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More bass 6

Posted 7 years ago

I rather think I shortchanged everyone yesterday in my post about bass. I guess my bias towards adding subwoofers outweighed anything else and I realize not everyone agrees with me or can add a subwoofer. This is a long and hotly debated subject. First there are those of you that believe your loudspeakers reach the […]
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Bass 10

Posted 7 years ago

In past posts I have written much about bass and much of what I have written involves the use of subwoofers. As many of you know I believe you need subwoofers to make your system whole. I haven’t built a system I listen to without a sub in years. If you get everything we’ve been […]
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Going bigger 1

Posted 7 years ago

Continuing with our setup series you’ve now managed to get the loudspeakers to disappear on a simple vocal and trio piece as well you’ve hopefully managed to get decent center fill, focus and image perspective. It’s at this point in the setup that I switch the music and start working on broader issues always returning […]
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Becoming a magician 2

Posted 7 years ago

You’ve probably noticed that in this setup guide we’re focusing primarily on imaging and have been ignoring other aspects such as tonal balance. That’s ok and there’s a good reason for it. As I mentioned in yesterday’s postabout achieving depth of image, tonal balance and imaging are very much related. I have found over the […]
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Getting depth 9

Posted 7 years ago

Yesterday’s post got us connected and playing our system for the first time. Through the use of Stereophile’s test disc we’ve determined that the channels are correct, the phasing is right and the balance between the two speakers the same. Then we played our first music: a simple naturally recorded voice that will help us […]
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Dialing it in 1

Posted 7 years ago

In our last post we managed to get our loudspeakers roughed in, measured and connected and confirmed that everything is correct in our electronic setup from end to end. Excellent work so far. Our next step will be to dial in the center image and for this I recommend you find a track with a […]
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Measure and connect 4

Posted 7 years ago

In our quest for the best stereo setup within our room we’ve managed to find where the effects of the sidewalls are minimized and placed our loudspeaker pair just outside this boundary. This is the starting point we’ll begin the process of dialing in the sound. I’d like to point out something that may be […]
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Our new best friend 9

Posted 7 years ago

Yesterday we learned that our rooms are a necessary element in the stereo system. It’s good to think of your room as but another component in the chain of your music system and with that thought in mind, we can get comfortable with the idea of working with our rooms rather than working against our […]
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The double edged sword 4

Posted 7 years ago

Yesterday we went ahead and cleared everything out of our listening room save for the equipment and the loudspeakers. Today we’re going to begin figuring out where to place the loudspeakers. Let me begin by pointing out that many of you reading along do not have a dedicated listening room and more than likely are […]
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Starting from scratch 3

Posted 7 years ago

In our quest for getting our systems dialed in I am aware that many of you will not be starting from scratch with an empty room as I will be describing. That’s fine, just follow along so you get the logic behind it. One of my readers pointed out the potential danger in clearing the […]
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Let's start with some observations 1

Posted 7 years ago

I am going to start a series on how to setup your system and how to tweak and maximize it as best you can for any given room and setup. I think it’s important we lay a few ground rules down first so our expectations will be in line with our results. First, let me […]
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Weekend chores 3

Posted 7 years ago

In my 40 plus years of playing with high-end stereo systems the single biggest mistake I see people making is improper setup. I am continually amazed at the money, time and care spent on acquiring high-end equipment – the agonizing over which piece of kit, which cable, which vibration control to purchase to get the […]
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Oops 9

Posted 7 years ago

A number of you correctly pointed out I incorrectly called Michael Fremer a Vinylphobe instead of a Vinylphile – nice McGowan! Sorry about that Michael, I would guess most of you know Michael’s not terrified by vinyl! So what is it about people that makes us want to turn the volume up on anything we […]
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Is there a perfect preamp? 7

Posted 7 years ago

Probably not and certainly since we can see far enough into the future to realize big sweeping changes are ahead for us when it comes to the control and preamplification of the music we really would be remiss in proclaiming that one thing or another is the perfect solution. What we can do is suggest […]
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Trying to put the genie back in the bottle 3

Posted 7 years ago

So if the days of the analog preamp are numbered because the number of analog sources for it to control are diminishing and if digital preamplifiers really haven’t appeared on the scene in any numbers and have a long way to go before they are accepted as musically satisfying enough, what’s a music lover to […]
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Digital volume controls 2

Posted 7 years ago

I struggled with how to write this because the subject’s rather complicated and in the end decided to keep it simple. Heck, it’s Sunday after all and we’re supposed to be taking a day off. Yesterday we covered analog volume controls and how they, by virtue of adding something into the signal path, are always […]
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Volume controls 9

Posted 7 years ago

Well, this is a fine hornet’s nest I’ve gotten into. Half of you seem to think I live in a cave and haven’t any clue what high-end audio is all about and the other half think I have it right – and then yet another half think I am opening Pandora’s box and letting all […]
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The output 5

Posted 7 years ago

In the last couple of days I’ve been writing about the end of the analog preamp era and the beginnings of the digital preamp era. That’s sparked a lot of controversy and there are calls for me to either be lynched or certainly sent to my room for a few days. In my defense let […]
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End of an era 12

Posted 7 years ago

The era of the analog preamplifier has come and gone and in its place we have a new class of product: a digital preamplifier – a term that may be new to you. First, a bit of history. In days past when analog was king we needed a way to aggregate and control all our […]
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The era of the preamp is over 16

Posted 7 years ago

As you probably are aware TAS (the magazine) is publishing a major review on the PerfectWave system in their September issue that starts mailing out today. Since part of the core idea behind the PerfectWave system is using the DAC as a preamp connected directly to your power amplifier, I thought it might be instructive […]
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Hogwash 4

Posted 7 years ago

Have you ever noticed that if you have an opinion about something it can easilybedismissedor agreed upon as soon as you know there’s a term or explanation for it? For example I used to reject as distasteful olive oils that were so spicy they burned the back of my throat until I learned that the […]
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I was just thinking 19

Posted 7 years ago

I was thinking about some of your comments about your systems: many of you mentioned that your systems were good enough to reproduce well recorded music as if it were live. I am with you. I too have had moments with my system that I could believe the music was real enough to touch – […]
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Trumpets 14

Posted 7 years ago

After writing yesterday’s post about perfection I was looking for an example to share with you and then it hit me: Al Hirt vs. Louis Prima. When I was growing up my father, Don, and I were both trumpet players. Well, actually my father was and I sucked – or blew – whatever the case. […]
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The thing about perfect 7

Posted 7 years ago

Perfection is an interesting concept and sometimes it serves us and sometimes it doesn’t. For example when a musician spends their life perfecting their craft to be able to play the music perfectly with note-to-note accuracy it is mostly boring and without soul. But then there are those musicians who treat the perfection of their […]
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bring water to horses 4

Posted 7 years ago

Yesterday I modeled what would happen if you moved a perfect reproduction of a live venue to your home. It wouldn’t sound live because of the change of venue. We are quite capable of acoustically defining the space we’re in and it’s hard to fool us. I remember once I visited an anechoic chamber and […]
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