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

Hitting the mark

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni or more commonly known by his first name Michelangelo is credited with saying:

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

I think this is excellent advice and a good reminder that the goals we set for our home music system should be more than just a good sounding setup.

I have always been an advocate of stretching myself a little farther than I feel comfortable with: reaching for the stars in the hope of landing on the moon.

I remember when I first became convinced that some preamplifiers had better sound than no preamplifier. For decades I had been an advocate of the philosophy of less is more, that a purer signal path would always trump added circuitry. And for all those decades that was true until I got my arm twisted to purchase one of the few great preamplifiers out there, the Aesthetix Calypso. That move changed my life and my thought process. Suddenly I heard more to the music than I thought possible: air, transparency, space around the instruments and voices, and a more palpable sound stage than I thought possible.

And that’s when we set our sights on building our own preamplifier that could perform the same magic, but with a twist. We wanted to push the envelope farther than it had ever been pushed before. We didn’t want to be as good, we wanted to see where the trail led, how high we could go. When I approached BHK on building a new preamplifier it wasn’t with the intent of matching anything, but rather reaching for the stars.

So, when you’re next dreaming about an upgrade or a new system altogether, aim high my friend. Aim higher than you’re comfortable with and hope you hit something spectacular.

It’s a lot more gratifying than aiming for merely good and hitting your target.

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

Importance is relative

We strive to handle important issues first to make way for follow up problems later. Like choosing the right blend of audio equipment vs. connecting it together. The first trumps the second, though both are important.

Figuring out where to best place your energies can often be challenging. For example, the best speakers in the world won’t sound good without proper setup. Imagine placing a pair of Magneplanars hard up against the front wall. The sound would be dreadful.

One rule of thumb I have come to live by is to separate our importance focus into two categories: electronics and speakers.

In choosing electronics we should narrow our focus to synergy. It is far more important to have a synergistic group of products than a hodgepodge of excellent kit that does not play well together.

Loudspeaker choices have more to do with setup and room than the actual model. The weakest and strongest speaker models can suffer or benefit from setup.

These two extremes have to be taken with grains of salt. If you’re too literal with this advice you’ll wind up with a well setup boom box driven by pleasing electronic crap.

But, taken in the common sense spirit this advice was intended, it’s a good rule of thumb for future system building.

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