Monday, September 10, 2007

The importance of using a high fidelity speaker system

I have frequently noticed that people give disproportionately large attention to having a good visual display subsystem, compared to the audio subsystem. I have seen many friends bothering less about the speaker system when getting a desktop computer assembled.

Personally, I feel that this tendency is not good. 2 reasons for this

1) I am an avid player of music on my Yamaha PSR-330 electronic keyboard cum synthesizer for over 9 years now. I believe I have a good sense and understanding of music and sound. And my experience with music/sound over years is that although sound plays a very important part, its contribution is more 'silent' as compared to the contribution of visuals. To put it more clearly, in many scenes in movies, it is the sound running in the background that creates the right mood/emotion, although this is hardly ever explicitly recognized by audience. Thus sound is more like a silent warrior that does play a significant role, but its importance is realized by only a handful of people [musicians and singers especially]. Although in real life, sound has this quality called 'prominence', in many scenes in movies [especially in the emotional ones], sound is not prominent, as larger proportion of attention of audience is towards the visuals. Visuals, in general, get a disproportionately large amount of credit for the overall effect a scene creates. This reason highlights the importance of the role played by sound.

2) I draw the following analogies between display and audio subsystems

Screen size (of a display) = Output power (volume of a speaker system)
Color gamut range (of a display) = Frequency range (of a speaker system)
Brightness, contrast etc (of a display) = quality of sound output (of a speaker system)

If any single component of a display subsystem is lame, it is outrightly turned down by people. (from point 1) A speaker system too must have high fidelity, lest the effect of sound intended by artist/creator never reach the audience.

One final word- Watching a movie on a small screen with a poor speaker system produces a fraction of effect that the same movie would have produced had it been seen on a large screen with good speaker system.

p.s. I recently bought 2 sets of speaker systems [both are creative sbs-370 systems- my own belief is that, as of now, this system gives highest value for money among all 2.1 speaker systems i know, in addition to reproducing sound quite faithfully]