Switching places

Over the weekend I decided to swap the places of my audio system and listening sofa just to check out how it will affect the sound. I was concerned with the lack of enough space between the speakers, but It was just impossible to further increase the distance between speakers without entering the door boundaries. The task was to keep the room functions intact so that the door is passable.

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Network Player SoTM sMS-200

Convenience of use and playback performance are the main considerations that pointed my attention toward the idea of buying a dedicated network player to replace the PC I have already in use. After researching the market for an affordable device that can stream digital audio over network or attached via USB data storage device my choice was basically reduced to two contenders – Auralic Aries Mini and SOtM sMS-200 both priced bellow 600 euro. I decided to give SOtM a try because of seemingly better build quality and the versatility of use.

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Do it yourself (DIY)

Cable fitting instead of binding posts on the back of Fostex FE 108 Sigma based horn speakers.

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.

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In searching for meaning

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?

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Speaker placement

My home audio system consisting of Fostex FE 108 Sigma full-range speakers, AMR DP-777 digital processor, Line Magnetic 211IA tube amplifier and SOTM sms-200 network player.

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.

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