The reflection of Piano Tuner in 2010
In the past 12 months, I was torn apart by managing two mega systems which I had no prior experiences before. The earlier experiences were rough and rocky. My repeated disappointments were soothed by many valuable opinions from our group. Digesting these inputs is not an easy task when contradictions arise. At some point, you just have to be yourself.
The initial setup of the Tidal Sunray system without the T1 sub woofer was complicated by many of my wrongdoings. The biggest mistake was I had not taken the jumpers out from the Sunray when the system was connected to the LPX active crossover! Not until these were fixed, I was basically walking in a circle. Then, the next mistake was the early installation of a vinyl system in a room that I am yet to familiarize with. Then the very low output of the Grandezza Reference (0.17mv) going directly into the Prescenio did not seem to have enough gain. Most of the time, the volume of the Prescenio had to be cranked up to 3 o’clock position. Obviously, bass weight is not enough again.
Mr. Zanden is right. It is important to have a reliable CD source for verification because LP involves too many parameters. I gave up the installation of the Gabriel for the time being and focused entirely on CD playback. The arrival of the Vekian CDT to complete the state of the art Stahltek digital playback system was the trigger point that aroused all of my energy to fix the room. I reworked the acoustics of the room after identifying the key reflection area is the SLANTED entrance. The angle was so perfect that it seems it was design by purpose to generate a reflective path directly to the listener position. It is for Fung Shui reason that the entrance was designed to open in such a way. Next, I fixed all the four corners with a total of 8 bass traps. (The last corner was not treated until DSo identified some standing waves located at the back of the right channel.) The heavy curtains on the right hand side were taken away in exchange for absorption/diffusion panels.
After all such problems were fixed, I was contended. At least, the performance has to be something like this. The subsequent arrival of the T1 sub towers is a shock. The compliment by Mr. DV during the Tidal dinner meant so much to me because he is someone who evaluates a system from music perspective rather than audio jargons. Since then, everyone who visited the AE showroom was simply blown away. Even if not completely, they know by heart the potential and the level of performance achieved hitherto is in an uncharted area. We have many overseas visitors booking a time slot for audition all the way from now till 2nd quarter of 2011. I have not yet even installed the Gabriel turntable. And I promise I will bring out the elegance attitude of Da Vinci as rightly pointed out by Uncle Ray.
I have to say Mr. Zanden is a truly experienced audiophile and music lover. He intentionally tested the system by loud volume and find the system is not as stress-free as the Cessaro Beta system in my home. He agrees the rack by Dynamic Contrasts is completely stress-free and void of any mechanical artifacts. The next week, I called up SRA and tailored made OHIO XL+2 boards specifically for the Prescenio. All other boards under the Tidal amplifiers are all by SRA now completely without mix and match anymore. It turns out Mr. DV and Mr. Zanden are both absolutely spot on. Mr. DV told me the piano was great but he would like the tone to be tender and gentler. Following Mr. Zanden testing CD – the Gladiator, I listened again when all mechanical vibrations are now better unilaterally controlled under the same philosophy. Bingo! There is so much more calmness in loud passages. The silence in between notes and different sessions of strings/winds can now be clearly felt.
Shanghai Bigpiece was the only one who listened to this system after all these changes. He kept saying to me, “Never heard something quite like this before”. And that was last Wednesday. I felt I can finally take a break on this system and let the music play. From the opening of the showroom on Jun 23, 2010, it took about 6 months to achieve where it is now.
In part 2, I shall write the same about my journey with the Cessaro Beta Horn system. Both Plastic Bag man and DSo had once told me to forget it because my room is too small for such a big horn system. Marvel also felt the lower mid bass was muddy. Mr. Zanden is the one who helps me to solve the problems step by step with each testing records. I am grateful of his assistance. I had done much more fine room treatment. I can confidently tell you guys that the Beta Horn system in my home is now roaring like a lion with full control on bass. The details and resolution are shockingly real. Image is palpable. Last but not least is the speed. Speed at all frequency is amazing. It is truly something extraordinary now. I don’t speak this lightly as my reference is the Sunray T1.
Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all of you