Chickens and loudspeakers

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Chickens and loudspeakers

In our world of high-end audio there's a debate as old as time: what's more important, the source or the loudspeaker? This question is akin to the classic conundrum of the chicken and the egg—an easy question to answer. The egg came first. Long before chickens existed, their reptilian ancestors were laying eggs. The egg as a reproductive strategy predates the first chicken by millions of years.

In high-end audio system we often ask which is more crucial—the source or the loudspeaker. But, much like the chicken and egg debate, this is the wrong question. Both components are essential and have evolved together, each pushing the other to new heights of performance.

The source is vital because it captures the initial signal. Without an accurate source, the entire system suffers. High-quality turntables, cartridges, and DACs ensure that the recorded material is faithfully translated into an electrical signal. However, even the most precise source components are rendered moot if the loudspeakers can't accurately reproduce the sound. Loudspeakers convert electrical signals back into sound waves, a process that is inherently less precise than the initial signal capture. They struggle with amplitude flatness, phase accuracy, and dispersion, making them the more challenging component to perfect.

Think of the source as a high-quality blueprint and the loudspeaker as the contractor building a house. A small error in the blueprint might go unnoticed, but major construction flaws will be glaringly obvious. In audio, even slight inaccuracies in the loudspeakers can lead to a subpar listening experience.

It goes without saying that achieving a world-class audio system requires a balanced approach. However, at one point in the journey we'll always be facing the big question—where should be bulk of my funds go?

The loudspeaker, of course. Why? Because it has the greatest chance for error and the hardest challenge to get right. Even with a perfect source, the loudspeaker's role in accurately converting electrical signals into sound is fraught with complexities and potential for inaccuracies. 

The floor is open for debate.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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