In the last year I was involved in several DIY projects that I would like to present briefly. DIY is usually inevitable part of the audiophile hobby and it is often driven by the urge for experimenting and trying unconventional concepts that are usually not part of the mainstream commercial production aimed toward larger market segments. There are niche products as well, but they are often too expensive and not affordable. The other reason for DIY having its own special place in our hobby is the urge for perfection of a ready made component in order to get the most out of it or customise to one’s specific needs.
Sometimes bothers me the question what is the meaning of all this endless chasing of the perfect sound? Looking on it objectively it is a pain. First of all one puts a lot of effort gathering the knowledge, because it is something that requires hundreds of hours of reading and digging into that matter. Then hours of voluntary work have been put into modifying or creating components. I’ve spend weekends braiding cables, creating custom wooden compartments for filters, adjusting damping material of the speakers, soldering cables, glueing and grinding wood and so on. Sometimes I am asking myself why didn’t I spent this time doing something sensible?
Proper speaker placement is one of the most important parts of an audio system setup. According to Jim Smith, the author of Get Better Sound, the speaker placement alone has 50% impact on the overall system performance. My experience confirms that notion. The most important points of the placement are the distances between speakers, between speakers and the wall behind them and between speakers and the listener. One should not spare the distance to the back wall. I think that a minimum distance of 20 centimeters is necessary in order to have a proper soundstage portrayal and right tonal balance.
It is time for tube rolling dear fellows! When the audio chain setup is complete and the key components have been chosen one should concentrate on the fine details. They are usually not bringing stunning but rather subtle improvements. My audio system recently reached such a state when all its key components were on place and I decided to finally tune it. Since the amplifier is the second most important component after the speakers that it drives it is vital to take the most out of it.
For those who don’t know what notch filter is I’ll explain in short: the task of a notch filter is to reduce the strength of the audio signal in certain frequency range. Such a filter is usually used in a single driver (also known as broadband or full-range) speaker designs. Because it has only one driver it is often very hard or impossible for such a speaker to convey a flat response along the whole length of the frequency spectrum. Usually such a speakers emphasize certain frequencies that leads to tonal colourations.