The Emperor’s and the Beatnk’s New Clothes by Jack Roberts from dagogo

The Emperor’s and the Beatnk’s New Clothes by Jack Roberts from dagogo

سه شنبه 24 آگوست 2010
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متن زیر رو آقای ژاک رابرتز نوشته ، خوب بخونید ببینید چی گفته :

a.Editor’s Note: This Beatnik article was due to appear on July 16 but delayed because of preparations for the inaugural California Audio Show until now. Both the author and the editor wish to thank our readers for your understanding and support.
If you’re an audiophile, I hope what I’m about to talk about isn’t going to make you feel like the Emperor did when he discovered he was stark raving naked. I have to confess, it kind of had that effect on me, but in a more gradual way. So, just in case you don’t know, here are four facts that will free you to enjoy this wonderful hobby of listening to recorded music.

Fact #1
Amps, preamps, turntables, and not even speakers have any sound at all by themselves. We can talk all we want about how a speaker sounds, but I promise you they will sound different not only with different equipment, but also in different rooms.
This first fact goes a long way in explaining why even audiophiles who knows what they want, who have developed reasonably good listening skills, and over the years has grown tired of constantly upgrading, still changes equipment more often than he would like. You see most audiophiles do not understand the concept of buying a stereo. When I was a teenager no one went out and bought an amp, or a turntable; no, we got ourselves a stereo. We didn’t care what the parts sounded like, we cared about what came out of the speakers. Now, I know that’s an oversimplification, but we do seem to forget that the sound we hear is never the sound of one piece of equipment. What we listen to is the music made by the sound of the whole system.
The big problem is that lots of things cause the sound of a system to change, not just audio stuff. If you don’t believe me, you’ve probably never had to move a system from one room to another. Then there’s all the things in your house that share the AC. You can eliminate this to a significant degree, but if your system is really dialed in then you need to know that running dedicated lines will change the sound. Yes, in most cases for the better, but not always if when dialing in your system you compensated for the AC grunge.
One of the systems I owned along my audiophile journey was a full Linn/Naim system back in the mid-seventies. This system tried to eliminate as many things as possible that could affect the sound of the system. It even made the assumption that all rooms had walls, so why not design the speakers to literally be in contact with the rear wall (the stands for the SARAs, had metal pieces that you pushed up against the wall). In some ways this was one of the best sounding systems I’ve ever owned, but I just couldn’t adjust to the sound of sand amps in the end.
The problem of anticipating how changes will affect the sound of a system is very hard to figure out. There can be lots of reasons for trying to build a system with the sound you want. I’m not suggesting that you should just buy a system from one company, neither am I talking about simply buying components that work synergistically with each other. What I’m talking about is learning to identify the sounds and parts of a live musical performance that you want most in your home system and then working hard until you establish it in your room. The hard part is listening and trusting your ears to put together this system that sounds like music to you. There are all kind of things to try when tuning a system. For instance, moving the listening chair closer or further away can make a big difference, especially in getting the bass right. Look at what and where to hang on your walls. Speaker placement is always huge, but sometimes we don’t spend enough time on toe-in or even toe-out experimentations. I could go on, but simply, you have to work hard and trust yourself. I can’t overstate the part about trusting yourself; no one else can do the final voicing of your system to meet your desires and objectives.

Fact #2
What your equipment sits on really does make a difference in how your system sounds.
From what I have observed most audiophiles fall into one of two camps in regard to what they put their equipment on. Most underestimate the impact on the sound of their system that is made by what their equipment sits on. Of course, there are also those who go to the other extreme.
Most fall into the first camp for several reasons, not the least of being how expensive most audiophile racks are. There is also the matter of ignorance or simply not appreciating the effects of structural and airborne vibrations on the sound of the system. Maybe it all goes back to the cinder blocks and boards we used in college that gives us the attitude that when it comes to racks, if it holds the equipment in place that’s good enough. Some of us have gone so far as to buy expensive spikes, ball bearings, pucks, and many other things, but we don’t deal with the thing our system sits on. Just going out and buying an expensive audiophile rack will not necessarily make your system sound better, because I’ve heard some very expensive racks that literally rob all the life out of the music; and others that make the systems sitting on them sound hard and sterile. I know you want me to name the racks, but that misses the point, because I’ve heard the same racks sound great in one system and bad in another.
The key is to be willing to work on the sound of your whole system and to know that what your equipment sits on really does affect the sound you hear. I’ve tried a lot of things, 4-inch thick maple, different woods in other thickness, slate, granite, corian, bamboo, and others. After years of trying all these things with all kind of different footers, what I’ve found that I liked best are solid wood tables made by master furniture makers.

Fact #3
Never underestimate the effect your room has on the sound you hear.
Years ago, I discovered it was a total waste of time for me to evaluate equipment in a room other than my own. Over the years there have been a few friends’ listening rooms that I came to know the sound as good as my own, but even then I could only get a glimpse into how something would sound in my system. In the end, all that ever matters to me is how something affects the sound of the system in my room. Just think about all the ways that rooms are different. Does the room have hardwood floors or carpeting: stucco, plaster, or sheetrock; windows on both sides or no windows at all; rectangular, square or irregularly shaped; high or low ceilings; small, medium, or large dimensions; lots of furniture and bookcases or sparsely furnished; lots of lights, lamps, computers, or other stuff on the same AC breaker, or a dedicated line. I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. Then there is the fact that the room is the thing that is hardest to work with for several reasons. For many audiophiles, the first and biggest reason is the old “wife acceptance factor,” but there is also the fact that most people have no idea how to work with their room so they just opt for putting it off to later. The only problem with this is it may cause you to waste lots of money when all you needed to do is move a chair, or hang some drapes.
The reason I’m writing about all this right now is because I’m getting ready to change some things in my own room and I’m wondering how my sound will survive the changes. One of the changes involves upgrading the AC in my house to solar-powered. I’ve done a lot of research to see how this will effect my sound system, but in the end I can’t know until it’s done. Another change is brought about by my wife’s horror that we still have the same old worn out carpet in the listening room. She wants me to get rid of the carpet for something more modern, like stained concrete, hardwood, bamboo, or maybe cork. My problem is that I can’t decide what kind of floor would change the sound of my system the least, or at least not make it worse.
Now, I bring all this up because I want us all to be more conscience of the sound of our system in our room, not because I want to write reviews that talk about how the midrange, bass, and soundstage of a cork floor sounds compared to stained concrete. I’ve got an idea: how would you enjoy a comparative review of the sound of different drapery material? I sure hope you think this is ridiculous and I have no plans of writing such reviews, but who knows, there are lots of reviews written about the furniture we sit our equipment on. I even read a review a few years ago of a product from Italy called “Audio Carpet”.
While all those things do affect the sound, and are part of putting a system together, that doesn’t mean we need people to start making audio carpet or audio drapes. It does mean we need to think about the system as a whole before we do the audiophile thing and just go out and buy a new component. I dare say that if you have been in this hobby for over twenty years you can name several pieces of equipment you should have never gotten rid of but did. The problem is while it’s expensive, it is also easy to buy new stuff. There’s also the fact that the brain almost always tricks you into liking something you’ve just spent big bucks on is good.
Before you buy a lot of expensive acoustical treatments, move things around. Move furniture, movie paintings, hang different things on the walls, open and close drapes. Yes, I have about $2,000 in acoustical treatment in my room, but moving my listening chair and hanging an alpaca rug, made just as much difference. Never forget everything in the room either vibrates, absorbs, reflects, or defuses the sound. Thus, everything affects the sound, so you have to work at it, not just throw money at it.

Fact #4
Once you get it right have enough sense to leave it along.
It take so much work to get electronics to sound like music in a room not built for sound, that when you get where you love it, don’t go and muck it all up. If there is one thing I have learned as a review, it’s that you can only change one thing at time, if you want to know how that one thing affects the sound. It has taken me ten years of work in my current listening room to get it where it is now, and I can tell you that small changes can really mess up the sound. Don’t go and sell something to buy something new until you have heard them both in your room. Sometimes it pays off, but honestly it a crap shot to whether it will make your sound better or worse.
So, I hope with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck you’ll find yourself boppin’ to your favorite music in your own home.

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