Our Fermata



Our fermata lasted longer than we intended. In music, a fermata can refer to a hold of sustained duration, its length defined by the performer. In our case, the length was defined by our focusing more on our customers and business than our blog. But the time off also helped us reflect on our approach to home entertainment, about which we’ll say more in the coming weeks.


The notion of fermata is also important in how we determine the quality of music and movie systems. Listening for the decay of sounds and notes, or for the silences between notes, is a crucial way we view how “fast” a system is, i.e., how quickly the system can start and stop playing. When we’re listening to live music, (which by the way is all in “mono” – there’s no “stereo” in nature), part of the way the brain can tell it’s “live” is because of the interstitial silences between sounds. Think of how a concert hall remains “pressurized with sound” even when there is a rest or pause between notes. We listen for that same ability in various entertainment systems, and the ability to stop and start almost instantaneously is something we highly prize, because that ability makes the systems sound more realistic.


In order to stop and start quickly, you need several things to work together. You need enough power to make the speaker cones push out and in, in time with the music or soundtrack. The system needs some sort of brain that can control that out and in motion, ideally with digital processing. And you need speaker drivers light enough but strong enough to withstand the constant incursions and excursions.


One of the main reasons we feature Meridian entertainment systems is that they can create beautiful, musical silences, with power and finesse that makes them sound lifelike.


But next time, let’s turn to how you as a consumer can learn how to judge systems for yourself – how to, and what to, listen for. We hope you’ll join us next Monday.

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