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

Speaker cabinets

I’ve been grousing about the lack of low bass in expensive speakers. My expectations when paying 5 or 6 digits for a loudspeaker would start with full range and go up from there. Such is not the case.

But one positive thing I have observed is the cabinet and just how much attention is paid.

The perfect speaker cabinet adds nothing. Place a set of drivers in a cement wall and you’d get close to what we’re hoping for—the vibrating drivers don’t excite the cabinet.

Most expensive loudspeakers handle this wonderfully and it is one of the central reasons they sound extraordinary in the frequency range where they work. Like Magico, YG Acoustic, Wilson Audio, lavish attention to detail on cabinetry pays off in spades. You can break a knuckle testing rigidity.

Lower cost speakers do their best with bracing, varying densities of materials, clever architecture. But they’re not inert and you can hear the difference.

The greatest contribution a speaker cabinet has to make is nothing.

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

Great lengths

Before I get started I wanted to mention there are a few slots still open for LANRover beta testers. Go here to sign up. It will only be available in the US. Shipping commences this week.

We go to great lengths to get our music systems to sound right. Often, extraordinary lengths.

The wondrous results we sometimes achieve are worth the quest.

But despite our efforts, they don’t always pan out.

I remember some years back when I was interested in delaying the sound of a subwoofer a few milliseconds. Physically moving the sub to a far location delays sounds arrival, but often the room’s too small for a meaningful delay. It would have been nice to leave the sub where it sat and adjust a small amount of time delay instead. It seemed like a simple task, yet it wasn’t.

The first decision one would have to make is how to delay sound. There aren’t many means to do so while keeping it analog. Had I been willing to convert the signal to digital the task becomes trivial, but I was focused on pure and keeping it in its original form.

I discovered a device called a bucket brigade that would do the job. A bucket brigade works as its name implies. A small slice of the analog signal is captured and passed from handler to handler until it is dumped at the output. Each hand off of the voltage slice takes time to move and, if you have enough buckets to move the signal along, it delays its arrival. More buckets, more delay. It seemed a clever enough device and we gave it a try.

Ugh.

Even though frequencies were quite low, slicing and dicing the analog signal and then trying to reassemble it never worked out. In fact, we eventually resorted to going digital, and that proved to be fine.

Sometimes we go to great lengths to maintain purity, but they don’t always give us the results we had hoped for.