Quarter Notes Newsletter

Quarter Notes NewsletterQuarter Notes is Jim's free e-mail newsletter. It includes detailed set-up tips and updates, as well as objective reports on the latest developments in audio. Additionally, it expands on the tips from Get Better Sound, both from Jim’s insights, as well as in response to your questions and comments.

Jim is always thinking of something that he wished he had included, and this way you won’t miss it. In fact, there have already been more than twenty issues of Quarter Notes (equivalent to another book).  They have received a tremendous response by GBS owners.

Note: Quarter Note Press, publisher of Get Better Sound, is committed to preserving your privacy.  Your e-mail address is kept confidential and secure.

Quarter Notes #23

Dear Get Better Sound & Through the Sound Barrier owners,

Welcome to the twenty-third issue of Quarter Notes, published on December 10, 2018. Quarter Notes is a free newsletter for Get Better Sound and Through the Sound Barrier owners, expanding on both, as well as introducing new and timely subjects.

Best email address

Since you’re reading this, the e-mail address with which I sent this QNs must have worked. However, the only e-mail address I have is the one associated with your initial Get Better Sound or Through the Sound Barrier order. If you have an e-mail address that you’d prefer to use to receive Quarter Notes notifications, send it to jim@getbettersound.com. Be sure to include the e-mail address I used originally, along with the one that you want to use to replace it.

Time doesn't wait for anyone

Wow! It's been about 10 months(!) since the last Quarter Notes newsletter. Most of my health issues are handled at this point, and we are underway again!

This issue features several items:

  1. A to-date-not-too-well-known isolation system - compared to most of the audiophile products in this category, significantly less expensive - and at least as good...
  2. Computer audio updates
  3. An affordable product that can help you to make major inroads in your system's level of musical involvement. This same product is related and will be connected to the pending Through the Sound Barrier project.
  4. Special thanks & recognition
  5. TTSB update

QNs #23 features


I only recently discovered the Equipment Vibration Protectors (EVPs) from AV Room Service. Honestly speaking, on first glance they resemble some other "component isolators". that are not too effective, IMO. So I didn't pay much attention, until I saw Tom Gibbs' review in Positive Feedback, and Bob Katz's testimonial, both edited for brevity:

“The overall effect of the EVPs in the listening room is an audiophile’s dream: deeper, blacker backgrounds; a less congested midrange; and more tuneful and well-defined bass. Here’s the part I wasn’t expecting: not only have the EVPs totally transformed the listening experience inside my room, but the EVPs underneath the subwoofers also have helped reduce the amount of vibrational noise transmitted to the main level of the house. I can now listen to most everything I normally listen to at my preferred volume level, without creating complete chaos elsewhere in the house. I’m blown away by the EVPs; the difference isn’t subtle, and the time I’ve spent listening over the past couple of weeks has been in amazement at the improvement wrought by these relatively unobtrusive devices. Very highly recommended!” -- Tom Gibbs - Positive Feedback 9/1/18

“When AV RoomService’s specially-designed and constructed EVP isolators arrived, I replaced the wood blocks and the difference was 'night and day': The sound not only tightened up, but it became quieter.” -- Bob Katz, Mastering Engineer & 3-time Grammy winner


So I contacted Norman Varney at AV Room Service, and he sent me some EVP 4s to try out. They are far more thoroughly designed than I originally thought when I first saw pictures of them.

A bit of the reams of info from the AV Room Solutions website:

The EVP core is a matrix of precisely compressed high density molded glass fibers, which allows controlled air movement through the fibers. This action provides viscous damping, reducing physical motion, while widening the frequency bandwidth of attenuation. As sound energy moves fibers against fibers, the friction transfers sound energy to heat energy.

The annealed fiberglass is produced by a multiple flame attenuation process which generates fibers having modulus of elasticity of 10.5 million PSI (738,223 kg/sq. cm) and nominal fiber diameters of less than .00027 inches (6.8 microns). The matrix of the glass leaf springs is bonded at all fiber intersections with a low VOC water-resistant binder during the molding process under controlled heat and pressure. The material is then stabilized by multiple precompression cycles to many times the maximum published load capacity for the specific density of the media.

The cold-rolled steel plates on the top and bottom of the pad function to evenly deflect the weight across the whole surface for even weight distribution. They also allow cone or spikes to be used without damaging or compromising the performance of the pad.

Our own RoomDamp 2 constrained-layer damping compound is used to bond the steel plates to the fiberglass core, and the rubber to the steel plates. This damping further improves the EVP absorption properties by lowering the Q-factor, which broadens the bandwidth, reduces ringing, etc. RoomDamp 2 is a viscoelastic paste that remains pliable and never hardens.

The paint applied to the fiberglass pad is a very special formula that allows flexing. This elasticity means the pad can be compressed without the paint cracking or flaking. The formula contains low VOCs and is UV protected. The flexible paint does cause slow shape-return after pad compression.

Unlike other elastomeric materials, EVPs are resistant to water, mold, sunlight, humidity, age and extreme temperatures.

EVP materials, manufacturing and assembly is U.S.A. Made. They are not sexy, but they are very functional and affordable.


So how did they work? I was frankly amazed - especially at the huge improvement from my REL 212 SE subs. Countless audiophiles had said that the bass here was the best, most natural they had heard. But now, the bass is at an entirely different level. Not wanting to miss any benefits, I ended up using them under all of my components.

The things that impressed me most were the increased Dynamic contrast, the enhanced sense of Presence from the performers and their instruments, as well as the overall more pure sound, which meant more musically involving Tone.

Rather than go on & on, below is a link to the AV Room Service section re the EVPs. Pricing and more is there, as well as all that you need for determining which model best meets your needs. Best of all, Norman allows a full return if you are not satisfied!

Click here --> http://avroomservice.com/evp-2/

Below is a photo that I took to more easily compare the size of the EVP 4s. The EVP 2s (not shown) are about one-fourth the width & length of the 4s. The two different finishes depend on the surface to which they will be mounted. They operate the same:

EVP 4 HDs under my REL 212 SEs. These (in this case, they are mounted on carpet) have the foam grid as shown above on the left. The plate between the RELs and the floor is not about acoustics -- it helped me to get the RELs (mine are mass weighted to 225 lbs.) mounted on the EVPs. FWIW - the little copper wire is used to ground a nearby component, unrelated to the RELs. :)

EVP 4 HDs under my ASR Emitter II amplifier:

EVP 4 HDs under my Tannoy Canterbury loudspeakers:


For those of you who use a computer as a source for digital files to go to a server or DAC, I recently ran into some issues that could affect the overall sound quality of such a set-up. Some of you probably know all about this, but I confess it was larger than I had considered, so I thought it might prove worthwhile to some QN subscribers...

I think it was way back in QNs #2 that I mentioned that some CD players sounded significantly better if - after beginning the playback of a CD - you put them in pause for 30 seconds or so, then restarted the playback. Not all CD players exhibited this behavior, but more than a few did.

Recently, with one of my laptop computers, I noticed a similar phenomenon. Somehow, the track pre-load function (I assume this was the culprit) was not working so well, as I noticed that if I restarted a track after 5-10 seconds, it sounded better -- not a subtle difference at all.

I also noticed a lesser quality sound if I hadn't restarted my computer before using it, in order to clear out all of the unneeded memory info that had collected from the latest use.

On some computer music programs such as Audirvana, you have the option to adjust the track preload capability, in conjunction with the size of your computer's ram storage. IME, it takes a bit of listening to find the optimum settings. If you choose 'play' and then restart after 5-10 seconds, and the sound is better, you probably have some investigating and adjusting work ahead of you.



One thing has become very apparent in the last couple of years, and I regret not having discussed it adequately.

The reaction to the RoomPlay Reference sessions here has been overwhelmingly positive - in fact, 100%. The idea is to give audiophiles a reference for what is possible, and to show them how they can achieve it, without spending more money on equipment. I am NOT saying don't buy more equipment. I AM saying that getting your system to 'play the room' will literally SWAMP the effects of any new audio gadget, no matter how highly reviewed.

Additionally, many of my RoomPlay & RoomPlay Reference playlist tracks are licensed for TTSB. A RPR session literally makes the TTSB project come alive. Honestly speaking, I no longer have the time to perform as many RoomPlay sessions as I once did. The RoomPlay Reference session is intended to assist you in learning how to do it yourself. No amount of money spent on the latest & greatest electronics, cables, & other tweaks can remotely compare to the value of RPR.

The new issue of Stereophile - that comes out in January - has this ad:

Get the keys to unlock your music...

Fabulous electronics and cables, as well as the latest and greatest tweaks, in a system not fully integrated with the room, will most certainly NOT sound as fabulous as they could have.

Having observed this event occur constantly, Get Better Sound author and RoomPlay system set-up guy Jim Smith wanted to offer audiophiles a rewarding way out of the “I just need to buy the (“latest & greatest)” morass. He calls it RoomPlay Reference.

RoomPlay Reference

Designed to help audiophiles establish a true reference standard for their systems’ sound, and—more importantly—to learn how to achieve it with their own systems, RoomPlay Reference has achieved a 100% success rate for its participants, with everyone indicating the extraordinary value of the session.

During your session, you’ll be hearing and learning about the importance of addressing Dynamics, Presence, and Tone to unlock previously unattained musical involvement from your system. All of the common audiophile aspects are improved, but your focus will be on the music.

Getting your system optimized to work with your room—rather than against it—will not only mean vastly increased musical enjoyment and involvement, it also will mean that when you do try out a new audio device, you will actually be able to fully evaluate its performance in your system.


A RoomPlay Reference session (about 3-4 hours) is $370, including the listening session, the Q & A, the training, and 90-days access via phone or e-mail.

Additionally, should you wish to engage Jim's services for a RoomPlay session, the $370 is fully credited against the RoomPlay session.

Much more detail can be found on the Get Better Sound website. Jim encourages those that are interested to contact him with their questions. See contact info below.

RoomPlay Reference comments (addressed to Jim, edited for brevity)

Jim has received a huge number of satisfied comments. Here are a few of the briefest ones:

“I’ve been pursuing this hobby for about 35 years. The improvements I’ve gotten with equipment upgrades through the years have all been good, but just incrementally better. Yesterday really gives me hope of taking things to a whole new level.”
—W. T., Alabama

“…I learned a lot! It’s certainly clear to me that there is so much more contained in my CD collection that I’ve never heard before.... I was blown away by the session in your room… I have ‘seen the light’ (or heard it as the case may be.)”
—S. K., Rhode Island

“…Monday’s RoomPlay Reference session was one of the top three audio experiences of my life. (the other two were intimate live concerts.)
“I had three goals, going in. #1 was to better understand what I should be listening for. #2, I wanted an opportunity to hear 'what great sounds like,' truly benchmarking my reference. And #3, I wanted to pick up some insights into a roadmap I’m building for a new ground-up system.
“You absolutely hit all three goals right out of the park!
“I think a RoomPlay Reference session is one of the very best values in hifi. I could not recommend it more highly."

—M. O., Georgia

Take Action

Visit www.getbettersound.com for info on RoomPlay Reference, as well as Get Better Sound. For additional info, contact Jim at jim@getbettersound.com, or call 770-777-2095.

Doesn’t it make sense to hear all of what you purchased? More musical involvement and less money wasted—what’s not to like?

Get Better Sound: Reference Set-up Manual, DVDs, Quarter Notes,
StraightTalk, and RoomPlay™ System/Room Voicing

Internet: www.getbettersound.com • Phone: 770-777-2095 • E-mail: jim@getbettersound.com



I want to shout out a special thanks to the AudioShark audio message board - www.audioshark.org. So many boards devolve into a meaner-than-I-want-to-read style. Not AudioShark. The owner, Mike Bovaird, has kept it fun & informative. I highly recommend it.

I also want to thank Mike for allowing/making numerous posts about my work. Here is a recent thread: https://www.audioshark.org/general-audio-discussion-15/jim-smith-come-town-15555.html

Also, Mike is involved in bringing a high-end audio show to Florida this coming February. The list of exhibitors to a totally new — untested — event is impressive. If you can get there, it should be a good one!


Finally, a Through The Sound Barrier update. I just replied to a backer in New Zealand, so it's easier if I simply repeat most of what I said to him:

Hi Xxxx,

Thanks for your note.

Some updates:

I have largely recovered from the unexpected (& expensive) health issues I had for the past nine-ten months.

Due to the ridiculously long delays, for which I am deeply embarrassed and so sorry, I have felt that I needed to add to the value of the project.

The good news is the project has expanded even more in its capabilities for the owner, so that I don’t know of anything else like it.

Here is the relevant info/update:

Book One is completed.

Book Two is a bit over ¾ completed. As this is being written, I am working on the description/application of each music track (of 45) from my RoomPlay playlist. I'm at the most complex part - slow going. That’s the bad news.

The System Log is underway.

All 22 (not just 10 as was planned) (also at my originally unplanned & considerable extra expense) of the CD tracks from my RoomPlay voicing playlist (CDs 2 & 3) have FINALLY been fully licensed, and are at the mastering facility, as well as CD #1 (5 mechanical tracks with one requiring approval and which is now fully licensed as well).

The DVD will be produced when Book Two is completed. It has very helpful info that I’ve not seen elsewhere. It should go fairly quickly.

The System Log booklet can be produced relatively quickly, at any time when the design and copy is completed.

There are a couple more items that will be included (not small in time nor expense) - but I plan to announce them when all is ready.

Given that info, I would say that TTSB is still several months out.

Hope to get a QNs out soon as well (within the next week or so).

a) Last QNs issue's question re the DVD content - best as is, online, or other options - requesting your feedback concerning the video format question. I was quite surprised to receive only about two dozen replies that requested an online version, rather than the DVD. So it will remain as a DVD.

b) For those of you that pledged at the RoomPlay, RoomPlay Reference, or Barrier Talk (StraightTalk) level, you can use your pledge at any time. No need to wait for TTSB to finally arrive. Fully half of all backers at those pledge levels have already done so. Contact Jim - jim@getbettersound.com - to discuss scheduling your session.

That's all, folks.

Keep on listening!

Questions or comments?

E-mail me: jim@getbettersound.com


Previous Quarter Notes Issues

  • Quarter Notes #1 (Volume 1, Issue #1)

    Topics: Tesa tape • Master the mister • Why single-ended amplifiers can sound so good • Why single-ended amplifiers can sound so bad • Bi-wiring • Room temp/humidity/Rives • The Concert Experience • Twenty Minutes vs. Two Hours to Nirvana? • Small, medium and large listening rooms • CES 2009 quick note • Laser distance measurers and levels • RTAs • House calls

  • QUARTER NOTES #2 (Volume 1, Issue #2)

    Topics: A question about CD technology • Bi-wiring, part two • From common sense to sixth sense – Srajan Ebaen • Three common-sense tweaks • Tweaks to watch • Tweaks to try • Sensitivity to sensitivity? • Top 10 standards of quality for high-end audio retail specialists • Message boards • Sad, but true • Hourly rate for consulting

  • Quarter Notes #3 (Volume 1, Issue #3)

    Topics: The top 3 tips I keep hearing about from readers • Vinyl 101 - A few tips on the return to vinyl – Jeff Dorgay • How to Eat an Elephant • Computers and Audio – Charles Hanson

  • Quarter Notes #4 (Volume 1, Issue #4)

    Topics: From recent experience • On-the-job observations • The sound of rooms • Hard drive housekeeping • Ear protectors, new basement, fluorescent lights • AC polarity tip • Questions from Italy • Music review – Geoff Poor • Absolute polarity -- controversial, but worth checking out

  • Quarter Notes #5 (Volume 2, Issue #1)

    Topics: The ACK Attack and un-common Knowledge • Basics re-visited - a little more info: subwoofer set-up, speaker separation and staging, long wall or short wall?, affordable RTA, absolute phase/polarity, sliding base for spiked speakers, rack in the middle – AGAIN!, spikes – AGAIN! • Stacking the decks with DEQX • Demystifying room acoustic treatment

  • Quarter Notes #6 (Volume 2, Issue #2)

    Topics: A reader teaches me a lesson – Computer Audio • New room designs • Set-up diagrams • Stereo subs • Audio forums • Back in the saddle again

  • Quarter Notes #7 (Volume 2, Issue #3)

    Topics: The new Get Better Sound DVD! • Computer audio, part two - the sound, better recordings, more involving sound, Redbook CD, Pure Music, five easy pieces, computer hardware upgrades, interview with Rob Robinson – CEO of Pure Music

  • Quarter Notes #8 (Volume 2, Issue #4)

    Topics: Get Better Sound DVD • Introducing RoomPlay™ • A surprising story about voicing • Room eq systems, and a brief story • How far is too far? • Uneven speaker wire lengths • Fuses as tweaks • Sliders • Degrees of separation • Subs for every system? • Computer audio and absolute polarity • Rack ‘em up one more time!

  • Quarter Notes #9 (Interim Volume 3, Issue #1)

    Topics: Nothing much to see here – just a report about some health issues that were interfering with my work.

  • Quarter Notes #10 (Volume 3, Issue #2)

    Topics: Health issues and your correspondence • It’s not just babies that take nine months – the 1st comprehensive GBS DVD review is born! • Best coupling to the floor • Speaker sliders – a better solution • When sound is foremost • Mini-breakthrough in my Computer Audio system – and a tip even if you don’t use computer audio but you have a TV connected to your system • Apology re RTAs • Balanced outputs – better or worse? • When do the best measurements NOT yield the best musical involvement? • Another instance of technically correct set-up at the expense of the music • RoomPlay Reference™

  • Quarter Notes #11 (Volume 3, Issue #3)

    Topics: Half Notes, anyone? • RoomPlay™ & RoomPlay Reference™ update • New – StraightTalk • The 83% rule – NOT! • Clever and entertaining blog • SPL meter • Full-range speakers need subs too… • Auto EQ & bass levels • How to voice subs (2, not 1, of course) with full range speakers • Listening seat not always against or near the back wall • Effects and proper usage of Tube Traps • My computer audio settings – NOT • Three good questions • Effects of ear wax • Near-field listening

  • Quarter Notes #12 (Volume 3, Issue #4)

    Topics: Through the Sound Barrier • A different kind of Sound Barrier • Kickstarter

  • Quarter Notes #13 (Volume 4, Issue #1)

    Topics: Our FIFTH Anniversary! • Internet message boards and a continuing invitation • System priorities • Organic EQ vs electronic EQ • Ultimate tweak for Macs when used as computer music servers? • Tweaksville • Latest developments with Through the Sound Barrier • Inside info about the delay

  • Quarter Notes #14 (Volume 4, Issue #2)

    Topics: Finding old newsletters • Inexpensive RTA that works • Soulless • The High Fidelity Report • New sound room & office • Just a little loving and moving • Large items between your speakers • Quiet and efficient HVAC • Duelund outboard crossover • Laser info • TTSB updates • StraightTalk • More…

  • Quarter Notes #15 (Volume 4, Issue #3)

    Topics: Mail servers • Light Harmonic Light Speed USB cable • Favorite audio blog • Listening room dimensions • Can't get no satisfaction? • Second that emotion • Can Jim voice your system when he is in the area? • In the crosshairs • Links to Breaking Through Podcast episodes if you cannot use iTunes • How do you know if your TTSB pledge is on file? • Previous Quarter Notes

  • Quarter Notes #16 (Volume 4, Issue #4)

    Topics: Audiophile angst • Greater isolation for RoomPlay Reference sessions – additional construction • Invitation • Breaking Through podcast #7 is available now • Previous Quarter Notes

  • Quarter Notes #17 (Volume 5, Issue #1)

    Topics: Better sounding computer audio • Better hearing = Better Sound • Better health • TTSB update • Quasi-leave-of-absence • Breaking Through podcasts • Previous Quarter Notes

  • Quarter Notes #18 (Volume 5, Issue #2)

    Topics: Cheap ‘n Cheerful • The Missing Reference • Dynamics, Presence, & Tone • TTSB update • RE: my recent Quasi-leave-of-absence • The Breaking Through podcast

  • Quarter Notes #19 (VOLUME 5, ISSUE #3)

    Topics: The silence between the notes • Two not-so-politically-correct techniques to gain even more musically engaging results from your listening sessions • 4 on the floor • Relative importance of components – a subjective ranking • Strip down • Digital EQ & DSP • Facebook & Friends • Mono & Stereo rant • TTSB update • TTSB Podcast

  • Quarter Notes #20 (VOLUME 5, ISSUE #4)

    Topics: EarPlanes importance • IBE • Copper articles – and time required • AudioShark forum & link – Polite & Helpful • Acoustic Wave Launch & Sliders • Linear Power Supply for Mac computer & PS Audio LanRover • Duelund • Cable Isolation • Facebook Updates • TTSB backers – fulfilling parts of pledges where possible • Importance of Book Two for TTSBTTSB update • TTSB Podcast

  • Quarter Notes #21 (VOLUME 6, ISSUE #1)

    Topics: Mass loading loudspeakers • Evolution of RoomPlay Reference • Latest Copper e-mag issues #26, #28 & #29 • Effects of equipment cabinet between your speakers explained • New TTSB Podcast! • FaceBook Updates • TTSB Update

  • Quarter Notes #22

    Topics: Delay since last issue • Re: mass loading from last issue • Uptone Audio ISO REGEN • PS Audio Direct Stream DAC & Memory Player • No Copper articles for a while – until TTSB is completed • Breaking Through podcasts

  • Quarter Notes #23

    Topics: A to-date-not-too-well-known isolation system • Computer audio updates • RoomPlay Reference • Special thanks & recognition • TTSB Update

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