Australian HIFI - - SOUND TRAV­ELS -

My grades were good and my first hi-fi sys­tem was on or­der.

I went straight to the top of the hi-fi class with ef­fi­cient 15-inch Tan­noy Mon­i­tor Golds in home­made brick cab­i­nets, Gar­rard 401 turntable, SME 12-inch arm, Shure V15 car­tridge, and an Arm­strong solid-state amp… all of which made me very pop­u­lar with my peers be­cause we’d all gather at my home to de­vour the lat­est rock and pop al­bums.

TW: Where do you think your sys­tem is go­ing, or has it ar­rived?

NN: My sys­tem has a long way to go be­fore I’ll be sat­is­fied. There is work to im­prove the sound-stage, the low-fre­quency re­sponse and the room acous­tics. I’d also like to start up­grad­ing my au­dio li­brary to higher-res source files. I’m some­what happy with the mid and up­per reg­is­ters, but my panel speak­ers don’t have a good bot­tom end—they’re a bit thin. I’ll get one or two Ryth­mik Au­dio sub-woofers, cross them over at around 100Hz. I also have a new preamp on or­der—it’s the Emo­tiva XSP-1—to com­ple­ment my Emo­tiva XPA-2 power amp. [ This new preamp was re­ceived be­fore this ar­ti­cle went to press and is shown in some pho­tos. T.W.] When I work on the acous­tics I want to do it in a sci­en­tific way. I’ve used REW (Room EQ Wiz­ard) with a cal­i­brated mi­cro­phone to ‘see’ what my room is do­ing. I plan to build my own limp-mass bass ab­sorbers, specif­i­cally tuned to my room’s prob­lem fre­quen­cies at 50Hz and 70Hz. I’d like to re­duce or elim­i­nate the room cor­rec­tion di­alled into my DSP (by DSPeaker) that I use right now. Lastly, I re­ally should ex­per­i­ment with other speaker po­si­tions in my room— be­ing dipoles they need more air be­hind them to sound their best.

TW: We talked ear­lier of MQA (Mas­ter Qual­ity Au­then­ti­cated). It hasn’t taken off yet, per­haps it’s still too early, but do you see a place for it in high-qual­ity stream­ing ser­vices per­haps, for ex­am­ple Tidal?

NN: Yes, it may be too early, but 50+ com­pa­nies have ex­pressed in­ter­est in it so far. I think that 2016 is the year we’ll see it start to kick off. It’s bril­liant as a math­e­mat­i­cal so­lu­tion to the is­sue of how to pack high-res into a small foot­print. Stream­ing would be a great ap­pli­ca­tion for it. I’d be happy to sub­scribe to such a ser­vice. I still pre­fer to have the mu­sic/ data lo­cal, but stream­ing is the di­rec­tion mu­sic is headed. I think stream­ing is be­ing pro­moted be­cause the sell­ers of the mu­sic don’t lose con­trol over it.

TW: What’s your favourite piece of equip­ment at the mo­ment, some­thing that you wouldn’t sell?

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