I have never really considered myself a scientist. I don’t have a Ph.D. I have a brother who is an MD, a sister with a Ph.D in neuroscience, another with a doctorate Latin American studies, an MBA sister, a brother with Ph.D in astronomy, one more sister with a Ph D (psychology) and Matt the lighting designer with his NYU Masters degree. They have a way of gently reminding me that I am NOT a scientist. OK doc.
Nonetheless I have always carried a scientific methodology forward in my work, striving to find the best solutions for our audio challenges through objectivity and proof. This week I was asked by a trade magazine to write up a little article on all the different products involved in “room tuning”. Well I know, and YOU know that you can’t tune a room (especially if it’s some weird key like A flat) – but as I started searching for this article I found a whole new world out there. I have obviously been sound asleep as the world of audio technology moved forward. And the hard science behind these products makes my heroes in the research and development teams at Monster Cable look like a bunch of circus clowns!
OK. Let’s get started. Room Tuning. If you are like me, you are thinking about things like fiberglass panels, RPG diffusors, maybe tube traps, speakers and analyzers. I’ll bet you have not thought about the Magnatron, the Vibratron (was that in a Woodie Allen film?) or acoustic snot rags. You are behind the times. Stick with me and I will hip you up.
Art AND Science!
Let’s start with magic orbs. Place these in your room a ohmmmmm, the highs get higher, the lows get lower, the Feng gets Shui-er. There are various magic orbs here but one thing is for sure – there is going to a lot more “tron” in the room with these beauties. A bargain at just $2995.00!
As they say:
Synergistic Research Acoustic ART will sonically expand the boundaries of your room, tighten up your bass, give you a wrap-around 3 dimensional sound, and NOT make your listening room look like a Naval radar testing facility.
Damn right! Looks like the set of Forbidden Planet instead. Watch out for the Krells!
Follow the bouncing ball
Are you old enough to remember the childhood game of Tiddly-Winks? No? It’s a bunch of little discs. It was interesting for about 5 minutes when you were 8 years old. Now it has been replaced by Grand Theft Auto so the manufacturers had to find a new market. They did and a VERY upscale one at that: Room Tuning with the Tiddly-Wink-tuning-kit
Some folks feel that the white dots make the room just a bit too BRIGHT. So another company stepped into the market. These black ones are probably better if listen to “Emo” or late night Cool Jazz. The set of 4 fits in a CD case and costs only $79.00. One of the reviewers says it makes Steely Dan’s Gaucho sound better. Does that not say it all?
What if the music you listen to has brass players? How is a room tuned to drywall or fiberglass going to work with that? We have a solution. Bring the brass section into the room – and if you can’t afford them, just bring the top brass. These are available at your audio suppliers and sex shops.
Now that we are getting the room under control let’s make sure it doesn’t get into our digital equipment. You know how badly vibration affects a CD player. The 1’s and 0’s turn into 1.01’s and 0.01’s and the trained ear can totally sense that. For just $795.00 the mystery feet will take care of this. The mystery to me is why I would want to go to the foot doctor who buys this stuff?
A whole new world
The best equipment BY far comes from the company Acoustic Revive. Everything in their catalog is “epoch-changing”. With that in mind we venture into epoch changing room tuning:
These marvelous panels improve the sound because silk sound better than fiberglass. You see fiberglass kills sound (I guess that is why we wear masks) but silk leaves it alive – and it has negative ions!
Don’t stop there. Silk can solve the pesky problems of “harmful stationary waves” leaking into (or out of ) your AC power connector. This is where the scientistis in this field have made me realize I have wasted my life looking at FFT analyzers that are incapable of measuring “distinguished diffusion effect” .
The eX-L-R connector
That’s short for eXpensive-L-R connector. See the pair of connectors shown in the picture above. Forget about using them! They are letting ions out all over the place and they are NOT EVEN CARBON FIBER! This is the only XLR cable to use – and it is only $2400.00.
How about some crystal?
Back to the room now. We have got resonance problems galore. No worries. We have quartz crystals to take care of this – also keeps the vampires away. Caution: Do NOT play hockey with these!
Inaudible solutions to inaudible problems that make it sound WAY better
We can above our hearing and below – whole new markets to exploit! Let’s go up first. Listen to much infrared? Here is a negative ion generator, fixes your audio video and is covered by your health insurance plan and cleans your CDs. It fixes the room acoustics too – says so right here. The sketch of the laboratory test setup is impressive. Reminds of the diagram the Flinstones would show about how grape jelly was made.
Now that we have solved the room resonance problems and healed our bodies with negative ions let’s move on to the Schumann Resonance. Not heard of it? What planet have YOU been on? I have always wondered why on Earth things did not sound quite right – now all my systems will have this device. Too bad my SIM3 system only goes down to 8 Hz!
Just a few details left – you can’t expect the room to be tuned well if it has vibrations going into the AC power connectors. Most room tuners forget these kind of details and the AC gets all shook up, nervous, and jittery. Next thing you know you are putting it on Prozac. With this plate – which is under $500 – you can keep the AC calm.
As you can see, there is alot more to tuning a room than meets the ear. Well I need to get going to the HI-FI store. See ya