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Another new sound room

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

Another move, another music room. At about 6x8m, the downstairs Kilrush space is 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 relies 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 was brilliant for the addition of Martin Gateley's sound|kaos DSUB 15. That combination makes 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. 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. 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.

Also downstairs is our video 2.1 system set up diagonally. The resident speakers are German Physiks HRS-10 or Zu Soul VI. Shown is Cube Audio's Jazzon during its brief review stay. Electronics are an Oppo BDP-105 universal player and Simon Audio AIO CD receiver.