One of the cures for bland tasting food is to liven it up with the addition of a dash of spice. In audio, it's not so easy. There's really not anything we can add to the system if we want to liven up the sound. There is, however, something we can subtract. In my experience, HiFi systems presenting themselves as dull or lifeless are more often than not victims of their environment. An over or under damped room is often the perpetrator and the first place we should turn to—though often we mistakenly lay blame on the equipment. It's true that speakers and electronics have individual voices, but often those are not properly supported within the room. If your system's too spicy, or not spicy enough, consider first the room. It's easy enough to add or subtract absorptive materials like furniture, pillows, and the like (and a hell of a lot easier than equipment swaps). Our instincts often lead us first to equipment swaps but I think it's valuable to remember the room.
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