Are you aware that the construction material of our soul is harmony? Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519 The importance of a homeâ€™s sonic environment is often overlooked and more often misunderstood. Yet sonic affects the manner in which we experience our spaces, domestic as well as public. Reconciling aesthetics with an emotionally satisfying sonic environment can be challenging.
Music washes the dust of everyday life away from the soul. Berthold Auerbach 1812-1882 Clear sound, clear mind A natural, stress-free sonic environment contributes to a home´s atmosphere. Well produced sound can relax as well as revitalize. And yet merging an aesthetically pleasing interior with an emotionally pleasing sonic environment often poses a challenge. Architects and materials account for a room’s basic acoustics. Further, we’ve the inflexible laws of physics making their own demands. When attempting to create a natural, emotional sound environment, certain conditions must be accepted and met. For example, small, concealed speakers don’t do well at creating a natural, stress-free sound. To work optimally, speakers must stand where their features are at their best. We can agree that pure, natural sound should be part of our everyday lives. In order to achieve this, sound systems should comprise a significant aspect of the home’s interior. Amphion´s goal is to design loudspeakers that coordinate with the most demanding aesthetics and room acoustics. Owing to their excel-
lent dispersion characteristics, Amphion loudspeakers work well in challenging spaces: rooms, for example, with large windows and other hard surfaces. Our designs embrace a natural midrange –– traditionally a loudspeaker’s greatest challenge. Clarity and intelligibility should come across crystal-clear at low listening levels: for example, as background and late-night listening. Similarly, an even, wide dispersion permits the listener to experience good sound while moving about the room attending to chores. A great sound system exceeds the sum of its parts. Yet assembling a system consisting of award-winning components does not necessarily yield a pleasing result. Building customer-specific systems in cooperation with specialist retailers comprises a key aspect of Amphion’s goal: the creation of easy-to-use, joy-inducing, long-lasting, high-performance sound systems. Digital technology’s maturation contributes significantly to flexible, no-compromise sound systems. With a computer or TV as a sound source, by carefully selecting and matching equipment, high-performance sound is possible, even at a modest price point.
Making the best choices As in all aspects of life, we often have to compromise when buying hi-fi equipment. Determine what you want your sound system to do. What are you willing to sacrifice? Quality of sound, ease-of use, longevity, size, ease-of-placement, aesthetics, or something else? Also determine where no compromise is possible. And consider your essential needs – music, movies, improving your home´s sonic environment, or perhaps all of this. Do you listen to music from your computer? Do you desire a multi-channel hometheater system or are you content with a well-executed two-channel system? Quantity / quality Quantity is no substitute for quality. A two-channel system consisting of good, well matched components does beautifully, even as a means of enjoying TV. It is possible to create richly dimensional, natural sound with one pair of loudspeakers that, moreover, do not require the separate subwoofer so often found in conventional home-theater systems.
In the final analysis, you’re not buying specifications or a specific technology. In truth, you are seeking good sound as an accompaniment perhaps to a breathtaking picture. And you should be aware that the consumer electronics industry is forever marketing technologies that at times engage in less than adequate and obsolete designs. If something fails to work satisfactory, the biggest advertising budget cannot make it better. Set aside time for personal evaluation. Another’s experience or opinion cannot substitute for your own. Do your own evaluations even if you consider yourself something less than an expert. At bottom we can only assess the qualities we desire with our own eyes and ears. If possible, listen to a system in your home with familiar sound media. Depending on where it’s placed, a loudspeaker’s character can change. What sounds good in a shop where the speakers are positioned far from the back wall can be boomy at home when, as dictated by the décor’s demands or perhaps the requirements of everyday living, they need to stand close to a
wall. Manufacturers have been known to optimize their products for in-store sales. Make sure that the product satisfies where it counts â€“â€“ in your home. And also bear in mind that a good sound system performs well also at a low volume setting. Low-level listening may indeed comprise the better part of your listening preferences. Itâ€™s therefore important to evaluate systems at low levels. You may very well hear deficiencies you failed to detect at higher levels. Moreover, itâ€™s important to evaluate systems at different volume levels with source materials that correspond to the kind of listening you favor. If you intend for your sound system to include TV, ask the salesman to demonstrate normal TV broadcasts along with the demos he wants you to see. And listen to the system from different positions. Most systems perform at their best in the so-called sweet spot. Move around to make sure that the sound is satisfactory elsewhere in the room. You should be able to enjoy music when itâ€™s really not convenient for you to sit down in the optimal listening or viewing position.
Youâ€™ve heard the old saying, good things come to those who wait. If you are dreaming of acquiring a multi-channel system, bear in mind that you do not have to purchase the entire system at once. A pair of main speakers will always operate as your systemÂ´s foundation. Choose that pair with care. A wisely chosen sound system is a long-term joy. Contemplate your needs for the next ten to fifteen years. In addition to the systemâ€™s overall quality, consider expandability, flexibility, connectivity and the availability of long-term service. Early impressions donâ€™t always hold up to long exposure. A purchase at a discounted price, while instantly gratifying, may not satisfy in the long term. And donâ€™t be fooled by dazzling effects. A quality sound systemâ€™s merits â€“â€“ the well being they provide â€“â€“ are sometimes slow to reveal themselves. â€œTake a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.â€? â€“â€“ Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)
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Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd. P.O.Box 6, FI-70821 Kuopio | Finland | Tel: +358 17 2882 100 | Fax +358 17 2882 111 | email@example.com | www.amphion.fi
Published on Jan 26, 2011