These past few weeks, I realize it has been quiet around here aside from Lieven’s review on the Rein amplifiers and DACs. I’ve been listening to a lot of audio, but
haven’t quite had the time to come up with anything to write a full article on Stax SRS-002 review is coming this week. Most of my time has been taken by the preparations leading to the opening of the Headfonia Store (which we soft-opened to public last Monday on 15th of April), and basically the business development side of the store.
BRIEFLY ON SPEAKERS
I’ve been listening to a lot of speaker set ups, mainly high end home set ups so let’s share some stories on what I think about them. Sonus Faber, Kharma, dCs , Krell, Audio Note, Ayon, to name a few, and I learned one or two things about high end home audio these few weeks. One, even a $100,000 set up, like the best set ups in headphones, have their shortcomings and their deficiencies, and these shortcomings can be a major pain to the ears of the owners as much as we wish our headphones would behave exactly as we want them to. Two, I learned to appreciate my headphone set ups more. They give nowhere the level of dynamics, bass, and emotion of high end speaker set ups, but they’re much easier and much cheaper to get right than high end audio.
Coming from headphones, speakers are great, but they come with their own set of problems. One, they require a much higher power levels to produce the same dB to our ears than headphones do (due to driver size and distance). A high quality 0.6 Watts is not that difficult to produce, but a high quality 60 Watt is much harder to produce. Two, they require multiple drivers to cover the entire spectrum adequately. That means crossovers. That means frequencies that don’t blend well. Tonal balance problems. Headphones, mostly, use single full-range drivers. Third, room acoustics. Huge problem. To the end user, all those mean that a lot of $$$ are needed to overcome those fundamental problems. With headphones, well not that difficult to get the acoustics right.
You can get a $1.000 speaker set up that sounds musically pleasing, but don’t be expecting much in terms of technicalities, dynamics, and especially the all important bass — where music happens. Still a well set up speaker system beats the best headphone set up I’ve heard. Especially the bass and the dynamics. The one I particularly enjoyed costs $50K, and the owner is still not happy about the midrange. Phew!
BACK TO HEADPHONE LAND
Back to Headfonia. What’s on schedule the next few weeks? The Headfonia Store is giving me access to a lot of stuff that previously was very hard for me to get. A Stax SR-002 set up, for instance. We have a demo unit at the store, and I’m finishing a review of it. Of course, I have to be very careful about which products I choose for the review, mainly due to the conflict of interest, being in this position.
Running a headphone shop is not really the way to become a millionaire, but I just love being surrounded with all these headphone guys, good music (we’re selling CDs and Vinyl too!!!), and lastly the headphones and amplifiers. Through the store, I’m bringing in some new products which are so far unavailable to the local headphone enthusiasts, so I’m really excited about them. The next 1-2 weeks however, besides from some guest reviews, may be relatively quiet around here, so I hope you guys would understand.