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Techniques of High-end Audio System Design
  Audio System Evaluation Techniques

Audio System Construction Techniques

  Audio System Optimization Techniques
  Audio System Doctoring Techniques


Recipes for High-end Audio System Design
  A Wide-bandwidth classical music system
  Hard-pumping rock-and-roll system
  Highly detailed techno music system


A Wide-bandwidth classical music system

This system should be capable of reproducing the large dynamic swings, bass of the kettle drums, detail of the violins, and the soundstaging and imaging  of a real symphony.

Speakers In order to achieve a high-bandwidth the system is going to need some bass. To provide this some large full-range speakers will be used. To ease the amplifier's job in generating large dynamic swings, the speakers should be fairly efficient; say > 88 dB/watt/meter.
Amplification In order to achieve large-dynamic swings a large (200 watts or over) solid-state amp or a tube amplifier capable of lots of control over the speaker is required. In order to reproduce the delicacy of a violin an amplifier of some finesse, with the ability to render fine detail is required. The amplifier must also have the capability of reproducing many dozens of instruments playing at once without collapsing the music into a wall of sound - each instrument should still sound as pure and accurate as if it was playing by itself.
Pre-amplification Not much is required of the pre-amplifier (in fact, with a good variable output stage on the source, a preamp is not required at all). It does need to 'stay out of the way' of the musical information generated by the source.
Cables Similar to the pre-amplifier - cables need to 'stay out of the way' of the music.
Power cables Good power cables help assist the amplifier in responding to the current demands placed on it by large dynamic swings. The also help, to a lesser extent, the pre-amplifier and source do their jobs.
Source The incredible complexities of classical music is handled best by an analog source (i.e. record player). LPs seem to handle the information density better than CDs. That said, there are high-quality CD players that can do a very good job. Any defects in the source, however, will destroy the illusion of the symphony and may be quite painful to listen to.
Tweaks Vibration control, especially for any tube gear, is essential to helping prevent large orchestral works from collapsing into an unpleasant, confused and congested 'wall of sound'.


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