Hearing and focus
From the moment we wake until we fall asleep we’re hearing everything within earshot. Our ears are constantly receiving, processing, and sending information to our brains for analysis. Most of what we hear can be ignored—passing daily noises with little to no importance.
But when we’re fortunate enough to spend some quality time with our stereo systems we can change all that. We can focus our attention on the music and ignore the rest of the world if just for a moment: the joys of rhythm, harmony, inventiveness, and genius are all within reach of the remote control.
But focus comes with the requirement of great sound. I cannot focus well on a tinny sounding music reproduction device. In fact, the more I focus the greater my revulsion.
The closer to live our systems sound the more intensely we can focus on music’s rich beauty.
Choose your color
We like to think of our stereo systems as neutral, perfect, clean, uncolored representatives of musical truth. Only, as long as we’re using loudspeakers that’s just not going to happen. Fact is, loudspeakers are the most imperfect elements in our system.
Have a look at the specs for your speakers. Even the most “accurate” among them vary by +/-3dB and many greater than that. It’s also instructive to remember that when we specify something as + and – they often add up.
The challenge with speakers is to find the ones with the colorations that best suit your equipment and your listening preferences. If you like a lean and tight sound, there’s a whole group of speaker designers that agree with you and have tailored their products to make you happy. Or, perhaps you prefer big, fat, and robust sound. Those too are available.
Most audiophiles I talk to profess to want a neutral character to their speakers but, to be honest, I am not sure exactly what that means. My guess is that neutral means the speaker’s colorations are evenly distributed without favor to any particular region.
If you’re interested in more discussion I posted a video on the subject you can watch here.