Follow up to 10 x 10 room speaker dilemma....

I posted a question earlier asking for suggestions for speakers in my room - basically a 10 x 10 cube. As it turns out, there are no nodes or standing waves in the room, so room treatment was not a serious issue, though I will be inserting a couple of bass traps in the corners. Anyone who was kind enough to offer their opinion may recall that I was using Aerial Model 5 speakers with a Vandersteen 2W sub. The best solution I could find after trying most of the suggestions offered, was to get rid of my Blue Circle BC26 amplifier (I was kind of sorry to see it go) and my Vandersteen sub, and insert a Blue Circle AG8000 amplifier. This was a somewhat costly, but EXTREMELY effective solution to the problem. The loss of low mid frequencies was eliminated, and everthing, EVERYTHING, sounds spectacular. I will post a review on later this year, but in short, the AG8000 is unf***ingreal. Now that my shameless rave is over, my question is; Since a change of power amp has brought about all the improvements in my system that new speakers should have, is it possible that we as audio enthusiasts over-emphasize the importance of speakers in a system? Clearly I have a unique room and situation (though don't we all) but am I wrong to be surprised by the effect of superior amplification? I also wonder how often that we as a group address a problem in our systems by changing the wrong piece of equipment? Comments anyone?
Hi Esox; Well, amps certainly do come in all sorts of "flavors" and I'm glad to hear you found one that really improved your system. But as to component flavor, that's true of just about anything in audio-- including all sorts of wires and even outlets. I recently solved a brightness problem in my big rig by going from a silver plated outlet to a copper one-- small change, big improvement.

Several years ago Stereophile reviewer Tom Norton used the analogy: if you're watching TV and flesh tones are slightly green, the experience is vaguely irritating, but a small change in the tint control would render them normal and the visual experience would then be pleasant. Well, I think that analogy often fits audio too, ie small changes in music quality/character can create big improvements in enjoyment.

It looks like you just found one of those happy improvements, although yours was somewhat bigger than small. I've experienced a few in my audiophile days too. Thanks for sharing your experience. Cheers, and Enjoy.
I am curious. You changed amps, and eliminated sub-woofers in a 10' cube, and attribute an improvement to the amp. Why isn't getting rid of the sub responsible for the improvement.

And, how did you determine that the room had no standing waves or nodes. I didn't realize that such a room existed, especially a cube (which is supposed to be the worst).

When I tamed my room to some degree one of the things I noticed most was improved bass. Room nodes, standing waves, and echo slap distort and color sound energy pretty much in the entire frequency range.

The max low frequency a room can handle is a multiple of the longest room dimension. Your room max is probably around 50-60hz. I have a 24' dimension which comes out to 24hz. My speakers will go down to 20hz so my problems weren't that serious. But the room is only 12' and 13' wide.

If you attempt to reproduce even down to 40hz you are probably asking for it. Especially with two or more like room dimensions. Of course keeping the volumn down low, or playing material without anything in the lowest register, masks many problems.

By the way, it takes serious bass traps to effect even 40-50hz frequencies. To tame below that you almost need a room, or attic space as a trap to have any affect. Or, of course, an active crossover, and an equalizer to just mix out, or down, the offending frequencies (not cheap).

A rule of thumb in speaker placement for instance is uneven distances from side to head wall --usually floor to ceiling is uneven, but without chanaging listening position height there isn't much you can do about that.

If you place them say 2' from the head wall, you want probably at least 3' from sides, or vise-versa, as much as you can up to thirds, if you see what I mean. But I suspect that in a 10' room you have them pretty close to the corners, and fairly equal.

This is crucial in that matching speakers to room size, and their placement, gains the greatest result in taming room anomalies, and offers the greater effect on the quality of sound you hear. More so than any component. Especially the gear, cables and tweaks.

If you would like to get into greater detail in any of these areas feel free. I will enjoy it.

Southern California

Sounds like you came out ahead in the long run. Not only are you phenomenally happy with your system, you've been able to eliminate clutter, simplify your system and open up floor space. That's always a good thing : )

Personally, i've learned a lot by simply taking a day and swapping components within a system. I'm not talking about changing the CD player and then preamp, now try this power amp, etc... I'm talking about simply swapping several preamps in a row and then going back to what you had in there as a baseline point of reference. The differences can be anything from mild to wild. Then on another day, swap several different power amps in a row and listen to each. The results can be pretty "ear opening".

Without changing any other parameters such as cables, etc.. I've heard a system go from bright and forward to dark and recessed by simply changing ONE component. Let me tell you from first hand experience, it would make a believer out of anyone with ears as to how important system synergy and component matching really are.

Now that you've got that one whipped, are you up to the next challenge ? Believe me, you'll think of something : ) Sean