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Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

My ceiling is 8.5′ in height at the front of the room and 9′ at the rear. The idea was to reduce standing waves and it works beautifully. Basically the idea came from every good concert venue I’ve ever visited. It helps to use speakers that are designed to intentionally to not bounce sound off of the ceiling, like the Daedalus Ulysses I use. !!

Top of the room

One of the most ignored part of the room is right above our heads. The ceiling—often flat, sometimes arched, broken up with timbers, slanted, domed, and everything in between.

We position our speakers in the room more to keep the wall dimensions and layout happiest but rarely do we take into account the ceiling. And for what feels like good reasons—there’s generally not much we can do about it.

Or is there?

In my 45 years of playing with high-end audio, the best rooms have ceilings that have been included in their design. One of my favorites was at New York City’s Lyric HiFi store in downtown Manhattan. No doubt the room is gone now, but back in the heyday of 2-channel the IRS V (and later the Genesis Gen 1) room had a gorgeous slat-wood wavy ceiling. The undulating waves of wood broke up standing waves and helped any speaker in the room sound its best.

Today, there are companies that make versions of this wavy ceiling modifications among the many choices available to those interested in the best sound. Here’s a picture from what the company Vicoustic has to offer as an example.

Working on the ceiling in our three Music Rooms is high on my list of “wanna does” but hasn’t yet bubbled high enough to the top.

If you’re looking for a way to improve the performance of your HiFi system, don’t forget the ceiling.

 

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

More than bit depth, to me, the type of digital file and how its delivered to our DAC’s make the biggest difference. I compared a FLAC file via Qobuz vs a ripped WAV file of a Lee Ritenour 16/44.1 CD last night and there was no contest. Qobuz is great, but just not nearly as good sounding as music ripped from a standard CD and off of my hard drive.  No contest.

Finer bits

There sure is a lot of controversy over bits and depth. One group feels that dividing 96dB of dynamic range into 65, 535 slices (16 bits) is enough, while others are more comfortable dividing 120dB into 16,777,215 slices (24 bit).

Bit depth: the difference between the softest and loudest captured sound. How important is it?

We know that CDs have a dynamic range that blows the doors off analog recordings of any kind. And we know that we’re not limited to just Red Book standards, that it’s trivially easy to get better.

Does it matter?

Of course, the arguments fly as fast as manure at a political rally. The truth lies somewhere in the middle (doesn’t it always?).

It’s all in the hands of the recording and mastering engineer, not the technology. If the engineer decides to use 24 bits but then shoves all the audio in the upper 16 bit space, ignoring the lower 8 bits, then nothing’s been gained other than a marketing advantage when they print “24” on the label. So, it’s rarely the technology at play and more in the hands of the engineer.

Which is a shame because most engineers aren’t interested in the highest fidelity.

We have the means, just not the will to use it.

 

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