Sound Components’
Performance Signature System

A New Era of High-End Audio Has Begun

Why Listen to Me?

My name is Mark Goldman. I have been the majority owner of Sound Components for 20 years, and am a lifelong audiophile and hobbyist. Two-channel music reproduction has been my hobby and passion going back for over 30 years.

In fact, thirty-plus years ago, I first worked at Sound Components under Peter McGrath, who then owned it and was (and is) a world-renowned recording engineer. I learned a tremendous amount from Peter and went on-site with him to assist recording the local orchestra. The exposure to live music, and then the recording made from it, was a tremendous opportunity to learn about what makes a great system.

After four years at Sound Components, I went on to become the Director of Sales for Wilson Audio, based out of Provo, Utah. While at Wilson Audio, I had the great privilege of working on some of the very best two-channel music systems in the world. I also attended live recording sessions with Dave Wilson, a true legend in the high-end audio world, and continued to learn from him on what made a system truly neutral and great. I was exposed to great products in a true cost-no-object environment, as many of the speakers we sold went into homes and systems where money was not an issue. My responsibilities included training the dealer base on how to set up Wilson speakers, as well as doing setups for HiFi shows and reviewers, such as Martin Colloms, John Atkinson, Tom Norton and Wes Phillips.

After three-and-a-half years at Wilson Audio, the opportunity arose to purchase the majority interest in Sound Components. I’ve been here ever since.

The State of the Art and the Hobby

The state of the art in high-end audio has actually been pretty stable for a number of years. While new speakers, amplifiers and electronics come out and surpass previous versions, the pace of change has been slow and steady. There have not really been any breakthrough technologies in most of these areas in quite a while. We, as an industry and as audiophiles, have approached systems in much the same way for a long time: simply replacing existing components with newer and slightly improved versions.

The State of the Art and the Hobby

The state of the art in high-end audio has actually been pretty stable for a number of years. While new speakers, amplifiers and electronics come out and surpass previous versions, the pace of change has been slow and steady. There have not really been any breakthrough technologies in most of these areas in quite a while. We, as an industry and as audiophiles, have approached systems in much the same way for a long time: simply replacing existing components with newer and slightly improved versions.

The Room Is Not Your Friend

Many audiophiles know that the room is one of the most important parts of the ultimate sound you create; yet they really don’t usually do much about it. Buying a new component is much more exciting than working on the room or looking for a speaker technology that works with your room, rather than against it.

For over 20 years, I have approached true cost-no-object systems in the same way. I would get a new amp, better cable, different speaker, etc. Of course, the sound would slowly get better each time I improved the system with something newer and better, but it never was anything truly revolutionary – just slow, steady improvement.

Is There A Better Way?

Yes – there absolutely is. Rather than sticking with the status quo and making these small and very expensive improvements, we can “deconstruct” the entire system and break it down in a much more intelligent manner. We can use speaker technology that minimizes our rooms’ sound and influence, and get closer to the “absolute sound” – the sound of real instruments, in the space in which they were recorded.

 

  • We can use line source speakers that virtually eliminate our rooms’ floor and ceiling reflections – allowing us hear more of the ambient cues captured in the recording of the venue– rather than adding our own rooms’ sound on top of what is in the recording.
  • We can eliminate passive crossovers within speakers and all of the lost resolution and increased distortion and coloration they cause.
  • We can apply the latest in digital correction to create a neutral sound within the room, and to make the left and right speakers response more similar to each other than they have ever been – allowing the true imaging to be exposed, for the very first time.
  • We can eliminate the “one note” bass bump and lack of true bass extension that eludes virtually all systems – especially large single-box “full range” speakers.

Is There A Better Way?

Yes – there absolutely is. Rather than sticking with the status quo and making these small and very expensive improvements, we can “deconstruct” the entire system and break it down in a much more intelligent manner. We can use speaker technology that minimizes our rooms’ sound and influence, and get closer to the “absolute sound” – the sound of real instruments, in the space in which they were recorded.

 

  • We can use line source speakers that virtually eliminate our rooms’ floor and ceiling reflections – allowing us hear more of the ambient cues captured in the recording of the venue– rather than adding our own rooms’ sound on top of what is in the recording.
  • We can eliminate passive crossovers within speakers and all of the lost resolution and increased distortion and coloration they cause.
  • We can apply the latest in digital correction to create a neutral sound within the room, and to make the left and right speakers response more similar to each other than they have ever been – allowing the true imaging to be exposed, for the very first time.
  • We can eliminate the “one note” bass bump and lack of true bass extension that eludes virtually all systems – especially large single-box “full range” speakers.

The Impossible Made Possible

While we are always concerned with the time-domain (or phase) response of speakers, we have never really had a way to accurately correct for these anomalies within a room. By using the latest digital technology available, we can now time-align the entire speaker system at the listening position. In addition, we can accurately time-align subwoofers for the first time ever – allowing a truly coherent blend never before experienced – allowing true, linear 20 Hz extension at the listening position, something virtually impossible to achieve any other way.

So, How Does It Really Sound?

In a word – amazing. More focused, more resolved, more transparent, more dynamic and full range than any system I’ve ever heard lacking these technologies. It is simply more truthful to the source, allowing more information that is in the recording to come through. You hear more of the room that the performance was made in, and less of your own room’s sound on top of it. You experience deep bass extension that you feel in your belly, along with a complete lack of blur and “thumpiness” in the bass. In short – it’s a revelation.

In my store, when we do a direct comparison with and without even a single one of these technologies, we learn that the “before” sound seems broken by comparison.

As audiophiles, we have always thought that we just needed to improve a particular piece of electronics to get to the “holy grail.” However, buying a better amp, cables, preamp, etc., cannot make the kind of improvements that we have made with the correct use of digital correction – no matter how much you are prepared to spend. (Now, of course, buying better amps and cables still makes sense, but it is not a substitute.) And, of course, there is no substitute for having better speakers.

We have several clients that have been involved in “traditional high end” for over 30 years, who have switched over to this approach and they have never been happier. There is absolutely no buyer’s remorse from any of them. Many of them call me simply to discuss how incredible their system now sounds – they are amazed. They say the change of adding proper DSP is the single greatest improvement they have ever made to their systems.

So, How Does It Really Sound?

In a word – amazing. More focused, more resolved, more transparent, more dynamic and full range than any system I’ve ever heard lacking these technologies. It is simply more truthful to the source, allowing more information that is in the recording to come through. You hear more of the room that the performance was made in, and less of your own room’s sound on top of it. You experience deep bass extension that you feel in your belly, along with a complete lack of blur and “thumpiness” in the bass. In short – it’s a revelation.

In my store, when we do a direct comparison with and without even a single one of these technologies, we learn that the “before” sound seems broken by comparison.

As audiophiles, we have always thought that we just needed to improve a particular piece of electronics to get to the “holy grail.” However, buying a better amp, cables, preamp, etc., cannot make the kind of improvements that we have made with the correct use of digital correction – no matter how much you are prepared to spend. (Now, of course, buying better amps and cables still makes sense, but it is not a substitute.) And, of course, there is no substitute for having better speakers.

We have several clients that have been involved in “traditional high end” for over 30 years, who have switched over to this approach and they have never been happier. There is absolutely no buyer’s remorse from any of them. Many of them call me simply to discuss how incredible their system now sounds – they are amazed. They say the change of adding proper DSP is the single greatest improvement they have ever made to their systems.

The Players in the Super System

The Wisdom Audio LS4

Simply put, The Wisdom LS4 Loudspeaker is the finest loudspeaker I have ever experienced. It has a myriad of advantages over the traditional über-expensive high-end loudspeakers. When taken in total, with proper subwoofers and electronics, the LS4 is an experience like no other – regardless of price. It simply decodes more information, is more dynamic, and allows you to listen deeper into the recording and venue than any other speaker – it is closer to the “absolute sound” that we strive for as audiophiles. In addition, the 100db sensitivity rating and amazing top end dynamic capability will shout down all of the largest dynamic driver “super speakers,” while out-resolving them by a significant margin.

The Wisdom Audio STS Subwoofer

True 16 Hz extension and the speed to match planar magnetic drivers, along with a 101db sensitivity – what’s not to love? Properly integrated, these woofers are truly transparent in mating to the LS4s. Speed, power and linear extension to 20hz and below at your listening position – prepare to hear (and feel) bass like never before.

The Trinnov Altitude32 Multichannel Digital Preamplifier/Processor

The Altitude32 is the most sophisticated multichannel digital processor on the market today. It has the capability for up to 48 channels if required. Trinnov also makes another unit called the Amethyst, which has the same DSP correction capability, but is limited to only 4 channels – perfect for a stereo pair of speakers and stereo subwoofers.

In our Sound Components Signature System, we use the Altitude32 because the Wisdom LS4’s require two channels each – one to the lower drive element, and one to the “tweeter” element. We also need two channels of output if we do stereo subwoofers, so a total of six channels is required.

The Altitude32 also has Trinnov’s remarkable Speaker/Room Optimizer, a patented Trinnov technology that uses a 3D microphone – one which has four discrete microphone capsules set in a fixed array. As a sound wave passes through this array, the system can determine precisely from where the sound came. It actually measures each speaker’s location in your room.

Once the system has been set up, corrected and then properly tuned by ear the results are unlike anything available in the “traditional” audio world, at any price. Direct comparisons with some of the most expensive two-channel preamps in the same system at the same time allow you to understand the level of resolution improvement that the Trinnov offers – even if more than two channels are not required.

An additional benefit of the Altitude32 is that it also has a built-in music streamer and is a “Roon-Ready” device. With Roon you have access to Tidal music streaming, as well as whatever music you have in your own digital music library, whether it resides on your computer or on a dedicated NAS (network attached storage device).

The Cabling And Accessories

In our opinion, Transparent Audio makes the finest-sounding cables in the world. Their unique networks lower noise and hash, and improve image focus. Seek your level of performance within their line and you will not be disappointed.

For isolation, the Stillpoints devices and Stillpoints rack are tremendous in their ability to further reduce “noise” and hash. The degree to which these devices can improve things can be truly remarkable, especially in a system with this much resolution. We can demo these on site to prove their effectiveness.

Amplifiers:

In a system like this you have a tremendous number of amplifier choices due to the speakers’ efficiency and their extremely simple impedance. Since there are no passive crossovers in the system, there is not a lot of demand on the amplifier based on a fluctuating impedance. We have used extremely modest and inexpensive amplifiers on systems like these and gotten amazing results, but of course, the better the amplifier the better the overall result. You are free to choose the amplifier you want, rather than a traditional audiophile behemoth, since the needs of the speakers are really very modest.

However, given the extremely high sensitivity of these speakers, you should look for an extremely quiet amplifier (one with a high signal-to-noise ratio). We can make some suggestions, but we feel the Devialet 440 amplifiers meet this bill perfectly. The speed, resolving power, low noise floor and lack of coloration really allow this system to sing. In addition, we can connect to the Devialet amplifiers digitally from the Trinnov.

What’s next?

Pick up the phone and give me a call. I can discuss the system further and answer any questions you may have. I am also happy to tell you about some of the direct A-to-B comparisons I have done. Call me at the store at 305 665 4299 extension 101 – or my cell at 786 202 2712.

If you have serious interest about building a true super system, then you can take advantage of our travel reimbursement program and come to Miami for a demo unlike any you have ever had.