The hot seat

June 9, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

When someone says you’re in the hot seat it’s usually either frightening or bad.

But not in the case of HiFi listening.

The seat of honor; The hot seat; the best seat in the room. That’s the coveted space we all work hard at optimizing.

In PS Audio’s Room 2 where the FR30s live there are three listening positions yet only one is perfectly optimized.

That magical spot in the room where everything gels to perfection. Where the imaging is best. Where the tonality rings true.

The listening position we have all worked so hard to make perfect.

The hot seat.

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49 comments on “The hot seat”

  1. Actually it’s called the ‘Sweet-spot’, & it’s a great place to sit.

    However, the ‘hot seat’ is reserved for the Republicans in congress & the NRA
    members who are about to vote on gun control; bad!

    1. Martin, I edited your comment about the Republicans and their vote today on gun control.

      Several of our members found it offensive. I do want us to keep it audio oriented when we can.

      It’s not that I disagree or agree. You all know my feelings on guns: how weird it is that in my city and most others in the United States we have gotten used to armed guards in supermarkets and there are cries for our teachers too to ber armed. I joked to Terri that maybe we should be considering the wearing of body armour when we go to get a head of lettuce.

      There’s a mass shooting in the US now about once a week. Somehow that seems to be normal.

      As much as that is horrifying to me and makes me sad for my country, I do not want this forum and this comment section to turn into a political circus.

      Please, let’s do our best to keep it safe for audio discussions. Armed guards in supermarkets are enough for me. I don’t want to have to be the police in my own forum.

      Thank you.

      1. I agree. We all have our opinions when it comes to this. It’s not the place for it. Just would like to say that a national talk radio sports show did go off topic to discuss this very important matter for one of it’s shows. No talk about sports, just this issue.

  2. Horrifying as it all is, my views are nuancing. Strangely, an American relative of mine died a violent gun death. White male, age 83, suicide – accounts for over half of the gun deaths in the USA. The unusual bits are that he was a Harvard lawyer, former Congressman and only over fired two bullets in his life, the practise shot into his office wall (never having previously owned a gun) and the one into his head. I was in Israel last week and had to wait in Jerusalem train station for a couple of hours. Must have seen hundreds of people with semi-automatic weapons coming down the escalator. Of course the military entrust millions with weapons and the don’t go on rampages. More than guns, the USA seems to have a unique distrust of government and regulations, even down to things like consumer rights, which are of great benefit when buying audio equipment in the UK and EU.

    As to sweet spots, there is a lot to be said for immersive, dispersed sound. That’s how I listen most of the time, with the room filled with sound and no identifiable point sources. In many ways it’s more like how music sounds in real life.

    1. Steven,
      Although I can imagine & appreciate the immersive, dispersed sound that you describe & enjoy in your home (as heaven intended), I, as an itinerant real estate property renter, would not be able to install such a home-audio system. (Possibly this is what 1970’s quadraphonic stereo systems were aiming for)
      Having spent all of my life enjoying music in said sweet-spot (between L + R loudspeakers), I find it ‘normal’ to have that soundstage, be it 3D holographic or ‘wall of sound’, presenting to my ears from the front.

    2. Steven, I am so sorry for loss. I know how these things feel and wish you did not have this in your life. I have lost one relative to being shot in a robbery attempt and one friend and mentor to suicide. No gun, just a plastic bag. He was maybe 5 years older than me, I was a grad student and he was a post-doc. To this day when I think of him all I can do is ask “Why?”.

      1. It was more surprise than sadness. Uncle Bob was one of the most fun-loving people on the planet and always great company. A Democrat, apparently he was a good long-term friend of the Republican (John Kasich) who won his seat. No one has any idea why he committed suicide. Maybe he was ill. Remains a mystery.

  3. I’ve recently discovered that even small movements of the listening seat can reap big rewards in sound improvement so would urge everyone to try it, I was really surprised.

    Other than that I would describe my hot seat as my seat in the office when working. I never really did like the office, preferring to be out in the field, but it had to be done. Our theme song was ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ by The Animals. Nonetheless, I still did plenty of overtime because I wanted to be able to afford decent hi-fi. Prior to this I had become disenchanted with vinyl due to the poor quality. I’m talking forty years ago but Big Country’s ‘The Crossing’ went back three times and I never did get a satisfactory copy. Does such a thing exist?

    Steve Winwood got a mention yesterday and by coincidence I heard his ‘Valerie’ on the radio this morning. It reminded me that to ease the drudge of a long Saturday afternoon on o/t we’d listen to the radio, Johnnie Walker, and each week he’d have a feature album. One particular week it was Steve Winwood, ‘Talking Back to the Night’ and it impressed me so much it reinvigorated my interest in quality music reproduction, aided and abetted by the introduction of the compact disc. What an effect that has had on my life, and bank balance. JW played some good music which opened my ears. Ten years later he featured the album ‘Big Iron Horses’ by Restless Heart which I liked because they were in a similar vein to The Eagles. Overall, looking back, if you squint, happy days.

    1. Squinting becomes automatic with age…almost mandatory 😉

      My UK pressed copy of Steve Winwood’s – ‘Chronicles’
      (Greatest Hits) album is excellent, with no glare & virtually
      no ‘etchyness’, even though it’s obviously a compilation CD.

  4. I always preferred being in the catbird seat especially at a friends home as a more honorable term. Thurber got it right and Red made it popular……

  5. Dear Fat Rat,

    “However, the ‘hot seat’ is reserved for the Republicans in congress & the NRA members who are about to vote to allow the continued slaughter of school-children & their teachers in a continuing hail of AR-15 bullets.”

    This is a disgusting and hysterical mischaracterization. You should be ashamed of yourself for posting such garbage.

    1. Dearest RonRes,
      It’s true…I heard it on the news earlier today…I guess that the media
      can over-hype some reports (news items), possibly bordering on hysteria.
      I have nothing to be ashamed of.
      However I am disgusted with the Republicans in congress & the members
      of the NRA who wont changes the gun laws to protect school-children & teachers.
      May the ‘hot seat’ incinerate them, utterly & totally 😀

  6. Dear Steven,

    “More than guns, the USA seems to have a unique distrust of government and regulations . . .”

    Yes, Steven, the political culture of the United States is infused with a deep distrust of government. The separation of powers embodied in the national governmental structure, and the division of power through federalism, established by the U.S. Constitution, illustrate and seek to moderate this distrust.

    The Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights is not principally about duck hunting or about personal defense. It is about the people retaining the ability to overthrow a tyrannical government which has irredeemably violated the Constitution. Our distrust of government drives the political philosophy that the government should never have a monopoly on violence.

    1. Ironically, in Texas there appears to be vastly more restrictive and complex regulations about when you can shoot or kill a duck than there are for owning the gun to shoot it with.
      https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/regs/animals/duck
      Even more irony, the only gun allowed to shoot a duck in Texas is a shotgun 10-guage or less, so shooting ducks is no excuse for wandering around downtown Dallas with a sub-machine gun.

  7. Fat Rat,

    If you read or watch only the Democratic Party disinformation media which reaches your shores you will never understand of what you are writing. You literally are receiving deliberate misinformation and political propaganda — not facts.

    It is only the Republicans who are proposing legislation which is actually efficacious in protecting the already “gun-free zones” of schools, including mental health initiatives, and hardening schools with armed security and social media monitoring (which has solved almost completely Israel’s school shooting problems).

    If you think “more gun laws” alone will magically solve the problem please explain to us why Chicago, in which firearms are almost entirely banned, has among the highest murder rate and assault rate in the USA. Why does the mayor of Chicago surround herself with 24/7 armed police protection — police carrying firearms?

    1. Because Chicago is a short walk from Indiana, which is the Wild West. More to the point, the greatest proportion of homicide is gang-related black-on-black, a Chicago specialty.

      Hence my idea that you will never get full responsible gun ownership (which the NRA correctly promote) unless you have punitive federal regulations for illegal gun ownership, which will never happen because it would be considered “over-reach”.

  8. Hey Paul
    I don’t post often but read daily and felt good about my post on the hot/catbird seat and I have an ABSOLUTELY STONG opinion on US and world politics but refrain from posting here but it’s obvious that bleed through happens more than once and by repetitive posters who when sticking to audiophile comments make many valid points
    but since this is your blog only you can determine what gets posted or what’s acceptable only you can ‘Walk the Line’

  9. I recall as a child being amazed how adults could keep our country operating so well. And as I grew up I realized how few real adults there were and that made running things even more amazing. And now there are days I wake up and as myself where are the real adults who think and have a conscience. Some days it feels like you can count the on the fingers of my hands at best.
    Everything I was taught in school about democracy and freedom and individual rights seems to be disappearing before my very eyes. Many politicians today seem to make the proverbial used car salesman seem like a saint. If there is a heaven I’ll have tons of questions for the creator.

    Thank God we have diversions like music and audio to get our minds off reality for a few moments. Thanks Paul.

  10. The “sweet seat,” “the sweet spot,” or the “hot seat.” “Tomato,” “tomaato” … we all have our pet names for the optimum seating position and get the picture, or should I say sound stage?. My pet name is the sweet seat and not only is it the best location for enjoying the music but also the best seat in the room – a leather Dutailier Glider Rocker. Rock on!

  11. It matters not if you call it the hot seat or sweet spot or zone – it needs a foot rest. Fact is, tuneage sounds 48.65% better with your feet up.
    Mind you 88.25% of internet facts are completely made up.

    • You’re wandering about a car dealership admiring shiny gorgeous automobiles when a young presentable salesman approaches. “I’m looking to get into new car.” you reveal. He immediately grasps your arm and quickly whisks you off the lot, shields your eyes while scurrying you through the showroom, leads you down a long dark narrow hall, out a creaky windowless steel door, across a lengthy empty stretch of pavement to a unkempt treed corner where there sits several dinged, beat up, faded, dented, high mile, chipped and slightly rusted fossilized wrecks. They all show signs of serious aging with yellowed headlights, sagging suspension, stained and backfiring exhaust, nasty ole chaffed tires; some with blistering bubbles protruding out the side. They have gobs of touch up paint that sloppily struggle to hide blemishes that end up looking worse than the flaws themselves. There’s a serious over dousing of some gnarly scent that has been liberally applied in an attempt to cover up the stench of ‘old’ that still manages to permeate through. And yet they ALL have display window signs with wild claims such as: “Runs” or “Dependable” or “Never Been Driven Hard” or “One Owner” or “New Paint” or “Recently Rebuilt” or “Just Needs A Little TLC” or “Classic” or the old “Cheap – Looking For A New Home”.
    “Here you go” he points. “THESE are YOUR options…” as he walks back alone towards the door. You faintly hear the sound of a deadbolt latching as it locks from the inside. There is not even a handle on the outside. You look back to the assemblage of antique heaps. You give them a second look. Your apprehension is exceeded only by your shuddersome horror of the prospect of seeing what’s under the hood.
    THIS is what online dating is like in your 50s and 60s.

    1. PikPen you have a gift for storytelling. Very interesting analogies on your car salesman story. You have a gift that keeps the reader reading. Often times I am bored or already know the ending and scan through things and don’t really read some statements.

      1. Thanks, was just trying to lighten the mood.
        The old adage – so…. did you have a good childhood.. or are you….. Funny? 😉
        And when you have a face that only three mothers could love – in eight hour shifts – you’d better be funny….

  12. I think the following lyric from Don Henley’s ‘Long Way Home’ could apply to many discussions and debates.

    “There’s three sides to every story:
    Yours and mine and the cold, hard truth”

  13. Paul, why not throw everyone a curve ball and change the release times of the post. Don’t let them start until 6 or 7am Denver time. It will give a whole new group of people a chance to start the comments. The only difference should be where the cycle starts.

    Here’s a thought after reading today’s post a few times. No one’s opinion has been swayed and everyone’s ire has been raised.

    Judging someone or something by just their societal or political beliefs shows a certain amount of ignorance or at the very least arrogance. The latter which is even more appalling to most.

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