as the "Large" fuse in our industry. More common in older components

Slow Blow, Fast Blow and Time Delay

What many of us consider to be slow blow fuses are often time delay fuses. The writing on the fuse band indicating the type usually starts with a "T". Like T2A, that would indicate a 2 amp time delay fuse. Technically time delay fuses are slower to blow than fast blow fuses, but they do differ slightly from a traditional slow blow fuse. A traditional slow blow fuse can handle a larger inrush of current for a longer period of time. For example, a tube component might need a traditional slow blow fuse because the current draw to heat up the filaments of the tubes might be more intense and last longer than a solid state component. I said might, as there are no hard and fast rules here. Fuses are the designer's choice based on measurements and circuitry. The innuos Statement is a solid state component, but it's massive power supply has a 3.15 amp true slow blow fuse inside. a T-type may work, but why risk it? Especially if you are investing in a QSA Red or Red/Black fuse. 

Also, a time delay fuse filament generally looks different from a slow blow fuse filament. Take a look at the photos below.

A T type fuse filament looks more like a thin wire.

A true slow blow fuse filament looks like a coiled spring


So grab a magnifying glass, or your smart phone, and take a close look at the writing on the metal bands, as well as the filament. 

Amperage

Amperage is the amount of current, in amps, that a fuse will withstand before failing. It is marked on one of the metal fuse caps, usually right before the voltage rating. So a 2 amp fuse might read on one of the caps: T2A 250V. That tells you that it is a 2 amp fuse, rated up to 250 volts.

Confused? Contact us!

As always, we are just an email away from helping. We will do everything we can to help you determine the exact replacement fuse you need. But we are only human and our resources are limited, so as I tell my children, don't be lazy. Investigate on your own first. :)


Saturday, June 5, 2021

QSA Fuses: THE New Top Tier Tweaks In The Tweek Geek Arsenal

The Red QSA Fuses ($1400) are what I started with. Other QSA fuses can be had for as little as $28.50 

Let me say this right up front. My past experiences carrying fuses has taught me that it is a total pain in the ass to sell audiophile fuses. No matter what you stock, there is always the obscure fuse that is in demand. The moment you get stock of it, nobody wants it any longer. You are constantly out of something, and someone is always complaining. For me carrying fuses is a masochistic endeavor.

Let me also say that Tweek Geek is doing really, really well without selling fuses. I do not need the money.

So why on earth am I writing about fuses?

Because the value the QSA fuses represent, and the sonic benefit they bring have me excited enough  that it is worth it for me to share with you. I am no martyr for doing this, I knew what I was getting into this time, and to me it is worth it.

I love audio and music, I love discovering something that makes the experience of listening to music more emotionally engaging and cathartic/Therapeutic. This has been the motivation for my journey in this hobby, and I am sure yours is quite similar. The paths we take to move towards the destination are different, the the desired result is the same. 

The punchline: QSA fuses have DRAMATICALLY altered the listening experience that my audio system creates for the better. Not since my discovery of the Bybee Purifier back in 2000 have I been this excited about a product. This product is even better than the Bybee Purifier, or any other tweak I have tried. Ever. This coming from a guy who calls himself The Tweek Geek.

The Black Fuses hold their own against any other fuse on the market and start at $28.50


How did I discover QSA fuses?

A few weeks back, I received phone calls from 2 of my Tweak Guru's extolling the virtues of the $2800 QSA fuses. I believed what they said, but my internal dialogue was saying "I don't care if the heavens open up and angels sing before me, there is no way a fuse makes $2800 worth of difference in ANY component regardless of cost. How could I even sell these!?". I sat and listened, uh huh. Uh huh. Wow! Really? I totally believed them, but I could not be moved to try them. 

Then Clement called. Clement Perry is the force behind StereoTimes review web site. He was always a big proponent of Jack Bybee's products, and always wrote accurate descriptions of their effects in his reviews. I could trust his ears, because his preferences were similar to mine. He tells me "This fuse will make a $10,000 amp sound like a $50,000 amp". I was starting to crack. I suppose if you put it that way, paying $2800 for a $40,000 improvement would save a person $37,200, and their significant other would never find out.... Oh boy.

So 2 fuses showed up one weekend. Not the $2800 version, but the 2nd tier $1400 version.  A single, tiny red box held a 2.5 amp and a 10 amp 5x20mm slow blow fuse. There were red stickers with directional arrows on them, and some sort of black sticker as well. I couldn't really see the filaments through the stickers, and a quick shake revealed to me that there were no crystalline materials inside. It looked as if all treatments were to the exterior of the fuse.

I powered down my Innuos Statement, unplugged it, replaced the stock fuse being mindful of directionality, plugged the Statement back in, turned it on, and waited for it to boot up. It took about one millisecond to hear the difference, and before an impression could even register it began changing, smoothing, becoming more natural, relaxed, way quieter, more resolving, more presence, way bigger, way more 3D, WAY MORE EMOTION. I emphasized the last descriptive term because that is where the effects of this fuse seemed to have the most effect on me. When all of those other factors lock in, you can't help but stop whatever you are doing, and listen with amazement.  If I could put a dollar figure on this level of improvement, I would say $5000 to $10,000. Yep, 5k to 10k worth of cabling, or component improvements might get you here, to this level. I got it for $1400. 

I installed the 10 amp fuse in my Audio Hungary Qualiton XP200 tube amplifier. I had already tube rolled this amp, upgrading the KT-120 to KT-150 for more low end punch and dynamics, Some Amperex Holland E3-88C, and a pair of Telefunken black diamond 12AX7 (ECC83). This is a phenomenal tube integrated, and the addition of the fuse lowered the noise floor, allowing so much more low level detail to come through. Vocals through my Harbeth Monitor 30.2 speakers were so rich and real. Harmonics were also more natural, separate, and real. Textures so subtle and fine were naturally just "there". The soundstage was so much more 3D as well. Spooky 3D. Another interesting thing was turning up the volume did not change the tone or quality of the sound. It was as clean and clear as it was at lower volumes. That could be dangerous for those who play their music loud. It doesn't seem loud with the fuses in place. It seems the fuses are removing all of the cues that tell us the music is increasing in volume. Of course until your amplifier clips, then you'll receive a rude awakening.

The Blue QSA fuses are $71, and will beat any other fuse on the market.


Conclusion

The sound that these fuses allowed my components to create, the improvement wrought is as significant and as impactful on my experience of listening as the original Bybee Purifiers were when I first heard them back in 2000, and more recently the Bybee V2's. The fuses effect was more signifiant than the Stein Harmonizer system I originally heard around 2007. Both the Bybee and Steinmusic products shifted my paradigm of what a listening experience should be at the time I experienced them. I couldn't look back, and would not be satisfied with less once I heard these devices in my system. 

The QSA fuses receive my highest honor. 5 Tinfoil hats.

Fuses For All

Fortunately, you don't have to shell out $1400 to get a taste of this effect. It can be had, albeit in smaller doses, for as little as $28.50. 

In addition to the $1400 Red fuse, I have tried the black ($28.50 each), Blue ($71), and Yellow ($213) fuses so far in my system and can say that all offer value far beyond their price. Each offers a level of improvement, and it is consistent in a "house sound" sort of way as one moves up the line. The overall sonic benefits:

  • More low level information
  • Expansion of the soundstage in all dimensions
  • "life". The system wakes up, becomes livelier, more engaging, without tension but with a naturalness and emotional element that is hard to put into words. 

If I hadn't heard the $1400 fuse I could be perfectly happy with the clarity, lower noise floor and engagement factor any of the QSA fuses produce. 

I hope you get the chance to try one of these fuses. I don't think you will regret it. I as Tweek Geek try to make it as painless and easy for you with a money back guarantee, and a limited time fuse trade up program.






Sunday, April 18, 2021

The "Poor Mans Statement": Three Innuos Products That Get Very Close To the Performance Of Their Flagship Streamer For Less

The Innuos Statement


The Innuos Statement, a streaming tour de force. Coveted by many, but the $15,100 price tag puts it out of reach for all but a select few. If you are curious, but hesitant to invest in a $15,000 streamer, there is an Innuos-based option that you can implement in steps, that will get you very close to the performance of the Statement. I call it "The Poor Man's Statement".  

Innuos Zenith MK3


The foundation of this system begins with the Innuos Zenith MK3. The Zenith MK3 is the step below the Statement in price, starting at $4699 for a 1tb model. The biggest difference is that it has the linear power supply and streamer in one box, rather than two. It is a very quiet and robust power supply, but not quite at the statement level. Size and price constraints dictated the compromise. The Zenith MK3 does have the solid state internal drive, and it's the only Innuos model other than the Statement to do so. That is what makes it the best choice for getting to the performance level of the Statement for less.

Overall the Zenith MK 3 does get reasonably close to the performance of the Statement on it's own.  It has the same house sound, just a little less fine resolution. Still a great streamer on it's own for 98% of audiophiles. That is an understatement really, most audiophile could and have stopped there and been perfectly happy. But for those who must have the best,  It's the next two components that take the performance of the Zenith MK3 very close to that of the Statement.  What are those components you may ask? Well, if you take a close look at the other technical features of the Statement you will find your answer. 

What Makes The Statement Sound Like The Statement?

What makes the Statement so natural sounding with so much resolution, besides the quiet outboard linear power supply with all of the separate voltage rails feeding all of the internals of the Statement, it's the reclocking of the incoming Ethernet stream and the outgoing USB stream. The Statement has 2 separate reclockers built in that give it the sonic edge, and the higher price tag.

Innuos Phoenix USB

Reclocking/Conditioning USB

Every signal that flows out of the Statement's usb port has been cleaned up and reclocked. It was such a successful circuit that they decided to make a separate product out of it. The Phoenix USB. This is the USB reclocking circuit of the Statement, in it's own chassis with it's own linear power supply. This would connect between the output of the Zenith MK3 to the USB input on your DAC of choice. It would require an extra USB cable, so keep that cost in mind.  Speaking of which, we don't sell it but I do recommend the Phasure Lush 3 USB cable. So far this is the most natural sounding cable that offers the sonic balance and holographic soundstaging I prefer. Oh and the price is very reasonable for the performance. I do not have any affiliation with Phasure, nor do I profit from this other than having the satisfaction of making a solid recommendation on a usb cable. Anyway, onward.

Phasure Lush 3 USB cable. Starting at around US $260.


Reclocking/Conditioning Ethernet

Innuos' latest product, the PhoenixNET Reclocking Ethernet switch is what made the Poor Man's Statement a possibility. This product is actually a bit more robust than the internal Ethernet reclocker of the Statement. Here they started from scratch rather than just mimic the circuit in the Statement, so it is actually a bit better. This is where the Poor Man's Statement gains ground.


Internal Reclocking Circuit on the PhoenixNET

Advantages

With the Zenith MK3 (1tb for this example), Phoenix USB and PhoenixNet, you spend about $11,697 to get 90% of the Statement's performance. That's a savings of $3403. Additionally, you can do this over time. Starting with the Zenith MK3, then adding either the PhoenixNET or Phoenix USB as time and finances permit.


Conclusion

My pursuit of this hobby has always been about value. That has taken me to some pretty creative lengths to do so. The "Poor Man's Statement" will make more sense to those who want the best performance for the money, with more flexibility when it comes to purchasing, cabling, and resale. One can acquire this system in 3 purchases rather than one. One can place the components more advantageously if need be since there are 3 separate chassis. Cabling options, while adding some additional expense, can help one tune the sound more to their liking. Lastly if one piece is replaced with a newer model, or one technology advances suddenly, one can sell one of the three pieces more quickly and maintain the performance and value of the rest of the system more easily.

All of the reasoning above makes the Poor Man's Statement a great value. But of course the biggest reason is the price. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

ADD-Powr Wizard Review



The ADD-Powr Story

ADD-Powr started in 1999 with 2 products that if you've been an audiophile long enough, you may recognize. They were called the Quantum Symphony and Symphony Pro. They were highly regarded and critically acclaimed products that caught the attention of Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and other audio magazines. Quantum Resonance Technology was also used in other well known products from Walker Audio (the Velocitor) and Combak corporation.

Nordost purchased QRT technology from the inventor, Bill Stierhout, in 2008 and are to this day still manufacturing products using Quantum Resonance Technology.

Flash forward to today, and Bill has advanced his technology greatly. This time he has decided to keep the technology to himself. Marketing products under the ADD-Powr brand.

ADD Powr Technology (somewhat) Explained

The ADD in ADD Powr stands for Algorithm Digital Defined power. What this means is that ADD-Powr products use an algorithm generated field to affect power going to your components. The ADD-POWR website says it this way:

ADD-Powr™ technology is Algorithm Digital Defined Power™. It is unique because it addresses the quality of electrical environments: Energy is added to electrical signals and systems. ADD-Powr™ products are electrical environment conditioners rather than AC power line  conditioners.

According to the ADD-Powr Web Site

"The ADD-Powr algorithm incorporates a low frequency complex signal of a specific oscillation pattern. Mathematically speaking, a periodic complex waveform such as a square wave can be expressed as a harmonic series summation of sine and cosine waves interacting in various time phase relationships. This was the discovery of Joseph Fourier (1768-1830), the revered French mathematician and physicist..."

"...The Wizard and Sorcer designs use an amplifier to interface with the secondary of an AC power transformer and induce  a small signal of varying amplitude onto the primary side. They also generate and propagate a small field of low frequency through a system of coil antennae. The Fourier harmonics contained in the signal act to resonate with the audio signals in the hi-fi system. 

A complex wave "disturbance" rides  along the AC line. Since it is a low frequency signal, it is not filtered away by power supplies, such as a/v component power supplies. Instead, it passes through the filter stages and becomes part of the DC reference supply voltage.

The Fourier transform concept can now be understood. The Fourier series contains the fundamental driving frequency and its constituent related frequencies or overtones. These are called harmonics.

Since the harmonics are sine and cosine waves of varying energy or weight (amplitude) and of varying time phases, it is the fundamental frequency that contains the most energy. As the frequency band is scaled upward, the harmonic series' energy or amplitude diminishes exponentially.

So what used to be a direct current / DC voltage reference, is now a direct current / DC voltage reference with harmonic sine waves. The reference has been modified significantly.

But what does that mean to the performance of an audio  system?

When an audio signal (a complex function in time), with significant frequency information at around 100 Hz enters an amplifier stage, it will be processed/amplified as usual. But if the harmonic series that has been imposed upon the DC supply voltage also has a 100 Hz fundamental, then, we now have a condition of resonance at that exact instance. 

So the input signal will resonate with the DC reference fundamental frequency.

There will be an increase in the overall energy or amplitude of the audio signal in the amplifier. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. harmonics scaled upwards (out to infinity) in frequency from this modified DC reference will also harmonically resonate. Finally, the audio signal emitting from the loudspeaker will reveal an increase in its integrity, or an increase of as much as 1 - 2 dB in energy..."

Does your head hurt yet?

This is so completely different from typical power conditioning which use transformers, capacitors, coils, etc. in series or parallel to reduce the noise riding on incoming AC lines. Many complaints about the conventional approach to power conditioning is a limiting of dynamics, and I have heard alterations of tone, blurring of bass and flattening of the soundstage in the worst cases. To avoid sonic drawbacks like these, one has to spend good money, component amounts of money, to get power conditioning that minimizes on the offences and maximizes sonic benefits. It ain't easy or cheap to do.

Add Powr avoids all of the drawbacks of conventional power conditioning with a very creative approach. One that does not mechanically insert itself into the power chain of one's audio system.

Look Ma, no AC receptacles!

The Wizard

The Wizard sits roughly in the middle of the Add-Powr product lineup and utilizes 8 small coils to generate it's algorithmically determined field. It has a steel chassis with anodized aluminum front panel whose dimensions are 12" wide x 8" deep x 2" high. It weighs about 5 pounds and sells for $1995.

The System

The Room

  • 18' wide by 24' long with a drop ceiling with height of 9' 6". The actual height to the roof is about 15'. The drop ceiling is 2" thick Soundsulate drop ceiling tiles.
  •  8x Acoustic Fields 24" x 48" x 2" foam panels on the side walls to control slap echo and absorb midbass frequencies.
  • 6x Ready Acoustics NEST corner mount bass traps
  • 12x Stillpoints Aperture 2 panels in critical locations (first reflection points, front and back, centered)

Evaluating

My evaluation of the Wizard begins with taking the Sorcer X4 out of the system and acclimating myself to the sound of my system without any ADD-Powr products in it.

System with No ADD Powr - A fine sounding system in my opinion. In a word, natural, with excellent tonality and transparency. The Innuos has a well deserved reputation for being a great streamer, and the Frerot R2R style DAC with optional linear power supply is a very musical and satisfying DAC only $2100. It outshines DAC's in its price range and above with very clear, and unfatiguing sound top to bottom. The Modwright has plenty of power to drive the relatively inefficient Harbeth speakers, and most of the time was in Class A operation. The Harbeth speakers are extremely natural sounding, especially with vocals and acoustic music, but really anything played through them just has more realism, depth and finesse than most speakers in their price range.

I had acclimated myself to the sound of the system with the Sorcer out over the course of a few days. I tried to evaluate the system as it was without using my memories of the sound with the Sorcer in. It took a few days to gain that perspective.

Adding the Wizard

I placed the Wizard on my rack, top shelf, next to the Modwright integrated and plugged it straight into the wall. I let it settle in for a few minutes, but even as I plugged it in, standing behind the speakers, I heard and felt the sound change. I left the room, and came back about an hour later. The changes I observed were as follows:

A more relaxed presentation - My whole system is more or less already designed with that in mind, but the Wizard took it to another level. Music flowed more naturally. 

Clarity, Delicacy, Sweetness - There was also more clarity, delicacy and sweetness in the highs. I could hear individual strings more clearly for instance. Not separated into something artificial, the naturalness, wholeness of the instrument, and sweetness were there. It's just now I could hear a little more deeply into the individual pieces that made the whole.  All presented with significantly less graininess and blurring of sonic edges.

Improved Harmonic Richness - Harmonics seemed to benefit from this improved clarity as well. The totality of clearer, more delicate and sweet highs with better harmonic richness also led to a greater soundstage width and depth. Instrumental decays had more "float factor" to them. In fact the Harbeths disappeared a bit more with the Wizard in the system than without. 

Solidity - What do I mean by this?  In this situation I mean that the images and soundstage had a more solid, wall to wall , front to back feel to them. I am guessing this contributes to the "float factor", where images and the entire sonic landscape do not appear to be coming from the speakers at all.

No Negative Artifacts - There were no shifts in frequency, tone or dynamics. The Wizard is not a component that emphasized the upper range of frequencies to give one the initial impression of more air, space, or the cliche veil being lifted. 

Bottom Line

The Wizard took a system that I consider very natural and satisfying to listen to and made it better, clearer, more transparent and at the same time even more natural sounding than it already was.  The improvement it yielded in an already very good system was equivalent to a component upgrade of at least $2000 in my opinion. I use it in conjunction with the Dark Matter Stealth power conditioner (with no series components) DMT X1, Stein Harmonizers. It works and plays well with others (just remember, plug it into the wall and not your power conditioner). It raised the performance of the system in terms of clarity, richness and engagement factor by a margin that easily justifies the price.

I would recommend that anyone looking to upgrade any component, source, amps, speakers, that they audition the Wizard before making such a move. Seriously. The Wizard does most all of the things we as audiophiles are looking for in our quest for "better". Air, space, sweetness, transparency. Something we can listen to all day long without having to turn down the volume, or worse yet, walk away with ringing ears.

But I am a dealer for this product. Of course I am going to say these things, right? No, I don't play like that. If I don't like something, I'm not going to carry it, nor am I going to recommend it. I would also not let you borrow it. But here I am, enthusiastically recommending the ADD-Powr Wizard, and offering to let you audition it if you are in the market for such a component if it lives up to the hype. 

Thank you for reading this far, and contact me if you would like to try the Wizard in your own system.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

RIP Jack Bybee

I met jack around 1998. I was not new to the hobby, but I was in a financial position to finally afford what I would call audiophile quality components. I had Legacy Audio Speakers, B&K preamp and amp, and my digital source which I cannot remember. After my system had been assembled, I was looking for inexpensive ways to improve it. It was then that I had discovered his Bybee Purifiers. They literally changed my life as I was so excited about their performance that I wanted to share them with everyone who had an interest in audio. I started selling them through my old company CryoTweaks,  and started up Tweek Geek a few short years later. Jack was instrumental in this taking place.

Jack was a brilliant physicist who never stopped working. He was passionate about audio and curious about how to make it sound better. I admired his unconventional way of thinking, his drive, curiosity and his spirit. 

I worked with Jack for over 20 years. At first he was a bit intimidating to talk to. You could still hear the Navy sailor in his voice. But after awhile he softened a bit as I grew accustomed to his manner and he grew to trust me. I would get a call from him about once a month to see how I was doing, to discuss his ideas, and how to better sell his products. Every once in awhile the call would start with "I think I've discovered something that you might want to try".  Two weeks later it would be another call. "I found a way to make it better". This was a never ending process for him. He came up with some pretty crazy ideas, but they always worked, and if they were marketable he never stopped improving on them..

Thank you Jack for your ideas, your passion, and your advice. Without them I would not be who I am today. Rest In Peace.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Creating Your "Bubble": Setting Up A Medium Sized Room For Great Listening


The Fantasy

Our listening environments. Most of us fantasize about a cavernous listening room, free from boomy bass and early reflections. Our massive system would sit well away from the room boundaries, as would our favorite listening chair. The drink caddy would be the only thing allowed near the seating during our audio therapy sessions. The thing about large rooms is they also give you a larger margin for error. Error in speaker placement, error in acoustic treatment. They are in a sense more forgiving. This makes getting them to sound good at normal listening levels much easier than a small room.

The flip side to this advantage is it takes a bigger speaker, possibly multiple subwoofers, a larger amplifier, and a lot more acoustic treatments to get to the desired sound pressures in that large room.


The Reality

The reality for many of us is quite different. The average listening room is about 15 feet by 12 feet with 8-10 foot ceilings. Not small, but not large either.  The margin for error in listener and speaker placement is smaller.  We have been told either directly or inferred through reading reviews, etc. that we need 8 feet of space between our speakers and ten feet of space between our listening position and speakers. Following this information places the speakers and the listener near the room boundaries, creating all sorts of room modes, and reflection issues. This may look good, or fit into our assumptions of what should sound good, but are you getting the best listening experience? Probably not.

What a situation like this calls for is defined by the recording industry as mid-field listening. Mid field listening is done at distances of 6-12 feet from the speakers. Most of us are realistically working within the range of 6-9 feet before we start encountering serious boundary interactions.

It takes more work perhaps, but a mid field listening setup can produce a visceral, holographic and tonally even listening experience with less amplifier, less speaker, and fewer acoustic treatments. By work I mean careful speaker placement. Really nailing down the best place for your speakers and the best place for your seating is critical.

Ultimately, we will be creating a "bubble" with properly set up speakers and listening spot, acoustic treatments, and a tweak or two to really dial in the holographic experience.

The Bubble

Step 1: Speaker Placement


I have tried many different methods for speaker placement, most of them do not work as well nor are as simple as New Record Day's method that was recently revealed in one of his great YouTube videos. It's a little counter intuitive, but for a reason (I'll let him explain it). It takes 2 hours or so (I may be really slow at taping off the floor however...)  to really go through, but the end result is worth it.



Take the time and really do this before considering the next recommendation.

Once you have your speakers and seating placed and sounding fantastic, we need to figure out where to place some of the acoustic treatments.
Stillpoints Aperture II in Cherry wood with Cream Grille on a custom stand.


Step 3: Acoustic Treatments

In this example, we will be using 4 acoustic treatments. These will form an area in front of, behind and to the sides of our listening area. 

I recommend The Stillpoints Aperture II panels. Why? Acoustic treatments have a sonic signature. Out of all of the treatments I have experimented with the Aperture II's allow my system to sound the best. The Aperture II's also take a little guesswork out of what type of treatment to place where. They absorb, diffuse and have a little bit of bass trap built in. They keep the sound and soundstage lively, balanced and in tact. One can use a combination of absorbers, diffusers and bass traps from other manufacturers if that's what you have on hand. You are not limited to just 4 treatments either. This is an example and I am taking a minimalist approach.

I place the panels as follows:
  • One centered between the loudspeakers with the main area centered at listening height
  • One on either side of the listening position at the first reflection points
  • One centered behind the main listening seat
12-15 room listening "bubble"
Another example below uses 6 acoustic panels.

This example uses 6 acoustic panels total.

I like the mid field approach for several reasons
  1. It gives every critical component (speakers and your listening chair) acoustical space from room boundaries. This helps with bass response and early reflection issues.
  2. Like near field listening, it takes much of the room out of the equation. Unlike near field listening, the additional distance between listener and speakers allows the sound from the speakers to become more cohesive, and is just less "in your face".

What The Bubble Can And Cannot Do

The "Bubble" will open up your soundstage, improve depth, imaging and detail. How? Most of the sound you will hear from your system will be what is directly radiated from the speakers. Reflected sound, which tends to blur detail and smear the sound, will be greatly reduced. If you have severe bass issues, you may need bass traps. Bass is more of a sound pressure issue than a sound wave issue. The pressure can be a function of the volume and shape of your room, and on some occasions speaker placement can only minimize this issue, not eliminate it. 

Step 4: Tweaks To Enhance Resolution & Soundstage

Into The Twilight Zone... Below I will break down products that will make your space appear, at least to your ears, to be sonically larger.  They also have the added benefit of enhancing resolution and detail as well. All without adding brightness or artificially altering the tone.

The Stein Harmonizers come with their own stands, but for the others, they are small enough to sit atop the acoustic treatments you have placed around you. 

Stein Harmonizer System - The classic tweak. 4 Battery powered boxes allow you to adjust their effect.  Harmonizer H2 system is $2395.

Bybee V2 - This small, rather utilitarian looking device has an effect similar to the Harmonizer system. Adding resolution, richness, air, space, liquidity. Perhaps a little on the more liquid, warmer richer side of things. $399 each.


DMT X1 - The 3 x 2 x 1 walnut box is filled with material that has a very similar effect to the Bybee products. $199 each


Bybee Quantum Clarifier - Smaller and less powerful than the V2 or DMT X1, it may just strike the perfect balance of effect and price. $100 each

Bottom Line

  1. Really work on optimizing the placement of your speakers and seating. 
  2. With a few acoustic treatments, create a "bubble" of sound where the energy that your ears pick up is the direct, radiated from the speakers.
  3. With your system now hitting new heights, widths and depths try out some room enhancing tweaks to see if they do indeed take things further by making the walls in your room disappear.
Thanks for reading this far and as always, if you have questions please don't hesitate to call or email.