Holy Grail of Audio Systems
I hate wine.
This is probably largely due to an old roommate of mine while i was in the military. My first night in the barracks we got drunk, drank a whole box of it. I got sick.
I cannot tell the difference between a Merlot and a Chardonnay, heck i probably cannot even spell it.
However, there are people out there who can take a sip of wine, taste it, and be able to tell you approximately when it was made, weather or not they used oak barrels, the general geographical location where the grapes were grown, and possibly even the brand and batch.
Most people cannot, instead they know if they like it, or dont. They might remember the brand so they can get it again, but everything else is irrelevant.
I Love Audio.
Most of my friends are blown away by my audio system. It took years to get everything, and to them it is the greatest audio system they have ever heard.
Its not that they are uneducated, or inexperienced, or inferior, to them if it sounds good, it is good. Why improve?
Unfortunately i am not like them. I recognize all the major brands and i know what they would best be suited for. I also know alot of the more obscure brands as well. I understand the entire process of how a CD works, the path of the information, how the receiver / preamp get the info and how it handles it. I understand why the CD is inferior to the vinyl. I understand and can explain analog to digital, digital to analog. I understand exactly how an amplifier runs a speaker, the principles and fundamentals of sound, the speed, the pitch, and exactly how the brain processes it.
As well does everyone who reads this.
The bad thing about it, is that this is a very costly hobby. To have a decent entry level system you have to spend as much as somebody might for a slightly used Honda.
And After dropping that much of your financial resources in a system, it is still not yet complete. There is another speaker that sounds better, a cable that promises better sound, an amplifier just out of reach that would give you cleaner power, solid or tube?. And dont forget the line cleaners. Certainly, if you spend this much, you might as well spike your speakers and components. Now its time to do more research in acoustics, and to design and built acoustical treatments.
Dont forget the power, you cannot simply use the sub-par wall power, now its time to buy a stage 4 power filter. But not any filter will do, you need the best filter you can find, or all the money you spent on your setup is wasted because it will not reach its full potential!!!!!
Now you have the amplifiers, the power, the cables, the speakers, the processor, the spikes, the acoustical treatments, the calibration test sets, the noise meters, the tape measure, the paper and equations, how far is the speaker? what's the angle? Shoot! My processor does not offer the increment i need in order to set the delay up exactly where it needs to be! Need to reposition the furniture! No wait, that will change the acoustics, and I spent too much time setting those treatments up just perfect, time to dish out several thousand dollars for a new processor, unless I can find something to delay the signal in the speaker cable itself, no, I will go for the new processor.
Now my music sounds brighter than I like. What happened? This processor is superior in every way that last $2000.00 piece of junk! Time to work with the acoustics of the room. Nothing works! Remove the spikes, put the spikes back on, adjust the angle, remove the grill, replace the grill, remove the bi-wire replace the bi-wire. Maybe new speakers. If I'm going to get new speakers, ill get a higher quality/price model, Static? Horn? Full Range? Electrostatic? Bipole? Dipole? Ceramic woofers? Titanium or silk tweeters? Hows the range? Will I need a subwoofer? Should I get rid of the old subwoofer if I don't?
Do I have the power to drive a larger speaker? Should I get a new amp? Go with tube? How about Solid state? 50W on this is more powerful than 125 watts on that?
Meanwhile, the Wife, Girlfriend, Buddy, whatever the case may be says "Your CD player sounded just fine five thousand dollars ago."
But of course, they don't understand. It is possible to create the perfect system. The stereo that is balanced, and true. Where you close your eyes and you are in the room with the performers themselves. Its possible isn't it?
Is it possible to ever 100% perfectly recreate an analog sound? With speakers that provide the sound impressions from multiple sources? The percussion of the drum through the speaker means that the analog twang of the guitar is distorted, because that speaker is not dedicated to the exact noise that that one guitar string makes. And by producing that percussion hit, it will ever so slightly distort the twang, let alone the fact that a speaker is not a guitar sting.
Does it make any difference?
When does this hobby become the proverbial quest for the holy grail?
"Your CD player sounded just fine five thousand dollars ago"
They cannot tell the difference. To them it sounds good.
There is no concern about the oak barrel, the region the grapes were grown.
Can audiophiles really tell? Or does their paranoia of not having the perfectly balanced system play with the ear?
I believe there gets to a point where the inadequacies of our audio systems are more imagination and envy than anything else. A very difficult hobby for those of us without strong financial means.
But when we do get things set to where we are finally satisfied,
we can sit back and listen. And we taste the oak barrel, the cedar mulching, the age?..