Added warmth

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Over on the forums there's a lot of talk about providing multiple versions of the Pikes operating system for DirectStream. Good conversations. Stimulating talk. The idea centers around tuning the OS to each person's system. Create multiple OS releases, some warmer, some cooler, others with stronger top ends, still others with better bass. It's an enticing idea but one with a number of problems.

I think what people are really asking for is a set of controls that add, subtract specific area of the sound without affect of the others. While this is an intriguing idea, it's not something we know how to do. Here is the problem. When Arnie goes through the versions of operating system and voices the release, he finds many that are warmer, cooler, flatter, etc. They are put in groups then narrowed down to the final release. None are clear winners until the last one. This is because when one area excels it is at the expense of another. A warmer presentation is always tempered with another area of the spectrum that is compromised, typically severely. Let's say the added warmth came at the expense of the top and upper midrange areas - this often happens - where they are recessed unnaturally. This will help some systems that exaggerate that spectral range sound right. Any other system that is flatter, will sound dull. So, we release that version as our warmer choice. People always want a bit more warmth, but their expectation is the added warmth comes without consequence to the other areas of the musical spectrum, and that is not the case.

I have never heard added warmth in our OS changes that did not detract from somewhere else. In other words, it all comes as an expense. There's no free lunch. There are no versions of OS that are simply warmer without losing something elsewhere. If there were, we would probably release that version as our final.

The real challenge for any designer is to honor the music in all its glory. It's a balancing act and one that has to be very carefully attended to.

But the idea of a warmth switch is enticing; just not something we know how to do and, I suspect, cannot be done without affecting something else in the presentation adversely.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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