We are 10 years old this year!
iStereos is an early internet audiophile retailer, founded in 2008, that specialized in computer audio at a time when both computers (including iPods/phones) and on-line trading became viable competitors to both CD players and physical shops respectively.
A decade later and computers are ubiquitous in audio systems, either connected to an audio system to retrieve streamed music, or cleverly disguised into the hardware so it may retrieve streamed music directly. As for on-line trading, well it has become the consumers choice because it is convenient, open 24/7, no crowds, no travel expenses and easy to price match.
Today there are 2 mediums that are at the forefront of music consumption and they are poles apart. Streaming (Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube etc.) is by far the more popular choice. It is replacing the need to purchase singles or albums for a true physical-free music experience and the second medium is good old LP (but sales are small in comparison to streaming). LP’s are for those who prefer the tactile experience, especially holding the cover, viewing the artwork and reading the lyrics whilst listening. This experience is now possible via streaming too and it’s interactive. It is called Roon and it also decodes MQA music.
High resolution music (exceeds cd quality resolution) is finally en-vogue, thanks to MQA (Music Quality Authenticated). MQA is audio origami because it packs a high-resolution music file into a cd sized file, like a ZIP file. This means high-resolution music can be streamed as quickly as a cd file without consuming extra broadband data. This appeals to the recording industry at large (they determine which medium we buy) because it allows them to distribute one music file, comprising both cd and high resolution music. They adapting their back catalogues, even as you read this.
To retrieve MQA, you will need a MQA or Roon capable digital convertor. If MQA doesn’t interest you, you’ll get cd quality resolution which is superior to MP3, win win…
• Safety First: Make sure all components are switched off and unplugged before connecting or disconnecting anything!
• Use a decent hifi rack and a separate shelf per component to isolate the power-supplies from each other (source of electro-magnetic interference). Vibration-absorbing shelves and/or racks offer phenomenal performance.
• Use a separate wall plug or a stereo optimised power conditioner (not the lower quality extension plugs found in DIY stores) and decent power leads per component.
• Use quality speaker cables, interconnects and digital leads as they reduce radio frequency interference (RFI) and other contaminants from destroying your music.
• Separate power cables from speaker/interconnects cables.
• Use Isoacoustics Gaia instead of the spikes supplied with your speakers to decouple them from the ground.
When matching speakers to amplifiers remember the more efficient your speakers are, the lower your amplifier’s power need be and vice versa. There are 5 things to remember when installing speakers:
• Whatever you do to one stereo speaker, do the same to the other. For example keep both speakers equidistant from the rear wall, at the same height and use the same cable lengths for both. Example: if 3m of speaker-cables are required for 1 speaker and 1m for the other, use 3m of the same speaker-cables for both. This will improve timing and stereo imaging.
• Use quality speaker-cables and the LEAST amount of it in order to install your speakers properly.
• Bass boom masks fine treble detail. Find your rooms ideal speaker (acoustic) position by placing both loudspeakers against the wall. Play and listen to a piece of music. Move them into the room slightly and repeat the procedure until an ideal balance of bass and treble is found.
• Next place your loudspeakers far apart from each other, forming an equilateral triangle between your speakers and your listening seat. Play a piece of music, listen then move them closer. Repeat the procedure until the best holographic image of the artists are reproduced.
• Stability improves bass-performance. Place your hand on-top of each speaker and rock gently – if the speaker moves to and fro they not installed properly. Place a spirit level on top of your speaker, adjust your Isoacoustic Gaias or spikes to ensure they stable and straight. Avoid corner positions as this upsets treble detail (except for subwoofers which do perform better in corners).
We are happy to help you release the equity in your current audio system to help finance your new one? Please email John for more information.