I went to Adelphi just now to look at the Audyssey i-Pod dock that I planned to buy. I tried out the dock with the songs in my iPhone. Fortunately I have got the “Grandma’s Hands” piece in high quality MP3 format. The dock played the song beautifully. The finger snaps were very life like. In fact, more so than my large B&W speakers at home!!! I also played other songs like Spanish Harlem, Chinese songs, pop songs. They played well but I can sort of tell that the songs are coming from a small setup rather than from big speakers. (Its is not obvious for some songs but obvious for others.)When I told him I would like his permission to post his comments, he said yes, and added the following:
Then I went to the B&W reseller shop just nearby to try out their newly released high end bookshelf speakers, PM1 which cost over $4K a pair. I played Grandma’s Hands again. While the sound was very clear from each speaker the finger snaps sounded like sh**!!! They sounded flat, lifeless and just plain awful – very much like the same sound coming out of my big speakers before you tuned them for me.
Suddenly it dawn on me that you mentioned before that you were shocked that most HIFI shops do not even positioned their speakers properly for optimum sound. True enough.. the speakers’ positions were crap. They were not even toe-in. In fact, they were toe-out. That explained why such good speakers could produce such awful finger snapping sound!!!
Conclusion, the Audyssey SOMA i-Pod docking station is really optimised for good sound. And secondly, all speakers no matter how cheap or expensive needs to be properly position/tuned to get good sound!!!
Seriously I was very surprised the finger snapping sounded so life-like from the small box. Ric spent quite a lot of time positioning my floor standing speakers to make the finger snapping sound life-like on my big speakers. Even now, I would just rate it a barely life-like. But on the SOMA, it was very life-like. This is just a very specific example. I don’t know if the same applies to other variables or not.
(BTW, this particular piece of music, Grandma’s Hands, is from an audiophile testing CD I bought sometime ago. This special CD teaches one how to audition an audio system. Before each musical track is played, a narrator introduces & explains what the track excels at and exactly what you should be listening for on a quality audio system capable of faithfully reproducing tracks just as they were recorded. In this case, it is the life-like finger snapping sound.)
Labels: Audio, iPad, iPhone, Tech