Friday, April 29, 2011

Digital Dilemma

Digital Dilemma

After building my 2Pi Speakers I settled down and spent some quality time remembering to enjoy my music collection. Also emerging was the fact that I have hobby ADD. I picked up woodworking in earnest, then photography, wine drinking, etc. All the while buying and loading more music into my collection. Then one day I had the life altering privilege of attending Jamie Cullum in concert. Unbridled passion is the only way I can explain his performance at the 9:30 club.

So is I went home, uploaded my newly purchased album and sat down to listen. Sadly it became overwhelming apparent that my beloved 2Pi’s were simply missing some bottom end. There was no harmony in the bottom octave just one note burping out. So, I went out and bought some Klipsch RF-25’s which quickly solved the bottom end problem.

Alas – what is the digital dilemma? Power.

My tube amp sounds – wonderful – but having attended a number of live shows recently it’s clear that there is room to improve. The bottom end just doesn’t have the impact when using the Tubes. Loud? yes – Deep? yes – keeps your foot tapping? Yes… But the tube just doesn’t deliver “slam.”

So, it’s back to square one. I’m now running music out of my computer to a DAC via a fiber optic cable. From the DAC to a Bottlehead Foreplay Tube Preamp, then to an old NAD power amp. Hello SLAM. And unfortunately hello listening fatigue. Now the bottom end is full, deep, quick, and accurate but the top end is too bright and the sound stage is totally unrealistic.

I wish for the day when listening to music was simple again – when it was about the cool lights and the jumpy indicators not sound stage, energy, dynamics.

Anyone want to lend me a 300B SET? Maybe some electrostats? How about just a live band that does covers of everything I have in my collection. Sigh.