I haven't had a great deal of time to walk around the show floor in Denver, but the little I have amazes me. Poking my head in one room, the sound is what I might term normal, acceptable, expected. The very next door highs are screeching, there's no bass, and a few doors from that, dull, lifeless, as if the air might have been sucked from the room. And even in our own room, where the magnificent Scaenas struggle with the last bit of high frequencies, the sound differs from other venues. And this begs the question of magnitude. If all amplifiers and loudspeakers are close in measurements, how could the sound vary so widely? We know rooms have huge impact on sound quality, and so too does setup. But, setup affects those in the sweet spot more than anywhere else, and I am only sticking my head through the door for a quick listen. In my mind the biggest differences are to be found in the loudspeakers themselves. There's a certain speaker manufacturer I can rely upon for consistently hard, brittle, bass-shy sound (this, despite their advertised flat measured response). Their sonic signature follows them around the world, from hotel room to hotel room. How can this be? I suppose at the end of the proverbial day, big sound differences—big enough to defy logic when relatively flat measurements are consistently claimed—must somehow be attributed to a missing parameter. Thank goodness we have our ears to sort things out.
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