Asheville, North Carolina ‘s Home Theater and Audio specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Observations and expectations

One of the pitfalls of being an evaluator is presupposing the results. For example, if you test drive a new car and think “I am going to like this car” then you may miss some of the problems you might otherwise have found. This happens because you cloud your judgment with expectations of what you think will happen, rather than being the careful observer. And worse, when we precondition ourselves to think one way we then believe the conclusion if it should suit our purpose. For example, this morning I was afraid to get on the scale and weigh myself for fear I would not like the results. But I forced it and was pleasantly surprised. My immediate reaction was to believe the result I had hoped for and never questioned if it was but an anomaly (something experience has shown me it probably is).

Easy observation to make, difficult to eliminate prejudice in practice. This same issue comes up when evaluating high end audio. We all have to be careful when bringing in a new piece of kit, evaluating new firmware, cables, music, or room treatments.

If we think it might be better and it is, case closed! If it isn’t what we expected, we then dig deeper, something we should always do anyway. It’s a good reminder to each of us to take a deep breath and let the initial euphoria of expectations matching observations and make sure they are accurate.

Certainly for me.

Asheville, North Carolina ‘s Home Theater and Audio specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

It’s ok to make the wrong call

Critics are people whose opinions are valued by others, and we’re all critics to someone. Perhaps your children look to you for approval on food, movies or entertainment. Or maybe it’s your contemporaries with whom you look for guidance. Or maybe you read and contribute on a blog of like-minded people who offer their evaluations of music or stereo that help guide your decisions.

The greater number of choices we encounter, the more we rely on others to help us select from the list of options. We simply cannot know all the music available, all the stereos to purchase, all the restaurants to eat at, all the political party to back, all the computers to purchase, or all the places to visit on vacation. There are just too many choices. Things weren’t quite so complicated even a few years ago and yet… As the roles of critics becomes increasingly important, many find greater comfort and safety in following their suggestions rather than making their own choice. But there’s a downside to this route and most critics worth their salt will tell you so. The more you abdicate your role of decision maker, the greater the chance of isolating yourself from failure. And failure is as important as success, perhaps more so.

Be careful of working hard at not failing. It is failure that shapes us more than our successes.