Most educational auditions?


Jimmy2615 asks,  “What’s your most educational audition? Not what was the best preamp or amp or speaker you heard, but what audition changed your pre-conceived notions of audio in one audition, for better or worse?

I’ve had the pleasure to audition various pieces of audio equipment for the last 25 years or so at dealer showrooms, audio shows, and fellow audiophiles’ homes. But for me it was an audition of Revel Studio (the newer version) loudspeakers with all new at the time (500 series ?) Levinson equipment at a dealer’s showroom in Northern Virginia, about 2 years ago. I went in only to look at CD/SACD players (from Marantz or Esoteric) but heard this system.

What was educational for me? I found a CD they had that I was familiar with (a Living Stereo or Presence SACD of Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue), and having listened to it in my own system over the years, with changes in homes, rooms, and equipment, what struck me was the soundstage — something I had never heard before. This soundstage on this older recording, on this system, was confined to a box about 4′ by 4′ between the speakers, much like a TV. It was like it was cut out with a scapel. The speakers were probably 10′ or more apart and I was at least that distance from them. The edges of the ‘box’ were very distinct – something I have never heard before or since, that is, there was sound from the box and not anywhere outside of it. Almost weird. The dealer did have a good system set up and room, something many of my auditions over the years have not had. So I’m sure that was a big contributor to what I heard. Anyway, for me it was a first, in terms of how distinct a soundstage could be compared to so many other systems and rooms.”

Winter CES. I’m pretty sure it was 1991, but maybe 1990. Went into the Scientific Fidelity room and was completely blown away by the sound. The system just sounded great. Word got around on how good the sound was and there was a line down the hall. Everyone was talking about it. The next day I went back to hear it one more time. I believe it was the last day of the show. It was just OK the 2nd time around. Didn’t sound anything like the day before. After the demo, I went up to the people from SF and asked them what happened. Why did the system sound so much better the day before? They said they were using a TT as a source yesterday and that today’s demo was with a CD player in the system.

Regardless of format (TT vs. CD) I would expect the results to be very recording-dependent. I gather the CD and the LP were not recordings of the exact same material.

RMAF MAGICO Q3 wonderful!!

There was one decades ago for gig I wanted to join when realized I really suck.

All mbl demo at United Home Audio in MD a few years back using CD, phono and reference RTR recordings, and in a showroom suited to bring out the best.

This system in general was all time home audio imaging and soundstage champ I have heard and all the unique aspects and limitations of each source type were laid to bare.

Add your experiences below!


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