Rooms are bad for hi fi systems, yet necessary.
Loudspeakers are designed to work inside our homes despite the fact our homes constantly get in the way: bass modes, sidewall reflections, too reflective, too absorptive, etc. One way to work with the problem is room correction software. This approach typically uses a digital equalizer in the signal path that “fixes” the problem: reducing or increasing bass, treble, midrange, adjusting phase. In other words. whatever damage the room is doing to the sound, your loudspeakers put out the opposite of the damage, thereby lessening it. Room correction software doesn’t fix the room, it changes what’s in the room to compensate.
To use a car analogy as an example, let’s imagine we’re driving down an extremely bumpy road. There are two ways to adjust for the bumps: add self adjusting shock absorbers or fix the road. Room correction software is like adding self adjusting shock absorbers – the bumps gets better, but at the expense of changing the car’s ride characteristics.
Until we manage to invent something that fixes the room itself, I am going to remain a stubborn guy and just tolerate the bumps.
Dealing with change
In my view one of the beauties of our DirectStream DAC is its ability to change everything about its behavior through software.
Place a small SD memory card in the back, power cycle it, and you have an entirely new DAC; maybe better, maybe worse (we certainly hope better). We could turn it from a pure DSD to a pure PCM based device in less than 30 seconds and email users the means to do that with. That’s powerful stuff.
I have been observing, as of late, how each of us deals with change; not just with this DAC but in general. Some jump on the latest improvements and rejoice, others recoil in horror, and there’s everything in between. And it’s nearly impossible to predict how people will react to change based on their day-to-day behavior.
Take me for example. Terri will tell you I am a man of routines. I have my routine in the morning and if completed I am good for the rest of the day – changed and I am at odds, struggling to find my center of balance. I park in the same lot at the airport, go through the same TSA area, arrive in the same amount of time for a flight. It just works for me.
So based on these patterns of sticking to a routine, you’d think I’d be the first to run from change. Yet the opposite is true. I am almost always the first to eagerly embrace change when it comes to something outside my set routines.
Give me new software and I eagerly install and evaluate it.
If I had to distill my notes on change down to a single observation, it’d look like this: one group embraces the new while the other misses the old. I don’t believe either one is superior to the other.
Both groups seem able to move back to the center line just as easily, if that’s the direction that works for them.
I guess it goes back to the old adage of half full vs. half empty; a phrase I used to believe had one clear goal.
I am now reconsidering that thought.