Audiophile explains audio file
Overture Audio reopens.
by Sally Mitani
"It's evil. It's insidious," says Keith Moorman, speaking of a certain business practice--his own. Moorman owns Overture Audio, newly reopened in the former O'Leary Paint building on West Stadium that he bought last year.
Here's Moorman's diabolical scheme: "Because we're closed on Sunday and Monday, we loan out stereo equipment for people to keep until Tuesday morning. On Saturday nights, people are lined up" at the counter to check it out. On Tuesday morning, Moorman says, they typically return to buy whatever they checked out--and if they were comparing two components side by side, they buy the more expensive one.
Since 1989, Moorman has been the local purveyor of creme de la creme audio gear. Overture's DACs, CD players, receivers, and speakers start in the hundreds and go up to the five figures. Various cords and minor gizmos, of course, go for less, and he also sells some used equipment on consignment.
A self-described "audiophile" with a droll, relaxed sense of humor, Moorman doesn't really see himself as taking advantage of customers. He's giving them the opportunity to hear music as he hears it. "It surprises most people. They come in hoping they can't hear the difference, but they do."
What kind of people are still buying high-end stereo equipment these days when everyone is seemingly plugged into an iPod? It's a smaller market than in the old days, he agrees, now composed of mainly "audiophiles and gearheads.
"When I was in college [Ball State, early eighties], there were three things a guy had to have--car, beer, and stereo. Then the Walkman came along, and, after that, ease of use and portability became the issue." And when Walkmans gave way to .mp3 players, it really seemed like the beginning of the end for audio stores. "It was, 'Hey, I can put 10,000 songs in this thing the size of a deck of cards.' The fact that a guitar didn't actually sound like a guitar anymore apparently didn't matter," he says wryly.
Moorman says, those audio files contain a good deal more sound information than you get through your earbuds--but it rarely reaches listeners. Overture carries the equipment that extracts that sound.
The first thing Moorman will tell you is: don't start with the speakers. "There's a hierarchy of equipment, and the speaker is the last link in a chain." Instead, he'll steer you toward a DAC (digital-analog converter), then a good receiver. "The source is the most important part. It's the old 'garbage in/garbage out' computer platitude."
Because he owns the building, he was able to remodel it entirely to his own specs, with three demo rooms where the customer can sit, listen, and compare while he wheels components in and out. The rooms are more or less like a regular home living room: no padded walls or special sound features, though he admits they conform to his idea of a "golden ratio," a shape that distributes the sound waves for maximum magic effect. "But really, unless you have a room that's a perfect cube, you've got a pretty good situation. In a perfect cube, the bass will tend to reverb." Again, he emphasizes that this isn't sound-geek stuff--anyone can hear it.
Moorman says he's largely protected from what plagues most electronics dealers: people using his store as a test lab for equipment that they later buy online. "Ninety percent of my inventory isn't available cheaper online. I work with loyal specialty manufacturers. They know their equipment needs to be demonstrated by someone who knows what they're doing."
Overture Audio, 2460 W. Stadium. 662-1812. Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sun. & Mon. overture-audio.com
[Originally published in July, 2013.]
On July 14, 2013, Robert Koernke wrote:
It is interesting dealing with the latest generation of younger ones. They would even consider watching an entire big budget Hollywood movie on their little tablet or even a smart phone with ear buds. This generation does not get the same excitement, or goose bumps that may result with the right combination of music and acoustics put together with cinematography. I also believe many burn their ears out with those 'ear buds' so that they can't hear the nuances of music to the fullest degree to really appreciate it anyway. I'm almost 40 years old and find myself hearing better than most people younger than myself. They are saying… what what?… -Ypsi local
On July 15, 2013, Robert Koernke wrote:
To get real geek-juice all over everybody: The Ear-Bud generation has also contributed to the death of DVD-Audio, and other multi-channel (6 to 8) formats. The industry could not get it to sell, few paid any attention to it, or even knew what it was. It is now an underground art, that people sample from the end of a Blu-Ray (or DVD) which are recorded in multi-channel, or people remaster themselves in that format. But there is nothing like listening to a piece of music in DTS 5.1 or better.