Small vs. big changes
I just watched a video of Steve Guttenberg on YouTube talking about another aspect of changing and improving audio systems.
His message was that small improvements to an audio system, whether it’s a new DAC, amplifier or speaker, will give you a short-term improvement that you can hear and feel, but after a few months it becomes the new normal. There’s no going back after that. There’s also no natural limit to the sky, so each time you make these small changes, they become more expensive and make a smaller and smaller difference.
On the other hand, you can make bigger differences by making fundamental changes, such as going from analog to digital processing, or from closed-cabinet speakers to those with an open baffle. Such changes permanently alter the listening experience, so it’s not a marginal improvement to be forgotten, but affects the nature of the sensation itself. What’s more, you can switch between these changes to experience them over and over again with the same effect.
This thought has stuck in my head because I wondered a while ago how my music listening experience will change when I finish the Grand Orgue. I’ve never heard open baffles before. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my current audio system after that.
But now I think it won’t be worse than before, it will just be different and serve a different purpose.