improving sound

Nordost’s Foundation Theory

This is essential reading when it comes to building the perfect sound system.

A strategy for optimizing system performance;
A road map to greater musical satisfaction;
A recipe for upping the value of upgrades;
A beginners guide to building a better system.

For many, many years, hi-fi has been all about the boxes: How big? How many? How powerful? How much? In a market where the prices have risen faster than an F15 interceptor with its afterburners on, performance has struggled to keep pace and increasingly, the very same magazines that promoted this over-focussed, product based approach have come to rely on the law of diminishing returns to explain the disappointing results of all too many expensive “upgrades”. Instead of questioning just why the latest $20K pre-amp doesn’t sound even close to twice as good as the $10K competition, they seem to think that this is the natural state of affairs.

Well, at Nordost, we don’t agree. In fact, we’d go further than that and say that if you don’t hear every single cent of performance that an upgrade costs then don’t spend the money, because there are good products and bad products – and a good product used properly should deliver full value. Why? Because doubling the budget allows a designer far greater fl exibility in how he deploys that budget, with less of it being taken by irreducible fi xed costs. If our notional designer decides that it’s the volume control that’s going to transform the performance of his $20K pre-amp, he’s got the budget to really go to town – and you’ve got the ears to decide if he’s right or not.

There’s only one rub to this tidy notion and that’s those two little words, lurking innocently at the end of the basic proposition. “Used properly” might not seem like much of a qualifi er but in this instance it’s make or break. Let’s take a look at one of those motoring analogies so beloved of the audiophile press. You know, one of those involving Ferraris, Lamborghinis or a host of other cars they’ve never driven. To continue reading, please download the Nordost PDF Article.