I’m always impressed with the ways instructional articles attempt to evaluate sound from loudspeakers. After all, compared to headphones a lot more can go wrong in in the setup process. This value is even more impressive if there is a companion disc or file to actually play test samples through your stereo. PS Audio’s label Octave Records just announced The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker and is written by PS Audio’s Paul McGowan. Paul also has a fairly successful YouTube channel that is equality informative.
You can check out all the fine details in the quotes below.
“Boulder, Colorado, October 7, 2022 – PS Audio’s Octave Records label announces its latest release, The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker, a book and companion SACD/download that tells listeners exactly how to get the most out of their loudspeaker setup. Written by PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan, the book and its accompanying disc (also available as a download) offer the practical knowledge he’s gained through more than 50 years of high-end audio design and in setting up hundreds of speaker systems.
“I’ve had to come to the rescue of someone’s system time and again because it just wasn’t sounding right. It was almost always a setup problem. Like everyone else, I used favorite music tracks for system tuning. But now, with Octave Records’ recording studio at our disposal, we were able to create tracks that are ideal for system setup, and then write a book that tells listeners how to implement these tracks to their best advantage.”
The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker is useful for both novices and experienced audiophiles who may benefit from bringing their setup to a higher level or musical realism. The book begins by covering a variety of topics including the nature of sound, different speaker designs, the importance of choosing the right speaker for your particular needs and listening tastes, and one of the most critical aspects of speaker setup: the effect of the listening room on loudspeaker performance.
Next the book discusses where to place the speakers in the room, and how to deal with various types and shapes of rooms. The Guide notes that different placements may be appropriate for different speaker types – for example, stand-mounted “box” speakers versus dipole planar designs – and listening room configurations (such as whether to place speakers across the short or long wall of a room). Real-world aspects like accommodating living spaces that aren’t dedicated to loudspeakers, and taking into account the locations of furniture, are also considered.
The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker (SRP: $58 – $68 depending on format) then walks the listener through using the accompanying reference disc (or download) to fine-tune the system to perfection. The disc starts with some basic tests for channel orientation and moves on to exacting, step-by-step procedures (time to get out the tape measure!) for getting the best bass response and tonal balance, achieving a solid center image, finding the best seating position, maximizing dynamics, producing a believable soundstage, capturing subtle musical details, and ultimately, getting the speakers to “disappear” and create the feeling that the musicians are in the room with the listener.
The tracks on the disc are tailored to help the listener zero in on various sonic aspects, from the pluck of Chris Brunhaver’s acoustic bass and how it energizes the room, to the focused center image of Gabriel Mervine’s trumpet, and the resonance and spatiality of Bill Kopper’s acoustic guitars and a number of tracks featuring vocalists with a full band.
The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker SACD is playable on any SACD, CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player (an SACD player is required to play the high-resolution DSD files on the disc). In addition, the master DSD and PCM files are available for purchase and download in formats up to 352.8 kHz/DSD256 from psaudio.com at this link.”
More info: PS Audio