The other side
There are two sides to many things: stories, paper, music listening rooms. On one side are speakers and on the other, you.
Where you sit in relation to the system: nearness to walls and speakers, height relative to the tweeters, in or out of bass nulls, can often make more difference than the components themselves.
Yes, of course, walking into a room with bad sound is immediately offensive regardless of where you are in the room. But, given good sound and attention to essentials, where you stand, sit or experience the music matters.
I have seen great audio systems rendered mediocre by nothing more than the quality of the seating.
Take care to get both sides of the equation right so you don’t wind up on the wrong side of great.
When you look at the self-amplified subwoofer system of the mighty IRSV you might think it’s not a great speaker to judge bass performance of the main power amp.
You would be wrong. Few systems I have owned have been so revealing of bass performance than the IRSV.
Bass performance begins well before the lowest notes of the system. The slam, impact, and transient quickness we hear are the result of the system’s performance starting at about 150Hz. There, if the phase angle varies, or the signal hesitates, our perceptual hearing tells us there’s something wrong in the lowest bass regions. Which is why we can tell differences in power amplifiers on full range systems augmented with powered subwoofers.
If you doubt that fact, listen to the subwoofers without the main speakers. All you’ll hear are dull and sloppy thuds.
It is the amplifier driving the main speakers that provide the snap of a stand-up bass, or the kick of a drum. And the lowest notes? Those too. If the amp doesn’t produce unfettered subterranean bass you’ll hear that weakness in the same way.
You don’t need to watch the race to predict the winner between a tortoise and hare.
It’s obvious by the time they get to the starting line.