When bringing a vintage piece back to its original glory, whether as a DIY project or with the help of a professional, you have to decide if the restoration is going to attempt to use vintage parts from the same era (if that’s even a possibility), or whether newer and better components should be used.
This is more of a temptation with speakers, as material science advancements have wrought incredible performance increases over the years. But it’s also more challenging with speakers.
As a listener, being restricted by a budget is a form of not getting your lunch for free. A designer might look at a single objective as the highest priority — and then have to perform all kinds of feats to make that happen. A musician may want more sub bass on a mix than is prudent. And on, and on. There are so many examples of places in audio where clever ideas simply can’t compete against the laws of physics.
In this episode of The Hifi Podcast, the guys and their regular guest host Chris Brunhaver talk about the many sides of this truism of audio.
For podcast hosts Darren and Duncan, the hifi audio expo Rocky Mountain Audio Festival was more than their “hometown show.” Years before the two worked in the industry, the show represented a connection to the whole world of audio, accessible through a portal just down the road. It was as close to audiophile teleportation as it got for the guys.
In more recent years, it took on a new feeling as the two began to represent their companies and transition to the other side of the audio show affair. And after years of stressed-out system setups in hotel rooms and back-breaking schlepping of gear up and down freight elevators, it has still never gotten old.
When it comes to wave frequencies, sound waves we can hear live near the absolute bottom of any spectrum you wish to peruse. Sound waves are not electromagnetic or radio waves, but to an RF engineer they might as well be “DC.” And sound waves, though different, can in one way or another be affected by these other guys. Radio frequency and electromagnetic waves can influence the electronics we use as source gear or amplifiers, thereby changing the sound waves we hear.
None of this is news, especially to audio designers. But in this week’s podcast, hosts Darren and Duncan dive into the topic of shielding, explaining how modern audio designers deal with EMI and RF, and covering the act of draining and grounding from a overall system perspective.
The owner of a very popular U.S. hifi audio cable maker calls hifi audio “a drug.” And he’s not wrong at all. Think of the yearning to listen after periods of being away from our systems. Think of the teleportation to a different place when everything’s clicking. Think of the times we had to bargain, beg and borrow to upgrade to the next best thing. And on that topic, think about how we chase the audio dragon and are always interested in “better,” or at least “different.”
Hifi is a drug, and in this episode, after listener questions are answered and the guys check in on each others’ audio projects, they come to grips with the notion. As they see it, there are worse addictions and worse drugs — metaphoric or actual. But it’s always good to pull on the ol’ honesty glasses from time to time.