I'd done it to myself. Now I faced it. "I'm screwed" I thought.

Kinda. I've burnt plenty of pixels about Ripol bass and its gestalt change on in-room performance. But the appearance of bonySound's Jazz 2022 below rubbed in what it'll mean from now on whenever I review speakers: unscrewing myself. After all, their makers rightfully wouldn't be happy if I wrote them up high passed at -6dB/80Hz to let our sound|kaos 2×15" subwoofer handle the lower two octaves. Yet switching this highly directional sub out and standard omni bass in has instant repercussions. Hello effects of room gain—free signal amplification from reflections—on the amplitude and time domain. Even where a designer trims the sub 200Hz frequency response to sum to flat with room gain, he can't avoid the temporal blur of time delay. Reflections travel longer than direct sound. They arrive at our ears late. Whatever is late is slow. Voilà, slow fat bass which is texturally thicker and blurrier than the more directional higher frequencies. It's a situation endemic to 99.9999% of all speaker playback.

It's heard in an instant when removed. Usually we can't turn room gain off. There's no switch for it. The exception are dipole/Ripol/cardioid bass systems. Their dispersion pattern causes lateral and even rear cancellations. Those minimize bass reflections to a high degree. Moving from such speakers to ported/sealed box speakers acts like a virtual room-gain 'on' switch. It's how we identify its sonic contributions. Those aren't pretty especially if we come from open-baffle headphones like Raal-Requisite's SR1a ribbons to have built up an allergy to acoustic time smear. Such headphones don't suffer energy storage, box talk or room issues. They present a different aural archetype or blueprint. Once we subscribe to it, we can recreate it with loudspeakers of equivalent dispersion patterns.

As a reviewer I must be fair by assessing individual loaners on their own merit. I can't keep referencing very rare exceptions. Henceforth I must take off my rosy Ripol glasses whenever I review normal box speakers whose bass behaves omnidirectional. Easier said than done? Once you know what shouldn't be there, its renewed presence can't help but disturb. Yet stating "not bad for a box speaker" or even "really good for a box speaker" still won't judge such speakers on their own merit.

This is how a truly superior mouse trap bites back; hard.

But then I really did this to myself. Nobody else set this trap. Now I must learn how to adapt for each speaker assignment. I must recalibrate my expectations and criticisms to what they were before I took Ripol conversion therapy. That made permanent changes to what I think correct sound is. It's simply irrelevant to the vast majority of readers who've never heard this difference. In that sense, I really am screwed. All enthusiasts know the natural desire of sharing what one feels are exciting discoveries. But how soon does that devolve into boring repetitiveness or appears like an agenda to create the exact opposite effect of what one intended? Perhaps keeping quiet and saying nothing would have been the best policy from the very beginning?

If so, I missed that memo and boat…