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  1. Best music for speaker placement and best speaker placement tutorial??? Having acquired a pair of Harbeth P3ESR speakers I'm having fun looking for the ultimate speaker placement. I have downloaded The Visual Sound the Sound Liaison DXD Music Sampler as it was recommended to me as being a great speaker placement tool. (Using the coupon code “XFI2019” you can download the 352DXD for $16 or the 24/ 96 files for $8.) Especially the phase coherent One Microphone recordings on the sampler seems excellent for that purpose: https://www.soundliaison.com/index.php/536-sound-liaison-dxd-music-sampler On the net i.e. youtube, there are a great number of tutorials in speaker placement. Any of these you would especially recommend? https://www.harbeth.co.uk/speakers/userguide.php
  2. 15 % off on all downloads at NativeDSD Music 15 % off on all downloads at Vinyl Records, SACDs, DVD Audio, Audiophile Equipment|Acoustic Sounds 50 % off on some downloads at Sound Liaison Music Shop
  3. One Google Max speaker – very ordinary. Two Google Max speakers set up in a particular way – very impressive for the price. Summary: It is a bit of a mystery as to why but it is true and I can only assume that it may have something to do with the reflectional acoustics of the two mid-range drivers used in each Google Max. I have compared this setup with my existing obscenely expensive TRUE audiophile hi-fidelity setup and it has left me impressed enough to post this. Now before you start filling up this forum with too many questions/comments, let me just say that at this stage what I am mainly interested in is finding people who own a Google Max speaker and are willing to borrow/source a second Google Max speaker and confirm/reject what I have discovered. Maybe I have extra-ordinary hearing characteristics and/or my room has extra-ordinary acoustical properties. I am open to this possibility, remote though it may be. Using a phone or tablet to setup the speakers so that separate left and right channels are streamed individually to each speaker is not difficult and results in an overall sound that is better than acceptable. I can explain that in one paragraph. What will take longer is to explain is exactly how I “positioned” the speakers so that they did a relatively impressive job of “mimicking” the three-dimensional sound stage that TRUE audiophiles seek. In other words, this setup has the ability to produce a three-dimensional sound stage that allows you to pinpoint (eyes closed) the sources of various sounds/vocalists/instruments on that stage. Note: the word “audiophile” is often wrongly used to mean “people who demand excellent hi-fidelity”, when in reality it is much more than that - refer Wikipedia definition. If you don’t care about this or you are more interested in is gut-wrenching base and eye-watering treble, then there is no need to continue reading. Setup: As indicated in the definition, a TRUE audiophile system is much more than excellent high-fidelity sound. Critical to this is correct positioning of speakers in relation to seating position and also critical to this is the quality of the original recording. Absent these two things the audiophile experience will rarely be TRUE. You will need a pair of Google Max speakers. You will need to use a phone/tablet app to set one speaker so that it only streams the left channel and set the second speaker so that it only streams the right channel. In the app this is known as “pairing”. This is a feature that is available only to the Google Max and only “appears” when the app detects a second speaker. You will also need a “high” bit-rate streaming service such as Spotify Premium (Spotify Free will not suffice because of the low bit rate). The remainder of this post will talk you through the speaker positioning process and auditioning process. Speaker Positioning: You will need a helper. Sit in your chair in your favourite seating position, facing front which we will call DEAD centre stage. Place your two arms directly in front of you so that they are pointing directly in front of you to DEAD centre stage. Now move your two arms so that they are pointing to your far left and right sides. Now return your two arms so they are halfway between the above positions ie left arm is pointing to centre left and right arm is pointing to centre right. The angle between your arms will be approximately a 90 degree right angle. Your helper will now position a wooden dining chair so that the seat is at the centre of your fingertips. These are your starting positions. Place a speaker on each chair and power them up. Now access my test playlist by speaking “Hey Google – Play John G’s top choice 0”. The last character is “zero”. I have created this playlist specifically for this article and it contains four tracks. For this exercise you will be using only the first track, Puppet on a String, and you will need to repeat it for as long as it takes you to finetune the positioning of your speakers. To repeat simply speak “Hey Google – Previous”. Set volume at 60 or 70 percent. STEP 1: Have your helper shorten/lengthen the distance to you, of each speaker whilst listening to the first track. DO NOT exceed 1.5 metres. Note the way in which the sound stage changes. It is quite acceptable for one speaker to be closer to you than the other. Ignore the vocalist for the moment. Simply focus on the two main instruments. If done correctly, Instrument 1 should occupy left of stage and instrument 2 should occupy right of stage. Volumes of instruments should be equal enough so that the one does not drown out the other. In this step it is also permissible to adjust the speaker positioning a few inches either way along the left-right axis if you need to. Now focus on the female vocalist, Sandie Shaw. It is unlikely she will be where she is supposed to be ie DEAD centre stage about 2 to 3 metres directly ahead of you. Go to step 2. STEP 2: Have your helper rotate each speaker on it’s centre axis, first a little bit clockwise and then a little bit anti-clockwise. Note the way in which the sound stage changes. With this knowledge you will be able to choose “rotations” that will eventually place the vocalist at DEAD centre stage. You should now have the optimum positioning for your speakers. If you do not then return to STEP 1 and re-adjust a little. In this step also, it is permissible to adjust the speaker positioning a few inches either way along the left-right axis if you need to. Remember – all we are doing in his step is a slight adjustment to get the female vocalist positioned at DEAD centre stage. You now have your speakers correctly positioned. I must confess that in my case I did not have the benefit of this advice in steps 1 and 2. I still managed, however, to achieve the desired result through a random process of trial and error. Here is a photo of the positionings that work best for my particular hearing characteristics and my particular room acoustics. Note how the left speaker (right of pic) is angled differently to the right speaker and also how the left speaker is positioned slightly more forward than the right speaker. This might have something to do with the wall opposite it. The key to success is experimentation. Auditioning: Now it is time to audition your new system. Return to your playlist and speak “Hey Google – Next” and it will play the second, third and fourth tracks in succession. CLOSE your eyes – this is important. Note the definition said in part “An audiophile seeks to reproduce the sound of a live musical performance”. The second track is a good illustration of a simple virtual sound stage and separation of performers/instruments in a performance. The third track, recorded in a cathedral, is an excellent illustration of how close the playback has come to duplicating the resonance present due to the cathedral acoustics. The fourth and final track by Bob Dylan is an example of a more complex soundstage containing multiple instrument sources as well as good three-dimensional depth and resonance. I recommend that you do a little more auditioning using my playlist “John G’s top choice 14” since they are all audiophile-quality recordings that will demonstrate the three-dimensional sound stage. The playlist is 45 minutes long. This will no doubt give away my age 😀, but is still a good idea before you start sourcing your own preference of audiophile quality recordings. Spotify is loaded with them. Those of my friends who have listened to this setup thought I was bluffing and were convinced that the sound was coming from my expensive TRUE audiophile system. One final word of advice. At decent listening volumes you will find yourself having to shout at the speaker in order to be heard and this in not particularly pleasant. I had a Google MINI in my bedroom that I borrowed and used as a dedicated microphone near me or on my lap so that I do not have to shout. Simply look for “grouping” in the app and enter the settings. Disclaimer : I have no vested interests in Google, its products or any of its affiliates. I give no guarantees implied or otherwise about the above setup.
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