Are you the kind of music listener who cares only about the components you have? Or do you consider all the other factors that contribute to the final listening experience you enjoy? It’s easy to err in this, given all the marketing baggage attached to new component releases and the hype loaded into audio ads.
Look at your audio system, the setup, and your listening room and for a moment consider music a special guest you invite to for a visit. Ask yourself if enough attention and care have gone into providing a hospitable situation so your guest can be as enjoyable for you as possible. As in any good relationship, there is give and take. We only receive from music in proportion to what we give. Frankly, a set of nice components is just not enough. The music you love gives you more when you treat it better.
To illustrate this point, let’s say some Listeners have been collecting music and evolving through a succession of systems for several years, or maybe even for decades. They gradually trade up from one component to another, improving their sound in pace with their ability to perceive differences. Another group has done likewise and they have also improved their listening room’s acoustic response and eliminated detrimental micro-vibration. If you agree the second group is enjoying a far better sounding experience, you have the right idea. The downside of the broader awareness is that you gain more “subtle factors” to be concerned about.
That’s a good kind of problem to have because the advantages exceed the extra fuss and bother by far. It’s easy enough to prove this to yourself with little risk. When you tune your room acoustics and set up good environmental mechanics two things are likely to happen.
The first is astonishment with how much the potential musical performance of your system has been obscured and is now being realized. The other is that you’ll never want to go back to how it was. In fact, you’re more likely to keep going to see what more can be done with your room and system setup.
This is why I dislike the word “tweak,” which is a diminutive that implies only subtle gain at best. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Another fallacy -- acoustic conditioning only needs to be considered for “problem rooms.” Any and all rooms that are not acoustically engineered for music performance have issues, seriously need conditioning, and sound discernably better with good treatments.
Eventually, you realize any quality system sounds audibly improved with effective acoustic and/or anti-vibration-related enhancements. That’s not so difficult to realize given music, after all, is organized, radiating, vibrational energy. Any disruptive counter-vibration, either airborne or structure-born, interferes with music’s coded message to some extent.
Hey, start cheap and easy, then work up to the higher levels of commitment. As an appetizer, add excellent anti-vibration measures for small costs relative to the gains. Visit Herbie’s Audio Lab and pick up a set of Tenderfeet for each of your audio system’s components. On the “better vibes” track, consider a Basic Installation of Acoustic System Room Conditioning here on iHi-Fi. Discerning music lovers worldwide have appreciated hundreds of these and many have added on more Steps to their room treatments.
Before long you’ll see iHi-Fi’s value-engineered Masiv Speaker Stands and Masiv Audio Rack with built-in, user-tunable anti-vibration features.
Doubters consider this -- there’s a good reason these items show up all over the show floor at major audio expos. Those environments are tough and exhibitors need their components to sound their best despite conditions. Anti-vibration and acoustic treatment are professional level “tricks of the trade” but everyone can enjoy them.
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