A More (or Less) Enjoyable Listening Experience
So, this is what the mess looks like right now.
I’m not sure if this is how the mess will look a week from now. I’ve got a bunch of friends helping me sort it out. While it’s cleaning up alright, I’m having some trouble with that bookcase lying behind the speakers. For one, it’s visually distracting. Distractions, even the visual sort, can alter one’s mood and make for a less enjoyable listening experience. Second, I believe that my soundstage is now shallower than it was when the Polycrystal equipment rack stood between the windows. Then again, maybe the shrunken soundstage has nothing to do with the location of the new bookcase; maybe my gear simply sounds better when it’s placed atop the Polycrystal. Or maybe I just have to find new locations for the speakers. Or maybe it has something to do with the QED speaker cables that I’m now using. (The Furutech Evolutions I had been using were too short to reach out to the left-channel speaker.)
Who knows? I can’t be certain. Too many variables, too many variables.
Another difficulty is my room’s lack of symmetry. John Atkinson tells me that symmetry is very important for creating precise and focused images within a soundstage. One solution would come in arranging my new Ikea bookcases so that they mirror one another, on either side of the speakerseither vertically or horizontallythus creating symmetry. However, a long baseboard heater prevents me from placing a horizontally oriented bookcase along the left wall. In addition, there’s a very small areaa matter of a few feetin which anything can be placed in my living room without suffering some tilt due to a somewhat alarming dip in the floor’s surface. It is possible for me to arrange the two new bookcases vertically, on opposing walls, avoiding the baseboard heater and nulling the floor’s central dip, but doing so leaves me feeling a bit hemmed in: You know, as if two dark, heavy bookcases are staring at me. One last limitation comes in the form of AC: There’s only one outlet in the room, located on the wall between the windows, and I don’t like the idea of running exposed extension cords all over the place.
What to do?
I am considering swapping the LPs and the books. I wonder if the regularity in size and appearance of the LPs would create less of a visual distraction. Another idea is to move the front-wall bookcase into my bedroom, thereby making room to place the Polycrystal equipment rack in its original location. To achieve this, I would have to tackle a large deal of reorganization in the bedroom. (That’s okay: There’s nothing else going on in there, anyway.) On the other hand, reconstructing the equipment rack would be a snap, and would allow me to reintroduce the Furutech cables to the system. Neither of these ideas addresses the issue of symmetry, however. That said, my system, as it is now, sounds fine. If anything, there may be some increase in midrange clarity. Images actually seem as focused as ever.
Another attractive idea takes shape in placing the orange couch along the long, left wall, just in front of the baseboard heater, and setting the Polycrystal equipment rack directly in front of it, on the opposite wall. I could then place the two Ikea bookcases vertically, on either side of the equipment rack, and move the Gothic Cabinet LP rack to the entrance wall, in place of the orange couch. But this option would require removing several small pieces of art and furniture from the walls, and would mean addressing that dip in the floor and employing extension cords.
And then there are the 450 compact discs that need to go somewhere. Damn.