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  1. #71
    Senior Member Stephen Trask's Avatar
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    Patrick and Freakenbloopie,
    thanks for your advice. FWIW, my photos didn't show the eventual position of the speakers even before all y'all's advice. they are about 6 ft. apart in the picture. Since getting your advice they have ended up just shy of 8 ft apart center to center. I moved the couch a couple of inches close to the speakers and toed them in so that they cross about two feet behind my head. I also turn the rug in the room 90 degrees to get more coverage between the speakers and added one very small bass trap behind the George Nelson bench* on which the components sit and some good sound insulating material inside the fireplace. These steps have made a world of difference. The sound stage is huge. Except in cases when instruments are hard panned (not much to do there) the speakers have all but disappeared. Everything that made me fall in love with these speakers is coming out in spades.

    I still get a pretty strong resonant frequency that peaks around 59-60 HZ (just going by ears) and spans about 1/3 of an octave. That's my room I guess, unless that's inherent to these speakers. I'm thinking from having just linked on a couple of reviews listed on the VA website that it is both factors working together. It will be manageable.

    Freakenblookpie - why can't you work at the MHT near me? I haven't met anyone as knowledgable or passionate as you at either of the Best Buy locations near me.

    Oh, and I raked the speakers. Yeah. that was the last thing I did and it made an immediate improvement. I had just been slouching.

    *i mention the bench because I think it is an early example (unless I am misinformed, which is often the case) of furniture designed for housing home audio.
    Last edited by Stephen Trask; 01-18-2012 at 07:11 PM.

  2. #72
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    Thank you for the compliment. Magnolia is a great outfit, but it was time to make a change. Such is the nature of the world. If you ever need anything, send me a note.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
    Vienna Acoustics- North America


    Quote Originally Posted by freakenbloopie View Post
    And Patrick, I just wanted to say I was very saddened when Vienna Acoustics was removed from our Magnolia showrooms. They were, by far, the best sounding speaker we carried and, in my opinion, still the best we have carried. The B&W CM9's are nice, but they don't have the sound stage or laid back manner that the Mozart's had. And they sure as hell don't look nearly as good. I'm glad I got my Bach's when I did.

  3. #73
    Senior Member Stephen Trask's Avatar
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    Patrick or Freakenbloopie (I love typing your name),

    I've taken both of your advice and vastly improved the performance of my speakers. The one thing that still feels problematic to me is this blurry, woofiness just below 60Hz, again using my ears. And then I went to the Vienna Acoustics website and saw that one of the reviews you link to for the Bach Grands mentions a bass hump at exactly that spot. They talk about it as if it's caused by the intersection of the signal from the woofer and the port. Is this just part if the personality of the speaker, or is there some continued tweaking that I should be doing?

  4. #74
    Senior Member Andrew Robinson's Avatar
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    Sounds like it's time to bust out the EQ and tell 60Hz to shape up and fly right.

  5. #75
    Senior Member Stephen Trask's Avatar
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    I was afraid of that.

  6. #76
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    Hi Stephen,

    Fortunately, there is fine tuning that you can do to the system to help bring the bass into focus without resorting to an eq. If the speakers are not phase locked, all things being equal you will end up with less than perfect bass that manifests in exactly what you are hearing.

    Break out the cd that you used for dialing in your speakers. I tend to focus on using just a song or two for the sake of simplicity. Use something that has repetitive, low bass and a singer. Make sure that the amount of rake you are using in the left and right channel and the amount of toe-in is as close to exactly the same as you can make it (eyeball it.) Next, listen. Notice where the vocalist is located in space and ask yourself two questions:
    1. Is the singer in the center?
    2. Does the bass seem like it is pressurizing equally from both channels, or do you detect a little more bass on one side of the stage or the other?

    If you answer no to question one or you detect bass pushing unequally across the stage, then you need more physical setup work with the speakers. At this point the speakers will probably be in the ball park, so small movements will be all that is necessary to get your system working.

    If the singer sounds a little right of center or if the bass seems to be pushing a little harder (pressurizing) in the right stage, push the right speaker back a little (1/4") and maintain the same amount of toe-in (conversely, if the opposite is happening move th right channel forward a wee bit.) Listen again. Did that solve the problem or just move you in the right direction? Repeat until the singer is locked in the center and the bass pressurizes evenly ( as best you can) in the left and right channel.

    Rake. If your room were perfectly level, you would end up with the exact same amount in both channels (and let me know who built your floors!) More than likely this is not the case, and you will need a little more rake in one channel or the other. Being that Bach Grand is fairly short and that we do not use any additional filters in the crossover to push the phase angle of both drivers up to the tweeter's height, you will probably need more rake (angling the speaker back) than you think. Doing this will move the place place where the mid-bass transitions optimally over to the tweeter up to where it is useful- your head.) This action also effects low-bass performance by altering phase cancellations caused by first reflections off of the floor.

    Here is what I do. Using the same recording, shift your listening position closer to the left channel. As you listen, slowly move your head down. Do you hear a point in space where the singer becomes clearer and warmer? If yes, you just found the speakers phase angle. Could be lower than you think. Adding a wee bit more rake at a time (unscrewing the front spikes) will shift that point in space to where you want. Once you have finished with the left channel, adjust the right channel to match the left. You will know you have nailed it when the singer becomes very focused, warmer and clearer (increased intelligibility) and the bass becomes solid.

    I'll warn you ahead of time. Doing the above is tedious and repetitious. However, it is the only way to to get real performance. I'm not against using a bit of nip and tuck with an eq, but only after the speakers are properly phase locked.

    Best wishes,

    Patrick
    Vienna Acoustics- North America

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Trask View Post
    Patrick or Freakenbloopie (I love typing your name),

    I've taken both of your advice and vastly improved the performance of my speakers. The one thing that still feels problematic to me is this blurry, woofiness just below 60Hz, again using my ears. And then I went to the Vienna Acoustics website and saw that one of the reviews you link to for the Bach Grands mentions a bass hump at exactly that spot. They talk about it as if it's caused by the intersection of the signal from the woofer and the port. Is this just part if the personality of the speaker, or is there some continued tweaking that I should be doing?

  7. #77
    Senior Member Stephen Trask's Avatar
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    OK. I have reached my limit with adjusting these beauties. My level says they are raked precisely evenly. I know they are equidistant from a center line on which I sit because of the way my hardwood floor is laid out and the various marks and measurements. The are angled in so that they cross somewhere behind my head with the line seemingly brushing up against my ear lobes. i have them more than 7 1/2 feet apart, which is slightly less than my distance to each speaker but much more than the distance to the line on which the speakers sit. More than 8 feet apart and the soundstage starts to come undone. So I think I have finished the speaker moving portion of the set-up. And they sound damned good. Something interesting that Andrew Robinson said to me, and that I had remembered from my audition, is that he hadn't remembered these being all that difficult to set up. when I auditioned the guy made a point of plunking them down in a careful but totally non anal way, as if to show how easy they were to position. One of the reasons I got them.

    Which makes me think a couple of things. First, these things don't like to be all that close to a wall. They want to be in a big, well treated room. When they are not, the sound of the port begins to make a a bigger impact on the bass. Second, I need to treat my room if I want to play loudly. The bass is mostly an issue at volumes that allow me to feel the floor vibrate or at db levels approaching that. But if I were absorbing some of that energy and some around the room, I might be having an easier time. Third, I've got 10,000 dollar ears and a 2,000 pair of speakers that I am being very picky about. These speakers do some things I've never heard any speaker do. Does that mean I should expect them to do everything else? No, of course not. that's why I simultaneously bought a pair of M-Lores, the speakers I thought to be most likely the exact opposite of these.

    So, I will report back when I get some decent sound treatment in place. I have some stuff. I am really hoping not to have to resort to an EQ, although if I do it will be incredibly surgical and subtle reduction of a couple of frequencies (40 and 59, 1/3 octave and half octave respectively.) At this point, with the gracious and informed advice of both patrick and Freakenbloopie, I have definitely gotten these fairly close to perfect on a wide ranging of recordings and painfully exquisite in a number of instances (Stravinsky, Willie Nelson, Wilco, Bon Iver, Charles Mingus).

    I can render an absolute opinion then but I will just say this for now: The Vienna Acoustics Bach Grand are an extraordinary speaker. They definitely have a sound. They are meant to. That sound makes them better for some musics then others. Don't buy them if you want to blast AC/DC. It's not their thing. But if you want to listen to mellower rock, which is a pretty large category, and if you have a penchant for acoustic music or music with a lot of space in the recordings, then these might just make you cry, they are that beautiful. But if you want to play loudly AND you are incredibly picky about every little thing, try not to stick them in a room that's virtually untreated, with a lot of stone and metal and a subtle rug barely covering a hardwood floor. You're just asking for it. On the other hand, the demographic outside of me, who is going to sit in a virtually untreated room with minimalist furnishings and a 5 foot marble coffee table and expect to be able to play "London Calling" at floor shaking volumes and then be critical because Bb sounds a bit woofy is probably a pretty small one, so my caveat applies probably to very few people other than myself.
    Last edited by Stephen Trask; 01-25-2012 at 03:40 PM. Reason: copy editing

  8. #78
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    Hi Stephen,

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying Bach Grand and have gone down the setup rabbit hole as far as you have. Rooms are rather interesting to deal with when it comes to bass, and I have seen some people go really deep in order to get the right turning. One case in point was a house that I visited years ago where the owner had installed ceiling jacks in the basement to tune the floor of his listening room. By adjusting the amount of pressure and spraying a rubberized substance on the floor joists, he was able to produce really deep bass in his listening room with zero overhang in the bass. All without having to use absorption, which for me usually kills the life and dynamics of music.

    Best wishes and good listening,

    Patrick
    Vienna Acoustics- North America

  9. #79
    Senior Member Stephen Trask's Avatar
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    Patrick,

    Too funny. I was just in the basement with a contractor/recording studio owner/friend looking at the way certain floor joist had sagged from a combination of the chimney and the window frame next to it. I'm going to get some adjustable posts to put under a couple of joists to firm them up. I probably will put in some sound absorbing rubber, like when i built my studio in New Haven. This morning i was playing a bass heavy track and feeling which floor boards seemed to resonate the most and then went down stairs with a couple of shims, which made a noticeable improvement right off. I would love to avoid any undo absorption because I agree with you on that front. Except for the resonances inside my fireplace and the little bass trap area behind my equipment stand. Those are just some problem areas.

    Thanks for everything,
    STephen

  10. #80
    Administrator Jim_S's Avatar
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    How cool is it to have Patrick helping you set these puppies up?! Now stop fiddling with them and sit back and enjoy... with your favorite adult beverage of course.

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