How solid is your foundation?

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Every system has a focus: something we paid more attention to than anything else. From a results standpoint it might be imaging, or tonal balance, bass, top end, transparency. But to achieve these performance goals, what type of foundation are you relying upon to get you where you want to go? The foundation of a system is what we rely upon to build from. It might be loudspeakers, the source, the room, the power. Here's a short list of thoughts about each.
  • The loudspeaker as a foundation approach is based on the idea that no matter how good or bad everything that feeds the loudspeaker is, if the speakers can't reproduce it then nothing else matters much. If you can't get it out, then there's no sense in paying money to get it in.
  • The source as a foundation approach suggests just the opposite: the best loudspeakers in the world can't produce something that doesn't exist. If you can't get it in, then nothing on the output matters.
  • The “everything matters” as a foundation idea is probably the most balanced but has the distinct disadvantage of a lack of focus when it comes to applying what financial resources one has to the system. Spending equal amounts on what matters most and what matters least tends to water down the results.
  • The AC power as a foundation approach is by far, the most fundamental of all four approaches. Its advantage is in providing the most solid foundation possible, because everything in the system starts out as power and the quality of that power has a direct effect on the performance of the entire system. Its disadvantage is that having a rock solid foundation is only as valuable as what all the other equipment is. You cannot enjoy the benefits of one without everything else.
  • The room itself as a foundation approach. Central to everything we do is the room. While making sure you do everything you can to minimize its impact and maximize its benefits, the room is perhaps valuable as a foundational approach only in the rarest of situations. The best case would be if you are starting from scratch and have the luxury of building whatever you want. Then combining the AC and the room together is a great way to go. Most of us don't and even if we did, we can't take the room with us if we move.
There's a lengthier article on the subject you can read if you're interested, just click here. Whatever you decide, make sure you know what you're focusing on so you can take full advantage of all that option has to offer.

Tomorrow: One at a time

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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