I remember my first taste of a high-end USB cable, the JCAT. It made such an improvement that I thought it was a gift from heaven. I just couldn’t believe the difference that cable made.
It’s rare but sometimes we take a new piece of gear home and it exceeds our expectations and not just by a little. No, some stereo products are so much better than what we’re used to that it feels as if it were heaven sent. A miracle. An extraordinary revelation.
Those experiences are rare, but when they happen they make a lasting impression.
The last one I recall was Ted Smith’s latest creation, Snowmass. When we loaded that new firmware into the DirectStream DAC both Darren Myers and I simultaneously turned to each other and watched our jaws drop.
Unexpected pleasures can often seem so big they feel like a gift from up on high.
Maybe it’s why I keep searching for the better—the dopamine hit of discovering a heaven sent product is unforgettable. I want more and keep searching for the latest.
We spend hundreds of hours in the listening room finding the best sound for our products, the optimized features for the design, the spark of brilliance that we know must be there.
When we find it, it’s sometimes as if heaven sent.
Stepping out on the ledge
It’s awful scary out on that ledge. You’ve decided to give it your best shot but you’re not certain it’s going to work. Now, you’re committed and what if it doesn’t work? What if that new audio DAC doesn’t sound the way you thought it would? The new cable didn’t have the synergy you expected. The room you just built doesn’t sound good?
Taking risks based on a leap of faith is something frightening we all deal with and handle differently. Some spend hundreds of hours researching the subject to death before stepping out on that ledge, while others just jump with a shrug of the shoulder. Still others wait for the new to become the old and accepted before taking the plunge.
How you handle those decisions doesn’t really ameliorate the risks. Early adopters, those that wait for the new to become mainstream, even the few who won’t take the leap until the new becomes the old all assume the same level of risk. We simply do what we’ve learned has the greatest chance for success and we’re all a bit different.
Here’s the thing. Whenever you’re ready to make a change and step out on that ledge you risk failure—and that sounds like something to avoid. But, I would argue it is failure that helps us grow and it is learning and growth that we seek. If everything worked you’d never learn nothing.
So the next time you’re nervously contemplating changing your stereo system, your mouse finger is trembling before making that purchase, just remember that the best thing that can happen might just be failure.
Sure, we all want the easy win and are delighted when we get it. But if failure weren’t an option, we’d never enjoy the thrill of stepping out on the ledge.