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Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173 Through To 185
2017-06-02, 02:18 (This post was last modified: 2017-10-08 18:22 by Paulssurround.)
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Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173 Through To 185
Introduction

I have just returned from Europe last week, and completed additional SPACE optimizations in different Linn owners systems, for a total of 58 different homes and Linn systems so far.

Most of these adjustments were done on earlier versions of Davaar, and I have found profound changes in sound quality with the new SPACE optimization, and again with Davaar 173 and newer.

Earlier this year, Linn presented us with an amazing gift of transitioning to the newer versions of Davaar, which I call the new SPACE Optimization and there were significant improvements in sound quality to be realized from the new SPACE optimization, incorporating the new treble filters and so on.

I created a thread a few months ago that encapsulated my approach at that time, to fine tuning SPACE optimization, here in this thread:

https://forums.linn.co.uk/bb/showthread.php?tid=35880

In my humble opinion, there has been another fundamental improvement in sound quality with Davaar 173 and newer, and that transition, I have been calling "Bob's Your Aunt" Tongue

The revisions outlined in this latest SPACE Optimization thread is my latest thinking on fine tuning the latest versions the new SPACE Optimization and again with Davaar 173 and newer. I am now able to get even better sound quality from them. This approach may also work on other versions of the new SPACE Optimization in your system as well.

The following will look similar to the previous thread, but there will be many changes that further reflect my current approach Please note the changes, as there is a fundamental shift in my new approach: Big Grin



Paulssurround's Latest Guide To SPACE Optimization


Background Information

This thread is a practical guide designed to give you confidence to improve the sound quality of your Linn system using SPACE optimization.

SPACE optimization is an embedded firmware application in your Linn DS/DSM contained within the Konfig application.

SPACE Optimization is a wonderful tool, designed by Phil Budd (Philbo) and the Linn team, that allows you to make adjustments on your computer through the Konfig application, allowing you to reach a much higher potential sound quality.

Think of SPACE optimization as a combination of art and science, where your computer becomes the paintbrush, and with skillful application of filter adjustments at specific frequencies, to create a soundscape of musicality, detail, depth, balance and emotion. Your speakers become the paint.

If done correctly and the SPACE optimization gods are in your favour, you will be able to overcome most room anomalies that interfere with the sound quality of your room. The ultimate goal is to fit the speakers into the room, so that room modes or anomalies are reduced or eliminated, allowing you to hear your music like you have never heard before.

The result of your fine tuning of SPACE Optimization may reward you with deep, musical and detailed bass that does not overshadow the higher frequencies in the midrange and highs. Your overall music should sound musical, with great pace, rhythm and timing and just pop, sparkle and delight, sending goose bumps and the hair on the back of your neck standing. The music should jump out of the speaker cabinets, making the cabinets disappear, so to speak.

Midrange clarity should improve dramatically and you should hear a much quieter background, clean and transparent vocals and instruments, with enough space around each singer and instrument to drive a truck around them. You should be able to experience the emotional connection of the singer to the music, and how the individual musicians interact with each other on the stage.


This guide is designed to walk you through the process which I use, to adjust calculated room modes and add your own new custom room mode filters, to adjust frequency, gain and bandwidth, using digital filters built into Konfig, that are applied to add or remove energy at specific frequencies.

When you are finished this exercise you may notice that the final room modes may be a combination of calculated room modes and custom room modes. These values may end up being quite different from Konfig optimized calculated room modes from the values you have input for room dimensions, building materials and room features such as windows and door openings.

Many Linn owners that have used this process in their Linn systems have reported stunning improvements in their Linn’s sound quality. Many that have heard the improvements have exclaimed that the speakers have woken up.


I have personally completed SPACE Optimization in 58 different Linn systems in Europe and North America so far, and have been extremely pleased with the sound quality transformations in every one. This does not include the many many revisits I have done on some Linn owners systems, including my own.

When you enter length, width and height room dimensions of your listening room, as well as room features and construction materials, into Konfig and press the “Optimize” button, the app will generate “calculated” room modes that are unique to your room. Generally, you may get anywhere from 2 to 9 room modes calculated, each at a different frequency, gain and bandwidth.

A room mode is a calculated peak that appears at a specific sound frequency. Looking at the SPACE optimization generated graph, it should show a number of room modes at different frequencies. Each room mode looks like an upside down pyramid, but can vary in height (gain, usually expressed as a negative value such as -19.34) and width (bandwidth or octave width, usually expressed as a number between 0-1.0).

For example, you may have a calculated room mode 1, that is at 42.42 Hz, a gain of (-24.56) and a bandwidth of 0.12345. By the time you are finished, addressing each room mode, this room mode 1 may sound best with an adjustment to 40.23 Hz, a gain of (-10.43) and a bandwidth of 0.014427, for example.

When you are finished completing this exercise, you may have eliminated some Konfig calculated room modes, and created new custom room modes to replace the calculated room modes.


SPACE optimization can suggest and predict the calculated room frequencies that are possibly masking the sound quality of your music, through bass overhang, bass muddiness, unfocused midrange and highs, lack of detail soundstage or depth of soundstage for example.


The differences in calculated room mode settings and your final settings, may be because the calculated room modes may not take into account your unique room shape, types of furniture, window dressings, carpets, and other features unique to your home, which may effect sound quality. Our goal is to accommodate the difference in calculated room modes and specific conditions for your room.




What Will You Be Doing To Facilitate SPACE Optimization?

You will be listening to a selection of your favorite reference music tracks and listening very very carefully for musical qualities in the music and recognizing that the music may not sound as natural, detailed, transparent or alive as they should. With careful listening while adjusting the room modes frequencies, gains and bandwidth of your calculated room modes in this exercise, to get optimal results in sound quality.

Before you start this exercise you must enter the room dimensions into SPACE Optimization tab, inside the Konfig program. You will have to accurately measure your listening room in “meters” or fractions of a meter, and enter the length, width and height of the room, along with the features of the room such as windows, doors and building materials into Konfig. In addition, you will measuring the distance of your speakers to the walls and from your listening position to the front wall and left wall.

I use a laser measure device, measuring in meters or fractions of a meter. The laser measure device is very accurate to measure the distance from your ears to the front wall and left wall, and does a great job for accuracy and speed for adding window, door and other room dimensions.

Make sure after you enter the values of your measurements into Konfig, that you click on the checkmark after each time you enter your value, to save the setting. If you don’t fill in every box in the room dimensions page, you will not be able to press the “Optimize” button at the bottom of the page, and therefore no room modes will be calculated.

You will have to add the type of speakers you own into the Konfig settings, unless you have Exakt speakers, and then the system will populate the information for you, including the serial number of the speakers and Exakt DS/DSM. If you also use a subwoofer(s), you will also add this into Konfig on the room dimensions page.

If you do not add all the required information into Konfig, then it will not allow you to press “Optimize “ and calculate your room modes.

If everything has been added into Konfig, then you can press the “Optimize” button at the bottom right of the page and you will see a new page with a graph showing the calculated room modes and a number of room mode peaks. The fun begins inside this tab, called SPACE Optimization, because this is where you will make adjustments that will either greatly improve sound quality, or not. Let's aim for greatly improve. Big Grin

Everyone on the Linn Forum that I have met has a different shaped room, with different Linn electronics and speakers. If you took the same Linn stereo system and placed it in 5 different people’s listening rooms, the same speakers will sound quite different in each room because of the interaction of the sound waves from the speaker with the room features and how that effects sound quality.

SPACE optimization will allow you to fit your speakers into the room, acoustically, so the room itself has less interaction with the sound waves generated by the speakers. Specifically, it will help to tame the low frequency sound waves in the room that may cause bass boom and other interference, masking the rest of the music.

SPACE optimization is a marvelous tool, but it is complemented by the use of passive acoustic panels, window and floor coverings and other acoustic treatments.

This guide does not supersede, Linn’s own Linn Docs guide to SPACE optimization. However, it is a supplement, that if applied properly, has the potential to improve sound quality significantly over the calculated room modes.


The original calculated SPACE settings will sound quite good, and many people may be happy with that result.

As you and many others have found, it is easy to adjust SPACE optimization settings and come out with a less musical result or a much better result as well.

However, I am going to pull out the "Give It Another Go Card" using Tune-Dem, your reference tunes, and the idea that your Linn system has the potential to sound incredibly much better with SPACE optimization, turned on and adjusted properly.

I have experience adjusting 44 different Linn systems, in a vast variety of Linn speakers and electronics combinations, in many different room shapes and sizes, to say the following:

If you only apply the calculated room modes, you may not be getting anywhere near the potential of what your Linn system is capable of. I have frequently heard improvements so dramatic that the owner no longer recognized the music they had heard countless times before, and were stunned by the improvement in detail and musicality.



SPACE Optimization Tools

Setting Up The Speakers:

Everyone that I visited, without exception, was shocked and delighted by what their Linn system was now capable of, with proper application of SPACE optimization, appropriate toe-in, leveled and secured speakers that don’t rock, and appropriate tightening of the speaker drivers to the speaker cabinets with just the right amount of torque.

Don't underestimate the importance of proper toe-in with the speakers, as this can have a dramatic effect on sound quality, imaging and perceived sound stage.


Reference Music Tracks To Evaluate and Make Adjustments In SPACE Optimization:

Here is a list of some of the reference tracks I use for adjusting parameters in SPACE optimization. At the end of this document in Appendix 1, is a detailed explanation of what nuances and tonal qualities I listen for in each of these tracks.

Here is the list of my current reference tracks:

Ane Brun-“Halo”, Rarities Album

Bob Marley- “Buffalo Soldier”, Legend Album Deluxe Edition

Dire Straits- “My Latest Trick”, Brothers In Arms Album

Diana Krall – “Black Crow”, Girl In The Other Room Album

Diana Krall – “A Case Of You”, Live In Paris Album

Leonard Cohen- “You Want It Darker,” You Want It Darker Album

Lou Reed – “Walk On The Wild Side”, Transformer Album

Lou Reed – “Perfect Day”, Acoustic version, Last Track on Transformer Album

Nils Lofgren – “Keith Don't Go”, Acoustic Live Album

Nils Lofgren – “Black Book”, Acoustic Live Album

Nora Jones- “Turn Me On”, Come Away With Me Album

Oscar Peterson – “You Look Good To Me”, We Get Requests Album


At the bottom of this document, I have included an appendix 1, of my personal reference tunes that I use to tune SPACE Optimization. I try to describe the audio cues I listen for to help make adjustments in Konfig.

Here is a link to Linn's explanation to TuneDem to help set up your system: http://docs.linn.co.uk/wiki/index.php/FAQ_-_Tune_Dem


The Most Important Optimization Tool, You!!!

In some musical tracks, I listen for the sound quality of the twang of the upright bass strings reverberating back into place, the growl of an electric bass guitar, the sibilance of vocals, the harshness in vocals or the vocals are too pushy, the depth and size of the soundstage, the detail, musicality and deepness of the bass, imaging, vocal clarity and many other qualities. And all of these are adjustable in SPACE optimization, if you know what to adjust.

When I am doing SPACE optimization, I listen to specific music reference tracks, and focus on the sound quality I hear, as well as the sound pressure I feel on my ear drums, and my body. The sound pressure I “feel” and “hear”, is a reference tool that is more accurate than measuring the sounds in the room with a calibrated mike or some other measuring device, IMHO.

In effect, I can feel the low frequency music that I cannot hear, through pressure on the eardrum. I have also trained myself to listen carefully to whether the music makes me feel uncomfortable, or is fatiguing to my ears. For example, if you are sitting next to someone listening to music with you, and the music is turned up to loud, if you have to raise your voice significantly while carrying on a conversation with them, then that is a sign that adjustments in SPACE optimization would be beneficial. Ideally you should be able to speak at a normal voice level even at higher volumes of music.

Anyone can learn this, but it takes a bit of practice and an awareness of your world around you, as you perceive it through your senses.

I believe my approach is unique, in that I listen to the music, feel the music and then know exactly which frequencies to adjust in SPACE optimization. The trick with SPACE optimization, is to learn exactly which adjustments to make, when you hear different audio clues, and then know the exact frequencies, gain and the bandwidth to adjust.

I can correlate specific things I hear in the reference music tracks and know how to make adjustments to make them sound like I want, and soon you will be able to as well.

These audio cues are the information I need to make educated guesses, some intuition, and experience, to make the SPACE optimization adjustments.

Then I start playing around with moving the frequencies, gain and bandwidth for each individual calculated room mode or custom filters.

I have been known to create a number of custom room modes where there were none calculated, and have sent a few calculated room modes to the chopping block.

This is why things like REW are of limited value to me. Although REW and other room sweeps, they can provide some shortcuts to focusing on specific frequencies. I do use SPACE tones when I have the time or inclination to listen to individual generated frequencies between 30-Hz and 100 Hz, (Thanks to Better Music and Eldarboy for the SPACE Tones)

For the listening tests, ideally, you have another experienced audiophile person with good hearing to help you do room measurements and listen to the music with you, to help you confirm what you are hearing, and perform fine tuning of the adjustments to the room modes.

Knowing the science behind it is interesting, but not useful to me in this respect. I am a scientist, but have come to the conclusion that SPACE optimization is as much an art as a science. Big Grin

Therefore enquiries to me about the science are best asked of others who know the science of audio.

I read a number of scientific papers recently on digital audio filters. This was interesting, but not overly useful. However, I learned it is all adding or removing energy with adjustments of the digital filters at specific frequencies.

In this way, I liken it to an artist that creates a musical soundscape with SPACE optimization, using the computer as the paintbrush and the speakers as the paint. You too can be a Van Gogh. Tongue




Adjusting SPACE Optimization:

You have measured all your room dimensions, added the room features such as doors and windows, added your speakers, the speaker placement in the room and also your specific listening position.

Generally, I only add wooden doors as a feature into room measurements, not door openings into adjacent rooms that don’t have doors.

I do add each window in the listening room, but not if it is a small window removed away from the speakers.

I generally don’t add the depth of a bay window, but I do measure the size of the bay window and add it as a feature, as if it was flush with the wall.

I also don’t add a TV, even though it is a large reflective surface, and generally ignore fireplaces, as a feature. I do however, cover over my TV glass with large towels or a blanket for serious listening sessions.

Don't forget to click on the checkmark after you have added each value into the appropriate box, to save the value, otherwise the "Optimize" button will not work.

You press “Optimize” and notice you have a number of upside down peaks on a graph.

You may notice that you have the following example calculated room modes:

Room mode 1:

Frequency: 43.65 Hz, Gain (-26.27), Bandwidth 0.082651

Room mode 2:

Frequency: 56.11 Hz, Gain (-20.27), Bandwidth 0.064871

Room mode 3

Frequency: 65.28 Hz, Gain (-14.75), Bandwidth 0.028693

Room Mode 4

Frequency: 72.83 Hz, Gain (-16.75), Bandwidth 0.020675


Of course you may have as little as 2 calculated room modes and in some cases as many as 7 or more room modes.

In the past, I would play around with the room dimensions and room features slightly, to reduce 6 or more calculated room modes down to 4 or 5. With the new SPACE optimization, now I just keep all of the calculated room modes, as calculated by Linn, but may move some of them to a slightly higher or lower frequency. The fun is in figuring out what to move and then adjusting the gain and bandwidth to get the best result for each room mode.

You listen to some of your reference music tracks with these calculated room modes and notice that sound quality is an improvement over what you had before. Job done? Well, yes, and no!!!



Adjusting Room Modes For Bass Issues

I must emphasize, that you should only make adjustments to SPACE Optimization using the reference music tracks streamed from your NAS or computer, never streamed from Tidal or Qobuz, as the sound quality from these sources may not be consistent or give you the final result you want.

Before you start, make sure that your previous profile is saved, then create a new profile by pressing "Save As" and giving it a new name. This new profile will be the one that you will experiment with, for example: Paul’s Test 1, Pauls Test 2, and so on.

Getting the bass sounding correct, is the foundation for getting excellent sound quality for all your music.

Here we go....

With careful listening, you notice there is muddiness in the bass guitar and bass drum on the Bob Marley track Buffalo Soldier Legends album Deluxe edition and you can’t hear the growl of the bass guitar grinding its way through the track, with a perfect overlay on the bass drum.

Oscar Peterson’s You Look Good to Me has a beautiful bass line from Ray Brown, that should give you a lot of detail in the bass, as the strings are plucked, but on listening, you notice that there is not a lot of detail and definition in the bass line.

Lou Reeds Walk On The Wild Side has a wonderful bass line that repeats itself throughout the song, and you should be able to hear the bass strings being plucked and released, but you can’t. The bass strings should have a very audible reverberation and when the string is released, giving you a twang sound with every pluck.

Diana Krall's album Live In Paris, has a track, A Case Of You, that starts out with her playing piano. If you have not set up the bass properly, the boomy sound of her pressing on the piano bass pedal can become overriding. But this is easily adjusted.

There is some work to do then.

When you have adjusted the bass properly with SPACE optimization, lots of detail will reveal itself in the midrange and highs you never heard before.

So how do I remedy this issue?

Whenever I see a calculated room mode 1 in the 35 Hz - 50 Hz range, it is a safe bet that there will be a real room mode at approximately half the calculated room mode that does not show up as a calculated room mode. However, it may not be exactly half the frequency, but off by many Hz above or below the projected value.

For example, if your calculated room mode 1 is in the 32Hz to 49 Hz range, there is almost certainly a real room mode in the mid to low 20 Hz range or may even be below 20 Hz. Thank you Linnrd, for this helpful discovery.

I have learned that different speakers seem to respond to specific frequencies. For example, my Akubariks benefit greatly from a custom room mode 1 at 21.5 Hz. I usually start with a gain of -10.5 for this custom room mode and a bandwidth of 0.014427.

If I am adjusting 242's without a subwoofer, I would start creating a custom room mode 1 at around 23 Hz range, whereas Komris would be around 18 Hz, Exakt 350's with an Exakted Melodik sub was around 16.5 Hz, for example.

Original Isobariks might be at around 28 Hz and Keilidhs could be around 30 Hz, as a starting point.

I don't know if this undiscovered lower frequency room mode is harmless or not, but it certainly can have a major impact on bass overhang. Bass overhang can best be described as a muddiness in the bass, and can be heard as a "wooommmm wooommm woommm sound that is prominent in the music if you listen for it. Once you have identified it and then hear it prominently in many of your favourite tracks, it is a very good idea to create a new custom room mode 1 at the lower frequency. Davaar 173 and newer seems to have minimized a lot of bass overhang that I never knew was there, until it disappeared with 173. This revealed a great improvement in the mids and highs and overall listening experience.

You may not be able to hear it in all cases, but you will feel it in your ear drums as a sensation of pressure on your ear drums. This can also make the music unenjoyable, to the point where you may experience a kind of listening fatigue, and start switching to different music tracks part way through the song, and then go to the next song trying to find musical satisfaction, not realizing that the music sound quality is “off” and not enjoyable to listen to.

The key here is to be aware of your ears and body, and the sensations it is picking up from the music. You literally can hear and "feel" the music, as clues as to what is going on in your room and your speakers.

However, don't assume that all your bass issues are coming from low frequency bass in the 16-40 Hz range or lower. Often there are additional bass issues in the 60-80 Hz range that contributes to a muddy sounding vocals and instruments. Remember that 60-80 Hz is still low frequency and considered bass.

Try different values and just listen. Preferably you do your listening with another person, to help you confirm it is an improvement.

Listen to Walk On The Wild Side, Buffalo Soldier and You Look Good to Me, and A Case of You, over and over again. Move the frequency of the custom room mode 1, up and down, until it sounds better, to see if you are in the right frequency range.

If that sounds good, move the frequency up and down initially, by 1.0 Hz at a time. So try 21.4 Hz, 22.4 Hz, 23.4Hz, 24.4Hz, 25.4Hz and so on, to see if you are going in the right direction and the midrange and highs become more clear? If not , go back to 21.4 Hz and then go the other direction, to 20.4, 19.4 Hz etc, stopping at the frequency that sounds best.

If you like what you are hearing, it is time to fine tune the frequency by 0.2 Hz at a time, to 22.60, 22.80, or go to 23.00. Alternately, adjust the frequency down by 0.2 Hz and lower, to 22.20, 22.00, 21.80 until you hear your Linn system sounding better.

Then look at further refinements to 0.02 Hz at a time.

It may be that creating this new lower frequency custom room mode 1 makes no improvement in your system, but in almost every system I have adjusted, it did make a substantial improvement to bass detail, quality and depth.

If I play Diana Krall's A Case of You, and the bass pedal of the piano is an annoying thumping sound, back off the gain on custom room mode 1, until the thump disappears. If I have started at -10.5dB gain and will back off to -10.65, -10.75, and so on. I have found in my system that -11.12 works well, but your results may vary.

Don’t forget to write down every change you make to frequency, gain and bandwidth as you go along, with a pen and paper. Otherwise, it will be difficult to go back to a setting that sounded really good, and you forgot what that value is if you have to back track.

Don’t forget to “Save” the profile as you go along, if you like the settings.

If you really like a particular profile, use the “Save As” button and give it a new name. For Example: Bob's Your Aunt, Jane's Your Uncle or so on... Tongue

For the bandwidth, I used to aim for the narrowest bandwidth possible that will capture the bass, with the filter. However, with the newest versions of Davaar, I often leave the bandwidth as calculated in the 30-80 Hz range, but may reduce it slightly.

I used to aim for the narrowest allowable bandwidth, but it depends on the frequency and room mode I am working on. You can widen or decrease the bandwidth easily with a custom filter to whatever you want, but if you go too wide, it will not give you good sound quality and sound muddy, if you go too narrow, it can sound harsh.

So that should take care of your new custom room mode 1 for now. But it is now time to revisit the original calculated room mode 1

Example calculated room mode 1:

Frequency: 43.65 Hz, Gain (-24.27), Bandwidth 0.082651


Going back to Konfig calculated room mode 1 and move the frequency up slightly from 43.65 to 43.79, to 43.99 Hz, 44.12 Hz, 44.24 Hz and so on. Alternately, go the other direction and try listening with calculated room mode adjusted to 43.48 Hz and then lower, to see if you can hear a difference.

I have found in most cases, not to eliminate calculated room mode 1, if it is in the 30-50 Hz range, but will adjust the frequency, gain and bandwidth moderately to add up to 2 dB gain and reduce the bandwidth by as much as Konfig will allow for a calculated room mode.

In fact, I will often leave the calculated room mode 1 bandwidth more or less as calculated. However, I will move the frequency up or down in small increments until I find an improvement in sound quality.

Please note though, with a calculated room mode, you are very limited in how much you can adjust the frequency and the bandwidth. That is why I will create a custom room mode if I can’t get the adjustments that I want.

Then I may incrementally increase the gain, for example from -24.48 to -24.35, to -24.23 -24.18 and so on.. Alternately, you could reduce gain to -24.18, to -23.28 and so on. Usually an increase in gain of 2-3 dB for calculated room mode 1 is enough and yields the best results, for calculated room mode 1.

I find a slight boast to calculated room mode one is helpful. Again, adjust the gain in very slight increments, until you get a sound quality your like. So if the calculated room mode 1 is 43.65 Hz, at -22.34 dB you may find the best sound quality is about -21.00 dB or -19.53 dB range. Your results may vary and don’t be afraid to experiment.

The bass is now deeper and more musical. Yet it is very easy to carry on a conversation in the room at loud volume, without raising your voice. The mids and highs are greatly improved, with awesome dynamics, detail, transparency and musicality.

What do you do if Konfig has already calculated a room mode 1 in the 20 Hz range?

I have seen enough Linn systems now, that I can say that sometimes SPACE optimization does calculate this lower frequency room mode in the 20 Hz range. If that is the case, then I adjust the frequency of this calculated room mode 1 up or down in frequency as well, to see if you can capture the specific frequency, and zoom in on the specific frequency that is excited. Then create a narrower notch filter at that frequency.

If you create a new custom filter to replace an existing calculated room mode, so you can make bigger adjustments to frequency and bandwidth, make sure you change the gain on the original room mode to zero, yes “0”.

This will involve creating a custom room mode at that same frequency that is a very narrow notch filter. Then you must play with the gain on that room mode. I have the best success with a narrow bandwidth notch filter, but sometimes I have to widen the bandwidth to capture a bit more of the offending sound quality.


You always have your saved favorite optimization profile you can go back to if you don’t like the result.

If it sounds better, it is better. Make sure you save your settings after each adjustment, otherwise you run the risk of having a great sound quality, but without saved settings, will lose everything.

Also write down all your changes as you go along, for frequency, gain and bandwidth. Then you can go back to changes that sounded good, if you overshoot the best sound quality.

For the calculated room modes, you can only move the frequencies slightly from calculated, maybe a couple of dB on either side of the calculated frequency. Even so, it is highly worth while to see if moving the frequency of your calculated room modes incrementally up or down, improves the sound quality.



Record your final results so you can go back to them later if needed.

Don't be afraid to create additional Profiles, and a back up of your favourite sound quality profile.




Adjusting Calculated Room Modes 2, 3, 4 And So On


Okay, you are listening to your music and playing your favorite reference music tracks, and notice that female vocals are shouty or have sibilance. You notice that the soundstage is detailed but flat. You notice that the piano doesn’t sound quite right.
You notice that a male or female singer’s voice doesn’t have enough body and depth to the lower range of their voice.

Can we adjust for this to improve it?

Yes, and here is what I do.

If set up properly, SPACE optimization can be used to create a warmer sound by adding some gain to room modes in the 60 Hz range and the 70 Hertz range. This depends on room mode 1 being set up properly, as it can mask the mids and highs. To add gain, you would for example go from a gain of -20.34 to -19.89 to get some more "body, depth and detail". This effectively adds energy to that room mode frequency, while a change from -19.89 to -20.34 would remove some energy from that frequency.

For example: Nora Jones song "Turn me On" from her "Come Away with Me" album. After 45 seconds into the song, her vocals can be a bit shouty and harsh, if the optimization is not set up properly. With Diana Krall, there can be a bit of shoutyness and sibilance in some of her vocals a couple of minutes into the song, A Case Of You.

What can I do to eliminate that?

I find that adjusting the room modes in the 70 Hz range and applying some gain can help minimize and eliminate this issue. However, if you apply too much gain, it will get even more shouty.

If you don’t have a room mode in the 70 Hz range, create a new custom room mode 2, starting at around 74.3 Hz, then adjust the frequency up and down slightly, to hear what sounds best. Then adjust gain and bandwidth. I used to aim for the narrowest bandwidth possible in the 70 Hz range, but now I use a similar bandwidth to the bandwidth calculated by SPACE in the 70 Hz range, and that seems to really smooth out the vocals nicely.

You can still aim for the narrowest bandwidth possible that gets the best sound quality. Don’t be afraid to add or reduce the gain as well, as too much gain will give poor sound quality, as will too little gain.

I want to create a deeper and bigger soundstage and give more body to the vocals.

What can I adjust in SPACE optimization to do that?

Making adjustments in the 60 Hz range will help. If you don’t have a room mode in the 60 Hz range, create one, starting at Custom room mode 3, at 63.5 Hz and then move the frequency slightly up and down from there. Start at a gain of -6.00. Adding gain may give you a deeper and wider soundstage, and more bottom end to the vocals.

At the moment, with a custom room mode in the 60 Hz range, I do give it a bandwidth of 0.014427, the narrowest possible, and this gives my great results. Of course you can try to add more bandwidth and see how it sounds.

If you already have a calculated room mode in the 60 Hz range and it is close to 63.5 Hz, move the calculated room mode to 63.5 Hz, without creating a new custom room mode. Otherwise, keep the calculated room mode where it was and add the one at 63.5 Hz.

If the vocals seem a bit muddy and I want more space around the instruments?

This can be tackled by adjusting very incrementally, the frequency, gain and bandwidth of the room modes in the 60 Hz and 70 Hz range.

The real breakthrough to overcoming muddiness in vocals and instruments is in narrowing the bandwidth of each of the calculated and custom room modes to the most narrow possible that gives you the results you want. Then the vocals and instruments will pop and sparkle from the speakers, with tremendous space around each instrument.

Once you have tackled the room modes in the 60 and 70 Hz range, then move onto the 50 Hz range and adjust frequency , gain and bandwidth. If there is no calculated room mode in the 50 Hz range, I generally don’t create one.

I am finding Bass is not enough for my taste, what can I do?

My approach is to create a custom room mode 1 at the lower frequency as described above, but then I also boast the gain for room modes in the 60-80 Hz range slightly until I get the sound quality I am looking for.



I generally do not use SPACE optimization in frequencies over 80 Hz. My understanding is that SO suggests that adjustments to room modes should generally be at frequencies that are < 100Hz.

As I mentioned, your results may vary, as I am not able to hear your Linn system.

At the moment, we are only given 4 custom room modes, so use them judiciously.



Yes, it is detective work at each home, as each room and stereo setup is so different.

To many people's ears, they may assume that the bass they hear was actually in the recording, but in fact it could be bass generated from room issues. One way it can represent itself is that you feel a slight non-descript pressure on your ear drums. Unless you listen for this specifically and become aware of it, and it's affect on the sound quality, you may not know to compensate for it. It is quite possible to apply too much gain, so a slight reduction in gain should remove the feeling of pressure on your ear drums.


What still amazes me is the way in which slight adjustments to Room Modes at these lower frequencies can have such a positive impact further up the audio spectrum!


Reviewing your progress so far:

So we started with the following example calculated room modes:

Room mode 1:

Frequency: 43.65 Hz, Gain (-26.27), Bandwidth 0.082651

Room mode 2:

Frequency: 56.11 Hz, Gain (-20.27), Bandwidth 0.064871

Room mode 3

Frequency: 65.28 Hz, Gain (-14.75), Bandwidth 0.028693

Room Mode 4

Frequency: 72.83 Hz, Gain (-16.75), Bandwidth 0.020675



By the time I am finished doing all the SPACE optimization, it would not be unusual to have a set of calculated and custom room modes as follows:

Calculated Room mode 1:

Frequency: 41.85 Hz, Gain (-24.89), Bandwidth 0.072651

Calculated Room mode 2:

Frequency: 56.11 Hz, Gain (-18.98), Bandwidth 0.054871

Calculated Room mode 3

Frequency: 65.28 Hz, Gain (0.0), Bandwidth 0.028693

Calculated Room Mode 4

Frequency: 72.83 Hz, Gain (0.0), Bandwidth 0.040675


Custom Room modes 2 and 3, to replace calculated room modes 3, and 4, as well as a custom room mode 1 to handle the bass overhang issues:

Custom Room mode 1:

Frequency: 21.53 Hz, Gain (-11.12), Bandwidth 0.014427

Custom Room mode 2:

Frequency: 63.51 Hz, Gain (-5.65), Bandwidth 0.014427

Custom Room Mode 3

Frequency: 74.3 Hz, Gain (-5.81), Bandwidth 0.030587





One final observation. Even when I have had SPACE optimization dialed in well, I still think something is missing in some of the systems I have tuned. I have found time and time again, it is because the speakers were not toed-in enough. Toe-in your speakers to get excellent imaging and soundstage!!!

If you walk around the house and the music sounds great in every room in the house, you have dialed in SPACE optimization well.

If you can carry on a normal conversation with the person seated next to you when the volume is high, you have probably got SPACE dialled in correctly.

If you find that you can't stop tapping your toes or have the sudden urge to dance, while listening to music, you have SPACE dialed in correctly.

Your results may vary. Tongue

You are now a SPACE cadet.

Enjoy the music!!!



Hashluck’s Observations and Encouragement:

After I visit Hashluck’s home and he observed me doing SPACE optimization, he wrote the following on the Linn Forum that I think is appropriate, regarding SPACE Optimization:

What did I learn from this?

1. Think outside the box - The Linn calculations are a starting point but try and consider what is really going on. I had two room modes quite close to each other which created quite a hole until we narrowed the bandwidth of one and there were also other harmonics that needed to be dealt with to allow the system to breathe fully hence the additional Custom Filter.

2. Don't be afraid - Save as you go and experiment, you cannot break anything. I had previously been less worried by this but more ignorant of how very small changes could make such a big difference and thus how easy it is within a few notes to tell whether it is for the better or not. It does not take as much time as you might think.

3. Have the courage of your convictions - if it sounds different it is different and you will instinctively know if it is better or not really quickly. Several times we made a change and I thought I could hear a difference but was reluctant to voice it since the change to the filter we made was so small and then Paul would pipe up with exactly what I was thinking A good example was the change of Custom Filter 1 from 28Hz to, initially 31Hz, the music just flowed better conveying far more emotion. Change to 32Hz and it went off again. Paul and I both heard this the same.....

4. Get another set of ears if you can. It encourages you to try things and helps with the above.

5. There is no magic wand. Some tracks will always be challenging. At some point you will hit a bottleneck be it the limits of the equipment or room (as well of course as just trying to compensate for any poor recording). I still have a couple of tracks with issues in my room (though they still sound very good). I do think I could come up with a profile just for those but that is not a realistic scenario. So I would concentrate on well recorded material of the type most often listened to rather than focusing on one 'difficult' track.

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2017-06-02, 02:37 (This post was last modified: 2017-06-02 02:41 by Paulssurround.)
Post: #2
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Appendix 1
My Reference Music Tracks:

There are different versions of these albums and songs recorded, but some are sold as 16 bit or 24 bit. I usually play the 24 bit version if possible.

Warning: Do not use Qobuz or Tidal streaming to adjust your SPACE optimization. Only stream these tracks which are on your NAS, as there can be significant differences in sound quality and timing in the streamed versions from Tidal and Qobuz.

I don't have a particular order to listen to the tracks, but pull up the appropriate tracks, when needed, as I try to uncover the sound quality of specific parts of music tracks. I am hunting for tonal balance, timing, voice quality, bass overhang, clarity of vocals and instruments, space around the instruments, sound stage and 3 dimensionality, vocal shoutyness, depth and transparency, and many other qualities, depending on the music track.
Extremely important is the musicality of the music, with timing and toe tapping qualities. It is really important for me to feel the music and bounce along to the musical rhythm, or as Linn says, the Tune Dem qualities.


In alphabetical order:

Ane Brun, “Halo”, Rarities Album

Ane Brun has a stunningly delicate and sublime voice that carries through the song, with the continuous pluck of cello bass strings throughout the song. This provides a good reference for the bass setup in your system and the layering of voice with the bass notes. Two violin players join into the song and add layers to the music, playing off the cello. The real treat comes in the last minute of the song, where Ane Brun continues singing and then the cello player starts singing along as well, creating a sublime harmony of the two voices, like I have never heard. The vocals create a delicate spiral of harmony and interplay that is both sensual and sublime. Almost like an extremely slowly rotating tornado. The better you have dialed in SPACE optimization, the more 3 dimensional and delicate this harmony will become. There will be two distinct voices embracing and simultaneously floating in a circle to carry you away emotionally.


[b]Bob Marley- “Buffalo Soldier”, Legend Album Deluxe Edition


Buffalo Soldier is great for revealing whether the bass is muddy. As I make changes in SPACE, I listen to how deep the bass is, and whether the bass guitar and drums are layered and well separated. I look for detail and improved clarity in the bass. The most important clues on this track for me is the layering of the bass drum with the bass guitar, and how "growly" the bass guitar is. As you dial in SPACE optimization, the bass guitar will have a deep growly roar.

As the song progresses, I also listen carefully to Bob Marley's voice quality and the background singers blended in the background. When dialed in properly, you will notice all the musicians playing their instruments together in great synchronization, and a great sense of rhythm and toe tapping, with your body wanting to dance to the music.

You will also get a great sense of the how the musicians all interact and play together as a well honed band.

Soundstage when dialed in is stunning and feels "live".


Dire Straits- “My Latest Trick”, Brothers In Arms Album SACD version

My Latest Trick is an excellent track to listen to the trumpet at the beginning of the song. As you dial in SPACE optimization, the trumpet takes on a raspy horn like quality, that sounds very real and organic as it is dialed in.
I listen to voice quality of Mark Knopfler, and the soundstage of all the instruments, to hear great separation between all instruments.
This is a well recorded album and is very revealing for clarity, transparency and instrument separation.
There are some versions of this album that have a saxophone player instead of a trumpet. I listen to the trumpet version in 24/88.



Diana Krall – “Black Crow”, Girl In The Other Room Album

Diana Krall's Black Crow, has mariachis playing in both speakers to keep timing.
The sound quality of her voice is extremely important to my evaluation, as I listen to how deep her voice is, the sultry sexiness of her voice, her breathing, and the sound of the piano pedals.
Dianas voice can be shouty at times and overly energetic, but as you are dialed in, everything starts smoothing out, as sound quality improves. Her voice ‘takes on a different quality and that sultry sexiness is all apparent. Piano should be detailed and clear, with an excellent well balanced sound stage with no instrument dominating. There should be excellent instrument and voice separation and the mark of a well recorded and produced song.


Diana Krall – “A Case Of You”, Live In Paris Album

This is a live song and her voices sounds slightly different than in Black Crow. It has a more natural and emotional quality than Black Crow and you can better hear her emotions and breathing throughout the song.

The sound of the piano is excellent, but if your SPACE optimization is not dialed in properly, the piano pedals will give a dull annoying thud, everytime she presses on the bass pedal, which she does throughout the song. Fortunately, this can be fixed by an adjustment at the first custom room mode by a slight removal of gain until the thud disappears(0.03 dB for example)

A couple of minutes into the song, her voice can be shouty and sibilant at one point. Dialing in the 60-80 Hz range room modes will smooth this out.



Leonard Cohen, “In My Secret Life”, 10 New Songs Album,

On Leonard Cohen's, “In My Secret Life”, I listen for his voice quality and how deep his voice is, trying to estimate how many cigarettes he smoked that day. The backup singer is perfectly layered behind his voice and this reveals itself, the better you have dialed your SPACE settings.
Also, his voice will become deeper as dialed in.
The overall sound stage is really important to me, as well as the layering of the instruments and voices.


Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” from You Want It Darker album

This album is God’s gift to SPACE optimizers, with excellent detail in voices and instruments. His voice is so deep and compelling, it is mesmerizing.
Focus on the voices and instrumentation for layering and separation, vocal harmonies and resolution.
The back up singers are a true delight, and the instrumentation stunningly detailed.

The title track and Steer Your Own Way are my favorites.



Lou Reed – “Walk On The Wild Side”, Transformer Album

Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side is an excellent track for timing, as the repeating rhythmic pulse of the stand up bass strings, the twang of the strings being plucked and then released, with a pronounced reverberation of the strings as they are released.
This is one of the most helpful tracks in my arsenal for adjusting bass and bass detail, harmonics and depth of bass.
When dialed in properly, Lou Redds voice reminds me of a radio DJ’s voice.
This is also the most important track I have for checking the depth of the sound stage, by following how far out of the speakers the "do do do girls" come out of the speaker cabinet. If done properly, the second time around, the "do do do girls" sing, they sound like they are sitting in your lap.
I also listen to the saxophone at the end of the song, for how organic sounding it's presentation is.
In addition, I focus on the timing in the left and right speaker, of the high hats throughout the song, as well as the violin strings detail in the background.


Lou Reed – “Perfect Day”, Last Track on Transformer Album

Perfect Day, acoustic version is a well recorded track for listening to acoustic qualities of the guitar strings. When dialed in properly, the twang and detail of the strings vibrating is wonderful.

Malia and Boris Blank – “Magnetic Lies”, Convergence album

Magnetic Lies has a very prominent synthesizer track line that follows the song, and as you dial in SPACE optimization, it has a very pronounced energy that jumps out of the speakers in rhythmic pulses.
If SPACE optimization is not set up properly, the bass track can overwhelm the room and muddy over everything.

Dialed in properly, the bass will be well controlled, tight, musical and toe tapping.

Nils Lofgren – “Keith Don't Go”, Acoustic Live Album

This is an extremely well recorded track for listening to acoustic qualities of the guitar strings. When dialed in properly, the twang and detail of the strings vibrating is wonderful. This track complements the Lou Reed Acoustic Live track Perfect Day, for the same reason.

I also like this track to check for depth of the audience. As the audience reacts to his playing, you can dial it in to get a deeper front to back image and more organic sounding hand clapping and cheering.

Nils Lofgren – “Black Books”, Acoustic Live Album

Nils Lofgren's Black Books has a synthesized choir in the background throughout the song with a bias towards the left speaker. There is a slow beating bongo drum in the right speaker, that actually slows down the cadence as you dial in SPACE properly.
At the beginning of the song Nils sings, then as that fades, eventually a guitar takes front and centre stage. The tonal quality of the guitar strings, his voice and the beautiful 3D layering of these instruments gives me clues as to how well I am doing with resolving a deeper sound stage.

As you dial in SPACE optimization, you can separate out the layers of instruments, to get a deeper front to rear soundstage, and detail in each instrument track.


Nora Jones- “Turn Me On”, Come Away With Me Album

With the Nora Jones track, Turn Me On, it helps me identify shoutyness of vocals, about a minute into the song or so. But is also a great track to listen for timing and sound stage, piano timbre, Nora's voice, layering of instruments.

Oscar Peterson – “You Look Good To Me”, We Get Requests Album

Oscar Peterson's You Look Good To Me, reveals a fantastic sound stage when set up properly, with a great mix of the three instruments, drums, piano and bass. If you listen carefully, you can hear Ray Brown whispering to the stand up bass, while he is playing it. The piano is not as prominent at the beginning of the track, but becomes more so as the song progresses. The soundstage of drums, piano and bass beautifully balanced and the feeling of being at a live venue, with the musicians playing in front of you.

Exakt Surround 5.0:
Katalyst Akubariks, AEDSM, Akurate Exaktbox 6/4200 for 225 Centre, Majik Exaktbox I for 212 Surrounds, OPPO 105 on StillPoints.
Power: Environmental Potentials 2460, Shunyata Triton, Zitron Cobras, Alpha Digitals
Room Acoustics: SPACE, SubDude HT's, Acoustic Panels
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2017-06-02, 06:51
Post: #3
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Thank you Paul for being so generous with your time
A great read thanks again

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2017-06-02, 07:13
Post: #4
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Wow - thx Paul this is amazing. Here goes my weekend Wink

Two questions: you write the Keilidhs starting point would be around 30hz.Did you come across any (passive) Kabers and have a suggestion concerning the starting point?

Secondly how do you deal with subs in such a situation: do you treat the speaker as the starting point or the sub?

I wonder if Linn shouldn't additionally implement sliders in Konfig making adjustments like this easier. A combination of a pop-out-slider and a box for viewing/entering the exact values would speed up the process a lot.

http://www.last.fm/user/mcgillroy

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2017-06-02, 07:19
Post: #5
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Hi Paul,

Congratulations for your global help.

Best regards

Klimax DS/3 - Akurate Exaktbox 10 - 2x Akurate 4200 - Klimax 350P
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2017-06-02, 07:34
Post: #6
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Well, well , well, you continue to surprise me PaulBig Grin

Thankyou for this and perfect timing as I travel to CJS's home tomorrow afternoon after work to help with some SO fine tuning, I hope you read this John TongueTongue and have all the suggested music loaded on your playlist.

This is very very helpful Paul.

Heh, you must have had two bowls of Cheerios and a bar of white chocolate

Avalon

Akurate Exakt DSM, Akurate Exaktbox 10, two Akurate 4200 power amps, klimax chakra twin(Dk), Akubarik High Gloss Rosewood speakers,nordost Tyr, ipad 2 & KazooServer Minimserver and Asset server running on a Qnap 251, backed up to remote Qnap 231. Sonos for multiroom. SPACED OUT
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2017-06-02, 07:45 (This post was last modified: 2017-06-02 08:27 by Paulssurround.)
Post: #7
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
(2017-06-02 06:51)nrwatson Wrote:  Thank you Paul for being so generous with your time
A great read thanks again


Thanks nrwatson, for letting me practise on your amazing Exakt Katalyzed Surround Linn system. Your system helped inspire this thread update.

I would also like to thank Peter@57m, ukandrew, Avalon, Mr B, and last but not least Chris from Hidden Systems that helped me, by practising on their Linn systems.


(2017-06-02 07:13)mcgillroy Wrote:  Wow - thx Paul this is amazing. Here goes my weekend Wink

Two questions: you write the Keilidhs starting point would be 30 Hz. Did you come across any (passive) Kabers and have a suggestion concerning the starting point?

Secondly how do you deal with subs in such a situation: do you treat the speaker as the starting point or the sub?

I wonder if Linn shouldn't additionally implement sliders in Konfig making adjustments like this easier. A combination of a pop-out-slider and a box for viewing/entering the exact values would speed up the process a lot.

I have only had one chance to work with a pair of Kabers in Germany, before Christmas. I don't recall the starting point but I believe it was around 22.78 Hz. Edit, I just checked my notes from visiting RMA

If there is an Exakted subwoofer, I generally have tried a starting frequency at least 2 Hz lower than the normal starting point. For example, a pair of Exakted 350's would have a starting point of 18 Hz, but ultimately ended up with a frequency of 16.5 Hz, with the Exakted Melodik Sub attached.


(2017-06-02 07:19)jfmoreau Wrote:  Hi Paul,

Congratulations for your global help.

Best regards

Thanks jf.

I was inspired to write this thread for you, and others that I hoped to visit on my trip before Christmas. Smile

I hope it is helpful.

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2017-06-02, 07:51
Post: #8
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
(2017-06-02 07:34)avalon Wrote:  Well, well , well, you continue to surprise me PaulBig Grin

Thankyou for this and perfect timing as I travel to CJS's home tomorrow afternoon after work to help with some SO fine tuning, I hope you read this John TongueTongue and have all the suggested music loaded on your playlist.

This is very very helpful Paul.

Heh, you must have had two bowls of Cheerios and a bar of white chocolate

Avalon

Thank you Avalon for letting me play with your Linn system

Yes it was cheerios and white chocolate that powered this journey!!!

I'll speak with you this evening, your time. Smile

Cheers

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2017-06-02, 10:56
Post: #9
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Paul
Thank you so much for this comprehensive set of SPACE instructions. It might finally be the time for me to get off of my butt and attempt this in the proper way. I even bought a laser measure a few months ago!

Anyone who uses several of the same tracks which are always on my test playlist must know what he is doing! Leonard Cohen "In My Secret Life" never fails! May I also recommend, from the same album, "Boogie Street" - Sharon Robinsons voice, not for how many cigarettes she has smokes (as I am sure she is not a smoker) but rather for all the sultriness she brings to the equation - and the beat which follows her solo intro.

As mentioned in a previous email - New York awaits you when you make it down this way.

Best
Gregg

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2017-06-02, 12:31
Post: #10
RE: Fine Tuning SPACE Optimization, To Get The Best Out of Davaar 173, 174 and 175
Thank you Paul. I am away from my system at the moment but cannot wait to have another play!
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