The double edged sword

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In yesterday’s postwe began the story of how MultiWave was invented. We left off at the point where I started questioning what was so sacred about the 60Hz frequency that comes out of the wall socket and started experimenting with higher frequencies in an attempt to “increase” the size of the power transformer inside connected equipment.

My first attempt at this was 90Hz and it stunned me with what I heard. Immediately the top end of the system opened up as if one had removed a blanket from the sound. Imagine my surprise that with a simple twist of a knob I could dramatically improve what I was hearing.

If a little’s good, more must be better – I ramped up to 120Hz and lo and behold even better. Now the midrange opened up and the depth increased noticeably. I was on a roll and went all the way up to 400Hz – the sound improving at each step. But then I started to notice something interesting.

In my excitement hearing the top end and midrange improve so dramatically I failed to notice what was happening on the bottom end. With each increase in frequency the bass started tightening up and eventually drying up to where the sound became anemic. This was an awful double edged sword – the top end and midrange blooming and opening up like I’d never heard before and then the cost for that in loss of bass.

To make matters worse, I was using my friend Peter’s Audio Research system to double check the experiments on and at 400Hz I could hear the sound of the sine wave coming through the loudspeakers. Turns out the heater or filament power supply used at the time to light the tubes up was never designed to do anything but work at a maximum of 60Hz. Higher frequencies bled into the tube and caused audible tones at the frequency I was feeding it. One could argue accurately that this was a poor design, but there it was and I couldn’t change the world.

I finally determined that 120Hz was about as high as I could go without causing more problems than I was fixing. But then there was the original issue of the tonal balance – better highs and midrange came at the expense of a loss in the bottom end and midbass fullness something I could never live with.

The solution came from a top secret source, buried deep in a vault in Chicago. The last chapter of this story strikes gold and leverages one of our nation’s finest minds that would have to kill you if you knew what was inside.