Detaching Sound

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Detaching Sound

First things first: Snowmass for DirectStream Junior has been released. Now, DSJ owners can enjoy the miracle of a new DAC through a simple, free, firmware upgrade. Go here and download the latest firmware, Snowmass for DSJ (and, Senior too!).

I have spoken much of soundstaging: how wide, deep, and big it should appear within your room. I am also an advocate that the sound your speakers produce should not appear to actually come from the speakers themselves. This is something many of you find confusing as, after all, the sound only comes from the speakers. How could it be otherwise?

One of the most gratifying aspects of introducing newcomers to high-end audio will be a trip to Music Room Two. There, standing between the 7.5 tall IRSV, it seems an impossibility when I prepare first-time listeners to expect the music to not come from those imposing monoliths, but rather from behind and to the sides. Their initial reactions to the detached image are predictable. Disbelief until the first notes played turn into astonishment. Questions of trickery often arise. (My RPG diffusers lining the wall behind the speakers have been suspected of being the actual speakers more than once).

How do you know if your system is providing the detached sound you should expect? Simple, just listen. If you have recordings that are closely miked vs. those that are more distantly recorded, that’s really all you need. When a performer attacks the microphone so as to be very near to it, the voice should come right from the speaker itself. The further back from the microphone, the more detached the voice. When you think of it in this light it makes perfect sense. Our speakers are analogs of the microphones used in the recordings. When everything’s working properly your speakers should preserve the distance cues microphones have recorded.

The only crazy thing about detaching the sound from the speakers is not whether it should or shouldn’t, but that it actually works. Big speakers look imposing in the room and our brains struggle to make sense of what we see vs. what we hear.

Detaching the sound from the speakers is a combination of every element in the system.

To be continued.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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