VERIFIED CUSTOMER REVIEWS
John’s dedication to his craft is second to none.
I had pre-ordered an A16 in the summer of 2017, but due to shipping delays, and getting tired of waiting around to experience more than the Dolby Headphone virtualization I’d been using from various sources for many years previously, I decided to pick up a second-hand A8 two years later to hold me over until my A16 finally arrived.
While I was able to make my own PRIR, and while the results were convincing, I was not really satisfied with the outcome. For many reasons, and I knew I could get better at some point. About two years later I tried it again, in a different location and this time the results were even better, but still not satisfactory. The biggest issue was finding a proper room. To get the most out of the Realisers, you really need to get some kind of PRIR that has been done in a studio setting.
My A16 finally arrived, and I had been planning on searching out a studio and attempting this yet again on my own, primarily because no one else was offering the same kind of service John is until he started. Not having much luck finding an adequate studio within driving distance, I had started to wonder if I’d ever get the kind of PRIR I was after. Then I noticed the posts on Head-Fi.org in the dedicated A16 thread about the 3DSoundShop, as well as the demos John was offering.
He had also shared some images of his studio setup in the same thread. What he was doing looked somewhat similar to what I had tried, but in an entirely different league, from the markers he used, to the custom, industrial strength speaker stands to the speakers themselves. It was much more elaborate as well as precise looking too, and it is well beyond the scope of what most will be able, or willing to do.
A few months went by, and then I decided to reach out to him to get a feel for his process, and to see if simply traveling to his studio and having him do all the work would be time better spent than me attempting this on my own yet again. It was.
I don’t believe I’ve ever dealt with someone who has quite the same mix of professionalism and dedication while also being as personable and patient as John can be. His communication skills are exemplary, and he spent time answering any questions I had, sometimes the same ones two or three times even over the course of a few months.
He assuaged any lingering doubts I had, and after months of regular correspondences, I finally made the leap. Just two weeks ago I traveled to his studio with a friend to get an in-person PRIR done for each of us.
It was absolutely worth the trip, as the end result was so much better than what I was able to accomplish on my own. I previously also did not like using my HD800s when watching films, but the in person PRIR I had done was transformative for them. They are now my preferred headphone, and the reputation they sometimes get about being bass light? Previously I would have agreed, but now? Completely unwarranted in my opinion. Feed them a good source, and they will return in kind.
I can finally say that I am completely happy with the results of my PRIR, and the friend who came along with me also thinks it’s a vast improvement over what he was previously using as well. Our movie viewing experiences took on a life that was previously unattainable, and the immersion is out of this world.
If you cannot get an in-person PRIR done, those available on the store would still be a stark improvement over the stock BBC and Surrey rooms, and possibly even better than what most users might be able to do on their own. Either option will take your listening experience to the next level. I cannot recommend John’s services enough. He really is offering the best of the best.
State of the Art Multichannel Audio without Buying any Speakers!
I found out about John and his 3DSoundShop from posts in the QuadraphonicQuad.com forums. I had a Smyth A8 and wondered if the A16 would be an improvement. I bought a used A16 and had gotten it to work acceptably with my Sennheiser 800S cans using the Smyth-supplied default BBC room PRIR and HPEQ files, but I was not satisfied with the 7.1 rendition of 5.1 native music. I asked John if he could make a PRIR that would render 5.1 native source according to the ITU Standard, with the surround speakers at 110° to 120° (slightly behind the listener) instead of at 90° (which is what you get with the default BBC 7.1 rendering.), and the rest is history. John now offers 5.1 PRIRs which adhere to the ITU standard. But that was only the beginning for my A16. John is nothing less than the world authority on Smyth A16 setup and he brings his very own recording studio along with him. Even my advanced age and senility could not defeat him; he doesn’t rest until your A16 experience is the best he can make it, and you don’t need to travel to his studio to enjoy a big improvement in your multichannel audio. Get John’s Dutch & Dutch PRIR and live happily ever after: if you love multichannel audio, it is guaranteed to put a big smile on your face.
Making The Dutch & Dutch PRIR
Last year, early on a Sunday morning, I met up with @Litlgi74 (John of 3D Sound Shop) and @phoenixdogfan at a studio in New Jersey in order to make a custom PRIR using Dutch & Dutch speakers.
Months earlier, I had reached out to John when he mentioned on Head-Fi that he was looking for a studio where he could make PRIR measurements. We had many phone conversations about his plans for 3D Sound Shop, the long wait for D&D speakers, and about the Realiser. We quickly become friends. John called me with updates on his D&D speaker saga. Long story short, getting the D&D speakers for measurement took a herculean effort, because the entire supply in the US was spoken for. Somehow John managed to get them and the day for measurements finally arrived.
When I got to the studio at 8:30 AM, John was already hard at work. He spent the next few hours completing the initial setup. I helped out here and there, but John had a plan and had done this many times before, so I mostly chatted with phoenixdogfan and enjoyed getting to know him a bit.
For those interested in the process, I recommend looking for posts from Litlgi74. You can find photos of the carpet John made with all of the speaker and look angels delineated using colored tape — very clever. Since we only had two D&D speakers, the carpet proved essential as we moved each speaker to the precise Atmos position.
You can also see pictures of the solid steel tripod stands that John designed and then had a friend weld together. D&D speakers are heavy and expensive. Setting up the height channels involved bolting the speakers to the custom stands, strapping them in for extra safety, and then using a car jack to raise them to the proper height. The stands needed to be flawless. If the 67 pound speaker had fallen, John would have been out a lot of money and God help anyone sitting under it. The design proved to be safe and effective.
I mention the carpet and the stands because I want to make clear that John is not just some guy who rented a studio and started doing measurements. He did months of research and became a Realiser expert. He developed a working relationship with the Smyths. He built custom gear, wrote detailed plans, worked with dealers/studios/vendors, and so much more. He is an enthusiast at heart, but he is now also a professional.
The initial measurements were taken with the speakers in the stereo position. Before starting, we carefully positioned the speakers using REWS, a microphone, and the software from D&D. At this point, the three of us took a few minutes to listen to the D&D speakers playing music. Wow! Great speakers in an ideal acoustic space. From that moment, I had no doubt that my PRIR would be worth the effort.
From there, we took turns getting measured for each pair of speaker positions. Recall, we only had two D&D speakers. I doubt that very many (any?) multichannel D&D system exist in the world. So those that own the 3D Sound Shop PRIR that we made that day have something pretty unique. Anyway, we moved the speakers to each position, measured, recalibrated, inserted/checked our mics, measured angle 1-2-3, repeat, repeat. No lie, it was a lot of work.
A lot of work, but 100% worth it. Having a custom PRIR changed my Realiser from a cool gadget into an essential part of my A/V system. Before, my Realiser never matched the realism in its speaker virtualization that I heard back when I first demoed it at CanJam (so long ago). With my custom PRIR, the virtualization significantly improves over the stock BBC one. I attribute that to the quality of the speakers and, I think more importantly, the accuracy of the setup and measurement.
I hope that every Realiser owner tries to get a custom PRIR made (or makes one on their own). Preferably in a really good room.
TL;DR: Get yourself a custom PRIR made however you are able. I can’t recommend John/3D Sound Shop enough. John is trustworthy, fun to chat with, generous with his time, and knows all things Realiser. Plus, he knows how to make a darn good PRIR!
Excellent product and services!
The service provided by John is simply outstanding with genuine help and authentic conversations!
I was new to my A16 and John provided the handles and help me in my learning curve!
I also purchased the Dutch & Dutch PRIR and also the remapped which has amazing imaging and reverb free comparing to the factory default PRIRS
I purchased all the PRIRs John has to offer in his shop. If /when he offers something new, I’ll be first in line.
* The Genelec PRIR is excellent, and D&D is even better