There are two basic types of customers for music systems: those who want to spend enough for a good sounding system (with acceptable aesthetics), and those who strive to create the most compelling system possible within their budget.
For the first group the process of designing a system is relatively straightforward. First identify high-value, realiable, and well supported hardware within the budget. Then ensure the chosen options will work together well as a system (from both an electrical and acoustical perspective) and are acceptable from an interior design perspecitve. Finally, evaluate wether the system is likely to meet needs that may evolve over time.
For those striving to build the best sounding system they can afford, the challenge is considerably trickier. For the most part, audiophiles are working to improve existing systems rather than starting from scratch. In this scenario, upgrading an individual component is the most common strategy. In a world filled with hyperbolic claims, questionable science, and ambiguous reviews it is not easy to identify probable upgardes. All to often, inserting a new piece of gear doesn’t produce the improvment the owner was hoping for.
While upgrading components can sometimes work out, the “cut and try” approach of swapping gear in & out can be expensive and inefficient. A better approach is to start by assessing the foundations of system performance; electric power, room acoustics, and set-up, before considering changing either cabling or components. This methodology can often identify readily correctable “weak links” that may call into question the need to purchase expensive new hardware. Because this approach requires significant technical expertise and some specialized test equipment, most audiophiles still shoot in the dark with component selection and set up. They simply try out numerous combinations untill they hit upon one they like, without ever knowing why this is so. Of course, there are many subtle aspects of system performance that can only be determined by trail and error (e.g. finding preferred cables). However, it can save a lot of time and money to first ensure the foundations of a system are sound and that the fine tuning that is done later on isn’t in response to a more basic problem.
Westside has the technical skills, knowledge, and experience to help you on your journey in building a more engaging music system. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how we can make your system really sing.