Particularly for old farts like me (born in the anolog age !) but increasingly in younger generations too, there’s a feeling that digital music sounds, well, “digital”. Certainly, compared to analog it has a slight “hardness” which isn’t always that comfortable and can be fatiguing after long periods of listening. The ever increasing interest in, and sales of vinyl goes some way to prove this point !.
For “big” systems, like at La Grand’ Maison that “digitalness” can be even more obvious and intrusive, when a warm inviting, exciting and somewhat more “cuddly” sound would be a whole lot nicer.
To this end, we send all musical signals from all and any source (in house mixer, Apple & android devices Etc.) through good old fashioned, but gorgeous sounding valves. This dramatically helps “smooth out” & “warm up” the hard character of digital sound files, as well as, adds subtle harmonics that makes music sound full and rich.
Harmonics are actually very important, and something that digital media finds hard to reproduce. In fact, take any two instruments, say a flute and a piano, playing the same note, now strip away the harmonics and they sound exactly the same !. It’s harmonics that give every instrument and sound for that matter, it’s character and sense of realism. Effectively “generating” some extra harmonic interest in the valve stage, helps replace what digital recording and storage techniques kind of forgot, or was simply unable to give us.
Following on from that, we’ve opted to use another “old” technology to help generate our special 3D signal. That’s the one we pump out of speakers at the “rear” of the dance floor, and which is designed to just add a sense of size and scale to the performance. For this, we use a specialist audio transformer. These days audio transformers are pretty well reserved for massively expensive, rather esoteric pieces of audio equipment, but, since the technology does what we want, in a nice warm analog sounding way, we use it too.