Let's imagine you've read my post from yesterday about disappearing speakers and rear soundstages. You crank up the system and find the opposite. What to do? One could write a book on the subject and unfortunately, this post won't cover but a minuscule portion. Just about every factor in a high-end system contributes to the good and bad of reaching our goal. Electronics are probably the most likely candidates. When a less than great piece of audio electronics is in the chain there's a good chance it will draw attention to itself, especially if its failings lean towards bright or harsh sound. I was reminded of this very fact when, at the Japan show demonstration, we drove the same loudspeakers with different electronics. As I listened to the first set of electronics the sound came from the speakers and the soundstage was shortened and at times jumping out at me, other times recessing into the back. With the same speakers in the identical placement, as soon as we switched to the BHK/DirectStream setup, the speakers disappeared and the soundstage moved to the rear where it belonged. I don't write this to toot our horn, only to point out the importance of electronics in the equation. There are things you can do to help without rebuilding your electronics. Had I been stuck with the first electronic chain, I could easily have optimized speaker placement to help improve imaging. For example, less toe in doesn't direct the tweeter straight at your ears and makes the sound more diffuse. This helps speakers disappear. Thin midbass draws attention where you don't want it. To improve midbass performance, place the left and right speakers closer together. This improves midbass coupling. Pull the speakers away from the front wall. The more the speakers sit alone in the room without being close to the wall behind them, the greater chances of increasing soundstage room behind them. It's an illusion, but this helps. Add diffusion on the wall behind the speakers. This technique, more than any other, really opens up the soundstage and helps speakers disappear. Perhaps the greatest tip of them all is clearly understanding how it is supposed to sound. That's the simplest trick of them all.
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