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An Unexpected and Pleasant Surprise

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I recently made a change to my audio setup and was running through tracks to see if there was an appreciable difference. My process is to go through the same set of tracks that I use to audition and test everything. After this, I continued to select different tracks to continue to look for differences. Eventually I came to a track that I had not listened to in some time.

This track is Never Give All The Heart by the Chieftains off the Tears of Stone album. Anyone familiar with Jim Smith's Get Better Sound DVD should instantly recognize this disk. It is one that he uses to test with. In the DVD Jim provides listening cues on several of the tracks that he uses and recommends to help with speaker positioning.

In this track Jim mentions a drum at about 17 seconds in, and then repeated at 58 seconds. This drum rolls, but should sound distinct and clear and not worbbly or muddy. When I heard this on my current setup I could not believe how good and clear it sounded. It seemed to be night and day since when I last heard it. I listened on to the next track, A Stor Mo Chroi that contains several iterations of bass lines that continue to get deeper and louder. Again, I was astounded at how deep and distinguishable these were. Beyond the bass, I was impressed with the female vocals. They seemed to be planted dead center in my room, as if they were sitting on a chair a few feet back from my speakers. Finally, there was a quietness to the performances, meaning that the background noise had faded and only the music came through.

I should not be surprised at this difference given how many upgrades I have done since last really listening to these tracks. Though it was really nice to see how far my setup has come, and that the changes have provided an improvement. It was sort of an AH HA moment for me, where everything came together. I could really see how things have progressed and appreciated for a moment the fruits of this hobby.

Now back to evaluating my latest tweak to see if it has incrementally moved me forward.