I am not a building contractor but I’ve watched enough new construction to know a few things, like the importance of building a strong foundation. Constructing a beautiful home atop a shaky base is just asking for trouble. (Though, the opposite is equally true)
Top to bottom foundational strength matters in our music systems too. The best speakers in the world can’t blossom without a solid foundation of electronics to power them and vice versa.
I have looked at systems displaying an inverted pyramid of products far too many times. Top heavy in one direction or another: Great speakers with weak electronics or conversely, great foundational electronics with wimpy loudspeakers.
I guess the point of this post is to remind us that foundations aren’t always from the ground up.
What would you find if you took an honest evaluation of your setup? Would yours be a pyramid, hourglass or a solid rectangular shape?
The ideal, of course, is equal strength from beginning to end. Start at the AC wall socket and judge the chain all the way to your ear.
If you find your foundations solid you are fortunate. Few systems I have looked at are end-to-end strong.
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as enjoying the benefits of a rock solid end-to-end foundation.
Imagine the angst of a first-time buyer of high-end audio equipment. Few places offer systems and everywhere there’s a bewildering array of component choices.
Where does one start on a hi-fi journey? It used to be that we went to our local dealer and picked from amongst a tier of systems from the affordable to the absurd. Today there’s far fewer qualified dealers and so first-time buyers are either left to their own devices or take what they can get from megastores like Best Buy.
Even magazines like Stereophile and The Absolute Sound focus more on components than systems. If I didn’t know better I’d simply do my research and purchase the best I could afford in any one category, tie it all together with what I could afford in cabling, press play and then pray.
Nowhere am I helped with maximizing synergy between components. If I bought the best DAC I could afford and played it through speakers that were too forward or bright what would I do to remedy the situation or even know where to start?
I suppose this all sounds like doom and gloom and that’s not my intent. I just felt it was important to let some of the issues facing first-time buyers bubble to the surface in the hopes of sparking conversation and debate. If we can talk problems through perhaps solution are right around the corner.
For our part, we’re working on the end goal of building stereo systems first-time or experienced buyers can slip into without worry or bewilderment: choose your price point and be assured the system will work perfectly together.
I am certain there are other paths as well.