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A person is described as "shifty" when their behavior appears evasive, untrustworthy, or dishonest. They avoid eye contact, give vague responses, and exhibit nervous gestures.

We don't want to come across as shifty (and while we're at the word game, we also don't want to be thought of as shiftless).

In high end audio we certainly don't want to have anything shift on us, especially the phase.

Understanding and managing phase shift in our high-end audio systems can be a real game changer.

Phase shift, for the uninitiated, is the timing difference in the arrival of various frequencies to our ears. It's like inviting every musician in an orchestra to play in perfect harmony, but they're all subtly out of sync.

When phase shift creeps into our music, it brings along an unwelcome guest: smearing. Imagine the sharp, distinct pluck of a guitar string or the crisp strike of a piano key. These sounds have transient details that demand precision to capture their true essence. If these transients are smeared, it's like blurring the lines in a carefully detailed drawing, losing clarity and sharpness.

The impact extends to the soundstage and imaging as well. Phase shift can blur the distinct locations of instruments or voices, flattening the three-dimensional feel of a live performance. 

What to look for to avoid this? Frequency extension in our equipment that exceeds the limits of human hearing.

Properly designed high-end equipment, from loudspeakers to electronics, extend their frequency response well beyond the human audible range, up to 100kHz. This extra bandwidth acts as a buffer, ensuring that within our critical listening range, phase shifts are minimized, preserving the integrity and details of the original recording.

Take for example the tweeter we use on our aspen loudspeakers. Its diaphragm material has less mass than the air it is moving to make sound. That means that well beyond our ability to hear what it is playing, the tweeter is faithfully working to maintain perfect phase response in the areas we do hear. Compare that to a conventional dome tweeter with its higher mass: a tweeter you wind up "hearing" as opposed to disappearing into the music.

It's not just about capturing every note; it's about preserving the exact moment they come to life.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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