Moving. Could there be anything more efficient in leaving one tired, sore, frustrated, confused, and judging by the number of times I went into my wallet, displaced of a considerable sum of money? Worst of all, each of those descriptors also applies to moving my audio system. That I moved myself - with the help of a friend and my new neighbor's 16-year-old son, without whom I don't think my rack would have made it upstairs. Thanks Aiden!
I suspect most audiophiles, myself included in my previous home, will try their level best to shoehorn a system into an existing space. There have been volumes written by various people, audio writers and the public at large, about the travails of making a system fit into the room and play nicely with things such as furniture, windows, the dog, and perhaps the most daunting impediment of all, the spouse (typically a wife).
While I am not impeded by W.A.F., I have, at times, been questioned by that other nearly immovable audiophile condition - G. A. F. All single audiophiles with a girlfriend have experienced this condition. So for my new home, and me filled with enthusiasm to actually get my system into a proper space, I decided that under no condition would I be influenced by any external voice, regardless of whose voice it was, questioning what I was doing. Fine, take the den, that blasted audio room is mine.
Like many audiophiles, my previous residence was a home first and an audio room second. Because my number one goal in the new home was to eliminate that burden, it also created a condition with which I was not familiar - an empty room.
While on the surface it sounds like a great thing - let's face it, all audiophiles would like a clean slate with which to begin drawing - it does enable a situation with which most are not familiar, nothing to impede placement of the system. Having no couches, coffee tables, chairs, artwork on the wall can easily leave one, even if only temporarily, left with an "okay, what next(?)" feeling.
I stood there in that twenty-six-foot-long empty room, the system on the truck in the driveway, and asked myself one simple question - where does this thing go? Put differently, where should I position the system for the best sonics? Yes, I had mapped it all out repeatedly before buying the house and even moving the system, but now it's zero hour and I sure as all things easy want to make moving all these heavy boxes upstairs as pain free as possible. My back was suffering from getting the thing boxed up, on the truck and moved to the new home. Faced now with the prospect of carrying all these stupidly heavy boxes up eighteen stairs (yes, I counted them) I certainly wanted to make the process as expedient as possible. So the positioning of the rack and the speakers, at least initially, were not going to be evaluated by sonics alone, physical discomfort also played a role.
There are a number of ways to approach system set up for the best possible sonics. One way is to enlist the help of a professional. There are people who have made a career out of setting up home audio rooms and recording studios. I would rank them as the best of all possible scenarios - and likely the more expensive of all options. Our publisher, Jerry Del Colliano, gave me the name of two guys he knows and at some point I plan to call one of them. However, at the time, all I really wanted was to unload the truck, hook everything up and play a song to be sure I didn't break anything in the transition. I really wasn't especially concerned with sonics. My glorious system in my new room in my new house - a song, any song would be fine. Sonics didn't really matter at that point.
Any song notwithstanding, pretty soon that nagging condition of wanting the best sonics possible takes over. I mean really, I spent all this money, went to all this trouble (and everyone who has ever moved knows how much trouble it can be), I specifically chose THIS home for the audio room, and now I want it to sound as magnificent as possible. I want my system to take me places it has never taken me before. I want equipment designers, audio journalists and audiophiles far and wide calling at all hours of the day and night asking, begging even, to hear my glorious system. Okay, maybe that goes a bit too far - suffice it to say I wanted the best sound possible, as do all audiophiles.
So here I was, my five-foot-tall Blades, hundred plus pound amp, seventy-pound preamp, DAC and turntable (all of which were even heavier in the shipping cartons), a rack that weighs, oh I don't even know, five hundred pounds or more, empty no less, all the rest of the component boxes, boxes with cables, I didn't even count how many cartons of albums I lugged upstairs, my new Eames chair with the ottoman (which arrived the day I moved in and also had to be carried upstairs) I splurged on to sit in glorious comfort in my new listening room and wouldn't you know it, I was so tired and sore all I could do was turn off the lights and live to fight another day. Musical excellence would have to wait until I could muster the requisite energy to unpack all this crap (at the time that was exactly how I viewed it) and set it all up.
More on that next week.