This article by Srajan Ebaen, Editor and Publisher of 6moons.com, is so spot on, that Jim chose to highlight it here. To that end, it’s excerpted below, or by clicking the link, you can go directly to the Positive Feedback Online website to read the entire article.
The reason Jim thinks that it is so valuable is that he thinks most audiophiles are not going to go hire an expert set-up guy to come to their house, as Srajan suggests. But what if they became much more expert themselves? What if their systems performed at a much higher level, as if they had paid an expert set-up man to do it?
That’s what Get Better Sound is all about.
Positive Feedback Online – Issue 9
Auroville 23 - On the bigger S.U.C.K.
by Srajan Ebaen
As 6moons' big enchilada, I get lots of email…
People want to know how to make their systems sound better. No matter how often I stress that these things are room-dependent…they insist on throwing further money at their vexingly elusive problems.
What components would I recommend? How many inches, down to the second space behind the decimal point, are my speakers apart from each other, how far away are they from the side and front walls? What degree of toe-in do I use? The answer is—it's all room-dependent…
Here's the frustrating thing. These are often highly successful business people, clearly sharp as whips and savvy as the brightest stars in their class, but in this particular instance, they just don't get it…
…these pseudo-audio-docs don't know the true nature of their disease, except that they suffer this terribly vague pain somewhere in their gut. Their expensive systems suck and they're bloody sick of it.
I'm here to tell you a secret. They don't suck enough. What these folks need is a higher level of S.U.C.K. altogether—Set-Up Consulting Knowledge. What they need is an expert setup man who'll come to their house, bring his room analyzer, test tone generator, and decades worth of experience, to diagnose their dilemma by its proper Latin term—audiophoolia stupendia, most likely—and present them with a prescription on how to solve their expensive mess.
Why waste the long green on different cables or the latest press darling amplifier when what's really the issue is any of the following: the speakers being positioned incorrectly; the listening chair squatting in the wrong place…
Examples? Three of my treasured readers visited Avantgarde-USA's Jim Smith in his Atlanta home to audition his personal reference system. Two of them owned the very same speakers he does. Both admitted afterwards that their own rigs missed his level of sound by easily 50%, if not more. In other words, though employing many of the same pieces of costly hardware, they enjoyed less than half of their likely potential than Mr. Smith.
Now, if personal validation had assured you that someone else truly knew his craft; knew how to make the kind of sound that went under your skin and which you were lusting after yourself, wouldn't the smart money hire this fella on the spot to dial in his/your personal rig? Or at the very least, wouldn't you want professional feedback on whether your situation was redeemable, and by how much? To learn what would be involved, exactly, and what sequence of steps you should take to rectify it?
Say such an expert charged $75/hour. Say he warned that it might take him all day—possibly ten hours—to cure your ills. Add $300 for a plane ticket, $100 for a hotel room and $50 for a snazzy dinner. For $1200, you'd either get better sound than you've ever allowed yourself to dream of (in a single day, no less), or a precise to-do list of practical and proven steps that would optimize your situation.
Compare that to the $2500 you were ready to drop on some fancy wires, the kind your favorite reviewer called the cat's meow in his reference system. There's no way to be certain that these cables will, first of all, perform in your rig as they did in his, and secondly, that the changes they'll introduce—if indeed they are desirable—will come remotely close to being more than a weak-ass band aid that utterly fails to address the real issue.
If you were willing to consider risking $2500 on a mere cable "maybe," with the percentile delta of potential improvements at best nebulous and rather limited as a matter of fact, why would you hesitate when a professional billed you $1200 to diagnose the problem? He'd either fix it right there on the spot (or at least make it so much better that you'd have second thoughts on going any farther), or would devise a concise plan of action with the promise to oversee said project changes and guarantee satisfaction or your money back.
Today's column, like the best of advertisements, is thus a call to action. Pursue a greater degree of suck than you've ever allowed yourself to suffer. Secure the consulting services of a professional setup expert who is as good at what he does as you must be at making the kind of money you're so eager to hazard flushing down that gold-plated toilet seat…
There's of course one pesky horsefly in this ointment. How to identify such a guy? Where to find these experts?...
In many cases, your search will take you out of state. It could be the marketing director of your amplifier firm, the fellow routinely responsible for setting up their rooms at trade shows. It could be an audiophile selling a few units a year out of his house—perhaps not the best businessman there is, but friends that you trust swear he's a setup master par excellence. Heck, it could even be a reviewer who, after all, might have ten years of monthly setup sagas under his belt to make any manner of equipment sound its best?
You get the drift. As Lloyd Walker of Walker Audio is fond of reminding us, the devil's in the details. As Jim Smith's 31 Secrets to Better Sound prove, there's more to audio perfection than you may have imagined.
As the Kharma/Lamm and Kharma/Tenor rooms prove at every single tradeshow, certain guys make good sound time and again, no matter where or when. Wouldn't it behoove you to benefit from their know-how? I can guarantee that you'll obtain better results, for far less money and in far less time, than you otherwise stand a chance at.
This goes far beyond sophisticated predictive software programs that map your room to suggest speaker or listening seat placement. It's about the kind of know-how that only comes from experience, which knows how to correlate your lack of emotional response to your system with specific variables, and how to tune them for the better.
I can't tell you of the number of audiophiles I know—or know of—who perpetuate their misery by simply spending more and more money. They don't understand that the hardware is the smaller part of the equation, that knowing how to put it together the far greater. It's as though they were too proud to admit—what?
Simply that, despite their being uncontested experts in their chosen professions, they remain far too inexperienced and naive in their hobbyist pursuit to ever be rewarded with the kind of results their considerable expense and dedication would clearly justify. How difficult is it to admit that when it comes to medical matters, we'd best let the experts diagnose both the ailment and the proper cure? Why then be so belligerently stubborn when it comes to audio?...
And that very concept, dear reader, is what drove Jim Smith to write Get Better Sound. Jim wants to enable you to make the crucial improvements to your system that one of Srajan's experts would do. And do it without spending a fortune.
Be sure to check out Srajan’s entire article at Positive Feedback Online. To get your very own Get Better Sound, click here….
Click Here to Order
Note from Jim Smith –
Please read or view the tips in the set-up manual or DVD that you purchase, and be sure to put some of the tips into action. If you don’t, then you’re wasting your money. Wasting money is the opposite result of why I wrote the book and produced the DVDs…