A Brief Intro
I’ve been into music for a long time. More specifically, I was into classical. Growing up, I played the double bass – or stand-up or contrabass – all through middle and high school. It was 2002, and I signed up for orchestra without any input or inclination from my parents. To be honest, at the time it was “hey this looks cool”.
That consumed me.
Before I knew it, I was competing in local and state competitions, and doing so with a wonderful 5-string bass that my parents had gotten for me. For those that don’t know, most basses these days are 4-string, but it leaves a lot to be desired when older orchestral pieces call for a low B, something that could only be attained with a 5-string bass or 4-string with special extension modification. In my opinion, that modification was ugly and just a crutch, but hey, that’s me.
That low B is 30.9 Hz with regular tuning, far below what most loudspeakers – especially smaller monitors – are capable of outputting. It’s capable of producing ~6 octaves, which brings its highest note to 392 Hz. Harmonics go all the way up to 4-5 kHz. I could talk about the double bass for a long time, but I’ll leave it there. It’s the broad range and foundation that the bass provides to an orchestra that led me to have a great appreciation for proper reproduction of the lower registers.
No, I don’t mean chest thumping bass that’s drowning out everything else, but tuneful, tight, and musically tasteful bass.
The ‘first’ speaker
Fast forward to college, and that was the first time that I discovered FLAC. It was a whole new world to me. Back in 2009, during my sophomore year, I ventured into a Hi-Fi shop looking for good speakers that didn’t break the bank. I didn’t know what I was doing. I told the guy what I was looking for, and his first question was the classic “what percentage is music and movies?”. “80/20” I replied.
The first set of speakers I listened to were the ones I was originally there for, based on my supremely limited knowledge. Paradigm Studio 60’s. Not gonna lie, they sounded pretty great to my untrained ears. After that he had me listen to what would eventually become my very first purchase. The Rega RS7’s.
I know what you’re thinking, damn that’s an expensive entry into the hifi world. I went home that day dazzled. I couldn’t get my mind off of that speaker. It did everything I ever wanted. It was musical, it got my foot tapping, and I didn’t know it was possible to close your eyes and point to where the sound was coming from. I thought imaging was only something that happened in real life.
I made the decision. I maxed out my credit card and ate on the cheap for the next 9 months while I paid it off. It was the best decision I ever made, and let me to where I am now. I eventually rounded out that system with a Rega Mira, and Rega DAC.
Since then, I’ve listened to a wide variety of components, from Rega (obviously), Naim, Linn, and Cambridge Audio to American-made powerhouses like VTL, Audio Research and Boulder.
My current reference system has made it back to mostly British. Gotta love that sound. The Rega Osiris powering their RS10 speakers and with the RP10 as my analog source. My current DAC is a bit of an oddball though, the MHDT Orchid. It’s wonderfully musical, way more so than should be allowed for something of its price.
I’ve taken notes on most every component that’s ever graced my system or that I’ve heard out on the road. I hope to be able to add to this blog with my findings.