RoomPlay™ is Jim’s custom voicing service. Jim has two main goals when it comes to improving his clients’ audio systems:
So imagine that your listening room has no walls, no ceilings, and no speakers. The musicians have assembled to play a special concert just for you in that space. Here’s how Srajan Ebaen, editor and publisher at 6Moons.com, describes the experience of listening in Jim’s personal soundroom*:
"With my eyes closed, I attempted to obtain an aural signature of the room. I couldn't. Nothing. There was very tacit recording venue data, yes—but none that portrayed the room itself. It had been entirely subtracted from the listening equation!
"This 'no speaker!' sensation was uncanny. Moreover, it was exceedingly tactile. That was clearly the result of meticulous setup... In short, Jim had banished from my awareness all reminders of mechanical sound sources and actual versus virtual environs."
It can be so powerful that you even feel the emotional impact of the music the next day, as if you’d attended a live concert. Jim calls this phenomenon “playing the room.” Hence, RoomPlay™.
A $10,000 audio system properly playing the room is vastly superior to a $100,000 system that isn't. If you have made a significant investment in your system, doesn't it make sense to finally hear what you paid for?
Jim describes his objectives for his clients:
“When I voice a system, there is an internal list of standards that I expect to achieve. It’s my reference. I carry the sound in my head (and heart). That list includes:
There is tremendous freedom in being released from the constant urge to upgrade. Without a reference, the question should be, “What do I hope to achieve with this upgrade, exactly?” But with a known reference, the system can serve as a source of musical satisfaction and even as a refuge from day-to-day pressures (including desires to “upgrade”).”
You might be a RoomPlay™ client if you are:
First, you should know that a RoomPlay™ session is intensive work, not a fun time to chat. The end result will be greatly increased enjoyment and musical satisfaction, but the path to get there is serious work. For Jim, the sessions are physically, mentally, and even emotionally exhausting. It's a bit like getting a room ready for an audio show.
That's why Jim requires the client to be present during the entire session. The idea is not only to dramatically improve the client's system, but also to show the client how to do it should the occasion arise in the future.
Due to the fact that every system is different, with different requirements (for example, some may be in Jim's local area, and some may be in Hawaii or Canada) there can be no one-size-fits-all pricing. There are some general guidelines, however:
Each time zone difference adds US $150. Jim is in the Eastern Time Zone. So a Level 2 session in Nashville, TN would be US $1995 + 150 = $2145.
Contact Jim for Alaska & Hawaii rates.
Canada & Mexico add US $300.
For other countries, contact Jim.
Typical travel expenses may include airfare, lodging, and car rental. Systems with unusual tuning devices or requirements may require additional expense, to be discussed with the client.
RoomPlay™ clients often get more excited about their systems than they have been previously. So they have questions. The price of the RoomPlay™ session includes free consultations by phone or e-mail for 12 months following the session.
The whole point of a RoomPlay session is to completely transcend the performance gains that audiophiles get when they spend money on electronics or cables. As Jim puts it: “Addressing how electrons flow through circuits or wires is minor when compared to addressing the acoustic wave launch into your room and how you receive it at your listening seat.”
Therefore, Jim guarantees that you will have never experienced a similar improvement with the addition of any electronics or cables, no matter how expensive. If you disagree that the RoomPlay™ session brings you the level of musical involvement promised, then you set the price that you think is fair for Jim’s services. He wants you to be satisfied, period.
An in-depth RoomPlay system/room voicing description:
The link below features running commentary from the highly respected AudioShark audio forum. It’s about Jim’s RoomPlay service. At the time of posting this link, it is eight pages in length. However, the most relevant posts at this time are: #1, #4, #15, #22, #26, #34, #39, #44, #47, #56, #62, #66, #72, and #73.
Another (related) RoomPlay description:
Also, beginning at post #29, a more recent RoomPlay session:
RoomPlay Reference session:
RoomPlay Reference revisited:
Below are just two comments from recent RoomPlay clients. If you'd like to see some more of the many similar emails Jim has received, email him using the Contact link below, and he'll happily send them to you.
From a client in Bethesda, MD:
As you’ll recall, I made it a point NOT to listen to the system while you were working, preferring to hear the difference only on my own familiar music at the very end of the process. So when you were through, I hooked up my own DAC (which was cold from being “off” all day) and played bits and pieces from my own music. Ahhhh…. Where to start?
The soundstage now fills the space behind the speakers, both left to right and front to back, and I can hear clearly where the musicians are located relative to one another.
The musicians are actually “there” for the first time! The “presence” is maybe 5 times what it used to be.
The detail (dynamics, harmonics, performance artifacts,, etc.) is thrilling, and virtually every familiar track now has a bonus of previously unknown sound to offer.
The bass response, which wasn’t exactly shabby to start with, is stunning. The music has a foundation, even if it wasn’t well recorded.
I’m listening at louder levels, because there’s so much more to hear, and it doesn’t SOUND loud at all -- it just sounds alive!
If I had to sum it up in one word, that word would probably be “exciting.” And the improvement is much more than I’ve experienced from ANY equipment change (even the Durand tonearm) in all the years I’ve been doing this. Thank you, Jim!
From a client in Houston, TX:
Just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for your excellent work. The system is sounding wonderful!!
I am AMAZED at the amount of musical information that is on my favorite music that I just didn't know was there. I have smiled many times in my music room. THANK YOU!!
I especially wanted to highlight your professionalism. In today's world it is rare to find people who are honest, serious and committed to excellence in what they do. You are one of those rare people and it is a breath of fresh air to know that people like you still exist.
I am privileged to have had you voice my room and come to my home. I will always be grateful. Thank you again for all your help.
"Many thanks Jim for a rich and rewarding session! I learned a lot and very much appreciated expanding my musical horizons as well. I have a number of questions and will send them along as soon as I process a bit.
"It is certainly clear to me that there is so much more contained in my cd collection that I have never really heard before and that the quest for hi-res and multi-channel is not where most listeners should be putting their energies (and money). There is a whole world of music on my shelves waiting for the right room conditions to emerge!!...
"...As you can tell, I was blown away by listening in your room… I have 'seen the light' (or heard it as the case may be.)"
– S.K., RI.
"I just wanted to write and say again how much I enjoyed seeing you, and how much I learned. My brain was on overload on the way back. It seemed so surreal, going there and back in 24 hours and listening and learning so much from you. Your generosity and willingness to spend the time and share your expertise was heartwarming, and meaningful. Thanks again so much!
"BTW, you were right - I checked when I got back and the Quads are sitting with the center of the speakers ~6-9 inches down from my ears. Even with the spikes added and the weight, they’d be a minimum 4-5 inches down, and maybe still 6-7 inches down. So this is job one.
"After I raise and forward-tilt them, I’ll work with moving them closer together and play more with toe, then see what moving them forward on the toed axis reveals, to see if I can’t get more of the 'you are there' sense I felt in your room.
"Once again, thank you hardly seems adequate. Take good care and stay well. Looking forward to talking with you again…"
– J.B., VA.
I realized that, in order to establish a known reference for audiophiles, they needed to hear a system that addresses the common issues that audiophiles face daily. There’s only one place where I hear all of the notes reproduced correctly with all of the soundstage, presence, tone, dynamics and musical involvement presented properly. That’s on my own system, in my listening room. Industry vets and advanced audiophiles who’ve experienced this system unanimously agree.
I’ve always carried those same sounds in my head, as a reference when voicing a system (including both RoomPlay™ engagements, and setting up for shows).
And now you can carry them as well, and use them to move your system to an entirely different level, with a service designed to help you establish a rock-solid reference. I call it RoomPlay Reference™.
For what it's worth, my goal has been that my personal system not be priced in the super stratosphere, but be priced at or below other “typical” high-end systems. After all, it’s about the set-up in the room, not the components. I’ve achieved similar results (written about on the Internet) with other components in the same room.
RoomPlay Reference™ visitors to my listening room sit in the hot seat, and we listen together. But this is a no-excuse demo. No excuses for the bass, presence, soundstaging, tonality, dynamics, musical involvement, etc. No excuses.
Although I obviously have thousands of cuts I could play, during our Reference session, I’ll be focusing on "The RoomPlay 48," the selections that I choose to play depending on the outcome of our demos, and your reactions and needs for your system. Each cut will be evaluated as to its relevance and how it can be used as a reference cut in your own system. We will focus on these cuts in a way that will burn into your consciousness how they sounded and why they sound the way they do.
At seminars, I often ask attendees this question – Do you remember how a concert can affect your emotions, so that it’s not uncommon to feel its effects the next day, even at work? Most will agree that they have had that experience. Then, when I ask them how often have they experienced it the next day after a listening session at home, all I get is blank stares. I’m not sure they really believe me when I tell them they deserve that experience and that it is possible.
In fact, voicing a system with a goal to deliver that effect is what I call the Art of the Possible. You should still feel the effects of the listening session the next day. You certainly will after a RoomPlay Reference™ session. In fact, a recent visitor, not an audiophile, someone who is very musically sensitive, said, as she was leaving the demo room to go back downstairs, “I feel like I’m leaving a musical sanctuary.”
If we can escape the mechanical aspects of music listening and move into another realm, then we finally have something. Yes, there are always some technical issues to be resolved, but once they are handled, what remains is the music. I cannot think of a simpler way of saying this - it’s the audio equivalent of hard-wiring your ears to your heart.
I guarantee that you will carry this sound with you when you get back home. It will serve as a reference. But it can only be a true reference if you have it to play on your system, so that you can compare what is possible with what you are hearing.
That is why you’ll receive the CD cuts we used - exactly the same source material used in your RoomPlay Reference™ demos & in my RoomPlay™ voicing sessions. These CDs are burned on the same digital system that I use for demos and voicing. The CDs are the property of Quarter Note Press, made available to you as a courtesy loan during the 90-day access period.
Having listened to and discussed what to listen for with each cut, you can play them back at home. Now you’ll have a real reference.
Your RoomPlay Reference™ session also includes 90 days of phone or e-mail access to discuss what you are hearing and how to overcome certain issues that you will discover. With what you learn during the listening session, and in follow-up discussions, your system will reach a whole new level.
A RoomPlay Reference™ session (about 3-4 hours) is $395, including the session, the training, the discs, and 90-days access via phone or e-mail.
And get this: should you later decide to engage my services for a RoomPlay™ voicing on your own system, the $395 you've already paid for RoomPlay Reference™ will be credited toward the cost of the RoomPlay™ session, as long as it is booked (not necessarily performed) within 180 days of our RoomPlay Reference™ session.
So if you are already leaning towards a RoomPlay™ session, essentially the RoomPlay Reference™ fee is free!
If the concept of a RoomPlay™ or RoomPlay Reference™session is appealing, the simplest thing is to use the Contact link at the bottom of this page to connect with Jim, so that you can both explore the possibility.
In the case of a RoomPlay™ session, after initial contact has been made, Jim will request some images of your listening area. Sometimes this is not an option for some clients, so the next step – with or without images and/or a room drawing - is a phone conversation. Jim will want to know about your system, your room, your assessment of the system’s performance in the room, and your expectations.
Some of the time, having seen the images and discussed the project, Jim advises against going further, because there are too many obstacles or a lack of flexibility in set-up. He wants to be certain that if he takes on a project, the results will be dramatic for the client.
No session is booked without a 35% deposit for the projected dates. There are numerous ways to make that deposit, and Jim will discuss the various options with you.