Something Exciting This Way Comes

I couldn’t be more excited.

No, really — I could not be more excited. Here’s what happened.

About 5 years ago, we decided to move. It took about a year for us to find our new home, in part because our new digs had to have a place, separate from our house proper, where I could work. At that time, work was acting as Editor of AudioStream, a “computer audio” focused site in the Stereophile family of sites.

We saw all manner of homes with many a beautiful old barn [footnote 1], but not one of them worked as a pair. As a couple. House too big, barn too small. Barn too big, house too small. We persisted.

One morning a new listing hit my inbox that pictured a lovely smallish house with an open floor plan (check), a lovely large and separate workshop (check), all sitting on 4+ wooded acres down a private dirt road (check, check). While the listing didn’t show the inside of the workshop, which was covered in barn wood, you could tell it was big. We showed up at the house for a walk through that same morning. Our offer went in that afternoon, and the rest is our housestory.

We moved from a big(er) house to our new small(er) house, which meant we had a lot of extra stuff, all of which ended up in the barn. The workshop, which had been a welding shop in its past life, became the Barn before we moved in as I have a thing for barns. I initially carved out a fine listening space, with the help of A. Friend, but it took more than a year to make the Barn 100% usable, free of extra stuff.

As you can imagine, and you have to imagine because AudioStream and its 7+ years of content are no longer online, reviewing “computer audio” gear meant small boxes with smaller things inside them. When I switched over to Twittering Machines in 2018, after I was let go along with a bunch of other employees when Stereophile & Co. was purchased and its new owners downsized staff, the boxes and the things in them got bigger. And heavier, as integrated amplifiers and small(ish) speakers made their way into the Barn for review.

I was talking to A(nother) Friend not all that long ago, and he said, “Why don’t you review big speakers? You’re one of a few reviewers who has the space for it.”

“I should!” I replied (excitedly).

Sometimes the obvious can be evasive.

I couldn’t be more excited to share that my journey into the heart of big speakers begins later this month. Keeping with tradition, the first candidates will show up in these pages as they arrive [footnote 2]. Hand in hand, a few other tools of the trade will also be arriving soon. I couldn’t be more excited about them, too.

The Barn’s listening area is roughly 18′ W x 35′ D x 12′ H, with an overall width of 40′. A more than double-wide garage door resides on the listening room side, making the entry for big speakers, even really big speakers, a breeze. No steps, big space.

For those curious souls, the Barn’s listening area has been measured a number of times, by me and others. One of those times coincided with a review of the BACCH 3D software for AudioStream, where the better the in-room response, the better the 3D-ness of the BACCH 3D technology will shine. The people from BACCH, who also run Princeton University’s 3D3A Laboratory which houses their very own anechoic chamber, found that the Barn measured just fine without the need to do anything. As you might expect based on the dimensions, the sweet spot extended well behind the red Eames chair, farther than nearly any room the good people from BACCH had measured.

As an industry friend commented upon first entering the barn, big space, small problems.

“Why don’t you review big speakers?”

“I do!”


1. We live in Hunterdon County, NJ where beautiful old barns are scattered all over the place
2. Patreon subscribers already know what’s coming

opening image: Anna Karina from Vivre Sa Vie (1962, Jean-Luc Godard)