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Dueling Systems – January 2023

I had an interesting experience recently that I’d like to share.

I was contacted by a potential client who wanted me to set his speakers for him. He sent me a photo of his system, and after studying it, I determined that even as effective as The “ARSP” process is, I felt it would not be worth his time and expense to hire me, as his room had severe limitations I didn’t think I could overcome.

I offered to have him visit me in Denver, listen to my system, so he could experience the results and effects of a completed ARSP procedure, and perhaps shed some light on the full capabilities of this wonderful hobby.

He made arrangements to tour one of the many manufacturers of fabulous hi-end equipment that are here in Colorado, and on his way he was able to stop by my home for a short listening session. He was here for about an hour, and as it usually happens, he was transfixed and flabbergasted listening to my system. It is extremely modest in both size and expense compared to what is available in our amazing industry, but when monitor sized speakers (paired with dual REL subs) not quite 8′ apart, create a soundstage 26′ wide with accurate placement and scale of instruments and vocalists, combined with startling dynamics and lifelike tonality, he was at a loss for words, to say the least.

As he left, I requested he remember what he had just heard, and after hearing the manufacturers’ system, give me feedback on how the two systems compare. Keep in mind, this gentleman has been an audio enthusiast for over a decade. He has an excellent ear, and is not an audio neophyte – not even close.

The manufacturer’s system retails for about $184,000. It has their best electronics, their own top tier speakers, and top shelf cabling throughout. Plus, power regeneration, dedicated electrical lines, and appropriate room treatments.

My system is in the basement of a 60 year old house, and the only thing I have done is to upgrade the AC outlets that I plug my subs, amps, and entry level power distributor into. My entire system including cabling retailed for less than $38,000. The amp and pre-amp are 20 years old, the speakers nearly are , too.

Here was his comparison of the 2 systems –

I liked their system about 50% as much as yours. Their’s had less soundstage, less definition, and was significantly less dynamic. Overall, rather lifeless and muted.

If I can get the kind of sound described above out of a system that costs less than 1/4 that of a “reference” system designed, built, and set up by a fully established high-end manufacturer, imagine what I can do for yours. I am convinced most people have never heard the full capabilities of their hi-fi systems, and certainly have never experienced what a properly set up and optimized stereo system can do.

Bob Robbins
The Art of Rational Speaker Placement
720-404-7200 Mountain Time USA

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