Friday, July 08, 2011

My quest for the perfect sound

Been reading up of late on a lot of jargon, equipment, reviews, specifications for stereo and A/V sound. Have also joined some forums to help me in my quest for good sound.

It all started years back in school when I used to buy the AV-MAX magazine religiously month after month to drool at A/V equipment. The prices quoted in those days was quite high - high enough to give me the good sense not to start the topic with mom or dad. Nakamichi is one name me, Manu and Gerald will remember quite well cause of the astronomical prices. Due to high prices, I kept my dream aside till now.

But I would often check up on speaker prices and keep an eye on happenings to see if they ever did come within reach. Suddenly, some weeks back, I came across the Mordaunt Short Carnival 6 floorstanders quoted for 13,000 on some online site. Quite not believing them, I assumed that it must be for a single speaker. But their website clearly stated that the price was for a pair. Woohoo - I could finally think of even starting off my A/V dream. I didn't think twice - the name Mordaunt Short was enough to push me forward and I placed an order for the same online.

I received it a few days later and I unpacked it - to again let it gather dust for some time since I did not have an amp to connect it to.

My main requirement was an amplifier for music. I'd actually started off thinking that I can go for a good stereo amplifier for a good price but getting some good ones was a headache. Since my search began for a stereo amp, I also noticed that the starting range for A/V receivers was the same. Did some research on the internet and also got some help from forum members and I decided that for my usage of 80% for music, I would need to go for a stereo amp only.

Well, honestly, I was about to plonk down some money on a Yamaha integrated amp but a friend from the forum said that I would not like a Yamaha and asked me to do some testing. Did the same and man, am I really glad that I did not end up blindly purchasing that amp. It was pathetic. I'm talking of the Yamaha A-S500.

Some directions from friends asked me to check out amps from Marantz, Arcam, Cambridge Audio and NAD. These are some of the higher brands especially when it comes to stereo. But to get a demo of these products was a real job and pain in the rear end. Simply because not many dealers have these products and even if they have, I believed that they would be selling at the premium. Also, the A/V products in demand these days are only anything connected to a Home Theater. Speakers, receivers or anything that will allow you to watching movies at home. With all the snazzy sound effects of a bomb blasting behind you or a mosquito farting in front of you.

Stereo sound seemed like a lost art.

But hope was available online and in some knowledgeable dealers. They did indeed show me the right direction, though not necessarily in the right price bracket. Well, as luck would have had it, a person who owned a Cambridge Audio stereo amp was selling it online and for a very decent price. I quickly lapped it up and Anoop was able to get it for me from Chennai.

And now comes to the part of hooking it up. Speaker cable manufacturers will tell you that only their specific high priced speaker cables are the best. That these can "increase soundspace", "generate depth" and all other kinds of mumbo jumbo. And our people happily lap it up - as in the case of the Emperor with no clothes. Cause it is firstly, a case of placebo. Secondly, you do not want to be left out - your friends all say that costly speaker cables give amazing sound - and you believe it. You do want to say that the Emperor's new clothes are simply amazing! God knows what you were looking at!! So I decided to buy Finolex cables - the ones that are used to do house wiring. And they do increase soundspace and all that - they sound simply amazing.

Well, some say this is just the beginning. That I will be needing higher components soon and that I will also be upgrading, spending more money and time. For me, this has taken so much time and I can wait for a long time till my next upgrade.

Oh and most important of all - the combo sounds just GREAT. The Mordaunt-Short speakers go really well with the Cambridge Audio amp and I am floored. Love it!

Friday, July 01, 2011

July 01, 2011

July 01, 2011 is an auspicious day!