آدرس سایت :
There are only two legitimate references in audio: live music and well-recorded master tapes.
What live music AND good master tapes have in common is very different from most “hi-fi” systems: excellent resolution without tipped-up highs; tight and deep low frequencies without artificial slam or boom; transparency without thinness; rhythm and pace without artificial crispness; and most importantly, emotional involvement without an urge to analyze the sound.
These things—the attributes of musicality—are exceedingly difficult to achieve, which is why truly great loudspeakers are so rare, and also why knowledgeable music lovers are so often looking for ways to “upgrade” their systems.
Technology should serve the music, rather than being and end in itself or a means to generate marketing hype. Yet despite today’s incessant parade of technological “advances,” how many systems do not sound somehow artificial—electronic, timbrally unnatural, mechanical, tonally disjointed, thin, tipped-up, overly crisp, boomy, etc.?
The next time you hear an audio system or component, ask yourself: Does it sound like music or like “hi-fi”?
Do today’s mega-systems sound truly live to you, or do they sound merely “impressive” but somehow artificial? Do they make you want to sit and be enveloped in your favorite music for hours, or are they better suited to showing off short audiophile tracks to friends at a cocktail party? Can you listen on those systems without fatigue or boredom to an entire album, a complete symphony, or even an opera?
The best systems should attempt to hone in on the sound of live music. Hitting that musical bull’s-eye involves the extremely rare convergence of technology, experience, and art into inspired creations. Success comes from the design equivalent of centripetal, rather than centrifugal, force–driving toward the center of sonic realism rather than spinning away in a “space race” of space-age components and cabinet materials which lead to newer models, more marketing hype, and higher prices but which have very little to do with musical realism or emotional involvement. Among the thousands of speakers on the market, even among the dozens of extremely expensive speakers on the market, how many are truly great? Why are “newer and better” models released so often?
How is ESP Different?
ESP loudspeakers are designed and built by an enthusiastic music lover and frequent concertgoer who is also one of the world’s great speaker designers. That is why ESP speakers sound so extraordinarily close to live music and why they have been owned and by so many musically discerning reviewers and industry insiders.
ESP loudspeakers are hand-built and tested by the designer himself, working with a small team of master artisans. This allows us to go to perfectionist extremes that others do not; our design and build quality are absolutely without compromise.
ESP loudspeakers are often said by reviewers and industry insiders to surpass sonically the most expensive speakers in the world; yet while our parts costs and uncompromising build quality do indeed exceed those of speakers priced well above ours, our prices reflect a concern for value which is second only to our concern for absolutely unsurpassed musical realism.
ESP loudspeakers deliver unparalleled musical involvement. There is nothing “hi-fi” or artificial about our sound. Our speakers are legendary for their timbral naturalness, seamlessness, dimensionality, dynamic ease, and presence, which lead to more involving, longer music sessions.
ESP loudspeakers are classics, with time-tested design, perfectionist build quality, non-intrusive furniture-grade looks, and sound quality so close to that of live music that they will allow you to get off the upgrade merry-go-round once and for all.
What kind of music?
We believe that recordings of acoustic music are better than recordings of amplified music, and that recordings of texturally complex music are better than recordings of texturally simple music, for judging music reproduction components. This is not because of any inherent superiority of acoustic or texturally complex music over amplified or texturally simple music, but because acoustic music contains fewer layers between the instruments’ original timbres and what is heard by the listener, making it easier both to discern subtle differences in the way different components reproduce those timbres and to compare the reproduced sound of instruments to their sound in live settings; and texturally complex music requires components to unravel denser textures without congestion and to reproduce wider dynamic, tonal, and spatial palettes. Of course, for many people this is not relevant to subjective musical satisfaction, and in any case, excellent recordings of texturally complex music are relatively difficult to come by, but we feel that that for comparing the quality of the best music reproduction components, and for those listeners who wish to get as close as possible to the sound of real instruments in a live setting, acoustic and texturally complex music are essential.
What we listen for?
While musical satisfaction is, of course, subjective, we believe that there are certain characteristics of truly great music reproduction components which separate them from the rest:
We expect to hear little or no artificial character to the sound, little to remind us that we are, after all, listening to electronic reproduction rather than live music. It is a rare system indeed that does not immediately betray its electronic nature, however expensive the system may be and however well it may satisfy many audiophile criteria. We want to hear a purity of timbre and a relaxed, unhyped clarity to the sound, making it sometimes possible to suspend disbelief and feel that we are listening to the real thing. The greatest amplifiers and front end components are designed with the most optimally simple circuits to sound the least like electronics. The greatest loudspeakers achieve the ideal convergence of extreme clarity and musicality.
We want to be able to listen for hours on end without the slightest fatigue, just as we can with live acoustic music. Fatigue comes from an artificially tipped up and “alive” sound, which may impress upon a short audition but grows tiring after 30 minutes. We expect to hear no upper midrange glare, a common cause of listener fatigue.
We also want to be able to listen at close to live concert sound levels without fear of dynamic limitations. The best components have an ease of presentation which allows the music to get louder and louder without hardening of the sound, distortion, or shrinking of any part of the soundstage.
We like to hear musicians with realistic size and body (three-dimensionality), neither two-dimensional, on the one hand, nor bloated, on the other. We also like to hear realistic image focus rather than surrealistically highlighted or unnaturally pinpointed imaging.
We expect to feel something akin to the palpable presence of live performers in our room; to feel a physicality to the sound; to feel our room and our bodies being energized. This comes from proper dimensionality and focus along with a low noise floor.
We want the tonality of the system to be both natural and seamless across the frequency spectrum, never sounding tipped-up in the highs, overfull in the bass, thin in the lower midrange, or shrill, nasal, metallic, or otherwise colored.
We want the high frequencies to extend naturally and easily, without the hyped detail which some listeners mistake for transparency. Detail should be clearly audible, but in a relaxed and natural way within the total musical fabric, rather than in an attention-grabbing way in which the highs jump out from the rest of the frequency spectrum.
We want the low frequencies to be extended and tight, just like they sound in a good concert hall. We do not want them to be overemphasized or bloated, even though unnaturally strong bass may be appealing in certain types of music.
Most importantly, we want the system to cause our toes to tap, our spines to tingle, goose bumps to appear, or tears to well up—all signs that we have transcended the reproduction components and become truly connected with the music.
Accuracy vs Musicality
It is often said that designers and purchasers of audio components must lean toward one or the other of the poles of accuracy and musicality. Adherents of the accuracy school want to hear everything that is on the master tape. They talk of a component’s detail and transparency, and use phrases like “on the warm side of neutral” or “slightly smoothing over detail” to describe components which fall into the musicality camp. Adherents of the musicality school want to simulate the sound of a live acoustic performance in a good hall. They talk of a component’s warmth, emotion, and ability to “communicate” the musical essence to the listener, and use terms like “analytical” or “cool” to describe components which fall into the accuracy camp.
Our belief is that a properly designed and configured system can be both highly accurate and musical at the same time, assuming well-recorded source material. Accuracy and musicality converge when a system sounds transparent without being hyped; when detail emerges clearly but in a relaxed, rather than spotlighted, fashion. This requires the right combination of electronics and speakers:
For electronics, absolute accuracy to the master tape should be the only goal, an achievable one if the component is designed with the simplest circuits allowable, with no unnecessary electronic embellishments. Source components as well as preamplifiers and amplifiers should be as pure and neutral as possible, without hype or haze. Their job is to pass through, with absolutely no editorializing, exactly what is on the recording. Anything else represents less than optimal design. Electronic components which are thought to be accurate yet analytical may indeed not be so accurate after all, having a tilted-up frequency response or adding electronic haze or other noise artifacts. Conversely, electronic components which are thought to be musical in the sense of slightly softening detail may indeed have too much in the signal path to let all the information through.
Speakers, on the other hand, are electromechanical transducers which inevitably add their own character to the sound in the process of converting electrical energy into acoustic energy. Speakers represent the sum of the designer’s technical and artistic abilities and his understanding of what live acoustic music in a good hall sounds like, which depends in part upon how frequently he listens to live music and what he listens for. Large differences among speaker brands should not be surprising, then, if we consider the multitude of ways in which the numerous complex variables in speaker design can be blended into finished products which attempt to recreate the sound of live music.
Our preference then, is for the most accurate electronics, that is, those with the most optimally simple, purest-sounding circuits, coupled with the most musical speakers, that is, those with the most real-sounding presence, dimensionality, tonal accuracy, and dynamic ease.
In addition to the music reproduction equipment itself, several other factors are critical for realizing the best possible sound from your system: room acoustics, power delivery, component isolation, cables, and optimizing the source material. Room acoustics is the most important factor and is, along with optimizing the source material, independent of the given playback system. Tweaking the source material includes such activities as cleaning LP’s and cleaning, polishing, edge-bevelling, and demagnetizing CD’s. With regard to power conditioning, component isolation, and cables, on the other hand, we have found that while there are many competently designed and often quite expensive products which can make a positive difference, the contribution is generally not system-independent; positive effects in one system may be absent or overdone in another, or may result merely from counteracting tendencies elsewhere in the system (the infamous “tone control” effect). This is not meant to deny the effects of many tweak products, since most systems do benefit from some tweaking, and tweaking is both essential and fun; but just as the best electronic components employ the simplest and purest circuits, once the essentials of room and source are taken care of, and assuming that the electric power from the wall (hopefully dedicated power) is relatively noise-free, we have found that the best way to maintain the purity of the recorded signal is often to keep things relatively simple. Tweaks on top of tweaks can render the playback system so complex that its musical essence is obscured. Everything in the power or signal delivery system will add a characteristic sound to the system. Does it not make sense that the best-designed components will require the least “additives,” just as the freshest fish is best eaten raw and the best steaks are not masked by sauce?