MarkEdmonds wrote:I've been guilty of not following what is going on round here over the last couple of days but I've had to push for a decision point on how I am going to plan this work (and money) out - so lots of testing been taking place.
I tried the baffles. I've obviously got to do some background reading on how this works or what it is meant to do. It foxes me. I could understand it if you extended the baffle as one piece and had the drivers mounted hard on the baffle so you had a perfect physical coupling but just using cardboard held on under tension???? Well, it did make a difference. I cut out approx 3 foot square sheets of 8mm thick corrugated cardboard and mounted them flush with the front of the speakers. Difficult to assess the effect but I felt the stereo spread was in a smoother arc. However, the edgy treble and nasal mids were still there.
Next up was to go through some extremes of stacking RW3 on the rear wall. No real benefit and although I thought the best sound was when the depth was 140cm (!), I can't afford that loss of space because...
I have decided that the piano is going to go on the rear wall - period. Kawai should be getting their new CA series in the shops next month so that will happen then. It will be a digital so no soundboard and strings to cause problems and digitals aren't as tall as acoutic uprights so hopefully, this wont crap out the sound too much.
The AudioAgency (Auralex distributers) don't do loans on treatment unfortunately (understandable really) so that idea is ruled out for now. I was hoping to borrow a load of Venus traps and T'Fusors to see how they worked.
Anyway, my mixer is a Mackie 1604VLZ Pro (or something like that) and I've always felt it had an agressive sound so I decided to remove that from the chain and run the speakers direct from the sound card using the Lynx software mixer for control. This is temporary at the moment as the only way I could wire it was to couple two leads which means I've lost the balanced cables and currently have about 5 metres of unbalanced which can't be good - noticeable hum.
However, as suspected, removing the mixer and all its grungy electronics radically transformed the sound. Did I say radical? Well, let's say, it sounds like a new system. The gritty treble has gone completely. The bass is much much tighter. If you don't believe your ears, you can just rest your hand on the speakers and feel that there is much more energy in them now. The bass is really kicking hard. The treble is like a smooth brush of a ride as opposed to an 8bit china crash.
Yeah, problem with cheap mixers I'm afraid.
The same here with my Mackie 32-8.
Most of the problem lies in the cheap op-amps used in Mackie mixers ( well any prosumer mixer really ).
You can cut down the distortion of them quite easily by running signals at a lower volume through the mixer, as op-amps ( particularly cheap ones ) increase distortion the higher the level you stick through them. This is particularly important at the sum bus, so keep input gains low, and channel faders low, and make up for the gain at the master fader/Outputs
It's at the expense of noise though, but thankfully Mackie mixers are renowned for being quiet. I still get -85dB noise on masters, which is more than enough for most music.
Oh and btw, I measured the distortion on various inputs to my mackie, and found the Insert returns to have the lowest distortion, followed closely by the Tape inputs. The Line/Mic inputs ( shared pre-amp ) had the highest distortion. I chose to use the tape inputs, as the insert return's impedence wasnt compatible with my Apogee outputs.
It is quite strange really and difficult to describe without sounding like a prat. Put it this way - I now no longer have any real sense of volume. It seems so clean that I am sure I am listening louder than ever but without any real fatigue.
There is a bit of fatigue in that the treble is too bright for my liking. I want to shelve this off slightly but the other odd thing is that if I play back commercial tracks through Nuendo and use Cambridge to eq out the treble or add warmth lower down, it sounds un-natural and causes unpleasant artifacts elsewhere.
It might just be that I have hit on a balance that is showing incredible accuracy but is a bit treble biased and could be the best I'll get from what I have. For the first time, I feel that this is a sound I want to learn so I know how it translates and that for me is a breakthrough.
Don't foget the speakers themselves can be adding distortion too.
Next step then is to live with this for a while to prove it really does work and then I need to investigate a suitable gain control so I can keep the mixer out permanently.
Does anyone know of a suitable device for this? Preferably with a high shelf filter as well? Is it possible to build one if I source some high quality pots or to keep the wiring balanced, do I need to introduce extra electronics?
There's the Mackie Big Knob. Specifically designed for DAW volume and input solutions. Of course it will use similar cheap op-amps as the mixers, but there'll be less of them, so a hopefully a cleaner sound. At least the Big Knob is cheap. To get ultra pristine, you'll have to shell out over a grand, ro build you're own.
And no you can't just use a fader, because the impedence,and thus the sound, will change over the fader's travel.
You need at least one op-amp before and after the fader to act as buffers.
Well, back to listening. This is an odd sensation. The system is working hard and pushing lots of air but it doesn't sound like it and I've got this super clean sound which I feel the desire to learn. Does this mean I have found the signature sound of my room? Time will tell...
Sounds like you're getting there mate :)