How your system responds to the volume control is a very clear indicator of it’s stability in terms of systematic interaction.

hirez roraima closeup 4Roraima mains leads – key for improving system volume stability

If a system has no significant protection against microphony and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), then it’s really not going to perform well generally. One of the major characteristics of a system in such a condition is that it will have a poor response to different volume settings. At low volume the system sounds weak and flat, there is not much tonal expression, rhythm or musical involvement. At this low level, the background RFI robs the musical information of its character and life. When playing low, we are instinctively aware of this problem and keep wanting to turn up the volume to get the involvement we desire. When we do turn it up a bit we get to a volume level where generally we think the system sounds okay – there seems to be some of the involvement we are after, but are aware that other sound quality aspects might not be as good as we would like, but this is what we have come to expect from our system.

There are those times though, when we want to have a louder, more stimulating experience, and we crank up the volume 3 or 4 notches. But this is often when things become considerably worse, the reality being (although we might not want to admit it) that the sound becomes very bright and harsh, less controlled and timing is jumbled. Fatigue levels go up considerably.

So we end up with what we call at Vertex, a ‘letterbox’ effect. The perception of a narrow usable volume range where the dissatisfaction is minimised, and where, above or below this setting we always run into significant problems.

However, Vertex users become aware that it does not have to be like this. As a system is slowly upgraded with Vertex equipment we hear significant improvements all round with the reduction of microphony and RFI. Music is smoother, richer and far more involving and this quality remains at lower volumes. But the mechanisms of RFI, and particularly, microphony are level dependant. The greater the level, the greater the products of these distortion mechanisms interfere with the sound quality. So, as Vertex is introduced there is a massive improvement in the ability of the system to play louder – BUT smoothly, richly, with control and scale, delicacy and detail at the same time as drive and drama – and all of this without fatigue! In reality you don’t need to go up hugely on the volume setting, and you don’t tend to notice a great increase in the volume anyway because the system is not shouting (and its this bright sort of distortion that sounds ‘loud’). It just swells in richness and grip.

complete mini moncayosMini-Moncayo speaker links – better volume stability for big speakers

So after that description, our advice here is pretty simple really. Assess your system at low and high volume settings and as you choose more Vertex for your system use the improvement in useable volume as one of your judgement criteria. A system that has this sort of control really is much more enjoyable.

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