Audio enthusiasts, in my opinion, are searching for lots of different things when it comes to what they want their hifis to deliver. They are hoping for deep, full, articulate bass response with slam and impact, but no bloat or tubbiness. They love uncolored and transparent midrange, with texture and presence, without it being too “in your face” or too laid back. They also covet silky, delicate high frequencies that have fabulous harmonic structure and lingering properties, but don’t sizzle or sound plastic.
All those things are wonderful, particularly when they are all there with balance and naturalness. However, I think the coolest, most amazing, and funnest things a hifi can do is stereo imaging. The ability to create an expansive panorama of sound that goes beyond the boundaries set by the speakers, with an accurate stereo image of specificity including width, height, depth, and scale.
When you think about it, it is really amazing that a hifi can even do this, considering that music reproduced by a hifi is nothing more than minute voltage fluctuations sent through wire to mechanical devices that move back and forth as they react to the electrical signal.
The frustrating thing is most people have never heard a stereo system do true sound staging because most folks’ systems aren’t optimally set up for best stereo imaging. Surprisingly, there are lots of folks out there that think it’s impossible for stereo speakers to even accomplish this effect. Most of the systems I have heard are set up quite well for tonal balance and some of the qualities mentioned in the first paragraph, but more often than not, a center vocalist is not at a believable height, nor is their voice a realistic size. Many systems at high-end stores and audio shows I have listened to project the center vocalist 4 feet left of center, nearly at knee level with a mouth 3 feet wide. It drives me nuts! Plus, the person tending to and showing the system doesn’t even notice this anomaly!
Through the proper implementation of the Rational Speaker Placement Process an accurate, believable image of all instruments, musicians, and singers can and will be revealed, and it doesn’t matter if your speakers sold for less than a thousand dollars, or more than thirty thousand.
You can get close to this effect by following the steps in the article The Art of Rational Speaker Placement, or if you can’t make it happen, hire me to do it, my work is risk-free and fully guaranteed.
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