This is pretty much the received wisdom when it comes to system sound quality. It’s also BS. Okay, that’s strong — it’s hyperbole. At best. But the nugget to take away from this is that even after tweaking your way into the poorhouse, there’s still another place to spend money on your system. Or, rather, the room it’s in.
Back in the day, room treatments were pretty much considered esoterica. No one had them. It’s quite possible that ASC first brought such products to the home user, but whatever the history, any audiophile worth his salt will be quick to point out the room treatments that he has scattered all over his listening room. In fact, most audiophiles I know actually invest in room treatments pretty early on in the system building process. AND it’s usually the piece that, once addressed, never gets touched again. Cables, amps and cartridges will come and go, but TubeTraps are forever.
There are some companies that have taken this a step farther. Audyssey in the Home Theater market and Lyngdorf, Rives and couple of others have taken on the stereo market. If you read around, everyone that has tried these products tends to become a buyer of them. There’s a good reason for it, too — it’s almost impossible to know how bad your system actually sounds until you’ve compensated for the room it happens to live in.
Okay, fine. That’s enough of a build up. Most of you are probably painfully aware of what room nodes are and how persnickety they can be. If you’ve become obsessed with measurement tools, you’ll also probably be well aware of how bad your room treatments have been at addressing some of your room’s more chronic problems. You’ve probably shrugged your shoulders and moved on.
I have no idea if Spatial will solve those problems. I’m told it will. How does it stand up to the leaders in this space? No idea. Here’s what I do know — Spatial is different.
There’s no gear required.
That’s right. As of May or so, Spatial no longer requires you to purchase a specialty multi-channel pro-DAC. The Spatial solution, which was first developed as a replacement for the Behringer EQ box that the Emerald Physics speakers use, no longer needs any crutches at all in order to stand up on its own. It doesn’t really come with gear, either. It’s now offered as a software-only package — which means you can feel free to use your own crappy speakers with your own crappy DAC all fronted by that crappy ol’ iMac you’ve repurposed into a music server. It’s about time!
Said another way, I think this means that Spatial is finally ready for prime time.
Personally, I’m excited by this. The system is actually a suite of Mac software packages including an OEM version of Channld’s Pure Music, a most excellent software playback engine. It also includes, probably most importantly, professional (and remote) calibration. Assuming your amp has enough grunt to handle the output variation needed to adjust the playback, Spatial should give you state of the art computer playback. More interestingly, your calibration session ought to be able to get you a couple of different config sets to play with and an easy way to switch between them. So you can EQ up your full range mega speakers and your desktop monitors and get the late-night low-bass setting for each while you’re at it.
Srajan Ebaen over at 6moons gave the Spatial solution a Lunar Eclipse award, the highest his site offers. Pretty compelling if you ask me, but the proof in the pudding is in the eating, so I’m now budgeting accordingly.
Hit the Spatial banner above for options, pricing and purchasing.