While it’s impossible to stuff Carnegie Hall into a living room, a good stereo system is like opening a window to a convincing sonic landscape that stirs the listener’s soul. But creating an accurate simulacrum of live music in one’s home is an elusive task, with as many opinions as to what constitutes great sound as there are audio components designed to achieve it. And though expansive space and budget can both further that aim, neither is a guarantee of success without first knowing what success actually sounds like.
“The soul of music is in the midrange,” says Philip O’Hanlon, an industry veteran whose company, On a Higher Note, distributes several premier audio brands. “This is where most of the emotion, the passion, the joie de vivre is contained.”