Originally Posted by Bigus (edited)
1. Ah, but I'm asking an even more primative question. How do you know how you want the room to sound to begin with?
2. But how does an individual really know?
3. This seems vacuous unless we have some practical advice on how to actually decide. So what is it?
1. Ok, got it.
2. The individual has to do some
work, like auditioning and asking some simple questions, but you're right that it does not require Ph.D. level reading. Hanging around here (AVS) would be a good place for many to start, though most people don't even want to do that. "Just tell me what I need so I can get on with it" is the mantra of the average person. Just telling them
is often enough to convince them that it's "right" even if they'd like something else better if they heard it.
It might be helpful to generate some simple guides for folks who want simple, just-tell-me-what-to-do guidance. You know, "Answer these questions and here are some recommendations" kind of thing.
3. I'm still going to write that we don't do enough systems thinking, and that wastes time. For those who like to tweak, twiddle, and test, systems thinking might be seen as too much compromising, since it cuts out all that "My system is better because I spent months and months researching and auditioning and piecing together every conceivable component, interconnect, cable, and transducer to get the maximum synergy allowed by the Laws of Physics and God" thinking.
The genesis of this systems thinking idea (with apologies to Peter Senge) comes from my visits to Harman/JBL's Northridge CA facility to see the integrated approach they take to research and development, and in particular JBL's Synthesis® line of products. Getting past the marketing fluff, these are systems that include the electronics (SSP, PEQ, Active XO, Amps), the interconnects, the speakers, the calibration, and even recommendations for room size (in cubic volume) and desired or intended use, etc. Sure, it's an expensive proposition, but it's straightforward once it's selected, and the results are very predictable.
Oftentimes, someone will say, "I want those speakers" and take them home to put them in an entirely different room that is more likely to be too big or too small than to be just right. Then it's, "I want that receiver (or amp) and take it home for a room that's more likely to be too big or too small rather than just right. Then they'll have a room with a wood or tile floor, lots of glass, whatever, and it's "Why does my system sound so horrible?" when in fact the room is part
of the system, not an afterthought.
Yeah, this is getting long-winded, but the point I'm trying to make is that the best practical advice is to stop piecemeal thinking and get folks on board with the notion that a system is equipment, room, placement, and treatment. Integrating a system-centric approach could be as simple as as a series of yes/no questions that lead to a general conclusion or recommendation, with the option to follow up with specific inquiries to fine tune the process if needed.
I use keys all the time to identify plants, animals, rocks, etc, but I start with my preference already in place: I want to get to this thing in my hand. Perhaps there's a way to get the audio questioner to figure out where he/she wants to go as well.