I found the perfect place
New Year’s Eve 2021/2022 I planned to build the Grand Orgue. Almost the whole year passed until the construction was finally completed. After that, I spent months looking for the perfect place to enjoy the Grand Orgue to the fullest.
I found this, of all places, at my employer, who actually made it available to me for a weekend.
I took a closer look at our meeting and training rooms. I noticed that we have a rectangular, really large training room with enough space for the Grand Orgue and an appropriate listening position.
First, I needed at least 3 meters of clearance from the side and back walls and enough space to create the perfect listening triangle. This room offered just that.
After getting permission from my employer to use the room on the weekend, I found a free Saturday, packed everything in my car and drove to the company.
Man, I had forgotten how heavy these damn speakers are… 🙈 I had to carry them down the stairs from my apartment to my car by myself, because they are way too heavy for my girlfriend to help me. Of course, no one else had time to help me either, but it was also very spontaneous. Oh well.
Too many customers…
After arriving at the company, we noticed that there were groups of customers roaming around the area. Apparently, we are so popular that even on weekends customers like to come in. It was impossible to enjoy measuring and listening when people were around us. Plus, it would have looked silly to our customers to have someone set up their speakers in the training room.
So I did only a few short tests and decided to come back the next day – Sunday. I left all the equipment in a storage room and we went home.
Rearrangement and Placement
The next day I arrived alone, and finally there were no more customers on site. The whole company just for me. Time to get started.
I moved all the tables and chairs to the back of the room. Some part of the tables can be slid over the chairs, so I was able to get a few more centimeters out. There was now enough room in the front to set up.
In addition, the fabric of the back of the chairs formed a kind of diffuser, which proved to be very useful. Otherwise, the room is very bare and would have a lot of reverberation. The carpet was also helpful here.
I measured the distances to the walls and placed the speakers 3 meters from each wall and 5 meters from each other. The amplifier found its place in the storage room.
This is still the PA amplifier with built-in fan. However, I did not want the whirring of the fans to distract me. I even turned off the refrigerator in the corner of the training room for the time of the session.
Then I started measuring the room.
Measurement and EQ
For the measurements I used the dbx controller from my PA system. It offers an Auto EQ mode to get a rough impression of the room acoustics and counteract accordingly. Luckily we have a microphone stand at the company, because I still haven’t bought one.
I measured in 4 different places to get the best possible result so that the Auto EQ works as good as possible.
The auto EQ of the dbx has several modes and is normally set to PA, which boosts the bass range. I set it to flat for the Grand Orgue so it tried to flatten the curve as much as possible.
Let’s take a look at the measured frequency response below.
As you can see, we have a lot of low-frequency response due to the large space behind the speakers. However, the dbx measured a deficit at frequencies above 16 kHz. I think this is due to the large distance of 5 meters between the speakers and the listening position – and clearly audible. So with the Auto EQ correction, it sounds much more natural.
However, many irregularities were measured between 90 and 500 Hz as well. The original Auto EQ reduced these frequencies by almost 6 dB, resulting in a very weak output in this range. Therefore, I manually adjusted band 1 to reduce only 1.8 dB instead of 6 dB. Sounds great now.
With this EQ I enjoyed a very lively and crisp sound, not only with music, but also with soundtracks of famous movies as I will explain soon. It was important to me to achieve a sound as natural as possible.
First, lets take a seat! 🥰
I took this picture with the wide angle lens on my iPhone, which makes it look like I’m sitting too far away. In reality, I’m sitting 5 meters away from the speakers here – and the speakers are also 5 meters apart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t photograph it any better.
I started with one of my favorite bands, Alt-J. Their song Nara is really beautiful and has a lot of different instruments and a lot of details that are not all easy to recognize. Not to mention the emotions the singer expresses in this song. The instruments really play around those emotions perfectly. The Grand Orgue rendered this song so brilliantly that I shed a tear. Goosebumps.
Next up – more indie. Puerto Cabezas, NI by Lewis Del Mar has some really aggressive but clean sounds that I think are hard to reproduce. The speakers put a smile on my face again, so crisp the sounds flew through the room.
Malt Liquor – also by Lewis Del Mar – is pretty minimalist in terms of instrument choices, but has some really hard guitar riffs and drum sounds that definitely got my foot tapping. This was the song that made me lose my fear of another wave of customers walking through the company on a weekend. Now I was really getting into the groove.
With Paul’s Dream by Hans Zimmer – the DUNE soundtrack – I made the air in the room shake. The intensity of the frequencies below 40 Hz was simply stunning. In my mind’s eye, the entire soundstage of the orchestra built up and I located every single instrument. I left the room once to check if it was as loud in front of the room as it felt in the room, but that was not the case.
By the way, this is also something I noticed at my home: The Grand Orgue manages to create a really lively and intense sound image inside the room, but as soon as you close the door behind them, you can hardly hear it. Nothing is excited, no glasses clink, no windows make noise. It’s like there’s no negative impact on the listening room at all.
The Void by Muse was the next song I remember, and it has some pretty 3D-ish sounds to it. Beyond that, the song continues to unfold from second to second. That was the point where the space behind the Grand Orgue started to breathe. The soundstage was so big I thought I was sitting in an auditorium. Just incredible. Everything about those speakers.
Just one more song…
I kept listening through my Spotify playlist called Noah chillt with many other songs from Alt-J, Lewis Del Mar, some more soundtracks, something more exotic. Each time, it blew me away. Whether details, scale, intensity, loudness or vividness. It was finally really worth it to build these speakers.
I wish I could share this enthusiasm and love with more people.