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.

Getting too close

One of our readers emailed me asking about proximity to his loudspeakers. It was an interesting question. “As I move around the room I find the sweet spot to be 2 feet in front of my 8 foot separated speakers. Am I too close?”

First, let me say I admire the heck out of anyone who gets off their duffs and moves around the room looking for the sweet spot. This is commendable on a number of levels but mostly because few of us actively hunt for what’s going on. We might move our chair a few inches forward and backward but rarely do we stray too far from the prescribed triangular vector.

What’s happening when he gets too close, of course, is removing the room from the listening experience. Like headphones, getting in the speaker’s direct line of fire will almost always give you results very unlike sitting in the traditional vector.

But, what’s the value in this? Now that he knows what is possible he has a reference. A guideline. A goal. Something to go back to whenever needed to reset expectations. That goes a long way towards success.

Next steps? Now that he’s identified nearfield listening is working for him, time to think about room treatment.

More important is recognizing the benefits of thinking differently.

Stepping outside our comfort zone can have massively beneficial advantages if we’re willing to move away from centerline thinking.

It doesn’t hurt to step outside the lines because you can always hop back into center place.


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.


In 1897 a former patient of Dr. John Kellog, Charles “C.W.” Post, mixed a batter of wheat and barley together then baked it in his oven. What came out was a hard brown sheet of material with a slightly sweet and nutty taste. Post then broke apart the sheet and ran the pieces through a coffee grinder. The resulting kernels he called Grape-Nuts.

Of course, Grape-Nuts cereal is neither grapes nor nuts. Post named it Grape-Nuts because he believed the sugar formed in the baking process, Glucose, was actually “grape sugar”. The “nut” part came from the nutty taste and shape of the coffee-ground wheat and barley mix.

Enjoying my bowl of Grape-Nuts bathed in cashew milk this morning, it occurred to me my blind acceptance of the cereal’s name after these many years of never questioning it. I knew there were neither nuts nor grapes inside, yet to me, it was just “a name” and without meaning.

How often do we find the same things in audio? I remember back to Bob Carver’s original company, Phase Linear. To me, it was just a name. It wasn’t until years later I associated the idea of keeping the phase “linear” or unmoving within the audio band as a design goal, and yet Carver wrapped that idea into the name of his company. Dynavector cartridges were another good example. I never put together the idea of a phono cartridge dynamically moving along multiple vectors. Magneplanar, with its magnetic structure and planar surfaces, yet another.

There are no doubt hundreds more clever amalgams of technology into names, but you get the point.

Ours was not quite so cool or technical.

Paul and Stan Audio.