AGB’s latest column has been uploaded and for those of you interested to see what the Audio Hitman has to say about EQ’ing your system and frequency response in general, go here to read the article. For the faint of heart, I recommend abstaining.
As I worked through the setup of the IRS system, the single biggest setup challenge I have ever experienced, I ran into some pretty major stumbling blocks.
This is one complex system with so many variables to deal with that it is a bit daunting. Add to that the fact that regardless of how well or poorly you set them up, they always seem to impress and it’s hard to be too critical. Yet they, like any system, can get the music terribly wrong. And I was making a classic mistake in my setup procedure, one that my friend Arnie helped me through (it’s good to have friends).
What I was doing wrong was trying to set them up according to the mental picture I had in my head of the last system. Tracks that worked well on the older system were my reference and I figured my first task setting up the IRS was to at least get those same tracks to sound as good or better than they did. My memory of those tracks included such attributes as: the performer sounded “live”, there was a great bass drum whack at a certain point, the depth was amazing, the tuba sounded big and brassy, the huge chorus was right in an acoustic space I could believe. In fact, I had a catalog of such acoustic memories at my ready and I used them as references for the new setup. As AGB so accurately points out in the follow up to his latest article, we tend to want to setup our new system to achieve the best of our old system and then go beyond those barriers – that we call progress.
In my conversations with Arnie on setup he made a great point to me: “Don’t worry about what you had or even getting it to sound a certain way. Do nothing but work on getting the instruments to sound right and everything else will fall into place. Start with the midbass. Get the midbass correct on every instrument in the orchestra and then fine tune everything else.”
Focusing on nothing but the sound of the instruments and voices, getting their timbre, tonal balance and realistic sound right seems so obvious – I’ve preached it many times – but making this THE main focus and letting everything else fall into place has been a very rewarding and valuable lesson for me.
It really works.