The Complete Guide to High-End Audio

PDF The Complete Guide to High-End Audio Broché – 1 octobre 2021

Book author
  1. Robert Harley
4108SkEJi S SX347 BO1204203200

In this newly updated directory, the latest in cutting-edge audio equipment is provided, including how to choose the best audio equipment on a budget, how to get the best sound for the money, and how to set up a system for maximum performance. Revised and expanded to include all the latest audio technologies, this book is packed with expert advice how to make speakers sound up to 50 percent better at no cost, avoid the most common system set-up mistakes, and how to choose the one speaker in 50 worth owning. Among the new topics covered are streaming audio, computer-based music servers, music-management apps, wireless streaming, high-resolution digital audio. A short course on listening-room acoustics is presented and additional information on audio for home theater, multichannel audio, system set-up secrets, and what each component's specifications and measurements mean is also provided.


Music is the sonic motion of intention. With words, sound can be divorced from meaning by taking away the physical quality of speech. But music’s meaning is in its physical quality: its sound. When a musician plays something a certain way and we can’t hear the intent (the reason) behind it, we are hearing wasted motion, and register it as such because we haven’t been given enough clues about the intent. We can then grow to think that everything is only gesture, and miss the real thing.

The media through which we hear music (our systems, rooms, etc.) cannot be separated from our ability to experience the music. It isn’t the same music on a different system because we cannot separate music’s rhetoric (its words) from its physical reality (its delivery). is makes the “delivery systems” (our stereos) more important than we might think they are. Can they tell us what the musicians on the recording are telling us?

As a musician, I oen—too oen—had the following experience: I would play a concert, hear the tape aerward, and wonder what was missing. I would remember incredible things in the concert that just weren’t on the tape. e notes were there, but notes are not music. Where was the music, the intention?

We could think of it this way: On the tape, the rhetoric had no meaning. Had I trusted the tape and not my memory of the actual event, I would have never grown to understand that, even though the sound is on tape, it doesn’t mean you’ve recorded the music. If you’ve heard a certain CD on a certain system, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve heard what’s on the CD. We must learn to trust the responses of our own system—our ears—to music systems. Of course, this demands that we be in touch with ourselves—no easy thing.

People to whom music is important need to get close to the intention in a recording, and there’s only one way to do this in the home: learn about the world of audio equipment. Use your (and others’) ears to help remove whatever hinders you from the musical experience on the recording. Of course, it’s not only the reproduction side that needs care—but that’s the only side the listener has control over.

For instance, it’s demonstrable that by merely ipping a two-pronged AC plug on a CD player, or even a turntable, a record you thought you didn’t like can become a favorite—just because the polarity was wrong. Since music cannot be divorced from its emotional content, the sound of a record can determine whether you think you like the music. And vice versa, when you can’t listen to music you really think you like because of how it was recorded.

Obviously, the musical experience is a delicate, complex thing, and we humans are more sensitive than we sometimes think. But we have the option to tune our music systems to better balance the equation. We can get closer to what we want if we know what we want.

There are stereo components that approximate the musical experience at many different price levels. We all know what our nancial limitations are; but, given the desire to improve our systems, we can do it.

It by no means follows that musicians have to be audiophiles. ough I’ve been recording since 1965, I didn’t seriously think about much of this until the mid-1980’s. But audiophiles and music lovers push the envelope, and we all benet. Also, the more serious audiophiles are determined to keep their minds and ears open, keep learning, and try to remain patient during the process.

Doing this thing right can take time. ere are a lot of people out there listening to all of these components for us. I recommend using this fact, and carefully reading others’ evaluations, until you can tell whether a reviewer’s preferences in sound match your own priorities. You can sort of get to know these guys over a period of time. But, of course, it’s your ears that count. I think you should pay attention to their needs. Aer all, we’re talking nutrition in an age of diet so drinks.​
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