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Dear Reader,

Frankly speaking, when I wrote the original 31 Secrets to Better Sound in 1999, I had no experience with the majority of systems owned by other audiophile music lovers around the world. My experience had been exclusively with the many hundreds of clients for whom I’d personally optimized and voiced their systems.

31 secrets

Over this time period, there were two primary occurrences that kept repeating themselves.  Both have dramatically impacted this set-up manual:

#1. When I would appear at various audiophiles’ homes and go through my basic set-up procedure, I was surprised to consistently hear a similar response as they observed the voicing process.  Although they had read the 31 Secrets, it was clear that they often didn’t fully grasp the concepts.

I’d get comments like, “OK, now I understand,” or something to that effect.  So I knew I needed to offer some helpful illustrations, which I had not included in the 31 Secrets.

In addition to the 202 Tips, Techniques, and Tools, Get Better Sound has over 100 original drawings.  Most are there to illustrate a concept.

The point I’d like to emphasize here is that these illustrations went through many versions to make them as simple as possible.  If you’ve ever stared at a diagram or picture for a period of time, trying to understand it, you’ll appreciate that these illustrations are intended to make the point without needless pondering and head scratching.

I discuss the artist and his drawings in the manual in the section, About the Illustrations.

#2. The other discovery that I made over the subsequent nine years came as a huge shock.  I refer to it in Get Better Sound Tip # 11 - What is ALWAYS the most important component in your system; and Tip # 12 - A story about two identical systems with sound that varied wildly

In many ways, my surprising discovery became the basic motivation for this set-up manual. The thing that became the driving force for me was the incredible number of systems that I heard in audiophiles’ homes.  Not just with Avantgardes, but with a host of other high-end components.

In all of those visits to audiophiles, I never encountered one system that was performing anywhere near its potential!  I know that there are some out there, but I certainly never encountered one.

In fact, very few were performing at even half of the performance of which they were capable! And yet, the common denominator among their owners was the question, “What about upgrading to the XYZ component?”  It was clear that they thought that buying another amp, CD player, etc. was the path to audio nirvana.

But their priorities were misplaced.  There was no need to spend another dime on components until they had gotten their system optimized to be able to “play the room.”  In instances where I was able to address the voicing issue for someone I visited, it took a relatively small amount of time (as compared to a large amount of money being spent on some new component) to get the system to an entirely new level.

I’m all for buying a new component when it is justified.  But not until the system is performing at its highest level as it’s currently configured.  Plus, if you improve the performance of your existing system, you’ll really be able to hear the improvement when a better audio component is inserted into the system.

Let’s face it. Buying a new component without getting from it what you should be getting is about the same as throwing money out of the window.

throwing money out the window

So this manual is part of my mission to change all that – for audiophiles everywhere!

Srajan Ebaen, Publisher of, wrote a guest column at Positive Feedback Online about this phenomenon that is especially interesting reading.  You can find it here.

As I’ve mentioned, in many ways it was concepts similar to those that Srajan wrote about that convinced me of the need for this manual…And yet, I know that most audiophiles are NOT going to hire an expert to do for them what needs to be done, in spite of Srajan’s commonsense suggestions.

So what is an audiophile to do?  Purchase Get Better Sound.  Read it carefully. Even if you only put just a few of the practical and proven audio tips into action, you’ll be pleased with the improvement in your sound, and in your involvement with your music.

Get Better Sound is primarily aimed at empowering audiophile music lovers to be able to take their systems beyond the level where they are now.  In fact, I feel so strongly about it, that I guarantee to do just that for you.

Best regards,


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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…
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