To bring a little festive fun during the run up to holiday season, we’re putting together a rather exceptional and exclusive sound system at the Robert Taussig Showroom in Marylebone on Saturday 10th Dec.
The stars of this showcase event will be the remarkable Clarisys Audio speakers, powered by the legendary electronics from Goldmund.
Clarisys Audio speakers use a unique, full-range ribbon driver to create the most lifelike and natural sound. Ribbons are incredibly fast and the panel design is also free from the box resonances produced by most conventional speaker designs.
Only the finest amplifier designs can exploit the true sonic potential of these stunning speakers and we believe that Goldmund are the ultimate partners.
A system with this level of resolution and performance requires the finest ancillaries and to this end we have discovered Ikigai Audio, a fabulous cable manufacturer developing products that really bring this system together.
Please feel free to drop in at anytime Sat 10 Dec between 10am and 5pm for festive refreshments and the chance to experience this amazing system.
Sometimes, when things seem to be getting overly complicated and you really can’t see the wood for the trees, I’ve always felt the best thing to do is revert back to first principles or look to the KISS acronym (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
This is especially true when looking at sound, which is essentially a simple construct in theory but one that can quickly become very complex in the real world.
Basically, as mentioned in my previous blog, a sound wave is produced by a source of energy that causes a movement of molecules in matter – solid, liquid or gas.
The displacement of the air molecules results in pressure changes, an increase in pressure as the molecules are squeezed together (Compression) or a decrease in pressure as they are pulled apart (Rarefaction)
More energy produces a larger movement of molecules and a greater pressure change, which can be seen as an increase in the Amplitude of the resultant sound wave and heard as a louder sound.
Think, pump up the volume!
In its simplest form, we can illustrate a sound as a sine wave plot of amplitude (air pressure) changing over time, and the length of time it takes to complete this sound wave cycle is referred to as its Period.
A sound wave is simply two things – Amplitude and Time
The number of sound wave cycles that occur in a second of time is defined as its Frequency (measured in Hertz, Hz), something that we can hear as changes in Pitch…. Julie Andrews and Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do come to mind!
Generally, the human ear can respond to a range of frequencies, from a low of 20 wave cycles per second (20Hz) up to a high of 20 thousand cycles per second (20,000Hz or 20kHz)
So far, so simple…. But things are about to get a lot more complicated.
Unfortunately, in our natural world, a pure tone composed of a single sine wave frequency does not exist and all of the sounds that we hear are known as complex sounds that are composed of multiple different frequencies.
These additional frequencies give a sound its own unique character, referred to as its Timbre.
That’s why, when you hear the same musical note (for example ‘Concert A’ at 440Hz) being played on different types of instruments such as a Flute, Piano, Trumpet or Guitar, you can differentiate between each type of instrument.
This is because, even though the most prominent frequency that each instrument produces is an ‘A’ (440Hz), known as the Fundamental, they also produce a different series of other frequencies (known as Harmonics or Overtones) at various levels to create their individual Timbre.
Interestingly, we can produce a sonic fingerprint for every individual sound by doing something known as a Fourier Analysis. This breaks down any complex sound into its individual sine wave frequencies and the various amplitude levels of those component sounds.
However, the frequency spectrum of a note played on a piano for instance will be composed of hundreds of sounds, not just the basic harmonic overtones from the string but also the unique resonances within the instrument that results from hitting a single key.
Differences in construction, materials and design help to create the classic sound characteristic of various manufacturers, that’s why the sonic fingerprint of a Steinway piano is different to that of a Bosendorfer or a Fazioli.
Being able to capture those amazingly complex sounds and recreate them in a lifelike manner is an incredibly difficult task, as I shall discuss in future articles.
OK, don’t panic, this is not going to be an ode to the Von Trapp family singers, but more a look into the relationship between sound and music.
A great man once said, “sound is music, and music is sound”, which neatly sums things up.
Music is an art form, some would say the art form that all other arts aspire to.
Well, maybe it’s because music has no physical form, unlike a sculpture or a painting. Music is ethereal and its creative energy and message is expressed through an invisible medium… Sound.
The only way, until relatively recently, we humans could experience the musical art form was to be in the presence of its creator (the musician) or to be the creator ourselves – either singing or playing some type of instrument.
You needed to be close enough to be able to hear the music, to engage with the creative energy through the sound that it produced and experience it in a unique, singular fleeting moment, because after that moment had passed, it was gone forever and diffused into the air, leaving just a memory.
So, whether it was a choir, an ensemble of instruments or a single performer, the expressive and emotional message of their art was brought to you through the audible vibrational energy of matter.
Sound energy needs some kind of medium to propagate through, be it solid, liquid or gas. As the old movie poster said, “in space, no one can hear you scream”…
Fortunately for us, we are surrounded by a breathable gaseous atmosphere. Air.
Those miles of air molecules above our heads are pushing down on us with a defined amount of pressure and the human body has evolved over time to be able to survive in this ‘normal’ pressure zone.
Sound energy causes the movement of air molecules, pushing them closer together (compression) and pulling them further apart (rarefaction), this causes the pressure level to increase or decrease in relation to the normal level.
The pressure changes move through the air at a defined speed and produce the longitudinal formations we know as sound waves and those waves impact upon our ears, causing movement in our hearing mechanism, leading to electrical nerve impulses in our brains – it’s the brain that tells us what the sound is and how to react to it.
It’s the soft grey matter between our ears that decides if we run from a sound or dance to a sound, but the physics of all sound is exactly the same – sound is music and music is sound.
I’m Robert Wilson, sometimes known as ‘Dr Rob’, and I’m a sound engineer.
The perfect all-in-one analogue solution. The Rega System One is designed to be simple to set up, easy to use and deliver a true analogue experience straight out of the box. Consisting of the multi-award winning Planar 1 turntable, the io amplifier, Kyte loudspeakers and all the cables you need to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of vinyl.
This premium edition of the award-winning Mu-so 2nd Generation is dressed in sustainable hardwood, with a unique light grille – giving you more choices to suit your styling.
Easy playback from all your devices with Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Chromecast built-in, which delivers multiple services including Deezer and Google Play Music. Direct streaming from Spotify Connect, Tidal, Qobuz & internet radio.
Sounds great anywhere. Room compensation optimises audio to suit where your Mu-so sits, guaranteeing a rich and natural musical experience, no matter where the speaker is placed.
You can also personalise your Mu-so with alternative coloured grilles available in Terracotta, Peacock and Olive.
Coming soon! The new publication Strive for Perfection: Celebrating 110 Years of the Spirit of Ecstasy pays tribute to a landmark anniversary for Rolls-Royce’s famous hood ornament.
This hardback, fully illustrated coffee-table book charts the origins and subsequent influence of the Spirit of Ecstasy – an iconic design that has transcended the world of high-end motoring to become synonymous with unparalleled luxury and quality the world over.
Produced by one of the world’s most prestigious car clubs – the International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts (or simply the RREC) – this new title also celebrates the remarkable heritage of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars, from the turn of the 20th century to the modern day, and features a carefully curated selection of luxury brands from around the world – with Goldmund being one of them!