Country of Origin


Another new sound room

Writer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Room: ~6 x 8m

Another move, another music room. At about 6x8m, it's wider than the prior Liscarney room that sported the same hifi hardware. This time I abandoned the big top shelf of the Artesanía rack which once again sits along the right sidewall. The music iMac instead sits on a Kroma Krion stand on cables long enough to easily slide right out next to the listening chair, no remote control or squinting needed. I wanted to do this before but lacked the space.

With the Shannon river right across the road plus 'shot-gun house' windows in the doors—one could stand outside Ivette's office and fire straight through her exterior window, then the two windowed doors of the music room through the hallway through the door window in my office and decommission yours truly for good—there's lots of natural light from southern exposure. It's well lit all day long and into the late evening when the towers of the Kerry-side ferry terminal turn on their red lights for a bit of faraway big-city ambiance in what otherwise is a very rural setting.

Without the prior room's high vaulted ceiling, the decay times here are shorter. Hence this space sounds brighter not in any sense of flinch…

… but in how certain children are called 'bright' for being quick-witted and intelligent. This is an intelligible not foggy room. Achieving high-resolution playback will rely only on proper hardware, not eye-sore tricks.

By good fortune, Alain Pratali's Aurai Audio Lieutenant speakers with their hidden 8" band-pass carbon woofers bed right into the new dimensions to leave the overall bass balance slightly on the lean side. This bodes brilliantly for the pending addition of Martin Gateley's sound|kaos DSUB 15. That combination will make for a truly full-range system without any room issues. Like upstairs, the speakers have some good room from the front wall and here also side wall and aim face-on at the seat. Hey, don't fix what ain't broke. For me that recipe just works.

Attentive reader will remember Ivette's Born of Light painting from our first Irish residence in Lecanvey. Our last house didn't have the right wall space for it. Now it can happily fly again in a lovely place of prominence. All hifi cabling and tweaks migrated directly from the prior room. As has become a signature solution for my bigger music spaces…

… there again needn't be a wall behind the chair. I simply leave that door open to vent into the large hall way and my office. It's a cheap but effective trick to make a room behave bigger and benefit the low bass. Some final tuning remains like sorting the ideal placement for Franck Tchang's acoustic resonators and perhaps tweak the exact placement of the speakers. But as shown here, I'd call the sound already 90% there.

Another move, another music room, another unproblematic hit.

"The thing you gotta ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

I do! Incidentally, in the original Gaelic Cill Íomaí, the name of our new village was the church of female saint Aodhamair, the fire maiden. Now it hosts a far more prosaic temple to fine hifi. It's a dark age we live in after all. Meanwhile our nearest town Kilrush is Cill Rois in Gaelic so church of the woods. The catholic faith and its once mighty landholdings still dominate the Irish landscape in the names of many settlements. Limerick farther up the Shannon river is famous for its medieval-era St. Mary's Cathedral and St. John's square; and the 13th-century King John's Castle. Meanwhile nearby town Ennis is short for Inis Cluana Rámhfhada, the island of the long rowing meadow in the river Fergus north of where it enters the Shannon estuary which our house overlooks. Meanwhile Tralee, a township across the Shannon in County Kerry, was Tráigh Lí so strand of the river Lee. It's sad that today's anglicized names have lost their original meanings because most were adapted purely phonetically.

But then lost in translation can also factor in hifi. Now it's good to return to the roots and decipher the real intended meaning. With Chai our Bengal lounge leopard in residence who was actually born around the corner and our landlord's last name Lyons, we've thought of christening our news digs Lyons Den. If an industrial salvage yard in Limerick or Dublin has two lions' heads for a good price, we might just park them on our modest gate posts and do that thing. If not, a hammock with stand is on order already with a local company in County Cork so lazing about outdoors like big cats but with IEM jammed into the ear canals will definitely be in the picture; as long as it won't rain. On that score, having moved south seems to have been an excellent idea indeed.

PS: Should you wonder about silk flowers on the wall, it's because as seems typical in Ireland, this builder left wiring hang out all over the place. Some of it seems for a retrofit alarm system and its cameras. Those next to this painting are for optional lights. The flowers simply conceal the unterminated cables. This reminds me of our Cyprus residence. There it was widespread custom to leave a house's 2nd story unfinished should descendants want to move in and add on vertically. The unfinished look only struck foreigners as strange. It's how you knew you were an expat not native. Once exposed wiring stops registering, we might be well on our way to becoming properly Irish. On that score, we're simply a long way off still…