Check Out The New Hub!

We’ve been working hard for several months to put together our new community section called The Hub, and we are very excited to finally present it to you!

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On The Hub, you can keep up with the latest audio news and events, read about and connect with other audiophiles, as well as learn more about audio and gather the best tips for using the Audiogon Marketplace.

Check out featured gear, featured members, staff pics, music, cool videos, and more.  Find the nearest audio club, see what audio events are coming up in your area, chat live with other members and audio experts, and stop by our learning center for a quick tip or audio lesson.

Go to our About The Hub page and Getting Started page for more details.

The Hub originated by member feedback and what you wanted for the Audiogon Community.  Suggestions are welcome.  Email us at thehub@audiogon.com.

Featured Member – Midiverb

Midiverb's listening room

Midiverb’s listening room

Treating a listening room can be quite an undertaking, just ask Audiogon member Midiverb.  As a home improvement contractor, he already has the experience and skills to design a great space. Like many audio enthusiasts, though, Alex discovered that there are several ways to enhance the room for better sound reproduction.

Taking the time to learn about acoustics was key in this endeavor.  Tacking up some diffuser panels and bass traps without the proper knowledge is a sure-fire way to drive you crazy!  He figured that a mature, methodical approach is the best attitude when trying to get the most bang for your buck.

With these components to work with, Alexander dove into the project.

Turntable: Marantz -TT 15 with Clear Audio wood cartridge
SACD Player: Marantz – SA11S2 Reference Series
AMP: Marantz- PM15S2 Reference Series Integrated AMP
Phonostage: Fosgate Signature
Speakers: Sonus Faber Luto
Power: PS Audio Premier Power Plant
Speaker and Interconnects: Analysis Plus

equipment - midiverb

We think he ended up with a gorgeous result – we only wish we could hear it for ourselves!

Audiogon: How did you enter this hobby or how did you come to understand that you weren’t just a casual listener anymore?

Midiverb: Well, I really never was a casual listener. I am a professional musician, and listening to the music was always a big thing for me. Back in the day (in Russia) I was listening to vinyl as well as reel-to-reel. My equipment was pretty decent during that time, but I didn’t take it with me when I moved to the U.S.A.   Of course, after moving, I was limited to the music in my car or some cheap radio, and other things drew my focus, so I stopped listening all together.

About two years ago, I was introduced to this one gentlemen. He is a very serious music lover, and I was invited to his place to listen to some great jazz albums. I saw his equipment (it is a great setup). After spending some time there, I re-discovered how much I enjoyed good sound reproduction. With his help and advice, I started to read about hi-fi equipment. I explored audio shops to listen to different equipment.  Over the last two years, I’ve changed every unit in my system, and now it’s time to stop and enjoy.

Audiogon: Treating a room can definitely be an all-consuming project – can you describe the steps you took?

Midiverb: Well, I used the old-fashioned way to do that. I was clapping all over the room, trying to hear where the echo comes from, and where it goes. I’ve used some basic bass traps in all corners and treated the back wall as it was also problematic. So, basically speaking, I went with my ears.

Audiogon: If you could only choose one room treatment, which would you choose? i.e. Which treatment has made the most difference in your space.

Midiverb: I have to say that bass traps made most of the difference in my room. Due to the laminated floors, the bass was jumping all over the place creating so-called “one note bass.” These little guys help a great deal.

Audiogon: What do you listen to mostly?

Midiverb:  I listen mostly to Jazz. I also love Brazilian music.

Audiogon: What is your favorite time of day to listen?

Midiverb:  I love to listen at night.

Audiogon: If you could go anywhere in the world at any time in history or present, which artists or composers would you like to meet and where?  Describe your perfect audiophile evening

Midiverb: I would love to meet Chick Corea. He is one of my all time favorite piano players. A Blue Note café in the NY City would be the ideal place.

A perfect audiophile evening is to spend it with another enthusiast listening to a “new” jazz record. Although I do enjoy listening to the music by myself, it is always better to share it with somebody who can appreciate both the music and the sound quality. We are building these nice systems, creating listening rooms, etc. This is, if you will, a sort-of art, really. You have to be able to share art. It is so much better to enjoy it with someone else.

Thiel Audio Introduces the CS2.7 Speakers

Thiel Audio has been quite busy this fall with the launch of the CS2.7 Loudspeakers, putting the finishing touches on the CS1.7, and just announcing last week that they had been acquired by a private firm.  Naturally, that last bit of news sent the audio forums on fire for a few days, but since longtime staffers and factory employees will remain with Thiel, we’re confident that this transition can only mean good things.  Gary Dayton, for example, disclosed that new CEO Bill Thompson has committed to shoring up the engineering and manufacturing departments, as well as developing their already-strong sales channel. In short, for Thiel Audio fans, this means robust innovation and shorter delivery times.

Now, let’s get back to that beautiful CS2.7!

cs27 front

Incorporating technology developed by Jim Thiel for the CS3.7’s, the CS2.7’s act like a well-behaved little brother.  The same star diaphragm coaxial/coincident driver is utilized, providing a high level of clarity, while the voice coil’s large size helps keep out-of-phase bending to a minimum.  Drivers powered by extremely strong neodymium magnets allow for superb control.  With a larger 8″ subwoofer, Thiel technology also aims to keep bass distortion to 1/10th of the amount found in other subwoofers in this size.  Wrapped up in substantial plywood, there aren’t any parallel surfaces in the cabinet to sully the sound’s purity with standing waves.

Illustration of the CS2.7 cabinet interior

Illustration of the CS2.7 cabinet interior

Here’s Gary Dayton giving us an overview of the CS2.7

Thiel engineers love to tinker with their products well past the “good enough” stage.  Relatively small irregularities considered “normal” in the industry are considered subpar at Thiel and they take their time ensuring that audiophiles go home with the highest quality possible.  When it came to developing the crossovers, the goal was to keep the whole unit phase correct, unlike comparative models, and they’re proud to have succeeded in that.

Audiogon had the pleasure of attending Thiel’s unveiling event at Hanson Audio Video last month and listening to the CS2.7 first hand.  In the large demo room, we noted an astounding level of clarity, no matter the source, and deep, rich bass comparable to more spendy counterparts.

Listening to the CS2.7's in Hanson AV's larger demo room

Listening to the CS2.7’s in Hanson AV’s larger demo room

The speakers really came alive when we listened in the smaller demo room – the mids opened up, the bass sounded more lush, and the highs were light yet grounded.

Here, we listened to the CS2.7's in Hanson AV's smaller demo room.

Here, we listened to the CS2.7’s in Hanson AV’s smaller demo room.

Overall, the CS2.7 speakers are a great addition to the Thiel family and we can’t wait until they put all the finishing touches on the CS1.7’s!

For more information about the CS2.7 loudspeakers, including where to buy, please visit Thiel Audio here.

First Look at The Hub!

The Hub by Audiogon has been designed with you in mind.  We’ve taken your suggestions about expanding the Community, as well as listened to ideas from our Member Advisory Board to develop a social site in addition to the Marketplace and always-popular Discussion Forums.

The Hub homepage

The Hub homepage

On The Hub, you’ll have the chance to chat with other Members, answer polls, check out video links, see Staff Pics and photos of Featured Rooms, plus find Audio Clubs near you.

The Hub's live Member Chat room

The Hub’s live Member Chat room

If you’re just getting into the hobby or need some expert advice, check out The Learning Center!  We’ve compiled a list of audio definitions in the Glossary, added How-To articles, and an Ask the Experts section.

A view of the Audio Glossary - Member corrections and additions welcome!

A view of the Audio Glossary – Member corrections and additions welcome!

If you’re looking to keep up with news from the Audio world, see video from shows, and learn more about how you can help Member-driven projects, the News & Events section is your one-stop shop!

Keep up to date with the latest news and events!

Keep up to date with the latest news and events!

Audiogon is very excited about bringing this expanded community page to you, but we need your help!  To find out how you can spark the conversation, click here!

User Tips – Making the Most of the Marketplace

Don’t let your listing get lost!  Here are some tips and tricks from our most successful sellers to get the best returns.

1. Take Good Pictures

  • Don’t use manufacturer stock photos – taking your own photos shows possible buyers what product they’ll actually be receiving.
  • Using natural light ensures the equipment is more visible, and there is no glare from a flash.  If you don’t have enough natural light, use your indoor lights to illuminate the item as much as possible so you don’t need to use a flash.  Black piano finish just doesn’t look as great when there’s a flash reflection in the middle of the photo, for example.
  • Avoid taking a photo of your reflection.  We’ve all heard about the guy who took pictures of his teakettle collection in the nude…
  • Clean up!  You want to show off the item, not a pile of laundry or last night’s leftovers.
  • Try to place your item against a neutral background so it stands out
  • Take several photos at different angles from different distances so you have plenty to choose from when uploading your photos.
  • Use your computer’s or camera’s editing software to crop photos, enhance lighting, or fix crooked pictures.

Remember, you want to put your item’s best foot forward and pictures speak louder than words!

2. Use Auction Reserve Pricing

When entering an Auction, set your Reserve Price at the lowest dollar amount you will accept.  This protects you from selling too low and allows the market to determine the final sale amount so you get the best price!

3. Use Eye-Catching Words in Your Title

Don’t save all your best descriptors for the body of your listing – use them in your title!  Casual browsers are six times more likely to view your full listing if you do more than simply enter the brand and model.  The “title ending” field gives you the opportunity to really promote your item.  Some good examples are

  • McCormack DNA-750 Mono Blocks – Upgraded Version, Rare, Like New Demos, Never Owned!
  • KRELL KPS 20 i/L Krell Playback System KPS-20i/L Krell’s best ever with Line stage!
  • Burmester 036 Stereo Amplifier Mint Store Demo – Perfect!
  • AUDIO RESEARCH LS-1 hybrid line preamplifier-with 1965 Mullard tube and original packing
  • Jw Audio Signature 1m – 1.5m rca or xlr new beautiful,open and airy
  • ♦ Acoustic Revive RCA 2.0PA Special Edition 2m Pair ♦

What tips or tricks do you have?  Share them here!

Room Treatments: Easy to Overlook and Easy to Overdo

In this article, we’re taking the beginner’s approach to room treatments with tips from seasoned audiophiles throughout.

By now, you’ve noticed that even the best equipment can sound horrible in a poorly designed space.  Do you know how to retrofit your room to give it the best sound quality. Here are some things to think about:

  • Do you plan on staying in your home for many years?  If the answer is no, think about less-permanent, non-structural changes.  Simple updates like, hanging a diffuser panel can help tremendously.  It might be a sure-fire way to encourage your apartment manager to keep you security deposit!
  • Determine a budget and stick to it.
  • Figure out what you really need versus what you want.
  • Let your ears be your guide.  Just like equipment, it really only matters how something sounds to you.
  • DIY projects are sometimes the simplest and most cost-effective way to treat your room.  A little elbow grease and know-how can go a long way.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment.  On paper, it might make sense to add an absorption panel, but it might not make sound sense after you’ve put a few area rugs down.

1. The Basics

Eliminate as many reflective surfaces as possible. Uncovered windows, family photo frames, hardwood floors, mirrors, etc can create a kind of echo chamber that will distort your stereo image as it bounces from one shiny surface to the next.  Put some area rugs down on laminate floors, cover your desk with a tablecloth or mat, and move picture frames to another room.  Those vintage bookshelves with glass doors may look cool, but they probably aren’t serving your high performance system very well.

Tip: Fashion drapery can be expensive, but for a fraction of the cost, you can get some blinds to do the job.  Another option is searching the bathroom decor department at your local big box or department store.  Decorative cloth shower curtains aren’t just sheer pink flowers anymore!  They come in several lengths and widths, with designs ranging from elegant to funky, for a much more economical price.  Remember to iron out any wrinkles prior to installation.

Organize and de-clutter your room.  Sweep the dust bunnies out of the corners, detangle your wires, and make sure all your connections are clean.  Studies have shown that humans focus better on the task at hand (i.e. active listening) when they’re in a space without a lot of “visual noise.”  Distractions, like your kids’ toys or even your exposed work materials, can negatively impact the level of enjoyment you gain from your listening space.

Tip: Our friend, The Soundsmith, swears by using plastic lens cleaner diluted 50/50 with distilled water for cleaning CDs, DVDs, media discs, and other hard plastic surfaces.  For terminals and connections, he recommends 91% isopropyl alcohol.

When it comes to cleaning solutions, be wary of snake oil salesmen.

2. Your Listening Position

Measure and think critically about your room.  Sound needs space to develop, so avoid placing speakers and subs in an alcove or close to the walls.   Correct room measurements will help you determine if you have slight dimension differences not apparent to your naked eye.  Angled walls are generally easier to work with that parallel because they ensure that the sound waves move in an outward fashion instead of tunneling out.

Tip: Rear-ported components should always be set at least ten inches away because the lows won’t be reproduced correctly otherwise.

Locate your “sweet spot.”  When sitting in your favorite listening chair, you should be able to visualize an imaginary triangle with your ears at the apex.  Ideally, when in this position, you shouldn’t be able to distinguish tones between your right and left ears; it should sound as if the artist is right there in front of you playing live.

Tip: Keep your speakers angled toward your ears when you’re in the sitting position; make sure they don’t face out or up.

3. Acoustic Treatments

Room using several different types of acoustic treatment (pic courtesy of Aaudio Imports)

Room utilizing several different types of acoustic treatment (pic courtesy of Aaudio Imports)

Absorption Tiles are the most common specialty treatment.  If your room causes a lot of reflection, you might end up with an echo or ring, especially in the mids or highs, which can cause the dreaded listening fatigue.  Usually sold as tiles, they can be made of fiberglass, recycled glass, woods like cork, polyfoam, etc. Varying densities will help tailor your sound.  Manufacturers will generally have covering options to mesh with your style (though you can DIY this, too).  The materials used are designed to absorb some or certain parts of the signal and prevent early reflections.  It’s suggested that anyone new to absorption tiles go with broadband or higher density tiles because they work across a large frequency range.

Early reflection treated with absorption panel

Early reflection treated with absorption panel

Tip: Too many absorption tiles can be a bad thing.  Used smartly and sparingly, you can avoid turning your room into a dead space.

Diffuser Panels help keep the space open enough to create a natural sound while preventing delays common in reflection. Rather than the signal reflecting back to your ears all at once, a diffuser spreads it out at different intervals to keep the integrity of your stereo image.  Constructed in small segments, diffuser panels are designed mathematically to generate the most faithful sound reproduction.

Tip: Diffuser Panels are great for small rooms where too much reflection is a constant issue.

Bass Traps prevent low-frequency energy from getting “stuck” in the corners of your room or at the angle of the joint between your ceiling and walls.  For some listeners, this issue is highly intrusive in their space, but for others, it’s not as large a problem as reflection can be.  If you feel your bass is too boomy and overpowering, start with trapping two corners in your room and go from there.

Tip: Wall-mounted bass traps can be very helpful in rooms where standing waves or nodes are a troublesome issue, but be careful because they can be on the pricey side.

Isolating your gear keeps you listening to the music, not your furniture’s resonance.  Decoupling your speakers and subs by using dense platforms tends to be forgotten, but it’s pretty important.  Just think of that car driving by with two 12-inch subwoofers in the trunk – all you can hear is the car shaking apart.  When your components rest directly on your desk or bare tile floor, that what’s happening in your room on a smaller scale.

Tip: Isolation platforms also help prevent sound from traveling through your house.  Something to consider if you like to listen at high volumes, have sleeping family members or cranky neighbors.

Suggested Reading:

  • Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms, 2008 by Floyd Toole
  • Master Handbook of Acoustics, 2009 by F. Alton Everest

Advice from Audiogon Members:

Tweakyman says: I just finished treating my room. I DIY’d it and worked experimentally and intuitively.

I started with “glare” high frequencies, early reflections. I built 5 1″ Fiberglas panels,(fabric covered with speaker cloth). That was a big improvement and encouraged the fabricating of 5 broadband absorbers mounted 3” away from the wall and Placed around the room (moved many times) until it cleared things up in the mid range and upper bass regions. That encouraged the need to address my old Nemesis, lot’s of confusion in deep bass, especially noticeable when driving my system with greater attenuation.

I constructed 2 air-tight 5″deep panels, Fiberglas damped and faced with 1/4″ resonating plywood sheet and one with 1/8th” ply to control sightly higher bass frequencies…

I also found it necessary to construct 4 dampers for the wall ceiling interface in areas where I could hear and feel that woolly bass rumble and excessive vibration. For these I used 12″ dia Fiberglas pipe wrap 1/2 sections with end caps and pegboard backing (Helmholtz)and of course full front and back fabric covering.

A lot of work to be sure, but the results are stunning.

I had pretty well tweaked myself out. I had addressed hundreds of little things over the many years but I never quite had the clarity of mind to attempt the (the final frontier) the room itself.

I can now drive the heck out my system without negative room interaction, I can hear every bass note clearly, and finally…. a piano sounds like a piano..to say nothing of a massive improvement in staging,specificity, depth, width etc

The research I carried out was all in the Audiogon forums.

I just kept reading stuff and making notes and piecing things together in my mind until I had a kind of map in my head, so I just did it.

Well worth the trouble. My system sounds exciting to me again. I would recommend putting thought and energy into room treatment to anybody.

From Edge22: Because of the physics of soundwaves and the dimensions of residential rooms, most rooms can benefit from room treatment, especially bass trapping.  I had good sound before, but after getting some broad band asbortion panels that help even out the frequency spectrum the sound is now great, and I had no idea what I was missing.

KevinZoe states: Wall to wall carpet absorbs much more high frequencies than I first expected so to prevent a ‘dead sounding’ room, I focused on using diffusion rather than more absorption for mid/high frequencies which works like a charm. I also put a hard diffusive/reflective front face to many of my bass traps to again prevent further absorption of mid/high frequencies.

• Two parallel side walls introduced a very audible flutter echo which was eliminated with diffusion

• Walls with openings (e.g. doors, windows) extend the ‘acoustical length’ of the room dimension. For example, in my room placing bass trap absorption out from the front wall (which has a door that was shut) at the 25% point of 80Hz didn’t have the same impact as when the absorbers were moved to the back wall (with no door/windows) and placed at the exact same point.

• Experiment with the depth of the air space behind your resistive type bass traps. Real audible differences can be heard by pulling them out further and further from the corners.

So, Audiogon Members, what tips or tricks do you have for treating listening rooms?  Sound off in the comments below!

Get Involved on The Hub!

There are so many ways to get involved with the Audiogon Community – check out the links below!

Audio Clubs

Help us add to our list of audio clubs by submitting your club’s info. Also, please tell us if any of our posted information on current clubs is incorrect.
Share your audiophile biography with the community

Be a Guest Blogger for the Hub!

Would you like to be a guest blogger for The Hub by Audiogon? We’re looking for writers to send in their concert reviews, technical how-tos, and opinions. Share your knowledge and experience with the Community – elevate the discussion!

Be a Member of Audiogon’s Advisory Board

Do you notice things other people usually don’t? Are you interested in finding more efficient ways of performing simple tasks? Would you like to help Audiogon design and test new features? If so, please fill out this form! No experience required, but a keen eye for detail is a must!

Featured Rooms

We love to post the most interesting and unique listening rooms out there! Submit pictures and a description of your room here so we can share it with our users for inspiration.

Have an Event or Announcement to Share?

Do you have an audio club meeting coming up? Know of a good swap meet? Let the community know about your upcoming event below!

Member Equipment or Audio Review Submission Form

Tell the Community what you think about the latest artist’s release, new gear, vintage equipment or music.

Audiogon Helping Hands

Tell us about how you’re helping your community!