Tag Archives: bass

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.

Higher and higher

As the frequency goes up, so too goes the price tag for amplification. Folks aren’t as concerned with the quality of bass amplification as they are with the mid-range region but both pale in importance to the attention and money paid to get the tweeter’s range perfect.

Think of all the ways we’ve worked on to sweeten the top end: tubes, low feedback, single-ended outputs, high class A bias.

When it comes to bass, we just want it to go deep and powerful.

Fact is, the higher the audio frequency the greater the engineer’s challenge to maintain purity, phase accuracy, and transient speed. Harder still is designing an amplifier good enough to handle both the power and depth of low frequencies with the delicacy and transient speed of the upper notes of music.

It is the rare piece of audio amplification equipment that gets high marks for all frequencies, but it is the upper ranges that we fight hardest for.

We can forgive “ok” bass but screechy highs are unforgivable.

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.

I do both, depending on the type of component and in the case of my speakers, both.

Anchor or isolate?

Audiophile wisdom is rife with both good and bad advice. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the electronic chain’s component quality while it’s a bad idea to spend so much on tweaks you ignore the fundamentals.

Sometimes this common wisdom finds itself in the middle of a great philosophical divide. For example, if producing great bass is our goal, should the speakers be anchored or isolated?

On the one hand, the anchor folks spend a great deal of energy using all manner of specialized hardware to couple the box to the floor in the hopes of a good outcome. The isolationists do the opposite expending great energy to float the speakers.

Both methods can’t be the best way of achieving the same goal. So, how does one determine which way is best?

I think the answer is not a simple one because the solution will inevitably be a compromise. You can’t fully anchor or isolate. So then we have to lower expectations of perfection and select the most practical within our means.

For most of us unwilling to suspend our speakers in the air or embed them in the concrete of our flooring, the most common solution is a simple set of spikes or the narrow contact area of a roller ball.

In my IRSV system, I do neither because the speakers are so massive and so anchored to the cement slab that there would be no advantage.

Practical trumps perfection. Choose which way gives you the best results.