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As intended, I mailed Franck Tchang about his resonators and we exchanged some emails.
It turned out that there are three different explanations for how his cups work:
A - His French patent: cups are excited to resonance by sound waves coming from speakers, thereby attenuating acoustic parasite phenomena (the patent does not further specify what exactly these phenomena are).
B - Tchang had the cups examined by Paris based company ProLinks: cups act as complex tuning fork, which produces an echo (secondary sound source), lowering the reverberation time in the bass range (sic).
C - In his reply Tchang states that the cups treat room resonances (standing waves), air factor (?), making the harmonics re-appear by cancelling reflection/air damping factor (not sure what the latter means).
Is it now A, B or C?
For further clarification I then contacted the German distributor Thomas Fast (www.fastaudio.de). No answer.
Those wo are interested in reading the email exchange with Mr. Tchang, mail me off-board.
I've got no beef with this product. I have heard them at shows and heard an improvement. I would love to try them at home, but I don't think I'd put out the hard cash for them unless the difference was stunning.
As the other poster mentions - It's the method and pricing of this tweak that kind of turns me off. We have a resonable acoustic explanation. Now why in the heck would you need gold, silver and platinum to create this effect? A different design with a baser metal/alloy makes a lot more sense. But definitely doesn't trigger the 'precious aquisitive' button that so many audiophiles have (I'm guilty myself sometimes).
The real fact is that just about everything in your room resonates and interacts with sound. Instead of spending the $2,000 or so minimum it appears you need to spend to get a good set of these, you could spend the time experimenting with the objects in your room and rearranging furniture, etc. You'd be amazed what the differences are if you actually approached this like a scientist. You might just find that an old brass umbrella stand does amazing things for your sound. Or some real plants, or best of all some real musical instruments in your room (how about some $30 tibetan bells?). And the differences really can be dramatic.
I have never seen tibetan bells made of fused quartz, just bronze.
I brought the bells up because here is something 10 to 20 times bigger. It may not be 'tuned' to these high frequencies, but it sure as heck resonates more in all frequencies than these little objects. All bells give off lots of high frequencies. In fact many objects resonate all over the place at frequencies above hearing. Glass, metal, even some wood.
There is an acoustic theory about the interaction of soundwaves of different frequencies. Soundwaves of different frequecies can interact in the air, changing both. So a high frequency tone can change the way a lower frequency tone propagates. Or the both tones can change the way a receptor (Mic or ear) hears each. So a very high frequency may change our perception of bass for instance.
This is one theory on why super-tweeters may change the sound of a system. Many people who listen to systems with supertweeters report tighter bass with more definition. I've heard this myself.
I have also heard the FAST products enhance image and soundfield.
I do believe they work to some degree. But I also believe that something from more ordinary materials (brass, bronze, etc.) could certainly be developed that does the same thing. It might be a bit bigger.
Fair enough, but unless there's evidence it's just that, a theory.
If however an effect of the kind you are describing is known and supoorted by hard evidence, why doesn't the "inventor" know about it? Why is it not mentioned, not in his patent, not on the FASTaudio website, not in any of the reviews.
If manufacturers of super-tweeters know of any proven effect, why don't they talk about it? Why don't reviews of speakers using super-tweeters don't mention such effect?
No we don't!
Objects of that size are virtually "invisible" to bass frequencies, so forget about bass reverberation time and standing waves.
Those cups resonate at 6, 15, 19, 20, 30 kHz. Forget about the last three, at age 30 you have already lost the upper part of the audible range.
At 6 and 15 kHz, maybe there is an effect. But, there is masking (within critical bands, upward). At 6 and 15 kHz there's plenty of harmonics which will perfectly mask everything that the cups might produce, unless the cups are able to actually amplify (by about 10 dB).
If those cups did use known effects (acoustic and psychoacoustic) Mr. Tchang would know about it. I did not get the impression from my email exchange that he does.
Yes, many object in listening rooms will resonate, but does it matter? As long as amplitudes are low enough, masking will do its job and nothing will happen.
Theory is all good and well... just don't confuse a seductive or intellectually appealing theory with stepwise empirical application... I've installed these in "live" vocal production settings, so we're not listening to reproduced or amplified music, only to spoken or sung human voices, and they make a distinct difference that naive listeners can easily discern (to eliminate the placebo effect they were hidden behind a thin scrim curtain at the rear of the stage)... and yes, different alloys do distinctly different things... simultaneously I have a set in my office where I listen to reproduced music, and a third one at home that I play with on top of, behind, in front of my television... in every case, consistently, with the theramal veriations I have noticed before, there IS a powerful effect... and I'm a 50 year old guy with tinnitus... and, yeah, there is a store downstains from the studio which sells..... tibetan singing bowls ! And yup, they are all there, tuned to every note, so sometimes I go down and hang around the singing bowls and try to detect something... unlike the Tchangs, the bowls are tuned deep, to fundamentals, and thus I expect hard to energize... I have considered decorating the space behind my speakers with a "tibetan gamelan" made from a group of these bowls but they are quite large and have long decays...
fair enough, so why use silver, gold, platinum? Why not use tibetan bowls at $20/piece?
Just like in the case of the Intelligent Chip, the makers of the device don't know how it works, why it works, they just claim THAT it works. No evidence needed, just their word. The "evidence" is then delivered by some reviewers. Great. Being at odds with rules and principles of physics, acoustics, psychoacoustics doesn't seem to bother anyone. Just another breakthrough science ignores.
As you can read in my original post, I tried items similar to the cups, similar in size and material, to find they did absolutely nothing. I'm 47, no tinnitus, thresholds of hearing are normal for my age.
As for the "reality check" I propose, I see that you don't reply. Afraid of facing the truth?
What's with this "afraid of facing the truth" thing you keep firing at me ? Crypto-Freudian analysis or what ?
I make my best efforts with the things I have at hand... I trust my perceptions, I experiment relentlessly, I double check against other peoples perceptions, favoring those with no "audiophile" mindset for obvious reasons....
Like, right now I'm experimenting with shifting the silver resonators for best result, only listening to traffic noises through my window.... by changing them around so they are above ear level and distibuting them evenly around the room, there is a distinct clarification of outside noises, the sound of truck engines, brakes, I can much more clearly hear voices shouting down on the street, even the pulsating ganzfield of mixed urban backgound activities has taken on sort of a fascinating density...
I'm not averse to trying the tibetan bowls, I just might, although they are heavy, being made of fused quartz, and physically large, and not any $25 dollars either, like, where did that number come from ?, try $200-$250 each depending on size
Maybe you shouldn't! Ever heard of the Franssen effect? This effect cleary shows that human auditory percpetion is easy to fool.
I think that if you did the test you are in for a surprise and that maybe you would estimate your auditory perception in a different light.
If cups and Hallographs are no audiophile toys, I don't know what ARE audiophile toys. I have discussed with B. Piazza about that device and I have drawn my conclusions.
You can experiment with those cups as long as you want, I'm afraid that without proper controls you are just fooling yourself.
$20/piece, simple enough, some odd website on my side of the Great Lake.
I'm sort of fed up with golden ear talk and decided to challenge the golden eared whenever I come across them, you just happen to be today's target :-) So far no golden ear or reviewer has accepted that challenge.
This is further confounded by the presupposition that "hearing" is simply a duct that goes somewhere in the brain where there is a "audio bone" that well... it does something... and that causes... a little man who listens to the audio bone, who has an even littler audio bone inside of his head... you see.. there is a hidden logic to all of this... I'm just sure of it...
On the other hand.... hearing is not a one dimensional construction... if what I'm reading about contemporary neuroscience is correct, there are multiple auditory mechanisms, some relatively modern, in evolutionary terms, others far more ancient... and there may actually be significant differences in some hard to quantify "perceptual intelligence" ... so it is quite possible that some of us have a more highly developed secondary acoustic processing region in the cerebellum, and others don't... those afflicted with Williams Syndrome have enlarged cerebella in this region and display unusual sensitivity, and love of music.... although they manifest marked cognitive deficiencies as well... so the divergence in the audio community (or sub communities) may indeed, my intuition is that it does, have a strong neural basis, some people literally cannot "get" certain aspects of the auditory experience, this is particularly true of autistics... there may well be a more subtle form of audio perceptual deficiency that is akin to color blindness in the visual system... I also suspect that some of us raving audio maniacs are the way we are because we are mildly synesthetic (seems to have something to do with the TPO junction in the brain, a region, interestingly, that is also where metaphor generation is believed to happen) and the auditory experience triggers a multi layered sensory blooming that stimulated the *nucleus accumbens*, where, um... orgasms also happen.... assuming there is some validity to this and brain science isn't hopelessly out to lunch on the topic, we may well co-exist is parallel but fundamentally incommunicable private worlds...
I'd like to read that myself, would you have detailed info?
As for the challenge, the CD contains three sets of tracks:
Frequency range is limited by different high frequency cut-off frequencies (low-pass filters). One of the tracks is an analog copy of the original, a second is a digital copy of the original. You first have to identify those copies (hidden reference), then put the remaining 10 tracks in the correct order.
Phase shifts, inner and interaural. One track is a copy of the original, two tracks include inner phase shifts which are not audible, you first have to identify those 3 tracks, the remaining 5 tracks have to be put in correct order.
Interaural delay, right channel is delayed with respect to left channel. One track is without delay, the remaining 10 tracks have to be put in correct order.
DBT with hidden reference. Give it a go.
They are real... they do what Tchang says they do...and more... there are a few caveats that are persnickety though... they are VERY sensitive to temperature, and their behavior will shift markedly with temperature changes... they seem to open up optimally at just above room temp, about 74-76 degrees F, below about 68 degrees and you will hear their impact taper off... I have heard them fade in and out over an evening with room changes... the second thing is that they take a few days to "settle"... which makes no sense, but neither did cable settling when I first heard about it... They can be relatively subtle for a day or two then become pronounced. The third thing is that more expensive-more precious metal content doesn't automatically mean more of what YOU need sonically... Sometimes the super premium one can be overwhelming, almost sugary sweet. The "basic" copper-silver alloy may be much more satisfying to clean up random tonal crap... fourth, there is no one right way to place them, you will have to experiment at length... the little cups have these 4 prong emitter things that are not symmetrical, so if you place the cups with the prongs in "wide" orientation they will sound unlike the cups with the prongs in "narrow" orientation...
There are much closer to musical instruments than esoteric "subtle energy" B.S., and they require the attention to detail that a maker of a musical instrument might have.... they are small too, tiny actually, I was expecting at least twice as large...
All that said, if and when you get everything set up correctly, and it will be hard to say how much of what you will need and exactly where to put it, given the great differences in listening rooms, personal tastes, they are truly impressive.
However... I would absolutely first attend to dealing with reflections with a combination of absorber panels and quadratic residue diffusers and BAD panels, or the equivalent, because the RESONATORS are expensive.... and they wont linearize a crappy, overly bright room zinging with slap echoes and corner load honk...
Spend your first three grand cleaning up the room, spend your next three grand, or multiples thereof, or things like the Resonators... you might get as much bang for a lesser outlay with the Shakti Hallograph though, if you dont mind the visual nature of the beast, or you could get handy with a tubular pipe cutter and some copper tube and make yourself a set of "pan pipe" wall resonators tuned just the way you want.... which would be a fun project, keeping to a tight budget, and a great way to teach kids some basic physics too...
Velocity of sound in air is depending on temperature, so when temperatur changes, so does velocity. As a consquence, also the standing wave frequencies are affected. Furthermore the HF absorption of air is als changing with temperature.
So that's two effects which might affect sound in a room. How do you know it's not those two but the cups?
Reflections: I dealt with them, cost me about 23 grand. The same devices also deal with standing waves and reverberation time. These resonators are a joke in comparison.
Now to the test CD, since you believe in stuff like Acoustic System's resonators and Hallographs, do the test and find out whether or not your hearing is really what you believe it is. The only what you could lose is your self-esteem. You would be the first golden ear btw. who accepts that challenge, so show yourself as brave and courageous. Mail me off-board.
You are the "maniac", so I tend to become intrigued with what you discover!
Anyway, I don't see why these guys are so up in arms. Frankly, there's plenty of "scientific" principle behind resonance and psychoacoustics. Hell, this stuff was known to the Greeks way back when! So you don't have to be able to explain it correctly in order to exploit it successfully.
"From the patent it becomes clear that beside the density of the basic alloy used, the dimensions of the cup are of importance. Its height and diameter determine the sort and amount of the perceived effect. To recap, the Acoustic System resonators get excited by acoustic waves in the room. They sympathetically resonate at specific frequencies and thus add their output to the sonic event. This adds new direct sound sources to those represented by the loudspeakers and their early reflections. Since the cups' resonant frequencies are quite high, these secondary sound sources operate exclusively in the overtone range. Additionally and importantly, they arrive at the ear later than the sound waves which activate them, mixed in with the early reflections of the speakers yet being perceived not as a reflections but direct sound from discrete sources."
The above from the 6moons review is a pretty good recap of resonance and psychoacoustic phenomena quite reasonably documented from experimentation. The question is: Is the mumbo-jumbo-hype machine mis-explaining it, but correctly describing its effects? I don't know, having neither seen nor heard them.
my estimate is that the room itself, including the various physical objects within the room, including the side and rear faces of the speaker cabinet, are doing more to the total sound than we have given then credit for... one the room is energized, there is basically one giant speaker, which IS the room plus all the ingredients of the room... the resonatory merely capture a fraction of this stray energy and reshape it in ways that the ear seems to like. In one experiment, I took a cluster of the silver resonators, placed them on a bench top, and spoke across them, right over the top of the resonators from about 6 inches away,.... it sounded like I was speaking into a super-tweaky PA system, my voice had exceptional projection and clarity... I've been told by the folks behind this concept that they do have a pro model (or models) that go in front of microphones to act as a passive vocal tuner....
That was used by the Greeks in their theaters to amplify the desirable frequencies of human speech, exactly as you and the 6moons reviewer describe it. Even the style looks familiar! LOL
However, this is really a form of tone control. As you are amping by sympathetic resonance only a narrow band of frequencies, you are making a peak there and in its harmonics (also a poorly understood acoustic physical phenomenon among audiophiles, I see) at the expense of the rest of the spectrum. What that does is alter the balance of freqs to your brain. YOu may find it pleasing or you may find it not.
So with a bunch of "tuning" options available for your frequency spectrum tweaking you are shaping your sound to your liking. Same thing you could do electronically, if the purists here didn't so much despise it! ONly in this case it's additive and not subtractive of frequencies. So you don't lose info, you augment and shape its perception.
As I stated earlier, the physical possibilities are not a mystery. Just the objections!
However, this is really a form of tone control. As you are amping by sympathetic resonance only a narrow band of frequencies, you are making a peak there and in its harmonics...
That's incorrect. At the device's resonant frequency, it's not amplifying. It's doing just the opposite, it's absorbing. It's like a notch filter. The less lossy the resonator, i.e. the higher the Q of the resonance, the greater the absorption and the narrower the bandwidth of the absorption. Conversely, with a more lossy resonator and a lower Q, the less the absorption and the wider the bandwidth.
I was speaking in terms of the open mouthed bowl a la a Helmholz (sp?) resonator, not the resonant frequency of the solid material of the bowl and stand. But both would enter into the equation to some degree. I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to how much of each!
The Greeks learned to use open bowls and open mouthed jars (Greeks and Romans embedded these in walls of arenas I'm told) as resonators to amplify specific frequencies related to speech. That's what I thought he we referring to and that to which I think much of the descriptions of this product's impact refers to.
I was speaking in terms of the open mouthed bowl a la a Helmholz (sp?) resonator, not the resonant frequency of the solid material of the bowl and stand.
That's what I'm referring to as well. When I said "the device's resonant frequency" I simply meant the device being used as a resonator.
The Greeks learned to use open bowls and open mouthed jars (Greeks and Romans embedded these in walls of arenas I'm told) as resonators to amplify specific frequencies related to speech.
Except that they don't amplify. They absorb. At least at the resonant frequency. What they don't absorb they re-radiate and accoring to my reference (Everest's Master Handbook of Acoustics) it was this property that they were used for:
In Helmholz resonators, we have acoustical artifacts that far antedate Helmholz himself. Resonators in th eform of large pots were used in ancient times by the Greeks and Romans in their open-air theaters. Apparently they were used to provide some reverberation in this nonreverberant outdoor setting. Some of the larger pots that have survivied to modern times have reverberation times of from 0.5 to 2 seconds. These would also absorb sound at lower frequencies. Groupings of smaller pots supplied sound absorption at the higher frequencies.
And just for additional trivia:
More recently (that is, in medieval times) such resonators were used in a number of churches in Sweden and Denmark. Pots like thos of Fig. 9-30 were embedded in the walls, presumably to reduce low-frequency reverberation that is often a problem in churches. Ashes have been found in some of the pots, undoubtedly introduced to "kill the Q" of the ceramic pot and to broaden the frequency of its effectiveness.
Because you have the Handbook at home! I read it a few years ago borrowed from the library. It appears it does amplify and absorb somehow.
and the second nice thing is that you can move them for specific adjustments in ways that no equalizer on the market is capable of... there have been some reports that the "basic" copper-silver alloy actually removes vibratory modes... I suppose this is possible if it can absorb enough kinetic energy and spectrally reshape it in a way that the ear does not perceive... seems that the little wooden pedestals have something to do with this... I've tested them nekkid, no pedestal, and they are quite different w/o the maple base... on the major positive side of the equation, they don't deaden the room like fibergalss batts will.... in the final analysis, you WILL need three or four room tuning modalities, some tube trap, some QR products, some wall panel, some Tchang... I have never heard a room, and I've visited some damn expensive rooms, that succeeded from overkill of any one product or approach... unless you're considering a full on Russ Berger custom interior which will cost you some heavy coin and a few years wait time.... if cost is a factor, clean up your corners first... my first choice would always be tube traps in the corners, that's where the real junk is emanating from, then I'd consider some wooden QR squares on the first reflection points of the side walls, the fiberglass acoustic bags on the wall behind, THEN worry about the resonators.... in the meantime you might consider a *basic* or two behind the speakers to clear up the "sog" ... the rest depends a lot on you listening style, what you listen for, how long you like to listen, what kind of material turns you on... just like I love carbon fiber interconnects and tolerate their deficiencies in compensation for what the do so well, with that set up, a *silver* resonator about 1 foot outside of each speaker, positioned between the woofer and tweeter, and on the same plane as the speaker face (not on the wall behind in this case) was awesome.... really awesome...
natural occurring harmonics, which are obscured by room resonances, reappear because these cups lessen the peaks and valleys of the room resonances caused by the reflections of its dimensions.
(I didn't promise an easy translation)
take a look at the thread on Brilliant Pebbles - you'll see you're not the only one skeptical of acoustic resonators.
...driven to distraction wondering if you are extracting the best from a system. I have always thought it would be instructive to hear a set of speakers at the designer's, for then you should have some idea of what they think is acceptable performance. Could they be better? Most certainly. But that is always the case. And therein lies the quest (and the need for balance and perspective).
I placed these cups in all the concert halls in this country. No complaints yet. Will go over to Europe next month to do the same.
people feel their voices sound better in the shower.
I can look up the threads if that would help jog your memory.
Last I noticed you were seeking guidance from the prop head crew but I don't believe they had anything to offer to help you cover up the credibility hole you dug for yourself.
Anything new to report?
Or, are you talking about things that you don't know about again?
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