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Audio File: Being an ‘audiophile’ means loving music and pampering your sense of hearing

Audio File: Being an ‘audiophile’ means loving music and pampering your sense of hearing
Audio File: Being an ‘audiophile’ means loving music and pampering your sense of hearing

I was in a local shop the other day thinking about how crappy the sound system was in there, when the owner came by and, almost on cue, struck up a conversation with the guy next to me about how good he thought the music sounded.

I thought it sounded like a tiny Bluetooth speaker in the corner, but these guys were amazed that it sounded that good for being just a tiny Bluetooth speaker in the corner.

While I agree that it was surprisingly clear except for the bass, my frustration was simply that I’d heard so many stereos sound so much better, I couldn’t agree that the sound was objectively “good.”

I don’t get why, in this day and age, the hearing sense is still under-pampered when you compare it to the way we treat our visual and taste senses.

People are leaping to try VR or buy the latest television technology or even welcome little robots or IOT devices into our homes. But when it comes to music, we’ve let our standards go in place of the attractive portability of Bluetooth speakers.

Anyway, this is why I write about this stuff. I love technology, I love audio, and I love, love love music. I carry the highest respect for musicians, who have a tougher job than many know. These loves are what I write about in this column, and to the newcomers at CU, howdy, and I hope you enjoy.

We were just in the thick of an interesting DIY project over the last few columns, in which we built a world-class subwoofer with ease and grace.

Strange to do a DIY project in a column without pictures and diagrams, I know. But the project itself is purchasable and comes with easy-to-follow diagrams showing how to build the main box.

That’s the easy part. What it doesn’t show you is how to use the advanced new technology within the components, and that is where I come in.

We’re building the Parts Express Dayton 10″ DSP subwoofer kit (Google it), and those three important letters — DSP — are what we’re now focusing on. If you’d like to join in the project and follow along, visit to find past columns.

Our next task is to measure the bass. After building and deciding where to place the subwoofer (our last two steps) we need to see what problems have been created by the placement so that we can fix them.

There is a free computer program called Room Equalization Wizard, which is the tool I use to measure my sound. You can also find many “real time analyzer” apps for phones. A nice free one for the iPhone that I like is simply called “RTA.”

Let’s start simple. Download the phone app, and through your sound system, play a YouTube video of “pink noise.” Turn the volume up enough that you get a good reading on the RTA app, sit in your listening spot and take a look at what it shows. The bass readings are all the way to the left.

I’ve no doubt there will be peaks and gaps all over the place, but also, no worries — we’ll smooth ’em out.

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