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Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

New concepts

Most of us understand the differing reactions to new product concepts. Early adopters seek out and embrace the new, while most other people have a wait-and-see attitude. Sometimes the radical new elicits downright terror.

Take what happened a hundred or so years ago with the introduction of the automobile. People were deathly afraid of them, but perhaps not for the reasons you might imagine like safety or noise. Rather, people were convinced cars were a terrible idea because they were brainless, not possessing even the intelligence of a horse. How could a totally stupid machine ever succeed?

New concepts and innovations that threaten the status quo are often viewed with suspicious eyes. Things were just fine the way they were.

Yet, without the rapid pace of progress, we’d still be listening to 78 rpm LP records through sewing-needle-sized stylus.

As we move forward into the age of artificial intelligence, building robots that are indistinguishable from their biological creators, and interactive immersive sound reproduction appliances that seem more comfortable in the hands of Lieutenant Commander Data than your next-door neighbor, it’s probably good to remind ourselves that technology’s here to serve us as opposed to the ever-constant angst some fear as a loss of control.

My car’s now a hell of a lot smarter than a horse, but I still tell it where to go.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Scrubbed clean

Squeaky clean. Yup, that’s how we like our dishes, hands, cars, and floors. Not so much our music.

The idea of sterile stereo sound—scrubbed clean—is not something I would look forward to listening to, yet I certainly don’t want the opposite. Dirty, gritty, or cluttered, makes my face scrunch up.

If we don’t want either extreme—sterile or dirty—what is it we’re searching for?

Realism.

When I stand in front of a musician playing an acoustic instrument like a guitar or (recently) a dobro, there’s nothing sterile about what I am hearing. If I pay attention—close my eyes—I hear her finger plucks, room sound, shuffling of feet, breathing, and on occasion a grunt or two.

Music—real music—captured live is not sterile and neither should its reproduction.

I cringe just a little when someone suggests to me their sound is “clean and crystal clear, free of any distortion”.

When scrubbing systems clean, be careful you don’t lose the baby with the bathwater.

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