“Spend on the Room and High Res” Says Alan Parsons

Despite the link-bait title – “Beatles, Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles” – the main message that I got out of the interview had to do with room acoustics and high-resolution downloads. These are where Mr. Parsons recommends spending on home systems. He is also big on surround sound.

Of course, Parsons undeniably knows good sound, having played key roles on Dark Side of the Moon (DSOM) and Year of the Cat (YOTC). Hard to fault the sonics on these babies. To my recollection, the Alan Parsons Project LP’s sounded pretty solid as well.

In any case, while Parsons admittedly is no audiophile, fans of this music will benefit from the read.



Friday, February 10th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News

1 Comment to “Spend on the Room and High Res” Says Alan Parsons

  1. I agree that the room is a major component. But I think the biggest obstacle for us average joes is to be able to a dedicated listening room. Most of people have their systems in the living room. For the lucky ones that can afford, both in $$ and real estate, a dedicated listening room, finding a competent designer to design a room is also a big challenge. And most people may not want to invest that kind of money into a house that they may only live for a few years.

    A friend of mine had just built one with the assistance of a highly regarded consulting service. But the room did not sound right afterwards, and we were able to solve it with some additional ASC traps. I have read similar feedbacks from several members on Audio Asylum who had gone through similar services.

    I had gone through several consultants with a mandate that simply sticking some aftermarket acoustic products on the walls is not an acceptable solution unless they can incorporate the products into the aesthetic design. (I have an architectural background.) The only one that was able to even understand this concept was a highly regarded acoustic engineer that has some high profile recording studios and concert halls on his resume. But his fee started at $50k. He was talking to me out of courtesy since a close friend of his had introduced me.

    Of all the more accessible acoustic consultants that I had spoken to, all of them just wanted to first give me a report of how acoustics work, then recommend which aftermarket products to use at certain locations in the room. This included several services that had advertised in Stereophile and TAS. I had received two such reports from one consultant, after spending $1k. They contained 99% of information that I already knew, and 1% of information that I didn’t know, which was the reflection point of my room. My room hadn’t been built at that point. But I would have been able to figure out that information with a mirror after the room has been built. I told the consultant to stop working after I received that report.

    At one point, I told one consultant that I was starting with a clean piece of white paper, and he can design a room from scratch, so there won’t be any “pre-existing conditions” that we would need to make compromises to. I would then design the rest of the house around that room. For an architect, that would be a dream project to allow the creative juice to flow. But the consultant just froze. He insisted that I need to follow their process and provide him all the basic informations about the room, even though I repeated several times that the room didn’t exist at the point and I need his recommendation on what the dimensions should be.

    I ended up spending some time reading several books on acoustics and designed a room based on what I had learned from them. I think I will end up having to still use some room treatments….The room and the house is 95% complete. So we will find out soon whether this exercise pays off.

    Frank Cheng

  2. gundam91 on February 23rd, 2012