Holistic describes systems intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. It defines our starting point to further understand two groups of music reproduction equipment: separates and integrateds. We can examine individual components, and we will, but learn little until each is examined as a whole. The thousand foot view of a separates system looks like multiple boxes tied together with cables, powered by many cords. The same vantage point reveals the integrated as a single box bereft of cables, and fed from one power source. Each makes music that sounds noticeably different. Over the next few days we will zoom in for a closer view and hopefully discover the reasons for those differences. Our essays will start with the integrated and move to separates. And we will ponder this question; if you collected the separates into one enclosure, so our bird's eye view matched, would the two sound the same? More tomorrow.
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