The dawn of imaging

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The dawn of imaging

Back in the early 1970s, when I first began this long audio journey, there was no mention of the soundstage or image of a stereo system. Music was attached to the speakers and our focus of attention had more to do with tonal balance, instrumental veracity, and frequency extension. 

Regardless of where you heard a stereo system, whether at the local high-end retailer or someone's home, the idea that a soundstage—or music detached from the speakers—was part of the experience was completely foreign. Heck, back then we had our hands full trying to figure out how to get the full range of music into our homes. I was one of the few who got to experience the first of a new product concept called the subwoofer.

It wasn't until the early 80s that our attentions moved from perfecting tonal balance and frequency extension to the elusive idea of soundstage building. In fact, the very first time I heard a three dimensional image was on a pair of Peter Walker's Quad electrostats, pulled far enough out from the wall to give access to the rear (that's another story).

The sound of those electrostats was a revelation in more ways than one. No, they didn't have bass or dynamics, but there was a transparency that I had never experienced and there was something else.

Something unnerving. 

The music was detached from the transducer producing it. This was not only odd but, frankly, it sounded wrong. I was afraid. After a decade of high-performance audio glued to the transducers that generated it, here was "spooky" sound disconnected from its source.

Over time I began to realize it wasn't just Quads that were capable of this spooky audio. Pulling the speakers out into the room to unhinge the music from the source that produced it was a thing—a parlor trick at the time—but a revelation once understood.

Sometimes, making a departure from the tried and true has its rewards.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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