Had a chance last night to try out the HFTs. Anyone coming in late may want to take a minute, scroll up, and read my OP. There's a whole lot compressed into that one early sentence, "within a year I had heard for myself what vibration control can do."
Way back then I was totally dismissive of pretty much any sort of tweak beyond wire gauge and speaker placement. Then, gradually, I tried a few things that were free and easy. To prove how bogus it all was. Left my amp on all the time just to prove it didn't sound any better. See? It doesn't! Until one day it got turned off and when I turned it back on again it sounded noticeably worse. Until it warmed up. Dang.
But surely pointy cones was all pinhead talk. Not about to waste time or money on any of that! Until someone said oh yeah even something like a phone book helps. WTF? But phone books back then were thick and everywhere so what've I got to lose? Sure enough. Wasn't much. Barely noticeable. But it was there.
Then the best component of any sort I had ever bought, the McCormack DNA-1 amp came with this one pointy little spike in the box. Oh no! Not him too! But it was there so... and sure enough, and a lot better than a phone book!
Next thing, as luck would have it, I stumbled onto this madman totally flipped out stark raving crazy in love with something called a Black Diamond Racing Cone. Nothing, anywhere, could touch any of the BDR stuff- a fact I personally proved by becoming a small-time dealer and taking the stuff to do demos in-home and at audio clubs using it under literally hundreds of different components in all kinds of systems.
One result, I became extremely adept at being able to hear all sorts of micro-details in all kinds of components in all kinds of systems and across an unbelievable range of listening conditions. Components stacked one atop the other? Birds nest of interconnects? Kitchen in listening room? Car in parking lot? Front door open? Barking dog? Crying kid? No problem!
This is all by way of the traditional review writing technique of telling (hopefully) interesting little anecdotal stories that stroke the writers ego while (again, hopefully) providing a little marginally useful information to the reader. Its a reference. There's a continuum. At the one end the phone book. At the other the Herron VTPH 2A. Something like that.
So last night I place just one of my 10 new HFTs as close to the recommended center front wall location as my home theater screen will allow. Which I had my doubts as it was pretty close to the overhanging and padded screen frame. So I was hardly surprised when the result was underwhelming. But in no time flat it was moved down a few inches and wow, what a difference that few inches made!
Just one of these things wiped away a layer of grain, softened some edges while at the same time revealing fine inner detail, and improved image focus with more air or space, vocals in particular becoming more believably present.
When you do something like that with just one, and it crosses your mind, "and I still have 9 more to go" let me tell you, it puts a smile on your face!
Even being a dedicated sound room there's still plenty of things preventing me from trying the exact SR recommended placements. I can't go quite as low or into the corners as they recommend. Can't go quite as high in the middle either. Even so....
The two mid-level corner HFTs provided another big improvement. Not quite as warm as the center one, but close. The two higher front wall side HFTs brought a surprising degree of shimmering life to cymbals, immediate touch to strings and incredible presence to vocals. And not by accenting highs or attacks like too many tweaks and components, but in a clean way like the way the air is clearer after a rain.
Think of it, this is all by way of removing room resonances. Not in the crude way of acoustic panels but very selectively and at much higher frequencies. Never in my life would I have imagined my system was actually doing this all along, only the room and the air within it were preventing me from hearing it!
Just amazing stuff. One unexpected outcome, I found myself enjoying tracks like Bonnie Raitt's Cry On My Shoulder and the beautiful Nobody's Girl at volume a fair bit higher than I usually would. It dawned on me that with so much hardness removed listener fatigue was lower and I was free to enjoy it better that way! Totally unexpected!
The lower center one upped the ante yet again. This time in a way that kept everything before and then added to it a lovely inner warmth. Inner, not softening details, warm yet also revealing. Two things we seldom find together. I pretty much gave up at that point and just spent the rest of my limited time basking in the best ever.
And there's still 4 in the box!