Reaching out and touching the sound

Paul McGowan

On a recent pilgrimage to Arnie Nudell’s home (founder of Infinity and Genesis) to have a power amplifier shootout, I was struck by a comment he made to me about the way the system sounded (which was nothing short of magnificent).

He correctly pointed out that the sound was so real you could easily imagine yourself reaching out and touching each of the instruments.

We were listening to a great new piece of music I was unfamiliar with called La Folia.  Using period instruments, this great recording really showed a wonderful soundstage and indeed the instruments were so real it was as if you could touch them.

How did our new amplifier do compared to that experience?  Unfortunately, it was as if the ability to touch them was gone when we put the new amp on.  I was quite upset over the experience but although our amplifier sounds great, the fact that it didn’t live up to this standard was new to me.  I am determined to figure out why and what the mechanism is.

And just when you think you have the world by the tail, you take it to a new test and learn of a whole new dimension.

And here’s something else interesting – I’d wager good money these two amplifiers we compared would measure close to identical – yet one had this amazing realism and palpability the other lacked.

I don’t think it’s back to the drawing board but it does appear like I’ll be rolling my sleeves up again