I remember as a kid in choir practice looking at a new piece of sheet music and being baffled. Not by the notation — I could see the notes and the key and volume and time instructions, and I could read them just fine. I remember instead trying to understand the musical statement as a whole before I got into the notes individually, because that would help me learn quicker.


Once I grasped the musical idea that the composer was trying to express, I had a much easier time of navigating the notes and everything else.

Many parts of life are like this little example, and I’m sure you have something from your experiences to relate to it. Seeing the forest for the trees, if you will.

The last couple of weeks here we’ve been talking about the specifics involved in creating the best stereo sound field you can with the speakers you’ve already got. We’ll continue next week where we left off in the last one, but this week I wanted to offer a way for you to grasp the bigger picture of it all, and see many examples of perfectly dialed-in stereo systems so that you can fully experience the audio sensation we’re after.

This weekend, starting today, is the annual Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, one of the largest and oldest consumer-focused high-end audio shows in the country. For the first time this year, it will be It’s held this year for the first time at the Gaylord Rockies Resort just off of E470, near the airport. The new venue promises to class up the affair compared to years prior, and in such a large hotel this year the show will have much-needed space around rooms and events. This should make for a more peaceful and audio-friendly gathering of tens of thousands of audiophiles visiting a mishmash of 500 brands in 140 exhibition rooms.

Each year I squawk at you guys to go to this thing, as it is the best chance any of us has to listen to, for example, Wilson Audio’s new $700,000 speakers, or a pair of 60-year-old tube amps powering handmade Japanese horn speakers. There is so much of the world’s best stereo gear in our backyard this weekend, anyone who is remotely interested in good music and great sound should be kicking themselves for missing it.

This time around, as we’re focused on the stereo field and how to set it up in our homes, Rocky Mountain Audio Festival can serve as the ultimate education. Walk into any of the rooms involved in the festival and pay close attention to the way the speakers are distanced from the walls, spaced from each other, and angled.

Think of it as going to visit the audio forest instead of reading about the trees. The sensation of being submersed in a well-constructed stereo field listening to excellent music is something I struggle to describe appropriately. So hear it for yourself this weekend. For directions to the forest — er — the festival, and for more information, visit

Read more Taylor: Stalk him: duncanxmusic.

blog comments powered by Disqus